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“A Dark Night Approaches”, Part 3

“A Dark Night Approaches”, Part 3

The Great Time of Trouble

Habakkuk’s Prophecy Continued

Hab 1:9

“They all come for violence;
their faces are set like the east wind.
They gather captives like sand.”

The New Living Translation states it thusly,

On they come, all bent on violence. Their hordes advance like a desert wind, sweeping captives ahead of them like sand.”

“Their faces will be set in opposition to the east.” [The east is the direction of the suns rising, and here represents the dawn of the Millennial Day. Hence, the language here indicates that though these shall cause a measure of judgment to come upon evil institutions, yet they will not be in harmony with the true light, but in opposition to it; their mission is violence.] “And they gather the bounden ones as the sand.” R 622

Hab 1:10

“They scoff at kings,
And princes are scorned by them.
They deride every stronghold,
For they heap up earthen mounds and seize it.”

“The Lord’s Great Army will pull down the governments, and this verse shows a real arrogance and disdain for law and authority. “They shall scoff at the kings, and the princes shall be a scorn unto them.”

It shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall punish the host of the high ones and the kings of the earth.” Isa 24:21

The Lord’s Great Army will not be part of the establishment either religiously or politically. Rather, they will be an outside, rebellious, disenchanted group. Moreover, they are described in Scripture as God’s battle ax or hammer, for His providence’s will favor circumstances for the development of this element for the purpose of pulling down (destroying) the established order (Isa. 10:15; Jer. 50:23). Understand God will not sanction nor approve of this class in either morals or character, but He will approve of the destructive work which they will accomplish.

They shall heap dust (earthen mounds), and take it” as they “deride every strong hold [or fortress].” This portion of Verse 10 refers to tactics used in olden times. No matter how strong the fortress wall, the enemy (in this case the Lord’s Great Army) will devise a way to override it. Nothing will stop them. The “dust” alludes to making a ramp to get over the wall. Sometimes battering rams were used in the past—or a siege using siege towers or fire. The Lord’s Great Army will be like locusts, climbing over everything in their way. Nothing will deter their onward march. The word “take”, “seize” means “capture.” The Lord’s Great Army will capture every stronghold.”

“They run like mighty men, they climb the wall like men of war; every one marches in formation, and they do not break ranks. They do not push one another; every one marches in his own column. Though they lunge between the weapons, they are not cut down (not halted by losses). They run to and fro in the city, they run on the wall; they climb into the houses, they enter at the windows like a thief.” Joel 2: 7-9

Hab 1:11

“Then his mind changes, and he transgresses;
He commits offense,
Ascribing this power to his god.”

Then they sweep past like the wind and go on– guilty people, whose own strength is their god.” NIV

“Then [by reason of their success] doth their spirit become arrogant and they are surpassingly proud, and offend, imputing this their power unto their God (the God of War of Might). Not realizing that they have been used as the Lord’s great army to overthrow oppression and to bring down the proud and to thresh the mountains (kingdoms), they shall boast in themselves of the victory of Liberalism (freedom from authority).”

Hab 1:12

“Are You not from everlasting,
O Lord my God, my Holy One?
We shall not die.
O Lord, You have appointed them for judgment;
O Rock, You have marked them for correction.”

Verse 12, a paragraph break, starts to express thoughts of the Great Company, a righteous class who will be puzzled over the events transpiring. These thoughts continue through Verse 17. In seeing the Lord’s Great Army, an irreligious and powerful force, tear down government and religious institutions (the old order), the Great Company will have mixed experiences: disappointment and chagrin followed by strengthening, then questioning, again strengthening, questioning, etc.

We shall not die [as new creatures].” The Great Company from a present-truth background, as well as the Great Company from Babylon, will feel that there is still hope— that they can get life as spirit beings and not go into extinction (Second Death). The words “we shall not die” thus indicate a strengthening experience.

“O LORD, thou hast ordained them [the Lord’s Great Army] for judgment [to do a destroying work, to bring down the kingdoms of this world].” The Great Company will then understand that the trouble is a part of God’s plan.

Come near, ye nations, to hear; and hearken, ye people: let the earth hear, and all that is therein; the world, and all things that come forth of it. For the indignation of the Lord is upon all nations, and his fury upon all their armies to deliver them to the slaughter.” Isa 34:1, 2

“O mighty God, thou hast appointed them to correct nations.” The King James margin has “O Rock.” A rock is a symbol of stability. Accordingly, the Great Company will realize that God’s omnipotence is not at all threatened by the Time of Trouble, that the lawlessness has been providentially overruled for correction and judgment.” [This is the confidence of the saints, as here expressed by the prophet.]

Hab 1:13

You are of purer eyes than to behold evil,
And cannot look on wickedness.
Why do You look on those who deal treacherously,
And hold Your tongue when the wicked devours
A person more righteous than he?”

Verse 13 expresses questions asked all down the age, but conditions will be exacerbated and intensified in the future. It is one thing to see the Lord’s Great Army pull down that which is old and effete and unjust and corrupt, but it is another matter to see this lawless element encroach upon a “righteous” class.”

Hab 1:14

“Why do You make men like fish of the sea,
Like creeping things that have no ruler over them?”

“The Great Company class continues to question. Unsuspecting fish (people) are taken suddenly in the net by the Lord’s Great Army. When the Great Company sees noble people and items being taken from them, they will ask, “Why doesn’t God stop the trouble?” (Eventually, the Great Company will get the oil of understanding and zeal, as shown in the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins in Matt 25.)

That have no ruler over them.” In the anarchy the people will crave leadership and order and instruction and help, but there will be no one. These conditions will eventually help the Great Company to wash their robes (Rev. 7:14). Instead of inspecting others, they will begin to be introspective. They will have to search their own hearts.”

Hab 1:15

“They take up all of them with a hook,
They catch them in their net,
And gather them in their dragnet.
Therefore they rejoice and are glad.”

“The Lord’s Great Army, the ones casting in the net, will rejoice and be glad. They will have no moral restraints and will go after all, good and bad, and will be happy with their seeming success in exploiting others and with force, (might) being their god.”

Hab 1:16

“Therefore they sacrifice to their net,
And burn incense to their dragnet;
Because by them their share is sumptuous
And their food plentiful.”

“The Lord’s Great Army will worship “their net,” their weapons, their own powers, as the reason for their success. As anarchy interrupts the food supplies, the Lord’s Great Army will enrich themselves with the spoils of others—worldwide. They will march through the lands, taking what they want. Before them is the Garden of Eden; behind them is a desolate wilderness of looting, burning, and extinction. Remember, there will be no police or fire departments at this time.”

The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled: for the Lord hath spoken this word.” Isa. 24:3

Hab 1:17

“Shall they therefore empty their net,
And continue to slay nations without pity?”

Verse 17 is a rhetorical question. The answer is obvious: No! The Lord’s Great Army will be insatiable; they will know no end. As soon as they empty the net, they will cast it in again and again and again for more and more spoil. This element has existed all down the age, taking advantage of situations until they are stopped, but here the condition is so prevalent that only divine power will be able to stop them.”

And so it will.

“The nations (the unrestrained anarchist masses, the sea class) raged, the kingdoms (world governments) were moved (out of place, i.e. over-turned, then); He uttered His voice [“BE STILL, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations I will be exalted in the earth!”], the earth melted (the present social order of things was dissolved).” Psa 46:6, 10; Compare 2 Pet 3:10

Broken, battered, humbled, the old order of things having come to an end mankind will finally be ready for the kingdom of righteousness, the new heavens (spiritual rulership) and new earth (a new society) wherein dwells righteousness.


Excerpts taken from “The Book of Habakkuk” Brother Frank Shallieu

“A Dark Night Approaches”, Part 2

“A Dark Night Approaches”, Part 2

“Howl ye; for the day of the Lord is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty.” Isa 13:6

“A day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wastefulness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers (the strong and well entrenched governments).” Zeph 1:15-16

“Blow the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; For the day of the Lord (The Day of his Vengeance, The Great Time of Trouble) is coming, For it is at hand:  A day of darkness (ignorance) and gloominess (foreboding), A day of clouds (trouble, calamity) and thick darkness, Like the morning clouds (troubles), spread over the mountains (the nations, the people).

Behold, A people come, great and strong (a mighty army, unparalleled in all history, the Lord’s great army, the unrestrained anarchist masses of mankind), the like of whom has never been; nor will there ever be any such after them, Even for many successive generations.” (Joel 2:1, 2)

“Behold, the Lord hath a mighty and strong one (His Great Army), which as a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, as a flood of mighty waters overflowing, He will bring it across the land with His hand.” Isa 28:2

They come from a far country, from the end of heaven, even the Lord, and the weapons (instruments) of his indignation, to destroy the whole land.” Isa 13:5

Habakkuk’s Prophecy

Hab 1:5

“Look among the nations and watch—
be utterly astounded!
For I will work a work in your days
which you would not believe, though it were told you.

The unusual “work” that God “will work” is that He will rise up His Great Army to do a destructive work on Christendom. This evil class will be allowed not merely to providentially exist but to have sufficient freedom to do their evil work of destruction.

And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executes his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?” (Joel 2:11).

The Prophet Habakkuk had a dual role. Sometimes he expressed himself as the Great Company will see matters, but at other times he expressed himself as a seer, as a prophet. When he prophesied, he also took the role as if he were living at that future time.

Behold, you despisers (scoffers of God’s true plans and purposes), marvel and perish! For I work a work in your days, a work which you will by no means believe, though one was to declare it unto you.” (Hab 1:5; Acts 13:41)

“If you did not see some evidences you would consider impending events impossibilities”. Such will be the astonishment of many of the Lord’s professed followers, when they witness the destruction of present order of things, not only of governments but likewise the great institutions of error, the church nominal with all its various branches both Catholic and Protestant alike raised to the ground, utterly destroyed.

‘How could this be?’ they will exclaim, ‘Were these not the Lord’s institutions?’ Some will be heard saying, ‘Surely our church was faithful’, evidently not, else they would not have met the same fate as the rest of them. Great Babylon will fall and rise no more.

Even now this “strange work” to be performed (Isa 28:21), is being declared, and how is it being received by the professed followers of the Lord, why with disdain and disbelief, just as the Lord said it would be.

Hab 1:6

“For indeed I am raising up the Chaldeans,
A bitter and hasty nation
Which marches through the breadth of the earth,
To possess dwelling places that are not theirs.”

In the type the destruction by the Chaldeans from the north was a pending situation. Verses 6–11 give insight into the characteristics of the enemy. The antitypical “Chaldeans” were described by the Pastor as communists, anarchists, nihilists, and socialists, discontents; that is, the Chaldeans constitute the Lord’s Great Army.

The Latin nihil means “nothing,” and nihilists do not believe in any kind of government. They want to remain without any government so that they can exploit the weak, kill or be killed; only the strong survive. Anarchists simply want to tear down the current system but have no idea what precisely to put in its place, they have no real plans of their own; they simply want something to replace what exist now. They are dissatisfied and want to get rid of the current government and start fresh. There are also many socialists around the world who are discontented with present conditions.

Verse 6 describes the Lord’s Great Army as a “bitter and hasty [fierce and reckless] people,” a very cruel people (possessing no moral or religious restraint).

“A fire devours before them, and behind them a flame burns; the land is like the Garden of Eden before them; behind them, a burning devastation—complete desolation. Surely nothing shall escape them.” (Joel 2:3)

They will devour as they go along. They will “March through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwelling places that are not theirs (that is to say they will riot and pillage, loot, kill and destroy all which is before them).”

The thought implied by their marching through the breath of the earth implies that this is to be a worldwide condition.

Hab 1:7

“They are a feared and dreaded people; they are a law unto themselves (i.e. anarchist) and promote (or render) their own (sense of) honor (justice).” NIV

“They are notorious for their cruelty and do whatever they like.” (New Living Translation)

They come from a far country, from the end of heaven— The Lord and His weapons of indignation, to destroy the whole land.” Isa 13:5

“Their judgment and their dignity shall proceed of themselves”; that is, they will not be curbed by any religious restraint or sentiment. When the nominal system is destroyed, there will be nothing left to curb mankind’s appetites, only their own personal inclinations. ALL religions will be destroyed including Islam, governments as well. There will be no coordinated thinking, each individual doing as he pleases. Every man’s hand turned against his neighbor, thus total anarchy.

“Evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth.” Jer 25:32

Hab 1:8

“Their horses also are swifter than leopards,
And more fierce than evening wolves.
Their chargers charge ahead;
Their cavalry comes from afar;
They fly as the eagle that hastens to eat.”

Their horses (their doctrines, teachings) in this case their rants and denunciations of all authority and order spread swiftly across the land giving them the power to influence those of likeminded character (their cavalry), these then flood their ranks from both far and wide. Their chargers (the horsemen or leaders, i.e. the instigators who promote these teachings) charge ahead, leading the pack. They fly like eagles which hasten to eat, to devour, to plunder, loot and destroy.

Without armies or police forces lawlessness and violence will prevail, neither will there be any religious restraint, as the churches will have all but been destroyed, religion will be gone. This “army” composed of discontents, of marauding terrorist bands, lawless bands will be fiercer than the evening wolves, which hunt in packs at night, i.e. mobs and gangs will run ramped.

“The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining: The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run. Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devours the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array. They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march everyone on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks: A fire devours before them; and behind them a flame burns: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them.” Joel 2:10, 4,5,7,3

Everyone who is found will be thrust through, and everyone who is captured (joined unto them) will fall by the sword. Their children also will be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses will be plundered and their wives ravished.” Isa 13:15, 16

And the slain of the Lord shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground.” Jer 25:33

Continued with next post.


Excerpts taken from “The Book of Habakkuk” Brother Frank Shallieu

“A Dark Night Approaches”, Part 1

“A Dark Night Approaches”, Part 1

THE GREAT TIME OF TROUBLE

For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.” Luke 21:22

“…Watchman what of the night? Watchman, what of the night? The watchman said the morning cometh, and also the night…” (Isa 21:12)

The Morning cometh“–of that there is no doubt–“and also the night“–the dark night of distress described by Daniel as “a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation.” (Dan 12:1)

The watchman said, the morning cometh“, and though, while making this answer, he forewarns us of night, he also assures us of the morning. There is a morning, says he, therefore do not give way to faintness of spirit; but there is a night between, therefore take warning, that you may not be surprised nor dismayed, as if the promise were broken, or some strange thing allowed to befall you.

There may be delay, he intimates, before the morning–a dark delay, for which we should be prepared. During this he calls for watchfulness, for the length of the night is hidden, the time of daybreak is uncertain. We must be on the outlook, with our eyes fixed on the eastern hills (towards the sun’s risings). We have nothing wherewith to measure the hours, save the sorrows of the church and the failing of hearts.” R302 (820)

“The clouds are even yet gathering and men’s hearts are beginning to fail for fear of the approaching storm–“for fear of those things that are coming on the Earth.” Soon it will break in all its fury. But though it fills all hearts with fear and dread, in its final results, it will prove a great blessing to the earth (mankind), displacing the present order of things, the “powers of the Air” (“powers of darkness,”—spiritual wickedness in high-controlling-places“) and giving place to the “new earth”, the new order and, its rightful ruler–Jesus and his Bride, also spiritual beings (powers of the air.) So after the storm shall the “Sun of righteousness rise with healing in his wings,” and the kingdom of darkness shall give place to the kingdom of light and mankind will rejoice in the pure air and cloudless sunlight of that perfect day.” R153

Nevertheless, it is the duty of the watchman on the walls of Zion to declare the whole counsel of God the bitter as well as the sweet.

Habakkuk’s Prophecy

The Book of Habakkuk was most likely written during the reign of King Jehoiakim roughly 15 to 20 years before the invasion and destruction of Jerusalem by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon in 606 B.C.

“The name “Habakkuk” means “wrestle, wrestling”—hence the mental and moral struggle presented in Habakkuk’s prophecy. Other commentaries imply that the Hebrew name is derived from the verb habaq, “embrace.” Thus his name probably means “One who Embraces” or “Clings” And so it was that the Prophet Habakkuk chose to cling firmly to God regardless of what was transpiring at the time.

Now of course in the type the Prophet was writing about the condition of things in his day, prior to the destruction of Jerusalem, but in the antitype these things apply to conditions as they soon will be in our day, as seen through the eyes of the Great Company class, some of which are even now becoming manifest. Therefore, by extension, the Book of Habakkuk pertains to the mental and moral struggle or condition of the Great Company, a righteously inclined class who will experience severe difficulties once the Little Flock is off the earthly scene, and they enter the great time of trouble.

Hab 1:2

“O Lord, how long shall I cry,
And You will not hear?
Even cry out to you, “Violence!”
And you will not save.”

“In Verses 2–4 the prophet described his feelings and experiences at the time he gave this message. That time was shortly before judgment was to be executed upon Judah and Jerusalem in 606 BC by the Babylonians (called the Chaldeans in the Book of Habakkuk).

A turbulent picture is being described of evil conditions surrounding the righteous continually. The message begins with “O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear!” Habakkuk witnessed all the spoiling (looting), violence, strife, contention, slackness of the Law, the wicked encompassing the righteous, wrong judgment, etc.—in short, a condition of lawlessness, anarchy.

This situation was also Lot’s experience in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, which were destroyed because of iniquity. Wickedness was everywhere. Lot’s righteous soul was vexed daily by the evil conditions he saw (2 Pet. 2:8). He was extricated from Sodom just as the city was going to be destroyed, being yanked out at the last minute. In antitype, the Little Flock will not be on the scene at this time, for just as Abraham saw the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah from afar (Gen 19:1-29), so the Little Flock will witness the destruction of Christendom from heaven.”

“Certainly these words can well be applied to this “present evil world,” when God seems to many to be indifferent as to whether good or evil succeeds, and permits evil to triumph, the godly to suffer persecution, and the wicked to flourish. In view of this, the prophet asks as the representative of all who love righteousness, “How long, O Lord,” shall it be thus? *Why and for how long will evil be permitted? When shall the present evil world give place to that wherein dwells righteousness?” R622

Nevertheless we believe that this prophecy applies more specifically to the end of the age and to the great time of trouble soon to come. The time prophesied when the Beast that was, and is not and is to come again will makes its appearance once again.

At the time of this evil, prophesied by Habakkuk, the nominal churches will already have been destroyed. Hence there will be no religious restraints nor governmental restraints, for the governments will have likewise fallen. Anarchy and confusion will prevail.

Let us consider the words of Verse 2 again: “O LORD, how long shall I cry … and thou wilt not save!” Habakkuk expressed the feelings of the righteous class, who were perplexed and bewildered by what they saw and the slow response of God to correct the situation. Iniquity was abounding. “Why didn’t God stop it?” was their question.

Habakkuk reveals the thinking of the Great Company class in the future after Christendom, including the governments have been destroyed. These are the sentiments of the Great Company at that time, who will be perplexed by evil so great that the very survival of humanity will be threatened with extinction. Matt 24:22 attest to this fact, “Except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved.” Thus we believe these texts to be describingTHE GREAT TIME OF TROUBLE”.

Hab 1:3-4

“Why do you show me iniquity,
and cause me to see trouble?
For plundering and violence are before me;
there is strife, and contention arises.
Therefore the law is powerless,
and justice never goes forth.
For the wicked surround the righteous;
therefore perverse judgment proceeds
.

“Even the Great Company class, let alone the Little Flock, must feel grieved about evil. Jesus and the Little Flock love righteousness and hate iniquity, and Lot was vexed. Something would surely be amiss if the consecrated remaining after the departure the Little Flock were not greatly disturbed by the evil conditions then taking place. The Great Company class will mourn the conditions and wonder why God does not stop them.

When mystic Babylon falls, God will miraculously preserve the Great Company class who are forced out of the great nominal systems (Just as Lot having been forced out of Sodom was miraculously saved). These will be preserved by God’s mercy so that they might through the adverse conditions then prevailing wash their robes white in the blood of the Lamb. (Rev 7:14) These will be to a greater degree ignorant as to what is transpiring than those of the consecrated Bible Students who were made acquainted with “present truth” but, who nevertheless felled to make their calling and election sure. This latter group will be blessed with the mantle of Elijah that falls upon them (2 Kings 2:8-14), having seen (i.e.perceived) the taking of the Elijah class (the completion of the Church class) from amongst them.

By far, the greater number of the Great Company at the end of the age will come out of Babylon when it falls, as compared with those who are left in the Bible Student movement after the feet members go beyond the veil. These being mere “babes” especially in regards to the knowledge of the truth, present truth will be puzzled as to why God is permitting the evil conditions then transpiring. Those with a present-truth background have been specially blessed to understand this philosophy. Therefore, Habakkuk was expressing the viewpoint of the greater number, those lacking understanding, such will be praying earnestly for instruction.

Verse 4 says the evil will be all pervasive because “the law is powerless (slacked, ignored).” The Torah is a compendium of principles, and these righteous principles are supposed to be in our civil law, for American and English law are offshoots of the Mosaic Law. The law will be “slacked” in the sense that it is not being carried out or enforced because unrighteousness and lawlessness prevails.

Justice never goes forth: for the wicked [the vast majority] surround the righteous.” If the majority follows libertine ways, how can the minority control the evil? They cannot, even though righteous laws are in the books. Technically speaking, all are condemned except those in Christ, for “none [are] righteous, no, not one” (Rom. 3:10). It is true that there are some nice people in the world with good sentiments, but they are a minority. “Therefore perverse judgment proceeds (justice is perverted).”

The wicked (in far greater numbers) surround the righteous.” When Lot was in his home, the wicked inhabitants of Sodom surrounded his house. Lot’s two guests would not have gotten out safely except that they were angels. Sodom, from which Lot (the Great Company) was miraculously delivered, pictures Christendom. And so in anti-type, when the wicked beset the righteous, the wicked will be in the majority and they will prevail. Back there homosexuality and sodomy were flagrant sins of the majority. Similarly, the great majority in the future will practice evil without restraint, without restrictions.

IMPORTANT: However if proven faithful, we will not be here when this evil condition exists, when the great tribulation occurs. We should pray to escape this trouble. “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man” (Luke 21:36).”

Our study continues with Verse 5 in our next post.


Excerpts taken from “The Book of Habakkuk” Brother Frank Shallieu

*See the study on “The Permission of Evil” for more insight into this question.