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Gaza Abandoned = Zephaniah 2:4 Fulfilled?

Often we see prophetic undertones to world events and things merely building toward the crescendo—"stage setting" as it were. Sometimes, however, we see more than just preparation; we see direct fulfillments such as Israel's national reestablishment (1948) or the Revelation 12 Sign (2017). Of late, I'm chewing on the prospect that we have just witnessed the literal fulfillment of Zephaniah 2:4. Not the whole verse, mind you, but the first part: "Gaza will be abandoned . . ." Now here it is in context:

4 Gaza will be abandoned

   and Ashkelon left in ruins.

At midday Ashdod will be emptied

   and Ekron uprooted.

5 Woe to you who live by the sea,

   you Kerethite people;

the word of the Lord is against you,

   Canaan, land of the Philistines [from where we likely get the word "Palestine"].

He says, “I will destroy you,

   and none will be left.”

6 The land by the sea will become pastures

   having wells for shepherds

   and pens for flocks.

7 That land will belong

   to the remnant of the people of Judah [i.e., the Jews];

   there they will find pasture.

In the evening they will lie down

   in the houses of Ashkelon.

The Lord their God will care for them;

   he will restore their fortunes [a promise ultimately yet future in the Millennium].

Now to the best of my understanding, historic Gaza is in the same area as modern Gaza City (in the northern half of the Gaza Strip). Could what has been transpiring in the Israel-Hamas War (a.k.a. the Sukkot War) indeed be a direct fulfillment of the first part of verse 4 right before our very eyes? Take a look at this quote from the Wikipedia article on Gaza City, straight from the introduction:

Inhabited since at least the 15th century BCE, Gaza has been dominated by different peoples and empires throughout its history . . . As of November 2023, as part of the Israel-Hamas War, the Israeli army has bombed large portions of the city and surrounding areas of the Northern Gaza Strip, destroying many buildings and infrastructure. Almost all residents have fled or been evacuated to Southern Gaza [i.e., Gaza City has been "abandoned"], or killed as a result. [Source]

Why might this be important in the timing of things? Because immediately before verse 4 is an allusion to the pre-tribulational rapture of the Church in verse 3:

Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land, who do his just commands; seek righteousness; seek humility; perhaps you may be hidden on the day of the anger of the LORD. (ESV)

You can read more about the specific argumentation for why this verse may give a hint of the pre-trib rapture here.

Circling back to verse 4, while the fulfillment of the abandonment of Gaza is apparently happening before our very eyes, the prophecy regarding Ashkelon and Ekron is possibly yet to come. We often see prophecy fulfilled this way, where only part of a prophecy is fulfilled and there is even division midverse in its fulfillment (i.e., Lk. 4 where Jesus is quoting Isaiah 61). Similar pauses and gaps can be seen in prophecies in Daniel 2, 7, 8, and 9, as well as Revelation 12, among others. Scripture fully allows for this sort of prophetic application through punctuated progression.

But it might even be argued that the prophecies concerning Ashkelon, Ekron, and Ashdod have already been fulfilled, and in modern times (i.e., post-1948), given that Ashkelon and Ashdod, which were once mighty cities of Philistia and subsequently populated by "Palestinians," are now well within modern Israel and almost entirely populated by Jews (i.e., "the remnant of the people of Judah").

Gaza City is a bombed out shell of its former self and the entire population has been ordered to evacuate (all 1.1 million Gazans north of the Wadi Gaza). We happen to be alive at the specific point in history when the words of the Prophets pertaining to the Day of the LORD, the Tribulation, and the Second Coming of Christ are being fulfilled in real time, literally. Tick-tock.

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  1. Very interesting. Especially in relation to the Rapture, since it implies that the people who see this prophecy fulfilled will have the choice to be part of those Raptured (and thus could be those people today! It's also seems implied that while there's a chance they'd participate in the Rapture, it reads as unlikely, which certainly fits with that particular people group.

  2. It is quite interesting to contemplate that this Zephaniah verse is implying the Rapture regarding the Gaza situation. In light of this, it is rather noteworthy that Israel was attacked 7 days prior to the annular eclipse - which itself displayed some rather peculiar prophetic highlights in its path of travel. As we all know, the number 7 is the biblical number of completion and perfection.

    But in regards to Israel itself, we have a most ominous and dire warning for Israel as a result of the Rapture event as presented in Micah chapter ...wait for it ... chapter 7. Micah 7 appears to be Israel's reaction to the disappearance of the "good man" from the earth.

    We have what appears to be a prophetic Rapture eclipse that has just occurred in connection to the event that would kick off the Gaza situation. So with Gaza in the headlines and verse 2:4 of Zephaniah in view and the peculiar eclipse, it would appear that the Rapture is in the offing.


    1. One of the primary reasons I have advocated for a rapture sometime in 2024 is the 7-year time lapse from the Revelation 12 Sign (2017). One more piece falls into place as we await our departure from a world bent on depravity and the destruction of Israel.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Yes, that is also one of the reasons I have advocated for 2024 too. When you combine that with the 4 years that the Israelites spent in the wilderness after coming out of Egyptian bondage after 400 years and overlay that narrative onto the 400-year cycle that America reached in 2020, you would arrive at 2024 - the year of the eclipse. It sure smells like some serious well done prime has just landed on the table from above right there. Medium rare with a hint of blood still oozing out. The best kind. It it doesn't happen in 2024 and we go beyond that, well, I'm probably stuffed at that point and no room for anything else as far as I can tell - except for the 2025 Essene thing. Maybe I'll hold on and see where that would go and grab the spoon for some desert.

    4. An additional thought that may be something, or it may be nothing. But have you considered that the Lord said ...

      "... one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day" (2 Peter 3:8)?

      It's been roughly two thousand years since Christ's ascension back to Heaven. What a way to cap it off than with His calling home of the Church "24" hours (our reckoning of time) in 2024 - one day (our time) being "24 hours."

      Hmmmmmm ...

    5. Correction: Israelites 40 years in the wilderness, not 4. The parallel is 4 years in the world for us, then the Promised Land.

  3. It seems like with the cease fire, Israel has also abandoned Gaza. And you say Ashkelon, Ekron and Ashdod is currently within Israel proper.

    Is all of Zephaniah 2:4 a prophesy about Israel? Who is being addressed in this verse?

  4. In looking at the previous 3 verses before verse 4 of Zephaniah 2, we should note the language used in the very first sentence of this prophetic passage …

    “Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together O nation not desired …” (verse 1).

    This message is directed to a “nation” not desired. This is not Israel. The Hebrew term used here is HaGoy, used exclusively of Gentiles. Furthermore, they are described as “not desired.” Again, these people are not the Jews, they are the Gentiles.

    To have this type of Rapture "gathering together" wording being employed in the context of the Gaza mention is quite remarkable. Elsewhere, it is employed in 2 Thessalonians 2:1

    "Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him [Rapture], That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition"

    I think Gary is onto something here. Or said another way, I can hear the sizzle on the grill. I can sure smell it too. 🥩


    1. Aha, I read Jeff's linked article after leaving my comment above. I see that he already addressed this "nation not desired."

    2. Also "nation not desired" sounds an awful lot like the "foolish nation" that is "not a people" in Deut. 32:21 (i.e., the Church; cf. Acts 15; Rm. 10).


    3. If it smells like a stake and sizzles like one, then ....

    4. Thanks Sherill. At this stage in the game, everyone is gorging at the buffet table. It keeps on getting better and better i.e. the signs and revelations just keep on coming at us. Just a small point, you got some steak sauce on the corner of your mouth. Here, let me get it.

    5. And to drive the point home, I'll also add some other references to Gary's above. This "nation not desired" is seen as the Church also in 1 Peter 2:7-9 ...

      “Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light …” (1 Peter 2:7-9).

      I mean, c'mon Mr. Unbeliever/skeptic of the biblical writ. How much more do ya need anyway? Are you out there? Are you listening? Are you reading? Ha ha ...

  5. And I just finished reading and studying the book of Zephaniah yesterday! Wow.

  6. Thank you Gary. My heart longs to be singing the Song of Moses, and the Song of The Lamb before HIS THRONE. Soon, come soon LORD !

  7. Come soon Lord Jesus! :)

    🚫 🍇

    🦊 Jack Foxman on the Wall



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