Saturday, May 29, 2010

Habakkuk Study, Part 3

Let's read Hab 1:5-2:1.  We'll focus today on 1:5-11 today. 
A probable contemporary of Habakkuk is Jeremiah.  Let's see what the inhabitants of Judah were saying around the same time as these prophecies of doom were reaching their hearing.
Jeremiah 7:1-15.  Note that this refers to the same coming punishment as Habakkuk (and Deut). 
So we can see that Jeremiah mocks those who say "well, that couldn't happen here.  We have the temple of the Lord!" and tries to correct them unto repentance.  Jeremiah, Habakkuk, and many other prophets throughout the history of both nations tried to warn the people about coming judgment, but those warnings were at best only partially and temporarily successful. 

What do we call it when people assume too much about how good it's all going to be here on Earth?  We could call it many things, but in general we could term it an over-realised eschatology. That is, sort of expecting the benefits and joys of the Eschaton here and now, and a neglect of the already and the not yet.  Who are some of the worst offenders on this count these days?  Liberals, humanistic utopianists, Emergents (but I repeat myself), and Word of Faith-ers, to name a few.  The first three ppl tend to concentrate on making THIS EARTH into Heaven, bringing (their ideas of) justice to bear everywhere, making sure everyone lives in a communist utopia.  And WoF-ers tend to concentrate on God as Fairy Godmother, who will be compelled to give you whatever you ask for with sufficient faith (or, more precisely, God is not even involved - speaking stuff into existence with the power of faith-filled words is a universal principle) (I only wish I were kidding).  See how this all plays into the over-realised eschat?

Thus "the temple of the Lord".  God is all about blessing and happiness, daisies, and kittens.  No way does He have a law that we are obligated to know and obey, no way does He care much about holiness or justice. 
Finally, notice the superstitious nature of "the temple of the Lord", as if the temple were a lucky rabbit's foot, that bad luck couldn't touch you if you had one, or you won't get a speeding ticket if you have a fish magnet on your car. 

Rather, what is the cry of the NT?
1 Cor 16:22 - Maranatha.  
Revelation 22:12 “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.
20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. (Maranatha).
21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.
Romans 8 answers:
19 For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. 23 And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. 24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it. 

The Jewish Passover Seder includes 4 cups of winejuice that you drink at various times during the ritual.  The 3rd is called the Cup of Redemption, and this is probably the cup that Christ held up at the Last Supper.
Matt 26:26 While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” 27 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; 28 for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins. 29 “But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” 

He left the 4th cup undrunk - the Cup of Praise, signifying the completion, the Eschaton, as He says - "in My Father's kingdom".  Why undrunk?  His task was not yet complete, and neither is ours, neither is the Earth's.  God will end it, but not yet.  Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus! 

Hab 1:5 - often taken out of context, like Jeremiah 29:11, but this is worse.  This is a promise of destruction. 
1:6 - what if He said "I am raising up the Islamic jihadists"?  Or "...the Iranians" or "...the Chinese"? 
1:7 - their justice and authority SHOULD originate with God, but these are idolaters, self-worshipers. 

Basically, so far God's response to Habakkuk's prayer has been "Yes, I know", and "you ain't seen nothing yet". 

1:10 - they mock at kings like Jehoiakim and Zedekiah, their puppets.  And they mock at the once-mighty kings of Assyria, whom they wiped out utterly, fulfilling similar prophecies made about Assyria in books like Nahum and Jonah.  Even high city walls they conquer by just building a big ramp.

1:11 - "they whose strength is their god" - could this possibly describe any parts of modern American evanjellyfish-dom?  Rah, rah, American military!?  The often-unquestioned unity of neo-conservative American politicomilitary pursuits with the agenda of the Bible-believing churches of America? 
God gives a teaser to information He'll give later - "they will be held guilty".  

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