Zephaniah 1:7–12 (NKJV)
7 Be silent in the presence of the Lord God;
For the day of the Lord is at hand,
For the Lord has prepared a sacrifice;
He has invited His guests.
Some speculate that the day of the Lord begins at the Rapture of the Church. Others believe that this begins at the battle of Armageddon. Another plausible explanation is the the Day of the Lord is any period where the Lord exercises His judgment upon a people or land in respone to their sinful actions on an ongoing, escalating basis. Therefore, this Day of the Lord spoken of by Zephaniah is one of a few that will occur at the time of the prophecy, and others at later times as God wills. This is the nature of Biblical prophecy. It has a current meaning and a future meaning. With this in mind, the prophecies of the Old Testament still have a message for the reader in our day.
8 “And it shall be,
In the day of the Lord’s sacrifice,
That I will punish the princes and the king’s children,
And all such as are clothed with foreign apparel.
9 In the same day I will punish
All those who leap over the threshold,
Who fill their masters’ houses with violence and deceit.
10 “And there shall be on that day,” says the Lord,
“The sound of a mournful cry from the Fish Gate,
A wailing from the Second Quarter,
And a loud crashing from the hills.
11 Wail, you inhabitants of Maktesh!
For all the merchant people are cut down;
All those who handle money are cut off.
12 “And it shall come to pass at that time
That I will search Jerusalem with lamps,
And punish the men
Who are settled in complacency,
Who say in their heart,
‘The Lord will not do good,
Nor will He do evil.’
Zephaniah moves into a discussion of the judgment that will come upon Judah in the Day of the Lord. Specific groups are targeted for specific actions that bring judgment. Royalty will be judged for their lack of Godly leadership. Servants who rebel against their masters will be judged for their insolence. Merchant people who are not honest in their dealings will be judged. Complacent people (perhpas drunk) will be judged, who say that God will do nothing. Those on the north side of the city are named: the Fish gate, the Second Quarter, and the hills (Mount Zion, Mount Moriah, Mount of Olives).
This extensive list of targets of the punishment to come demonstrates the depth of sin into which Judah had fallen. Be sure that the Day of the Lord is coming. Do not be unaware or complacent. Do not be drunk, for when the Day comes, if you are to survive, you must be aware and repentant. Be ready!