Beth Elohim Messianic Synagogue
Study of the Prophets: Habakkuk (Cont.) November 18,2016
This week’s study begins with Chapter 3:4 and forward; “A glow was like the light [of day]; rays of light [came] from His hand to [Israel]; and there His hidden strength [was revealed]. In the NIV translation this verse reads as follows: “ 4 His radiance is like the sunlight; He has rays flashing from is hand, And there is the hiding of His Power.” Looking at the concept of bright light we discover something more interesting: information that identifies this light as that of Yahshua who was indeed hidden at the time Habakkuk was written! Moreover, we are given a look at the past wrath of G-d at various points in history, and what is to come when Yahshua returns. The first 12 verses speak of G-d’s wrath and the existence and presence of Yahshua behind the scenes. This amazing revelation through prophecy begins with verse 4. The following verses shed light on the meaning of “rays of light” in this verse:
Exodus 13:21: And the L-rd went before them by day in a pillar of cloud, to lead…
Exodus 14:20: And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel…
Nehemiah 9:12: Moreover you led them in the day by a cloudy pillar, and in the night…
Psalm 104:2 : Who cover yourself with light as a garment who stretch out…
Isaiah 60:19,20: The sun shall be no more your light by day; neither for brightness…
Matthew 17:2: And was transfigured before them; and his face did shine as the sun…
1 Timothy 6:16: Who only has immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can…
Revelation 21:23: And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine…
Revelation 22:5: And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither…
The Sages tell us that the light of the day of the Sinaitic Revelation was as brilliant as the supernal light of the seven days of Creation (Rashi). According to Ibn Ezra and Metzudos, Scripture is referring to the pillar of fire that guided the Israelites in the wilderness. However, with the information we have from the previously written scriptures that come from the entire Torah, we may deduce that the light was that of Yahshua, regardless of whether He represents the pillar of fire or the column of cloud.
The word used for “rays” of light that came from His hand literally means horn which is used to describe rays of light that shine through a hole and give the appearance of horns. The phrase means that the light of day came to the Israelite nation directly from G-d (Rashi). This is where the Orthodox translation of the light that illuminated Moshe’s face when he came down from Sinai originates. This is also why you will see horns on some statues and depictions of Moshe.
“and there His hidden strength [was revealed]. The Sages say this refers to Sinai, where the power that was hidden was then revealed. Other commentators such as Radak interpret this to mean G-d’s Glory for at no other time did G-d reveal it as He did at Sinai. Alternatively, G-d’s strength refers to the Ten Tablets of the Commandments, which were previously hidden in the heavens and then revealed to man and placed in the Ark. As Messianic Jewish believers, we are provided the amazing insight through the complete Torah of G-d that includes the B’rit Chadashah that the Orthodox brethren miss. Just as G-d’s Glory and strength were revealed at Sinai in the form of thunder, lightning, and His voice within the cloud (Ex. 19-20), we are told that G-d’s Glory (the shekinah) described in Revelation 21:23. This information is amazingly and wonderfully provided by G-d through the prophets for our benefit. This provides believers a deeper explanation or understanding of why prophecies and tongues (speaking in other known languages were done away with when the complete Torah (Old and “New” Testaments” were given (1 Cor. 13:8). With the complete Torah provided; the Written and the Living; the Old and “New” Testaments, we have all the information we need to “put it together”; to “get it.” We read the Old Testament, the Prophets, and the Writings along with the Renewed, refreshed Covenant (“New” Testament), and we can put it all together to reveal G-d’s plan for mankind through the history of Israel; biological and spiritual. However, a growing understanding of G-d’s Torah takes time, diligent, prayerful study, and a humble heart. Biblical knowledge without wisdom from above is useless.
Verse 5: “Pestilence went forth as He advanced, and fire went forth at His feet.”
Just as when the Israelite nation observed G-d’s commandments He performed miracles for them, so too, when they disobeyed His Word during the 40 years in the desert, He inflicted them with pestilence and other punishments. Fast forward to Revelation once again to find a similar fate for those who disobey His Torah. Note this includes people who profess to be believers just as the Israelites who disregarded G-d’s commands (Revelation 6:7 and Chapter 9;
Rev. 6:2 1st seal conquers with a peace plan.
Rev.6:3-2nd Seal: Wars on earth
Rev.6:5-3rd Seal: Worldwide economic trouble
Rev.6:7-4th Seal: Death released. 1/4 of the world’s population to die by plagues, disease, and beasts of the earth
Rev.6:9-5th Seal: Persecution and mass killing of God’s people worldwide
Rev.6:12-6th Seal: Massive earthquake wrath of God.
Rev.7:2-7th Seal: 144,000 Jewish males are anointed to evangelize the earth
Rev.8:7-1st Trumpet: Hail, fire, and blood. 1/3 all grass and trees burned up
Rev.8:8 -2nd Trumpet: Great mountain hits sea. 1/3 all ocean becomes blood. 1/3 all sea life dies and 1/3 all ships destroyed.
Rev.8:10-3rd Trumpet: Wormwood star hits earth. 1/3 all freshwater poisoned.
Rev.8:12-4th Trumpet: 1/3 of sun and moon darkened.
Rev.9:1-5th Trumpet: locust beasts that sting and torment men are loosed from the pit.
Rev.9:13-6th Trumpet: demons released and 200 million army kills 1/3 of the world’s population.
Rev.16:2-1st Bowl: Terrible and painful sores break out on all who worship beast.
Rev.16:3-2nd Bowl: Entire oceans becomes blood; the sea life dies.
Rev.16:4-3rd Bowl: Fresh water becomes blood, no more fresh drinking water.
Rev.16:8-4th Bowl: Sun increased in heat and scorches and burns people. Far beyond global warming.
Rev.16:10-5th Bowl: a Supernatural darkness covers the earth
Rev.16:12-6th Bowl: Armies head toward in the Middle East for the final battle –Armageddon.
Rev.16:17-7th Bowl: Babylon destroyed, massive earthquakes, hundred pound hailstones devastate earth.
A comparison may be made to the events in Canaan before G-d’s Holy Ark and the people took the land. G-d uses pestilence and other forms of destructive agents to punish the heathen nations (Ex. 23:28). And lest we think we are “above” such punishments, we read of the punishments that befell the Israelites who were disobedient to G-d in our current study and again in the Book of Revelation. We are not “home free” taught by many Christian clergy and enthusiastically embraced by many who call themselves believers.
“…and fire went forth at His feet.” The word used for fire in this instance is thought to be a synonym for pestilence (Radak; Ibn Ezra). This seems reasonable as the word “fire” is used throughout the Torah to represent or describe G-d’s judgment. Pestilence qualifies as one form of judgment.
Verse 6: “He stood and measured out the land; He looked and dispersed nations. Everlasting mountains were smashed; eternal hills were laid low; for the ways of the world are His.”
G-d takes his stand, and surveys the earth which He is visiting in judgment. As His Glory filled the heavens, so now He with His Presence paces the earth, measuring it, as it were, with His foot. He considers, too, all the doings of the children of men, and requites them accordingly.
G-d looked at the Tower of Babel and saw that since all the people communicated in a common language and sought to become autonomous without the need for G-d, a unanimous rebellion resulted; just as we see today. G-d exacted punishment from them by dispersing the nations through the development of 70 languages. Later, He disperses the 10 Tribes of Israel in the Northern Kingdom due to their rebellious ways and made them “lo ami”; “not a people” for a time.
“Everlasting mountains were smashed; eternal hills were laid low.”
The everlasting mountains are an allegorical reference to the officers of the nations (Rashi). Mahari Kara specifically notes Pharaoh and the king of Sodom. G-d smashed them and humiliated them. However, we cannot confine this to these two individuals. The Torah is replete with the destruction of kings and nations that seek to destroy His people in the past, present, and future. A perfect illustration is seen with the continued attempt to destroy Israel and the unanimous victories despite being overwhelmingly outnumbered and sometimes out armed by her enemies. As we learned in our study of Nahum, many nations will join in a coalition to destroy Israel in a mass assault. G-d will remain true to His promise to deliver His people. Those nations will be destroyed; “mountains will be smashed and hills will be made low.” Blessed is our G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob! Indeed, the conduct of the entire universe is in His hands and obeys His orders (Psalm 148).
Next week we will begin with Chapter 3:7.
Rabbi Tamah Davis