Making the Message Plain

MEMORY SELECTION: “Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.” —Habakkuk 2:2


HABAKKUK tells us in the opening passage of his book that he had a “burden” concerning matters which he “saw” in vision and which were revealed to him by God. He was told to record the vision which he saw, and to make it plain; however, as in the case of most of the prophets, he did not understand what he wrote.

In chapter two Habakkuk says, “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.”—vss. 1-3

The vision which Habakkuk saw was the promise of the kingdom. In this he was assured that all injustice would be made right and that divine power would be exercised to carry out that promise in due time. He did not realize that those who would understand his prophecy would be “running” for the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus many centuries later. To them who are called it would be plain, because they would receive the Holy Spirit. This would enable them to understand those things which had been written beforehand for their edification and instruction in the narrow way.

The vision was not to be understood until “the time of the end,” which Habakkuk says was to be the appointed time for its revealment. The Prophet Daniel was also told that the message of the kingdom was to be sealed: “But thou Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end.” (Dan. 12:4) Daniel also indicated that the “appointed time” for the unfolding of the divine plan of the ages would be marked by a time in which there would be much running to and fro throughout the earth and there would be a general increase in knowledge. It is evident that the day in which we live is well marked by both of these distinguishing characteristics.

It is evident also that we are living in the time in which the message of the kingdom is being understood and proclaimed throughout the earth. But Habakkuk tells us that although the promised kingdom blessings tarry, we should not be discouraged, because they will surely come. This is an especially interesting part of the prophecy as we note that although the word tarry appears twice within the third verse, it is translated from two different Hebrew words. In the first instance the word is taken from the Hebrew “achar” and is defined by Young as “to keep behind.” The second occurrence is from the Hebrew word “mahah,” which means “to tarry, linger, or delay.” What the prophet is saying, then, is that although the vision of the long-promised kingdom of God seems to be behind schedule, it will not be delayed, nor will it be late.

The theme of the vision is picked up and carried along in the New Testament. In this connection we are reminded of the Apostle Paul’s statement in which he says, “For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.” (Heb. 10:37) We are told (Acts 3:21) that this vision of the kingdom has been “spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began”—those prophecies literally brimming with the glad tidings of that glorious kingdom of righteousness. And John the Revelator saw the vision of that new heaven and new earth coming down from God out of heaven. Speaking of that time he says, “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.”—Rev. 21:3

May the vision of that kingdom remain in the hearts of all of the Lord’s people who read the prophecy and are running for the prize of the high calling. May they be inspired to greater faithfulness and zeal as they continue to proclaim the message of that kingdom.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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