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The Prophets: Habakkuk
Habakkuk, from the Hebrew word pronounced cawb-awk-cook, meaning embrace, was a prophet of The Southern Kingdom of Judah within approximately 20 years before the Babylonians made their final invasion in 586 BC. Habakkuk's prophecy is also a lament over how the prophet recognized that Judah had ignored the warnings of the earlier prophets, as well as the prophets of that time (Habakkuk was a contemporary of Jeremiah) and that the time of wrath was nearly upon them. Habakkuk was living in a political and religious twilight zone of his nation, a twilight toward the sunset of the kingdom of Judah, not the twilight toward sunrise - all because of their own refusal to repent.
"1:1 The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see.
The LORD's answer to Habakkuk confirmed what he already seemed to realize all too well; the Babylonians (also referred to as "Chaldeans" - see Ancient Empires - Babylon) were coming: "For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwellingplaces that are not theirs."
"1:5 Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvellously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you. 1:6 For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwellingplaces that are not theirs." (Habakkuk 1:5-6 KJV)
"The just shall live by faith"
The prophecy spoken to Habakkuk was about far more than just the ancient people of Judah alone however.
"2:2 And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. 2:3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. 2:4 Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith." (Habakkuk 2:2-4 KJV)
The LORD's statement "the just shall live by his faith" (Habakkuk 2:4, quoted above) would be repeatedly quoted later in the New Testament as a warning to all people who should by now know, and therefore do, better.
"1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 1:19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them." (Romans 1:17-19 KJV)
As with all of the other prophets, Habakkuk spoke of a greater world, on this earth, when the time of wrath against evil is over, "For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea."
"2:12 Woe to him that buildeth a town with blood, and stablisheth a city by iniquity! 2:13 Behold, is it not of the LORD of hosts that the people shall labour in the very fire, and the people shall weary themselves for very vanity? 2:14 For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea." (Habakkuk 2:12-14 KJV)
Fact Finder: What does "the just shall live by his faith" mean?