April 19, 2011

Minor Prophets LXXIII: As Waters Cover The Sea

“See, the enemy is puffed up; his desires are not upright— but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness" Habakkuk 2:4

Within Habakkuk's oracle of woe for the Babylonian empire there are two small nearly hidden treasures of eschatological and messianic significance. The first is Habbakuk 2:4b "but the righteous will live by his faith". When we see this we immediately know that it has a New Testament counterpart in Romans 1:17. So what did it mean to Habakkuk in his day and what did it mean to Paul in the New Testament age after Christ's Resurrection.

Those that lived by faith in the Old Testament did so in a manner akin to Abraham. They believed in the promises of God and this belief was “accredited” to them “as righteousness”. They had faith in God and a belief that He would do what He said He would in His covenants. At this point in the history and relationship with His chosen people they knew that they could expect a Messiah or a deliverer. Also they would benefit from the blessings of adhering to and in the precepts of God which would amount to an abundant life if they obeyed His statutes. A blessed life in contrast to the Babylonians who did not obey God and would not live abundant and blessed lives, instead they would be leveled.

They had faith in a Savior yet to come (future tense). In Paul’s time it was faith in a Messiah who had already come-Jesus Christ. Paul discusses the righteous that can only be imputed by God through faith. This is the Gospel or the Good News as we understand it today as Christians. The truth is, the underlying concept is the same it is just chronologically different between the Old and New Testaments. That because one believes God and His covenant truths and promises, one is made righteous and granted eternal life. Jesus fulfilled the Law and therefore fulfilled the covenants. Rather than self-righteous pious acts (mostly obeying the Law, which justifies no one in God’s eyes) man is dependent on his faith in God’s faithfulness to him. The referent in Paul’s case is so obvious he doesn’t even mention the pronoun in Galatians 3:11 (faith in Christ).

"For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea." Habakkuk 2:14

Our second treasure is ten verses later in Habakkuk 2:14. How has or when will 2:14 be fulfilled?

One day the entire earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD. A Matthew passage comes to mind. “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.”Matthew 24:30. This is in reference to the signs of the End Times. When the Messiah rules in His kingdom, knowledge of the Lord will be worldwide (all the peoples of the earth”. Knowledge of Him will be so extensive it will be like water covering the sea. This verse Habakkuk 2:14 is actually a modified quotation from the description of the peaceful Messianic kingdom of Isaiah 11:9. Because of this it changes its single reference to the Babylonian defeat to something additional, something much more-at an eschatological level (Baker 65). In the last days God will move powerfully to bring the Kingdom into the Creation. Violence like that of Babylon will be replaced by God’s peace and because of the that His glory will be there also. Like many prophecies of the Old Testament there would be an immediate fulfilling of this and there would also be a long term fulfillment when God’s kingdom would come in power to the earth.

Baker, David W.. "Taunting Woes." Nahum, Habakkuk and Zephaniah: an introduction and commentary. Leicester u.a.: Inter-Varsity Pr., 1989. 65. Print.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...