Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lords God - הס has, the same as hush, hist, among us. Remonstrances are now useless. You had time to acquaint yourselves with God; you would not: you cry now in vain; destruction is at the door.
The Lord hath prepared a sacrifice - A slaughter of the people.
He hath bid his guests - The Babylonians, to whom he has given a commission to destroy you. In all festivals sacrifices,
2. The people who were invited feasted upon the sacrifice. See on Isaiah 34:6; (note).
Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord God - (Literally, “Hush,” in awe “from the face of God.”) In the presence of God, even the righteous say from their inmost heart, “I am vile, what shall I answer Thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth” Job 40:4. “Now mine eye seeth Thee, wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes” Job 42:5-6. “Enter not into judgment with Thy servant, O Lord, for in Thy sight shall no man living be justified” Psalm 143:2. How much more must the “man without the wedding garment be speechless” Matthew 22:11-12, and every false plea, with which he deceived himself, melt away before the Face of God! The voice of God‘s Judgment echoes in every heart, “we indeed justly” Luke 23:41.
For the Day of the Lord is at hand - Zephaniah, as is his custom, grounds this summons, which he had renewed from Habakkuk, to hushed silence before God, on Joel‘s prophetic warning, to show that it was not yet exhausted. A day of the Lord, of which Joel warned, had come and was gone; but it was only the herald of many such days; judgments in time, heralds and earnests, and, in their degree, pictures of the last which shall end time.
Dionysius: “All time is God‘s, since He Alone is the Lord of time; yet that is specially said to be His time when He doth anything special. Whence He saith, “My time is not yet come” John 7:6; whereas all time is His.” The Day of the Lord is, in the first instance, Jerome: “the day of captivity and vengeance on the sinful people,” as a forerunner of the Day of Judgment, or the day of death to each, for this too is near, since, compared to eternity, all the time of this world is brief.
For the Lord hath prepared a sacrifice - God had rejected sacrifices, offered amid unrepented sin; they were “an abomination to Him” Isaiah 1:11-15. When man will not repent and offer himself as “a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God” Romans 12:1, God, at last, rejects all other outward oblations, and the sinner himself is the sacrifice and victim of his own sins. The image was probably suggested by Isaiah‘s words, “The Lord hath a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Idumea” Isaiah 34:6; and Jeremiah subsequently uses it of the overthrow of Pharaoh at the Euphrates, “This is the day of the Lord of Hosts; that He may avenge Him of His adversaries, for the Lord God hath a sacrifice in the north country by the river Euphrates” Jeremiah 46:10. “The Lord hath made all things for Himself, yea even the wicked for the day of evil” Proverbs 16:4. All must honor God, either fulfilling the will of God and the end of their own being and of His love for them, by obeying that loving will with their own freewill, or, if they repudiate it to the end, by suffering it.
He hath bid His guests - (Literally, sanctified) God had before, by Isaiah, called the pagan whom He employed to punish Babylon, “My sanctified ones” Isaiah 13:3. Zephaniah, by giving the title to God‘s instruments against Judah, declares that themselves, having become in deeds like the pagan, were as pagan to Him. The instruments of His displeasure, not they, were so far his chosen, His called. Jeremiah repeats the saying, “Thus saith the Lord against the house of the king of Judah; I have sanctified against thee destroyers, a man and his weapons” Jeremiah 22:6-7. That is, so far, a holy war in the purpose of God, which fulfills His will; from where Nebuchadnezzar was “His servant” Jeremiah 25:9, avenging His wrongs. Cyril: “To be sanctified, here denotes not the laying aside of iniquity, nor the participation of the Holy Spirit, but, as it were, to be foreordained and chosen to the fulfillment of this end.” That is in a manner hallowed, which is employed by God for a holy end, though the instrument, its purposes, its aims, its passions, be in themselves unholy. There is an awe about “the scourges of God.” As with the lightning and the tornado, there is a certain presence of God with them, in that through them His Righteousness is seen; although they themselves have as little of God as the “wind and storm” which “fulfill His word.” Those who were once admitted to make offerings to God make themselves sacrifices to His wrath; these, still pagan and ungodly and in all besides reprobate, are His priests, because in this, although without their will, they do His will.
The fulfilling of the signs of the times gives evidence that the day of the Lord is near at hand.... The crisis is stealing gradually upon us. The sun shines in the heavens, passing over its usual round, and the heavens still declare the glory of God. Men are still eating and drinking, planting and building, marrying and giving in marriage. Merchants are still buying and selling.... Pleasure lovers are still crowding to theaters, horse races, gambling hells. The highest excitement prevails, yet probation's hour is fast closing, and every case is about to be eternally decided. Satan sees that his time is short. He has set all his agents to work, that men may be deceived, deluded, occupied, and entranced until the day of probation shall be ended and the door of mercy be forever shut.... TMK 354.2Read in context »
The great day of the Lord is near at hand. When Christ appears in the clouds of heaven, those who have not sought Him with all the heart, those who have allowed themselves to be deceived, will surely perish. Our only safety is to be found through repentance and conversion, and the blotting out of sins. Those who will now seek the Lord earnestly, humbling their hearts before Him, and forsaking their sins, will, through the sanctification of the truth, be fitted to unite with the members of the royal family, and will see the King in His beauty.... TDG 248.2Read in context »