Christian Churches of God

No.  021H

 

 

 

Commentary on Habakkuk

 

(Edition 1.0 201401107-20141107)

 

The prophet Habakkuk lived in evil times and complains to the Lord concerning that and he is told that Judah will be sent into captivity to the Babylonians who will be successors to the Assyrians (cf. also Psalm 73).

 

 

 

 

Christian Churches of God

PO Box 369,  WODEN  ACT 2606,  AUSTRALIA

 

E-mail: secretary@ccg.org

 

 

 

(Copyright ©  2014 Wade Cox)

 

 

This paper may be freely copied and distributed provided it is copied in total with no alterations or deletions. The publisher’s name and address and the copyright notice must be included.  No charge may be levied on recipients of distributed copies.  Brief quotations may be embodied in critical articles and reviews without breaching copyright.

 

This paper is available from the World Wide Web page:
http://www.logon.org and http://www.ccg.org

 

 


Commentary on Habakkuk


 

Introduction

Habakkuk was probably of the Temple Choir and therefore a Levite (cf. 1:1 and 3:1,19).   The nearest word to his name in Hebrew is the word chabak meaning to embrace and rabbinical tradition holds him to be the son of the Shunammite woman that Elisha restored to life (2Kgs. 4:16). His name has also been associated with an Assyrian word hambakuku which is a flower but chabak is preferred by rabbinical tradition. His name may well be embraced because he was used as a prophet to deal with the union of Israel and Judah commencing in the Last Days as we will see below.

 

It is generally believed that he fled to Egypt in the debacle that followed 586 BCE returning after the withdrawal of the Chaldeans. His tomb is said to be in Keilah, 18 miles SW of Jerusalem.

 

It seems that he prophesied shortly after the Temple scroll was discovered in the reign of Josiah in 621 BCE. Josiah’s restoration was short lived and under Jehoiakim the people began to practice idolatry again and lawlessness became rampant. The king disguised his weakness with tyranny and finally became subservient to Nebuchadnezzar (cf. 2Kgs. 14:1).

 

The Seder Olam teaches that Joel, Nahum and Habakkuk all prophesied in the days of Manasseh (cf. Soncino intro., p. 211). That king was so wicked they allegedly omitted his name from their books. The most probable sequence begins after 621 and begins with the rise of the Chaldeans. Some think that it was perhaps between the Battle of Carchemish in 605 BCE and the fall of the Temple in 586 BCE; say ca. 600 BCE during the reign of Jehoiakim.

 

However, there is much more to this prophecy than is deduced by the rabbinical authorities.  Their limitation to post Carchemish may be a limitation on the prophecy as we see from the conquests of Nabopolassar, 1st king of the

 

 

Chaldean dynasty, and the Medes.

 

The structure of the Book is:

  1. The Prophet’s Cry
  2. Yahovah’s Answer
  3. The Prophet’s Cry
  4. Yahovah’s Answer.

 

There are 56 verses divided into three chapters which in turn fall into six divisions, rather than the four simple structures above.

 

The divisions are:

1:2-4 which is the prophet challenging God for allowing the innocent to suffer and the wicked to prosper.

 

 1:5-11 is God’s reply, in that the agents of His wrath are already being marshaled.

 

1:12-17 sees the prophet question the judgment because surely God cannot allow the nation to be swallowed up by a nation that is even guiltier. 

 

Habakkuk Chapter 1

[1] The oracle of God which Habak'kuk the prophet saw. [2] O LORD, how long shall I cry for help, and thou wilt not hear? Or cry to thee "Violence!" and thou wilt not save? [3] Why dost thou make me see wrongs and look upon trouble? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. [4] So the law is slacked and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous, so justice goes forth perverted.

God answers Habakkuk. He says He is raising the Chaldeans, which He did with Nabopolassar and he was aided by the Medes in their moves against the Assyrians from the East and North.

[5] Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told. [6] For lo, I am rousing the Chalde'ans, that bitter and hasty nation, who march through the breadth of the earth, to seize habitations not their own. [7] Dread and terrible are they; their justice and dignity proceed from themselves. [8] Their horses are swifter than leopards, more fierce than the evening wolves; their horsemen press proudly on. Yea, their horsemen come from afar; they fly like an eagle swift to devour. [9] They all come for violence; terror of them goes before them. They gather captives like sand. [10] At kings they scoff, and of rulers they make sport. They laugh at every fortress, for they heap up earth and take it. [11] Then they sweep by like the wind and go on, guilty men, whose own might is their god!

Habakkuk acknowledges that God has ordained them as judgment against Judah. He however rebukes God for remaining silent when confronted by evil men.

[12] Art thou not from everlasting, O LORD my God, my Holy One? We shall not die. O LORD, thou hast ordained them as a judgment; and thou, O Rock, hast established them for chastisement. [13] Thou who art of purer eyes than to behold evil and canst not look on wrong, why dost thou look on faithless men, and art silent when the wicked swallows up the man more righteous than he? [14] For thou makest men like the fish of the sea, like crawling things that have no ruler. [15] He brings all of them up with a hook, he drags them out with his net, he gathers them in his seine; so he rejoices and exults. [16] Therefore he sacrifices to his net and burns incense to his seine; for by them he lives in luxury, and his food is rich. [17] Is he then to keep on emptying his net, and mercilessly slaying nations for ever?

He questions regarding the Chaldean capture and robbery of men more just than they and then asks if they will continue mercilessly slaying nations forever. Now Daniel was to reveal that the Chaldeans were to start a system of world empire that was to last for seven times over the empires of the Babylonians, the Medes and Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Holy Roman Empire and the empire of the Ten Toes of Iron and Miry Clay that was to end in the Last Days with the coming of the Messiah, who was to strike it on the toes and bring it to an end. This sequence is placed as prophecy with the rise of the Chaldeans before Carchemish in 605 BCE and the reign of Nebuchadnezzar.

Chapter 2:1-5 shows the prophet withdraws into solitude to accelerate the answer to his challenge.

 

In verse 4 God delivers the key message of the text which is that the righteous shall live by faith. Thus God may choose to place the elect in the midst of a heathen people in order to develop their faith and eradicate evil from them. Tyranny will never endure and triumph over the elect.

 

Note the vision is to be written for it is yet for a time appointed even though the Chaldeans were developing before Carchemish.

Habakkuk Chapter 2

[1] I will take my stand to watch, and station myself on the tower, and look forth to see what he will say to me, and what I will answer concerning my complaint. [2] And the LORD answered me: "Write the vision; make it plain upon tablets, so he may run who reads it. [3] For still the vision awaits its time; it hastens to the end -- it will not lie. If it seem slow, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay. [4] Behold, he whose soul is not upright in him shall fail, but the righteous shall live by his faith. [5] Moreover, wine is treacherous; the arrogant man shall not abide. His greed is as wide as Sheol; like death he has never enough. He gathers for himself all nations, and collects as his own all peoples."

 

These empires will be formed of all peoples and last for some time. In Daniel we see it is Seven Times or 2520 years.

 

In 2:6-20 we see the victims taunt their oppressors with a series of woes. The lust of conquests and their barbarity provides a lesson for the whole world to witness. It is a great lesson against the Babylonian system through until its collapse in the Last Days and is not just a lesson against Nebuchadnezzar’s Head of Gold in Daniel chapter 2 but against the whole edifice into the Last Days and the coming of the Messiah.

 

[6] Shall not all these take up their taunt against him, in scoffing derision of him, and say,  "Woe to him who heaps up what is not his own -- for how long? -- and loads himself with pledges!" [7] Will not your debtors suddenly arise, and those awake who will make you tremble? Then you will be booty for them. [8] Because you have plundered many nations, all the remnant of the peoples shall plunder you, for the blood of men and violence to the earth, to cities and all who dwell therein. [9] Woe to him who gets evil gain for his house, to set his nest on high, to be safe from the reach of harm! [10] You have devised shame to your house by cutting off many peoples; you have forfeited your life. [11] For the stone will cry out from the wall, and the beam from the woodwork respond. [12] Woe to him who builds a town with blood, and founds a city on iniquity! [13] Behold, is it not from the LORD of hosts that peoples labor only for fire, and nations weary themselves for nought? [14] For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. [15] Woe to him who makes his neighbors drink of the cup of his wrath, and makes them drunk, to gaze on their shame! [16] You will be sated with contempt instead of glory. Drink, yourself, and stagger! The cup in the LORD's right hand will come around to you, and shame will come upon your glory! [17] The violence done to Lebanon will overwhelm you; the destruction of the beasts will terrify you, for the blood of men and violence to the earth, to cities and all who dwell therein. [18] What profit is an idol when its maker has shaped it, a metal image, a teacher of lies? For the workman trusts in his own creation when he makes dumb idols! [19] Woe to him who says to a wooden thing, Awake; to a dumb stone, Arise! Can this give revelation? Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in it. [20] But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.

 

The entire Assyro-Babylonian religious system was to cover the earth and the Mystery and Sun cults and their worship of the idols of the Mother Goddess system; but the earth is commanded to keep silence before God and His Holy Temple. They felled the cedars of Lebanon and for this God holds them in punishment and they will be dealt with in the days of these systems right to the end.

 

In 3:2-19 the prophet prays and again begs God to intervene on behalf of his people.  Habakkuk contrasts the style of his prayer to that of Jeremiah and Ezekiel who condemn the sins of their people and develop the ongoing prophecies of the entire period to the Last Days.  Ezekiel brings us to the end of the Times of the Gentiles and the fall of Egypt in the Last Days.   Jeremiah brings us to the Last Days and the Warning of the Last Prophet (in Jer. 4:15).  This text deals with the sins of the Babylonian system and the coming of the Loyal Host of God to destroy the sinful systems of the world.

 

Verses 16-19 show the prophet’s total confidence that out of this carnage Israel and not just Judah will be saved and re-established.

 

The vibrancy of the ode in this last chapter is marveled at by many of the experts in Hebrew and those such as Driver regard it as some of the finest poetry Hebrew has produced. The Soncino also comments and quotes Driver.

 

Habakkuk Chapter 3

[1] A prayer of Habak'kuk the prophet, according to Shigion'oth.

Shigionoth (cf. Ps. 8). It is compared to a ‘dithrambic poem in wild ecstatic wandering rythms’ (cf. Soncino).

 

[2] O LORD, I have heard the report of thee, and thy work, O LORD, do I fear. In the midst of the years renew it; in the midst of the years make it known; in wrath remember mercy. [3] God came from Teman, and the Holy One from Mount Paran. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. Selah

 

Teman is NW of Edom and Paran is west of Edom between the Sinai Peninsula and Kadesh Barnea. It is north of the port of Aqaba following the coast.  This was the route that the Commonwealth forces took in their liberation of Israel and Jerusalem in 1917 to retake Jerusalem on 25 Chislev 1917 according to the Temple Calendar based on the conjunctions with the Australian attack, after taking Beersheba (see also The Oracles of God (No. 184)). This began the restoration of Israel in the Last Days from the sacred year 1916/17 to 2027. Messiah will from this sequence come to the Mount of Olives from the period of 2018/19 to complete the task.

 

This was seven times from the Battle of Carchemish in 605 BCE ending in the year 1916/17; 2520 years after that battle and the beginning of the end period of twice forty years of Ezekiel’s prophecy of The Fall of Egypt: Pharaoh’s Broken Arms (No. 036) began.  These were the Wars of the Last Days as we see in the Fall of Egypt Part II:  The Wars of the End (No. 036_2).

 

The Anglo-Arab alliance was formed in the sacred year 1916/17.

 

On January 24, after a single day of battle, an Anglo-Arab force seized the port city of Wejh, which became the Arabs' logistical and operational base. As the Arabs gathered victories and adherents, British general Sir Archibald Murray realized that the Arabs could provide support for his efforts in the Sinai to secure the Suez Canal and push the Ottomans out of Gaza. The Arabs' task was to keep Fakhri's troops bottled in Medina and sabotage the Hejaz Railway. This began the prophecies in Habakkuk that began the liberation of the Levant and the end of the Ottoman rule. It commenced from the south as God said it would, from Paran, which is from Sinai to Kadesh Barnea and along the coast of Aqaba West of Edom and through Teman which was to the NW of Edom towards the Jordan and was well watered. It is the junction of important trade routes both then and now.

 

The Arabs then engaged in railway “line smashing” over 1917.

 

The revolt's leaders remained focused on the larger strategic goal: push north and link up with tribes and leaders in Syria and Mesopotamia. This, however, would require a new operational port. While feverish from dysentery, T. E. Lawrence conceived a scheme to take the Red Sea port of Aqaba, which is today part of Jordan. He declined to attack from the water, where Aqaba was defended by heavy guns. Rather, his bold plan called for a force to emerge from the Nefudh Desert, which the Ottomans would never expect. The initial party of Lawrence and 17 Agayl warriors set out from Wejh on May 10, 1917 (from the period of the Second Passover). The men had £20,000 to recruit new tribesmen and, along the way, their numbers swelled to about 700 fighters.  The head of a number of these other Arab tribesmen was Auda Abu Tayi chief of the Howeitat who agreed to join Lawrence in the attack. 

 

This 600-mile, weeks-long trek was through terrain so inhospitable even the Bedouin called it al-Houl (the Terror). Lawrence’s biographer Michael Asher called it "one of the most daring raids ever attempted in the annals of war." The Arabs launched their assault from the northeast, sweeping up the outlying Ottoman forces with the loss of only two tribesmen by July 5. The next day the Arabs, now some 2,500 men, entered Aqaba without a shot, the garrison having scurried away. Gaunt, filthy, and wearing his Bedouin robes, Lawrence crossed the Sinai to Cairo to inform the new British commander in chief, Gen. Edmund Allenby, of this stunning victory. As a reward, the Arabs received an additional payment of £16,000, and Lawrence was promoted to major.

 

During that time from Lawrence’s move to Allenby at Cairo and return, Aqaba had been fortified by the forces that consisted of a battalion of Imperial Camel Corp, heavy weapons and armoured cars as well as gold.  This Camel Corp and the Arabs assisted him in these activities from the taking of Aqaba to the advance up the Jordan Valley to Damascus protecting Allenby’s right flank.

 

Allenby ordered the Commonwealth forces on to Sinai and the Australian Light Horse captured Beersheba and then the Australians moved on and captured Jerusalem on 7 December 1917. Thus the prophecy of Habakkuk of the restoration of the Levant from Teman and Paran was completed over the period of Seven Times or 2520 years from the Battle of Carchemish and the occupation of the Chaldeans plus one year commencing in 1916 and taking Jerusalem by December 1917. Lawrence entered Jerusalem with Allenby and then the Commonwealth Forces moved on and engaged the Ottoman and German defensive lines near Galilee.

 

The sequence was as follows.

 

Battle of Beersheba

31 October to 1 November

Tel el Khuweilfe

8 November

The breakthrough occurred (Sinai and Palestine 4-8 November)

6-11 November

The Great Drive was made

8-15 November

The Maritime Plain was cleared

11-17 November

The Jerusalem advance

16-24 November

Nahr Auja and El Buij

24 November to 1 December

Final assault for the capture of Jerusalem

7 December

 

The final assault was launched by Commonwealth troops on 7 December 1917. According to the true New Moon this was the actual date of the 24 Chislev (the Hillel calendar commenced the month two days later). The Turks and Germans began an immediate evacuation and by 8 December 1917 Jerusalem had been captured. The infantry had dug in and established and by 10 December the Light Horse pushed along the Nablus road about eight miles. They drew heavy Turkish artillery fire. They were holding out towards the southern end of the Jordan Valley and were attempting to limit Allied access across the river to the Hejaz railway and thus limit Allenby’s operations on the right flank.

 

Allenby officially entered Jerusalem on 11 December 1917, the 28th of Chislev.

 

The Commonwealth Forces moved on into Lebanon and Syria and Feisal entered Damascus. The Sikes/Picot agreement between Britain and France had divided the Levant with Suez, Palestine and Mesopotamia being given to Britain and Lebanon and Syria given to France. This, however, set the scenes under the Balfour Declaration of 1917 and the UN Mandate of 1922 for the creation of the State of Israel over the next thirty years from the end of WWI to 1948.

 

The prophecy in Haggai 2:1-23 is related to this prophecy of Habakkuk.

 

The prophecy in Haggai confirms the Temple Calendar based on the New Moons according to the conjunction and not as seen in Hillel.

 

Habakkuk and the groups left for Egypt in 586 BCE and returned after the withdrawal of the Chaldeans. That is one time cycle of 19 years from Carchemish and adds one time cycle to the beginning of the last period. Thus the Seven Times or 2520 years from the beginning of the  eighty year period and the end with Cambyses’ invasion in 525 BCE ends in 1996/7 at the end of the Times of the Gentiles. The 2520 years from the destruction of Jerusalem and withdrawal of the Chaldeans, i.e. from 587/6 BCE, is plus 19 years. 2520 from 586 is 1937.  On January 30 1933 Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany. The years 1933-36 marked the beginning of the crisis in Judah with the rise of the Nazis and the support of the Anti-Semites in South Africa from that time onwards. The extermination and genocide of the Jews was undertaken particularly over 1941-1945. The wars against Judah in the Middle East were supported from the rise of the Nazis and war was commenced in 1948 and resulted in the declaration of the state of Israel.

 

In 1967 the time sequence of the end began with the Six Day war and the reclamation of all of Jerusalem by Judah in Israel.

 

Forty years after the rise of the Nazis and the attempts to wipe out the Jews, in October 1973, the Yom Kippur war began and, although peace with Egypt was ensured, war with Syria continued and a cease fire was only agreed in May 1974.  Forty years later in 2014, after the Arab Spring had erupted, the entire Middle East was in crisis with a so-called Islamic State New Caliphate declared at the expiration of the probationary period of forty years.  A brutal war of extermination was begun after the end of the Second Passover all over Syria and Mesopotamia. These nations are now being brought to their knees in a war of attrition and brutality not seen in the Middle East for centuries. This war is escalating also in the North and East and it appears that the wars of the Fifth and Sixth Trumpet are being developed.

 

If there is another two periods of forty years from this period for probation and repentance we thus can expect Divine action from 2015/16 in the restoration and consolidation of the Middle East in Israel and the judgment of the Chaldeans and Arab people. However, the nations are shaken generally from verse 6.  So a more general event is to be expected.

 

The Wars went on as we see described in Revelation. 


[4] His brightness was like the light, rays flashed from his hand; and there he veiled his power. [5] Before him went pestilence, and plague followed close behind. [6] He stood and measured the earth; he looked and shook the nations; then the eternal mountains were scattered, the everlasting hills sank low. His ways were as of old. [7] I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction; the curtains of the land of Mid'ian did tremble. [8] Was thy wrath against the rivers, O LORD? Was thy anger against the rivers, or thy indignation against the sea, when thou didst ride upon thy horses, upon thy chariot of victory? [9] Thou didst strip the sheath from thy bow, and put the arrows to the string. Selah Thou didst cleave the earth with rivers. [10] The mountains saw thee, and writhed; the raging waters swept on; the deep gave forth its voice, it lifted its hands on high. [11] The sun and moon stood still in their habitation at the light of thine arrows as they sped, at the flash of thy glittering spear. [12] Thou didst bestride the earth in fury, thou didst trample the nations in anger. [13] Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, for the salvation of thy anointed. Thou didst crush the head of the wicked, laying him bare from thigh to neck. Selah  [14] Thou didst pierce with thy shafts the head of his warriors, who came like a whirlwind to scatter me, rejoicing as if to devour the poor in secret. [15] Thou didst trample the sea with thy horses, the surging of mighty waters. [16] I hear, and my body trembles, my lips quiver at the sound; rottenness enters into my bones, my steps totter beneath me. I will quietly wait for the day of trouble to come upon people who invade us. [17] Though the fig tree do not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, [18] yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. [19] GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like hinds' feet, he makes me tread upon my high places. To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments.

 

This is the end of the Last Days and the great wars of the end. Even though there is destruction the prophet knows it is for the restoration of the people of God and the subjugation of the nations of the world under the Vials of the Wrath of God at the Return of the Messiah.

 

Note that the rivers will be used to afflict the nations as will the seas.  This refers to the great wars that emerge from the Tigris-Euphrates basin with the wars of the Fifth and the Sixth Trumpets of Revelation.

 

The massive wrath and affliction here is against the Middle East and the Arab peoples of Cushan and Midian right through to the Greeks.

Cushan is used in association with Midian and probably refers to the Cushites in Babylonia rather than to those associated with the Sudan to Ethiopia.  The Rift systems from Lebanon to the Red Sea will be torn apart by massive earthquakes in the Last Days at the coming of the Messiah and the split of the Mount of Olives. This activity forms a valley 66 km from North to South and moves Sinai southward and blocks the tongue of the Red Sea. It is possible that the Red Sea Rift is also opened up. There is little doubt that the Arab sons of Midian and Cush are meant at the very least.  Midian was a major Arab tribe to the South East of Edom (and which also went north into Iraq); as are the sons of Keturah generally. Ishmael is an Arabicised Arab tribe and not the original true Arabs who were sons of Keturah.

 

The prophecies of Habakkuk are still unfolding and will continue until Messiah.

q