Zephaniah: The Day of the Lord Is Near

Apocalyptic movies and dooms day predictions have been and continue to be an expression of man’s fascination with the end of the world.  Although not a very reliable source for important information, Wikipedia listed the apocalyptic movies since the decade of the 1950’s and the trend is interesting.  Prior to the 1950’s Wikipedia listed 4 movies that fit the description of apocalyptic.  The subsequent decades looked like this:

  • 1950-1959, 12

  • 1960-1969, 22

  • 1970-1979, 40

  • 1980-1989, 42

  • 1990-1999, 37

  • 2000-2009, 65

  • 2010-2019, 96

Certainly the growth in numbers of apocalyptic films is due in part to the growth in the film industry.  Nevertheless, 96 apocalyptic films in the last decade is revealing.  There is something about the end of the world as we know it that captivates our imaginations, and our anxieties. 

And doomsday predictions are pretty commonplace these days and play on all our fears.  One U.S. Representative made the prediction that the end of the world was only 12 years away if we didn’t change our global warming behavior.  We hear things like this almost daily. 

But it has been going on for some time.  In 2006, while promoting his movie “An Inconvenient Truth”, former Vice President Al Gore said that humanity had only 10 years left before the world would reach a point of no return.  Thank God we passed that ‘deadline’!

Believe it or not global cooling was once a concern for many.  In the mid-1970’s University of California at Davis professor Kenneth Watt warned that present trends would make the world “eleven degrees colder in the year 2000 ... about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.”  Nigel Calder, a British scientist, was just as worried.  In a 1975 article published in the International Wildlife magazine Calder warned, “The threat of a new ice age must now stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery for mankind,”.  In 1982, U.N. official Mostafa Tolba, executive director of the UN Environment Program, warned:  “By the turn of the century, an environmental catastrophe will witness devastation as complete, as irreversible, as any nuclear holocaust.”

One more.  In 1967, a best-selling book came out called Famine 1975! America’s Decision: Who Will Survive?  The author predicted that due to increasing world population there would be mass starvation around the developing world. “Today’s crisis can move in only one direction – toward catastrophe,” he warned.  Some experts praised the book and ridiculed any who would doubt the books conclusions.  In a review of the book published in the prestigious journal Science, Cal Tech biology professor Peter Bonner wrote, “All serious students of the plight of the underdeveloped nations agree that famine... is inevitable.”  The truth is, the exact opposite of the book’s prediction happened. For a number of reasons including better farming technique and a more connected global community, deaths from famine actually plunged after the publication of that best-seller.  In fact, according to Our World in Data, more people died of famine in the single decade prior to the book’s release than in all 52 years since it was published.

Dooms day prophets!  There is only One knows the end and we get a sobering glimpse of His message in “The word of the Lord that came to Zephaniah.” 

Pray:  Take a moment and read Luke 21:34-36 and let that shape your prayer today.

Read:  All of Zephaniah, all 53 verses.

Meditate:  Our meditation this week will be on chapter 1.  What are we to make of this frightening warning about and description of the Day of the Lord?  How do we apply it?