Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Habakkuk 2:3

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

The vision is yet for an appointed time - The Chaldeans, who are to ruin Judea, shall afterwards be ruined themselves: but they must do this work before they receive their wages; therefore the vision is for an appointed time. But at the end it shall speak. When his work of devastation is done, his day of retribution shall take place.

Though it tarry - Though it appear to be long, do not be impatient; it will surely come; it will not tarry longer than the prescribed time, and this time is not far distant. Wait for it.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

For the vision is yet for an (the) appointed time - oNot for the present, but to develop itself in the course of time, down to a season which God only knows; as it is subsequently repeated (Daniel 11:27, for it is for the appointed time, Daniel 11:35), “for the end is yet for the appointed time Daniel 8:19; for it is for the appointed time of the end;” and is explained Daniel 10:1, Daniel 10:14, “for the vision is yet for the days Daniel 8:26; for it is for many days Ezekiel 12:27; the house of Israel say, The vision that he seeth, is for many days and he prophesieth of the times far off;” yet it should haste toward the end, toward its fulfillment, so that, if it is not at once fulfilled, it should be surely waited for. Theodotion: “It shall certainly be; not in vain hath it been shewn, but as certainly to be. For whatever hath been shown to come and to be, will come and be.”

But at the end it shall speak - o(or it breatheth, hasteth to the end), not simply “to its own fulfillment,” but to that time of the end which should close the period assigned to it, during which it should continually be putting itself forth, it should come true in part or in shadow, gleams of it should here and then part the clouds, which, until the end, should surround and envelop it.

Being God‘s truth, he speaks of it as an animate living thing, not a dead letter, but running, hasting on its course, and accomplishing on its way that for which it was sent. The will and purpose of God hasteth on, though to man it seemeth to tarry; it can neither be hurried on, nor doth it linger; before “the appointed time” it cometh not; yet it hasteth toward it, and “will not be behindhand” when the time comes. It does not lie, either by failing to come, or failing, when come, of any jot or tittle. “Though it tarry or linger”, continually appearing, giving signs of itself, yet continually delaying its coming, “wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not be behindhand”, when the time comes, Revelation 22:7, “He cometh quickly” also, as He saith; because, from Dion.: “though the delay of His coming and of the fulfillment of the vision seem long, yet, in comparison with eternity, it is very short. In His first coming, He taught why God permitteth these things; in the second coming, He shall teach by experience, how good it it is for the good to bear the persecution of the evil; whence Peter also has to say 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness.” The words seem to belong, in the first instance, to the vision itself; but the vision had no other existence or fulfillment than in Him who was the Object of it, and who, in it, was foreshadowed to the mind. The coming of the vision was no other than His coming.

The waiting, to which he exhorts, expresses the religious act, so often spoken of Psalm 33:20; Isaiah 8:17; Isaiah 30:18; Isaiah 64:3; Zephaniah 3:8; Daniel 12:12; Psalm 106:13, of waiting for God, or His counsel, or His promised time. The sense then is wholly the same, when Paul uses the words of the coming of our Lord Himself, Hebrews 10:37, “Yet a little while, and He that shall come, will come and will not tarry.” Paul, as well as Habakkuk, is speaking of our Lord‘s second coming; Paul, of His Coming in Person, Habakkuk, of the effects of that Coming; but both alike of the redressing of all the evil and wrong in the world‘s history, and the reward of the faithful oppressed. At His first coming He said, John 12:31, “Now is the judgment of this world; now shall the prince of this world be cast out.” He came to “put down the mighty from their seat, and to exalt the humble and meek Luke 1:52;” but much more in the second coming, when “He shall come to judge the world with righteousness and the people with His truth” Psalm 46:1-11:13, and to “reward every man according to his works” Matthew 16:27. At all times He seemeth continually to linger, to give signs of His coming, yet He cometh not; when the appointed season shall come, He shall be found not to be later than His word. Yea, all time shall shrink up into a little moment in the presence of a never-ending ever-present eternity.

Cyril: “Having named no one expressly, he says, wait for him, wait for him although delaying, and halt not in thy hope, but let it be rooted and firm, even if the interval be extended. For the God of all seemeth to suggest to the mind of the prophet, that He who was foretold would surely come, yet to enjoin on him to wait for Him on account of the interval. He who believeth My word shall possess life, for this is the reward of these who honor God, and a good reward of His benevolence. He who admitteth faith and love to dwell in his heart hath as a requital, unaging life and forgiveness of sins and sanctification by the Spirit.” Alb.: “He shall live; for, God is not the God of the dead but of the living Matthew 22:32, “Whoso liveth and believeth in Me, shall never die” John 11:26.

It will not lie - God vouchsafes to speak of Himself, as we should be ashamed to speak of one whom we love, teaching us that all doubts question His truth Numbers 23:19 “God is not a man, that He should lie: hath He said and shall He not do it?” “The strength of Israel shall neither lie nor repent” 1 Samuel 15:29. “God that cannot lie promised before the world began” Titus 1:2 Therefore, it follows, “wait for Him,” as Jacob says, Genesis 49:18, “I have waited for Thy salvation, O Lord.”

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
When tossed and perplexed with doubts about the methods of Providence, we must watch against temptations to be impatient. When we have poured out complaints and requests before God, we must observe the answers God gives by his word, his Spirit, and providences; what the Lord will say to our case. God will not disappoint the believing expectations of those who wait to hear what he will say unto them. All are concerned in the truths of God's word. Though the promised favour be deferred long, it will come at last, and abundantly recompense us for waiting. The humble, broken-hearted, repenting sinner, alone seeks to obtain an interest in this salvation. He will rest his soul on the promise, and on Christ, in and through whom it is given. Thus he walks and works, as well as lives by faith, perseveres to the end, and is exalted to glory; while those who distrust or despise God's all-sufficiency will not walk uprightly with him. The just shall live by faith in these precious promises, while the performance of them is deferred. Only those made just by faith, shall live, shall be happy here and for ever.
Ellen G. White
The Great Controversy, 392

Among these prophecies was that of Habakkuk 2:1-4: “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.” GC 392.1

As early as 1842 the direction given in this prophecy to “write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it,” had suggested to Charles Fitch the preparation of a prophetic chart to illustrate the visions of Daniel and the Revelation. The publication of this chart was regarded as a fulfillment of the command given by Habakkuk. No one, however, then noticed that an apparent delay in the accomplishment of the vision—a tarrying time—is presented in the same prophecy. After the disappointment, this scripture appeared very significant: “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.... The just shall live by his faith.” GC 392.2

A portion of Ezekiel's prophecy also was a source of strength and comfort to believers: “The word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, what is that proverb that ye have in the land of Israel, saying, The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth? Tell them therefore, Thus saith the Lord God.... The days are at hand, and the effect of every vision.... I will speak, and the word that I shall speak shall come to pass; it shall be no more prolonged.” “They of the house of Israel say, The vision that he seeth is for many days to come, and he prophesieth of the times that are far off. Therefore say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; There shall none of My words be prolonged any more, but the word which I have spoken shall be done.” Ezekiel 12:21-25, 27, 28. GC 392.3

Read in context »
Ellen G. White
Prophets and Kings, 386

Confident that even in this terrible judgment the purpose of God for His people would in some way be fulfilled, Habakkuk bowed in submission to the revealed will of Jehovah. “Art Thou not from everlasting, O Lord my God, mine Holy One?” he exclaimed. And then, his faith reaching out beyond the forbidding prospect of the immediate future, and laying fast hold on the precious promises that reveal God's love for His trusting children, the prophet added, “We shall not die.” Verse 12. With this declaration of faith he rested his case, and that of every believing Israelite, in the hands of a compassionate God. PK 386.1

This was not Habakkuk's only experience in the exercise of strong faith. On one occasion, when meditating concerning the future, he said, “I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what He will say unto me.” Graciously the Lord answered him: “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.” Habakkuk 2:1-4. PK 386.2

The faith that strengthened Habakkuk and all the holy and the just in those days of deep trial was the same faith that sustains God's people today. In the darkest hours, under circumstances the most forbidding, the Christian believer may keep his soul stayed upon the source of all light and power. Day by day, through faith in God, his hope and courage may be renewed. “The just shall live by his faith.” In the service of God there need be no despondency, no wavering, no fear. The Lord will more than fulfill the highest expectations of those who put their trust in Him. He will give them the wisdom their varied necessities demand. PK 386.3

Read in context »
Ellen G. White
The Story of Redemption, 366-7

Adventists, seeing that the churches rejected the testimony of God's Word, could no longer regard them as constituting the church of Christ, “the pillar and ground of the truth;” and as the message, “Babylon is fallen,” began to be proclaimed, they felt themselves justified in separating from their former connection. SR 366.1

Since the rejection of the first message, a sad change has taken place in the churches. As truth is spurned, error is received and cherished. Love for God and faith in His Word have grown cold. The churches have grieved the Spirit of the Lord, and it has been in a great measure withdrawn. SR 366.2

Read in context »
Ellen G. White
Early Writings, 236

Jesus and all the heavenly host looked with sympathy and love upon those who had with sweet expectation longed to see Him whom their souls loved. Angels were hovering around them, to sustain them in the hour of their trial. Those who had neglected to receive the heavenly message were left in darkness, and God's anger was kindled against them, because they would not receive the light which He had sent them from heaven. Those faithful, disappointed ones, who could not understand why their Lord did not come, were not left in darkness. Again they were led to their Bibles to search the prophetic periods. The hand of the Lord was removed from the figures, and the mistake was explained. They saw that the prophetic periods reached to 1844, and that the same evidence which they had presented to show that the prophetic periods closed in 1843, proved that they would terminate in 1844. Light from the Word of God shone upon their position, and they discovered a tarrying time—“Though it [the vision] tarry, wait for it.” In their love for Christ's immediate coming, they had overlooked the tarrying of the vision, which was calculated to manifest the true waiting ones. Again they had a point of time. Yet I saw that many of them could not rise above their severe disappointment to possess that degree of zeal and energy which had marked their faith in 1843. EW 236.1

Satan and his angels triumphed over them, and those who would not receive the message congratulated themselves upon their farseeing judgment and wisdom in not receiving the delusion, as they called it. They did not realize that they were rejecting the counsel of God against themselves, and were working in union with Satan and his angels to perplex God's people, who were living out the heaven-sent message. EW 236.2

The believers in this message were oppressed in the churches. For a time, those who would not receive the message were restrained by fear from acting out the sentiments of their hearts; but the passing of the time revealed their true feelings. They wished to silence the testimony which the waiting ones felt compelled to bear, that the prophetic periods extended to 1844. With clearness the believers explained their mistake and gave the reasons why they expected their Lord in 1844. Their opposers could bring no arguments against the powerful reasons offered. Yet the anger of the churches was kindled; they were determined not to listen to evidence, and to shut the testimony out of the churches, so the others could not hear it. Those who dared not withhold from others the light which God had given them, were shut out of the churches; but Jesus was with them, and they were joyful in the light of His countenance. They were prepared to receive the message of the second angel. EW 237.1

Read in context »
More Comments