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Habakkuk

John Collins10/09/2013

Video available here: http://youtu.be/oKqDhP-qOdA

Another book in the Bible that you won’t find in the Message of William Branham is the book of Habakkuk.  While most in the Message, the following of William Branham, have been trained to believe that God only sends one prophet to the land for each “age,” and that the prophet sent was the “restoration” for the age, the prophecy of Habakkuk tells a much different story.

The Curse of the Law was upon Israel, God’s promise to scatter the people if they did not uphold the Law.  The Jews had been invaded, overtaken, and separated from each other.  During this exile, from 597BC to 520BC, both Ezekiel and Daniel were prophesying while in captivity in Babylon.  From the reign of Nebuchadnezzar to the time of Darius, Daniel’s writings proclaimed the generations to come before the Cornerstone, which was Christ.  Ezekiel chapter one begins with the statement “as I was among the exiles by the Chebar canal, the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.”  The Chebar was a river in Chaldea whose banks held many of the Jews in captivity, and the canal is believed to be the royal canal of Nebuchadnezzar.  Jerusalem was captured in 587 BC , after an eighteen-month siege.  Thousands of Jews were deported to Babylon and Solomon's Temple was demolished to rubble.

 

But while Daniel and Ezekiel were in Babylon, Zephaniah, Jeremiah, and Habakuk were prophesying in Judea.  God was dealing with His people, punishing them for their failure to uphold the Law, but had not left them.  God was still dealing with them, still speaking to them, and was very vocal through His prophets in both Judea and Babylon.

In the first few verses of the first chapter, Habakkuk pleads with God to have mercy upon His children:

O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear?  Or cry to you “Violence!”  and you will not save?  Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong?  Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise.  So the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth.  For the wicked surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted.

Habakkuk 1:2-4

But God knows all things.  He knows the beginning and the end, because He IS the beginning and the end.  God knew that the children of Israel were being punished for failure to uphold the Law, and for abandoning the Old Covenant, but God knew that He was going to send His only Son, Jesus Christ, as the Kinsman Redeemer.  Listen to God’s first answer to Habakkuk’s plea:

“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.”

Habakkuk 1:5

While the prophet Daniel was prophesying of the generations of Babylon that comprised the great idol of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, He was telling Habakkuk the same thing:  “I am raising up your adversaries so that I can do a mighty work in your midst.”

God told Habakkuk:

For behold, I am raising up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, who march through the breadth of the earth, to seize dwellings not their own.

Habakkuk 1:6

But Habakkuk did not understand.

Chaldea was a marshy land located in south eastern Mesopotamia, settled by Semetic tribes that were descended from Noah’s son, Shem.  Babylonia was often referred to as Chaldea from the period of the Neo Babylonian Empire onwards, although only the few kings of the empire were actually Chaldeans.  The last ruler was Assyrian.

The Chaldean dynasty was rising in great power in Babylon, and Nebuchadnezzar was on a mission to conquer and control.  By 572 Nebuchadnezzar was in full control of Mesopotamia, Aramea (Syria), Phonecia, Israel, Judah, Philistia, Samarra, Jordan, northern Arabia and parts of Asia Minor.  To Habakkuk, this would seem less like the will of God and more like defeat.

Habakkuk responded,

Are you not from everlasting, O Lord my God, my Holy One?  We shall not die.

O Lord, you have ordained them as a judgment, and you, O Rock, have established them for reproof.  You who are of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong, why do you idly look at traitors and remain silent when the wicked swallows up the man more righteous than he?

Habakkuk 1:12-13

But God was still in control.  God was not overlooking their circumstances, although He did make a promise to punish the children of Israel if they did not keep the Old Covenant.  But God also made covenants with Abraham and Noah that could not be broken.  Abraham’s seed would be as countless as the stars in the heaven, and the sign of the Covenant was given to remind us that He would no longer wipe mankind from the face of the earth.

Listen to God’s second response to Habakkuk:

And the Lord answered me:  “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.  For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie.  If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.

Habakkuk 2:2-3

In Chapter two, God assured Habakkuk that He was a God of justice, and that the rise of Babylon against Jerusalem would not go unnoticed.  Babylon was drunken with the cup of idolatry, and had forced Israel to drink from that same cup.  God pronounced several woes on Babylon, curses for plundering the nations and spreading false gods.  These new cities being raised by Babylon were founded on idolatry, and were destined to fall.

Cyrus the great would later rise to power, bringing the wrath of ancient Persia against the Babylonians.  The conquered Babylonian Empire would be absorbed into the Persian Empire, and the name "Chaldean" as an ethnic group would be lost forever through mixture of ethnicity.  But God’s work through Babylon would not be in vain – the influence of Babylon would continue to spread.

As the Persians began to assimilate the Chaldeans into their society, they quickly leaned that these people were masters of reading and writing, and especially versed in all forms of incantation, in sorcery, witchcraft, and the magical arts.  In fact, the name “Chaldean” quickly began to change from a term that described ethnicity into a word that meant “astrologist.”  They were masters at using the Zodiac in combination with numerologies to perform the magic arts. 

The word “Chaldean” is used in the book of Daniel with this meaning:

 

In the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; his spirit was troubled, and his sleep left him.  Then the king commanded that the magicians, the enchanters, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans be summoned to tell the king his dreams.

Daniel 2:1-2

Babylon’s influence through the busy port city of Tyre, the focal point of Ezekiel’s prophecy, would bring a mixture of false gods into the new world as ships of trade carried news of idolatry into their destinations.  Many of the Greek and Roman gods descended from the gods of Tyre, and the gods of Tyre were influenced by Babylon.  When Ezekiel prophesied to the King of Tyre, God connected the idolatry of Tyre to the Serpent from the Garden of Eden.

 

You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, emerald, and carbuncle; and crafted in gold were your settings and your engravings. On the day that you were created they were prepared.

Ezekiel 28:13

God promised the serpent that the seed of the woman would crush his head after he bruised her heel – and Christ was the enmity between them:

“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

Genesis 3:15

Habakkuk is a book describing the need for a Redeemer.  It is a book describing the fallen condition of Israel, her punishment for idolatry, and yet is a perfect example of God’s faithfulness to us.  He will never leave us or forsake us.

It is a prophecy describing the coming Day of the Lord that is described in Malachi 4, and ties it perfectly to the scripture from Genesis 3:15.  Christ, the enmity, God’s only Son, was coming to crush the head.  God was raising up Babylon, but He was doing it so that he could raise the head of the serpent to crush it forever.  As Habakkuk rejoices in Habakkuk 3, he says this:

You went out for the salvation of your people, for the salvation of your anointed.  You crushed the head of the house of the wicked,  laying him bare from thigh to neck. Selah

Habakkuk 3:13

God was sending His Son to crush the serpent, and burn its roots with a fire that would stop it’s growth.  No longer would the serpent be slithering through hidden places to spread new roots – Christ would crush its head by suffering and dying on the cross.   Satan would be defeated, once for all.

Malachi says that when this happens, it will consume them that are evil, but that same fire that destroys the wicked will burn with healing to those who serve the Lord:

 “For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch.  But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings.

Malachi 4:1-2

Habakkuk is a very powerful book of prophecy.  It ties the current fallen state of Israel with the serpent from the book of Genesis, and ends by tying it to the last chapter of the prophecy of Malachi describing the return of Christ.

Listen to the end of the book of Habakkuk, chapter 3, remembering the prophecy of Malachi describing the fire that will leave neither root nor branch of the idolatrous nations that persecuted Israel under the Curse of the Law, and listen as the song Habakkuk writes walks you through the Old Testament, from the days of Genesis to the coming of Christ:

O Lord, I have heard the report of you, and your work, O Lord, do I fear.  In the midst of the years revive it; in the midst of the years make it known; in wrath remember mercy.  God came from Teman, and the Holy One from Mount Paran.

His splendor covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise.  His brightness was like the light; rays flashed from his hand; and there he veiled his power.  Before him went pestilence, and plague followed at his heels.  He stood and measured the earth; he looked and shook the nations; then the eternal mountains were scattered; the everlasting hills sank low.  His were the everlasting ways.

 

I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction; the curtains of the land of Midian did tremble.  Was your wrath against the rivers, O Lord?  Was your anger against the rivers, or your indignation against the sea, when you rode on your horses, on your chariot of salvation?  You stripped the sheath from your bow, calling for many arrows.  You split the earth with rivers.  The mountains saw you and writhed; the raging waters swept on; the deep gave forth its voice;  it lifted its hands on high.  The sun and moon stood still in their place at the light of your arrows as they sped, at the flash of your glittering spear.  You marched through the earth in fury; you threshed the nations in anger.  You went out for the salvation of your people, for the salvation of your anointed.

 

You crushed the head of the house of the wicked, laying him bare from thigh to neck.  You pierced with his own arrows the heads of his warriors, who came like a whirlwind to scatter me, rejoicing as if to devour the poor in secret.  You trampled the sea with your horses, the surging of mighty waters.  I hear, and my body trembles; my lips quiver at the sound; rottenness enters into my bones; my legs tremble beneath me.  Yet I will quietly wait for the day of trouble to come upon people who invade us.

 

Though the fig tree should 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, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.  God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer's; he makes me tread on my high places.

Habakkuk 3