The Power and the Glory.
The Minor Prophets are a neglected portion of Scripture – something I have been working to redress for the past six years. But in the Minor Prophets there are some outstanding verses: Micah 6:8; and here in chapter 2 of Habakkuk there is that foundational verse Hab 2:4; and [Habakkuk 2:3 “For the vision is yet for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; for it will certainly come, it will not delay.]There are a couple of other verses in this chapter that I just cannot pass by without further mention: [v.14] and [v.20]. [Habakkuk 2:14 “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of יהוה, as the waters cover the sea. Habakkuk 2:20 “But יהוה is in His holy temple. Let all the earth be silent before Him.”] Today I want to speak about the Power and the glory of יהוה!
Glory fills the earth: The world is filled with corruption, violence, injustice and oppression as man greedily and selfishly seeks his own kingdom, Babylon - with man as his god. It seems as if evil man is succeeding - man rules and dominates - the aggressive and assertive come out on top. So it seems - but this is not the way it will be! Hallelujah! In the midst of these woes the prophet catches a glimpse of the future Kingdom Age when all these evils will be removed [cf. Isaiah 11:9 They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth will be full of the knowledge of יהוה As the waters cover the sea.”] This prophecy will be fulfilled when David’s righteous Branch [Christ] has set up the Kingdom. The transfiguration was a preview of this happy event [Matthew 17:2 He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light.]. "The glory of the Lord," will be Christ revealed in kingly splendour [Matthew 24:30 “And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.; Matthew 25:31 “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.]. Man’s empire will be utterly destroyed! Instead of the earth being filled with the corruption and wickedness of man it will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD! Hallelujah! Because the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of יהוה, it will not be filled with the glory of man - what he has built and achieved. Man may ignore or reject יהוה but He has decreed: - "THE EARTH SHALL BE FILLED WITH THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE GLORY OF יהוה AS THE WATERS COVER THE SEA!" The earth will be saturated with the knowledge of יהוה’s glory (cf. Isaiah 40:5 Then the glory of יהוה will be revealed, And all flesh will see it together; For the mouth of יהוה has spoken.”; Jeremiah 31:34 “They will not teach again, each man his neighbour and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know יהוה,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares יהוה, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”). All will know - it will be obvious. No one will be able to deny the Truth any more. יהוה is! No longer hidden, His glory will be revealed! - Undeniably who He has said He is! He will not share His glory with another! (cf. Isaiah 42:8 I am יהוה, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another; Isaiah 48:11 “For My own sake, for My own sake, I will act; For how can My name be profaned? And My glory I will not give to another.). The earth will be FILLED with His glory - there will be no room for the glory of anyone else. Completely covered - just like the waters cover the sea! All pervading! Everywhere! If there is not water it is no longer sea - if it isn’t יהוה’s glory it isn’t the earth. Such will יהוה’s glory be universal - Him all in all.
What will it be like? “The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of יהוה, as the waters cover the sea.” We, as Christians, talk of the glory of the LORD, bandy the word “glory” about – but what do we mean by it? When it says that the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of יהוה, what is it describing? What will it be like? When someone gets the glory for doing something outstanding – they are getting the credit, the honour. We may speak of the Queen in all her glory – someone dressed in finery, majestic, splendid. A few Sunday’s ago I was in the kitchen and Beth came in, Alex had just fitted some new strip lighting and compared to previous gloom it we found it quite dazzling – I joked that the glory had filled the temple! The dazzling presence, to bright to behold or bear – that is what we think of as glory. But in the Scripture the word glory has a weight to it. The word for glory is “כְבוֹד” - it means heavy!
Fearful! Terror or awe! The glory of יהוה is FEARFUL! - It inspires fear – either reverential awe and abject worship or terror and dread. The glory of the LORD is a wonderful thing to those who are His, who long for His appearing but to the sinner it is terrifying in the extreme – no man can stand in the presence of God's glory – he is utterly consumed. Only that which is of God can remain. The first mention of the word כְבוֹד in Scripture was not an auspicious occasion – Israel was doing what it normally was doing: grumbling, there were hungry: [Exodus 16:7 and in the morning you will see the glory of יהוה for He hears your grumblings against יהוה; and what are we, that you grumble against us?”, Exodus 16:10 It came about as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the sons of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, the glory of יהוה appeared in the cloud.] - it wasn't a pleasant encounter with the glory of יהוה! They refused to enter Canaan, spies brought back a bad report, they wanted to go back to Egypt, wouldn’t listen to Caleb and Joshua Numbers 14:10 But all the congregation said to stone them with stones. Then the glory of יהוה appeared in the tent of meeting to all the sons of Israel. v.20-30 So יהוה said, “I have pardoned them according to your word; but indeed, as I live, all the earth will be filled with the glory of יהוה. “Surely all the men who have seen My glory and My signs which I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, yet have put Me to the test these ten times and have not listened to My voice, shall by no means see the land which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who spurned Me see it. “But My servant Caleb, because he has had a different spirit and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land which he entered, and his descendants shall take possession of it. “Now set out to the wilderness by the way of the Red Sea.” יהוה spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, “How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who are grumbling against Me? I have heard the complaints of the sons of Israel, which they are making against Me. “Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says יהוה, ‘just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will surely do to you; your corpses will fall in this wilderness from twenty years old and upward, who have grumbled against Me. ‘Surely you shall not come into the land in which I swore to settle you, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun.] יהוה’s glory is not to be trifled with, stops the rebellion of man. Remember Korah? Korah rebelled, wanted to take on the priesthood himself [Numbers 16:19-21 Thus Korah assembled all the congregation against them at the doorway of the tent of meeting. And the glory of יהוה appeared to all the congregation. Then יהוה spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, “Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them instantly.”, Numbers 16:31-33 As he finished speaking all these words, the ground that was under them split open; and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, and their households, and all the men who belonged to Korah with their possessions. So they and all that belonged to them went down alive to Sheol; and the earth closed over them, and they perished from the midst of the assembly.] The glory of יהוה is terrifying! But for those in right relationship the glory of יהוה is not terrifying but it still inspires fear – reverence and awe. Since I came back to the LORD I have had a fascination with the accounts of those who had a revelation of יהוה's glory. I yearn for that, don't you?
יהוה’s temple: Solomon built a magnificent temple for יהוה, it took seven years to build with vast quantities of gold, silver, brass, stone and wood. Finally the day came to dedicate the temple. So many animals were sacrificed that they couldn’t be counted. It was a magnificent temple and a magnificent occasion; finally Solomon got up on a platform and prayed to יהוה, then…. [2 Chronicles 5:11-14 When the priests came forth from the holy place ….. clothed in fine linen, with cymbals, harps and lyres, standing east of the altar, and with them one hundred and twenty priests blowing trumpets in unison when the trumpeters and the singers were to make themselves heard with one voice to praise and to glorify יהוה, and when they lifted up their voice accompanied by trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and when they praised יהוה saying, “He indeed is good for His loving-kindness is everlasting,” then the house, the house of יהוה, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of יהוה filled the house of God. 1 Kings 8:10 It happened that when the priests came from the holy place, the cloud filled the house of יהוה, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of יהוה filled the house of יהוה 2 Chronicles 7:1-3 Now when Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of יהוה filled the house. The priests could not enter into the house of יהוה because the glory of יהוה filled יהוה’s house. All the sons of Israel, seeing the fire come down and the glory of יהוה upon the house, bowed down on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave praise to יהוה, saying, “Truly He is good, truly His loving-kindness is everlasting.”.]. It was too heavy, they couldn’t stand! That is always as it is – when faced with the glory man cannot stand, he falls on his face! It was the same when the tabernacle was made too: [Exodus 40:33-38 He erected the court all around the tabernacle and the altar, and hung up the veil for the gateway of the court. Thus Moses finished the work. Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of יהוה filled the tabernacle. Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of יהוה filled the tabernacle. Throughout all their journeys whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the sons of Israel would set out; but if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out until the day when it was taken up. For throughout all their journeys, the cloud of יהוה was on the tabernacle by day, and there was fire in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel.] Glory of יהוה associated with cloud, the Shekinah glory – cloud veiling the brilliance of His unapproachable light. In Leviticus 9 the Israelites brought the sacrifices that יהוה commanded, offered their worship to יהוה [v.4 they took what Moses had commanded to the front of the tent of meeting, and the whole congregation came near and stood before יהוה. v.23 Moses and Aaron went into the tent of meeting. When they came out and blessed the people, the glory of יהוה appeared to all the people. Fire came out from before יהוה and consumed the burnt offering and the portions of fat on the altar; and when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.] – The universal reaction to יהוה’s glory. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit – the glory of should fill this temple also – it does so when true sacrifice of worship and thanksgiving is offered up to יהוה. We too should be on our faces before His glory.
Moses: I love Moses because He longed after יהוה’s glory – he prayed: [Exodus 33:18 Then Moses said, “I pray You, show me Your glory!”]. Earlier on he met with יהוה: [Exodus 3:2-6 The angel of יהוה appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed. So Moses said, “I must turn aside now and see this marvellous sight, why the bush is not burned up.” When יהוה saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then He said, “Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” He said also, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Then Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.] The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD – God is glorious, the earth is full of His glory – the trouble is that we don't see it, don't know it. But that doesn't alter the fact of God's glory – [impressed with men who saw God's glory, wanted the same. Moses' burning bush experience, shoes off on holy ground. Sought that revelation of God – but God is still the same, if Moses was on his face with his shoes off, so ought I – God is still just as holy and glorious, the problem is with my perception, my knowledge] God is glorious! This verse in Habakkuk tells of a time when all will know it, know God as He really is and honour Him as is His due. [ Exodus 24:15-17 Then Moses went up to the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. The glory of יהוה rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; and on the seventh day He called to Moses from the midst of the cloud. And to the eyes of the sons of Israel the appearance of the glory of יהוה was like a consuming fire on the mountain top.] The glory of יהוה is associated with fire/cloud/smoke.
Isaiah: Isaiah too had a revelation of יהוה: [Isaiah 6:1-7 In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw יהוה sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called out to another and said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is יהוה of armies, the whole earth is full of His glory.” And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke. Then I said, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, יהוה of armies.” Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. He touched my mouth with it and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven.”] Jesus said, concerning this passage: [John 12:41 these things Isaiah said because he saw His glory, and he spoke of Him.] Faced with יהוה’s glory Isaiah, the most righteous man in the nation, said woe is me! I am a sinner! Faced with יהוה’s glory our sin is evident [white sheep look dirty when it snows].
Daniel: Daniel was another man who was renowned for his righteousness, he too had an encounter with יהוה’s glory [Daniel 10:6-19 I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, there was a certain man dressed in linen, whose waist was girded with a belt of pure gold of Uphaz. His body also was like beryl, his face had the appearance of lightning; his eyes were like flaming torches, his arms and feet like the gleam of polished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a tumult. Now I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, while the men who were with me did not see the vision; nevertheless, a great dread fell on them, and they ran away to hide themselves. So I was left alone and saw this great vision; yet no strength was left in me, for my natural colour turned to a deathly pallor, and I retained no strength. But I heard the sound of his words; and as soon as I heard the sound of his words, I fell into a deep sleep on my face, with my face to the ground. Then behold, a hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. He said to me, “O Daniel, man of high esteem, understand the words that I am about to tell you and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you.” And when he had spoken this word to me, I stood up trembling. ….. When he had spoken to me according to these words, I turned my face toward the ground and became speechless. And behold, one who resembled a human being was touching my lips; then I opened my mouth and spoke and said to him who was standing before me, “O my lord, as a result of the vision anguish has come upon me, and I have retained no strength. “For how can such a servant of my lord talk with such as my lord? As for me, there remains just now no strength in me, nor has any breath been left in me.” Then this one with human appearance touched me again and strengthened me. He said, “O man of high esteem, do not be afraid. Peace be with you; take courage and be courageous!” Now as soon as he spoke to me, I received strength and said, “May my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.”] – totally weakened by the weight of the revelation of יהוה’s glory [Elim prayer meeting – don’t dare speak!].
Ezekiel: Haydn loves the book of Ezekiel, it has some amazing depictions of the glory of יהוה that Ezekiel saw. [Ezekiel 1:26-28 Now above the expanse that was over their heads there was something resembling a throne, like lapis lazuli in appearance; and on that which resembled a throne, high up, was a figure with the appearance of a man. Then I noticed from the appearance of His loins and upward something like glowing metal that looked like fire all around within it, and from the appearance of His loins and downward I saw something like fire; and there was a radiance around Him. As the appearance of the rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the surrounding radiance. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of יהוה. And when I saw it, I fell on my face and heard a voice speaking.] It is the universal reaction to fall on your face. In ch.10 he saw the glory depart from the temple and return in ch.43 [Ezekiel 44:4 Then He brought me by way of the north gate to the front of the house; and I looked, and behold, the glory of יהוה filled the house of יהוה, and I fell on my face.]
Job: I have just read the book of Job. יהוה gave Job a glimpse of the edges of His glory in His control over the natural world, this was Job’s response: [Job 42:5 “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees You. Therefore I retract, and I repent in dust and ashes.”]
John: Is it any different in the New Testament? The disciple closest to the Lord, head on His breast at the last supper, saw Jesus in dazzling glory on the Mount of Transfiguration yet in Revelation He sees Jesus in His glory: [Revelation 1:13-17 In the middle of the lamp-stands I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash. His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire. His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters. In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength. When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last]. Always they fall on their faces before the glory of יהוה.
יהוה’s temple will again be filled with His glory: I trust these accounts have painted a picture of something of what the glory of יהוה is like. The glory of יהוה is totally overwhelming! This glory is going to fill the earth – all will see and know it and every knee bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is LORD. [Isaiah 35:1-2 The wilderness and the desert will be glad, And the Arabah will rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it will blossom profusely and rejoice with rejoicing and shout of joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They will see the glory of יהוה, the majesty of our God. Isaiah 40:3-5 A voice is calling, “Clear the way for יהוה in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God. “Let every valley be lifted up, And every mountain and hill be made low; And let the rough ground become a plain, and the rugged terrain a broad valley; then the glory of יהוה will be revealed, and all flesh will see it together; for the mouth of יהוה has spoken.”; Isaiah 60:1-3 “Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of יהוה has risen upon you. “For behold, darkness will cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples; but יהוה will rise upon you and His glory will appear upon you. “Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.] This refers to Jesus first coming: [Luke 2:8 In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened] but also to his second – we will see Jesus in all His glory and will be transformed to be like Him . [1 John 3:2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.] We will be like Jesus in all His glory! Hallelujah! But we don’t have to wait until then, that transformation is going on right now! [ 2 Corinthians 3:13-18 We are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel would not look intently at the end of what was fading away. But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains un-lifted, because it is removed in Christ. But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.] We, His temple, will be filled with His glory. The glory of יהוה is wonderful but terrifying, purifying, consuming all evil and rebellion – they can’t coexist with יהוה’s glory. This verse in Habakkuk is a messianic hope fulfilled in Jesus first coming but also in His second. When the earth is full of the knowledge of יהוה’s glory – there will be no room for the glory of man. Man and his arrogant boasting will come to an end. Rebellion will be consumed. Finally, יהוה on His throne in heaven, in the heavenly temple, in His holy dwelling place, above all, is revealed.
Silent awe before יהוה: Here is יהוה in His glory, in His temple: [Habakkuk 2:20 “But יהוה is in His holy temple. Let all the earth be silent before Him.”] Finally every mouth is stopped. What can you say before such all consuming glory?! You cannot stand! You cannot open your mouth! [Psalm 97:1-7 יהוה reigns, let the earth rejoice; let the many islands be glad. Clouds and thick darkness surround Him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne. Fire goes before Him and burns up His adversaries round about. His lightnings lit up the world; the earth saw and trembled. The mountains melted like wax at the presence of יהוה, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth. The heavens declare His righteousness, and all the peoples have seen His glory. Let all those be ashamed who serve graven images, who boast themselves of idols; worship Him, all you gods. Zion heard this and was glad, and the daughters of Judah have rejoiced because of Your judgments, O יהוה. For You are יהוה Most High over all the earth; You are exalted far above all gods. Psalm 102:15-16 So the nations will fear the name of יהוה and all the kings of the earth Your glory. For יהוה has built up Zion; He has appeared in His glory.] When the whole earth knows, has revealed the glory of יהוה as it really is, they will be silent! Every mouth will be stopped. The loud objections and protestations of man will be stopped. No one will dare try to justify themselves. No one will dare say that God is not. That I am not answerable, that I am righteous, that I'm OK. They are faced with the reality of God and every mouth is stopped! Hallelujah! He is ruling from His holy temple! Who can speak or defend himself before Him, or argue that He is wrong. The sovereign LORD in all His GLORY is ruling! [cf. Zephaniah 1:7 Be silent before the Lord יהוה! For the day of יהוה is near, for יהוה has prepared a sacrifice, He has consecrated His guests. Zechariah 2:13 “Be silent, all flesh, before יהוה; for He is aroused from His holy habitation.”] יהוה is still God! He is still on the throne! Hallelujah! Despite the injustice and wickedness that Habakkuk perceived. God’s presence demands that the entire globe be silent before Him because His sovereign power and righteousness are operative in all the earth. יהוה has arisen in final judgement! There is absolute silence - no plea, no objection, no defence, no intercession, no cry for mercy or for more time, delaying His action. יהוה is about to act and there is nothing that anyone can do or say to prevent it. No cry that it is unjust, no excuse - all the earth is silent! In utter dread, in fear of יהוה’s awesome power, holiness and authority! The Divine order thunders; "SILENCE! It is enough! No more objections or excuses, no more petitions. יהוה is going to act in judgement and will allow no speech to come up to Him from the earth. “Silence!” - Judgement has come! (cf. Revelation 8:1 When the Lamb broke the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. Revelation 15:6-8 The seven angels who had the seven plagues came out of the temple, clothed in linen, clean and bright, and girded around their chests with golden sashes. Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God, who lives forever and ever. And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from His power; and no one was able to enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were finished.). יהוה is about to act in judgement, a description of this final judgement is given in (ch.3). We each need a personal encounter, revelation, of the glory of יהוה!