Thursday, October 30, 2014

Job, chapter 22, comments: good advice, wrong application

1 ¶  Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said, 2  Can a man be profitable unto God, as he that is wise may be profitable unto himself? 3  Is it any pleasure to the Almighty, that thou art righteous? or is it gain to him, that thou makest thy ways perfect? 4  Will he reprove thee for fear of thee? will he enter with thee into judgment?

Eliphaz bounces back with the rejoinder questioning how can a man assist God with his wisdom like he helps himself. God isn’t helped by Job’s self-righteousness and it doesn’t do anything for God that Job talks about how good he is. He asks rhetorical questions that clearly have a negative answer. Would God be afraid of Job or would He go along with Job because of Job’s presumed righteousness?

We would say, “Job, your self-glorification does not glorify God. He owes you nothing and all of your yapping about your innocence is just accusing God of wickedness.”

    5 ¶  Is not thy wickedness great? and thine iniquities infinite? 6  For thou hast taken a pledge from thy brother for nought, and stripped the naked of their clothing. 7  Thou hast not given water to the weary to drink, and thou hast withholden bread from the hungry. 8  But as for the mighty man, he had the earth; and the honourable man dwelt in it. 9  Thou hast sent widows away empty, and the arms of the fatherless have been broken. 10  Therefore snares are round about thee, and sudden fear troubleth thee; 11  Or darkness, that thou canst not see; and abundance of waters cover thee. 12  Is not God in the height of heaven? and behold the height of the stars, how high they are! 13  And thou sayest, How doth God know? can he judge through the dark cloud? 14  Thick clouds are a covering to him, that he seeth not; and he walketh in the circuit of heaven.

Eliphaz accuses Job of being an exceedingly wicked human being whose iniquities are infinite. Now, that is going to an extreme, but think about it. We sin against a God who is eternal and in that regard our sin is infinite. Only a God of infinite power and grace can forgive us our sins against Him.

Eliphaz accuses Job of stealing the clothing from off his brother’s back. Brother is synonymous with neighbor in this context. Here are two examples;

Exodus 32:27  And he said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour.

Leviticus 19:17  Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.

 A pledge was something you put up to guarantee a loan. The lender was only entitled to the pledge if the person asking for the loan defaulted on the loan. Later, after God had called out a people from the world’s nations for Himself, He gave them His Law which said that not only was charging interest to a brother  wicked but;

Exodus 22:25 ¶  If thou lend money to any of my people that is poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury. 26  If thou at all take thy neighbour’s raiment to pledge, thou shalt deliver it unto him by that the sun goeth down: 27  For that is his covering only, it is his raiment for his skin: wherein shall he sleep? and it shall come to pass, when he crieth unto me, that I will hear; for I am gracious.

Eliphaz accused Job of denying water to the exhausted, for we know how a drink of cool water can refresh us, and denying bread to the hungry. God’s standard for how to treat the poor was;

Deuteronomy 15:7  If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother: 8  But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth. 9  Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother, and thou givest him nought; and he cry unto the LORD against thee, and it be sin unto thee. 10  Thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him: because that for this thing the LORD thy God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto. 11  For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.

Job oppressed the poor as a man of power, held in honor, whose cause was always carried in court against the poor, Eliphaz insists. He accuses Job of sending widows away empty and of even breaking the outstretched arms of the fatherless.

Isaiah 10:1 ¶  Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed; 2  To turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless!
James 1:27  Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

Eliphaz says that this is why Job is suffering. Eliphaz compares the height or distance of God in heaven and the distance of the stars which went against commonly understood science of the time which, in some cases, put the stars at a limited distance on the inside of a sphere with the earth at the center. Here, the implication is that at least this culture understood the stars were at a great distance, comparing that distance to God’s abode in Heaven.

So, Job, Eliphaz is saying, you think God doesn’t see what you’ve done because He is as far away as the stars? He can’t see through space and time to visit your iniquity? The clouds obscure His sight as He walks around Heaven?

    15 ¶  Hast thou marked the old way which wicked men have trodden? 16  Which were cut down out of time, whose foundation was overflown with a flood: 17  Which said unto God, Depart from us: and what can the Almighty do for them? 18  Yet he filled their houses with good things: but the counsel of the wicked is far from me. 19  The righteous see it, and are glad: and the innocent laugh them to scorn. 20  Whereas our substance is not cut down, but the remnant of them the fire consumeth.

Eliphaz goes on to ask if Job has considered the historical record, most of which from this time is lost to us. So much of what we call history today is speculation and the majority of evidence is buried in the dirt and not all the spades of archeologists in the future will dig it up. We have the historical record of the events before the Flood of Noah when a civilization was founded on corruption, violence, and rebellion against God with extraterrestrial beings called the sons of God mating with human women to produce a race of genetic freaks. Their haughtiness was overthrown with a flood, for sure.

Job’s point that the wicked often seem to do well is irrelevant to Eliphaz as he points out that those wicked people were given good things by God. The wicked don’t receive those good things in spite of God but because of God and from His hand. In truth, we must acknowledge that God provides even the most heartless sinner good things and benefits in this life.

Matthew 5:45  That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

However, the good things that God gives the wicked do not draw them close to Him. Eliphaz says that the destruction of the wicked makes the righteous glad and the innocent laugh. Although destroyed by a flood they are consumed by the fires of Hell. Shall we laugh at the suffering of the wicked? Is that how a Christian is supposed to act? How does God feel about their destruction?

Ezekiel 18:23  Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?…32  For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.

Lamentations 3:33  For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.

We have the answer to why God does not work immediately against men’s evil and wickedness and why even the wicked receive good things from His hand.

2Peter 3:9 ¶  The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

    21 ¶  Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee. 22  Receive, I pray thee, the law from his mouth, and lay up his words in thine heart. 23  If thou return to the Almighty, thou shalt be built up, thou shalt put away iniquity far from thy tabernacles. 24  Then shalt thou lay up gold as dust, and the gold of Ophir as the stones of the brooks. 25  Yea, the Almighty shall be thy defence, and thou shalt have plenty of silver. 26  For then shalt thou have thy delight in the Almighty, and shalt lift up thy face unto God. 27  Thou shalt make thy prayer unto him, and he shall hear thee, and thou shalt pay thy vows. 28  Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee: and the light shall shine upon thy ways. 29  When men are cast down, then thou shalt say, There is lifting up; and he shall save the humble person. 30  He shall deliver the island of the innocent: and it is delivered by the pureness of thine hands.

Basically, Eliphaz is telling Job to repent again, to turn from his wickedness, and make God’s acquaintance, receive God’s law, and store His words in Job’s heart. These verses in Job speak for themselves and require little additional explanation to understand them.

Psalm 119:11  Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

Paul tells the Thessalonians;

1Thessalonians 4:1 ¶  Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.

Eliphaz tells Job to turn again to God and put away his sin, promising that he’ll be rewarded greatly if he does with wealth, answered prayers, and the blessing of being used by God for good things. Look at the testimony in verse 29, that Job will be able to tell men who are in dire straits and tough times that God will lift them up, presumably, if they repent. This is all great advice and very true, but misapplied to Job out of ignorance and self-righteousness. It is still important to remember that while speaking the truth these friends of Job are misrepresenting God who has not allowed Job to be hurt for anything he has done but is proving his faithfulness to Satan.

The lesson for us again is to beware of insisting upon knowledge about the reason for a thing God has allowed, knowledge we don’t have, when our calling in the context of someone’s suffering is to minister to them not to be their judge and jury.

In its simplest terms our calling in response to a brother or sister’s suffering should be;

Romans 12:15  Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.

Pontificating on how God will work this tragedy for good or trying to come up with an explanation why it happened makes you as useless a comforter as Job’s friends.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Job 21:27-34 comments: casting aspersions

27 ¶  Behold, I know your thoughts, and the devices which ye wrongfully imagine against me. 28  For ye say, Where is the house of the prince? and where are the dwelling places of the wicked? 29  Have ye not asked them that go by the way? and do ye not know their tokens, 30  That the wicked is reserved to the day of destruction? they shall be brought forth to the day of wrath. 31  Who shall declare his way to his face? and who shall repay him what he hath done? 32  Yet shall he be brought to the grave, and shall remain in the tomb. 33  The clods of the valley shall be sweet unto him, and every man shall draw after him, as there are innumerable before him. 34  How then comfort ye me in vain, seeing in your answers there remaineth falsehood?

Job says that he knows their thoughts and they have wrongfully contrived things against him. They have concluded that he is wicked and said that he has faced the day of God’s wrath. They tell him of the future they expect awaits him in his wickedness. They are not much of a comfort and, he says, they are completely wrong.

 Here is an indication that Job’s status was more than merely a man of great wealth. A prince in the Bible carries many connotations.

A prince is a ruler, a judge, and a deliverer. Compare these two verses, one from the Old Testament a reference to it from the New. Note the word substitution by the Holy Spirit guiding the writers and the translators.

Exodus 2:14  And he said, Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian? And Moses feared, and said, Surely this thing is known.

Acts 7:35  This Moses whom they refused, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge? the same did God send to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the angel which appeared to him in the bush.

We now get a clearer picture of Job’s position in that society. There are more hints given in chapter 29 and elsewhere although the comparisons may be metaphorical. Job may have been a ruler. His friends have linked him with the wicked as an explanation of why he has suffered and done so falsely. Under the Law given to Moses there was an admonition against what they have done.

Exodus 22:28  Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people.

Paul alluded to this verse which, by word substitution, gives us a definition of what it means to curse.

Acts 23:5  Then said Paul, I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest: for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people.

Jude also gave an interesting warning.

Jude 1:8 ¶  Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. 9  Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about  body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. 10  But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.

Be careful of what you say about your political leaders without knowledge but with only innuendo and gossip as your proof. The internet is notorious for coming up with outrageous accusations against leaders without actual proof other than, “it must be so,” or, “there is no other explanation.” This does not honor God and is not a good testimony toward unbelievers.

Claiming inside information on things which it is impossible for one to have and linking things together just because they happen within close relation in time or place to each other are common errors of both the uneducated and the educated carnal person, Christian or otherwise.

The Christian must accept that there are things he or she is not given to know and that drawing conclusions that cast aspersions on someone without sufficient knowledge to back them up is not glorifying to God. It also makes you look like a nutcase rather than a person of sound faith.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Job 21:17-26 comments: the inheritance passed on by the wicked

17 ¶  How oft is the candle of the wicked put out! and how oft cometh their destruction upon them! God distributeth sorrows in his anger. 18  They are as stubble before the wind, and as chaff that the storm carrieth away. 19  God layeth up his iniquity for his children: he rewardeth him, and he shall know it. 20  His eyes shall see his destruction, and he shall drink of the wrath of the Almighty. 21  For what pleasure hath he in his house after him, when the number of his months is cut off in the midst? 22  Shall any teach God knowledge? seeing he judgeth those that are high. 23  One dieth in his full strength, being wholly at ease and quiet. 24  His breasts are full of milk, and his bones are moistened with marrow. 25  And another dieth in the bitterness of his soul, and never eateth with pleasure. 26  They shall lie down alike in the dust, and the worms shall cover them.

In Psalm 73, quoted earlier, in the lamentation about how the wicked seem to prosper, the end of the Psalm reveals the writer’s final understanding of what will happen to the wicked.

Psalm 73:15 ¶  If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend against the generation of thy children. 16  When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; 17  Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. 18  Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction. 19  How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors. 20  As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image.

    21 ¶  Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins. 22  So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee. 23  Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand. 24  Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. 25  Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. 26  My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. 27  For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee. 28  But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.

Even though the wicked prosper and God’s judgment is not reckoned speedily or, as some would note, “God’s ways are sure, but they are tedious,” they do have an expected end. Whether the wicked die satisfied or in misery, it is certain that he will die and that judgment will follow, with the sin he passes on to his children being their heritage of misery.

Let me give you an example of what I am saying, inspired by the passage. The wicked man passes on his selfishness, his worship of Self, to his children and broken homes and hearts are distributed around like gifts at Christmas. Even if the children of the wicked profess to be Christians, as even the wicked man might, their god is still Self and their end is destruction, not only of themselves, their testimony, and reputation but also of their children’s lives. A “familiar spirit” may be a family spirit and the apple rarely falls too far from the tree. “Like mother like daughter, like father like son,” is not too far off the mark. Although it may sound hard a young Christian would do well to consider the family background of the person they are considering uniting their lives with and consider what chains and shackles they may be burdening themselves and their children with. Don’t make a project out of a potential mate. Your love is not going to change decades of training and experience or a heart bent on self-worship and carnality.

Young men and women should look at the parents of their potential mate for life, the family background, and consider what they are getting into. No amount of charismatic behavior or flattering and sincere sounding speech at the beginning will make up for a lifetime of misery, misery that is passed onto innocent (at first) children.

Consider this….19  God layeth up his iniquity for his children: he rewardeth him, and he shall know it. 20  His eyes shall see his destruction, and he shall drink of the wrath of the Almighty. 21  For what pleasure hath he in his house after him, when the number of his months is cut off in the midst?

God alone can change anyone who is willing to submit to Him through His word. You change nothing, highly paid motivational speakers and preachers notwithstanding. Young women should particularly understand this as they often think their love will change a wicked man. That is a sad joke and often one with a punch line told too late. While men complain that women are notorious for faking a physical response to affection it is a grim but greater truth that men can fake an entire relationship.

You have been warned. Take heed.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Job 21:1-16 comments: The wicked seem to do quite well at times, Job says

1 ¶  But Job answered and said, 2  Hear diligently my speech, and let this be your consolations. 3  Suffer me that I may speak; and after that I have spoken, mock on. 4  As for me, is my complaint to man? and if it were so, why should not my spirit be troubled? 5  Mark me, and be astonished, and lay your hand upon your mouth. 6  Even when I remember I am afraid, and trembling taketh hold on my flesh.

Job’s reply to Zophar and his other friends begins with a plea to listen carefully to him as what he is about to say has value. If they have no other comfort to give him let that be it. After that, they are free to mock him. His complaint isn’t with man, but with God. He says to pay close attention to what he says and promises they will be amazed. Even when he thinks about the day he lost everything dear to him and of value in his life he is terrified.

    7 ¶  Wherefore do the wicked live, become old, yea, are mighty in power? 8  Their seed is established in their sight with them, and their offspring before their eyes. 9  Their houses are safe from fear, neither is the rod of God upon them. 10  Their bull gendereth, and faileth not; their cow calveth, and casteth not her calf. 11  They send forth their little ones like a flock, and their children dance. 12  They take the timbrel and harp, and rejoice at the sound of the organ. 13  They spend their days in wealth, and in a moment go down to the grave. 14  Therefore they say unto God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways. 15  What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? and what profit should we have, if we pray unto him? 16  Lo, their good is not in their hand: the counsel of the wicked is far from me.

Job attempts to overthrow the idea that prosperity and happiness are proof of God’s approval and that the wicked always suffer in this life. Remember, this is before the Law given to the Jews wherein they were promised temporal success and abundance by following the civil and religious precepts contained in the Law given to Moses for them. We are not promised by our obedience that everything will be hunky-dory in this life on earth if we obey, as the Jews were promised. We have some conditions more in common with Job’s time than with the ancient Hebrews.

Keep in mind that when you are trying to understand the Bible, 1) it is written in Dispensational order but that significant points of Dispensations overlap. For instance, this is the Age of Grace but Grace is present all through the Bible. A Dispensation is not a period of time but a way of dealing with people, of managing people that God has implemented. 2) The Christian is a type of the people of Israel as a whole, not the individual Jew. 3) The promises to the Jew were physical promises for a physical people on a physical earth which they will have in eternity while the promises to the Christian, Jew or Gentile, are spiritual promises and we will reside in the New Jerusalem. The Jews as a whole were promised peace and prosperity if the people obeyed but with their disobedience wickedness flourished like weeds in a garden.

Psalm 12:8  The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted.

The Christian is promised eternal life with the Saviour but is not promised monetary success, physical health, or guaranteed peace at all times. The Jews were to draw all nations to them. The Christian goes out amongst the nations. God made the Jews a kingdom and a country, with an army, and weapons of war. The Christian belongs to Heaven and the weapons of his warfare are not carnal but spiritual.  There was a Jewish kingdom but there are no Christian nations. Only a person can be a Christian. Christianity is NOT a political religion while Judaism and Hebraism were. 4) The faithful Jew was characterized by what he did and didn’t do; ritual, service, and physical obedience while the faithful Christian is characterized by what he is and his fruit are what Christ has written on his heart not on tables of stone.  Both were expected to do right by God’s standard but the motivation and origin of their obedience is different. The Jew did not have the Holy Spirit living in him but the Christian does. For the Jew, God’s laws were the laws of the land. The Christian often finds himself in lands where the law of the land is in opposition to God and he must obey those laws as he is able. 

Job asks why the wicked live, grow old, and often have great power if the wicked are always punished and suffer for their wickedness. We might ask the same thing. How could an evil dictator like Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe still be alive in his 80’s? How could a mass murderer like Joseph Stalin live to his mid-70's? What about men of wealth and power who have no regard for God? There are many celebrities and political figures that some of you even admire who mock God, the followers of Christ, and display behaviors that are reprehensible. They exploit our fears or our pocketbooks or even blatantly steal from others by manipulation of stocks, markets, and land. Yet, these wicked people prosper and have a voice in the world.

Most of these people neither know the God of the Bible nor do they have any interest in God. They have sacrificed whatever humility and desire to know anything greater than themselves they might have had on the altar of the god, Self, because of the immense egotism required for success in their chosen fields of endeavor.
Hear David’s prayer.

Psalm 17:8 ¶  Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings, 9  From the wicked that oppress me, from my deadly enemies, who compass me about. 10  They are inclosed in their own fat: with their mouth they speak proudly. 11  They have now compassed us in our steps: they have set their eyes bowing down to the earth; 12  Like as a lion that is greedy of his prey, and as it were a young lion lurking in secret places. 13  Arise, O LORD, disappoint him, cast him down: deliver my soul from the wicked, which is thy sword: 14  From men which are thy hand, O LORD, from men of the world, which have their portion in this life, and whose belly thou fillest with thy hid treasure: they are full of children, and leave the rest of their substance to their babes. 15  As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.

And hear Jeremiah, even referring to people who pretend to be spiritual.

Jeremiah 12:1 ¶  Righteous art thou, O LORD, when I plead with thee: yet let me talk with thee of thy judgments: Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper? wherefore are all they happy that deal very treacherously? 2  Thou hast planted them, yea, they have taken root: they grow, yea, they bring forth fruit: thou art near in their mouth, and far from their reins.

Finally, let’s read a Psalm of Asaph, or at least the part that carries his complaint about the temporal success of wicked people.

Psalm 73:1 ¶  « A Psalm of Asaph. » Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart. 2  But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. 3  For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. 4  For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm. 5  They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men. 6  Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment. 7  Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish. 8  They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily. 9  They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth. 10  Therefore his people return hither: and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them. 11  And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High? 12  Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches. 13  Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency. 14  For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Job 20:23-29 comments: Zophar, doing the work of the Accuser

23 ¶  When he is about to fill his belly, God shall cast the fury of his wrath upon him, and shall rain it upon him while he is eating. 24  He shall flee from the iron weapon, and the bow of steel shall strike him through. 25  It is drawn, and cometh out of the body; yea, the glittering sword cometh out of his gall: terrors are upon him. 26  All darkness shall be hid in his secret places: a fire not blown shall consume him; it shall go ill with him that is left in his tabernacle. 27  The heaven shall reveal his iniquity; and the earth shall rise up against him. 28  The increase of his house shall depart, and his goods shall flow away in the day of his wrath. 29  This is the portion of a wicked man from God, and the heritage appointed unto him by God.

Zophar uses some frightful imagery to finish his attack on Job’s character. The wicked is about to fill his belly, presumably with his ill-gotten gains, and the fury of God’s wrath will rain down upon him while he is eating. There used to be a sarcastic saying regarding snipers in the military. It was, “don’t run, you’ll just die tired.” There is no escape from God’s judgment. Like a weapon wielded by an experienced warrior, it will pierce the wicked through, and terror shall be upon him.

The fire of Hell could very easily be described in verse 26. It is a fire, not like one prepared by man, but a fire and terror and darkness as well. Everything, heaven and earth, turns against the wicked. His wealth shall depart in the day of God’s wrath, he says, in an indirect reference to Job’s suffering.  Zophar says that this is what you get from God when you are wicked. This is your appointed fate and your inheritance.

Here, the rebellious Hebrews suffer the fate mentioned in verse 23;

Numbers 11:33  And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD smote the people with a very great plague.

Psalm 78:30  They were not estranged from their lust. But while their meat was yet in their mouths, 31  The wrath of God came upon them, and slew the fattest of them, and smote down the chosen men of Israel.

Here are examples of the thoughts carried over from verses 26-29. First, regarding what the Lord Jesus Christ will do.

Deuteronomy 32:22  For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.

Matthew 3:12  Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

Matthew 5:22  But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

Matthew 18:9  And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

Revelation 20:14  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

Here is a scene given as a warning about a Hell that is real and not some imagined state of existence.

Luke 16:19 ¶  There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: 20  And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, 21  And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22  And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 23  And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24  And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. 25  But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. 26  And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. 27  Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: 28  For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. 29  Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. 30  And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. 31  And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

The fires of Hell are real and in this time the wicked are those who, when confronted with their own state of sinfulness and offered the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ the Lord, reject Him and it. Remember the “second death” spoken of in Revelation 20:14 above?

Romans 6:23  For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Street preachers have a phrase, “born once, die twice, born twice, die once.” Why is that? Because Jesus said you must be born again, spiritually reborn, to have eternal life.

John 3:3  Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Why do you need to be reborn? Because you have inherited Adam’s sinful rebellion against God. It is your genetic inheritance, even your spiritual state of being. But it is through Jesus Christ that we are lifted up from that pit.

Romans 5:8  But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9  Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10  For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. 11  And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. 12  Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: 13  (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14  Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. 15  But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. 16  And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. 17  For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) 18  Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. 19  For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. 20  Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: 21  That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

Death and Hell and the lake of unquenchable fire are the natural destination of mankind due to his nature. There is only one way of escape from that fate.

John 14:6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

As Peter declared;

Acts 4:12  Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Keep in mind you have one opportunity.

Hebrews 9:27  And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

Something better awaits you if you choose and are chosen.

1Corinthians 2:9  But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

Zophar is like a doctor announcing the symptoms of a disease the patient to whom he is talking does not have. He has misapplied truth to the wrong person. He is attacking an innocent man, declared innocent of specific wrongdoing by God Himself as the book opened up. He is doing the work of Satan, slandering and accusing God’s man. Job is in type the Christian, declared righteous by God by virtue of the Christian’s belief and faith in Christ’s righteousness, His death on the Cross, and His resurrection from the grave, being slammed by Satan day and night without a break. Satan is saying, “he is guilty.” God has said once and for all, “No, he’s not.”

Revelation 12:10  And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Job 20:10-22 comments: Zophar implies Job has oppressed the poor

10 ¶  His children shall seek to please the poor, and his hands shall restore their goods. 11  His bones are full of the sin of his youth, which shall lie down with him in the dust. 12  Though wickedness be sweet in his mouth, though he hide it under his tongue; 13  Though he spare it, and forsake it not; but keep it still within his mouth: 14  Yet his meat in his bowels is turned, it is the gall of asps within him. 15  He hath swallowed down riches, and he shall vomit them up again: God shall cast them out of his belly. 16  He shall suck the poison of asps: the viper’s tongue shall slay him. 17  He shall not see the rivers, the floods, the brooks of honey and butter. 18  That which he laboured for shall he restore, and shall not swallow it down: according to his substance shall the restitution be, and he shall not rejoice therein. 19  Because he hath oppressed and hath forsaken the poor; because he hath violently taken away an house which he builded not; 20  Surely he shall not feel quietness in his belly, he shall not save of that which he desired. 21  There shall none of his meat be left; therefore shall no man look for his goods. 22  In the fulness of his sufficiency he shall be in straits: every hand of the wicked shall come upon him.

The wicked man of power, Job for instance, will try to make up for his wickedness by buying off the poor folks he has oppressed. This can be done for political reasons, to buy votes, or it can be for the sake of guilt. Certain modes of thought in twenty first century America burden people who have been successful with a load of guilt for having more than others even if they worked hard to get what they have. The most liberal political party has the wealthiest people in its upper ranks, I’ve read in news stories. Much of the justification for liberal, social politics is about collective guilt; guilt for poverty, for slavery, for the conquest of the native inhabitants of America, and for any number of other reasons. Whether the outcomes of such thought are good or not is not the point. The point is the reasoning behind the thought, whether one’s behavior is motivated by greed, guilt, or just a need to create a dependable voting bloc.

Zophar says in verse 11 that the wicked man carries a load of guilt from the sins of his youth. His bones are full of it and he’ll carry it to his grave.

Psalm 25:7  Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness’ sake, O LORD.

What are the sins of youth? The works of the flesh in a person’s life are clear.

Galatians 5:19  Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20  Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21  Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

The Book of Proverbs is filled with warnings to the young to avoid the pitfalls of sin and the self-destruction that comes from them. These sins have consequences that stay with a person a lifetime; sexually transmitted diseases, broken heartedness, broken families, financial ruin, and a bad reputation. They can also travel from generation to generation. One lie can affect a family over those generations. I am reminded of a person who promised his wife-to-be in 1922 that their children would be raised in her faith tradition in order to obtain her consent to marry him. His not honoring that promise resulted in generations of apostasy, superficial religion, and eventually widespread unbelief in their grandchildren and great-grandchildrens’ generations.

Verses 12 to 15 show us that while sin often is sweet to the taste the person who consumes it will become violently sick. Verse 16 compares the fruits of his labor to the venom of poisonous snakes. 17 shows that he will not get what he expected and hoped for from his wickedness. He’ll have to give back what he has stolen and more of his own.

Remembering that Job may have been the wealthiest man of his world Zophar is implying that one reason he has suffered, perhaps the essence of Job’s wickedness, is that he has oppressed the poor and stolen what little they had. Zophar declares that not only will the wicked person, like Job, suffer great loss and experience great want but that other wicked men will take advantage of his downfall.

God’s protection of and revenge for wrongs done to the poor is evident all throughout the Bible. Under the Law given to Moses it was forbidden to charge them interest on a loan and there were rules about providing for the poor.

Exodus 22:25  If thou lend money to any of my people that is poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury.

Le 23:22  And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the LORD your God.

Deuteronomy 15:7  If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother: 8  But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth.

Wicked people prey upon the poor.

Psalm 10:1 ¶  Why standest thou afar off, O LORD? why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble? 2  The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor: let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined. 3  For the wicked boasteth of his heart’s desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the LORD abhorreth. 4  The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts. 5  His ways are always grievous; thy judgments are far above out of his sight: as for all his enemies, he puffeth at them. 6  He hath said in his heart, I shall not be moved: for I shall never be in adversity. 7  His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and fraud: under his tongue is mischief and vanity. 8  He sitteth in the lurking places of the villages: in the secret places doth he murder the innocent: his eyes are privily set against the poor. 9  He lieth in wait secretly as a lion in his den: he lieth in wait to catch the poor: he doth catch the poor, when he draweth him into his net. 10  He croucheth, and humbleth himself, that the poor may fall by his strong ones. 11  He hath said in his heart, God hath forgotten: he hideth his face; he will never see it.

    12 ¶  Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up thine hand: forget not the humble.

God defends the poor.

Psalm 72:4  He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor.

Helping the poor among the brothers and sisters of the church and for other churches in distress is an essential quality of the church organism, the body of Christ on earth. This concern is one of the proofs of faith.

Romans 15:26  For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.

James 1:27  Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

    2:1 ¶  My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. 2  For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; 3  And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: 4  Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? 5  Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? 6  But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? 7  Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?...

        …14 ¶  What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 15  If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16  And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? 17  Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

God’s promise to the one who helps the poor is not a tax write-off or a smug feeling of spirituality. Much more than that is implied in God’s promise.

Proverbs 19:17  He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.

Job’s will defend his actions toward the poor. Zophar’s accusations are important in laying down the reason for that defense.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Job, 20:1-9 comments: Zophar lectures Job

1 ¶  Then answered Zophar the Naamathite, and said, 2  Therefore do my thoughts cause me to answer, and for this I make haste. 3  I have heard the check of my reproach, and the spirit of my understanding causeth me to answer. 4  Knowest thou not this of old, since man was placed upon earth, 5  That the triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite but for a moment? 6  Though his excellency mount up to the heavens, and his head reach unto the clouds; 7  Yet he shall perish for ever like his own dung: they which have seen him shall say, Where is he? 8  He shall fly away as a dream, and shall not be found: yea, he shall be chased away as a vision of the night. 9  The eye also which saw him shall see him no more; neither shall his place any more behold him.

It is not uncommon for people to assume that a person who suffers must be a bad person. In today’s pseudo-secular world (everyone is religious, especially if Self is their god) people talk about the Hindu concept of Karma, popularly considered the fate or result of one’s actions being based on what one has done, whether it be good or bad, rather than just a consequence of being alive.

When Paul was bitten by a poisonous snake it was assumed by the barbarous inhabitants of Malta that he must have been some evil person until it was realized that he wasn’t affected by the venom of the snake.

Acts 28:4  And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live.

Jesus corrected His own followers who wanted to know whose sin had caused blindness.

John 9:1 ¶  And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. 2  And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? 3  Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. (Thank you, Deryl, for reminding me of these verses in John).

Here, Zophar acts like he wasn’t even listening to Job’s talk but was like some of you who, while you pretend to be politely listening to someone, are actually just thinking about the next thing you want to say.

I get the impression that Zophar is interrupting Job; he is such a hurry to say what he’s got on his mind. He says he’s heard what Job had to say and he’s got a comeback. He refers to the, “spirit of my understanding,” like the church-lady who doesn’t know why a child got cancer but says they just know in their spirit that it was because the child was rebellious against their parents.

Zophar explains that as long as men have lived on the earth, were, “placed upon earth,” the victories of the wicked and hypocrites have been short-lived. The implication is again that Job is among them and his suffering proves it. What a self-righteous fundamentalist Zophar is! Of course, he could also be a neo-pagan, earth-worshipping modernist saying, “what goes around comes around, man.” He could be a sarcastic, rock and roll music worshipping, libertine saying in smart-aleck fashion to Job about his presumed wickedness, “how’s that working out for you, dude?” They all have the same self-righteous, know-it-all mindset.

But what Zophar says about the wicked does have it element of truth, just misapplied. Verse 6 reminds me of Lucifer’s pride and fall (Lucifer and Satan are the same person, as those names are also titles, Light-bearer and Adversary, respectively.)

Isaiah 14:12  How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13  For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14  I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. 15  Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

In 7-9 Zophar, rather vulgarly, as in, “perish for ever like his own dung,” speaks of how the person of the wicked will disappear. This parallels what Job said about himself in 7:6-8. By saying this in this way Zophar again links Job’s presumed wickedness to his sufferings. Zophar’s argument is misleading because all of us face this fate, regardless of whether we are wicked or not. Solomon saw it differently in his tedious march toward the truth.

Ecclesiastes 7:15  All things have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickedness.

Earlier on, Solomon was so pessimistic he couldn’t even see any difference between an animal and a man’s fate or value.

Ecclesiastes 3:18  I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts. 19  For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity. 20  All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. 21  Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?

So, Zophar is insisting that the wicked will come to nothing. In his worldview bad people are always punished and good people rewarded in this life. We know from history, from our own experience, and from the Bible’s record this is not necessarily the case in this life. But, Zophar is not finished yet with his attack on Job’s character.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Job 19:23-29 comments: Job speaks of resurrection

23 ¶  Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book! 24  That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever! 25  For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: 26  And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: 27  Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me. 28  But ye should say, Why persecute we him, seeing the root of the matter is found in me? 29  Be ye afraid of the sword: for wrath bringeth the punishments of the sword, that ye may know there is a judgment.

What follows is what makes this chapter one of the greatest in the Bible. Here, Job wishes that what he is saying was recorded in writing. Well, it is. Elihu, a young man who is witnessing the dialogue between Job and his friends, is writing this book. Read chapter 32. Notice these verses;

15 ¶  They were amazed, they answered no more: they left off speaking. 16  When I had waited, (for they spake not, but stood still, and answered no more;) 17  I said, I will answer also my part, I also will shew mine opinion.

Job wishes that his words were written with an iron pen and lead in, “the rock for ever!” They have been, been written in the testimony left to us by “the Rock,” who is Jesus Christ.

1Corinthians 10:4  And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

Psalm 119:89  LAMED. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.

Job says he knows that his Redeemer is alive and that He will stand on the earth in the last days. How is that for a prophecy from close to two thousand years before Christ? Job goes on to say that Job himself will see this redeemer with his own eyes even though, by then his body will have decomposed into nothing. So, Job here speaks of a resurrection from death, that he is fully expecting to happen so that he will physically, not just spiritually, but physically see his Redeemer, who we know is Christ, the Son of God, or the visible form of God. This is a physical resurrection of a physical body. Without the resurrection Christianity is just another religion created by man, a monstrosity of oppression and deceit.

Romans 8:23  And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

Isaiah spoke of a resurrection a thousand years after Job.

Isaiah 26:19  Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.

And Daniel a few hundred years after Isaiah.

Daniel 12:2  And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

Ezekiel also spoke of a physical resurrection although many insist this is metaphorical, simply about the restoration of Israel. I believe it is, on its literal level, physical regarding flesh and blood.

Ezekiel 37:1 ¶  The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, 2  And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. 3  And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest. 4  Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. 5  Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: 6  And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD. 7  So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. 8  And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. 9  Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. 10  So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. 11  Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. 12  Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. 13  And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, 14  And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.

In the record of Paul’s debate with the religious leaders of his day when he was first arrested the proof of the belief in the resurrection is evident.

Acts 23:6  But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question…8  For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both.

Acts 24:15  And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust…21  Except it be for this one voice, that I cried standing among them, Touching the resurrection of the dead I am called in question by you this day.

The Resurrection is the primary doctrine of Christianity, for without it, saying that Jesus Christ was God means nothing. Without the Resurrection, belief in the judgment of sin in eternity is a stupid and vain oppression of the spirit of man. If we die and cease to exist we have nothing but self-righteousness in this life if we are religious.

Paul said it like this;

1Corinthians 15:12 ¶  Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13  But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: 14  And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. 15  Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. 16  For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: 17  And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. 18  Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 19  If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

As noted before, in Leon Macbeth’s The Baptist Heritage, early seventeenth century Baptists held the resurrection of the dead as one of the six fundamentals of the doctrine of Christ in Hebrews, chapter 6. (28)

It is primarily by belief in Christ’s resurrection that we are saved from an eternity of destruction and agony, the natural fate of all mankind.

Romans 10:9  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Job warns his friends that they should be concerned about the judgment they face by the false standard they set up. They have accused him falsely and God’s wrath awaits them. He says that the things they accused him of are found in them. God’s people are warned about the standard they use to judge other people as it is the same standard by which they will be judged.

Matthew 7:1 ¶  Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2  For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

I doubt many Christians could stand up to the same judgment they use for other people. There is only one standard by which mankind is judged, that of Christ Himself. You are not being compared to other people. You are being compared to Christ, so we all fall short, even the most “righteous”.

(28) Macbeth, The Baptist Heritage, Kindle edition, ch. 2.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Job chapter 18 comments: Bildad's assumptions

1 ¶  Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said, 2  How long will it be ere ye make an end of words? mark, and afterwards we will speak. 3  Wherefore are we counted as beasts, and reputed vile in your sight? 4  He teareth himself in his anger: shall the earth be forsaken for thee? and shall the rock be removed out of his place?

Bildad charges Job with talking nonsense in his second attack, much like Eliphaz did previously.

Job 15:2  Should a wise man utter vain knowledge, and fill his belly with the east wind?

3  Should he reason with unprofitable talk? or with speeches wherewith he can do no good?


Bildad asks why Job thinks of his friends as having no more wisdom than an animal and why he regards them as vile. Job, like most of us, is hurting himself with his anger, and does he expect the earth to be moved for his sake?


    5 ¶  Yea, the light of the wicked shall be put out, and the spark of his fire shall not shine. 6  The light shall be dark in his tabernacle, and his candle shall be put out with him. 7  The steps of his strength shall be straitened, and his own counsel shall cast him down. 8  For he is cast into a net by his own feet, and he walketh upon a snare. 9  The gin shall take him by the heel, and the robber shall prevail against him. 10  The snare is laid for him in the ground, and a trap for him in the way.

Bildad wants Job to understand that the wicked, and this assumes that Job is among the wicked for why would he suffer were it not so, shall be destroyed. The word, straitened, from strait, in verse 7 means to be confined, to be closed in, to be narrowed. We get straitjacket from strait, meaning a jacket that strictly confines the wearer. Note in Matthew how strait is defined in the verse as narrow.

Matthew 7:14  Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

See how simple that was? Anyone can do that who has a love for God’s word. Usually it defines itself, if you let it.

Bildad points out how the wicked person’s own advice to himself will be his downfall. We are told not to trust our own counsel;

Proverbs 3:5  Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Jeremiah 10:23  O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.

Bildad says that wickedness is a trap and the wicked man is caught in it.

Proverbs 29:6a ¶  In the transgression of an evil man there is a snare…

 We are told elsewhere that the wicked person is caught in the snare that he has set himself.

Psalm 7:14  Behold, he travaileth with iniquity, and hath conceived mischief, and brought forth falsehood. 15  He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made. 16  His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate.

    11 ¶  Terrors shall make him afraid on every side, and shall drive him to his feet. 12  His strength shall be hungerbitten, and destruction shall be ready at his side. 13  It shall devour the strength of his skin: even the firstborn of death shall devour his strength. 14  His confidence shall be rooted out of his tabernacle, and it shall bring him to the king of terrors. 15  It shall dwell in his tabernacle, because it is none of his: brimstone shall be scattered upon his habitation. 16  His roots shall be dried up beneath, and above shall his branch be cut off. 17  His remembrance shall perish from the earth, and he shall have no name in the street. 18  He shall be driven from light into darkness, and chased out of the world. 19  He shall neither have son nor nephew among his people, nor any remaining in his dwellings. 20  They that come after him shall be astonied at his day, as they that went before were affrighted. 21  Surely such are the dwellings of the wicked, and this is the place of him that knoweth not God.

Bildad goes on to say that the wicked person will be paranoid and fearful, his strength will fail as if starved, and everywhere he looks destruction is close at hand. He’s not referring to what will happen at the end of history. He’s talking about on this earth and in this life now. It is different from this writing by Paul.

2Thessalonians 1:7  And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8  In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9  Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; 10  When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.

Some interesting phrases are used here. One would be, “the firstborn of death,” and another is, “the king of terrors.” Are these merely poetic personifications or do they describe something real?

The, “firstborn of death,” is not mentioned anywhere else in the Bible. In Revelation reference is made twice to killing someone with death, which, on the surface sounds redundant but many commentators have linked this with diseases such as various plagues that mysteriously, to the ancients, came upon people quickly and ferociously.

The, “king of terrors,” is also referred to as another personification of death by commentators such as the reliable Matthew Henry who links the death of Revelation 6:8 to the, “king of terrors,” here. Throughout history men have feared death as either the beginning of helpless suffering, the beginning of ceaseless non-existence, or even by their fear of uncertainty. The promise of Christ is that none of that will happen if you trust Him and in His righteousness and not your own. As Paul said…

Titus 1:2  In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began…

And John said;

1John 2:25  And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.

And Jude;

Jude 1:21  Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

And the Lord Jesus Christ Himself;

John 3:1 ¶  There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 2  The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. 3  Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4  Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? 5  Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water [natural birth – see previous verse and next verse] and of the Spirit [second birth spiritually], he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6  That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7  Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8  The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. 9  Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? 10  Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? 11  Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. 12  If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? 13  And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. 14  And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15  That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19  And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20  For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21  But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

But, who is the, “king of terrors,” and the, “firstborn of death”? 

Hebrews 2:14 ¶  Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15  And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

Bildad, like the others, is certain that the wicked suffer on this earth continually and certainly. However, our experience is that the wicked who know not God can do very well on this earth. As a matter of fact, Satan, as the, “god of this world,” has a great deal of influence in every human institution.

2Corinthians 4:4  In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

Jesus Himself pointed out a fact about the civilizations and cultures of mankind and mankind’s so-called great accomplishments.

Luke 16:15  And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.

Even our economic systems are opposed to God’s purposes.

Luke 16:13  No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

1Timothy 6:10  For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

As a result, true Bible-believing Christianity will not come from a certain class of people, usually.

1Corinthians 1:26  For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27  But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28  And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29  That no flesh should glory in his presence.

Throughout history, I would then say, that Christian religion that has propped up human government, the institutions of civilization, the standards of human culture, and evils such as slavery, abuse of women and children, a lust for violence, and greed was the anti-Church, if you will, a counterfeit of Christ’s teachings, a justification for wicked behavior, and the Church of Satan.

As a result remember and realize that very often in a democracy a politician who panders to your faith will only do so to justify and confirm your fears, your paranoia, and your bigotry, not to glorify God but to get your approval and your vote. Beware of those people who talk about God from the political stump.

Job’s friends’ view that the wicked always suffer in this life and that the righteous do not is a na├»ve, twisted view of reality based on pernicious self-righteousness and a misrepresentation of God. So it is with many modern, conservative and liberal Christians who think they have the answers to the questions about every incident of life, good or bad. Other than that God is in control and we must trust Him, you often don’t know what’s going on as this amazing book of the Bible teaches us. Christians often make the error of misrepresenting God by their false assumptions and convoluted conclusions.

Bildad’s error, like Eliphaz before him, is in assuming knowledge he doesn’t have, that Job is suffering because he must have committed a great sin and that his children were punished because of their wickedness or Job’s.