Habakkuk Prophecy About Paul
There is a good reason to believe Habakkuk 2:2-5 from 610 BC is a prophecy about Paul and Paulinism.
While we have all been taught to see this passage is teaching about justification by faith, this is incorrect. Paul pulled a verse out of context when the words "the just shall live by HIS faith" meant to talk about the just living by the FAITH of an end-times figure who is a man of pride whose spirit was not right within himself and who tries to draw all GENTILES / NATIONS to himself in competition with God. The man's faith (i.e., Jesus is Messiah, Son of God) is right, as we shall see, but his mission was adverse to God.
The context of Habakkuk from which Paul draws actually begins with God saying this is a prophecy, and it will surely happen, and "wait for it." Here is the introduction to 2:2-5:
This vision is for a future time.
It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled.
If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently,
for it will surely take place.
It will not be delayed. (Habakkuk 2:3 NLT.)
Several scholars point out how incongruous therefore was Paul's use of the verse at 2:4 as a doctrine. Paul used it as a doctrine rather than a depiction of how the just shall live by "his" steadfast faith -- the faith of the haughty one who will draw all the Gentiles to himself:
Habakkuk 2:4 has often been taken as espousing a pan-historical principle of salvation by faith, but this overlooks the fact that Hab 2:4 is a prophecy of the end times. In order to understand this better, we need to pay attention to the flow of the book of Habakkuk. ("Paul's Use of Habakkuk 2:4.")
Habakkuk 2:4 occurs in Yahweh’s answer to Habakkuk... This answer is actually a vision that is to be written down (2:2). According to 2:3, it is a vision that concerns the time of the end. In other words, Hab 2:2-20 is an eschatological prophecy. The core of the vision is Hab 2:4. At the time of the end, there would be someone whose soul was puffed up and not upright.... (Id.)
Thus, before we study this passage, realize now that how you have been trained to read it is based upon none other than Paul's misreading of the context. How interesting then that in context, this appears to be a prophecy about Paul -- and even, as we will see, identifies the person's name as SAUL --- that is, the Hebrew letters SHL identify the one whom draws all "GENTILES / NATIONS" to himself in competition with God.
Thus, prayerfully examine whether this prophecy is actually a prophecy about Saul-Paul -- the self-proclaimed Apostle to the Gentiles.
First: Saul and Sheol Are Spelled Identically In Hebrew
First, let's study the name Saul.
The name Saul is from the Hebrew word pronounced shaw-ool. It means "asked" or "prayed" in Hebrew. In a scholarly discussion of 1 Sam. 28 when Saul -- the annointed first king of Israel -- goes to see the witch of Endor, it is mentioned parenthetically "Saul whose name is spelled like Sh'l as with the Hebrew name for Sheol, Sh'l." (Samuel Frost, "Sheol/Hades: What Is It?" (2007).)
To understand this, we need to know in ancient Hebrew, the vowels are not used. Thus, the name Sheol and Saul in ancient Hebrew were written identically, and were distinguished only by context.
While it may be a coincidence, Strong's does establish that both Saul and Sheol come from the same root word. Saul is a passive participle of the word numbered 7592 in Strong's system. And Sheol, the grave, is "from 7592," Strong's says. Thus, Saul and Sheol have an identical derivation.
If one sees other more serious and blatant problems with Paul, then this name association of Paul with Saul and then by etymological association to Sheol may be a spiritual hint from our Lord. It alone proves nothing.
Habakkuk 2:5: Does It Mention Saul-Paul?
However, one Paul critic says that the sh'l in Habakkuk 2:5 now could be translated as Saul, not Sheol/hell/grave. In 2:5, with this change, the verse would say: "Yea, also, because he transgresses by wine, he is a proud man, neither keepeth at home, who enlarges his desire as SAUL [sh'l] and is as death, and cannot be satisfied, but garnereth unto him all nations [i.e., GENTILES], and heapeth unto him all people."
If God did prophesy in one more place about Saul-Paul, we must listen. Let's now look at the broader context to see whether the passage as a whole is about Saul-Paul. As we read, bear in mind the passage states a vision experienced by the prophet Habakkuk. It was not a discussion of someone then alive in 610 BC.
First, let's read this passage in the Dead Sea Scrolls translation -- the oldest version of the OT -- dating to 250 BC. Thus, this takes away any claim that this vision was edited into the OT to point at Paul after Paul's zenith period of 40-60 AD. Thus, below is the Dead Sea Scroll version unless there is bracketed text, and that text is from post-Paul manuscript evidence for the Original Testament. The passage reads:
(2) And the Lord answered me, and said, "Write the vision and make it plain [on tablets] [that he may run] that reads it. (3) For the vision is yet [for the ap]pointed time, and it hastens [toward the end, and] shall not fail. Though [it] tarries [wait for it] because it will surely come; [it will not delay] (4) Behold the proud one, his soul is not right [within him], but the righteous shall live by his faith [or his steadfastness]. (5) [Yea, moreover, wine betrays] a haughty man so that he does not stay at home. He enlarges his desire as SHL [and he is as dea]th; he cannot be satisfied [but gathers to him]self all nations and collect[s] to himself all peoples. ... (16) [You are] filled [with shame rather than] glory. [Dr]ink you also, and [be as one uncircumcised.]....(20) But the Lord is in His Holy Temple; let all the earth keep silence before Him." (DSS Bible (1999) at 460.)
This is first of all a vision, a revelation. The focus is a man of this stripe:
a) a "proud one"
b) whose "soul is not right within him"
c) but the "righteous [one] shall live by HIS faith," i.e., the faith espoused by this proud one / the steadfast beliefs of this proud one
d) the "haughty one" does not "stay at home" i.e., he travels
e) he "enlarges his desire as SAUL / SHEOL " - both his name and his character, i.e., that which is "asked" and is "Sheol" which 'asks' for all of us one day
f) "he cannot be satisfied but gathers all nations and collects to himself all peoples." (v. 5)
g) he is circumcised, but his punishment to come is as one uncircumcised (v. 16)
h) in rebuttal to the "haughty one," God says He is in His holy temple (v. 20).
Application to Paul
A. Proud Man?
Was Paul a proud man? He said that Satan gave him a thorn to keep him humble. (2 Cor. 12:7 "the Angel of Satan to buffet me.") Paul acknowledged pride was one of his weaknesses, oddly ascribing to Satan the good work of keeping him humble. (Ummm.) More important, Paul defines a proud man as anyone who contradicts the teachings of Jesus:
If any man gives different teaching, not in agreement with the true words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the teaching which is in agreement with true religion, He has an over-high opinion of himself; being without knowledge, having only an unhealthy love of questionings and wars of words, from which come envy, fighting, cruel words, evil thoughts, (I Tim. 6:3-4, Basic Bible in English.)
And we have established that many times Paul has specific teachings that clearly contradict those of Christ. See this link. Paul's statement that one who contradicts Christ is a proud man thus properly judges Paul himself. As Jesus said 'by your words you will be judged, and by your words condemned.'
Paul made numerous remarks that were boastful, full of pride -- yet amazingly Paul had no shame doing so in letters to a spiritual community where Jesus had taught humility:
I Corinthians 14:18 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all.
I Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
II Corinthians 10:8 For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord hath given us for edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed:
II Corinthians 11:23 Are they ministers (i.e., the 12 apostles) of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.
And take a look at this verse where Paul takes the role of Christ away from Jesus, and bestows a passage talking about Jesus upon himself:
For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. (Acts 13:47)
Of course, this prophecy was not to be haughtily misread by any Christian as a command to "us" to be the "light of the Gentiles," but was a prophecy about a single person who God would glorify and hence "make" a "light FOR the Gentiles." We read in Isaiah 49:6:
"It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth." Isaiah 49:6
Paul pridefully taught likewise about himself almost as if he, Paul, were the Messiah:
But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. (Galatians 6:14.)
And aside from these proofs, if one has not noticed, Paul often speaks in very prideful tones. See 2 Cor. 11:16-22. One new reference I recently found is subtle but pay attention what action flattered Paul:
And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. Gal 4:14
Wouldn't a normal humble Christian be upset anyone mistook them as an angel or even as the Lord Jesus Christ? I think we would all be unhappy rather than pleased and complimentary to others who did so. Hence, this is just another example -- among many -- of Paul's pride -- a sin he admitted he had trouble controlling.
Hence, Paul was a man of pride by (a) contradicting Christ (1 Tim. 6:3-4); (b) boasting (1 Cor. 15:10; 2 Cor. 10:8; 11:16-22); and (c) by flattering himself in several ways -- (1) that he was commanded to be the "light of the Gentiles" in Isaiah 49:6 when instead the passage meant Christ alone was to be made by God the "light for the Gentiles;" (2) that Paul was "crucified unto the world" which is only true of Christ Himself; and (3) that some mistook Paul as an angel or even as Christ Jesus Himself (Gal. 4:14) when one should forsake any inadvertent pleasures from such misunderstandings.
If there still yet be any doubt, please also see our webpage Did Paul Have An Enormous Self-Image?
B. A Soul Not Right In Himself?
Was Paul's soul not right in himself? Paul often sounded as if he had a sin problem, or exploited sinful acts under 'an-end-justifies-the-means' mentality:
I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service. II Corinthians 11:8 (KJV)
But be it so, I did not myself burden you; but, being crafty, I caught you with guile. (2 Cor. 12:16, ASV.)
This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. I Timothy 1:15 (KJV)
For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner? Romans 3:7 (KJV)
The most important proof is Romans 7 where Paul says he is constantly beset by sin. While some resist this, the most straightforward reading of Romans 7 is that Paul admitted he was a carnal Christian. The main reason is Paul spoke in the present tense, and not about his past life. Paul says.
15For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 16If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. 17Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 18For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 21I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
Some say this is hypothetical, believing Paul could not truly be in such a mind-state. There are valiant efforts to explain the present tense as the historical present, meaning Paul was talking of his past. (John Duncan.) Others, such as Luther, Calvin and Augustine took this literally as talking of Paul's present struggles, and thus thought Paul was telling us the nature of the normal Christian life. (R. Kent Hughes, Romans: A Righteousness from Heaven (Crossway, 1991) at 142.) Hughes defends this traditional reading:
I believe this...view [of Luther, Calvin and Augustine] is correct, mainly because Paul continues to write in the first person singular but in the present tense. It seems most natural to understand this section as Paul talking about what he was then experiencing. Id. at 142.
Incidentally, this literal and traditional view was then used in our era to argue in favor of eternal security despite living as a carnal Christian. 'If Paul could do it, then why not me too?,' so went the argument. Hence, based upon Romans 7:14-24, if Paul lived a very carnal sinful Christian life, and was saved, so we too can live. Redpath, for example, said in reliance partly on Romans 7:14-24: “The carnal Christian is a child of God, born again and on his way to heaven, but he is traveling third class.” (Redpath). Thus this terrible example of Paul's morally conflicted life continues to harm the church.
More important, if read literally which is the traditional reading, then by Paul's own words, once more, we prove his soul was not right in himself.
C. The Just Shall Live By His Faith - The Faith Of This Proud Man Whose Spirit Is Not Right
Next, shall the righteous live by the faith / steadfast beliefs Paul had? Yes! Paul believed Jesus was Messiah and Son of God.
For several days he was with the disciples in Damascus, and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, [Paul-Saul] saying, "He is the Son of God." (Acts 9:19-20)
"This is the Messiah, Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you." (Acts 17:2-3)
"To this day I have had help from God, and so I stand here, testifying to both small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would take place: that the Messiah must suffer, and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles." (Acts 26:22-23)
The Paul portrayed by Luke is completely orthodox in his FAITH - Paul says "he believes in all points of the Law," (Acts 24:14); adds nothing to them (Acts 26:22-23) and his faith is simply Jesus "is the Son of God" and "Messiah." (Acts 9:19-20, 17:2-3.)
It was only in Paul's letters where he incorrectly taught a DOCTRINE about the impact / effect of such FAITH --- that it allowed him to be righteous without obedience to the Law, and, in most interpreters' eyes, without repentance and continuing obedience to any standard of righteousness. This was Paul's DOCTRINE about FAITH, but it was not his FAITH itself.
Thus, when we apply Habakkuk 2:2-5 to construe what aspect of Paul's beliefs the just must live by, it is Paul's belief in Jesus as Messiah and Son of God -- HIS FAITH -- and not his licentious lifestyle of haughtiness and pride evidently arising from his doctrine about the EFFECT of his faith.
Hence, Paul's faith as documented by Luke is the same as the apostles' faith / beliefs about Jesus. John concludes his gospel by stating his aim was that we believe Jesus was Messiah and Son of God. (John 20:30-31.) The righteous thus shall live by the faith of the proud man whose spirit is not right within him. Obviously, that faith does not make that proud man whose spirit is not right within himself truly justified in God's sight. But the righteous / just must live by the faith Paul had even though Paul admitted for himself it did not allow him to conquer sin in his own life.
D. The Haughty One Whose Faith Is Correct Does Not Stay At Home
Next, this passage says this haughty one does not stay at home. Paul indeed traveled extensively. He had no home life. While such travelling does not make one a sinner, for neither did Jesus nor any of the 12 have a true home life to speak of, we are following the lead of Habakkuk 2:2-5. We are identifying the multiple traits of this prophesied figure in Habakkuk 2:2-5. This travelling trait fits Paul too -- and is always regarded as one of his most characteristic traits, e.g., "the missionary journeys of Paul," etc.
E. He Enlarges His Desire As SHL
And the passage continues -- he enlarges his desire as SHL -- as SAUL? or as Sheol? the grave? We discussed the connection above. This is for the reader to prayerfully contemplate. It can be understood either way, and I believe this is intentional. It is a prophetic word-play here in Hebrew, using a word identical to the name of the HAUGHTY MAN, the ONE WHOSE SPIRIT IS NOT RIGHT IN HIMSELF, etc. "He enlarges his desire as SAUL" -- the name he would go by -- is just as important to hear as "He enlarges his desire as SHEOL (the grave)."
F. Gathers All Nations to Himself
Finally, this prophesied figure/man cannot be satisfied just like death cannot be satisfied, and he gathers all "nations" and "peoples" to himself. This matches Paul who claimed his ministry was exclusively to Gentiles (also known as the 'nations' in Hebrew), and he left it to the 12 to evangelize Jews. (Gal.2.)
G. Be as One Uncircumcised
The implication of verse 16 is that this individual is circumcised now, and his punishment will be to be as one uncircumcised / to become uncircumcised. In the Hebrew, it literally says "be uncircumcised." (Kugler, Religion in the Dead Sea Scrolls (Eerdman's 2000) at 71 MT text.) It is a single word -- ha arel -- "be (as one) uncircumcised," as FF Bruce confirms. (FF Bruce, A Mind For What Matters (Eerdmann's 1990) at 40.)
Thus his body as a Son of Israel who must always be circumcised (Lev 12:1-3) will be rendered as if uncircumcised. (Sojourners /Gentiles are not subject to Lev 12:3.) The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible renders it as "be as one uncircumcised" and this translation is followed by the ASV and ERV and YLT:
Thou art filled with shame, and not glory: drink thou also, and be as one uncircumcised; the cup of Yahweh's right hand shall come round unto thee, and foul shame shall be upon thy glory. Habakkuk 2:16. / be uncircumcised (YLT).
[Many mistranslations abound which render it as "be exposed as uncircumcised," but this is in error. See Kugler and Bruce, supra. This is influenced by the presupposition that Habakkuk is talking about the Chaldeans who are referenced in Habakkuk 1, and hence we should presuppose these are already uncircumcised people. See this example from Eerdman's Commentary on the Bible. But this is not what the Hebrew says. Instead, it implies this individual is a circumcised individual / Jew, just as was Paul who in God's final judgment will be treated as "one uncircumcised."]
Clearly the episode in Acts 21 shows Paul was circumcised. This proud man whose spirit is not right in himself has to be a circumcised person for this coming judgment on him to fit.
H. The Rebuff to Him Is God is in His Holy Temple
In the passage, Habakkuk prophesies God's rebuff to this man of pride. This man's spirit is not right in himself but the just shall regardless live by his faith. God rebuffs this haughty man by saying He, God, "is in His Holy Temple." (Hab. 2:20.)
Why is this a rebuff to Paul specifically...this man of pride?
Because Paul falsely taught that God does not live in temples made of human hands. In Acts 17:24, we read Paul says:
"However, the Most High does not live in temples made by men."
This is of course false Biblically. God's House was the Temple at Jerusalem, as even our Lord Jesus repeatedly said so.
Thus it is interesting to see how this passage ends with God affirming the opposite of what Paul taught -- affirming instead that He, God, indeed does live in a Temple made of human hands. It is intended as a rejoinder to this haughty man - whom we see said the opposite. This verse thus too addresses Paul.
Like Messianic prophecies, sometimes it takes time to let the traits sink in and then one sees a match. The double-meaning of SAUL's Hebrew name, and the dual use of SHL in this passage, are both intriguing once one looks at all the other similarities in the passage to Paul.
God through Habakkuk tells us Paul had the right FAITH, and we shall live by HIS FAITH, but Paul was a proud man due to his conflict with the words of Jesus. His spirit was not right within himself, as Paul's own words prove. This is also demonstrated by the haughty remarks which fill his letters. Thus, outwardly Paul had the right Christian appearance -- the right expressed Faith or Beliefs about Jesus -- but inwardly "his spirit was not right within him." And this was the vision that Habakkuk had in this prophetic passage.
This fits precisely our concern that Paul failed to heed Jesus' warning not to believe that after the Ascension anyone you meet in the wilderness who claims to be himself -- Jesus -- as Paul experienced in Acts 9:1-7 and trusted. If we are correct Paul was an innocent dupe of that self-professed "Jesus," this means Paul's faith could be correct -- Jesus is Messiah and Son of God -- but his spirit is not right in himself because the "Jesus" Paul is following is an imposter, just as Jesus warned about in Matthew 24:vv. 4-5, vv. 24-27. See our discussion of proofs this happened at this link.
Finally, Paul matches this prophecy because he gathered all the nations to himself. This is still an ongoing process to this day. A vast number are following Paul, assuming wrongly he comes with the Master's teachings to follow. The prophesied punishment of this end-times figure is to be rendered as an uncircumcised Son of Isreal who disobeyed Lev 12:1-3 and suffer accordingly.
It does appear therefore that this is another passage that God gives us as a prophecy about Paul -- not a flattering one.
God always provides warnings for His people to hear if we but listen.
Isaiah's Related Prophecy about SHL vs. Jesus
In Isaiah 28:18, God speaks of people who have a "covenant with SHL," typically translated as SHEOL or the grave. The people falsely believe this covenant will protect them from "the whip when it passes through." This means these covenant-people believe their covenant with SHL gives them salvation / protection from God's wrath. Then these people whose prophets and leaders are apostate against God's Law are at odds with what God describes as something He ALREADY LAID as a "chief cornerstone" in Zion. (Isaiah 28:16; see below.) "Behold I am the one who has LAID as a foundation in Zion....a precious cornerstone." This cornerstone is Christ, as Jesus / Yahshua made clear in Luke 20:17.
Thus, the contrast is between SHL and Jesus / Yahshua in Isaiah 28. Listen with ears to hear to verses 14-18 -- with SAUL placed besides SHEOL as an alternative translation:
14 Therefore hear the word of the LORD, you scoffers,
who rule this people in Jerusalem!
15 Because you have said, “We have made a covenant with death,
and with SAUL / Sheol we have an agreement,
when the overwhelming whip passes through
it will not come to us,
for we have made lies our refuge,
and in falsehood we have taken shelter”;
16 therefore thus says the Lord GOD,
“Behold, I am the one who has laid[c] as a foundation in Zion,
a stone, a tested stone,
a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation:
‘Whoever believes will not be in haste.’
17 And I will make justice the line,
and righteousness the plumb line;
and hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
and waters will overwhelm the shelter.”
18 Then your covenant with death will be annulled,
and your agreement with SAUL / Sheol will not stand;
when the overwhelming scourge passes through,
you will be beaten down by it.
The message then would be those relying upon a covenant with Paul / Saul, not the one renewed by the chief cornerstone Yahshua with Yahweh, have a false hope. God describes it as a covenant with death.
Incidentally: Irony of Paul's Use of Habakkuk 2:4
God directed Paul to Habakkuk 2:4 to read it as a warning about what Paul had become. But Satan blinded Paul to not recognize this is not a statement about a salvation principle -- "the just shall live by his faith" -- with "his" being a supposed reference to the penitent's faith. Rather, the "his" in "his faith" was about this man of pride who goes on missionary travels to gather the nations (Gentiles in Hebrew) to himself but whose spirit is not right within himself. This is a warning about the deception by this man of pride yet whose faith was correct.
How ironic that Paul quotes Habakkuk 2:4 twice (see Romans 1:17 and Galatians 3:11) without realizing it was a prophecy about himself. Paul was a blind guide as to this passage's meaning. Paul here mistook Habakkuk 2:4 as a doctrinal principle about salvation of 'justification by faith.' And all of us have likewise misread 2:4 by not reading the context of the verses surrounding it.
In context, 2:4 was part of a warning about a prophesied figure whose faith the just shall live by but this figure would (a) be a proud man; (b) whose spirit was not right within himself; (c) who would try to gather all the nations (i.e., Gentiles) to himself; (d) on his many travels far from home. Who but SHL (Saul) can this prophecy identify?
Ebionites Made A Similar Connection Earlier
The Christian Ebionites made a similar connection regarding Habakkuk 2:4-5 in the 1st century. Their writings were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls. In 1QpHab, known as the Habakkuk Pesher, the Poor (Ebionites) claim Habakkuk 2:4-5 "refers to the Wicked Priest who was called by the name of truth at the beginning of his office, but he became arrogant and abandoned God." The scrolls go on, saying Habakkuk 2:7-11 "concerns the priest who rebelled, the last priests of Jerusalem who have gathered spoil from the nations, but in the last days this wealth will be given into the hands of the Kittim (Roman) army. It concerns the Wicked Priest, who attempted to destroy the Teacher of Righteousness. God will deliver him into the hands of his enemies for punishment." (See this article.)
Eisenman -- a Dead Sea Scroll scholar -- deduced that the Qumram records in part came from a Christian community. In this scenario, Eisenman sees James (not Jesus) as the Teacher of Righteousness (which I disagree with) and
"'the Wicked Priest' and 'the Man of Lying' as two different adversaries of the...community, the Wicked Priest being the High Priest Ananus ben Ananus, James' executioner, and the Man of Lying, St. Paul." ("Robert Eisenman," Wikipedia.)
One can see the Ebionite community linked the Wicked Priest and the Spouter of Lies together as fulfiling Habakkuk 2's prophecy of a "proud" person who gathers the "spoil from the nations" and were enemies of the "Teacher of Righteousness."
Again, I believe Eisenman mistakes James as this teacher when it was truly Jesus. Eisenman does correctly, I believe, interpret the Ebionites as identifying Paul as the Spouter of Lies in this Habakkuk Pesher for reasons explained in my book Jesus Words Only. Hence, in effect, the Ebionites saw both the Wicked Priest and the Spouter of Lies (whether Paul or not) as fulfilling Habakkuk 2:5 as the man whose spirit is not right but gathers all the Gentiles / Nations to himself.
The Dead Sea Scrolls therefore show that others have previously tested Habakkuk 2:5 as a prophecy about a dangerous end-times figure, and not as a spiritual principle about salvation by faith.
And if Eisenman is correct the Ebionites were the Poor at Jerusalem under James, suggested by Paul's reference to collecting for the Poor (EBION in Hebrew) at Jerusalem under James' authority, then our reading of Habbakuk 2 goes back a long ways in the history of the Christian Church -- it was first advanced by the Ebionites in the 1st Century.
Other Explanations of Habakkuk 2
Some claim because Habakkuk chapter 1 specifically prophesizes about the Chaldeans (Babylonians) that this is whom Habakkuk 2 is talking about. (Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary at 362.) It says the "proud" of 2:4 was already "alluded to" in Habakkuk 1:10-11 which speaks of the Chaldeans. It also changes "his faith" into "their faith," and claims the faith is of the "godly of Judah."
But there are several incongruities to this explanation. Habakkuk 2 starts by a new vision, and this time it is an individual, not a nation, identified as full of pride.
First, let's look at Habakkuk 1:10-11 in the KJV. After verse 6 introduces the Chaldeans, we read in 1:10-11:
10And they shall scoff at the kings, and the princes shall be a scorn unto them: they shall deride every strong hold; for they shall heap dust, and take it. 11Then shall his mind change, and he shall pass over, and offend, imputing his power unto his god.
The alleged allusion is to the pride of those who scoff at kings. This is in the plural in 1:10, but a singular figure in Habakkuk 2. Verse 11 begins to change to "his" but still does not speak of any single individual who is prideful so it could be linked to the later vision in Habakkuk 2. Also, the "faith" of this prideful individual in chapter two is the faith by which the just shall live, even though the "heart is not right within" this prideful man in Habakkuk 2. So this cannot be the same person as in 1:11 who has a wrong faith in another god which faith the just could never live by. Finally,the figure in Habakuk 2 is circumcised and his punishment is to become as one uncircumcised. Chaldeans were an uncircumcised nation. Hence, Habakkuk 2:4 is not a reference to the Chaldeans.
Reviews of This Article
This is powerful! I have told you in the past that my family did not trust Paul! The deception is in every church in one form or another. As I try to tell a Pauline friend you will find truth in the churches but you will not find the full and complete Truth in any church there by leaving Satan's deceit to fill the churches. (Michael D. November 6, 2011.)
As I was reading your comments about Paul of Tarsus and your hypothesis that perhaps Habbaquq referred to him, I thought that you might appreciate a transliteration of the verse 5
Reu vaggoyim vehabbitu vehittammehu tomahu ki-PHOAL POEIL bimmekheim lo tha'aminu ki yesupar
Look ye among the gentiles and ye shall behold a sight beyond belief; for look now as I PERFORM A WONDER in your days, ye will not accept it even if it is explained to you
& Chapter 2 verse 4
Hinneih UPELA lo yashrah naphsho bo; vetzaddiq, be'emunatho yicheyeh
Here is he,THE HAUGHTY ONE, his soul is not sincere; but a righteous man will live in accordance with his steadfast conviction
As anyone can see from these two examples, not only does Habbaquq hint of Paul but literally spells out his name (and this is simply one set of examples---there are countless others).
There are literally scores of other examples found throughout the TaNaKh as well as the Gospels when rendered in Hebrew. I am certain that The Holy One, blessed is He has led you to these conclusions that many of us among the Jews have seen for centuries (though mostly by accident). Happy hunting!
P.S. If I can be of any assistance in your research please feel free to e-mail me. I read Hebrew, Aramaic, some Coptic, Greek and Latin.
Yada Yahweh on Habakkuk Applying to Paul (YouTube 11/28/2014) - Yada does detailed exposition on Hebrew words using Dead Sea Scrolls version of Habakkuk, and applies to Paul as fulfilling.
S'Aul in Hebrew
We read that Paul's Hebrew name of S'Aul was "consonantally named in the Book of Habakkuk (which, recall, didn't have diacritical vowel marking ascribed to it until absolutely no earlier than the 6th century C.E., and possibly not until the 10th or 11th century)...." See link at page 4.
Tarsus as Location of Gateway to Hell (Sheol)
The fact Paul's Jewish name is Saul and he comes from Tarsus itself may be more than a coincidence. It can be another message from our Lord that Paul is not what he appears to be. Tarsus was identified with Hell in ancient Greek mythology. Outside of Tarsus -- about 65 miles -- across a desert were two caves separated by 100 meters / 328 feet. One is called Heaven and the other Hell. They figured prominently in Greek mythology of Paul's day.
In Greek mythology, the myth of Zeus was he was trapped in a cave called Heaven which was in the vicinity of Tarsus -- 65 miles (conversion) or 105 km away. (There was a desert between Tarsus and this cave of Heaven.) Zeus escapes and then puts Typhon into the adjoining pit of Hell (328 feet from the Cave of Heaven) -- similarly near Tarsus, until Typhon burrows in the earth and explodes in the volcanic eruption in Mt. Etna.
The legend tells the story that the Titan Typhon, half animal monster and half gigantic human, held Zeus captive in the cave of Heaven. During the battle of good and evil, Zeus slyly maneuvered the situation and won the battle against the titan. Zeus imprisoned Typhon in the cave of hell until he could bury Typhon under Mount Etna in Italy. (Travel Enlightenment.)
The Turkey Travel Planner gives you another brief version:
The Cavern of Hell (Cehennem), 100 meters uphill from Heaven, is a smaller depression with steeper sides, 30 meters in diameter and 120 meters deep. Luckily, its walls are too steep to allow access, so you can't descend into it (in other words, you can't Go To Hell).
Of course, the two caves figure prominently in ancient Greek myths, according to which Typhon, a fire-breathing 100-headed dragon, battles Zeus, king of the gods. Zeus is defeated and imprisoned in these chasms. Hermes and Pan rescue Zeus, who goes after Typhon again, defeats him and buries him in the earth, but Typhon's fire-breath issues from the earth as what we know as Mt Etna, the active volcano in Italy.
The Wikipedia article on Cilicia explains:
Heaven & Hell, situated on a large hill north of Narl?kuyu, consists of the grabens result from assoil of furrings for thousands of years. Natural phenomena of the grabens is named 'Hell & Heaven' because of the exotic effects on people. From an ancient path, 260 meter long mythological giant Typhon's cave can be accessible.