Zephaniah, whose name from the Hebrew means, “Hidden of Jehovah”, is a name that points to a truth that God, hides from the eyes of carnal man until revelation comes by the Holy Spirit. Zephaniah was a contemporary of Jeremiah during a time of revival when King Josiah was reigning. However, while the King was incorporating again the law and the rebuilding of Gods legal order ministered to these children of Israel, their moral state remained unchanged. This also points forward to a people who are hearing about certain laws and ways of God today, but they change not to become those ways. Most of the people remained satisfied with the status quo; therefore, any revival experienced never completes its real purpose. Their moral character, their mind-set continues to override any change and it brings forth a stronger bondage that finally leads them into captivity of another nation or order (another way of life).
Meanwhile, as always, God has for Himself a victorious people. This speaks of His people who separate themselves from those of a rebellious nature to seek only the ways of God. In this, God says to this people, Zeph. 1:7 “Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord God: for the day of the Lord is at hand: for the Lord hath prepared a sacrifice [looking forward to Jesus Christ], he hath bid [separated, sanctified] his guest. And it shall come to pass in the day of the Lord’s sacrifice, that I will punish the princes [deceiving leaders] and the kings children [rebellious ones], and all such as are clothed with strange apparel [those not putting on the Christ nature]”.
“Strange apparel” speaks loudly to us as it points to the character of the man, as he remains separated from God’s nature and ways, his character remains unlike Christ. This means that all, which comes from within the man, reveals the condition of his soul. Meanwhile God’s desire is that His kingdom laws, His nature, would rest within and come forth from within the man. This speaks that man’s character, typed as apparel, will manifest the nature of Christ from within the man. Thus, any other nature yielded to and manifesting from within becomes “strange apparel” in God’s eyes.
When the children of Israel rebelled against God’s law, they became a people stripped of God’s ways of living, which is to dress in another order. Proverbs 21:8 declares, “The way of man is forward and strange: but as for the pure [those walking in God’s ways], his work is right”. Likewise, the Christian community of today, they have fallen from the lofty place of God’s choosing. She, the church, called to present herself unto the bridegroom as a pure bride is finding herself in the place wherein “strange apparel” is her dress. This God has warned creation about in declaring that He is coming only after a bride that is dressed in clean garments. Eph. 5:27, “That He [Christ] might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish”.
God, who is omniscient, foresaw that His enemy had but one desire, which is to attack and defeat His church. In this, God has sent His Word to the church to become its wall of protection. His Word, when received becomes a spiritual wall to keep the church from the stains of filthy garments, which is the “strange apparel” in God’s eyes. Heb. 13:9a, “Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines …” What are the spots that Christ speaks of in Eph. 5:27 above? (Read 2 Peter 2:1-22) noting verse 13 and 14, “And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you: having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls; an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:”.
However, God has for Himself a people of “pure language”, a remnant that have yielded to any and all necessary changes as they pursue a purpose that has but one desire. That purpose, without compromise, is to allow God freedom to become the complete Lord over their lives. These have a knowing that from before the foundation of this world they, purposed by God, would become His sons. Sons birthed from the church as a first fruits people to become the visible expression of our invisible Father. Unto these, God has spoken His promises, promises that have continued down through the ages of time until coming to the “last of last days”. This means that all the promises given to the saints of old are no longer a-far off, but have come to the time of their fulfillment. In this light of understanding let us consider Heb. 11:13-16, “These [the old saints] all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth [what about you?]. For they that say such things [those not citizens of this present world] declare plainly that they seek a country [country – from a root word meaning “Father”, a fatherland]. And truly, if they had been mindful [able to exercise memory, recollect] of that country from whence they came out (to issue out), they might have had opportunity to have returned [to turn back]. But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God [is Christ’ nature becoming your nature?]: for he hath prepared for them a city [the city is the true people of God]”.
The condition of the heart, the soul of the man, during the time of any superficial revival always remains the same. Though many acts and works of the flesh continue, the inward man will remain the unchanged. The falling away or remaining away, during any superficial revival, disannuls any opportunity for change. Note the condition in Zeph. 1:12, “And it shall come to pass at that time that I will search Jerusalem [Christian community] with lamps, and punish the men who are settled in complacency [conformed or hardened in their evil habits]; who say in their heart, the Lord will not do good, nor will He do evil”. In this, man continues in his downward slide, staying in or reverting to following his own desires at the expense of forsaking God’s ways. Zeph. 1:13, “Therefore their goods shall become booty, and their houses [body, soul, spirit] a desolation; they shall build houses [their carnal fruit and offspring], but not inhabit [receive Godly benefits of them] them; they shall plant vineyards [mind-sets], but not drink their wine [not receive Christ life]”.
Are we not seeing among the Christian community of today the same results? The world is seeing the church as a people who are ritualistic in their activities, individually and collectively, but without any of the power that comes with God’s presence. This speaks of a people whose forms and fashions are but a time of entertainment for self-satisfaction, but meanwhile producing no spiritual benefit for the people. In this, God is not pleased with these conditions. Therefore man should give much thought to this question, what season, what time, what day are we in? Zeph. 1:14-18, “The great day of the Lord is near, it is near and hastens quickly. The noise of the day of the Lord is bitter, these the mighty men shall cry out. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of devastation and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of trumpet and alarm against the fortified cities and against the high towers [denominational walls and various groups of prisoners versus freedom in God’s city]. I will bring distress upon men that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the Lord; their blood shall be poured out like dust and their flesh like refuse. Neither their silver nor their gold [perverted prosperity message] shall be able to deliver them in the day of the Lord’s wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of His jealousy. For He will make speedy riddance of all those who dwell in the land”.
Conditions, conditions, and more conditions exist that are adverse to the word of God and His purpose. Therefore, the cries of the Lord sound throughout the land today much like among these backslidden children of Israel. Even as God spoke then He is also speaking today. Zeph. 2:1-3, “Gather yourselves together, yes, gather together O undesirable nation, before the degree is issued, or the day passes like chaff, before the Lord’s fierce anger comes upon you, before the day of the Lord’s anger comes upon you! Seek the Lord all you meek of the earth, who uphold His justice. Seek righteousness, seek humility. It may be that you will be hidden in the day of the Lord’s anger”. Do you stand around trying to second-guess God’s Word as given to you or are you of a humble obedient nature?
Among this darkness, a light does shine. There is a remnant of hearing people who have heard and believe in the promises of God. Though the whole world is bloated with the poisons of iniquity, a people like Noah are standing as preachers of righteousness to declare and become the light and knowledge of the Lord that shall cover the earth. These, the results of manifested change shall stand as true witnesses of God’s nature, His Spirit and His Word. These have heard the sound of change. They have yielded to Him to become the visible expression of an invisible God. Note God’s declaration of Zeph. 3:8-9 as His cleansing power washes away all poisons to manifest His perfect nature throughout creation. “Therefore wait for Me, says the Lord, until the day I rise up for plunder; my determination is to gather the nations to my assembly of kingdoms, to pour on them my indignation, all my fierce anger; all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy. For then I will restore to the people a pure language. That they all may call on the name of the Lord, to serve Him with one accord”.
What is a “pure language”? For all peoples to speak the same language does not make it pure. For all to have the same doctrinal belief does not make it true. To be influential over many groups of people does not make that language in agreement with God. Education from the greatest universities does not teach us this pure language. All that man has done or shall try to do will not result in man serving God in one accord. What is it that God declares when He states He will restore to a people a “pure language”? God’s word declares that the carnal mind is enmity against God and not subject to Him; therefore, change into a “pure language” speaks of a needed change in man’s ability to think and know. With the mind being a part of man’s soul, a changing of the mind points to and speaks of a necessary change within the soul of man. What is man’s soul? It is the life of man’s mind, his will, his emotions, and his desires. These area’s within the perverted sinful soul in all its ways is at enmity against God. It is the product of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that opposes the tree of life. Therefore, the fallen soul stands against the entire nature of God.
With fallen man’s nature manifesting from the soul, this speaks that no man, rather good or evil in man’s sight, manifest God’s nature as being a fallen vessel. Therefore, a needed change becomes necessary as the man comes to the cross of Christ. The working of the cross progresses onward, through the seven steps of sanctification until dying totally to the fallen nature. These seven steps resurrect the man into God’s new creation nature that speaks of living in the presence of God’s throne-room authority. These seven necessary steps are:
- The brazen alter – speaks of accepting Christ sacrifice on the cross.
- The brass laver – speaks of the washing of God’s Word that cleanses, ushering man into the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
- The golden candlestick – is the enlightening of the Holy Spirit, with revelation as He continually baptizes the receiver with the Holy Spirit.
- The table of shewbread – speaks of eating the Word of God to bring change within the man. This will change man from yielding to the carnal mind to manifesting the spiritual mind, God’s divine government.
- The altar of incense – with the sprinkling of Christ’ blood upon this altar, which, overlaid with gold, speaks of the final death to the old man, to ascend as sweet smelling incense before the Father. This ascension takes place as the altar moves into the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement. This, the man as a moving altar, no longer lives under the dictates of a carnal, sinful fleshly mind and nature but now lives before God’s throne.
- The mercy seat – also sprinkled with Christ blood with man birthed into God’s throne-room authority. He now stands before God face to face. These only do Gods bidding because they now have the nature of Christ complete.
- The Ark of the Covenant – God’s new creation man that now has God living and dwelling in them as they tabernacle in God. This is God’s eternal purpose, that is God in man and man in God (read 17th chapter of John).
Here is God’s purpose from the beginning, a new creation people who know the changes of God’s seven-steps (completion, purification) of sanctification. This people become those who speak God’s “pure language”, who manifest His nature. These go forth to establish the Kingdom of God as His new heaven and earth come forth into manifestation. The whole of our present-tense world has come to a place wherein it is asking, “Is there any hope?” Know that the trumpets of God have and are sounding out and God’s “pure language” is appearing. While evil abounds, God’s “pure language” shall appear to manifest itself as His new creation people. A people made into His likeness and image.