Shalom Kol Yisrael,
I write this with a heavy heart. A few weeks ago there were several nights that I was unable to sleep. Since then, I have been thinking seriously of the coming days ahead. Great judgments will fall as quoted from the book of Tzefanyah above. These verses have been going over and over in my mind. Notice what this darkness is against in the verses above. They are against fortified cities, and against high battlements. Let us investigate some key Hebrew words and take a closer look. The Hebrew words for fortified cities which in transliterated form are hey areem ha betzoorōt and ha pinōt ha gevōhōtwhich mean the walled or fenced cities and the arrogant or exceedingly proud heads or chieftains. Could this mean the arrogant heads of the religious institutions of men? Do we have a second witness in Scripture of this interpretation?
The great day of YHWH is near. It is near, and hurries greatly, the voice of the day of YHWH. The mighty man cries there bitterly. 15 That day is a day of wrath, a day of distress and anguish, a day of trouble and ruin, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness, 16 a day of the trumpet and alarm, against the fortified cities, and against the high battlements. (emphases added) Tzefania/Zephaniah 1:14-16
Ezekiel 34 speaks about a coming judgment against the shepherds. When will this happen? Let’s look at verse 12, “As a shepherd seeks out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered abroad, so will I seek out my sheep; and I will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day (emphases added).”
Previously in verses 10 and 11 YHWH speaks judgment against these leaders of religious institutions, “Thus says the Master YHWH: Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my sheep at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the sheep; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; and I will deliver my sheep from their mouth, that they may not be food for them. 11 For thus says the Master YHWH: Behold, I myself, even I, will search for my sheep, and will seek them out. (emphases added)”
We hear of ministries today speaking of revival. I believe that they are giving Abba’s sheep a false hope. These very same shepherds who are giving false hope may be the very recipients of the coming judgment. It is interesting to note that these shepherds are feeding off the sheep as food! This sounds like the falling of Babylon. Could the fall of Babylon be a literal collapse of the religious institutions of men? Is there a connection in Scripture? And is this collapse related to the coming restoration of the whole house of Yisrael both Yehudah and Ephrayim?
The first 3 verses of Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah speak of a coming desolation on Babylon with her images disappointed and her idols dismayed. A nation comes from the north destroying Babylon so that no one shall dwell in Babylon again. The following 3 verses are very interesting.
Yirmeyahu 50:4 In those days, and in that time, says YHWH, the children of Yisrael shall come, they and the children of Yehudah together; they shall go on their way weeping, and shall seek YHWH their Elohim. 5 They shall inquire concerning Tzion with their faces turned toward it, saying, Come, and join yourselves to YHWH in an everlasting covenant that shall not be forgotten. 6 My people have been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray; they have turned them away on the mountains; they have gone from mountain to hill; they have forgotten their resting place. (emphases added)
In other words, the religious institutions of men have been standing in the way from allowing YHWH’s sheep to know and understand that their resting place is no other pasture other than Yisrael/Tzion. Since we are tying all of this together we need to look at the next 3 verses in Yirmeyahu 50.
Yirmeyahu 50:7 All who found them have devoured them; and their adversaries said, We are not guilty, because they have sinned against YHWH, the habitation of righteousness, even YHWH, the hope of their fathers. 8 Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and go out of the land of the Chaldeans, and be as the male goats before the flocks. 9 For, behold, I will stir up and cause to come up against Babylon a company of great nations from the north country; and they shall set themselves in array against her; from there she shall be taken: their arrows shall be as of an expert mighty man; no one shall return in vain. (emphases added)
If you don’t flee from Babylon, you will be consumed and even your adversaries will admit you have sinned against YHWH for not fleeing.
Verses 10 thru 18 speaks further about YHWH’s vengeance against Babylon and the King of Babylon and her resulting desolation. Verses 19 thru 20 give further insight…
Yirmeyahu 50:19 I will bring Yisrael again to his pasture, and he shall feed on Carmel and Bashan, and his soul shall be satisfied on the hills of Ephraim and in Gilead. 20 In those days, and in that time, says YHWH, the iniquity of Yisrael shall be sought for, and there shall be no one; and the sins of Yehudah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I leave as a remnant. (emphases added)
We continue to read of further judgments against Babylon and then in verses 31-32, we see a connection to Tzefanyah 1:16 in regard to the Hebrew understanding of high battlements (ie arrogant or proud chieftains or heads).
Yirmeyahu 50:31 Behold, I am against you, you proud one, says the Master, YHWH of Armies; for your day has come, the time that I will visit you. 32 The proud one shall stumble and fall, and no one shall raise him up; and I will kindle a fire in his cities, and it shall devour all who are around him. (emphases added)
More of YHWH’s Anger Against the Shepherds
Zecharyah/Zechariah 10:2 For the teraphim/family idols have spoken vanity, and the diviners have seen a lie; and they have told false dreams. They comfort in vain. Therefore they go their way like sheep. They are oppressed, because there is no shepherd. 3 My anger is kindled against the shepherds, and I will punish the male goats; For YHWH of Armies has visited his flock, the house of Yehudah/Judah, and will make them as his majestic horse in the battle.. (emphases added)
Do you have a problem with brother Yehudah? Get over it. He will be a majestic horse in battle and will be YHWH’s instrument of judgment against nations and peoples who have been opposing His people Yisrael. Many shepherds today have responded more like sheep following after the flock instead of leading the sheep to safe pasture (the commandments).
Zecharyah 10:4 From Him will come the cornerstone, from Him the nail, from Him the battle bow, from Him every ruler together. 5 They shall be as mighty men, treading down muddy streets in the battle; and they shall fight, because YHWHis with them; and the riders on horses will be confounded. 6 “I will strengthen the house of Yehudah, and I will save the house of Yoseph, and I will bring them back; for I have mercy on them; and they will be as though I had not cast them off: for I am YHWH their Elohim (God), and I will hear them. (emphases added)
There are no theories in His word. Abba will bring His people back into the land of their inheritance. Two houses will become one. The pharaohs will be judged and Yah will assemble His people in a latter day reunion.
Zecharyah 10:7 Ephraim will be like a mighty man, and their heart will rejoice as through wine; yes, their children will see it, and rejoice. Their heart will be glad in YHWH. 8 I will signal for them, and gather them; for I have redeemed them; and they will increase as they have increased. 9 I will sow them among the peoples; and they will remember me in far countries; and they will live with their children, and will return. 10 I will bring them again also out of the land of Egypt, and gather them out of Assyria; and I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon; and there won’t be room enough for them. 11 He will pass through the sea of affliction, and will strike the waves in the sea, and all the depths of the Nile will dry up; and the pride of Assyria will be brought down, and the scepter of Egypt will depart. 12 I will strengthen them in YHWH; and they will walk up and down in his name,” says YHWH. (emphases added)
Have we seen Lebanon and Gilead (land East of the Jordan River) filled with people from far off countries? Shall this be done in our day? Is this second exodus not far away? May it be done, O Yah, in our day and may we see your people return.
To those of you who may be reading this paper and are new to this walk, do not be disappointed, but very few will walk this path. You may try every strategy to get them to see this truth, but few will find it. Why would I make that statement? Well, for 2 reasons: I have observed this personally and also the Scriptures make it quite clear.
Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 3:11 YHWH said to me, “Backsliding Yisrael has shown herself more righteous than treacherous Judah. 12 Go, and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, ‘Return, you backsliding Yisrael,’ says YHWH; ‘I will not look in anger on you; for I am merciful,’ says YHWH. ‘I will not keep anger forever. 13 Only acknowledge your iniquity, that you have transgressed against YHWH your Elohim, and have scattered your ways to the strangers under every green tree, and you have not obeyed my voice,’ says YHWH.” 14 “Return, backsliding children,” says YHWH; “for I am a husband to you. I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion. 15 I will give you shepherds according to my heart, who shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. 16 It shall come to pass, when you are multiplied and increased in the land, in those days,” says YHWH, “they shall say no more, ‘The ark of the covenant of YHWH!’ neither shall it come to mind; neither shall they remember it; neither shall they miss it; neither shall it be made any more. (emphases added)
As Scripture states so few will acknowledge their iniquity. Only one from a city and two of a family will return to Tzion. It is also interesting to note that in Tzion (the Land of Yisrael) there will be shepherds to feed us on knowledge and understanding. In other words, we are all woefully wanting in the diaspora. Also the Land of Yisrael is the only place where we will increase. I will reiterate that as compassionate as your heart may be to bring others into this truth; do not be disappointed for only a remnant will truly repent and return to the ancient paths. When the day of YHWH approaches many will be left wanting. Are you ready for a landscape with clouds and thick darkness?
Tzefanyah ben Yochanon
Chazak Chazak v’nitchazek
Let us be strong, let us be strong and let us strengthen (encourage) one another!