Saturday, November 21, 2009

Misquoted verse: Hab. 2:14

For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. (Hab. 2:14)

It seems that this verse is used in Dominionist propaganda, as can be seen in the Domininist GDOP (Global Day of Prayer) vision statement. Through concerted efforts via prayer movements and other such gimmicks, the New Apostolic Reformation through the promotion of prayer enlists unsuspecting pastors and churches to bring about the kingdom of God here in this world, having as their vision their interpretation of Hab. 2:14 — which is to bring about the coming of God's Kingdom on earth such that justice would be done, people turn to Christ, crime would decrease etc. This would be achieved through concerted unified intercessory prayer (which is what the Global Day of Prayer is about), in order to bring about synergy which "somehow" works for the advancement of God's kingdom here on earth.

It must of course be stated that the goal of making society a better place is indeed laudable, and prayer is a good thing. I have addressed the problems with the GDOP in a previous blog post, and as such would not be talking about it here, rather focusing on one of the prooftext used to promote its Dominionism, Hab. 2:14.

Hab. 2:14 is situated in the prophetic books, and the verse comes in the middle of a prophesied judgment on the Chaldeans/Babylonians. Judgment is prophesied and will fall on the enemies of God. It is in this context that Hab. 2:14 can be found.

In context, the glory of God is indeed manifested in God's judgment on the Babylonians. This act of God manifest God's glory by making known His act of judgment of the wicked Chaldeans throughout the world. Through knowledge of this mighty act of God, the knowledge of God and His glory would thus fill the earth everywhere — as the waters cover the sea.

Hab 2:14 therefore teaches the mighty acts of God bearing witness to the knowledge of God's glory everywhere. In context, it applies only to the judgment of the wicked Chaldeans. In its application, it can only be used to tell us that the knowledge of God's glory will be seen in the mighty acts of God, and therefore to promote God's glory we are to proclaim the greatest act of God in the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Nowhere do we see or can find any context whereby Hab. 2:14 is said to teach that we are to bring God's glory down in this place. The Dominionist interpretation therefore fails on three counts: 1) It makes the fulfilment of this verse dependent on Man instead of God, 2) It fails to see that the glory of God is manifested in the proclamation of God's mighty acts, and not "social transformation" done by us, 3) It makes the eschatological fulfilment of this verse happen in the heaven-on-earth kingdom which they are attempting to bring down now, instead of at the final judgment.

In conclusion, Hab. 2:14 is a verse misquoted by the New Apostolic Dominionists to promote their Dominionist agenda. Instead of proclaiming the mighty acts of God as they should be doing, such people embrace the lie that they can build heaven on earth and subtly change the form of the Gospel into a message of "salvation unto social transformation (and eternal life as an add-on)" instead of salvation unto eternal life in Christ.

P.S. I have nothing against working for social improvement, but that is neither the Gospel nor a work of the Gospel! That should be rather placed under the Creation Mandate which all men Christians or not participate in, not the Great Commission.

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