The final judgment for humans (Zeph 1:17-1:18)

“I will bring

Such distress

Upon the people

That they shall walk

Like the blind.

They have sinned

Against Yahweh.

Their blood

Shall be poured out

Like dust.

Their flesh

Shall be

Like dung.

Neither their silver,

Nor their gold,

Shall be able

To save them

On the day

Of Yahweh’s wrath.

In the fire

Of his passion,

The whole earth

Shall be consumed.

He will make

All the inhabitants

Of the earth

A full end,

A terrible end.”

Very clearly the end was coming.  There would be so much distress among humans that they would be walking around as if they were blind.  They had sinned against Yahweh, so that their blood would be poured out like dust, while their bodies would be like smelly dung.  Their silver and gold would not save them from Yahweh’s day of wrath, because Yahweh’s angry passion would consume the whole world, including all the people living on it.  The end times was near.

The bitter wrathful day of Yahweh (Zeph 1:14-1:16)

“The great day of Yahweh

Is near,

Near,

Coming fast.

The sound of

The day of Yahweh

Is bitter.

The warrior

Cries aloud there.

That day will be

A day of wrath,

A day of distress,

A day of anguish,

A day of ruin,

A day of devastation,

A day of darkness,

A day of gloom,

A day of clouds

A day of darkness,

A day of trumpet blast,

A day of battle cry,

Against the fortified cities,

Against the lofty battlements.”

The day of Yahweh was to be a day of wrath and doom, as can be found also in Amos, chapter 5 and Isaiah, chapter 2.  This great day for Yahweh was coming right away, very soon.  This bitter sound was in the air, as the warriors cried out loudly with their battle cry against the fortified cities and their secure fortresses.  This was a day of wrath, distress, anguish, ruin, devastation, darkness, gloom, clouds, and a trumpet blast, certainly not a happy day.  Thus, the natural connection to death formed the inspiration for the medieval funeral hymn, Dies Irae, Latin for the day of wrath.

Yahweh would return to heaven (Hos 5:15-5:15)Yahweh would return to heaven (Hos 5:15-5:15)

“I will return again

To my place,

Until they acknowledge

Their guilt,

Until they seek my face.

In their distress,

They will beg

My favor.”

Yahweh was going to return to his place in heaven. He was going to stay there, until they would recognize and admit their guilt. He would stay there, until they began to seek his face. Finally, when they were in distress, they might beg for his divine favor.

The angel of the Lord and the useless fire (Dan 3:26-3:27)

“But the angel

Of the Lord

Came down

Into the furnace

To be with Azariah,

As well as his companions.

He drove the fiery flame

Out of the furnace.

He made the inside

Of the furnace

Like a moist wind,

That went whistling

Through it.

The fire did not touch

Them at all.

It caused them

No pain,

No distress.”

The angel of the Lord came down into the furnace to be with Azariah and his 2 companions. This angel made the inside of the furnace like a moist wind whistling through the center of the furnace. This drove the flames out of the furnace, so that the fire did not touch any of them. Thus, they were in no pain or distress. Everything was fine with them, since they were not burning.

 

The weakness of these false idol gods (Bar 6:36-6:40)

“These gods cannot

Save anyone

From death.

They cannot rescue

The weak

From the strong.

They cannot

Restore sight

To the blind.

They cannot

Rescue anyone

Who is in distress.

They cannot

Take pity

On a widow.

They cannot

Do good

To an orphan.

These things

Made of wood,

Overlaid with gold

Or silver,

Are like stones

From the mountain.

Those who serve them

Will be put to shame.

Why then must

Anyone think

That they are gods?

Why call them gods?”

This diatribe against false gods continued with an attempt to show how impotent these gods are, since they cannot save anyone from death. They cannot rescue the weak from the strong. They cannot restore sight to the blind. They cannot rescue anyone in distress. They cannot take pity on a widow nor do any good for an orphan. They are made of wood, covered with gold or silver, like stones from a mountain. They cannot help those who worship them. They will be put to shame. How can anyone think that they are gods or call them gods? They are useless.

Put on the robe of glory (Bar 5:1-5:4)

“Take off the garment

Of your sorrow!

Take off the garment

Of your affliction!

O Jerusalem!

Put on forever

The beauty

Of the glory

From God!

Put on the robe

Of the righteousness

From God!

Put on your head

The diadem

Of the glory

Of the Everlasting One!

God

Will show

Your splendor

Everywhere under heaven!

God

Will give you forever

The name

‘Righteousness peace!

Godly glory!’”

The author of this book told Jerusalem to take off its garments of sorrow and distress. Jerusalem was to put on the beauty of the glorious God, the robe of the righteousness of God. Jerusalem was to wear a diadem crown to show the glory of the Everlasting One. Once again, God is no longer called Yahweh. God was going to show the splendor of this great city to everyone in the world. Now Jerusalem had a new name, “righteous peace and Godly glory”. There would be a great turn around in Jerusalem.

The exile of Judah (Lam 1:3-1:3)

Gimel

“Judah has gone

Into exile

With suffering,

With hard servitude.

She lives now

Among the nations.

But she finds

No resting place.

Her pursuers have all

Overtaken her

In the midst

Of her distress.”

Judah was the territory that included Jerusalem. The Judeans were sent into exile with suffering and servitude also. They now live among other countries. Thus they have no resting place, since her enemies have overtaken them even while they were still in distress. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Gimel. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.

The response of Yahweh (Jer 15:11-15:12)

“Yahweh said.

‘Surely I have intervened

In your life for good.

Surely I imposed enemies on you!

I intervened with you

In a time of trouble.

I intervened with you

In a time of distress.

Can iron with bronze

Break iron from the north?’”

Yahweh reminds Jeremiah that he has had a good life. However, Yahweh has given him enemies, yet he was there in his times of trouble and distress. Then Yahweh returned to the theme of how to defeat the invaders from the north. Would a combination of iron and bronze be enough to break the coming iron from the north? Only time will tell.

A New Jerusalem (Isa 65:17-65:20)

“I am about to create new heavens.

I am about to create a new earth.

The former things

Shall not be remembered.

They shall not come to mind.

But be glad!

Rejoice forever In what I am creating!

I am about to create

Jerusalem as a joy.

I am about to create

Its people as a delight.

I will rejoice in Jerusalem!

I will delight in my people!

No more shall the sound

Of weeping be heard in it.

No more shall the sound

Of the cry of distress be heard in it.

No more shall there be in it

An infant that lives but a few days.

No more shall there be in it

An old person

Who does not live out a lifetime.

One who dies at a hundred years old

Will be considered a youth.

One who falls short of a hundred years old

Will be considered accursed.”

Yahweh was going to create a new heaven and a new earth. All the past things would be forgotten. Jerusalem was going to be a joy and a delight for its people, since there would be no more weeping or crying in distress. Infants would not die at child birth. Old people would live a long life. Anyone who died before 100 years of age would be considered a cursed youth. Good times would come to this new Jerusalem.

The redeeming savior (Isa 63:8-63:10)

“Yahweh said.

‘Surely they are my people.

Children will not deal falsely.’

He became their Savior

In all their distress.

It was no messenger.

It was no angel.

But it was his presence that saved them.

In his love,

In his pity,

He redeemed them.

He lifted them up.

He carried them

All the days of old.

But they rebelled.

They grieved his Holy Spirit.

Therefore he became their enemy.

He himself fought against them.”

Yahweh responded that surely his people and children would not respond falsely. He was their savior in times of distress. He did not merely send a messenger or an angel. It was his very presence that saved them. He showed them love and pity as he redeemed them. He lifted them up and carried them away as in the good old days. However, they rebelled against him as they saddened the Holy Spirit. They became his enemy so that Yahweh had to fight against them.