Light for the Last Days

The certainty of ultimate victory in the Lord

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In Habakkuk chapter 2 verse 5 it says:

5 Yea also, because he transgresseth by wine, he is a proud man, neither keepeth at home, who enlargeth his desire as hell, and is as death, and cannot be satisfied, but gathereth unto him all nations, and heapeth unto him all people: 6 Shall not all these take up a parable against him, and a taunting proverb against him, and say, Woe to him that increaseth that which is not his! how long? and to him that ladeth himself with thick clay! 7 Shall they not rise up suddenly that shall bite thee, and awake that shall vex thee, and thou shalt be for booties unto them? Because thou hast spoiled many nations, all the remnant of the people shall spoil thee; because of men’s blood, and for the violence of the land, of the city, and of all that dwell therein.

Habakkuk 2.5-8

The Lord’s is now speaking to Babylon, not to Israel, and He’s saying that the wicked ruler may have his pleasures and his victory, his accumulation of wealth and power for the moment, but it won’t stand. And, in the end, it will come to nothing.

In fact, if you read the Bible, within 70 years of Babylon’s victory over Israel and its triumph over many nations and the building up of its great empire, its great world empire, Babylon itself was overrun by the Medes and the Persians. And its power came to nothing.

In the same way, the Bible says that, in the last days, Satan and the Antichrist will have their moment of power, a brief moment of power. But it won’t stand.

In the end, Revelation 18 says: Babylon is fallen, it is fallen.

And in Revelation 19, it speaks about the separation of the saved from the unsaved and the marriage supper of the Lamb, and the judgment upon Babylon. It says:

And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: 2 For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. 3 And again they said, Alleluia And her smoke rose up for ever and ever. 4 And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia. 5 And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. 6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. 7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. 8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. 9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.

Revelation 19.1-9

In the end of this conflict with Babylon, Jerusalem, the church, the Antichrist, all these events, the victory is going to be with those who believe in Jesus.

And Babylon is going to fall. Babylon, in the time of the prophets, was going to fall and the Babylon system of the end of days is going to fall as well and be totally destroyed.

And God’s saying to the people of the world: So, you want to trust in this world system which is going to be destroyed? Or, do you want to trust in the Kingdom of God which is going to go on forever?

If you trust in the Kingdom of God, you’re going to have a place at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb which is going to be glorious. You’ll meet with Jesus, meet with all the prophets who’ve gone before, and the Apostles, and everyone else who’ll be there.

It’ll be the most wonderful, glorious event which will take place. And it speaks to us also of the total separation between those for and those who are against the Lord.

And we need to make the choice now because there’s a great time coming for those who respond to the message of the Lord. There’s a very bad time coming to those who reject it.

The Habakkuk passage goes on to give a series of woes which are going to come on the wicked:

9 Woe to him that coveteth an evil covetousness to his house, that he may set his nest on high, that he may be delivered from the power of evil!

12 Woe to him that buildeth a town with blood, and stablisheth a city by iniquity!

15 Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!

18 What profiteth the graven image that the maker thereof hath graven it; the molten image, and a teacher of lies, that the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb idols? 19 Woe unto him that saith to the wood, Awake; to the dumb stone, Arise, it shall teach! Behold, it is laid over with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in the midst of it.

Habakkuk 2.9,12, 15 & 18-19

That’s just a summary of those verses, not all of them. But He tells you there that there’s a woe to those who keep up gain dishonestly, woes to those who hope that their wealth is going to save them, those who establish power with violence or corruption, who give drink to their neighbour to corrupt him.

And I’m thinking about just how many people today are corrupted not so much by drink but by drugs and brought into bondage. And how people get rich by that while bringing terrible suffering and judgment upon people.

Woe to those who worship an image not the true God. And today we have all kinds of other Gods which people worship, but none of them are going to save except our God. Because our God is the One who saves through Jesus the Messiah.

We have these series of woes but interestingly in this passage, in the midst of these woes, there are two statements about the true God.

In verse 14 it says:

14 For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.

Habakkuk 2.14

A glorious verse telling you that no matter how great the troubles are now, the ultimate victory is going to be with the Lord. This verse is also quoted in Isaiah chapter 11 of the Messianic Kingdom which will come following the Second Coming of Jesus.

Revelation tells us the kingdoms of this world are going to become the Kingdom of our God, of His Christ and He shall reign forever and ever.

So, the prophets remind us, God’s reminding us here that although this bad stuff is coming, ultimately, there’s going to be a time when the earth is going to be full of the knowledge of the glory of the Lord.

And I believe that’s actually going to happen because I believe what’s called ‘the pre-millennial view of prophecy’ which is that Jesus will come back in person and will change radically this whole world, and there will be a good new world order in which He will rule and there’ll be peace and justice on earth.

He will even change the ecology, and the earth will be full of the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

God will have the final say in the last thousand years of this planet. It won’t end with Satan having his say and with the Antichrist. You’ll have God having His say for a thousand years and Jesus reigning.

And the question to us is: no matter what the present troubles are, we shall be with the Lord. So, who are you going to put your trust in? The present world system which is going to be destroyed or in the Kingdom of God which is going to go on forever and ever and in which you have a glorious future, and a glorious place?

You may feel a bit despised and rejected by the world today, you may find all kinds of difficulties but God’s saying that, ultimately, the victory is going to be with the Lord, and you’ll have a glorious future in Him.

The second verse which speaks about the true God is verse 20. Where it says:

20 But the Lord is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him.

Habakkuk 2.20

That’s a reminder that God is in His Temple. God is in Heaven, and God is actually in control. God isn’t fazed at all by any of the troubles which are taking place on the earth, either during Habakkuk‘s time or during our time. They don’t have any effect upon His power, His authority and His ultimate purpose.

God is in His holy Temple. So, keep silence before Him, don’t argue with Him, don’t rebel against Him but accept what He has to say.

Human rulers may come and go. We too, will come and go.

Last week, we sang hymn which says ‘we blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree and wither and perish but naught changes Thee’, which is a very true statement.

We have our moment of glory but we’re going to wither and perish, and, ultimately die. But ‘naught changes Thee’, nothing changes God.

God is there from generation to generation, from eternity to eternity. The Hebrew phrase speaks about God ‘from eternal past to eternity future’. He’s there now and God doesn’t change, He is always going to be with us.

He had the first Word; He’ll have the last Word and everything in between. So, again, the question is: Who are you going to trust? Human rulers who come and go or God who’s always there, and who doesn’t change, and who has a consistent plan for us to walk in His ways, to obey Him, and a way of Salvation through Jesus the Messiah?

In the last chapter (we’re whizzing through Habakkuk), chapter 3, the prophet cries out to the Lord to revive His work in the midst of the years.

1 A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet on shigionoth.

2 ‘O Lord I’ve heard your speech and was afraid. O Lord, revive your work in the midst of the years, in the midst of years make it known. In wrath remember mercy.

Habakkuk 3.1-2

The prayer of Habakkuk the prophet on shigionoth. Do you know what shigionoth is? No? Nor do I. Nor does anybody else. In fact, I looked it up at the prophecy it said ‘meaning unknown’.

It’s a Hebrew word for which we don’t know the meaning so don’t worry about it. But this was a prayer and the prayer we can understand. He says:

Lord I’ve heard your speech and was afraid. So, ‘I was a bit troubled by this stuff about Babylon coming.’

O Lord revive your work in the midst of the years. In the midst of the years make it known. In wrath remember mercy.

A good response. ‘Lord, this is a troubling message you’ve given to me. Revive your work in the midst of the years in the midst of the years make it known. In wrath remember mercy.’

And as we think about God’s coming judgment, we too should cry out to God to revive His work, to bring souls to salvation, to make ‘Yourself known to the people round about us’, to remember mercy and grace, even in the time of wrath. Because our God is a God of mercy, a God of love, a God of grace. He wants to do good to people. He wants to save people.

And we should cry out to God to save people at this time and to revive His work in the midst of the years.

In the Book of Revelation it actually says that, in the time of the great tribulation, there will be a great movement of people coming to faith in Jesus the Messiah (Revelation chapter 7), which I take to be right at the very beginning of the tribulation period. It says that 144,000 Jewish people will accept Yeshua, Jesus the Messiah and will preach the Gospel with great power. And that a great multitude will come to faith in Jesus at that time.

Revelation 7 verse 9 says:

After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; 10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.

Revelation 7.9-10

and verse 14 says:

… These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Revelation 7.14

There will be a great multitude who come to faith in the Messiah. So, we pray for God to revive His work in the midst of the years.

I think there’s a lot of kind of misunderstanding about revival in our time, and people claim that there’s going to be this ‘great revival’ which will Christianize the world before Jesus returns.

I don’t see that in the Bible, but I do see that the Bible says that we should pray, that God will revive His work and will save many souls in these last days. He will bring people to faith in the Messiah that they can come into the Kingdom of God and enjoy the great benefits which we have as believers in Jesus, and enjoy the great future which we have in the Lord.

In the rest of the chapter, God says that He’s going to intervene and there are certainly (in chapter 3) a lot of end-time associations.

3 God came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise.

Habakkuk 3.3

It says that God will come from Teman, the holy One whose glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of His praise.

So this speaks of a time when God is going to come with power and great glory.

The passage also goes on to speak about the end-time judgments. It speaks about pestilence and fever, environmental destruction, mountains and rivers, sun and moon being affected, and then, in verse 12, it says:

12 You marched through the land in indignation; You trampled the nations in anger. 13 You went forth for the salvation of Your people, For salvation with Your Anointed. You struck the head from the house of the wicked, By laying bare from foundation to neck. Selah

Habakkuk 3.12-13

Interesting scripture that says ‘You marched through the the land‘. Actually, the Hebrew word is erets (which can also mean ‘the earth’).

So you could say it means ‘you went through the earth in indignation. you trampled the nations in anger you, went forth for the salvation of your people.‘ The Hebrew actually says Yeshua. Yeshua, Jesus, your Messiah.

He went forth for Jesus Christ‘, that’s what it says actually, or, Yeshua Hamashiah.

You have a reference to Jesus here, by name. The Lord goes forth by this name to crush the head of the wicked. ‘Crushed’, to crush the head of the wicked.

Two possible references to what that means:

First of all, it’s what happened at the first coming of Jesus:

If you know the earliest messianic prophecy in Genesis chapter 3, the Lord speaking to the serpent says that ‘the seed of the woman who will crush the head of the serpent but He will be bruised in the process‘.

14 So the Lord God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life. 15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.”

Genesis 3.14-15

When Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, He crushed the head of the wicked, the head of the serpent. He broke the power of Satan so that people could be redeemed and come to faith in Jesus the Messiah, but He was also bruised in the process, He was wounded for our transgressions.

He suffered the terrible physical affliction of the cross and also the affliction of having the sin of the world placed upon Him. In doing that, He took the punishment for the sin of the world and He died and rose from the dead in order that we might have redemption through faith in Jesus.

So, crushing the head of the wicked actually has a reference to the work of Jesus at the first coming. He came to redeem us, He crushed the head of Satan so that we who believe in Jesus can be redeemed and come into His presence.

It also has a Second Coming application because you read in Revelation chapter 19 what happens when Jesus returns: He comes with power and great glory. He comes in a totally different form to the one He came in the first time. He comes this time as King of kings and Lord of lords, with all the power of God against the wicked, and to destroy their power.

Revelation 19.11 says:

11 Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. 15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:

KING OF KINGS AND

LORD OF LORDS.

Revelation 19.11-16

We have the revelation given here of the Second Coming of Jesus, this time not as the suffering servant but as the conquering King, with all power of God at His disposal.

Coming this time with the armies in Heaven, clothed in fine linen, following Him on white horses. Who are the armies in Heaven?

Well, there’s the angelic host. I also believe it’s those who’ve been taken up in the Rapture of the Church and those who’ve died in Christ, who come back in glorious bodies with the Lord at His Second Coming which, if that’s true, then ‘that’s you and me‘.

So, we’re going to come back with Jesus at the Second Coming and it’s going to be a glorious event. He’s going to come back with all power. He’s going to rule the nations with a rod of iron.

You won’t be able to ‘vote Him out of power’. He will have power and He will rule and bring peace and justice to the earth in the final period of the world’s history before this heavens and this earth are burned up and God creates new heavens and new earth. And He’s going to be King of kings and Lord of lords.

But it says He’s going ‘to crush the head of the wicked‘, and in verse 19 it says:

19 And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. 20 Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.

Revelation19.19-10

At the point of the Second Coming, the little details given here point to Jesus taking the Beast (the Antichrist), and the false prophet and throwing them straight into the lake of fire.

According to some, they’re going to be there for a thousand years on their own before the end of the thousand-year period when all of the wicked will then be taken before the Great White Throne and thrown into the Lake of Fire.

But, at this point, here, He takes the Beast and the false prophet and puts them straight into the lake of fire. Daniel also speaks about the Son of Man coming with the clouds of heaven, taking possession of the kingdoms of the earth. And in chapter 7 verse 11, he says:

11 “I watched then because of the sound of the pompous words which the horn was speaking; I watched till the beast was slain, and its body destroyed and given to the burning flame.

Daniel 7.11

So, it seems that there is some kind of parallel here with what happens to the wicked and the Antichrist at the Second Coming of Jesus the Messiah. And Habakkuk seems to be referring to this as well when he says He will crush the head of the wicked, the head of the house of the of evil.

It’s a picture, in Habakkuk chapter 3, which does seem to look forward to the events of the Second Coming of Jesus the Messiah and even mentions Jesus Christ by name. It says Yeshua, Jesus the Messiah. Another indication from the Hebrew prophets that Jesus really is the Messiah of Israel.

Coming back to Habakkuk, the prophet thinks about this in verse 16. He prays he may have rest in the time of trouble. Verse 16:

16 When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice: rottenness entered into my bones, and I trembled in myself, that I might rest in the day of trouble: when he cometh up unto the people, he will invade them with his troops.

Habakkuk 3.16

He prays for himself that he might have rest in the time of trouble. Which, we too, might be thinking about, praying for ourselves if you listened to what I’ve been saying today. That we might have rest and peace in the day of trouble, that we might have a place of security in God in, Jesus the Messiah.

Then, he concludes with these very beautiful words which are probably the most famous words from the book of Habakkuk. And we’ll just conclude with a few thoughts on this. His last word is:

17 Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: 18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. 19 The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.

Habakkuk 3.17-19

A glorious statement that! I will rejoice in all circumstances. The food may be cut off, there’s no fruit on the vines, the fig tree doesn’t blossom, the fields yield no food, the flock may be cut off from the fold; it may be a really bad situation, yet, I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my Salvation.

I believe one of the things which God wants to say to us as we look at all the troubles in the world today, and at the troubles which may come upon us is: Are you going to rejoice in the Lord in every situation?

Are you’re going to be like Paul and Silas when they were taken, beaten, and thrown into prison in Philippi, and they sang praises to God, so that God opened all the doors and they were set free?

As we see troubles come upon us, we can end up being really oppressed and troubled, and the door to God comes closed, and we sit in misery and think: Why are things so bad?

God says: Don’t do that. Whether things are good or bad, praise God, give thanks to God for who He is, that He’s the God who loves you, who made you. He’s the God who’s redeemed you. He’s the God who has given you a glorious future in Jesus the Messiah which nothing can take away.

Even if they take your life, you’re still going to go to be with the Lord forever. So, whatever happens, you have a glorious future.

Therefore, we can rejoice in God in every situation. I will joy in the God of my salvation, my Yeshua. That’s what it means! He’s saying I’m going to rejoice in my God because my God has saved me.

That’s something which God wants us to do.

Also, He wants us to take notice of, as we look at all the things taking place around us, not to be downcast, not to be hopeless, but to look up because our redemption draws near, because Jesus has come and is coming again in power and glory.

And he says: the Lord my God, the Lord God is my strength.

We may be quite weak. Sometimes I feel very weak. We are conscious that we live in bodies which are weak and which are subject to all kinds of problems, including sickness and aging, and of things which are coming against us. We may be quite weak spiritually, we may find it difficult to stand against temptation and all that kind of stuff.

But we have One in us who is stronger. And the Lord God is my strength. As I said earlier, greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world. There’s a greater power available to every person who calls on the name of Jesus than the power in the world.

He says he’ll make my feet like deer’s feet or ‘hind’s feet’. It says in the Authorised Version of the Bible: He’ll make me walk on my high hills.

Now, you might like walking on high hills. I do! And it’s great going up mountains and looking at the view from the top, but actually, from the point of view of a traveller, a hill is an obstruction, it’s something which stops you from getting from one place to another. Especially, in the ancient world.

If you had to get from one place to another and there was a mountain range between you and the place you wanted to get to, it meant an obstruction. And often in the Bible, a hill or a mountain is seen as a kind of opposition, something which is in the way if you like.

Jesus said: you say to the mountain ‘be cast into the sea’ and it will depart from you.

I think Habakkuk is thinking about the opposition, the difficulties, the things which come against you. And He’s saying here, He will make my feet like hind’s feet, like deer’s feet, He’ll make me walk on my high hills.

For the deer, the hill is not such an opposition or obstruction, and it’s able to walk, to run and skip, and jump from place to place on the high hills. And so, he’s saying here that God is going to give us the victory, even in the situations of opposition, of difficulty. He’s going to give us the power to walk like the deer on the high hills, skipping from place to place, not being bowed down, and not being afraid of falling but knowing that we have that capability to ride out that storm, and to walk on the hills, and to be with the Lord.

It’s a word: ‘be ready to rejoice in all circumstances‘, to know that God is our strength, and that we trust in Him, not in any human resources. And that we have so much more, even more than the prophet had, because we have Jesus, we know the Gospel, we know the end from the beginning, and we know all the good things which God has in store for us in Jesus the Messiah.

So, even as we see trouble coming on the world, we see signs of tribulation, of difficulty, we see things which cause us to be distressed, we have a great hope in Jesus the Messiah.

And even if we do have trouble now, even if the victory doesn’t blossom yet, we can still rejoice in the Lord, in the God of our Salvation, and know that we can overcome by the Blood of the Lamb, by the Word of our testimony, because we do not love our lives to the death. We trust in God and in Jesus who Himself has overcome, and gives us the victory in Jesus the Messiah.

So, praise God! The little Book of Habakkuk, one of the minor prophets with a major message who speaks to us about God’s grace, God’s help in times of trouble, and the certainty, ultimately, of the victory in the Lord, amen.

Tony Pearce