305 - Part 1

Part 1 of 11 Parts

The Following Message Has Been Transcribed For
Clarity, Continuity Of Thought, And Punctuation
By The LEM Transcribing & Editing Team.


Zephaniah’s is a declaration of Jehovah to Judah. And let me remind you that the prophets are written on two levels. They are written either to Judah or to Israel, and then they are always a message to the church. They are always also a message to the church. How do we know that? We know that because if you read the prophets discriminately with an educated eye, you will see that there are prophecies that have just not been fulfilled in natural Israel, and that, in fact, these prophecies pretty much -- that have not been fulfilled pretty much fall under the category of the new covenant, and the identifying -- the overriding characteristics -- not the only characteristics, but the overriding characteristics of the new covenant are the promise by Jehovah to his people of unending life.

So if you are still aging, and you are still subject to sickness, mosquitos and viral infections, you should know that you have not yet entered into the new covenant because you do not have unending life and find your body aging and yourself suffering from Lyme’s disease and mosquito bites. Therefore, when we look at the prophets, we see that much of what is said by them has been completed with Judah or Israel, but not all of it, and that which has not been fulfilled will be fulfilled in the church. We can say that we see a fulfillment of prophecy to Judah or Israel or both in part.

In part. What does that mean? We see a fulfillment of the judgement upon Judah and upon Israel. They have gone onto heavy judgment. They have lost their country. They have experienced severe persecution. Israel has lost their national identity. Judah retains her national identity, but has lost the commission to be the mediator between the rest of humanity and Jehovah, God, and she has suffered many afflictions and humiliations since the appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ as Messiah.

So we see the judgment, the punishment, executed upon Judah and Israel, but we do not see the promise of the restoration executed upon natural Israel. I suggest to you the reason for this is that the promise of restoration will be imparted to natural Israel and to the church at the same time. This is one of the mysteries of the gospel, brethren. There is a judgment or a punishment that will be executed upon the church of the living God. It is called the judgment seat of Christ. It is called the tribulation. It is called Armageddon.

So we see that the natural Jew has received judgment in the natural, and we -- those of us who understand his gospel of the Kingdom hopefully have a revelation that both the Jew and the gentile will receive a punishment or a correction to their personality or to their soul, and that will happen at the same time. It is happening right now because the Jew has to be grafted back into the tree of spiritual Israel, and the correction to the fallen soul of Jew and gentile alike is happening or beginning to happen in this hour, so that the third stage of the new covenant, or God’s promise to mankind, can come into reality. That stage being the restoration unto righteousness or unto the righteousness which produces everlasting life.

Let me back up over that for a minute. There are -- I did not say that exactly right. There are two phases to God’s covenant with Israel, and right now I speak of natural and spiritual Israel as one. There are two phases of God’s covenant. Some people think it is two different covenants. You could say that if it helps you to understand, but there is really one promise of God to all of humanity. “I will punish your sins and I will restore you unto righteousness.” That is the promise of God to man.

Now the question is, how is he going to do it? Jehovah is going to punish humanity, which is dead because of her sins, and restore her unto righteousness in two stages. If you want to call these two stages, two covenants, that is OK with me. I will never argue with you over words. Just understand the purposes of God that you might live and not die. That is all I care about.

The first stage of God’s promise to mankind, or the first covenant, is the punishment of sin. So we see that God had a covenant with natural Israel, and that she sinned against him with regard to her civil law, and with regard to the spiritual law that was establishing the relationship between Jehovah and natural Israel at the time of her existence under the first stage of the covenant of God with man.

And her punishment was completed. Israel was -- as a nation was wiped out, and her physical land was resettled by other nations. The Nation of Israel does not exist anymore. The Nation of Judah was resettled, but she never lost -- he never lost his natural -- or his national identity, but the physical punishment occurred. What is that? The loss of their national, physical land. With regard to Israel, the loss of their nationality, the loss of their nation. And with regard to Judah, they did not lose their national identity, but they were dispersed throughout the earth and persecuted. They have been persecuted for 2,000 years, and many Jews have been assimilated into the nationalities of the gentiles they ha- -- many Jews have lost their nationality, although they still do exist as a people, a handful of them.

We now see that the first stage of Jehovah’s covenant with humanity, punishment, is broken down itself into two stages. Listen, two stages of God’s covenant: punishment and restoration. Now we see the punishment is broken down into two stages. Some people think it is two covenants. The words do not bother me. The punishment of Jehovah upon humanity for their sins is broken down into two stages.

First, the punishment that went unto Judah in Israel, and second, the punishment that is going unto the church in this hour. Now this is a great mystery, brethren. Let me say it to another way. The first physical therapy is physical. The second punishment is spiritual. Two stages of punishment. Israel shall ex- -- now when I say Israel, I am speaking about Israel and Judah combined -- shall experience both stages of the punishment. They have already experienced their physical and national punishment, and now Judah and Israel, or as a whole we can call them Israel, plus the church together shall experience punishment for their spiritual sin, punishment of their soul, punishment of their personality, if you will.

This punishment is called the tribulation, or the white throne judgment of Christ. Punishment is a poor choice of words. I prefer correction, because we are dying because of our sin. Therefore, when the Lord Jesus Christ comes to us to correct or to punish our sin-filled soul, it is that we should cease from doing sin. Hopefully, the result of this punishment is that we will cease from doing sin and begin to do righteous, so that the judgments of God for sin will stop killing us, because the judgment for sin is death. And there is no way that Jehovah, who in this hour is appearing to us as the Lord Jesus Christ, will ever cease from executing the judgment of death upon humanity for sin.

His answer is to help us to stop sinning. His answer it to make us holy. His answer to what? His answer to the reason we are dying is to make us righteous again, so that he no longer has a need to, because of his holiness, kill us. He will never accept sin, and if you -- that is what you have been taught, you have received a lie. You will either become holy or you will die, because he is a holy God. He will never compromise on issues of righteous. Never, ever, ever.

So if you are unholy, and you are unrighteous, and you are not confessing your sins and repenting, you are at war with the creator of the universe, and that makes you a fool. But the whole human race is at war with the creator of the universe. So because we are just fools, he has had mercy on us, and he said he is going to stop us from killing ourselves because he knows, even though we do not know it, that we are no match for him at all, and that we do not stand a chance of winning this war. So he is just going to beat us hard enough to turn us around and help us to see the error of our ways, so that we will change our minds, which is the true repentance. You must change your mind and come into agreement with his righteousness. Therefore, he will have no more reason to kill us, and we shall live with him and reign and rule with him in holiness and in righteousness for the life of the ages.

So we see that the -- huma- -- fallen humanity is up to the second stage of the first stage of the covenant, punishment of spiritual sin. Some people -- now, let me clarify. This is not the punishment of murder or lying or adultery. That is -- the punishment for that has been going on for 2,000 years already. We are up to the second stage, punishment for spiritual sin. Punishment for attitudes of your mind and emotions which are the result of a sin nature. Punishment which is corrective. A wounding of attitudes and emotions which continuously keep you under the wrath of God. Punishment of attitudes and emotions and thoughts of your mind which will bring torment into your life for the rest of your days if you are not stopped.

So we see that this punishment is a corrective judgment which is the mercy of God unto us, and that his motive in punishing us, and that the motive of every servant of God who is truly Christ unto you for punishing you or for rebuking you or for correcting you is to deliver you from an attitude or an emotion, which will continue to bring disaster and unhappiness into your life for the rest of your days, and to enable you through the power of God to change your attitudes and your emotions to godly ones which will bring blessings and life into this existence for as long as you live, and hopefully, if you are called and it is the right season, you might enter into unending life.

Then we have the second stage of God’s covenant with humanity, or if you will the second covenant. That is OK. I will not argue with you. And that second stage covenant, or that second stage, of God’s promise to man is the actual removing of sin from you and the actual appearance of holiness in your attitudes and emotions.

So in Zephaniah, chapter 1, we see the declaration of Jehovah unto Judah and spiritual Israel, which is the church, that he first of all acknowledges their sins, you see. We may have trouble confessing our sins, but Jehovah has no problem confessing our sins. Fallen man may have a problem recognizing sin in his fellow man without condemnation, but Jehovah, who in this hour is appearing to us as the Lord Jesus Christ, he has the ability to see your sins without condemning you. And every man in whom Christ is appearing has the authority to see your sins without condemning you, because there is no way that your sins will be judged in righteousness, which is necessary to produce the correction that results in life, if they cannot see your sins without condemnation, because when someone sees your sins with condemnation, the result is death unto you.

Therefore, we see Jehovah in chapter 1 of the book of Zephaniah saying, “I see your sin. I see it as big and bold and as ugly as it is, and this is my reaction to your sin. I love you in your filth, and I love you enough to bring a correction unto you, and I love you enough to send my faithful servants to wrestle with you and to be wounded by you so that you can hear the truth of my promise to you in a language that you can understand, because I know that the average man cannot understand me,” says the Lord Jesus Christ, “because my ways are not your ways, and my thoughts are not your thoughts. I am too high for you. Therefore, you need an interpreter. So I sent my servants to you, and you killed them, and I said, well, I will send my Son unto you. Surely, they will reverence my Son, and you killed him too.” Thus says Jehovah unto you, “You have proven yourself to be as reprobate as my discernment shows. Therefore, I will give you a new mind. I will give you myself, because you have utterly failed to be righteous, and I have made a judgment that you will fail for the rest of time because you are lacking. So this is my judgment. This is my answer to your problem, you fallen-dead, reprobate, sin-filled soul. I am going to give you myself. I am going to give you my righteousness. I am going to make a way to reproduce my sinless nature in your heart. And when I do that, my sinless nature in your heart will wage war against your sin-filled nature whom I call the beast. And I promise you that my Christ will destroy the beast in you, kill her dead so that the only mind -- or so that there will be only surviving mind in you, and that that mind shall be the righteousness of God, and when the only mind in you is the righteousness of God, you shall cease from death, and you shall enter into life.”

That is chapter 1 of the book of Zephaniah. You might have trouble finding that message in any of the translations on the market today, because the current translations of the Scripture have been made by carnally minded scholars who have done the best they could do with the language, but who were unable to translate God’s motives to men. Why? Because his ways are not their ways and his thoughts are not their thoughts, and therefore, their translation of God’s thoughts condemn the man reading the words, telling him that you are so wicked that you will burn in hell forever.

And there is a place for this. For thousands of years, this kind of translation and this kind of teaching has kept the society stable because out of fear, men have obeyed God, and in as much in all of the thousands of years prior to this date, the provision to become sinless was not yet operating. Fear was a good thing. Society must survive, brethren. You cannot have people going out there and murdering and killing and plundering and doing whatever they want. Be afraid and lead at least a physically, or a behaviorally, godly life. Do not murder. Do not kill. Do not steal. Do not be a false witness. If you do, there is judgment in the earth for you. Let each man have his own wife. Do not covet your neighbor’s wife. Live peacefully. Live in order until the time comes that Jehovah shall restore you unto righteousness.

So we see that there is a season for the letter of the Scripture, and it is a good thing, and it is done good for the peoples of the earth. But, brethren, when the second stage of God’s covenant, or the new covenant, becomes available to men, that which came before it is become old, and it must wax and fall away, because the hour to be restored unto righteousness is at hand. Therefore, your keeping of the behavioral law is no longer a fine and good thing. It becomes an inferior work of the flesh, inferior to the opportunity to become spiritually holy.

When there is no opportunity to be spiritually holy, behavioral holiness is a good thing. But now the door is open to become cleansed spiritually, and any righteousness that you think you have because of behavioral holiness is become as filthy rags unto you. Worthless. Your behavioral holiness is being lumped together with behavioral unholiness. There is no difference in God’s eyes with regard to raising you up into his righteousness. When God moves to raise humanity up into the righteousness will pr- -- which will produce everlasting life, there is no difference between the behaviorally holy man and the man whose behavior is absolutely filthy and reprobate. And Jesus tells us clearly that the behaviorally holy man, especially one who comes out of a long family line of behavioral holiness, is going to feel that Jehovah is very unfair to him when this power to become righteous and receive eternal life is given equally to the behaviorally unholy man.

It is a great mystery, brethren, and it looks unfair to the carnal mind, but what it is, is your fallen mind telling God that he is wrong in showing mercy to people that you think you are better than, and that is the sin of pride. And it is a sin that is in your attitude, it is a sin that is in your emotions, it is a sin that is in your mind, and it is a sin that comes listed under the sins of the heart which are being judged under the second stage of Jehovah’s covenant with mankind, “I shall deliver my people from their sins.”

“So because of the sin of your attitude,” says the Lord, “you are as filthy as the prostitute and the addicted person. Behold, I show you a mystery. You are all dead, and the only life is in me, so get your eyes off of your brother and put your eyes on me, and let us get on with this work of the cleansing of humanity so that I can raise you all from the dead.” Chapter 1 of the book of Zephaniah.

Chapter 2 of the book of Zephaniah gives us some information as to the secret plan of the Lord to accomplish this tremendous, miraculous work of cleansing this fallen, dead soul of her sinful attitudes and emotion which keep her dead and keep her in hell and keep her in torment and keep her under the dominion of Satan. And we see that that program overall, I mentioned it earlier, is that the very righteousness of God shall be planted like a plant in our own heart, and when it begins to grow, it will wage war against our existing sin-filled mind and kill her.

Then as chapter 2 goes on, we receive more details of how this warfare will continue. We find out that our sin nature, which is called the carnal mind, must be dismantled, literally broken apart, broken down into pieces, broken down into its component parts and rebuilt in righteousness. Our natural example would be the Lord literally cutting us open, taking our heart out, our lungs out, our spleen, our liver, setting it on a table and putting it all back together again in a different order. It is painful to be ripped apart like that and to be exposed. God is doing it with intense heat. He is cutting our heart open with a knife, and the name of that knife is Christ, and then he is burning us with the same Christ. He is boiling us, and he is roasting us, and he is separating our spirit from our soul, and he is going to put us back together again, and when he is finished with us, we are going to look like him. The Scripture says we shall be in his image and no longer in the image of our daddy the devil. And when we are in his image, there shall be no more judgment, because the law, brethren, is not for a righteous man. The law which kills you because of your sin is not made for a righteous man. A righteous man does not need the law. An unrighteous man needs the law. Why? Because an unrighteous man does not have it within himself to govern himself.

Brethren, your small children do not have it within themselves to govern themselves. Therefore, you put them under the law. You tell them what is right. You tell them what is wrong. If they obey, they are OK and if they do not obey, they should be facing corporal punishment, because that is what the Bible says, and corporal punishment is executed until they obey. Why? Because disobedience will result in their death, and obedience will result in their life. Our natural example is a 2-year-old who refuses to put on his snowsuit when the temperature is 5 degrees outside. Brethren, the parent who lets the 2-year-old go outside without their snowsuit can be prosecuted by civil law for the murder of their own child. I have seen children scream and yell and kick and holler and cry as their hands and legs are forced into a snowsuit. This is the condition of humanity in this hour. We are being forced into a condition that will produce life in our existence. And I declare to you that humanity in this hour has no more understanding than the 2-year-old who is being forced into the snowsuit. Brethren, you do not have to understand everything. Understanding is wonderful. We are admonished by the Lord to understand. I encourage everybody to pray for understanding, but until that understanding comes, obedience is better than sacrifice. There is life in obedience until the understanding comes.

We now find ourself [sic] in Zephaniah, chapter 3. I would like to point out to you before we start a word-by-word study that, as has appeared consistently in our study of the Scriptures, they sound terrible. They sound like God is killing us and torturing us and burning us in hell forever, that God will never forgive us, and that we are just dirty, no-good sinners, which is true, and that there is no hope for us. But there is hope for us. There is hope for us because we have a Father who loves us despite our sin.

Therefore, in accordance with my usual technique, I would like to point out some of the positive Scriptures to you before we start with verses 1 through 4 which I have completed for you today. I would like to encourage you and remind you that God loves you. That does not mean it is OK to sin. It is not OK to sin. But that he loves you even though you are sinning, and that his correction is not unto destruction, but unto life and maturity.

So let me show you, please, in Zephaniah 3:5, the Lord’s attitude. Now, we see that the behavior of the Lord is to punish you because you are destructive. It is not OK to be destructive. You are to be restrained when you are destructive. If you cannot control yourself and cease from being destructive, you are to be restrained. If you cannot be restrained, you are to be put in jail somewhere: spiritual jail, physical jail. That does not mean God does not love you. It means that you cannot contaminate the rest of the household. You cannot. And if God lets you do it, he would not be loving you, but he would be hating you, and not only hating you, but hating every other member of the household if he let you contaminate people’s peace [?in?and?] life and pursuit of happiness and pursuit of Christ.

Verse 5 of Zephaniah, chapter 3: “The just or the righteous Lord is in the midst thereof. He will not do iniquity. Every” -- he is not going to hurt you unto your destruction. “Every morning doth he bring his righteous judgment” -- which will correct you so that you can become a productive member of society. “Every morning doth he bring his judgment to light. He will not fail because the unjust knoweth no shame.”

He will not fail what? To show you righteous so that you can experience shame. Not a malignant shame. That really means conviction of your sins. The Lord is going to show you your sins. You see, it is the mercy of God to see your sins, because if your personality has developed in a destructive way, and you are in a society which is under the law, the people in charge of executing the law or maintaining the peace have only one choice. That is to lock you up or restrain you or do whatever they do to you, because they show you your sins, they say, see, there is the law on the book, and you cannot see that there is something wrong with it, so they have to lock you up like you are a wild animal because your mind is not functioning. So you see, the mercy of God is to turn a screw in your mind so that you can understand when he says to you, look, this is sin. And once you understand, that is confession, and after you can confess your sins, he convinces you that that is what you are doing, then you repent, and that is the beginning of change. Now what does that mean? When you change in your mind, when you could say, oh, the light just went on, and I see that this is wrong, what I am doing is wrong, what I am thinking is wrong, what I am saying is wrong, then you can say, Lord Jesus, help me to change. And when he helps you to change, they do not have to lock you up anymore because you are not doing it anymore.

So we see that conviction of sin is a mercy of God, because a man who spends his whole life thinking that his ungodly behavior is righteous is going to have a miserable, unhappy life, and he is going to die thinking that he had a miserable, unhappy life, and because the whole world was wrong except him. So the mercy of God is the conviction of sin. The ability to confess your sins and repent is a gift of God towards you that will deliver you from the restraints that the peace officers of this world system will put you under because they cannot reach your mind, so they have no choice but to restrain your body. But God comes and he sets you free from the jail of your mind, so that the policemen of this world do not have to restrain your body.

So when the Lord comes to you to show you your sins, do not wage war against him, brethren, and do not stand up in pride and defend your wicked ways and your ungodly attitudes, because it is the mercy of God trying to help you avoid being restrained like a wild, raging bull. He does not want you to do -- he does not want that to happen to you. It is not his desire for you. It is a last resort. Physical restraint or the putting of someone out of the congregation. It is a last resort. The Lord does not desire it.

Verse 8: “Therefore, wait ye upon me” -- that means serve me -- says the Lord, “Until the day that I rise up to the prey.” Who is the prey? That is a great mystery. We found from our studies in other Scriptures that the prey -- prey means victim. Who is the true victim? Anybody know?

Human spirit.

Your human spirit. Yes, that is true. Your human spirit, that part of you that is really victim. There is a part of you that is really victim. The human spirit has been taken prey by Satan and the carnal mind. So the Lord says, “Hold on. You are under restraints because of your behavior. You are under judgment because of your behavior. But hold on, because I am coming to set your human spirit free, so that you could change your behavior, so that you do not have to have these experiences anymore, and that you could live and not die.”

“Therefore, wait ye upon me,” says the Lord, “until the day that I rise up to the prey, for my determination is to gather the nations that I may assemble the kingdoms.” We are the kingdoms, brethren. And when he assembles us, he is going to pour out his wrath upon us, all of his fierce anger for all the earth -- that is all our soul -- mostly our soul. Could be our body. Shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy. Well, what does that mean? It means the prey, your human spirit, is about to be set free because she is being held captive by the earth. Look at it.

“For all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.” Who is the God of the earth? Satan is the God of the earth. There is only one problem. The prey, our human spirit, is joined to the earth, so when the earth gets cast into the lake of fire, guess what? We are in there with her. So it is going to hurt for a season, but the end of it is that the earth is going to burn up, the wood is going to burn up, the hay and the stubble is going to burn up, but your human spirit, which is typified by gold, is going to be purified.

Is that not wonderful? What a beautiful message. It is a love letter from the Lord to us. Do you wonder why the carnal mind does not want this spiritual translation of the word coming forth? He does not want people to hear this, brethren. He wants you to stay under his power.

Then verses 9 through 20. I am not going to comment on them now, but from what I could see, all of those verses are the promise to spiritual Israel of the glory that God has for us.

Verse 9: “He is going to turn his people into a pure language.” That means we will speak righteousness.

Verse 10: “From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia.” That is including the descendants of Ham. He is saying, this salvation, it is not just for Judah and Israel, it is going to Ham also.

Verse 11: “And that day, you are not going to be ashamed anymore even though you have sinned.” You are not going to be ashamed anymore. I am going to take your sins away from the midst of you, and you will not have any more pride, he says. And in verse 12, he says that the afflicted people are going to learn how to trust in the Lord because none of us have faith in God in this hour.

Verse 13: “The remnant of Israel” -- that is your human spirit -- “she is not going to do iniquity anymore.” Why? Because she will be separated from Satan. “Nor will she speak lies anymore or have a deceitful tongue, because she is not going to be possessed of Satan anymore, and nothing shall make you afraid.”

Verse 14: “Sing, o daughter of Zion, shout of Israel and rejoice because” -- verse 15 -- “the Lord hath taken away the judgments. He has cast out your enemy” -- Satan and the carnal mind. “The king of Israel, Christ, is now in the midst of you, and you shall not see or experience evil anymore.” That means the carnal mind and Satan will no longer be ruling and expressing themselves through you -- expressing their evil through you.

Now, some Christians have a revelation of this doctrine, but they take it to a fault, and they say none of us is responsible for our behavior because it is just Satan and the carnal mind within us. Do not fall into that trap, brethren. Every one of us is responsible for everything that we do, but God is forgiving us so long as we have no power over it. When you confess it and repent, that is the Roman Catholic type confession. When Christ is not available to you, when the power to change is not available to you, God is winking at it, and you repent, and he forgives you, and you do it again, and you repent, and he forgives you, and you do it again. But in this hour that the power in Christ to change is available to you, you are fully responsible for what you do. Actually, you are responsible even when you do not have power to change. That is why it is up to your parents to discipline you as a child, so that you learn how to discipline yourself. Because if you do not learn to discipline yourself, you are going to wind up spending your life in jail.

But in this hour when we are being invited into righteousness and eternal life, the power to change our sin nature is available to us, and we are responsible for every ungodly word we say and every ungodly thought that we think, not unto condemnation, but do not fall into that trap that says you are innocent because Satan has taken over your human spirit. You are guilty, brethren. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

That is why you are in a war. Because you are guilty, because you are overtaken, but now weapons have been given unto you. Rise up and rebel against your oppressor. The victory is assured if you fight, and for so long as you are fighting, there is now no more condemnation in Christ Jesus to those who are called according to his purposes. You have got to be confessing your sins and fighting against Satan expressing her sin nature through you, and then if you fall down, and she succeeds in expressing her sin nature through you, you are forgiven. But if you are completely given over to it and in agreement with it, you are not forgiven until you repent. So be aware of that false doctrine in the church.

Verse 17: “The Lord thy God is in the midst of you. He will save you.” That is Christ Jesus in you. “He will rejoice over thee with joy. He will rest in his love. He will joy over thee with singing.”

Verse 18: “I will gather them that are sorrowful for the solemn assembly.” He is going to gather us unto himself.

Verse 19: “Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee.” We are going to be separated from Satan and the carnal mind. “And I will save her that halteth” -- that is your human spirit -- “and gather her that was driven out.” Who was driven out? Adam was driven out of the garden. He is going to gather Adam back and make him righteous. “And I will get them praise and fame in every land.” Wherever you have been put to shame, in every area of your life, the Lord is going to turn it around, and you are going to receive praise and fame without the sin of pride.

Verse 20: “And that time -- at that time, while I bring you again and I will gather you, for I will make you a name or a spirit and a praise amongst the people of the earth. I will turn back your captivity before your very eyes,” says the Lord. “I will do it a step at a time. I will do it an inch at a time. You will see it happening. You will see where every place you step, you will take the land. You will take victory over every weakness in your emotions. You will take victory over every weakness in your mind. You will see it happening.”

So with this as our foundation, this encouragement and this glorious message from the Lord, let us take a look at verses 1 through 4. I do not know if we will be able to do it all today, but what we do not do this morning, if the Lord lets us, we will finish tonight.

Zephaniah 3:1: “The Lord is indicting the living soul. Woe unto her that is filthy and polluted. Woe to the oppressing city.” That is what we are, brethren. You are not innocent. You are filthy, and you are polluted, and you are an oppressing city.

I remind you that we have found out in other studies that a city typifies the soul that God made, God’s creation. In many of my prior messages, I call her the living soul because we are told in Genesis that God formed this man, this soul man, and breathed the breath of life into him, and he was a living soul. But you may or may not have noticed that recently I am not calling the fallen, living soul a fallen, living soul anymore, because she is not alive; she is dead. I have changed my terminology. She is a fallen, dead soul because the life of God went out of her. So we see that the term city is referring to this fallen, dead soul.

The Hebrew word translated filthy is Strong’s 4754. It means rebellious. The Hebrew word translated polluted is Strong’s 1351. That means unclean, and this is the kind of uncleanness which in the Hebrew language is actually referring to idolatry. There is only one true idol, brethren, and that is the idol or the engraving which is in our soul. It is the carnal mind, the image of the carnal mind, which is engraved in our soul which is the only true idol. Every idol that you see being worshipped outside, every totem pole, every idol that is carved out of wood or cast out of brass, it is coming out of a man’s carnal mind, and it is -- what he is doing -- what the carnal mind is doing is manipulating the mind and the members of the man to produce an external image of that which is really appearing in the heart.

I have been studying these Scriptures for years, and I have known that God calls idolatry an uncleanness. I never fully understood it -- why it -- why idolatry should be an uncleanness or a pollution. I never really understood it until this morning when the Lord quickened to me the understanding that the true idol is the carnal mind, and those of us who are living out of our carnal mind are filled up with her. We are compl- -- our spiritual being is completely polluted with her. So for anybody who is worshipping an external idol of wood or stone or any such thing, that is a physical, visible witness that the person who would do such a thing has a heart and a mind filled up with the only true idol, which is the carnal mind. We are possessed of her, and our entire spiritual being -- more specifically our human spirit is polluted through union with spiritual filth, Satan, the intelligence in the garbage of the earth. If you can hear it, hear it.

“Woe unto her that is filthy and polluted. Woe to the oppressing city.” The Hebrew word translated oppressing is Strong’s 3238. It means sword. You may recall that we are int- -- we are translating prophecy on two levels. We are checking out our choice of English translations of a Hebrew word, and we are also looking for symbolic interpretation because the prophets are largely parables. You may also recall that the spiritual sword, or the spiritual weapon, which we have is one of two weapons which are -- does anybody remember?

The carnal mind in Christ.

The carnal mind in Christ. They are the only two weapons available to man. The mind is the weapon. Brethren, we can kill with our mind, we can wound with our mind, we can maim with our mind, and those people who are in denial, we could give life. If our mind is Christ, we can heal and deliver and raise from the dead. We have people in this world who are in deep denial as to the power of the mind. But as we give up the lie and come into all truth, we must begin to see the power of the mind to damage ourselves and our fellow man.

In this hour, those of us in whom Christ is being formed are being challenged to rise up and put a bridle on our carnal mind, because she is a wild beast who is able to wound and damage and eventually kill, and in some human beings whose mind is highly developed -- in this hour there are people in the earth who have the power to kill with their mind. It is not too common in this hour, but it is going to become more and more evident as this dead soul matures. This is the urgency of the message. This dead soul is maturing.

If we are not raised from the dead, and it is happening a man at a time, we shall mature into a human being whose mind is a deadly enemy. It is like walking around with a machine gun that goes off every time it feels like it. If you have a carnal mind who is manifesting through you without your permission, you are a man walking around with a machine gun that kills whenever it feels like it, and if you are rebuked for it, you are saying, well, I did not do it; the machine gun did it. Brethren, it is your machine gun, and you better get ahold of that trigger because when judgment falls for the murder, it is falling on you too, and if you do not know how to get ahold of your weapon, you are required to confess that to the Lord and ask him to help you because it is your weapon, and you are responsible for everything that she does.

Brethren, if you have a child, and he damages your neighbor’s property, you are responsible. If you have a hand, and this hand plunges a knife into someone’s heart, you are responsible. Do not care if you lost your temper. Do not care if the guy provoked you. Do not care if you had a drink. Do not care. Your hand did it, and your hand is in jail, and the rest of your body that is attached to your hand is in jail.

So let us come up out of this fantasy, brethren, and let us start waging the warfare that is going to develop us into righteous human beings. Do not be the criminals; be the policemen. It is a much better life to be the cop than to be the robber. And I will tell you, most psychiatrists will tell you that there is only a fine-line difference between the cops and the robbers. If you are into psychology, you know that that is true. Just a fine-line difference. Men and women who become either cops or criminals have very similar personality makeups. One group differentiated to the positive side, and the other group differentiated to the criminal side, and this is exactly what I am preaching to you is happening spiritually right now. You do much better as the cop, brethren. It is a much better life. You both have a gun. You both experience violence. You both have your excitement, maybe even your hot chases. It is the truth. It is the truth. You are much better off as the cop or the solder in the legitimate army. Believe me. I do not think many people would argue with me about that. Glory to God.

The word city is a place fortified with a wall. I suggest to you it is speaking about God’s creation.

Alternate Translation, Zephaniah 3:1: “Woe to the city which is unclean because of her rebellious sword.” Well, that sounds nice, but it really does not mean very much to us. So here is our amplified translation in English that the man in the street might be able to understand. “Woe to the soul, or to the personality, which is considered unclean by God because of her rebellious mind.” Brethren, if rebellion is expressing itself through you freely and unrestrainedly, as far as God is concerned, you are dirty. That does not mean he is going to kill you. It means he is going to scrub you. “Woe to the soul which is unclean because of her rebellious mind.”

Continuing with Zephaniah 3:2: “She” -- now this is what she do- -- this is what you do when you have a rebellious mind. “She obeyed not the voice. She received not correction. She trusted not in the Lord. She drew not near to God.” That is why rebellion, brethren, is as the sin of witchcraft. It is very serious crime, and the reason that it is serious is that it is keeping you separated from God, and it is keeping you dead in your sins. So you see, the carnal mind of man says [?our?ah?] rebellion, serious crime, condemn him forever. No, God says [?our?ah?] rebellion, serious crime, get him in the bathtub. We will clean him with lye, because the dirt is embedded all the way down to the depths of her spiritual being. So we are told in Malachi. We are about to be washed with fullers’ soap and -- what is the element? Fire, is it?


Fullers’ soap and something else. Strong, wire brush.

“She obeyed not the voice.” The Interlinear translates this Hebrew word listen. She did not listen. It is Strong’s 8085. We are choosing the translation to render obedience. She did not obey. She did not listen. She did not do what she was told, you see. If you listened, and you really heard, and you obeyed, you would do what you were told. So rebellion is not doing what you are told. And you are not doing what you are told because you do not hear what you are told. And the reason you do not hear what you are told is because you are not listening, and before you can hear you have to stop talking. And when you are talking when you are supposed to be listening, it is coming out of a spirit of pride that thinks you know more than the person that is trying to help you. So the person that is trying to help you has to stop you from talking so at least you stand a chance of listening.

“She obeyed not the voice.” Voice is Strong’s 6963. This word is in the masculine, plural form, and we know that everything masculine is referring to the Lord. The actual word is Elohim. I am sorry it is not -- the word is not Elohim, but this word voice, which is masculine and plural, is referring to the word God at the end of the verse. You might notice in verse 2, we see the word Lord and we see the word God. The word Lord is speaking about Jehovah, the Hebrew reveals it is Jehovah, and the word God is the word Elohim, which we might say is the Son or Christ. So we see the word voice modifying the word God, which is the plural form of the Son, a many-membered Son, and the fact that it is masculine plural is another witness that this is the voice of God.

“She obeyed not the voice. She received not correction.” Correction is Strong’s 4148. It can mean instruction in doctrine, discipline. It is speaking about the correction of children by parents. She would not take the correction. She would not obey. She would not make the change. Under normal circumstances, all of this will result in corporal, physical restraint and punishment, because you leave the disciplinarian no choice. If you will not hear, you will not obey, you will not take the correction, there is nothing left unto you but physical restraint and corporal punishment which hopefully will inflict enough pain upon your desensitized mind that you might decide to listen and obey and make some changes if it hurts bad enough.

Hopefully, as your mind becomes renewed, the necessity to hurt you, to make you hear and obey, will become diminished, because as your mind is set free, and as the light begins to come into your mind, and you are freed from the power of Satan, your ability to reason will come to the surface, and you will say, for example, if I do not listen and make a change, I will receive physical pain or emotional pain. Therefore, it is wisdom to make the change before the pain comes. There is a name for this ability to transfer from a need for physical punishment to an ability to reason. Does anybody know what it is? I guess you probably do not.


There is a name which describes the change of going from a person who can only do what is right when they are being physically restrained or when pain is touching them to the person who begins to make a choice and say, I think I will do what is right before the pain or the restraint comes. What is this change called? It is called maturity, brethren. It is called maturity.

You take a 2-year-old, and you tell him if you run out into the street in front of the cars, I am going to whoop your behind. He gives you the most cute smile, and what does he do? He runs out into the street. So you whoop his behind, because he is unable to comprehend what you are telling him with his mind, and he is also unable to stop himself if he could understand, but he cannot understand. But as his mind is enlightened, as he grows, as he learns from his experiences, that child comes to a place where he says, I do not know why Daddy does not want me running out in the street, but I know that if I run out in the street, he is going to whoop my behind, and I do not like the way that feels at all, so I think I will not run out in the street today. That is called maturity. Then as the child continues to mature, he receives understanding somewhere along the line, and he realizes that his father was so cruel to him because if his father did not inflict this cruelty upon him, he could have lost his life.

And so we see that maturity is an ongoing process which begins without an ability to understand. Maturity begins with obedience that is not accompanied with understanding. That is why the Scripture says, “Children, obey your parents for they careth for you.” Do not be high-minded and lift yourself up against them, because you do not understand what they are talking about. So we see that maturity begins with obedience and ends with understanding, and by the time you get to the point that you are doing righteousness with understanding, you have children under you, and you are reaping every rebellious act you have sown towards your own parents, because your children are rebelling against you. But, having been rebellious yourself, you can have mercy on them because, you know what it feels like, and you might say something to them. We hear you, but we cannot honor you. Cannot be that way.

“She obeyed not the voice of Elohim. She would not receive correction. She trusted not in the Lord.” The Hebrew word translated trusted is Strong’s 982. It can be translated to secure for oneself. One other translation, however, interestingly enough. The word translated trusted can also mean to throw down on one’s back. Who was being thrown down on their back? Anybody?


More specifically, the carnal mind, but Satan is correct. Satan is within the carnal mind. He has got to be knocked down.

So we see that in people who are rebellious, who will not hear and will not take correction, that Christ Jesus, being formed there, has failed to bring the carnal mind into submission, and when in fact Christ Jesus brings the carnal mind into submission, when Christ Jesus -- Christ Jesus is the Kingdom of God in us -- when he succeeds in knocking the carnal mind down on her back and joining himself to her, your mind takes another name. Does anybody know what that name is? What?


No, that is the Kingdom of God is the mind of Christ. When the Kingdom of God knocks the carnal mind down on her back and jumps on top of her, you bec- -- your mind becomes?


The Kingdom of the two heavens, amen, or the Kingdom of Heaven. The King James says the Kingdom of Heaven, but it is really the Kingdom of the two heavens. And what that means is that the two minds in you, the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of darkness, which is the carnal mind, are now functioning as one mind. You have become single-minded under the dominion of Christ, and the carnal mind can no longer express her sinful nature through you. She is covered over by the Kingdom of God, and that is the love of God which covers the multitude of sins.

That Scripture, “The love of God covers a multitude of sins,” is not talking about the covering up of sins so that the person does not have to face them. That is a manifestation of pride, which is sin. The true covering of sins is only when righteousness has appeared in you, and righteousness cannot appear in you if you do not first confess your sins. There is no covering of your sins, brethren, without confession and repentance. And the covering of them is just -- of your sins is just an interim stage. The sins are just waiting on death row. When your sins are covered, she is on death row waiting for the execution. She has got to die, and there is no reprieve, and the Lord believes in capital punishment. She is getting a lethal injection of righteousness.


Hallelujah. “She obeyed not the voice. She received not correction. She trusted not in the Lord.” The Hebrew word translated the Lord is Jehovah to us in this hour, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Father. “She drew not near to her God.” To draw near, Strong’s 7126, can be translated to offer a gift. So we can say she did not offer a gift to God. What does that mean? I suggest to you that the gift that the carnal mind and man would not offer unto God is her carnal mind. We must sacrifice our own carnal mind, brethren, and everything that is in her, her pride and her rebellion. She must bend her knee to the righteousness of Christ, and we are to use the power of Christ which has been given to us -- the free gift that no man can earn because this salvation is by [?work?worth?] -- is not by worth -- works, but by faith. We must lay hold of that faith which is Christ in you, the hope of glory, to bring your carnal mind to her knees and offer her up as a gift or a sacrifice to Jehovah that we might receive the fullness of our inheritance which is an unending life in righteousness.

Alternate Translation, Zephaniah 3:2: “She did not obey Jehovah’s voice or benefit from his instruction and discipline. She did not secure Elohim for herself.” That should really be Christ. I do not have a pen here today. Do you have a pen here today? “She did not secure Christ Jesus for herself. She did not offer a gift.” That is not too good a translation. I hope I have another one.

Amplified translation, Zephaniah 3:2: “She did not obey Jehovah’s voice or benefit from his instruction and discipline, neither did Christ Jesus sacrifice her carnal mind unto Jehovah.” One more time.

Second amplified translation: “She” -- who? The soul, the fallen, dead soul -- “did not obey Jehovah’s voice or benefit from his instruction and discipline because her carnal mind was not overthrown, and her carnal mind was not overthrown because it was sacrificed to Jehovah, and her carnal mind was not sacrificed to Jehovah because Christ Jesus did not bind the carnal mind to the altar of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

So we see that the word translated gift can also be translated sacrifice, and that there is a lot of information left out of verse 2. The Hebrew words that form verse 2 are very abbreviated. You may recall me telling you that the more hidden the revelation, the more hidden the mystery of what the prophet is saying -- and what does that mean? The more likely this message is for the last days. That the more hidden it is, and that is the more of a mystery it is, the fewer Hebrew words are used to express it, and I have never seen a case yet where it is not -- where this mystery is not written in such a way that if you do not have the revelation in your heart first, you will never understand what the prophet is saying. It is written in code for all intents and purposes, which contributes to the fact that the carnal translators get carnal translations out of these words. It is written in code. Jesus said, “It is not for everyone to understand, but for the disciples, for you, what you are given to understand.” The angel said to Daniel, “Wrap this up and lock it away. This understanding is for the last days. It is not for you to understand.” We are told -- I think the Apostle Peter said that the prophets that brought forth these messages wanted -- really would have liked to have known what they meant, and even the prophets that brought it forth in the Hebrew did not know what they were bringing forth. Does not the Bible say that? It is a secret, it is a mystery, and God is letting us unlock the code. And the carnal-minded men out there screaming and yelling and saying do not change one word in that book or I prophesy death upon you, and the truth is we are to change every wrong word in this translation, because the result of it is the prophecy of the death of the carnal mind. That is the truth.

So let me give you this Alternate Translation of verse 2 again. It is a hidden message, and I have a whole sentence at the end of it which is not in the Hebrew, so we might say I have amplified verse 2, and I have added in a whole sentence that is not there because it makes a logical -- it is a logical sequence that completes the idea. Let us try it again.

“This fallen, dead soul, she did not obey Jehovah’s voice or benefit from his instruction and discipline because her carnal mind was not overthrown, and her carnal mind was not overthrown, or thrown on its back -- and her carnal mind was not overthrown because it was not sacrificed to Jehovah, and her carnal mind was not sacrificed to Jehovah because Christ Jesus, the Kingdom of God and you failed to do it.”

Well, why did Christ Jesus fail to do it? I want to suggest to you that the reason Christ Jesus failed to do it is that it has not been a threefold chord. Let me give this to you. Just give me a minute. I am going to try and explain it to you. There is no way you are going to overthrow your own carnal mind without first binding her up. Christ Jesus was not able to overthrow the carnal mind because he did not first bind her up. Well, how do you bind up your carnal mind? You have to confess your sins and repent, and by the power of God, refuse to do them. You bind up the carnal mind to the altar of Jesus Christ by refusing to obey your carnal mind. So all you people that think you are going to do whatever sin you feel like doing for whatever justification you are using, and have your body die and go to heaven, or for that other camp in the Kingdom church that is laying all your sin on the Lord Jesus Christ and saying God ordained it from the beginning, so let it all hang out and do your thing, we are all going to become sons of God anyway. I am telling you that even if Christ Jesus is formed in you, you will never overthrow her because you have not bound her to the altar, and if you do not overthrow her, it is just a matter of time until she overthrows Christ Jesus in you and kills him.

And we shall see, as we continue with this message, that this is what has happened to Judah, and that it is what is happening in the church today. There are people in whom Christ Jesus has been conceived, there are people in Christ Jesus who are being formed with a large measure of maturity, but they do not believe in the necessity of confessing their sins and repenting and making changes by the power of the Christ in them, and I am here today to tell you that if you do not use your weapon for what it was designed to do, to overthrow your carnal mind, and you will never overcome, or if you do not repent your sins and repent. So if you do not do the whole program, brethren, that carnal mind is going to rise up and kill Christ in you, and you shall surely die to all of your spiritual life.

And the way it is expressed in the Scripture is that the carnal mind, which is the sacrifice, has not been bound to the altar, and the altar is the Lord Jesus Christ. We have had that several times. I am not going to reteach that. We -- there is even a Scripture in the New Testament: “Jesus Christ is our altar.” Let me take this minute to remind you of the teaching that came forth in 1 Kings 19 that a spiritual altar is formed when the male seed joins with the human spirit. That is the altar. The s- -- the child that comes forth as a result of that union is either Christ Jesus or the carnal mind, and that is the sacrifice lying on the altar. Christ Jesus comes forth on the altar the union between the Lord Jesus Christ and the human spirit, and Christ Jesus is in the fire but does not burn, but she has to d- -- I am sorry. He has to deal with the carnal mind who is present in the same person, and he has to lay hold of that carnal mind and bind her to the altar with him. Bind him together. The two minds become the Kingdom of the two heavens, and there is no way Christ Jesus in you will accomplish this without the confession of sin and repentance. And this was why righteous Adam at the beginning of time fell. He could not confess his potential for sin. Why? He could not see it. He did not understand it, did not have enough experience.

Through this study, brethren, I personally have received a deeper insight into Matthew 12:29. I never quite saw it this way. Our Alternate Translation of Matthew 12:29 is, “How can anyone enter into the carnal mind’s house and se- -- excuse me -- separate him from his wife and seize her if he does not bind the carnal mind first? And then he will separate the carnal mind from his many-membered wife and seize them.” And we worked that up only last April. It was not until this morning that I had this revelation of the reason Christ is binding up the carnal mind is that he is binding her to the altar of the Lord Jesus Christ, which binding is the confession of sin and repentance. So I thank God for that revelation, because I really have been struggling with this for a while. With what? I have been struggling with this concept of the imputed, imparted anointing, and what is it -- what is that factor? I have been telling the Lord, I am just missing it. I am just missing it somehow, you know. I know I am preaching it that it is experience, that it is overcoming experience that gives us the imparted anointing that cannot be destroyed, but I always had that -- I have had this feeling that I am just missing a fine point there, and this is the fine point. The binding of the sacrifice, which is our sin-filled carnal mind, to the altar, which makes the Christ in us undefeatable and irreversible, is the confession of sin and repentance. As long as we are justifying our sin, we are literally keeping the carnal mind alive in our own person. And I thank God for that revelation. I have been asking him about it for a long time now.

Let me say it again. So long as we are justifying sin on any level, making excuses for our self on any level, we are breathing the breath of life into our own carnal mind, so we are promoting and producing our own death. If you really want your carnal mind to die, if you really want to stand up in full stature, if that is truly, truly, truly what you want, you are running to confess your sins and repent and break that carnal mind down. Bind it to Christ, and break it down until she is dead. Well, that really blessed me. I hope it blessed you. I thank God for that additional information.

Continuing with -- well, let me read you this Alternate Translation again. Zephaniah 3:2: “The soul -- the fallen, dead soul did not obey Jehovah’s voice or benefit from his instruction and discipline because her carnal mind was not overthrown, and her carnal mind was not overthrown because it was not sacrificed to Jehovah, and her carnal mind was not sacrificed to Jehovah because Christ Jesus did not bind the carnal mind to the altar of Jesus Christ, or because Christ Jesus in the imperfect man did not succeed in confessing every sin and repenting of that sin unto the death of that sin.”

And I want to tell you, brethren, without a wa- -- a non-wavering will in Christ to destroy sin in your own mind, you will never bind that carnal mind to the altar of Christ Jesus unto the perfection which is in full stature. That which is in you which is reaching for God, that in you -- that which is within you that is desiring righteousness must rise up and overtake that part of you which is willing to compromise and bring it into submission, or you will not stand up. Salvation -- the true salvation, full stature, is a -- in a measure if you can hear this, a survival of the fittest. Humanity in this hour is a herd of the -- spiritually speaking, compared to a spiritual man, the Lord Jesus Christ who is glorified, we are herds on the face of the earth just like unto us we see there were herds of animals in the jungles. That is what we are, and the fittest of us are going to go on up onto spiritual life. And who are the fittest amongst us? The fittest amongst us are those in whom righteousness is appearing. [AUDIO CUTS OUT]

The last five minutes of this message may be heard on the message entitled Zephaniah, Chapter 3, Part 2.

04/20/17 Transcribed by VerbalFusion

1st Edit 04/26/17 rh

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Pastor Vitale's Bio

Sheila R. Vitale is the founding teacher and pastor of Living Epistles Ministries and Christ-Centered Kabbalah. In that capacity, she expounds upon the Torah (Scripture) and teaches Scripture through a unique Judeo-Christian lens.

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