on Zephaniah 1 :14
The great day of the Lord is near - It commenced with the death of the good king Josiah, who was slain by Pharaoh-necho at Megiddo, and continued to the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar.
on Zephaniah 1 :14
The great Day of the Lord is near - The prophet again expands the words of Joel, accumulating words expressive of the terrors of that Day, showing that though "the great and very terrible Day of the Lord" Joel 2:31, (Joel had said) "a day of darkness and gloominess, of clouds and of thick darkness" Joel 2:2, "which was then coming and nigh at hand" Joel 2:1, had come and was gone, it was only a forerunner of others; none of them final; but each, because it "was" a judgment and an instance of the justice of God, an earnest and forerunner of other judgments to the end. Again, "a great Day of the Lord was near." This Day had itself, so to speak, many hours and divisions of the day. But each hour tolleth the same knell of approaching doom. Each calamity in the miserable reigns of the sons of Josiah was one stroke in the passing-bell, until the de struction of Jerusalem by the Chaldaeans, for the time closed it.
The judgment was complete. The completeness of that excision made it the more an image of every other like day until the final destruction of all which, although around or near to Christ, shall in the Great Day be found not to be His, but to have rejected Him. Jerome: "Truly was vengeance required, 'from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, whom they slew between the temple and the altar' Matthew 23:35, and at last when they said of the Son of God, "His blood be upon us and upon our children" Matthew 27:25, they experienced a bitter day, because they had provoked the Lord to bitterness; a Day, appointed by the Lord, in which not the weak only but the mighty shall be bowed down, and wrath shall come upon them to the end. For often before they endured the wrath of the Lord, but that wrath was not to the uttermost. What need now to describe how great calamities they endured in both captivities, and how they who rejected the light of the Lord, walked in darkness and thick darkness, and they who would not hear the trumpet of the solemn feast-days, heard the shout of the enemy.
But of the "fenced cities" and "lofty corner-towers" of Judaea, which are until now destroyed even to the ground, the eyes, I deem, can judge better than the ears. We especially, now living in that province, can see, can prove what is written. We scarcely discern slight traces of ruins of what once were great cities. At Shiloh, where was the tabernacle and ark of the testament of the Lord, scarcely the foundations of the altar are shown. Rama and Bethoron and the other noble cities built by Solomon, are shown to be little villages. Let us read Joseplius and the prophecy of Zephaniah; we shall see his history before our eyes. And this must be said not only of the captivity, but even to the present day. The treacherous farmers, having slain the servants, and, at last, the Son of God, are prevented from entering Jerusalem, except to wail, and they purchase at a price leave to weep the ruin of their city, so that they who once bought the Blood of Christ, buy their tears; not even their tears are costless.
You may see on the day that Jerusalem was taken and destroyed by the Romans, a people in mourning come, decrepit old women and old men, in aged and ragged wretchedness, showing in their bodies and in their guise the wrath of the Lord. The hapless crowd is gathered, and amid the gleaming of the Cross of Christ, and the radiant glory of His Resurrection, the standard also of the Cross shining from Mount Olivet, you may see the people, piteous but unpitied, bewail the ruins of their temple, tears still on their cheeks, their arms livid and their hair disheveled, and the soldier asketh a guerdon, that they may be allowed to weep longer. And doth any, when he seeth this, doubt of the "day of trouble and distress, the day of darkness and gloominess, the day of clouds and thick darkness, the day of the trumpet and alarm?" For they have also trumpets in their sorrow, and, according to the prophecy, the voice of "the solemn feast-day is turned into mourning." They wail over the ashes of the sanctuary and the altar destroyed, and over cities once fenced, and over the high towers of the temple, from which they once cast headlong James the brother of the Lord."
But referring the Day of the Lord to the end of the world or the close of the life of each, it too is near; near, the prophet adds to impress the more its nearness, for it is at hand to each; and when eternity shall come, all time shall seem like a moment, "A thousand years, when past, are like a watch in the night" Psalm 90:4; one fourth part of one night.
And hasteth greatly - For time whirls on more rapidly to each, year by year, and when God's judgments draw near, the tokens of them thicken, and troubles sweep one over the other, events jostle against each other. The voice of the day of the Lord. That Day, when it cometh, shall leave no one in doubt what it meaneth; it shall give no uncertain sound, but shall, trumpet-tongued, proclaim the holiness and justice of Almighty God; its voice shall be the Voice of Christ, which "all that are in the graves shall hear and come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation" John 5:28-29.
"The mighty men shall cry there bitterly, for "bitter is the remembrance of death to a man that liveth at rest in his possessions, unto the man that hath nothing to vex him, and that hath prosperity in all things" (Ecclesiasticus 41:1); and, "There is no mighty man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death; and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it" Ecclesiastes 8:8. Rather, wrath shall come upon "the kings" of the earth, "and the great men and the rich men and the mighty men, and" they shall will to "hide" themselves "from the Face of Him that sitteth on the Throne and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great Day of His wrath is come: and who shall be able to stand?" Revelation 6:15-17.
The mighty men shall cry there bitterly - The prophet has spoken of time, "the day of the Lord." He points out the more vividly the unseen sight and place, "there;" so David says, "There they feared a fear" Psalm 14:5. He sees the place; he hears the bitter cry. So near is it in fact; so close the connection of cause and effect, of sin and punishment. There shall be a great and bitter cry, when there shall be no place for repentance. It shall be a mighty cry, but mighty in the bitterness of its distress. "Mighty men shall be mightily tormented" (Wisd. 6:6), that is, those who have been mighty against God, weak against Satan, and shall have used their might in his service.
on Zephaniah 1 :14
1:14 The voice if the day - The day which will come with a great noise.