by Dr. J. Vernon McGee

The Dark Side of Love
J. Vernon McGee

The little Book of Zephaniah will never take the place of the Gospel of John as number one in Bible popularity. The contents of this book have never been familiar, and I doubt that it has been read very much. I dare say that few have ever heard a sermon on Zephaniah.

Such neglect is not due to mediocrity or the inferiority of this little book. If its theme were known, I think it would be very much appreciated, because it has the same theme as the Gospel of John.

John is called the apostle of love, and as we study this book we will find that Zephaniah is the prophet of love. That may be difficult for you to believe, but let me give you a verse to demonstrate my point. You are acquainted with John 3:16, but you may not be acquainted with Zephaniah 3:17: ''The LORD, thy God, in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.'' This is lovely, is it not? However, the prophecy of Zephaniah is a little different from the Gospel of John, for this verse is just a small island which is sheltered in the midst of a storm-tossed sea.

Most of this book seems rather harsh and cruel; it seems as if it is fury poured out. Chapter 3 opens in this vein: ''Woe to her that is filthy and polluted, to the oppressing city!'' Zephaniah's prophecy is one of judgment involving more than the land of Israel. It is a worldwide devastation that is predicted here. The Book of Revelation confirms this and places the time of this judgment as the Great Tribulation period.

During that period, this earth will absolutely be denuded by the judgments that will come upon it. This will occur right before God brings in the millennial kingdom and renews the earth.

Since there is so much judgment in this little book, how can love be its theme? To find proof that love is its theme is like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack, but I will illustr ...

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