Habakkuk 2:4? False Translation or Error?
There is one very important word in Habakkuk 2:4. It is the Hebrew word number H530. Strong's dictionary defines the Hebrew word as; literally firmness; figuratively security; moral fidelity. Strong's dictionary says that this word comes from a word that basically means established, that is, (figuratively) trusty; also (abstractly) trustworthiness.
Throughout the entire King James Old Testament this word is used 49 times and is only translated as "faith" in Habakkuk 2:4. Most other locations it is translated as faithful, faithfulness, or truth.
Today's devotional verse, by A B Simpson brought my mind back to the above facts and a curiosity to refresh my understanding of the context of chapter 2.
King James Hab 2:1 - 6
I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved. And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.
For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.
Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.
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: 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!
Net Bible Hab 2:1 - 6
I will stand at my watch post; I will remain stationed on the city wall. I will keep watching, so I can see what he says to me and can know how I should answer when he counters my argument.
The LORD responded: "Write down this message! Record it legibly on tablets, so the one who announces it may read it easily.
For the message is a witness to what is decreed; it gives reliable testimony about how matters will turn out. Even if the message is not fulfilled right away, wait patiently; for it will certainly come to pass — it will not arrive late.
Look, the one whose desires are not upright will faint from exhaustion, but the person of integrity will live because of his faithfulness.
Indeed, wine will betray the proud, restless man! His appetite is as big as Sheol's; like death, he is never satisfied. He gathers all the nations; he seizes all peoples. "But all these nations will someday taunt him and ridicule him with proverbial sayings: 'The one who accumulates what does not belong to him is as good as dead (How long will this go on?) — he who gets rich by extortion!'
Following the context, in my mind, a message was to be written. A message, to be written, so as to be easily understood.
(It is interesting to me that the message has become twisted and confused. The message became a key phrase in two of Paul's letters and in the letter to the Hebrews. In English, "The just shall live by 'faith?'!"
It is kind of amazing to me that most translation hold to doctrine, in this matter, rather than Truth!
I have respect for the Net Bible, if you read their translation notes, for trying to stay faithful to the Truth. In this case, even Net Bible, though it translates Habakkuk 2:4 correctly does not carry the correction into the New Testament)
What was the message that we were to wait patiently for?
" Look, the one whose desires are not upright will faint from exhaustion, but the person of integrity will live because of his faithfulness."
This whole context is also found in other locations in the Bible. Psalms 37, especially verses 7-9 stands out in my mind at this time.
"Wait patiently for the LORD! Wait confidently for him! Do not fret over the apparent success of a sinner, a man who carries out wicked schemes!"
"Do not be angry and frustrated! Do not fret! That only leads to trouble!"
"Wicked men will be wiped out, but those who rely (wait upon H6960 -to bind together (perhaps by twisting)....) on the LORD are the ones who will possess the land."
verses 23, 24
The LORD grants success to the one whose behavior he finds commendable. Even if he trips, he will not fall headlong, for the LORD holds his hand.
(What is the heart of God throughout the Bible? I believe that you will find that God wants faithful obedience! Not in a legal sense to do just what is in the box, no more, no less, just so that I can win the prize; but from the mind, will, passion and desire to please our Father. Our source of sustenance(life, health) and vitality being to do the will of the Father, even as it was for Jesus!)
You must pursue justice alone so that you may live and inherit the land the LORD your God is giving you.
Faithful obedience was required of Adam and Eve. Faithful obedience was required of God's peculiar people from the seed of Abraham. Does not the whole of the New Testament express God's desire for His new set of peculiar people, the followers of His Son Jesus Christ, faithful obedience?
Please consider not only the heart of God, but what about the heart of Satan? What were, (and I believe still are, having never changed) the tactics the arguments that Satan uses?
First Satan wants us to give Him our attention. He will use anything to get us talking and listening to Him. Satan found the most shrewd of all the animals and somehow coned it into being His mouth-piece.
Next Satan wants us to reason with Him and eventually question and doubt the faithfulness of our Heavenly Father and what, and why God requires of us what He does. "Is it really true that God said, 'You must not eat from any tree of the orchard'?"
In answer to the death sentence for disobedience Satan says, "Surely you will not die, for God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will open and you will be like divine beings who know good and evil." God does not want us to realize our full potential, He wants to keep from us all the really greatest things in life!
So now we have listened, we have reasoned and found that everything looks and feels really great; surely God loves us and would not want to punish us. We do what Eve did, "the woman saw that the tree produced fruit that was good for food, was attractive to the eye, and was desirable for making one wise, she took some of its fruit and ate it. She also gave some of it to her husband who was with her, and he ate it."
Satan wants us to believe that we do not have to be obedient and faithful! It is a deception!
Ezekiel 18:1 - 32
The word of the LORD came to me:
"What do you mean by quoting this proverb concerning the land of Israel, " 'The fathers eat sour grapes And the children's teeth become numb?'
"As surely as I live, declares the sovereign LORD, you will not quote this proverb in Israel anymore! Indeed! All lives are mine — the life of the father as well as the life of the son is mine. The one who sins will die.
"Suppose a man is righteous. He practices what is just and right, does not eat pagan sacrifices on the mountains or pray to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbor's wife, does not have sexual relations with a woman during her period, does not oppress anyone, but gives the debtor back whatever was given in pledge, does not commit robbery, but gives his bread to the hungry and clothes the naked, does not engage in usury or charge interest, but refrains from wrongdoing, promotes true justice between men, and follows my statutes and observes my regulations by carrying them out. That man is righteous; he will certainly live, declares the sovereign LORD.
"Suppose such a man has a violent son who sheds blood and does any of these things mentioned previously (though the father did not do any of them). He eats pagan sacrifices on the mountains, defiles his neighbor's wife, oppresses the poor and the needy, commits robbery, does not give back what was given in pledge, prays to idols, performs abominable acts, engages in usury and charges interest. Will he live? He will not! Because he has done all these abominable deeds he will certainly die. He will bear the responsibility for his own death.
"But suppose he in turn has a son who notices all the sins his father commits, considers them, and does not follow his father's example. He does not eat pagan sacrifices on the mountains, does not pray to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbor's wife, does not oppress anyone or keep what has been given in pledge, does not commit robbery, gives his food to the hungry, and clothes the naked, refrains from wrongdoing, does not engage in usury or charge interest, carries out my regulations and follows my statutes. He will not die for his father's iniquity; he will surely live.
As for his father, because he practices extortion, robs his brother, and does what is not good among his people, he will die for his iniquity.
"Yet you say, 'Why should the son not suffer for his father's iniquity?' When the son does what is just and right, and observes all my statutes and carries them out, he will surely live.
The person who sins is the one who will die. A son will not suffer for his father's iniquity, and a father will not suffer for his son's iniquity; the righteous person will be judged according to his righteousness, and the wicked person according to his wickedness.
"But if the wicked person turns from all the sin he has committed and observes all my statutes and does what is just and right, he will surely live; he will not die. None of the sins he has committed will be held against him; because of the righteousness he has done, he will live.
Do I actually delight in the death of the wicked, declares the sovereign LORD? Do I not prefer that he turn from his wicked conduct and live?
"But if a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and practices wrongdoing according to all the abominable practices the wicked carry out, will he live? All his righteous acts will not be remembered; because of the unfaithful acts he has done and the sin he has committed, he will die.
"Yet you say, 'The Lord's conduct is unjust!' Hear, O house of Israel: Is my conduct unjust? Is it not your conduct that is unjust?
When a righteous person turns back from his righteousness and practices wrongdoing, he will die for it; because of the wrongdoing he has done, he will die.
When a wicked person turns from the wickedness he has committed and does what is just and right, he will preserve his life. Because he considered and turned from all the sins he had done, he will surely live; he will not die.
Yet the house of Israel says, 'The Lord's conduct is unjust!' Is my conduct unjust, O house of Israel? Is it not your conduct that is unjust?
"Therefore I will judge each person according to his conduct, O house of Israel, declares the sovereign LORD. Repent and turn from all your wickedness; then it will not be an obstacle leading to iniquity.
Throw away all your sins you have committed and fashion yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why should you die, O house of Israel? For I take no delight in the death of anyone, declares the sovereign LORD. Repent and live!
Joshua 24:15 " And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."