Monday, July 28, 2014

Job 2:4-6 comments: skin for skin

4  And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. 5  But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face. 6  And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.

A question arises, “Why is God speaking to Satan? Aren’t they enemies?”

Satan speaks to God and is spoken to by God on other occasions. Here in Zechariah, the Lord’s appearance, the angel of His presence (Isaiah 63:9), calls on the Lord to rebuke Satan as an example to us who should never challenge him directly.

Zechariah 3:1 ¶  And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. 2  And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?

(Jude, verse 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 the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.)

Here, Jesus, God in the flesh, is tested by Satan and they carry on a conversation.

Luke 4:1 ¶  And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2  Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered. 3  And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. 4  And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God. 5  And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6  And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. 7  If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. 8  And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. 9  And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: 10  For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: 11  And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. 12  And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. 13  And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.

And Satan stands now before God, similar to Job’s time, accusing us all of our wicked sins.

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.

…and our defense?

1John 2:1 ¶  My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2  And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

As said previously Satan is not God’s equal. That myth came from the Persian religion, and was adopted by the state church at Rome and Constantinople, where there were two opposing but equal, uncreated, and eternal entities existing under one god, one good force and one destructive. Satan was, in reality, created by God and is under God’s power and God can unleash him knowing he will destroy whom he can. God did this with heathen nations, under Satan’s authority, against Israel, allowing them to be built up for the express purpose of bringing judgment on Israel.

Simply here, Satan insists that, while Job has remained faithful so far in all of this tragedy, he will break if his own person is attacked. God gives Satan permission to do what he will, only he must spare Job’s life.

Remember that Satan’s purpose is to get Job to curse God, to speak evil or maliciously toward his Creator. We are completely dependent upon God’s mercy and grace. We can be turned over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh. This shocking idea is an affront to humanism because the very idea that God is our sovereign and that we are dependent upon Him, not Him upon us, is a horrifying idea to the humanist or the carnal Christian.

If a Christian suffers persecution because he or she is a witness for the gospel it is because the world hates Christ and we understand that. If a Christian suffers tribulation because of their sin (smoking resulting in lung cancer, etc.) we understand that.  If a Christian suffers as they age because in our fallen state all can grow old and die we understand that although we don’t understand how a person can live to be a hundred and smoke a pack of cigarettes a day and someone just be around second-hand smoke and get cancer as a young person. We get confused when things start to not make sense by our sense of order and appear to be happening randomly. The Book of Job attacks the concept of randomness but underscores the idea of the unknowability of the reason behind some events.

I want to help you here understand in your heart that teachers and preachers who proclaim that they know the reason for all things, for all suffering, and for all tribulation in your life don’t necessarily know beans about anything. How dare they misrepresent God? Misrepresenting Him is the worst type of cursing Him. A person who is swallowed up in grief might be excused for being angry with God in their heart but how can you justify continually misrepresenting God and God’s words for control over your congregation or for political influence? We will see this misrepresentation underscored later in our study in Job.

Here is a further example of someone being turned over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh.

1Corinthians 5:1 ¶  It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. 2  And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. 3  For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, 4  In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5  To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

We learn later that this destruction was of an emotional nature for your thoughts and feelings are part of your flesh (Ephesians 2:3), removing him from the congregation temporarily.

2Corinthians 2:5 ¶  But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overcharge you all. 6  Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. 7  So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. 8  Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him. 9  For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things. 10  To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; 11  Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.

Paul admonished the church not to give Satan too much influence in this man’s misery and repentance as discouragement caused by an unforgiving attitude when an offender is truly repentant is one method by which he draws Christians away. Here is another example;

1Timothy 1:19  Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: 20  Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.

Of course in today’s consumer driven Christianity where the church has given the care of its members over to the government, and where church membership is simply a matter of showing up enough times, church discipline results in you simply finding a church body that doesn’t know how wicked you can be. The man in Corinth, who had sexual relations with his step-mother, would have probably just changed churches or even denominations today as he was welcomed in his search for a “seeker-friendly,” church.

At this point, Job’s health, but not his life, is in Satan’s hands.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Job 2:1-3 comments: round 2 of Job's troubles begin

1 ¶  Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD. 2  And the LORD said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. 3  And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.

It would be logical to assume that time works differently in the spiritual world, which is not confined by the processes and decay of the temporal, physical world. We don’t know when his meeting was held and in our sense of time it could have been soon after the first. His friends have not come to him yet or, having heard of his first great calamities, were just preparing to come to him. Job, who has suffered the very things he feared the most, now must deal with an attack on his person.

Notice here the interaction between Satan and God. God acknowledges that Job was attacked without a cause. There was no cause and effect reason for Job to suffer. You could not point to something he did that merited his great tragedy. Unlike human suffering that we see in our own lives at times and almost every day in the news we get to see here what is going on in the world of spiritual beings.

The meaning of any text we read has to be, first, what it literally says. Any other meaning may be its significance to your life, to prophecy, or some other consideration but, first and foremost, what is it saying and to whom specifically is it saying it. (8) Literally, its meaning is that God has been proving Job’s faithfulness to Satan and Job has done nothing on his own to deserve such treatment, whatever else you wish to read into it as being significant.

Every student of history has two tasks he or she is faced with when they read a text; one, “why was it written,” and, two, “why was it preserved?”(9) Clearly, the Holy Spirit had it written and preserved for our learning and understanding, as Paul said in Romans 15:4. We should get something out of this that supersedes our human-centered viewpoints on how much knowledge we can actually have regarding why people we think of as good suffer.

In Thornton Wilder’s famous book The Bridge of San Luis Rey a number of people die because a bridge collapses and there is an attempt to find a cosmic meaning tying all the unrelated people’s deaths together. It fails. No reason can be found. Although Calvinists would reject this conclusion the Bible warns us thousands of years ago that this may be so. Think of the harm done to well-intentioned Christians’ faith by our refusing to believe the Bible and reading back our own bigotry and self-righteousness into events. This will be an important theme later.
God has told Satan, in 1:8 and here in 2:3, that Job is a singular person, that there is none like him in the earth. Job is the ultimate example of a Godly man of his time. There is no one on earth like Job. Remember how Solomon was called the wisest of men?

1Kings 4:29  And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore. 30  And Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt.

1Kings 10:23  So king Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth for riches and for wisdom.24  And all the earth sought to Solomon, to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart.

And yet, for all of his wisdom he still did foolish things so he was not exempt from man’s fallen condition.

1Kings 11:4  For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.

Nehemiah 13:26  Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? yet among many nations was there no king like him, who was beloved of his God, and God made him king over all Israel: nevertheless even him did outlandish women cause to sin.

So it is that the greatest saint of the day during the time the Book of Job was set in suffered terrible tribulation and was not exempt from it by his righteousness, even though he did everything he could to prevent that trouble. Should not this be a lesson and a warning to the average Christian today? Has not God, from the beginning, alerted you as to the sometime mystery of suffering.

Most of the tragedy in my own life I caused by my sinful acts and attitudes. Others have suffered by the sin of others. Job is proof that we can suffer horrible things through no fault of our own, as well. Do you think you are exempt from suffering because you are a faithful Christian?

Romans 8:15  For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16  The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

2Timothy 2:12a  If we suffer, we shall also reign with him

A brief study of the history of Christianity will show that many Godly, dedicated saints have met martyrdom in some of the most hideous ways for no other reason than their being faithful to Christ.

“he holdeth fast his integrity.” We are blessed today particularly, in this dispensation, that we can turn to Christ, through the Holy Spirit, to give us strength in time of trouble. We, unlike Job, who is dependent upon his own righteousness, have Christ’s righteousness imputed or credited to us by virtue of the faith God has given to us. If only Job could have had the Spirit of God residing in him, as we do, to comfort him as we do in our distresses.

(8) E.D. Hirsch, Validity in Interpretation (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1967).

(9) Stephen Todd, “The Use and Abuse of Attic Orators,”  Greece & Rome, Second Series, Vol. 37, No. 2 (Oct., 1990), 164. (From a paper delivered at Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1988.)

Friday, July 25, 2014

Job 1:20-22 Bible study: grief and anguish

20 ¶  Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, 21  And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. 22  In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.

Tearing one’s clothes is a sign of mourning and grief.

Genesis 37:29  And Reuben returned unto the pit; and, behold, Joseph was not in the pit; and he rent his clothes. 30  And he returned unto his brethren, and said, The child is not; and I, whither shall I go?

Shaving the head apparently was a pre-Law custom for signifying mourning and loss. This and other heathen rituals regarding the expression of grief and loss were forbidden to the Hebrew under the Law.

Leviticus 21:1 ¶  And the LORD said unto Moses, Speak unto the priests the sons of Aaron, and say unto them, There shall none be defiled for the dead among his people: 2  But for his kin, that is near unto him, that is, for his mother, and for his father, and for his son, and for his daughter, and for his brother, 3  And for his sister a virgin, that is nigh unto him, which hath had no husband; for her may he be defiled. 4  But he shall not defile himself, being a chief man among his people, to profane himself. 5  They shall not make baldness upon their head, neither shall they shave off the corner of their beard, nor make any cuttings in their flesh.

Falling to the ground is a position of worship. In fact, being prostrate on your face is a sign of submission and humility before God.

Joshua 5:13 ¶  And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?14  And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant?

1Corinthians 14:24  But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: 25  And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.

 Job’s lament brings to mind this verse by Paul…

1Timothy 6:7  For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.

…and these verses…

Genesis 3:19  In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

Psalm 49:16  Be not thou afraid when one is made rich, when the glory of his house is increased; 17  For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him.

But, Job eschewed evil speaking against God. As explained previously he refrained his tongue from such evil. The fact that you grieve at loss, or suffer emotionally at the death of someone you love is not sin, nor is it evidence of a lack of faith. It is what we who are tied to this world, in this body, naturally do when that which we cherish is removed and our worst fears are realized.

Death is inevitable.

Ecclesiastes 8:8  There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it.

And, although we who have the faith of God know it is but for a short time the loss we experience now is real and bitter.

2Corinthians 5:6  Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 7  (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 8  We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

Would you bless the name of the Lord if He permitted everything you love and everything you worked for to be taken from you? Or is your devotion conditional upon having a pleasant time of life and then dying peacefully in your sleep? The Book of Job should be a warning to those who are trying to make a business deal with God; worship, faithfulness to church, and good works in exchange for guarantees of a relatively pain-free life.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Job 1:13-19 comments: when disaster strikes

13 ¶  And there was a day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house: 14  And there came a messenger unto Job, and said, The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them: 15  And the Sabeans fell upon them, and took them away; yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. 16  While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. 17  While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The Chaldeans made out three bands, and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away, yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. 18  While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house: 19  And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

Job gets hit with three disasters in one day; the theft of his animal wealth with the murder of many servants at the same time, the “fire of God,” a supernatural event, killing more of his beasts and more servants, and a strong wind storm that caused the house where his children were feasting to fall on them, killing them. This death, we presume, included the daughters, although the text doesn’t specifically say the daughters.

As we know by other passages, men alone are often counted and women and children often excluded in the count.

Matthew 14:21  And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.

We might presume this custom originated in the need to count the men one had capable of bearing arms in war.

Numbers 1:3  From twenty years old and upward, all that are able to go forth to war in Israel: thou and Aaron shall number them by their armies.

In any event, I am operating under the presumption that the daughters of Job were also killed.

Here, we see Satan controlling the behavior of wicked men who are murderers and thieves. We see him controlling catastrophic weather events. We see him using a supernatural event; what the servants call the “fire of God.” That is seen elsewhere.

Numbers 11:1  And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp.

1Kings18:38  Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.

2Kings 1:12  And Elijah answered and said unto them, If I be a man of God, let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And the fire of God came down from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty.

God has allowed this to prove Job’s faith to Satan. He clearly unleashes Satan for purposes of judgment and testing at other times. God’s purposes are not always known to mankind. Is suffering a judgment, a test, or something that is naturally a consequence of living in a fallen world? How do you know in any individual situation which it is? That’s going to be important later in Job.

With regard to the Chaldeans and the Sabeans we are told that men are permitted to act out their violent and wicked impulses as a part of the judgment against them, to prove them guilty of what is in their heart.

Genesis 15:12 ¶  And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. 13  And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; 14  And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. 15  And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. 16  But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.

2Thessalonians 1:5 ¶  Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: 6  Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; 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.

It is a very dangerous thing to presume that you have some special understanding of why a disaster has come upon an individual. Oh, clearly he is sick because he was called to be a missionary and resisted the call or she must be crippled with arthritis because of some wicked unconfessed sin in her life are your opinions and may have no bearing on the truth. Clearly, Satan would gladly attack any person who was righteous before God, if he could get God’s permission, working under the constraints placed on him. Clearly, people do suffer as a consequence of their sin. As well, people suffer as a consequence of the sins of others and because we live in fallen, dying bodies in a fallen world.

Human beings like certainty. We like to think we’ve got it all figured out. But we clearly don’t and won’t, as God eventually tells Job Himself. If we would focus on what we do know and what is clear in the Bible we would be in far better shape than if we kept speculating on things of which we aren’t certain.

Deuteronomy 29:29  The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.

Spiritually and prophetically there is a lot that can be said about these verses with regard to the significance of numbers, the elder brother, the messengers which is the same word used for “angels” elsewhere, but I don’t want to speculate and take away from my focus which is the mystery of suffering.

Next, we have Job’s immediate response.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Job 1:7-12 comments: a hedge about our lives

7  And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. 8  And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? 9  Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? 10  Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. 11  But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. 12  And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.

Satan has free reign to move around the earth. He visits the doings of men and examines them, studies them. He knows us far better than we could ever know ourselves. He can probably quote Scripture with the best and often does, from pulpits across the land.

2Corinthians 11:13  For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14  And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15  Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

Satan’s response to God’s question about whether or not Satan has noticed Job shows his cynicism regarding human motives. God has protected Job’s family, his possessions, and his work. We ask that God put a hedge of protection about our own families. It is clear here that were it not for that hedge of protection Satan would destroy us at his earliest opportunity.

Most Christians do not understand that we live in a fallen universe because of man’s sin and rebellion.

Romans 8:22  For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.

We learn in this book that even the heavens carry that corruption.

Job 15:15b…yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight.

Job 25:5b  …yea, the stars are not pure in his sight.                 

And it is because of this sin that death, corruption, and decay entered the world of existence.

Romans 5:12  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:

So, Christian, quoting verses like the following one, spoken in context as a plea for Israel to return to God, only serves to confuse the babe in Christ who does not know what their Bible says.

Jeremiah 29:11  For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Don’t be amazed or confounded when you learn that you have cancer or that a young Christian in the prime of their life is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. The amazing thing is not that we get diseases or suffer from physical ailments. The amazing thing and proof of God’s grace is that we don’t get them more often, earlier, and more virulent. If you have lived to be 50, 60, or 70 be amazed and thankful for we live in a world where death reigns supreme.

Look around you. Everyone you know is decaying, speeding toward death. In your own yard the drama of life and death continues daily. If you open your eyes you can see it everywhere. Young people have such expectations of life, of a family, a career, and a home, but were God not to intervene in your life you would die very quickly and, perhaps, very painfully. Mankind has no idea, without reading and believing the Bible, exactly what God is holding back, no matter how bad they think things are now.

Time’s arrow points downward. To paraphrase the Second Law of Thermodynamics, everything falls apart eventually.

So, from a practical, day to day point of view, the Christian must understand how dependent he or she is on God’s grace and mercy for every moment of their lives. This is something the person who does not believe in the God of the Bible would probably not understand.

Christ points the way to the solution to death and, in fact, is that solution.

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

Romans 5:15  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.

Believing in Christ’s resurrection, trusting in Him for eternal life, is the way out of this mess.

John 3:16  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…. 36  He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

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. 11  For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
    12 ¶  For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

The doctrine of Adoption is an important consequence of this, the waiting for a secure, eternal, and spiritual resurrection body not governed by the Law of sin and death.

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.

But, as long as we live in this dwelling of sinful flesh we will suffer with it. We need so badly that protection from the processes of fallen nature that only God can provide. We desperately need His mercy every day, every moment.

We live and act temporally but we must think eternally.

Satan is certain that a man with such a blessed life probably takes the credit for it himself and will resent God and even curse Him if God allows it to be hurt in any way. The idea that it’s my life and my stuff and my family prevails upon the Christian mind today. The American who is successful often believes that he did it himself, he’s a self made man or she’s a self made woman. Hardly do we regard the things with which we have been entrusted; possessions and family, even the earth itself, as God’s property on loan to us in stewardship, which is the essence of understanding dominion.

Exodus 19:5  Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:

Psalm 50:10  For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.

In verse 12 God gives Satan permission to do to Job what he wishes to do to us but with the limitation of not touching Job’s person. Satan wants to destroy your family and take everything you have. God might let him. Can God trust your faithfulness to Him enough to unleash the Devil on you?

Maybe you’ve had it easy because you’re weak and God knows you can’t handle it. Maybe you’ve had it rough because God is creating a work in you which can accomplish His purposes.

2Corinthians 1:3 ¶  Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4  Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Job 1:6b comments: Who or what is Satan?

6… and Satan came also among them.

Who is this Satan anyway? A lot of conclusions have been drawn from preaching over the centuries. What we know about Satan, from the text of the Bible here in its oldest book, is that Satan is an individual, not an idea or a force. We know he could come before God as evidenced here. We can assume that he can still make his will known to God from Revelation 12:10 where he is called, “the accuser of our brethren,” who, “accused them [God’s people – our brethren] before our God day and night.” He is our adversary.

1Peter 5:8  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

Satan is called that old Serpent, the Devil and the Dragon.

Revelation 12:9  And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

These names are also linked through Isaiah and Job in likening Satan to a reptilian creature, a dragon being the name that predated the 19th century word, dinosaur, to describe a large reptile, or a leviathan, which is a reference to a large creature like a whale or a dinosaur.

Isaiah 27:1 ¶  In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.

This particular supernatural creature, described as we would think of a dinosaur or a dragon of mythologies around the world, has another distinction.

Job 41:34  He beholdeth all high things: he is a king over all the children of pride.

Although Satan is never said to be an angel himself he will lead angels in rebellion against God.

Revelation 12:3  And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.4  And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.

Although he can appear as an angel to us in order to deceive.

2Corinthians 11:14  And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15  Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

By virtue of this reference to an, “angel of light,” we presume that Satan is also the same entity as Lucifer, a term used only once, which may or may not be a title rather than a name. It means, “light-bearer.”

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!

Satan introduces the second set of supernaturally created creatures directly created by God in the spiritual world and not by any biological process. They are called cherubim and are animal-like creatures with wings that surround God’s throne in Ezekiel, chapters 1 and 10, and in Revelation, chapter 4, perhaps prototypes for all non-human animal life on earth.

Ezekiel 10:15  And the cherubims were lifted up. This is the living creature that I saw by the river of Chebar.

While the, “sons of God,” and, “cherubims,” are both direct creations of God in another dimension of time and space to which we are not privy in our biological limitations they are not the same thing. One appears as a person without wings while one has the appearance of an animal with wings.

One of the unique ways the Bible is constructed is how it describes Satan. In the description of men who are like Satan, or types of Satan, like the kings of Babylon, Tyre, or the Pharaoh of Egypt, God reveals what Satan’s original position was, what he does now, and, perhaps, when he fell from grace and where his deceptions were first revealed.

Ezekiel 28:14  Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.

As there are cherubims around God’s throne in Revelation, chapter four, perhaps Satan as Lucifer was the reptilian cherub who covered God’s throne from above.

We know he was also, as spiritual beings can exist in the physical world and the spiritual at the same time, in the Garden of Eden before he fell from grace. He was dressed similar to and perhaps was performing the duties of a priest (compare the following with Exodus 28).

Ezekiel 28:13  Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.

It is here that iniquity was found in him.

Ezekiel 28:15  Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.

What was that iniquity? Perhaps his part in implementing Adam and Eve’s rebellion against God in inspiring them to doubt what God said, as many of you still do.

Genesis 3:1  Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

Satan’s realm is in the heavens below the Heaven we know of as the abode of God. He is called the Prince of the Power of the Air.

Ephesians 2:2  Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

That place we call Outer Space is his domain.

Ephesians 6:12  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

All human government and institutions on earth are under his operative control.

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.

But his demise and eventual fate are certain.

Luke 10:17 ¶  And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.18  And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.

Revelation 12:9  And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him… 12 ¶  Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.

It is clear from the Bible that Satan is not God’s equal, and in fact, is often permitted by God to unleash his fury against mankind as part of God’s judgment so that sometimes you are unable to discern whether or not God did something or whether or not Satan did it. As an example, see what prompted David to initiate a census of his kingdom. This is a great example of how our pride allows humanism, the elevation of man in the Renaissance sense and in the sense of the ancient Greeks, to take over our worship and our behavior. David wanted to count his subjects, the result of which would be to count his wealth and power as coming from what he had rather than from God.

2Samuel 24:1  And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.

1Chronicles 21:1  And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.

As we will see in Job, Satan is given authority to do things to God’s people under the limitations set by God, much as evil men are permitted to operate in the world to reveal their wickedness and to bring judgment on their heads.

Satan will be bound in Hell a thousand years when Christ returns to rule in His millennial kingdom. He will be unleashed for a time to lead the final thrust of the world’s leaders against Christ at the end of that time, before final judgment and eternity begins. Satan will then be cast into the Lake of Fire.

Matthew 25:41  Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

Revelation 20:1 ¶  And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2  And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 3  And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season…7  And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, 8  And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. 9  And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. 10  And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

Christ came to destroy the works of Satan, one of which is the death that resulted from Adam’s sin and, another, sin itself.

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;

1John 3:8  He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

We are to resist him as he purposes to destroy whomever he can.

James 4:7  Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

1Peter 5:8  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

Those who oppose God are under his control.

2Timothy 2:26  And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

Ephesians 2:1 ¶  And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2  Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3  Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
Satan, a created being, reptilian in form, rebelled against God in his own heart before he led mankind in Adam away.

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. [Hell is called a bottomless pit because a circle, as in the center of the earth, has no bottom, only sides.]

And so, as we see here, while Satan lost his place over God’s throne, perhaps, he still has and will have great influence over events until the end of history, when his fate is sealed. He is the primary tormentor of God’s people, one of the unholy trinity that includes our dying flesh and a wicked world system, all of which we must resist.

Satan is about to question Job’s faithfulness to God to whom Job seems so devoted. Remember Satan, when you doubt a fellow Christian’s commitment to Christ without reason other than your own cynical skepticism and self-righteousness and their lack of commitment to your convictions.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Job 1:6a: who are, "the sons of God?"

6 ¶  Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD,…  

We need to define Biblically who the individuals are in this scene in Heaven. The, “sons of God,” (with a lowercase ‘s’) are beings directly created by God and are not born of biological processes. The idea that there is life not resulting from biological processes is a difficult one to accept only because we are not aware of any day to day interaction with such beings we call, “spiritual.” The phrase, “Son of God,” (with an uppercase ‘S’) is a reference to God in the flesh, the visible appearance of God (Hebrews 1:3) in the normal, to us, physical world.

Adam, being the first man, was a son of God. He was created to look like God.

Luke 3:38  Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.

Genesis 1:26  And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

After Adam’s cowardly rebellion mankind began to degenerate and Adam’s descendants were made in his image, lacking the perfection that God intended.

Genesis 5:3  And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:

From this scientific fact we can make a prediction. All humanity has and will experience genetic decay as long as we exist in this physical existence. I refer you to Alexey Kondrashov’s 1995 article in the Journal of Theoretical Biology entitled, “Contamination of the Genome by very Slightly Deleterious Mutations: Why Have We Not Died 100 Times Over?”(6) Another example is James F. Crow’s “The High Spontaneous Mutation Rate: Is it a Health Risk?” for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. (7) There has been nothing since these papers to indicate the opposite idea.

That being said, the sons of God referred to in verse 6 are spiritual beings created directly by God. They pre-existed the physical universe that we know, as we are told in the Book of Job.

Job 38:4 ¶  Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. 5  Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? 6  Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; 7  When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

The Christian becomes one of these direct creations of God when he receives Christ and is indwelt by God’s Spirit in the new birth.

John 1:12  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

The sons of God are represented in this physical world by an angel, an appearance that has the ability to act on the physical world. Imagine a hologram with the power to act in the place of the individual it represents. (Isaiah 63:9 where the full name is, “the angel of his presence.)”

“Angels,” and, “sons of God,” can be used interchangeably based on the context and the action presented.

Every person is born biologically, called the “water birth.” Without the second birth in the Spirit every person is doomed.

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. 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 and of the Spirit, 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.

Perhaps the Christian is a replacement for the sons of God who chose to enter the physical world of existence. Who can say but God?

Genesis 6:2  That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose…4  There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.

Jude 1:6  And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.

Nevertheless, these beings presented themselves to God on some occasion.

(6) Alexey Kondrashov, “Contamination of the Genome by very Slightly Deleterious Mutations: Why Have We Not Died 100 Times Over?” Journal of Theoretical Biology 175 (1995): 583-594.

(7) James F. Crow, “The High Spontaneous Mutation Rate: Is it a Health Risk?” Proceedings of the National Academy of Science Vol. 94 (August 1997): 8380–8386.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Job 1:4-5 Bible study: cursing God in your heart

4 ¶  And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them. 5  And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.

There are few Christian parents of grown children who have not known Job’s concern for his children. Those of us who pray daily for their children know his worry. These festivities, whether they were separate birthday feasts throughout the year or one long feast with different sons being appointed different days, were family celebrations as their sisters were included and Job gave them his blessing. They were joyous celebrations, not pagan orgies as portrayed in the following verses.

Exodus 32:6  And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play…25  And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies:)

1Corinthians 10:7  Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.

Job lives in a time before the Law was given to Moses and gives sacrifices to God as Noah did.

Genesis 8:20 ¶  And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.

Job, who was approved for eschewing, or refraining his tongue from evil, against God (see verse 1), in his fear and dread of God’s wrath, was worried that his sons might have done that very thing, hence his motivation for offering burnt offerings on their behalf, a continual thing with Job.

Jonathan Edwards, a great preacher of the period in American history known as the Great Awakening, said in his sermon entitled, “The Justice of God in the Damnation of Sinners,” that;

There is a great deal of difference between a willingness not to be damned, and a being willing to receive Christ for your Savior. You have the former; there is no doubt of that: nobody supposes that you love misery so as to choose an eternity of it; and so doubtless you are willing to be saved from eternal misery. But that is a very different thing from being willing to come to Christ: persons very commonly mistake the one for the other, but they are quite two things. You may love the deliverance, but hate the deliverer. (3)

Job knew that it is entirely possible to claim the mercies and blessings of God and, yet, hold Him in contempt by your thoughts. Moses and the Lord Jesus Christ both taught us that;

Deuteronomy 6:5  And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

Matthew 22:37  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38  This is the first and great commandment.

How many Christians actually love God? Even those who claim they do will ascribe base motives to Him, making him the author of sin as some Hyper-Calvinists do in saying that God ordained Adam to sin and others suggesting that, even though He died on the Cross for them, that because life is taking a hard turn, He must hate them.

It is possible to obey every surface dictate of leadership and still hold that leadership in utter contempt. The Catholic can follow every ritual, partake of every sacrament, and still hold God in absolute disregard by not concerning himself with how his sin affects God. The Independent Baptist can attend all of the services his church offers, go to every revival meeting and hymn sing, and knock on doors and still show contempt for the one who purchased him with His own blood by ignoring the Lord’s words written in His Book.

In his sermon entitled, “The Almost Christian,” the famous preacher and founder of the Methodist church, John Wesley, admitted of himself because he lacked a love for God, a love for his neighbor, and faith;

I did for many years, as many of this place can testify; using diligence to eschew all evil, and to have a conscience void of offence; redeeming the time; buying up every opportunity of doing all good to all men; constantly and carefully using all the public and private means of grace; endeavoring, after a steady seriousness of behavior, at all times, and in all places: and God is my record, before whom I stand, doing all this in sincerity; having a real design to serve God; a hearty desire to do His will in all things; to please Him who had called me to “fight the good fight,” and to “lay hold on eternal life.” Yet my own conscience bears me witness, in the Holy Ghost, that all this time I was but almost a Christian. (4)

One way of understanding verse 5 is that to willfully sin is to curse God in your heart while another way views willfully sinning and cursing God in your heart two separate actions. One thing that has been suggested by John Gill, who preached in Spurgeon’s church a hundred years before him, was that the young men, in Job’s mind, could have been foolishly giving themselves credit for their wealth rather than attributing their bounty to God’s hand. Of this, he was concerned. (5)

Deuteronomy 32:15 ¶  But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.

Proverbs 30:8  Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: 9  Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD?...

When a man or a woman is successful in life in some way and does not give credit to the Lord that is due or receives some bounty from their employer or government and does not acknowledge that it came from the Lord he or she has cursed God by holding Him in contempt and denying Him the credit for what He has done.

One question we might ask in reading Job is; was Job himself guilty of this when he reviewed his habits of life with his friends? When we hear someone talk about their work ethic, how they raised their children, how they handle their money, play their sport, or serve God in their church, home, work, or community do we not hear someone trumpeting their own righteousness without acknowledging that none of that would be true without God’s providential hand in their lives?

How many “good” Christians curse God in their hearts and sin by taking credit themselves for the good works they claim they do?

(3) Jonathan Edwards, “The Justice of God in the Damnation of Sinners,”, (accessed 7.16.2014).

(4) John Wesley, “The Almost Christian,” (accessed 7.17.2014).

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Book of Job (Joe-b) Bible study: Job 1:1-3

Some scholarship has the Book of Job written between the 7th and 4th centuries before Christ. (1) Their reasons for doing this show two things; one is a rejection of God’s inspiration of the Bible in that they regard any similarity with later writings as proof that it was written later thereby denying that similarity is a natural consequence of God’s ultimate authorship of all books of the Bible. Two has to do with more of an arrogance that comes from drawing conclusions from insufficient information.

            There are good reasons to believe that the Book of Job was written before Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible starting with Genesis. It contains no reference to Hebrew culture, Job is offering sacrifices that the priests would have offered under the Mosaic Law, and Job’s lifespan indicate a much earlier age of writing than some modern scholars presume. (2) It is safe for a Christian to assume that it was written anywhere from 2000BC to 1500BC.

            There are many difficulties in trying to place Job in a known historical context. Most historical evidence lies buried in the dirt and all the spades and shovels of archaeology will never dig that evidence up. Scholars are left with what they have. Here is a primary source of history, written by a man who witnessed the events written about, with no countering documentation to argue that it was a fraud, a fantasy, or political propaganda. Those who deny its authenticity or the truth of its statements only have their own prejudices, assumptions, worldview, and unwillingness to accept any of the Bible as written by men who were guided by the Holy Spirit to go on.

            Having answered generally when it was written, let’s examine who wrote it. Internally, from the text it is clear that Elihu, the son of Barachel, the Buzite wrote it. Beginning in chapter 32, he writes of himself in the third person and then in the first person, verse 16 giving us the needed clue as to the authorship of the book.

Job 32;16  When I had waited, (for they spake not, but stood still, and answered no more;)

            The Book of Job has a great deal to say about human suffering and science. It is unlike any other book of its time and very important for Christians to study and understand. Many of our deepest questions about life are answered in it, while for some questions we are explicitly told that we will never have an answer satisfactory to us in this life.

(1)   Robert Kugler & Patrick Hartin, An Introduction to the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2009), 193.

(2)   Hugh Ross, Hidden Treasures in the Book of Job (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2011), 32.

1 ¶  There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. 2  And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters. 3  His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three  thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.

The land of Uz is said to be in the region of the Biblical Edom. In Job 2:11, one of Job’s friends is said to be a Temanite, or descendant of Teman, a descendant of Esau and a duke of Edom. Teman, the location, was thought to be a place of wisdom as shown by this statement.

Jeremiah 49:7  Concerning Edom, thus saith the LORD of hosts; Is wisdom no more in Teman? is counsel perished from the prudent? is their wisdom vanished?

We are not given definite information on the lineage of the other friends.

The upright man keeps himself from iniquity and sin.

2Samuel 22:24  I was also upright before him, and have kept myself from mine iniquity.

Job is said to be “perfect and upright.” In the Bible’s self-defining method when words are connected by “and,” we see that, in this context, perfect and upright are synonyms. Three times in the first two chapters of Job, he is called perfect and upright, the last two times by God directly in speaking to Satan.

Also see;

Psalm 37:37  Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.

Proverbs 2:21  For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it.

At other times, perfect is said to be complete or finished.

2Chronicles 8:16  Now all the work of Solomon was prepared unto the day of the foundation of the house of the LORD, and until it was finished. So the house of the LORD was perfected.

Colossians 4:12  Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.

Noah was said to be “a just man and perfect in his generations,” which seems to refer to him lacking any taint of corruption in his genetic line from the rebellious sons of God who came to earth and mated with human women. Notice that if perfect stood alone against being a just man they would have been synonymous but perfect in this context is qualified with, “in his generations.”

Genesis 6:9  These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.

Genesis 6:2  That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose…4  There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.

So, Job was perfect and upright, further defined in the text in that he feared God and eschewed evil. Eschew is not such an archaic word, although little used, as I have read it in news articles recently meaning to avoid or refrain from something. We learn what eschew means in the Bible by looking at it elsewhere, as it is not defined in the text here.

1Peter 3:10  For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: 11  Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.

In these verses you see that, “eschew,” is surrounded by, “let him,” and, “evil,” in verse 11. In verse 10, “let him,” and ,”evil,” surround, “refrain his tongue from,” giving us the definition.

We will see that Job not only feared God in the sense of awe and reverence…

Psalm 33:8  Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.

Hebrews 12:28  Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:

But we will learn that Job was terrified of God with a dread-like fear.

Genesis 9:2  And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth…

Exodus 15:16  Fear and dread shall fall upon them…

Deuteronomy 2:25  This day will I begin to put the dread of thee and the fear of thee upon the nations…

Deuteronomy 11:25  There shall no man be able to stand before you: for the LORD your God shall lay the fear of you and the dread of you upon all the land that ye shall tread upon, as he hath said unto you.

Isaiah 8:13  Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.

We also will learn that Job refrained his tongue from speaking evil about God, though his wife recommended it.

He is said to have had wealth in the form of a large family and in great substance, as wealth was recognized in his day. It is so much that he is said to be the greatest man of the east. Let’s assume Job is the wealthiest guy around. All eyes would be interested in what was going on with him. If he lived today he would be interviewed and photographed often, I assume. He was influential and important, as people of great wealth are.