What is one of the main signs that the coming of the Lord is soon? It is very clear that moral confusion, sin, and deception will be at an all time high just before the return of the Lord. This idea is also very clear in Zephaniah's description of the time just before the Day of the Lord. It is also clear throughout all of the Bible! "And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many" (Matthew 24:11). "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come" (2 Timothy 3:1). "For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ" (Jude 1:4).
Manasseh was a godless, wicked king. He took Judah to terrible depths in the practice of idolatry. He was so wicked that he had the prophet Isaiah killed. His blending of pagan religion with Judaism left the nation with terrible moral confusion. By the time of the rule of his grandson, Josiah, and the ministry of Zephaniah, the truth had been so mixed with error that only those rightly discerning could separate the truth from the error. Zephaniah's description of Judah during this time (probably between 635 to 630 BC) is similar to the type of chaos that exists in our day! It is another clear sign that the Tribulation is very near and even at the door. If we are going to become effective for Christ we will have to wade through the error, hear God's truth, pray for wisdom and insight, and get our thoughts in order--God's order.
The prophet reveals to us that their insight had degenerated to the place that the holy nature of God was misunderstood by the majority of Judah. Not only did they have a wrong view of God, but they also felt that God loved them so much he would not judge sin. Does this sound familiar? With attitudes like this, those who are God's voice for truth often are seen as judgmental prudes who are filled with hate. Look at what Zephaniah says in 1:12. God is searching for those who, "say in their heart, The LORD will not do good, neither will he do evil." In other words, they thought that nothing they could do could diminish His care for them. He would do no harm nor rebuke them for their lifestyle.
Who is doing the searching? God! He is looking for those who have created a fanciful god likened after their own thoughts and those who do not understand the true nature of God as revealed in scripture. Like those Israelites who crafted the golden calf and called it YHWH and Elohim, these contemporary Israelites have crafted a Jesus that is not found in the scriptures. Those God finds, however, changing His nature are marked for judgment. You don't do this sort of searching among those who do not claim to have a relationship with God but among those who do claim to know Him. We know the truth. We know that God did what he said He would do. He judged their sin at the hands of Babylon. What makes us think that God will not judge sin in the same way today?
We live in an age where men and women tailor make their religion. God is who or what they think he/"she" is or what they feel he/"she" ought to be (many are now saying that god could be a female--gender inclusive). My friend, you cannot change the unchangeable God and make him to be anything contrary to what He is. To do so is to invite a dose of His wrath upon yourself. Since even in judgment God thinks of redemption, He will judge you with a type of love you may not even understand. God is God and He changes not. Yes, this is a day of grace but heed Paul's words, "What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid" (Romans 6:15). He is love, but He is also holy and just. He will make every available opportunity for you to repent and return, but He will not change who He is and what He is about for any no matter how much He loves you!
I wanted to tell of the different types of pagan ideas that Judah blended into their daily life. It reads like a modern day expose' of the same issues we face. From child sacrifice (abortion) to prostituting themselves to fertility gods (adultery, pornography, and sexual sin in the church) Israel was so mixed up that God had to act. I guess we will have to save that and look at the other nations who are about to be destroyed another day. In closing, If God acted to correct sin in Judah then, will He not correct sin in His church in this day of grace?
"And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things...Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out." (Acts 5:5&9) Oops! Sorry! I could not resist answering that question.
Moral Confusion--Good is Evil and Evil is Good
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Church members protest Planned Parenthood funding
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TNIV Bible Braves Gender-Inclusive World
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Israel and the Middle East
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Congressman: US must keep Muslim Brothers from Egypt gov't
Palin Says 'No!' on Cutting US Aid to Israel - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News
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Obama: NATO considering military action in Libya