Hebrews 10:36-37 Commentary

Hebrews 10:36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: upomones gar echete (2PPAI) chreian ina to thelema tou theou poiesantes (AAPMPN) komisesthe (2PAMS) ten epaggelian.
Amplified: For you have need of steadfast patience and endurance, so that you may perform and fully accomplish the will of God, and thus receive and carry away [and enjoy to the full] what is promised. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: You need fortitude so that, after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise. (Westminster Press)
NLT: Patient endurance is what you need now, so you will continue to do God's will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: Patient endurance is what you need if, after doing God's will, you are to receive what he has promised. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: for you have need of patience in order that, having done the will of God, you might receive the promise. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: for of patience ye have need, that the will of God having done, ye may receive the promise,

THE FIVE WARNING PASSAGES
IN HEBREWS

Heb 2:1-4 (notes)
Heb 3:7-4:13 (notes)
Heb 5:11-6:12 (notes)
Heb 10:19-39 (notes)
Heb 12:14-29 (notes)

FOR YOU HAVE NEED OF ENDURANCE: hupomones gar echete (2PPAI) chreian: (He 6:15; 12:1; Ps 37:7; 40:1; Mt 10:22; 24:13; Lk 8:15; 21:19; Ro 2:7; Ro 5:3,4; 8:25; 15:4,5; 1Co 13:7; Gal 6:9; Col 1:11; 1Th 1:3; Jas 1:3; Jas 1:4; 5:7, 8, 9, 10, 11; Re 13:10; 14:12)

For (gar) - pause to ponder this term of explanation.

This was the call of the hour then as now. (Lk 21:19; He 12:1) Endurance is spoken of by the writer as a necessary prerequisite to receiving the promise of God, namely, salvation through faith in the blood of Messiah.

You have need - note "have" is in the present tense indicating that you never outgrow this need.

Dave Guzik - The toughest and most discouraging trials are when we are called to obey God’s will when the fulfillment of His promise seems so far away. This is why we need endurance. Faithfulness during the time when the promise seems unfulfilled is the measure of your obedience and spiritual maturity. This endurance is built through trials, the testing of our faith (Jas 1:2, 3, 4).

Need (5532) (chreia from chraomai = to use, make use of or chreos = a debt) means a necessity, what is needed or the occasion of need.

Chreia - 49x in the NT - Mt 3:14; 6:8; 9:12; 14:16; 21:3; 26:65; Mk. 2:17, 25; 11:3; 14:63; Lk. 5:31; 9:11; 10:42; 15:7; 19:31, 34; 22:71; Jn 2:25; 13:10, 29; 16:30; Ac 2:45; 4:35; 6:3; 20:34; 28:10; Ro 12:13; 1Co. 12:21, 24; Ep 4:28, 29; Php 2:25; 4:16, 19; 1Th 1:8; 4:9, 12; 5:1; Titus 3:14; He 5:12; 7:11; 10:36; 1Jn 2:27; 3:17; Rev 3:17; 21:23; 22:5.

Endurance (5281) (hupomone [word study] from hupo = under + meno = stay, remain, abide) is literally abiding under. The root idea of hupomone is that of remaining under some discipline, subjecting one’s self to something which demands the acquiescence of the will to something against which one naturally would rebel. It portrays a picture of steadfastly and unflinchingly bearing up under a heavy load and describes that quality of character which does not allow one to surrender to circumstances or succumb under trial. The picture is that of constancy and endurance with a forward look and the ability to focus on what is beyond the current pressures. The writer sets before us our Perfect Example of Endurance, our Lord Jesus Christ…

"Who for the joy set before Him endured [verb form hupomeno] the Cross despising the shame" He 12:2-note).

And so hupomone does not describe a grim resignation or a passive "grin and bear" attitude but a triumphant facing of difficult circumstances knowing that even out of evil God guarantees good. It is courageous gallantry which accepts suffering and hardship and turns them into grace and glory.

The Jewish audience is being exhorted to remain under the persecutions and not seek to escape them by renouncing their professed faith in Messiah. Those that remained under the persecution and thus under the chastening hand of God, maintaining their faith in the Messiah, did not earn salvation but proved themselves to be true sons of God (He 12:7, Mt 13:21). Those who did not remain under this persecution, but renounced their profession to return to the sacrifices, proved themselves to be professors and not possessors (He 12:8, He 3:6-note; He 3:14-note)

R C H Lenski notes hupomone "is bravely remaining under a load and holding out. That is exactly what the readers need; having this virtue, they will not let continued affliction induce them to throw away their assurance and to think of turning from Christ because of persecution in order to seek ease and safety in the old Judaism.

Spurgeon - This is sweet counsel for you, O pilgrim, bound to Zion’s city. When you were young and strong, you walked many a weary mile with that staff of promise. It helped you over the ground. Don’t throw it aside as useless now that you are old and infirm. Lean upon it. Rest upon that promise, in your present weakness, which lightened your labor in the days of your vigor.

John Owen - The apostle does not accuse them of lacking perseverance, but reminds them about the necessity of continually exercising patience. Perseverance is the grace of suffering Christians (Jas 1:4-note; Jas 1:5-note) and the correct reaction to all tribulations (Ro 5:4, 5-note).

SO THAT WHEN YOU HAVE DONE THE WILL OF GOD YOU MAY RECEIVE WHAT WAS PROMISED: hina to thelema tou theou poiesantes (AAPMPN) komisesthe (2PAMS) ten epaggelian: (He 13:21; Mt 7:21; 12:50; 21:31; Jn 7:17; Acts 13:22,36; Ro 12:2; Ep 6:6; Col 4:12; 1Jn 2:17) (He 6:12,15,17; 9:15; Colossians 3:24; 1Peter 1:9)

So that (hina) introduces the result/benefit (see discussion of terms of purpose or result ) of maintaining one's endurance.

This is an essential prerequisite to the exercise of patience and to obtain the promised blessing. There is no promise to those who keep on doing wrong. (Note association of faith and obedience when you compare He 3:18, 19-see notes He 3:18; 19) and obtaining of the promises (He 6:12-note)

The will of God - Paul explains how believers can do the will of God, writing that it takes a voluntary whole hearted presentation of ourselves to God and then continual choosing to turn away from the world's way and allow the Spirit to renew our mind with "Godward" thoughts. Paul puts it this way…

I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove (test and approve after examination) what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Ro 12:1, 2- See notes Romans 12:1; 12:2)

Receive (2865) (komizo from komeo = tend, take care of) (Click word study on komizo) means receive back, recover, receive back what is one's own, to be recompensed or rewarded. As A T Robertson says "This is a general law of life and of God and it is fair and square." Komizo conveys the thought of getting something for oneself and carrying it off as wages or a prize. The verb implies, not mere obtaining, but receiving and carrying away for use and enjoyment. Peter is teaching that in that coming Day of Judgment at the bema seat of Christ these faithful shepherds will joyfully carry away as their own “the unfading crown of glory.” Komizo can describe a reward for good (1Pe 5:4-note, Ep 6:8-note, Col 3:25-note), not a penalty for wrong (as in 2Peter 2:13 [note] referring to the false teachers).

Wuest - The word “receive” is the translation of komizo which means “to receive and carry away for use and enjoyment.” Endurance is spoken of by the writer as a necessary prerequisite to receiving the promise of God, namely, salvation through faith in the blood of Messiah. The word “patience” is the translation of hupomone which means literally “remain under.” That is, these Jews are exhorted to remain under the persecutions and not seek to escape them by renouncing their professed faith in Messiah. Those that remained under the persecution and thus under the chastening hand of God, maintaining their faith in the Messiah, were true sons of God (Heb 12:7). Those who did not remain under this persecution, but renounced their profession to return to the sacrifices, were only unsaved professed believers (Heb 12:8). (Hebrews Commentary online)

Spurgeon - This is sweet counsel for you, O pilgrim, bound to Zion’s city. When you were young and strong, you walked many a weary mile with that staff of promise. It helped you over the ground. Don’t throw it aside as useless now that you are old and infirm. Lean upon it. Rest upon that promise, in your present weakness, which lightened your labor in the days of your vigor. There must first be the doing of the will of God, and then the reward will come afterward. God will not give to His people their full reward yet. Patience, then, brother; patience, sister. Saturday night will come one of these days; your week’s work will then be over, and you will be more than repaid for anything you have done for your Lord.

Promised (1860) (epaggelia/epangelia from epaggello = announce upon) originally meant a favorable message or an announcement. It was primarily a secular legal term denoting summons and thus was a promise to do or give something. In the NT it refers only to the promises of God (except Acts 23:21). Epaggelia is the thing promised or the gift graciously given. God is a covenant keeping God and therefore He never breaks His promises, for they are yea and amen in Christ Jesus, Who Himself is the Covenant Messenger. This grand truth should encourage you to "Hangeth thou in there" and you will receive the ultimate promise of everlasting life in His presence.

Phil Newton comments that…

These believers needed to see endurance as a necessity for persevering in the Christian life. To endure does not imply a grim resignation of your circumstances so that you keep a "stiff upper lip," as the expression goes. It is "a blazing hope; it is not the spirit which sits statically enduring in one place, but the spirit which bears things because it knows that these things are leading to a goal of glory" [Fritz Rienecker and Cleon Rogers, The Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament, 705]. Endurance must accompany the believer daily, bearing up under the threats of the world with joyous confidence in Jesus Christ.

Endurance sustains you in devotion to obeying God's will: "so that when you have done the will of God." To practice endurance will always lead you to walking in the revelation of God through the Word. We need not be confused about the will of God for our lives; it is found in the Word of God. We need only follow in obedience.

Endurance ends in a heavenly reward: "you may receive what was promised." Here is not reward based on our merit but it is the eternal reward that is ours through the merits of Christ. It is the proof of Christ's righteousness in our lives made plain through endurance that ends with the heavenly reward. (Sermons from the Epistle to the Hebrews)

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Charles Simeon

PATIENT FORTITUDE
REQUIRED

Heb. 10:35, 36.

THERE have been, to the Church of Christ, seasons of bitter persecution, and seasons of comparative tolerance and peace: but in whichever of these states we be, it becomes us not to yield to dejection on the one hand, or undue security on the other. We are soldiers on the field of battle, and must be ready to encounter our enemies whensoever they may advance against us. It will be time enough to put off our armour, when we have received our dismission from an earthly warfare, and are crowned with laurels in the realms of bliss. There had been to the Hebrew Christians seasons of severe trial, which the Apostle called to their remembrance: and it is probable, that when this epistle was written to them they enjoyed somewhat of tranquillity: but he bade them not to cast away their confidence: since they would still have need of it, as long as they should continue in the body.

In this apostolic injunction we see,

I. What state of mind befits the Christian—

The “confidence” here spoken of is a holy boldness in confessing Christ—

[This is essential to the Christian character. Not even faith itself will avail for our salvation, where this is wanting: “With the heart, man believeth unto righteousness; but, with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation.” “If we are ashamed of Christ, and deny him, he will be ashamed of us, and deny us.”

This holy fortitude we should maintain, under all circumstances. Never, for a moment, should we “cast it away.” If trials increase, we need it the more: if they abate, or even cease, we still need this divine quality; because we know not how soon it may be called for, or to what an extent it may be required.]

And it will bring its own reward along with it—

[It will keep us from all that disquietude and distraction which the menaces of the world might occasion in an unstable mind. It will induce a consistency of conduct, under all circumstances; and will bring into the soul, stability and peace. It will be to him who exercises it an unquestionable evidence of his own sincerity; and will doubtless be honoured with peculiar manifestations of the Divine favour. If more than ordinary supports are called for by reason of the augmented troubles that assault us, they shall be vouchsafed to us; even as they were to the Hebrew Youths in the furnace, when the Son of God himself condescended visibly to appear in their behalf]

To every Christian is this requisite, because of,

II. The occasion he will have for it—

Different as may be the path of different persons in some respects, in their great outline they are all the same. In their progress, all these different steps may be clearly and distinctly seen:

1. Duty—

[Every Christian “does the will of God.” To believe in Christ, to receive every thing from Christ in the exercise of faith and prayer, and to give himself up to God without reserve; this is the one habit of his mind, and the one labour of his life. From day to day he does not his own will, or the will of an ungodly world; but the will of God, as it is revealed in his blessed word.]

2. Suffering—

[This will always more or less attend a faithful discharge of our duty to God. There will now, as formerly, be seasons of comparative peace: but it is not possible for unregenerate men to love the light, whether it be set before them in the word, or be exhibited before them in the conduct of God’s faithful servants. “The servant cannot be greater than his Lord:” if they called the Master of the house Beelzebub, those of his household must assuredly expect some opprobrious designation at the least. And though, in comparison of imprisonment and death, this may be regarded as a light matter; yet is it not light, when we consider, that the names with which the godly are designated, are a signal for the world to load them with every species of obloquy and contempt.]

3. Patience—

[Our blessed Lord was “as a sheep led to the slaughter,” and, in the midst of all the indignities that were offered him, “opened not his mouth.” And in this manner his faithful followers also “possess their souls in patience.” They expect that they shall “have need of patience;” and it is their endeavour so to demean themselves under their trials, that “patience may have its perfect work; that so they may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”]

4. Glory—

[This is the object of their pursuit; and to this they press forward with all their might. They know, that “if they draw back, it must be unto perdition;” and that it is by believing only, and maintaining their faith with steadfastness, that they ever can be saved. They are well assured, that the means must be used for the attainment of the end; and that if used aright, the end shall be attained. They are well aware, that duty must be performed, suffering expected, patience exercised: and in this way they have no doubt but that glory shall be ultimately secured. “By a patient continuance in well-doing, they seek, and will obtain, eternal life.”]

Application—

1. Let us be thankful for the peace that we are privileged to enjoy—

[These are days of extraordinary toleration and candour. We cannot indeed say that “the offence of the cross has ceased:” for it never can cease, as long as the ungodly constitute the great majority of the world. But persecution, except in private circles, is but little known. The flames of martyrdom are no longer kindled amongst us, as in the days of old. Let us, then, make a due improvement of this great mercy, for the more abundant edification of our own souls, and for a more active advancement of Christ’s kingdom in the world.]

2. Let us, however, stand prepared for other days—

[No one can tell how soon the face of things may be changed. If Popery were to gain an ascendant again, it would, in all probability, bring with it all its attendant horrors. But even in private life we may be called to make severe sacrifices, and to suffer the loss of all our prospects upon earth. But let us remember, that Heaven will richly repay us for all that we may either lose or suffer: and if only we “receive at last the promise” of eternal life, we shall never have reason to regret the “patience” we exercised, and the “confidence” we maintained.]

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A Timely Letter- Young William Wilberforce was discouraged one night in the early 1790s after another defeat in his 10 year battle against the slave trade in England. Tired and frustrated, he opened his Bible and began to leaf through it. A small piece of paper fell out and fluttered to the floor. It was a letter written by John Wesley shortly before his death. Wilberforce read it again: "Unless the divine power has raised you up… I see not how you can go through your glorious enterprise in opposing that (abominable practice of slavery), which is the scandal of religion, of England, and of human nature. Unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of men and devils. But if God be for you, who can be against you? Are all of them together stronger than God? Oh, be not weary of well-doing. Go on in the name of God, and in the power of His might."

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How Many Times Have Your been Throwed? - The story is told that Andrew Jackson's boyhood friends just couldn't understand how he became a famous general and then the President of the United States. They knew of other men who had greater talent but who never succeeded. One of Jackson's friends said, "Why, Jim Brown, who lived right down the pike from Jackson, was not only smarter but he could throw Andy three times out of four in a wrestling match. But look where Andy is now." Another friend responded, "How did there happen to be a fourth time? Didn't they usually say three times and out?" "Sure, they were supposed to, but not Andy. He would never admit he was beat -- he would never stay 'throwed.' Jim Brown would get tired, and on the fourth try Andrew Jackson would throw him and be the winner." Picking up on that idea, someone has said, "The thing that counts is not how many times you are 'throwed,' but whether you are willing to stay 'throwed'." We may face setbacks, but we must take courage and go forward in faith. Then, through the Holy Spirit's power we can be the eventual victor over sin and the world. The battle is the Lord's, so there is no excuse for us to stay "throwed"!

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Let's Keep Digging - Scottish physician A. J. Cronin (1896-1981) was forced by illness to take a leave of absence from his medical practice. He then decided to write a novel. But when half done, he became disheartened and threw his manuscript into a garbage can.

Totally discouraged, Cronin was walking the Scottish Highlands and saw a man digging in a bog, trying to drain it for use as a pasture. As Cronin talked with him, the man said, "My father dug at this bog and never made a pasture. But my father knew and I know that it's only by digging you can make a pasture. So I keep on digging."

Rebuked and remotivated, Cronin went home, picked his manuscript out of the garbage can, and finished it. That novel, Hatter's Castle, sold three million copies. Cronin left his medical practice and became a world-famous writer.

At times, you and I may feel trapped by circumstances that demand patience and persistence. Are we willing to keep digging away at whatever "bog" God has assigned to us?

The book of Hebrews tells us that we have "need of endurance" (He 10:36), and that we must "run with endurance the race that is set before us" (He 12:1-note). How? By "looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith" (He 12:2-note). With Christ as our example, let's keep on digging! —Vernon C Grounds (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Whatever you're doing for Jesus today,
Be sure to keep at it—don't stop or delay;
If you are discouraged, don't give up your place,
For God will sustain you by His matchless grace. —Hess

In serving the Lord,
it's always too soon to quit.

Hebrews 10:37 FOR YET IN A VERY LITTLE WHILE, HE WHO IS COMING WILL COME, AND WILL NOT DELAY. (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: eti gar mikron oson oson, o erchomenos (PMPMSN) hexei (3SFAI) kai ou chronisei; (3SFAI)

Amplified: For still a little while (a very little while), and the Coming One will come and He will not delay. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

Barclay: For in a short time, a very short time, “He who is to come will come and he will not delay. (Westminster Press)

NLT: "For in just a little while, the Coming One will come and not delay. (NLT - Tyndale House)

Phillips: 'For yet a little while, and he who is coming will come and will not tarry. (Phillips: Touchstone)

Wuest: For yet a little, a very little while, and He who comes will come and will not delay. (Eerdmans)

Young's Literal: for yet a very very little, He who is coming will come, and will not tarry;

FOR YET IN A VERY LITTLE WHILE HE WHO IS COMING WILL COME AND WILL NOT DELAY: eti gar mikron oson oson ho erchomenos (PMPMSN) hexei (3SFAI) kai ou chronisei (3SFAI): (Isa 26:20; 60:22; Hab 2:3,4; Lk 18:8; Jas 5:7, 6, 7, 8, 9; 2Pe 3:8; Re 22:20)

For (gar) what a strategic term of explanation we find here!

Wuest - The exhortation to patience is strengthened by the promise of the soon coming of Messiah. The expression is very much stronger in the Greek text. Expositor’s translates it: “For yet a little—a very little—while and He that cometh will come and will not delay.” Another translates it: “For yet a little—ever so little—while.” The expression comes from Habakkuk 2:3. Vincent says: “In the Hebrew (Hab. 2:3), the subject of the sentence is the vision of the extermination of the Chaldees (Babylonians). ‘The vision—will surely come.’ As rendered in the LXX either Jehovah or Messiah must be the subject. The passage was referred to Messiah by the later Jewish theologians, and is so taken by our writer.” The disciples of John the Baptist asked Jesus, “Art thou He that should come or look we for another?” The expression “He that should come” is Jewish and refers to Messiah. (Hebrews Commentary online)

Related Topic: Second Coming of Christ

John Owen summarizes Heb 10:37, 38, 39 calling us to "Note three things in these verses: first, a proposal about the object of faith, which is the coming of Christ, He 10:37; second, the necessity for faith in this matter, and a warning about the definite ruin of those who shrink back, He 10:38; and, third, the apostle’s judgment about their faith, He 10:39."

Spurgeon - Then shall the Bridegroom’s attendants rejoice with unspeakable joy, because the Bridegroom Himself has come. The day of His marriage has arrived. I ask you, if you have been silent, and hung your harps on the willows, take them down at once, and sing and give praise to God for the glory which is yet to be revealed in us. Give praise for the precious things that are laid up for them that love Him, which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, but the certainty of which He has revealed unto us by His Spirit.

He is quoting from two OT passages, Isaiah 26:20 and Habakkuk 2:3 (see discussion below).

Isaiah 26:20 reads…

Come, my people, enter into your rooms, and close your doors behind you; Hide for a little while, until indignation runs its course. (Isaiah 26:20)

Comment: "The indignation" may have had a past partial fulfillment but the final, future fulfillment is during the great tribulation (the "indignation"), during the height of which many of the believing Israelites will be preserved supernaturally by God in the wilderness (Re 12:13, 14, 15-see notes Rev 12:13ff). In a secondary application, this promise will also be fulfilled for all the saints who are caught up [raptured] in the air to be with Christ forever, this event occurring just prior to the onset of the seven year "tribulation" period (see note Daniel's Seventieth Week; 1Th 4:17-note; 1Th 5:3-note). Raptured believers (Jew and Gentile) will be spared the "indignation" of the Great Tribulation.

For in just a very little while serves to underscore the emphasis in Scripture on prophetic fulfillment. In relation to eternity, it is only very little while before Christ returns.

Phil Newton - As the biblical writers so often do, this ancient pastor reminds these believers of the return of Christ. Fresh motivation to faithful endurance is found in realizing the brevity of this life and the certainty of eternity ahead. (Sermons from the Epistle to the Hebrews)

Steven Cole - The “very little while” is from God’s perspective of time, not from our perspective! The original quote in Isaiah was written to the people of Judah who were being threatened by hostile enemies. God is encouraging them to hold on for a little while, until He delivers them and judges their enemy. The point is, this present life is “a very little while” in comparison with the eternal joys of heaven. That is why Paul could call his many trials “momentary, light affliction” which was producing “an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” (2Co 4:17). To have enduring faith in trials now, get God’s eternal perspective.

It is worth noting that historically when one sees a decline in the church (especially manifest by a decline of interest in serious Bible study and pursuit of holiness and separation from this evil world system), that the members begin to lose sight of the blessed hope of Christ’s coming (Titus 2:11-note , Titus 2:12-note, Titus 2:13, 14-note). Such spiritual apathy and decrement of hope (of imminent Second Coming) often manifest itself in the church emphasizing programs rather than the Person of Christ (the One Whose return we should eagerly awaiting!) and such detours from "the Way, the Truth and the Life" (Jn 14:6) lead many to forsake sound doctrine and instead seek to have their ears tickled (see notes on Paul's warning - 2Ti 4:2-ntoe, 2Ti 3, 4-note). Loss of focus on our Future Blessed Hope (Messiah) leads the church to become increasingly more interested in social causes at the expense of spiritual causes, especially the proclamation of the Gospel. This spiritual "devolution" is highlighted by social causes becoming more appealing which in turn results in less interest on the certainty of Christ's imminent return. Scoffers arise (even in the church and sometimes, especially in the church), as Peter predicted and they question the more "radical" members (those seeking to live in the light of Christ's return) asking…

Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation." (2Pe 3:4-note).

Habakkuk 2:3-note records "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."

The Septuagint (LXX) of Habakkuk 2:3 reads slightly different from the Hebrew (the NAS text [as with all English Bibles] above is translated from the Hebrew Scripture rather than the Greek Septuagint)…

For the vision is yet for a time, and it shall shoot forth at the end, and not in vain: though he should tarry, wait for him; for he will surely come, and will not tarry.

Note that the phrase reads "It will certainly come" (NAS) rather than "He will surely come" (Septuagint). The Septuagint translation clearly gives this verse a Messianic fulfillment. Keep in mind the historical context of Habakkuk. His oracle was written about 609BC just prior to the Babylonian exile, the first stage of that exile occurring in 605BC (final stage in 586BC). Thus when he said "IT" is coming and will not delay, he was referring to the immediate fulfillment of the judgment of God on Israel in the form of Babylonian exile. But many prophecies have an immediate and a distant fulfillment and such is the case with Habakkuk 2:3-note the writer of Hebrews clearly applying it to the return of the Messiah as did the Jewish scholars who authored the Septuagint. The partial fulfillment of Habakkuk 2:3 occurred at the time of Babylonian exile but was just a shadow of the ultimate judgment to be meted out by Messiah when he returns in Re 19:11, 12, 13, 14, 15- (see notes)

It is also worthy of note that Habakkuk 2:3 was referred to Messiah by the later Jewish theologians, and clearly this is the intent of the writer of Hebrews. The disciples of John the Baptist asked Jesus,

“Art thou He that should come or look we for another?”

The expression “He that should come” is Jewish and refers to Messiah!

Habakkuk 2:3-note speaks of a revelation which is coming; Hebrews changes it to a Person who is coming. Since Jesus is both a Person and God’s final Word to mankind (Heb 1:1-note "in the last days has spoken in His Son"!), the change is appropriate.

How can we resolve in just a very little while with 2,000 years since this promise was given? Peter helps, of course, with his reminder that

“with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” (2Pe 3:8-note)

By that reckoning it has only been "two days" since Jesus left us with a promise to return (realizing that Peter was not necessarily literally equating a day with 1000 years, but was emphasizing that to God time is relative for He created it).

Further, it is a mistake to project the limitations of time into eternity future for they are two different things. Heaven (eternity future), with all its implications of “absent from the body, present with the Lord” is fully experienced at the death of a believer, and thus the "coming of the Lord" is never any further away than one’s personal death.

Remember our Lord’s ("the First and the Last") words to the persecuted church of Smyrna…

Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life (Re 2:10-note)

See Related Topic:

Imminency, Imminent - As related to Christ's Second Coming

Another discussion on imminency

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