Job and the Place of Understanding


Table of Contents

Title Page


A Study in Ancient  Philosophy



Russell M. Stendal.


Ransom Press International.

Visit Russell’s website: www.cpcsociety.ca

Job and the Place of Understanding –
Russell M. Stendal
Copyright © 2019
First edition published 2019

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Russell M. Stendal

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Introduction – Where did the book of Job originate?
Chapter 1 – A Wager Between God and Satan.
Chapter 2 – Satan Doubles Down.
Chapter 3 – In Death the Slave is Free from His Master.
Chapter 4 – The Diagnosis of Eliphaz.
Chapter 5 – The Weight of Job’s Grief and Calamity.
Chapter 6 – Bildad and Job Interact.
Chapter 7 – Though He Slay Me, Yet I Will Trust in Him.
Chapter 8 – The Purpose of Pain and Suffering.
Chapter 9 – Afflictions Along the Way of the Cross.
Chapter 10 – The Controversy Continues.
Chapter 11 – What Really Happens to the Wicked? .
Chapter 12 – “I Have Come Forth as Gold”.
Chapter 13 – The Fleeing Serpent.
Chapter 14 – The Innocent Shall Divide the Silver.
Chapter 15 – The Place of Understanding.
Chapter 16 – Blessed Are Those Who Mourn.
Chapter 17 – A Covenant with My Eyes .
Chapter 18 – The Wrath of Elihu.
Chapter 19 – Elihu Chooses His Judgment.
Chapter 20 – God is Great, and We Know Him Not.
Chapter 21 – Who Gave Intelligence to Understanding?
Chapter 22 – As the Hawks and the Eagles .
Chapter 23 – Behemoth and Leviathan.
Chapter 24 – Job is Justified by God and Given a Double Portion.
Meet the Author.

In memory of
Bronwen Jorel



Where did the book of Job originate?

That’s a surprisingly difficult question to answer with any certainty, even though the Bible almost always explains everything we really need to know. There are times, of course, when we cannot find enough pertinent information in the Scriptures to satisfy our curiosity, but such lack of detail likely relates to hidden things that God will reveal at the proper time and place.

When it comes to the book of Job, there seems to be a consensus among Jewish and Christian historians and theologians that it is one of the oldest books in the Bible (it may even be the oldest, possibly written before Moses wrote the book of Genesis). There is no consensus, however, on exactly when and where the events described in Job1 happened or who might be the book’s author. Nevertheless, Jews and Christians of all times have supported the inclusion of this book in what is accepted as the first canon2 of inspired books known as the Holy Scriptures (or “sacred writings”). The overall tenor of the book of Job definitely does not seem to fit within the historical period (beginning with the exodus) known as the age of the law, and thus most biblical scholars believe it was written before this time.3 We know David was familiar with Job’s story, because the Psalms frequently reference the words of the book of Job. For example, David quotes Job 28:13 in Psalm 27:13, 52:5, and 142:5 regarding the land of the living.

1 The name “Job” is mentioned fifty-nine times in Scripture. According to most scholars, it means “hated” or “persecuted.”

2 The first canon (excluding the deuterocanonical or second-canon books) consists of thirty-nine books of the Old Testament (Jews and Christians seem to agree on this) plus the twenty-seven books of the New Testament, for a total of sixty-six inspired books that make up the Bible.

3 Chronologically, the book of Job would fall between Genesis and Exodus. It was not placed there, however, for a variety of reasons. For one thing, the Jewish scribes and rabbis were naturally unwilling to insert another book into the midst of the five books of Moses that are considered to be the foundation of the Law. Also, since many such authorities did not want to accept the theological implications of the text and therefore did not want Job to be of the line of Abraham, they put the book of Job after the book of Esther so they could speculate his story took place in Assyria or Persia or some other land far removed from Israel. Hundreds of years later, but for similar reasons, some Christian historians followed suit. All things considered, the fact that the book of Job was never removed from the first canon of Scripture can easily be ascribed to repeated divine intervention.

The first mention of the name “Job” in Scripture appears in Genesis 46:13, where a male of this name is listed as the third son of Issachar (meaning “he brings recompense” or “he brings gain”), who in turn was the ninth son of Jacob (his fifth son by Leah). Job, as a young lad, was one of Leah’s thirty-three souls of his sons and daughters whom Jacob brought with him into Egypt (Genesis 46:7, 15). Job is also included in the statement All the souls that came with Jacob into Egypt, which came out of his loins, besides Jacob’s sons’ wives, all the souls were sixty-six (Genesis 46:26).

Could this Job be the same person described in the book of Job?

Many so-called experts would probably say no. But we should bear in mind that the first usage of a word or name in Scripture tends to establish key information regarding its meaning as well as the trajectory of how God will develop and use this word. As this story develops, you can study the context and ask God to show you if this truly is the case.

Consider the last scriptural usage of “Job,” in this case by the apostle James: Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. Behold, we count blessed those who endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job and have seen the end of the Lord, that the Lord is very merciful, and full of compassion (James 5:10-11).

Here we see, among other things, that even in New Testament times, Job was considered to be among the prophets. In Old Testament times, prior to the redemptive work accomplished by Jesus Christ, it was not normal or even possible for the Holy Spirit to be upon all of the people of God, and thus there were certain “anointed” authorities – normally prophets, priests, or kings – who acted more or less as intermediaries. Prophets are those who speak God’s words instead of their own. Job’s friends included several good, knowledgeable, and widely respected men, but despite their perceived wisdom, they were not prophets, and at the end of the deeply prophetic book of Job, God twice admonished Eliphaz the Temanite (and his two friends, Bildad and Zophar) that ye have not spoken by me in uprightness, as my slave Job has (Job 42:7-8).

Can a slave be a prophet? Of course. God bestows his gifts regardless of social status. And in this case, by referring to Job as his slave, God honors his attitude. Servants, after all, receive a salary and are not only free to quit their job but are only expected to work certain hours, whereas slaves belong to their owner every hour of the day. Which type of service does God love to receive from us?

In order to understand this book, it is very important to realize that Job belongs to God, whom he loves and who likewise loves him. God considers Job to be a prophet who has spoken by him in uprightness despite his troubles, trials, and tribulations, while his three friends did not so speak despite all their principles, values, and theology. Satan inflicted Job with every evil he could think of, yet Job remained faithful to the Lord.

How much does God value such faith? Well, writing to the Hebrews after almost two thousand years of recorded human history, the apostle Paul declared: Faith, therefore, is the substance of things waited for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report (Hebrews 11:1-2). How many elders obtained such a report in the first two thousand years or so of human history? Not many. The first three in Paul’s list are Abel, Enoch, and Noah (and even if we could include Noah’s sons Shem and Japheth in this list, it would only bring the total to five), followed by Abraham (originally known as Abram), and his wife Sarah.

Abraham became known as the friend of God, and we see from Paul’s letter that God’s covenant relationship with Abraham subsequently became generational as God developed a close relationship with Abraham’s son, Isaac, and later with Isaac’s son, Jacob, who was later renamed Israel (Genesis 32:28). Jacob’s son, Issachar, was among the fourth generation in Abraham’s line, and Job was among the fifth. Joseph, who became the prince of Egypt, was also fourth generation from Abraham, and Joseph’s sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, were con[1]temporary with Job in the fifth generation. (Incidentally, there can be little doubt that Joseph would have ensured his sons had the best education that Egypt could offer, and this was probably also the case with Job, who was Joseph’s nephew in a day and age when reading and writing was in its primal infancy.)

Several centuries later in the Ten Commandments, God would write with his very own finger on tablets of stone: I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the sons unto the third and fourth generation of those that hate me and showing mercy unto thousands of generations of those that love me and keep my commandments (Exodus 20:5-6). It took a long time – more than two millennia after the fall of Adam and Eve in the garden – for God to have a friendship with a family that remained in covenant with him beyond the third and fourth generation. When such a relationship did develop, it marked the beginning of a clearly defined people of God who began to break free from the effects of the iniquity of the fathers.

The blessing of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob (Israel) would ultimately continue down the generations to the advent of Jesus Christ, in whom there is hope and blessing for all of the families (or generations) of the entire world.

Chap 1. A Wager Between God and Satan.

Job 1

1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job;

“Uz” means “conciliated” or “fertile.” Some historians and theologians (representing their respective denominations and schools of thought) do not seem to have any idea as to where it may have been located.4 As a name for a person rather than a place, it was first given to a son and a grandson of Shem who were born after the flood (Genesis 10:23; 1 Chronicles 1:17) and before the confusion of languages at the Tower of Babel.5 The prophet Jeremiah seems to place the land of Uz between Egypt and the land of the Philistines (Jeremiah 25:19-20). This could correlate with the land of Goshen described in the book of Exodus, as that land seems to have been located in northeast Egypt (north of the Nile) and is described by Joseph and Pharaoh as an excellent place to raise herds of sheep and cattle (Genesis 45:10; 46:28-29, 34; 47:1, 4, 6, 27). Also, since the Israelites were shepherds, and sheep were the abomination of the Egyptians, it is likely that (at least for a while) the Egyptians left the Israelites to themselves in the fertile land of Goshen.

4 This is also complicated by the fact that the book of Job seems to go against the theology of prosperity (good health, abundant property, large family, etc.) held by many of these same individuals and entities. Therefore it may have behooved ancient Jewish theologians to set the location and person of the book of Job in some faraway, unknown place and time rather than owning up to the fact that Job may have been Abraham’s great-great-grandson, living nearby, perhaps even within the very borders of the fullness of the promised land two centuries or so prior to the exodus.

5 There is also a man named Uz mentioned in Genesis 36:28 who was of the Horites.

Joshua describes a province in the southeast of the promised land that is also called Goshen (Joshua 10:41; 11:16) and that seems to be south of Gaza, extending along the Mediterranean coast bordering the Negev (southern desert). Could it be that at the time of the pharaoh who put Joseph in charge of Egypt, Goshen extended north of the Nile along the coast of the Mediterranean all the way to Gaza? And could this also be the ancient land of Uz? This would fit not only with the description given by Jeremiah, but with Scriptures linking Uz to the land of Edom (that is, Esau), which would have been to the east (1 Chronicles 1:42; Lamentations 4:21).

Thus, Goshen may be another name for Uz (or it could be the name the Egyptians gave to the area the Israelites called Uz). Curiously, no one seems to know what the literal meaning of “Goshen” is, although the fertility of the land of Goshen is clearly in line with the definition that we have for Uz. As we progress with this treatise, you will have ample opportunity to judge for yourself whether or not my hypothesis is correct and if this is indeed the witness of the Holy Spirit.

1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job;

The book of Job is most likely the very first book written in Hebrew that has been preserved. Professed experts define the name Job as meaning “hated” or “persecuted,” as noted earlier. However, if Job, according to Scripture, was the grandson of Israel (which can mean “God prevails” or “he who prevails with God”) and the son of Issachar (“he brings recompense” or “he brings gain”), is it really likely that the boy’s family would have named him “hated” or “persecuted” when he was of the fifth generation in such a blessed bloodline? And even had that been the case when the boy was born, if we accept that according to God, Job was a prophet, wouldn’t he have been given a more appropriate name later?

It seems to me far more likely that at the time of his birth, Job’s name meant something along the lines of “loved, appreciated, protected,” but later the “experts” – either unfamiliar with the way of the cross or reluctant to validate it – inverted the meaning of the name so that it fell into line with their world view.6

6 Biblical Hebrew has fewer than six thousand basic words used in Scripture, along with several thousand names of people and places (many of which only occur once), for a grand total, according to Dr. James Strong, of 8673 unique words. Moreover, the meaning of certain words in Hebrew (possibly due at least in part to the limited vocabulary) can become inverted as a result of nuances of orthography or context. This is one reason why every “jot” and “tittle” is so important (Matthew 5:17-18).

1:1 and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God and departed from evil.

The word translated “man” here denotes a free-born man as opposed to a slave. The word translated “perfect” is the same as for “mature.” Those who are perfect and upright bear good fruit, as do those who fear God. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10), and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil (Proverbs 16:6).

The book of Job, in addition to being historically true and accurate, is a prophetic parable about the body of Christ (the church) and of the good fruit that God will produce as this body comes to maturity (perfection). Jesus Christ himself is the first of the firstfruits of the new creation (1 Corinthians 15:20-23; 2 Corinthians 5:17).

1:2 And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters.

Seven sons is symbolic of the complete number of born-again sons. The number three has to do with fruitfulness, and thus the three daughters represent all of the fruitful congregations of the people of God. (Remember that the bride of Christ is equivalent to the body of Christ and is described as a woman; hence in prophetic language, women symbolize congregations.) Although the individuals who make up the body of Christ are described as “sons” of God, in prophetic language this term is not intended to distinguish gender.

1:3 His substance was seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred she asses, and a very great store of servants, so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.

Here are more beautiful prophetic word pictures: seven means the complete number of “sheep,” or children of God, and a thousand is symbolic of perfection. Three thousand “camels” (considered to be unclean animals) refers to the fruitfulness and maturity (or perfection) of those who survive the trials and tribulations of the “wilderness” or “desert” and reach the realm of the promised land. All of us start out in the flesh as unclean, but God promises to pour out his Spirit on all flesh. We journey through a spiritual desert like camels, as God by the Spirit brings our flesh under his control (if we cooperate) so that we may enter into the fullness of our inheritance in Christ as clean vessels of honor.

Five hundred yoke of oxen is a thousand oxen (again a reference to maturity or perfection); five hundred is a number linked to the throne of God, while oxen are symbolic of ministry or service. Incidentally, there were lions, oxen, and cherubim between the moldings of the laver, or brazen sea, in the outer court of Solomon’s Temple (1 Kings 7:29).

The five hundred she asses make another interesting picture. Asses or donkeys are another symbol of the flesh, and she asses, of course, have the capacity to bear offspring. This reflects that even when we are spiritual sons of God, our natural offspring start out in the flesh like wild little donkeys that can only be tamed by the Spirit of God. Abraham was promised as many natural descendants according to the flesh as the sands of the seashore, and spiritual descendants of faith as numerous as the stars of the heaven.

In addition to the livestock, Job had a very great store of servants (we could describe them as free-will workers), a statement that is also true about the body of Christ. The vast number of Job’s servants is the final qualifier for declaring that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.7 Why the east? The sun rises in the east. God’s presence and glory fill his future house, built with living stones from the east. The east gate is the one by which the prince enters. A map of the Holy Land shows that the province of Uz or Goshen would lie at the eastern extreme of the Mediterranean Sea. Altogether, therefore, in this living parable, Job, as the greatest of all the men of the east, is a fitting prophetic example to represent Jesus and the body of Christ.

7 Over time, the entire region became known as the mid-east.

1:4 And his sons went and had banquets in their houses, each one on his day, and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them.

1:5 And it was so, when the days of their banquets were over, 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 blasphemed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.

Job was always very concerned for the spiritual state and safety of his sons. He sanctified them, meaning that he set them apart for the exclusive service of the Lord. He was always willing to sacrifice burnt offerings on their behalf, in order to cover them from any sin that they may have hidden in their hearts. Here we see a representation of the heart of God, who is not willing that any should perish (Matthew 18:14; 2 Peter 3:9). The Father was willing to sacrifice his only begotten Son, and that Son, Jesus, was willing to come to earth and die for us as the supreme once-and-for-all sacrifice.

The way of sacrifice and burnt offerings was ingrained in the belief system of the ancients. They knew the story of how God clothed Adam and Eve in leather girdles after they had vainly attempted to cover their newly perceived nakedness with fig leaves, and they realized that in order to obtain a leather girdle, a living creature had to die. From the beginning, the children of Israel were all aware that without the shedding of blood, there is no remission (of sin). They also knew the story of righteous Abel, whose blood cried out to God from the ground (Genesis 4:10). They all understood that the wages of sin are death, that each of us deserves to die for our sin, and that God is willing to receive a substitutionary sacrifice – represented by animals at that time, for the future once-and-for-all sacrifice of Jesus Christ was veiled to the understanding of mankind as well as to the understanding of Satan and his minions.

1:6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan8 came also among them.

Chronologically, this is the first mention in Scripture of the word “Satan,” meaning “accuser.”9 This name occurs fifty-six times in Scripture, and fifteen of these are in the book of Job. Just as Judas found a place among the apostles of Jesus Christ, so did Satan find one among the sons of God. Do you recall Jesus’ parable of the wheat and the tares growing side by side in the same field until the time of the harvest? The tares were planted by the devil, of course, and many of Satan’s sons love to spend their time accusing the unsuspecting brethren among whom they have grown up.

8 Who is Satan and what lies ahead of him? And the great dragon was cast out, the serpent of old, who is called Devil and the Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him (Revelation 12:9).

9 In the order in which the books of the Bible are presented, there is an earlier reference in 1 Chronicles 21:1 when Satan stood up against Israel and provoked David to number Israel. This event turned into an unmitigated disaster because only the redeemed could be numbered, and this numbering had to be ordained by God, not Satan. When God ordered Israel to be numbered, it was to be done by means of a very complex system. For example, the Levites were numbered separately, as were the firstborn, and one way or another each soul had to be ransomed (Numbers 1-3).

1:7 And the LORD said unto Satan, Where dost thou come from? Then Satan answered the LORD and said, From going to and fro in the earth and from walking up and down in it.

According to Scripture, although the earth belongs to the Lord (Exodus 9:29; 1 Corinthians 10:26), Satan is the prince of this present world (John 14:30). In the broadest sense, the earth is the planet on which we live, and the world is the system or way of doing things that Satan has successfully implemented ever since instigating the fall of man. Satan has been judged (John 16:11), but the sentence has not yet been applied and more witnesses are pending.

1:8 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my slave Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that fears God and has departed from evil?

Job is described at the beginning of this chapter as a freeborn man (symbolic of all those who are truly born again from above). One of the implications of his burnt offerings (actually called holocausts in the original) is that they symbolize a blood covenant in which Job belongs to God, who therefore calls Job his “slave.” God is evidently very pleased with Job, since this is the second time Scripture tells us that in God’s eyes, Job is a perfect and an upright man and there is none like him in the earth. Quite a statement! What’s more, God forthrightly declares this wonderful truth (a truth that applies not only to Job but also to the future body of Christ, of which Jesus is the head) to the accuser of the brethren, Satan himself.

Even today, there are many whose theology is upended by this statement. Those who claim there is no victory and that all of us are doomed to sin every day – in word, thought, and deed, as well as by omission – will continue to have a very hard time accepting the truth God asserts regarding Job. In order to get this right, we must first understand that what God means by perfection (same word as maturity in Hebrew) and uprightness as a measure of the status of a person’s heart10. Many people have set up their own standard of humanly unattainable “perfection” and then use that as a straw man to attempt to disprove the word of God.

10 Yes, it’s true we are hopeless sinners and in our human condition we will always have serious limitations. However, the first part of us that God wants to perfect is our hearts (that is, our desires, goals, and ambitions), and he does this by changing our hearts and putting his own heart within us so that we share his desires, goals, and ambitions. Jesus is perfect, and his desire is to come and live in us, reigning and ruling from our hearts, so that our hearts can be perfect too.

The only way we can truly “depart from evil” (as Job did) is by entering into direct communication with God, because he is the only one who can properly differentiate between good and evil. As members of fallen mankind, we have an instinctive desire to place our self-interest first, but some of the behaviors we think of as good (often because they are easy or pleasurable) may really be evil in God’s sight, and vice versa. Since Job departed from evil, he was evidently listening to God, and the consequence was that God blessed him and his household more than any other person in the east.11

11 After the flood, human civilization began in the east and extended into the west, not the other way around.

1:9 Then Satan answered the LORD and said, Does Job fear God for nothing?

1:10 Hast thou not made a hedge about him and about his house and about all that he has on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands; therefore, his substance has increased in the land.

Regarding Job, even Satan recognized that the Lord had blessed the work of his hands. Remember Cain and Abel? God didn’t bless the work of Cain’s hands or even receive him when he offered grain that he had produced instead of a blood sacrifice like his righteous brother, Abel. God blessed the work of Job’s hands, however, because Job was in a blood covenant with him: that is, a covenant signifying a life for a life. The ultimate consequences of this covenant require that Jesus’ life be substituted for ours, as we, like Job, are the spiritual descendants of Abraham with whom God first joined in a blood covenant (Genesis 15). It is only in Jesus’ life that we will find redemption, uprightness, and maturity (perfection). It is only as God works in us, cleansing our hearts, that he will also be able to work through us in a way that is clean and upright. I think Job lived about seventeen hundred years or so before Jesus Christ’s advent, yet Job and all of those who dealt sincerely with God and consummated covenants with him through animal sacrifice were really looking forward in time toward the onceand-for-all sacrifice when Jesus died for us.

Job’s prosperity was anathema to Satan, who claimed that Job only feared God and departed from evil because God rewarded him with blessing and protection when he acted in accordance with God’s desires.

1:11 But put forth thy hand now and touch all that he has, and thou shalt see if he will not blaspheme thee to thy face.

1:12 And the LORD said to Satan, Behold, all that he has is in thy power; only upon himself do not put forth thy hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.

So Satan wants God to test Job by putting forth his hand and taking away all Job has. We can hear in Satan’s voice his supreme confidence that Job will then blaspheme God to his face. God has no desire to hurt his servant but every desire to allow Job to prove himself, and he responds not by putting forth his own hand but by withdrawing his protection and placing all that Job has – but not Job himself – within the reach of Satan’s power.

God was willing to allow Job to be tested and he knew Job’s heart. God also knows our hearts and is also willing for us to be tested. When we’re tested, we may think that our name has been changed to Job (“hated and persecuted”), but that’s just what the devil wants us to think. In reality, our name before God is the same as it always was. Remember, Jesus advised us that if we follow him we will face trials and tribulations because we will go against everything related to this present world, of which Satan is the prince. Being tested by the devil has many advantages (for God and for us), and we will recognize this more and more as we study this book.

Having obtained God’s permission, Satan will now do what he loves: steal, destroy, and kill. He has no ability to do anything constructive, but he loves destruction, and so do his followers. In fact, they derive so much glee from wrecking and ruining that sooner or later they’re lured into the fatal error of not knowing when to quit. Satan always overplays his hand,12 just as he did against Job. Look what he did:

12 My father used to remind me of this every time we were under Enemy attack.

1:13 And there was a day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in the house of their brother, the first-born;

1:14 and a messenger came unto Job and said, The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them;

1:15 and the Sabeans [Heb. “those of Sheba”] fell upon them and took them away; they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell thee.

Who were the Sabeans?

They were the descendants of Seba (meaning “drunk”), who was the son of Cush (“Ethiopian” or “black”) and grandson of Ham (Genesis 10:6-7). They lived on the north coast of Africa next to Ethiopia and Sheba (Isaiah 43:3; Psalm 72:10), which would place them south of Uz/Goshen.

1:16 While he was yet speaking, another came who said, The fire of God13 is fallen from heaven and has burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them; and I alone have escaped to tell thee.

1:17 While he was yet speaking, another came and said, The Chaldeans made three bands and fell upon the camels and have carried them away and have slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell thee.

13 There could be an issue here with the translation. In Hebrew, the word for God is Elohim, which is actually plural. The word “God” in this verse might have been better translated in the plural and with a small g (“fire from the gods”), because if the sheep and servants belonged to God (symbolically or otherwise), then God would not burn up his own. Satan, on the other hand, believes that he and his cohorts are the gods of this world, and it certainly appears this attack was the work of the devil, who can make fire come down from heaven to the earth in the sight of men (Revelation 13:13). Over history, he has continued his attempts to destroy God’s “sheep,” God’s servants and God’s sons and daughters. Note, however, that Satan did not initiate the sequence of events described in this book: God was the initiator when he held Job up as an outstanding example.

The Chaldeans (or spiritists) were from Chaldea, a province of Babylon. They would have come in from the north.

1:18 While he was yet speaking, there another came and said, Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in the house of their brother, the firstborn;

1:19 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 alone have escaped to tell thee.14

14 Note that all four calamities happened almost simultaneously, and in each event, only one of Job’s servants escaped to give him the bad news.

Satan synchronized the battle from all sides: the Sabeans came in from the south, stole the oxen and the asses, and killed the servants who were tending them; the “fire of God” fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants caring for them; the Chaldeans came from the north in three bands, fell upon the camels and carried them away, and killed the servants who had their charge; and a great wind from the wilderness smote the four corners of the house of Job’s firstborn while all his sons and daughters were eating and drinking.

Regarding Job, God had told Satan, Behold, all that he has is in thy power. Satan took this to mean that he could not only steal the oxen, asses, and camels and destroy the sheep, but that he could also kill Job’s servants and offspring. Satan obviously assumed all of these were fair game because they belonged to Job, but what if at least some of them actually belonged to God?

1:20 Then Job arose and rent his mantle and shaved his head and fell down upon the ground and worshipped

In the intensity of his grief, Job arose and rent his mantle. But why did he shave his head before falling down on the ground to worship? Because later on in Scripture, we find that a shaved head was the sign of a Nazarite vow15 (meaning that the person completely belonged to God).

15 There is a messianic reference to the Nazarite in Genesis 49:26. Later, there was a law of the Nazarite (Numbers 6).

1:21 and said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.

1:22 In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with folly.

Our best defense against Satan and his minions is to make sure we really and truly belong to the Lord (James 4:7). Satan, obviously does not fear us, but now he is very much afraid of the Lord since Jesus died, rose again, ascended to the right hand of the Father, and has the keys to death and to Hades (Revelation 1:18).

At the end of the book, God restores to Job twice as much as he lost, except for his children. Having lost seven sons and three daughters, he is given seven more sons and three more daughters, not fourteen more sons and six more daughters. Why? Because the first seven sons and three daughters were not really lost. You see, when the devil commits this type of abuse and outright murder, the Lord’s people whom the devil kills are safe spiritually if they are in covenant with God (and this is what the burnt offerings, or holocausts, signified).

Another intriguing fact is that during this entire tragedy, Job never lost his wife, who not only survived but bore him more children. The wife with whom Job enjoyed his first portion of blessing is the same wife with whom he lived to enjoy the double portion that God eventually bestowed upon him. Why? Because when God joins a man and a woman together in marriage, he considers them to be one flesh, and God had strictly enjoined Satan that only upon himself (i.e., Job) do not put forth thy hand. Despite his deadly rampage against Job, Satan was not authorized to kill Job’s wife. There will be more discussion on this theme later.

Let us pray

Lord, we give thanks for all that you have given us. Please open our understanding and reveal unto us what you would have us know and learn from the book of Job, for there are many things contained therein that are very difficult for our natural mind to comprehend. Amen.

Chap 2. Satan Doubles Down.

Job 2

2:1 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.

Here Satan continues to operate within the realm of the sons of God even though his name or title means “accuser.” The devil is a legalist, and he will happily bring even the most trivial accusation against God and those who belong to him. It amazes me (and you as well, perhaps) that God does not simply lift his hand against Satan and flatten him. God, however, seems determined to let the full consequences play out over thousands of years of history so that the fruit of Satan’s behavior, in contrast to the fruit of God’s special friends such as Job, will be clearly revealed for all eternity. By their fruits ye shall know them (Matthew 7:20).

2:2 And the LORD said unto Satan, Where dost thou come from? And Satan answered the LORD and said, From going to and fro in the earth and from walking up and down in it.

In prophetic language, we may abide in one of three possible realms: the sea, which is symbolic of the realm of lost humanity; the earth (or land), which symbolizes the religious realm of those who, thinking they can use God to get what they want upon the earth, attempt to make covenants with him on their own terms; and the heavenly realm, where God’s own people have their true citizenship, even though they may still walk here upon the earth.

Satan is very active in the religious realm of the earth, but after having gone to and fro in that realm and walking up and down there, he has now returned to present himself before the Lord.

2:3 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my slave Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that fears God and has departed from evil and that he still retains his perfection, although thou didst incite me against him to destroy him without cause.

God continues to praise Job and hold him up as one that fears God and has departed from evil and still retains his perfection, despite the fact that thou didst incite me against him to destroy him without cause. In God’s eyes, Job has been destroyed without cause. God takes the responsibility for allowing Satan to act. It behooves us to remember that throughout the course of this book. This verse suggests that God desires Satan to acknowledge the godly character of Job for what it is – indeed, in a certain sense, it appears God gives Satan an opportunity to admit his mistake – but Satan refuses.

2:4 And Satan answered the LORD and said, Skin for skin, all that a man has he will give for his life.

2:5 But put forth thy hand now and touch his bone and his flesh, and thou shalt see if he does not blaspheme thee to thy face.

2:6 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thy hand, but preserve his life.

One of the reasons the Lord is able to tell Satan, Behold he is in thy hand, is that Job belongs to God. Of course, Job was created by God and in this sense he is arguably God’s property, but even beyond this, Job has been offering burnt offerings to God as a symbol that he really knows, understands, and accepts that he belongs to God.

Since Satan killed Job’s sons and daughters and servants, God prudently tells him flat out that he must spare Job’s life. Over history, Satan and his followers have killed many of God’s people, but for this particular living parable, it was essential that Job’s life be preserved. There are many reasons for this, and we may examine them later, but at least one of the reasons why God may at times seem not to worry about the physical death of certain people is because he is planning to bring them forth again in a first resurrection (Revelation 20:4-6), to be followed by a general resurrection (Revelation 20:11-13). In this way, God will eventually provide justice, and every wrong will be set right. God does not look upon physical death in the same way we do, after all, nor does he view time from our perspective. Because of his longsuffering, Job is commended in the New Testament as an example of patience. God’s patience is much greater than that of any person, but even he has a limit.

Consider the following verses from the book of James: Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. Behold, we count blessed those who endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job and have seen the end of the Lord, that the Lord is very merciful, and full of compassion (James 5:10-11). Here Job is held up as an excellent example of patience and is deemed an outstanding prophet.

Consider, too, the words of Timothy: And all that desire to live godly in Christ Jesus shall also suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived (2 Timothy 3:12-13). Here it is clear that the trials, tribulation, and persecution that Job endured are definitely part of what all that desire to live godly in Christ Jesus may expect to undergo. We see that evil men and seducers (this applies to Satan and his followers) shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. There is a dynamic here in which evil (and those who practice it) grows progressively worse, while those who are upright and righteous, like Job, become better and better. God uses the malevolent actions of our enemies for our good, as he does in the case of anyone who loves God and is called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).

Jesus said, Blessed are those who suffer persecution for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of the heavens. Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute you and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in the heavens; for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you (Matthew 5:10-12). God is preparing a people to rule and reign with him for all eternity, and he doesn’t mind them being tested and proven. In fact, he requires it. Simon Peter explains that the reason we are afflicted in diverse temptations, [is] that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold (which perishes, nevertheless it is tried with fire), might be found unto praise and glory and honour when Jesus, the Christ, is made manifest (1 Peter 1:6-7).

It is one thing for us to sacrifice our sin and our guilt on the altar of God. It is quite another if we ourselves become a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1). When Jesus chose the way of the cross, he knew full well ahead of time what was in store. When we choose to follow the Lord unconditionally, we seldom know exactly what will happen, and we may find ourselves in the midst of demonstrations and examples that we cannot understand at the time. God can even use people like us to teach the angels things they didn’t know about the character and nature of God (1 Peter 1:12). How is this possible? Because when God places his life and character in us, it affects our response to difficult and even seemingly impossible circumstances. This is the way of the burnt offering, the way of the cross, the way of the trial of our faith as we learn to depend upon God even if what we are seeing, experiencing, and feeling does not coincide with our concept of him.

2:7 So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto the crown of his head.

2:8 And he took a potsherd to scratch himself with, and he was sitting among the ashes.

A potsherd is part of a broken clay vessel (and this is what we become when God deals intensively with us to break down any arrogance and pride that we may have been unaware of). Job was literally sitting among the ashes and those ashes represent his life.

2:9 Then his wife said unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? Blaspheme16 God and die.

2:10 But he said unto her, Thou hast spoken as any of the foolish women speak. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God and shall we not receive evil? In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

16 This is another place where there is an issue with the translation, as some versions of this text say Bless God and die. As discussed earlier, it is very easy for modern scholars to invert the Hebrew. As I worked through this while preparing the Jubilee Bible, I came to understand and confirm this phrase the way that it is stated (according to the scholarship of many in the early Reformation), because it is the same word that is translated as “blasphemed” in Job 1:5, 11; 2:5, 9).

It is often harder to helplessly observe a loved one in pain than to endure pain oneself, and this (on top of the loss of their children and their prosperity) may explain Job’s wife’s outburst. In any event, Job chides her for expressing such unrealistic expectations of God. Since he compares her speech to that of any of the foolish women, it appears that she normally demonstrates more temperance and more wisdom. Had Job followed his wife’s lead, he would have failed miserably, but by showing her a more mature and balanced perspective, he has nipped temptation in the bud for both of them (and covered for her).

We are told: In all this Job did not sin with his lips. I think the words “all this” cover not just this particular incident but everything contained in the entire account up to this point, and we need to bear that in mind as we continue.

When Job remained firm in his conviction about being willing to receive not only good but evil from God, he passed the test that Eve and Adam failed. We are not to touch the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and of evil, for God is the only one qualified to make that distinction. Sometimes God will allow something to happen to us that we think is evil, when in reality he uses it for our ultimate good. Or we may think that some course of action is good (as Eve did when she believed the lie of the serpent and tasted the forbidden fruit), only to find out later to our chagrin and shame that in God’s eyes what we did was evil.

2:11 Now three friends of Job, Eliphaz, the Temanite, Bildad, the Shuhite, and Zophar, the Naamathite, when they heard of all this evil that had come upon him, each one came from his own place; for they had made an appointment together17 to come to mourn with him and to comfort him.

17 They had made an appointment together to go and see Job. There is no indication that God sent them or that any of them had received a word from the Lord to go and minister to Job. Nevertheless, considering themselves to be venerable elders, they all felt it proper to go over and “cover” what they felt to be a terrible situation.

Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that had come upon him. When bad news is spread and received by those who have never heard or understood the message of Romans 8:28, the events in question are naturally interpreted as being evil. Thus when Job’s friends heard of the devastation that had befallen him, it didn’t even occur to them that God could be behind all of this and that a very important object lesson involving Satan was being played out, with all of heaven as witnesses. The fact that these friends had never heard directly from God about what was good and what was evil would inevitably color their upcoming dialogue with Job, but they were unaware of this. They were genuinely concerned about him and made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him.

2:12 And when they lifted up their eyes afar off and knew him not, they lifted up their voice and wept; and each one rent his mantle and sprinkled dust upon his head toward heaven.

When Job got the news that he had lost virtually everything, he rent his mantle and shaved his head (which, as noted above, was the sign of a renewed vow of total commitment to God). When Job’s three friends saw him, each one rent his mantle and sprinkled dust upon his head toward heaven (which is a sign of despair). Remember that the

LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life (Genesis 2:7). Without the breath of life (from the Spirit of God), man is nothing but dust, a fact that became very clear after the fall.

2:13 So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word unto him; for they saw that his grief was very great.

Seven days and seven nights is, of course, the amount of time it took God to finish the first creation and enter into rest. In addition, the purification rites mentioned in the Law last for seven days. And it seems that it will take seven prophetic days (seven thousand years) from the fall of man (Genesis 3) to the completion of the new creation (Revelation 21).

Job’s friends sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights while no one spoke a word unto him. They held their tongues until Job decided to speak, although it is clear that all this time, they were thinking about what they would say to him. Their stated purpose was to mourn with him and to comfort him, but as we will see, when it came to offering comfort, they were spectacularly unsuccessful.

Jesus said, Blessed are those that mourn, for they shall be comforted (Matthew 5:4). He also referred to the Holy Spirit as the Comforter (John 14:26). Regarding their ability to convey wisdom and comfort from the Spirit of God, all three of Job’s friends would prove to be sadly deficient, even though they were steeped in what were generally recognized as good and godly principles and values. Such comfort as they could offer was on a human level only.

The Old Testament has many references lamenting the plight of those who have no comforter (Psalm 69:20; Ecclesiastes 4:1; Lamentations 1:21), and in spite of the presence of his friends, this was Job’s situation. We can gauge what he thought of their attempts at consolation by the fact that he later called all three of them miserable comforters (Job 16:2).

Eliphaz (“he to whom God is dispenser”), Bildad (“son of contention”), and Zophar (“hairy” or “rough”) turned out to be very religious persons who were utterly convinced that Job’s losses were explicable in terms of their beliefs. That their long discourses to him were deemed worthy of being recorded in Scripture may be ascribed at least in part to the fact that what they said could have been true under different circumstances: for instance, if they had been dealing with someone who, according to their judgment, had truly and abominably sinned and was attempting to cover it up, that person would arguably deserve the suffering Job was enduring. This, however, was not Job’s situation.

Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar were clueless about what was going on in the spiritual realm between the Lord and Satan amid the heavenly sons of God, and at first Job at least partially shared their lack of awareness. As is the case with most of us, it took quite a while for this level of truth to dawn on him. Ultimately, however, God used this most difficult time of trial and tribulation to open Job’s eyes to the heavenly dimension of events and to reveal himself to Job.

And what of Satan’s part in this? Not only did he demonstrate intense hatred toward Job but he hates all those who truly belong to God, and he loves to persecute them. Satan’s time, however, is running out. The book of Job reveals God’s prophetic plan with an incredible grand finale in which everything the devil has been doing is uncovered and he is fully revealed for who he is. This book also shows us the only way Satan and his kingdom can be vanquished. This happens as Job goes from only being able to hear God’s voice to being able to see things from God’s perspective. As the devil goes down to defeat, Job becomes a beacon of hope for his wife, his family, and his three friends. He is received by God and used by God to extend restoration, cleansing, salvation, and blessing to others. What an honor!

Let us pray

Lord, we desire to reaffirm our commitment to you. Based on the fact that we belong completely to you, we ask that we may rightly divide the word of truth in righteousness and not accept false interpretations from the enemy. May we have the discernment to reject Satan’s accusations and explanations that would rob us of our hope of victory in you. May we, like Job, receive our spiritual eyesight so that we may see you as you really are and may view the circumstances of life from your perspective. Amen.

Chap 3. In Death the Slave is Free from His Master.

If our Lord Jesus Christ has truly redeemed us – that is, has paid the purchase price for us – then we belong to him. Because of his great love for us, when he redeems us and places his Spirit within us, he gives us our freedom – for where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.18 Nevertheless, legally we belong to him because we were slaves to the flesh and to sin and he paid for us with his own life. Therefore we cannot get away from the fact that God has the right to do with us as he sees fit.

18 (2 Corinthians 3:17).

I have certainly not undergone all the calamities that befell Job, but in my early days in the mission field, I did experience a time of prolonged trial just when I thought everything was going well, not only in my life but in my walk with God. Indeed, with unrealistic assumption, I even wondered what reward God might have in store for me for all the work I had done for him (it had seemed successful) and for the fact that I had remained at my post deep inside eastern Colombia while most other missionaries were fleeing the country or being withdrawn by their mission organizations.

All of a sudden, on August 14, 1983, I found myself kidnapped by rebel guerrillas, carried deep into the jungle, and tied to a tree, where I remained for five months while they demanded an impossibly high ransom. As the realization set in that everything I had worked for would now be lost or destroyed and that most likely I would not get out of my predicament alive, I confess that I felt very much like Job. Instead of having to deal with Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, I was surrounded by eight Marxists who claimed to be atheists, guarding me night and day.

As the ordeal wore on, my health deteriorated and I developed severe migraine headaches coupled with dengue fever and unrelenting malaria attacks. While fighting against the thin but sturdy nylon cords that bound me, I managed to detach my right rotator cuff tendon, and this greatly complicated my misery. As a result of all the tension, sickness, and pain, my heart began to beat erratically, until even my captors worried that I would soon die.

Even after my eventual release, my physical problems continued. I spent fifteen years with almost continuous severe migraine headaches that would only let up while I was preaching. On several occasions my wife became very concerned because she knew I had come to the point where I felt life was not worth living. I was taking so much pain medication that I couldn’t see straight and often found myself fighting double vision while driving down the road to my next speaking engagement. When I got up to speak, however, my symptoms would normalize. The miraculous relief even lasted for a few hours after the meeting.

When I went to the doctors, they would x-ray or scan all my bones and pronounce everything normal. Then they would ask when the pain had started, and when I told them I had been held captive in the jungle, they would nod wisely and refer me to a psychiatrist, with a diagnosis that had no basis in reality. Again I could identify with Job, trying to defend himself from well-meaning and well-educated friends who (as we will see) kept insisting on the wrong diagnosis for his condition, even while he himself had trouble coming up with a satisfactory explanation of why God would allow this to happen to him.

Job 3

3:1 After this Job opened his mouth and cursed his day.

3:2 And Job spoke and said,

3:3 Let the day perish in which I was born and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived.

3:4 Let that day be darkness; let not God regard it from above; neither let the light shine upon it.

3:5 Let darkness and the shadow of death redeem it; let a cloud dwell upon it; let the blackness of the day terrify it.

3:6 As for that night, let darkness seize upon it; let it not be joined unto the days of the year; let it not come into the number of the months.

In his suffering, Job wishes his existence to be negated to the point that he does not even want his conception to be remembered, let alone his birthday (I must admit I’m not big on birthdays, either). Remember, too, that all Job’s children have just been killed on the birthday of his eldest son. Also please bear in mind that Job obviously is not aware of the conversations that have gone on between God and Satan.

3:7 O, let that night be solitary; let no song come therein!

For the ancients, a song had to do with a blessing. Who can forget that when Jesus was born a heavenly choir sang to shepherds who watched their flocks by night outside of Bethlehem? Job, however, does not feel that the day he was born was a blessing of any kind.

3:8 Let them curse it that curse the day, who are ready to raise up their mourning.

Who are those sitting there beside Job, ready to raise up their mourning?

None other than Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar.

3:9 Let the stars of its dawn be darkened; they waited for light, but have none; neither let them see the dawning of the day;

3:10 because it did not shut up the doors of my mother’s womb nor hide the misery from my eyes.

Jewish scribes and rabbis appear to have removed certain years from their calendar in the book of Judges, with these missing years being the times when God sold Israel into the hands of her enemies for up to twenty or even forty years at a stretch. The seventy years of the Babylonian captivity also seem to have not been counted. This would explain why the current (2018/2019) Jewish year is 5779, i.e., about two hundred and forty years less than the total of all the years that have passed since the creation of Adam, according to the Bible (a total that puts us presently at about 6015 to 6019 years of human history, depending on exactly how the years are counted). It seems there were many years that were so black and painful that the scribes and rabbis simply did not count them (although God, of course, keeps perfect track of everything).

In Job’s case, his life had been going extremely well (at the time the narrative opens, he was considered the greatest of all the men of the east). But suddenly, when he least expected it, God withdrew the total protection to which Job had become so accustomed, and he was rapidly overwhelmed by his enemies.

I felt the same way when I was kidnapped so unexpectedly, and for the first several days that I was tied to the tree, I spent most of my time carefully thinking over all my recent words and deeds to see if I had unwittingly said or done something terrible that might have been the cause of my predicament. Although I probed long and deep, I came to the conclusion that my conscience was clean. After all, for years I had been flying the dangerous jungles and mountains of Colombia with a perfect safety record, and I knew that only the hand of God had kept me safe.

This was prior to the invention of GPS, and during the same time period, almost all my contemporary pilot friends suffered serious accidents, some of which led to the pilot’s death. My flying skills were certainly no better than theirs, and it was clearly God’s divine protection that kept me safe.

My life as a prisoner was very uncomfortable. Job’s life had become so bleak that he began to wonder why he had even been born. What good could possibly come from all this? Even though Job had at least some degree of spiritual hearing, he was unable to see any of what had just happened to him from God’s point of view. Many of us can probably identify with him on some level.

3:11 Why did I not die from the womb? Why did I not give up the spirit when I came out of the belly?

3:12 Why did the knees receive me? Of what use the breasts that I should suck?

3:13 For now I should have lain still and been quiet; I should have slept; then I would have been at rest,

3:14 with the kings and the counsellors of the earth, who built desolate places for themselves;

3:15 or with princes that had gold, who filled their houses with silver.

3:16 Or, why was I not hidden as an untimely birth, as infants who never saw light?

Job reasons that if he had died in the womb or had been hidden as an untimely birth, as infants who never saw the light, then he would have been in essentially the same state as the kings and counsellors of the earth, who built desolate places for themselves; or with princes that had gold, who filled their houses with silver. He has begun to see that those who build things for themselves build desolate places and that princes that had gold, who filled their houses with silver, will ultimately end up no better off than an aborted fetus or stillborn infant. They will never be more than infants who never saw light.

Contrast this with the God-inspired description of Job at the beginning of this book as perfect (mature) and upright (Job 1:1). Job can now see that despite their riches and status, most kings, counselors, and princes will never amount to much and never attain maturity (or perfection). Might he be in the same boat?

It still does not occur to Job that even though he has lost his worldly wealth and has apparently lost his sons and his daughters, these disasters do not affect his standing before God as being perfect and upright. Rather, the fact that Job did not sin nor charge God with folly has greatly enhanced his standing with God: so much so that God told Satan there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and upright man, one that fears God and has departed from evil and that he still retains his perfection (Job 2:3).

Job’s lament continues:

3:17 There the wicked cease from troubling; and there the weary are at rest.

3:18 There the prisoners rest together, they do not hear the voice of the oppressor.

3:19 The small and the great are there, and the slave is free from his master.19

19 In death, the slave is free from his master. If we are slaves to the flesh and to sin then, if what the Apostle Paul refers to as the “old man” dies, we will be free to serve a new master, Jesus Christ (Romans 6:1-7:6).

Job imagines that death would be a better place than his present situation. He does not seem to have any conception of resurrection or of final judgment, but this becomes more understandable when we remember that chronologically, this is most likely the first book of the Bible to be written. Even in New Testament times, after the canon of Old Testament Scripture was complete and had been studied for centuries, the matter of an afterlife was not settled among theologians. We know from Luke’s writings, for example, that the Sadducees did not believe in resurrection or in life after death or even in supernatural beings such as angels, while the Pharisees did (Acts 22:8). Almost two thousand years later, there are still many Christians for whom these concepts are not clear.

3:20 Why is light given to him that is in misery, and life unto the bitter in soul;

3:21 who long for death, but it comes not; and search for it more than for hid treasures;

3:22 who rejoice exceedingly and are glad when they can find the grave;

3:23 to the man who does not know which way he goes and whom God has hedged in?

Why does God continue to give light to those in misery and life to the bitter in soul? To reveal to us crucial truths that would otherwise be extremely difficult or perhaps even impossible to convey. Job acknowledges that he does not know which way he goes after his death. He also realizes that it is God who has hedged him in, but he does not seem to consider the fact that God has all of us hedged in. The only way any of us can leave this present world is by our physical death. The important thing is not that we will die but which way we will go when we depart.

3:24 For my sighing comes before I eat, and my roarings are poured out like the waters.

3:25 For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.

3:26 I never had prosperity, nor did I secure myself, neither was I at rest; yet trouble came.

Before I was held hostage in the jungle, one of the things I feared the most was being kidnapped. Then it happened to me, even though I was walking upright before God. Thanks to that experience, I know all about sighing before I eat, and I understand about roarings that are poured out like the waters. As a prisoner in a seemingly hopeless situation inside the guerrilla camp, my world was turned upside down. I also came to the conclusion that even though I may have imagined that I was prosperous, secure, and at rest before the trouble struck, I never had prosperity, nor did I secure myself, neither was I at rest.

As I thought about the things I could have done better, more efficiently, and more productively for the kingdom of God, I began to yearn for an opportunity to pursue a different level and definition of prosperity, security, and rest. I also spent a considerable amount of time contemplating the huge difference between earthly treasure and the heavenly kind. My upbringing had ensured that I had never placed excessive value on the former, but now my thoughts became fixed on how to maximize the latter. Even though my heart was right with God and I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that if my captors killed me, I would go to be with the Lord, I also recognized that in many ways I had been spinning my wheels instead of putting all my time and energy into things of eternal value.

Looking back on my previous fears, I came into a greater and greater realization that it is the agape love of God that casts out fear, and that this love is inextricably linked to the presence of God. Job, too, reflected on the thing which I greatly feared, and he told his friends candidly how he felt. He considered them to be true friends, but by being honest about his previous fear and unrest, he unwittingly gave them ammunition that they would later use to wound him profoundly (after which they would proceed to rub salt in the wound).

If we belong to the Lord, he will allow us to be tested and proven while we are in this world, and if there is any hidden fear inside of us that has not been overcome and displaced by the redeeming love of God, sooner or later it will be brought to light. The day this happens we may feel, like Job, that this is the worst disaster that could possibly have befallen us, when in reality God does us a profound favor.

Let us pray

Lord, we thank you for bringing us to the realization that the things of this world will never be able to satisfy us. May your love fill us and displace all of our fear, anxiety, and unrest. May we make our decisions based on the leading of your Spirit instead of reacting out of human fear. May we see things from your perspective. Amen.

Chap 4. The Diagnosis of Eliphaz.

Job 4

4:1 Then Eliphaz, the Temanite,20 answered and said,

4:2 If we attempt to commune with thee, thou wilt be grieved. But who can withhold himself from speaking?

20 Eliphaz (“to whom God is dispenser”) is the name of Esau’s eldest son by his wife, Adah (“pleasure”), the daughter of Elon (“oak”), the Hittite (descendant of Heth). Eliphaz’s son was the Duke of Teman (“south wind” or “to the right hand”). Since Esau was the same age as Jacob, Eliphaz would have been contemporary with (or possibly a few years older than) Job’s father, Isacchar, which would mean that Eliphaz was likely thirty or forty years older than Job. If I am correct, then the lengthy discourse that follows – making up the whole of chapters 4 and 5 of the book of Job – was delivered by Esau’s son (Eliphaz) to Jacob’s grandson (Job).

So, did Eliphaz come to comfort Job or not? He knew before he even started speaking that Job would be grieved due to what he and his two friends were about to say, and yet he apparently could not restrain himself. In fact, the phrase, If we attempt to commune with thee, thou wilt be grieved, implies that the three of them may have commented negatively on Job among themselves in advance.

4:3 Behold, thou hast instructed many, and thou hast strengthened the weak hands.

4:4 Thy words have upheld the one that was falling, and thou hast strengthened the feeble knees.

4:5 But now that it is come upon thee, thou art grieved; it touches thee, and thou art troubled.

In essence, Job is being accused of not practicing what he has preached. According to Eliphaz, Job has instructed, strengthened, and upheld others when they were in difficulty, yet now that trials have come upon him, he is grieved and troubled.

4:6 Is not this thy fear, thy confidence, thy hope, and the integrity of thy ways?

4:7 Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent? Or where were the righteous cut off?

Eliphaz first argues that Job’s righteous life – that is, his fear of God, and the principled behavior that has resulted – should be a source of confidence and hope for him. Then he begins to change his tune, insinuating that if Job has indeed been innocent and righteous all this time, the recent disasters would not have befallen him.

4:8 Even as I have seen, those that plow iniquity and sow wickedness, reap the same.

4:9 By the breath of God they perish, and by the spirit of his anger they are consumed.

4:10 The roaring of the lion and the voice of the fierce lion and the teeth of the young lions, are broken.

4:11 The old lion perishes for lack of prey, and the stout lion’s whelps are scattered abroad.

Here Eliphaz implies that the death of Job’s children and servants must be the consequence of those that plow iniquity and sow wickedness, by which he can only mean Job himself. Eliphaz is deaf and blind to the reality of the spiritual conflict going on behind the natural scenes between God and Satan.21

21 In a certain sense, God and Satan were both behind the entire calamity that happened to Job. In this view, Satan is simply a tool that God used to test and prove Job. On the other hand, it is clear that God instigated this situation and that ensuing tribulation brought Job into a higher realm in his relationship with God (the realm of being able to see by the Spirit) while at the same time Satan and Satan’s tactics were exposed for what they really are. To top it all off, God chose this living, prophetic parable to begin writing the Scriptures.

The theology of Eliphaz, like that of many people today, is a simplistic one, perhaps even a primitive one. He believes that bad things only happen to a person with whom God is displeased. However, this belief does not take into account the untimely death of righteous Abel at the hand of his brother Cain, for example, or the persecution and martyrdom of countless prophets of God since then (Hebrews 11).

It is definitely true that we will reap what we sow, but what Eliphaz does not have clear is that when injustice arises – perhaps when someone is persecuted unjustly or even put to death without good cause – this is not the end of the matter, because God can and will compensate that person later.

4:12 Now the matter was also hidden from me, but my ear has perceived a little of it.

Unable to see beyond what happens in this present life upon the earth (and even at that level, his powers of observation are so limited and his mind so lacking in discernment that he does not just deviate from the truth, he repeatedly inverts it), Eliphaz nevertheless believes he has a certain acuity of spiritual hearing that allows him to perceive a little regarding the truth of the matter.

4:13 In imaginations of visions of the night, when deep sleep falls upon men,

4:14 fear came upon me and trembling, which made all my bones to shake.

Eliphaz, like some today, has imaginations of visions of the night and now he describes, for Job’s “benefit,” one such vision and his interpretation of it.

4:15 Then a spirit passed before me which caused the hair of my flesh to stand up.

What spirit do you suppose this was? Certainly not the Spirit of God.

4:16 A ghost stood in front of me, whose face I did not recog[1]nize, and I heard it say,

4:17 Shall mortal man be more just than God? Shall a man be more pure than his maker?

4:18 Behold, he put no trust in his slaves, and his angels he charged with folly.

4:19 How much more with those that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, who shall be crushed by the moth!

4:20 They are destroyed from morning to evening; they perish for ever without anyone regarding it.

4:21 Does their beauty perish with them? They die and do not know.

Eliphaz is so confused that when a ghost appears to him, he thinks it must be an oracle of God, despite his instinctive fear. Like many well-meaning people who lack a solid spiritual foundation, he seems to have come to the mistaken conclusion that anything supernatural must be of God.

Satan had no trouble bringing about the loss of Job’s people and animals, as that was a straightforward matter of destruction; his most complex and delicate work, however, is when he appears to someone like Eliphaz and manages to pass himself as an angel of light. Satan’s lies are so often effective because they have what appears to be a high component of truth, with just enough poison to serve his purpose.

In the “vision” that Eliphaz describes, the ghost starts off with a line that is hard to argue with: Shall mortal man be more just than God? Shall a man be more pure than his maker?

Then comes a taste of poison: Behold, he put no trust in his slaves, and his angels he charged with folly.

God does trust some of his “slaves;” otherwise, he would have never have allowed Satan to test the fidelity of his slave, Job, in this manner. Likewise, God does not charge all his angels with folly, for he is well aware that only the ones who joined Satan in rebelling against him are foolish.

The ghost (as quoted by Eliphaz) continues with a few more drops of poison: How much more with those that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, who shall be crushed by the moth! According to Satan, those who dwell in houses of clay (mortal man) can never hope to gain God’s trust; being lower than the angels, they will always be subject to at least some amount of “folly.” From here, it is an easy transition to the concept espoused by many that as humans, weak and flawed, every day we are virtually compelled to sin in word, thought, and deed, as well as by omission. Omission is a real killer because there are so many good things you could do each day that you can never accomplish them all.

Now, here comes concentrated poison: They are destroyed from morning to evening; they perish for ever without anyone regarding it. Does their beauty perish with them? They die and do not know. Satan claims that mortal men perish for ever, with no one paying any regard to their physical death. They die and do not know. He would have us believe there is no such thing as resurrection or eternal life or hell. This was the doctrine of the Sadducees – of whom we continue to have many, under different names.

For those who have believed Satan’s lies up to this point, it is now a relatively small step to agnosticism.

Job 5

5:1 Call now, if there shall be anyone to answer thee; and if there shall be any of the saints for thee to look unto?

Is Eliphaz inviting Job to make a call into the supernatural realm to see if any saints will respond? Or is this verse a direct continuation of the discourse of the previous chapter, and is Eliphaz still repeating what the ghost told him? Either way, Eliphaz seems confident that any response to such a call will support him rather than Job. But Eliphaz has gotten a lot of things backwards up until now. What if these “saints” are really demons?

To shore up his credibility, Eliphaz swings back around and offers another statement that is pretty hard to argue with:

5:2 It is certain that wrath kills the foolish man, and envy consumes the covetous one.

5:3 I have seen the foolish taking root, but at the same time I cursed his habitation.

The sanctimonious line of verse 3 really is over the top. In the midst of his folly, Eliphaz is convinced he is an excellent judge of who is foolish, and he hypocritically boasts that he has even cursed his habitation. How much “holier than thou” can he get?

5:4 His sons are far from saving health, and they shall be crushed in the gate, and there shall be no one to deliver them.

Since this is what happened to Job’s sons, Eliphaz regards it as proof that Job has been given over to folly.

5:5 The hungry shall eat up his harvest, and even take it out from among the thorns, and the thirsty shall drink up their substance.

5:6 For the iniquity does not come forth out of the dust; neither does chastisement spring up out of the ground;

5:7 yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.

Having more or less told Job that he classifies him as one of the foolish, Eliphaz again attempts to beef up his credibility with statements that are difficult to argue against.

5:8 I would certainly seek God, and unto God would I commit my affairs;

5:9 who does great things that no one can understand, and marvels that have no explanation;

5:10 who gives rain upon the earth and sends waters abroad;

5:11 who sets up the humble on high, that those who mourn may be lifted up with saving health.

I can imagine Eliphaz drawing himself up like an elder statesman as he delivers the above lines. Does he really think Job has not been calling and crying out to God since all the trouble began? Blithely unaware that just a few verses ago he quoted Satan verbatim, thinking that the apparition he saw (which was either Satan or a satanic spirit) was actually of God, Eliphaz continues lecturing Job about the virtues of God.

5:12 He frustrates the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot perform their enterprise.

5:13 He takes the wise in their own prudence, and the counsel of his adversaries is turned to folly.

5:14 They meet with darkness in the daytime and grope in the noonday as in the night.

5:15 But he saves the poor from the sword, from the mouth of the wicked, and from the hand of the violent.

5:16 Who is the hope of the poor, and iniquity closes her mouth.

This appears to be more or less standard boilerplate for many preachers from that day to the present. Religious people and religious places thrive on speaking like this, and to be fair, for the most part such discourses are based on truth. However, there is a flip side to such homilies, and it relates to our own personal responsibility. God can speak to us one-on-one and show us how we relate not only to him but to the overall battle between good and evil that rages in both the spiritual and the natural realms. Those like Eliphaz seem to know little or nothing about the concept that what we bind on earth shall be bound in heaven and what we loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven (Matthew 18:18), for example, but perhaps this is because God has never given them that authority.

Eliphaz is now about to close the circle and end his sermon with what he thinks is a masterly flourish that should surely bring poor, “wicked” Job to repentance.

5:17 Behold, blessed is the man whom God chastens; therefore, do not despise the correction of the Almighty.

This line of reasoning might have been fine if Eliphaz were addressing a real sinner. However, since God has already announced twice that Job is upright and perfect, the treatment he has undergone is definitely not chastisement from God. Here again, Eliphaz gets it all backwards. Nevertheless, he continues with great eloquence regarding the benefits of the chastening and correction of the Almighty.

5:18 For he makes sore, and binds up; he wounds, and his hands make whole.

Once more, the discernment of Eliphaz is off. It was the devil who suggested that if God were to put forth his hand and touch Job’s bone and his flesh that Job would most likely blaspheme God to his face. It was not until God put Job in Satan’s hand (but with orders to preserve his life) that Satan went forth from the presence of God and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head (Job 2:4-7). And the Enemy would likely have acted even sooner had he not been impeded by the hedge of protection which God had placed around Job.

5:19 He shall deliver thee in six tribulations, and in the seventh no evil shall touch thee.

5:20 In famine he shall ransom thee from death, and in war from the power of the sword.

5:21 Thou shalt be hid from the scourge of the tongue; neither shalt thou be afraid of destruction when it comes.

5:22 At destruction and famine thou shalt laugh; neither shalt thou be afraid of the beasts of the earth;

5:23 for thou shalt be in league with the stones of the field; and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with thee.

Eliphaz lyrically extols the blessings and virtues of the millennium, or the future kingdom of God, which he seems to think will magically appear here and now unto anyone whom God has chastened and corrected (you will recall that in the previous chapter, he repeated Satan’s claim that there is no hereafter as if he had received this from God).

5:24 And thou shalt know that there is peace in thy tent, and thou shalt visit thy habitation and shalt not sin.

5:25 Thou shalt know that thy seed is great and thine offspring as the grass of the earth.

5:26 Thou shalt come to thy grave in a full age, like a shock of wheat that is gathered in its season.

5:27 Behold that which we have searched out, so it is; hear it and judge it for thyself.

Eliphaz is proud of that which we have searched out. For him this is a slam-dunk, and the case is closed; what he and his buddies have searched out (with most of their assumptions being at least half off and one sided, thus leading to conclusions that are one hundred and eighty degrees reversed from the truth) is, he asserts, so blindingly obvious that if Job will only behold it, he will be forced to concede that so it is. He encourages Job to judge it for himself.

How valid is Eliphaz’s claim? Well, he implies that he did not hear from God regarding Job’s plight. Instead, he searched matters out with his two friends, and then an unidentified spirit that came by gave him a freebie performance that he believed supernaturally confirmed their erroneous findings. This, of course, is a situation fraught with spiritual danger. It is very important that we do not rely on our own judgment but seek instead the witness of the Spirit of God. This is why Jesus warned us, Judge not, that ye not be judged (Matthew 7:1).

Let us pray

Lord, please deliver us from being judgmental. May we seek your judgment in all matters. May our hearts be cleansed and purified until we are able to clearly discern the difference between your Spirit and other spirits. Please deliver us from deception and from evil. Amen.

Chap 5. The Weight of Job’s Grief and Calamity.

This is Job’s second discourse as he responds to the accusations of Eliphaz the Temanite.

Job 6

6:1 And Job answered and said,

6:2 Oh that my grief and calamity were justly weighed and laid equally in the balances!

6:3 For it would be heavier than the sand of the sea; therefore, my words are swallowed up.

6:4 For the arrows of the Almighty are within me; my spirit drinks of the poison; and terrors of God combat me.22

22 There is something in every one of us that God wants to kill (even when we are on friendly terms with God). The apostle Paul calls it “the old man.” Viewing the battle from one side, Satan, is our adversary and mortal enemy and even specializes in duping friends of ours, like Eliphaz and his associates, so they can be used against us. On the other hand, God is after the total and complete destruction of the “old man” so we can come forth in the new man in Christ. To this end, all things will work together for good (Romans 8:28). It is very interesting to jump ahead to the end of the book and see how God used Job’s trial and tribulation to bring forth Job (refined as pure gold) in a key role leading to the restoration and reconciliation of Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar.

You will recall that the words of the ghost, relayed by Eliphaz to Job, were poisoned, and Job seems to be aware of their toxicity, even though he believes Eliphaz has come to comfort him. Eliphaz, for his part, thinks God has ordained his words to Job.

A spirit – that caused Eliphaz to fear and tremble and made the hair of his flesh stand up – tipped the balance, and Eliphaz came down on the side of condemning Job. Eliphaz thought this spirit was of God, but we have just seen that he was totally mistaken.

Job recognizes he is in a battle (it began like an ambush, actually) and knows that he belongs to God, and therefore God must have ultimate responsibility regarding what is happening to him. But he is not aware of the interaction between God and Satan, nor does he know that Satan has had a direct role in bringing calamity upon him.

Job’s statement – that if his grief and calamity were justly weighed, they would be heavier than the sand of the sea – is very profound, for it calls to mind the promises God gave Abram even before his name was changed to Abraham: And he brought him forth abroad and said, Look now toward the heavens and count the stars, if thou art able to number them. And he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him for righteousness (Genesis 15:5-6).

After God tested Abraham’s faith to see if he would sacrifice his son, Isaac, we read the following: And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time and said, By myself I have sworn, said the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son; that in blessing I will bless thee and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gates of his enemies; and in thy seed shall all the Gentiles of the earth be blessed because thou hast hearkened unto my voice (Genesis 22:15-18, emphasis added).

The sand upon the shore represents the limits that God has placed upon the sea (and in prophetic language, the sea represents lost humanity). Today this corresponds to legalistic Jews and Christians who spend their time propagating precepts and values that are based on the Word of God but are out of tune with the Spirit of God. Such people are similar to Eliphaz and his friends. Their religious doctrine must be learned and memorized; it does not flow spontaneously from their hearts.

We find a similar phrase in a description of the time Jacob desperately sought the Lord because Esau (father of Eliphaz), with four hundred men, was about to wipe out Jacob’s entire family:

And Jacob said, O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, the LORD who said unto me, Return unto thy country and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee. I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which thou hast showed unto thy slave; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan and now I am become two bands. Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I fear him lest he come and smite me and the mother with the children. And thou hast said, I will surely do thee good and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude. (Genesis 32:9-12, emphasis added)

In his time of trouble, just before he wrestled with the angel of the Lord all night and God crippled his walk in the flesh but changed his name (nature) to Israel, Jacob laid claim to the promise that God had made to his grandfather, Abraham. Now, in this chapter of the book of Job, Jacob’s grandson is under spiritual attack from Esau’s son. And so it has been throughout history: the natural sons like Esau and his son Eliphaz, represented by the sand which is upon the sea shore, persecute the spiritual sons like Israel and his grandson, Job, who are as the stars of the heaven.

When Job says that if all his grief and calamity were justly weighed and laid equally in the balances, the weight would be heavier than the sand of the sea, he is saying in effect that according to the principles of justice (same word in Hebrew as “righteousness”), natural sons like Eliphaz and his friends are not qualified to judge him in this matter.

Job continues his defense:

Job 6

6:5 Does the wild ass bray when he has grass? Does the ox low over his fodder?

6:6 Can that which is unsavoury be eaten without salt? Or is there any taste in the white of an egg?

6:7 The things that my soul refused to touch before, now by my sorrow are my food.

When Job enjoyed the fullness of God’s blessing, he didn’t complain about anything, but now everything has radically changed. He points out that even the wild ass (a symbol of those who operate under the unrestrained whims of the flesh) does not complain as long as it has “grass,” and the ox (a symbol of those who serve and have ministry) does not complain as long as he has “fodder.” If Job is complaining now, it is because he has just reason to do so.

What were the things that his soul refused to touch before?


When I found myself tied to a tree in a guerrilla camp in the jungle, I started to reflect on things that I had never considered before. Why had the Lord not protected me as he had always done before? What about the works I had carried out that, at the time, I thought were the will of God? There were chapels I had built, Christian groups I had helped start and then had nourished, people I had baptized, projects I had thought up or endorsed that seemed unarguably worthy, missionary endeavors of all sorts, etc.

In the early days of my missionary work, when everything was calm and prosperous, many of the locals had seemed willing to convert and serve the Lord, and my fellow missionaries and I had come to look on this as normal. Later, however, eastern Colombia degenerated into chaos. The region was invaded by drug traffickers, while illegal right- and left-wing armed groups began to take over huge tracts of territory and fought with one another and with the government (which was riddled with corruption). All of a sudden, those who had once claimed to be righteous Christians began to cultivate and traffic in high-profit illicit drugs and take sides in the conflict. Soon the entire region had become a spiritual black hole.

Now I began to wonder what the eternal purpose in all of our hard work had been. Close to eight hundred missionaries had left or been expelled or removed from the area, hundreds of pastors had been killed, and millions of people (many of them professing Christians) were being displaced. In a seemingly hopeless situation as a hostage, with my health on a downward spiral, I began to wonder if it was worthwhile to continue living. I remember belatedly telling the guerrillas that given the stated policy of our mission, it was highly unlikely that anyone would ransom me, so as far as I was concerned they had two choices: shoot me or let me go. By that point I could completely identify with the following words of Job:

6:8 Oh, that I might have my request and that God would grant me the thing that I long for!

6:9 Even that it would please God to destroy me, that he would let loose his hand and cut me off!

6:10 Then should my comfort grow; I would hold on to sorrow without mercy; for I have not contradicted the words of the Holy One.

As I reflected, like Job, on all of the things that my soul had refused to touch before, I came to the distinct conclusion that my predicament was not a result of rebellion or disobedience against God on my part, even though I could definitely see what Job meant when he said that the things he had previously refused now by my sorrow are my food. Like him, I asked:

6:11 What is my strength that I should hope? What is my end that I should prolong my life?

6:12 Is my strength the strength of stones? Or is my flesh of steel?

6:13 Am I not doing all that I can, and even with all this I lack the power to do anything?

The guerrillas were saying to me, “Give us some hard evidence of this God that you say you believe in. Show us a picture of him, prove he exists, and maybe we’ll believe you. You claim God is good, but if he is, why did he let this happen to you? If God loves you and appreciates you, why doesn’t he rescue you? We don’t think this God of yours exists, but if he does and if he would abandon you in such trouble, then you must be a very bad person. You claim to be a missionary, but who knows what you’ve really been up to?”

6:14 He that is afflicted deserves mercy from his friend; but he has forsaken the fear of the Almighty.

Instead of showing mercy, we will see that Eliphaz does everything possible to pile guilt and condemnation onto Job, under the guise of fulfilling his pious obligation. In his legalistic religiosity, Eliphaz has forsaken the fear of the Almighty. He is unaware that God has declared three times that Job is a person who feared God and departed from evil (Job 1:1, 8; 2:3).

6:15 My brethren have lied to me as a brook; they passed away as an impetuous stream,

6:16 which was hidden by ice and covered by snow.

6:17 Which in the time of heat, they vanish; when they are heated, they disappear out of their place;

6:18 they turn aside out of the paths of their way; they go to nothing and perish.

When the bad news of the kidnapping of a missionary hits the news media, one of the first things that happens is that many self-declared friends withdraw their financial support from the mission, fearing that the money will be used to pay a ransom to terrorists. Even our mission board threatened to disown and cut off our family if any attempt were made to ransom me.

As with Job (albeit with some notable exceptions), where icy hearts had once melted and responded to our needs on the mission field, what had once been an impetuous stream of friendship and aid now vanished in the time of heat. Turning my thoughts outward, I began to think of the situation of the entire human race. What if Jesus had refused to give his life as a ransom for us? What if he had said, “I refuse to negotiate with terrorists”?

6:19 The travelers of Tema looked; the traveling companies of Sheba waited for them.

“Tema” means “desert.” The travelers of Tema correspond to those who are traveling through a spiritual desert. “Sheba” means “oath” or “covenant.” Many religious people are tied up with foolish oaths (or covenants) they have made. They may have vowed to always pay their tithes to a given group or minister, or to attend without fail all the meetings at a certain building, or even to never negotiate with or pay a ransom to terrorists. But such promises may make it virtually impossible for the Holy Spirit to lead them outside the religious box in which they have chosen to live.

Jesus would remind these people: Again, ye have heard that it was said to the ancients, Thou shalt not perjure thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths; but I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by the heaven, for it is God’s throne, nor by the earth, for it is his foot[1]stool, neither by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yes, yes; No, no; for whatsoever is more than this comes of evil (Matthew 5:33-37).

6:20 They were put to shame because of their hope; they came there and found them confused.

6:21 Now ye are certainly as they; ye have seen the torment and are afraid.

The travelers of Tema and the companies of Sheba want to be pilgrims, but they not only shy away from and evade the way of the cross, they even help torment those who do travel on that challenging way. They are like the priest and the Levite who crossed to the other side of the road and refused to help the man who had been robbed and left half dead (Luke 10:25-37).

Similarly, Eliphaz not only self-righteously refuses to show mercy to one who should have been treated as a friend, he has lent himself to the Enemy as a useful idiot so that even more grief and pain can be inflicted on Job.

Job 6

6:22 Did I say, Bring unto me and pay for me out of your substance

6:23 and deliver me from the enemy’s hand and ransom me from the hand of the mighty?

Job is not asking his friends for money or deliverance. What he wants from them is mercy and understanding and comfort. In the end, instead of his three friends interceding for Job before the throne of God, it is Job who winds up interceding for them! (See Job 42:7-9.)

6:24 Teach me, and I will be silent; and cause me to understand in what I have erred.

6:25 How forcible are the words of rectitude! But what does your argument reprove?

The words of Eliphaz are clothed with rectitude (righteousness), but what does his argument reprove? The anointing of the Spirit of God is absent from his speech, just as it is missing from many homilies and sermons today.

6:26 Are ye not thinking up words of reproof and throw to the wind words that are lost?

6:27 Ye also overwhelm the fatherless and dig a pit before your friend.

Job feels that his friends have orphaned him. They have set a trap right in front of him.

6:28 Now, therefore, if ye desire, look upon me and see if I shall lie in your presence.

6:29 Turn now, and there is no iniquity; return again to look for my righteousness in this.

6:30 If there is iniquity in my tongue or if my taste cannot discern the torments.

Job offers Eliphaz the opportunity to turn now and avoid iniquity (hidden sin). He wants Eliphaz to reconsider his harsh judgments. He asks him to return again to look for my righteousness instead of looking for ways to condemn him.

Job 7

Job begins this chapter by speaking seemingly to everyone in general. However, by verse 7 his discourse has transitioned into something that he clearly wants God to overhear, and by the end of the chapter, it is definitely a prayer.

7:1 Man certainly has an appointed amount of time upon earth, and his days are like the days of a hireling.

7:2 As a slave earnestly desires the shade and as a hireling waits for rest from his work,

7:3 so I am made to possess months of vanity, and wearisome nights are appointed to me.

7:4 When I lie down, I say, When shall I arise? I measure the night, and I am full of tossings to and fro unto the dawning of the day.

Job counts the days and wonders how long he will remain upon this earth. I can remember doing the same thing. Days passed without anything to mark them, and nights seemed unending. Sometimes my heart would beat in a very irregular fashion, and I started to become fixated on this. When it happened, I would get the attention of one of my captors, and a guerrilla nurse or medic would come and check my blood pressure and then leave with a very serious expression on their face.

7:5 My flesh is clothed with worms and clods of dust; my skin is broken and abominable.

7:6 My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle and are spent without hope.

7:7 Remember thou that my life is wind and that my eyes shall not return to see good.

Here Job begins to remind God of some things that seem very important to him, and again I can remember doing something similar. On several occasions in the depths of my ordeal, I saw fit to remind the Lord Jesus that at least he had lived for about thirty-three and a half years upon the earth, while I was about to be cut off at twenty-seven years of age. Like Job, I did not mind dying, but I was concerned about what would become of my wife and baby daughter. I also began to express to the Lord a strong desire to radically rearrange my goals and priorities, should I ever regain my freedom. I now realize this was because God was doing a very deep and profound work in my heart.

7:8 The eyes of those that see me now shall not see me again; thine eyes shall be upon me, and I will cease to be.

After the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the garden, God placed cherubim and a flaming sword to guard it, and most of the ancients believed that if they were ever to enter the presence of God, they would be destroyed.

7:9 As the cloud is consumed and vanishes away, so he that goes down to Sheol,23 who shall not come up again;

7:10 he shall return no more to his house; neither shall his place know him any more.

7:11 Therefore, I will not refrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.

23 This is the fourth chronological mention of Sheol (or Hades) in Scripture (there are three instances in the book of Genesis). The word is used a total of eight times in the book of Job.

Sheol refers to the first death, or the death of the body. Prior to the redemptive death of Jesus Christ, virtually all souls (even the righteous patriarchs such as Abraham) went to Sheol. Job seems to think that going to Sheol is a one-way ticket. It is not clear to him what happens after that, but then again, it was not very clear to anyone prior to Jesus’ victory. After Jesus died, he descended into Sheol (Hades in Greek). Then, when he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, freeing those who were his (Ephesians 4:8-10). Later, Jesus made it very clear that he has the keys of Hades and of death (Revelation 1:18).

Hades is not the same as the hell referred to as the second death and as the lake of fire (Revelation 20:13-14). Prior to the time of Job, only one person (Enoch, the seventh patriarch from Adam) was known to have gone directly to the presence of God without being detained by death in Sheol (Genesis 5:22-24).24

7:12 Am I a sea, or a dragon, that thou settest a watch over me?

In Scripture, the dragon is linked to the sea of lost humanity. (Incidentally, many pagans actually worship the dragon.) Here Job wonders what his faith looks like to God. He even appears to question whether God thinks he is dangerous.25 Those who lived on the coast (and remember, the land of Uz or Goshen extended along the coast) had to set a watch because they never knew when a dangerous enemy might come in from the sea.

24 This is the meaning of Genesis 5:24, which states: And Enoch … was not, for God took him. See also Hebrews 11:5, which explains that Enoch did not see death, for God took him. It is also clear in Scripture that physically Enoch died, because his name is in a list that is summed up by saying, These all died in faith … (Hebrews 11:4-13a).

25 In a certain sense, there is indeed a danger here, because God staked his reputation – in front of Satan and all the “sons of God” gathered before his throne – that Job would not fail the test.

7:13 When I say, My bed shall comfort me, my couch shall ease my complaint;

7:14 then thou dost scare me with dreams and terrify me with visions.

If this line is primarily directed at Eliphaz, then Job is referring to the hair-raising tale of the spirit or ghost that Eliphaz perceived in imaginations of visions of the night (Job 4:13-21). Because Eliphaz failed to properly discern the spirits, he used this entity’s satanic message in an attempt to unsettle, unnerve, and even terrify Job.

7:15 And my soul thought it better to be strangled and desired death more than my bones.

7:16 I loathed life; I do not desire to live forever; let me alone; for my days are vanity.

Sooner or later, and generally due to difficult circumstances, most of us will realize that for our human life to go on forever would not be the best outcome; it will dawn on us that such a life would not really be what God describes as eternal life. God’s life – the life that he desires to place inside of us – is of a very different quality from our biological life, and it produces a joy that we can experience here and now, despite our trials and tribulations, even though we will not come into the fullness of eternal life until we are resurrected. If we belong to Jesus, Scripture assures us that when we see him, we shall be like him (1 John 3:2). The more we walk with God, the more we anticipate that day, and the more the things of earth grow dim and lose their attraction.

7:17 What is man that thou should magnify him and that thou should set thine heart upon him

7:18 and that thou should visit him every morning and try him every moment?

For every genuine believer, it is a joyous day when we realize that we have been redeemed and forgiven and that we now belong to God. Because we are able to place this in the context of the advent of Jesus Christ and the subsequent availability of the Holy Spirit, the concept is easier for us to understand than it would have been for Job. Even in Job’s time, however, the true significance of the symbolic burnt offerings that he continually offered for himself and his family looked forward to the once-and-for-all sacrifice of Jesus.

Even after God delivers us with a mighty hand, we sometimes fail to understand that his objective is the complete eradication of what the New Testament describes as the “old man.” Nevertheless, if we follow Jesus on the way of the cross, God will use every trial or difficulty or tribulation to further this goal, even if it involves being tied to a tree out in the jungle and subjected to physical and psychological oppression.

7:19 For how long wilt thou not depart from me, nor let me alone until I swallow down my spittle?

How long must we continue to face adversity? Until the old man is completely dead and the life of Jesus Christ dominates our entire being.

Peter summed it up like this: Since the Christ has suffered for us in the flesh, be ye also armed with the same thought; for he that has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,26 so that now the time that remains in the flesh, he might live, not unto the lusts of men, but unto the will of God (1 Peter 4:1-2).

26 The Greek word hamartia used by Peter and translated here as “sin” means to consciously aim at the wrong target.

7:20 If I have sinned, what shall I do unto thee, O thou preserver of men? Why hast thou set me as a mark against thee, so that I am a burden to myself?

Job felt that God had placed a big target on him. His conscience was clean, yet he wondered if he might somehow have sinned unwittingly. Would God allow these calamities to happen to him because of a sin that he was not even aware of committing? How could such a sin possibly cause God any harm?

7:21 And why dost thou not take away my rebellion and pass over27 my iniquity? For now I shall sleep in the dust; and if thou shalt seek me in the morning, I shall not be found.

27 Remember that the Passover was still many years in the future.

Job’s attention is focused on his predicament. Wouldn’t it be easier for everyone concerned if God simply disregarded any unintentional rebellion and passed over any inadvertent iniquity? Job thinks his current situation is out of proportion to any possible fault of which he may unknowingly be guilty. He is near the breaking point and is advising God that he feels he is not far from death. He has no idea there is a wager between God and Satan and that God will not allow Satan to take his life.

It is very human for any of us who are facing persecution to think, “Oh, poor me!” As long as our thoughts are centered on ourselves (no matter how grievous the injustice), it will be difficult, if not impossible, for us to see the situation from God’s perspective.

Let us pray

Lord, we ask that this message may be very clear to every one of us. May we be granted understanding about the difficult times that we may be experiencing or that may lie ahead. May our hearts be cleansed and our spiritual eyes opened so your work in and through us may bear eternal good fruit. Amen.

Chap 6. Bildad and Job Interact.

Job 8

8:1 Then Bildad, the Shuhite, answered and said,

“Bildad” means “son of contention,”28 and “Shuhite” means “descendant of Shua”29 (“wealth”).

28 Another possible translation of “Bildad” is “divided or confused love.” Bildad is mentioned five times in the book of Job, but nowhere else in Scripture.

29 It is possible that Bildad the Shuhite was of the line of Shua, a Canaanite whose daughter was Judah’s first wife. Judah married her when he went away from Jacob and the rest of his brethren for a while, and many problems sprang from this relationship. God slew two of Judah’s sons from this union because they were evil in the sight of the LORD (Genesis 38). If Bildad was the son of Shua, he would have been Judah’s Canaanite brother-in-law and contemporary with Judah, who was Job’s uncle. The sons of Judah: Er, Onan, and Shelah. These three were born unto him of the daughter of Shua, the Canaanitess. And Er, the firstborn of Judah, was evil in the sight of the LORD, and he slew him. (1 Chronicles 2:3) Remember that Canaan was cursed by his grandfather, Noah, because of the behavior of his father, Ham (Genesis 9:20-27).

8:2 How long wilt thou speak such things and how long shall the words of thy mouth be like a strong wind?

8:3 Shall God pervert that which is right or shall the Almighty pervert justice?

8:4 Because thy sons sinned against him, he cast them away in the place of their rebellion;

As with Eliphaz, sin is the only explanation that Bildad can conceive of for the catastrophes that have befallen Job, and since Job adamantly denies sinning, Bildad concludes it must have been Job’s sons who were the guilty parties. The fact that all of them were killed in the collapse of the same house is his supporting evidence for this. After all, he argues, God is always just, and therefore God would never pervert that which is right.

This position, of course, fails to take into account free will and Satan’s rebellion. If God were to always limit Satan (and those who follow Satan’s example, even if they do not recognize or acknowledge whom they are emulating) by completely protecting the innocent and the righteous from their attacks, then the full depth of the evil intentions of the hearts of the Enemy and his followers would never be exposed, and the lack of evidence would render it more difficult to convict them if they were to be put on trial. Under Mosaic law, judicial matters that carry the death penalty must be decided on the evidence of at least two or three witnesses (Deuteronomy 17:6; 19:15). Therefore in the legal case against Satan and his kingdom of dark[1]ness, the witness of God alone against Satan is insufficient and the additional witnesses are necessary. However, Bildad, like Eliphaz, is totally unaware of the spiritual legal battle going on between God and Satan.

8:5 if thou would seek God early and make thy supplication to the Almighty,

8:6 if thou wert pure and upright, surely now he would awake upon thee and make the habitation of thy righteousness prosperous.

8:7 In such a way that thy beginning would have been small, in comparison to the great increase of thy latter.

Even though Bildad has jumped to the conclusion that the loss of Job’s children was due to their own sin, he also thinks that if Job were pure and upright, his situation would surely be prosperous. Bildad measures prosperity in terms of worldly wealth, power, and position in the natural realm. True prosperity, however, is what ensues when God uses the natural events and circumstances around us (including difficulties, trials, tribulations, and even sickness) to teach us lessons of eternal value and to develop godly character in us and in others.

8:8 Ask, I pray thee, of the former age, and be willing to enquire of thy fathers regarding them;

The former age Bildad refers to is undoubtedly the time before the flood, and the fathers he references are Noah (who lived for six hundred years before the flood and three hundred and fifty years after it), Noah’s son Shem (who lived for ninety-eight years before the flood and five hundred and two years after it), and other long-lived patriarchs. Apparently conventional wisdom at the time the book of Job was written held (correctly) that the antediluvian30 sinners had been destroyed due to their unrighteousness and apostasy, but the role of Satan and the angels who followed him when he fell was veiled at that time.

8:9 for we are but of yesterday and know nothing because our days upon earth are as a shadow.

All told, Noah lived to the age of nine hundred and fifty, and Shem lived to be six hundred years old. After the flood, however, mankind’s length of life began to shorten dramatically. Genesis 6:3 tells us that God placed a postdiluvian31 limit of one hundred and twenty years on a human life, although this limit was phased in gradually. For instance, Joseph (Job’s uncle who was prince of Egypt) died at one hundred and ten years of age. Bildad feels that he and his contemporaries, including Job, have very short lives and therefore need to learn from the patriarchs as much wisdom as they can.

30 Of or relating to the time before the biblical flood

31 Of or relating to the time after the flood.

8:10 Shall they not teach thee and tell thee and utter these words out of their heart?

Bildad is going to utter these words out of their heart, and he goes on to recite verses that he has learned by rote. He feels he understands the heart of the patriarchs (and their ostensibly wise sayings, which mention God), but he is obviously not in touch with God’s heart. It is also important to note that in all societies, the oral tradition of the elders eventually becomes corrupted as history degenerates into legend and legend into myth: protecting the accuracy of such history is one of the reasons God inspired the holy writings of the Scriptures.

Bildad thinks he will prove his condemnation of Job and Job’s family is justified, using words that he ascribes to the heart of the patriarchs:

8:11 Can the rush grow up without mire? Can the meadow grow without water?

8:12 Whilst it is yet in its greenness and not cut down it withers before any other herb.

Here Bildad is implying that Job has withered because God cut off his sustenance (water).

8:13 So are the paths of all that forget God, and the hypocrite’s hope shall perish.

8:14 For his hope shall be cut off, and his trust is a spider’s web.

Bildad deludes himself that he can judge Job’s heart. He forgets – if he ever really knew – that the only one who is qualified to judge our hearts is God.

8:15 He shall lean upon his house, but it shall not stand; he shall hold it fast, but it shall not endure.

He thinks that if God has cut Job off, then no matter how much Job tries to lean upon his house and prop it up, it shall not stand. All of this could, of course, be true if Bildad were addressing a real hypocrite, which he is not.

8:16 Like a tree, he is green before the sun, and his branches go forth over his garden;

8:17 his roots weave themselves around a spring and secure themselves even in a stony place.

Bildad knows Job used to be like a green tree offering shade from the sun and that his branches used to go forth over his garden; that Job used to help others and provide shelter, protection, and nourishment for them; and that his roots were woven around a spring and were able to secure themselves even in a stony place, so he would not be easily displaced.

8:18 If he is uprooted from his place, then it shall deny him, saying, I have not seen thee.

8:19 Behold, this is the joy of his way, and out of the earth from where he was transplanted, others shall grow.

Bildad throws out the idea that maybe Job is being uprooted from his place. The phrase Behold, this is the joy of his way, may refer to Bildad’s conception of God’s way, which he has cobbled together from what he has learned from the sayings of the patriarchs. According to this line of so-called wisdom, out of the earth from where he [Job] was transplanted, others shall grow.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Bildad has completely misinterpreted and misapplied what he has learned, and like Eliphaz, he has come to conclusions about Job and his situation that are the exact opposite of the truth.

8:20 Behold, God will not cast away a perfect man; neither will he help the evil doers.

Bildad is absolutely confident that the above line is unarguable. To him this is legal boilerplate, and no one can challenge it. He has no inkling that in God’s eyes, Job continues to be a perfect man, and God has not cast Job away. Bildad is equally confident that God will not help the evildoers, and therefore since God does not appear to be helping Job, the only logical conclusion is that Job is an evildoer.

Bildad is blind to the fact that on some occasions, God will allow evildoers to act according to what is in their hearts, not because he approves of their actions but because permitting them to act this way is in keeping with free will, and also because this is the only way to bring what is in their hearts out into the open so they can be held accountable. On the judgment day, each one will be judged according to their actual works, not their thoughts.32

Bildad does desire to see Job restored, however. It grieves him to see his friend in his present state. He wants to hold out hope to Job, but he firmly believes that the only way to do that is to bring Job to repentance, because he is sure that if Job repents, God will change his terrible circumstances.

God is aware that Bildad really does want Job to be restored, and in spite of Bildad’s confusion and wrong conclusions, God uses him to give an astounding prophecy:33

32 And I saw the dead, great and small, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened; which is the book of life; and the dead were judged by those things which were written in the books, according to their works. (Revelation 20:12)

33 Much of Bildad’s discourse (unlike that of Eliphaz) is actually prophetic and true if properly understood and interpreted (which Bildad lacks the ability to do). The first part should have been directed at Satan instead of Job and deals with what will eventually happen to Satan and to Satan’s “sons,” while the last three verses apply to Job and to all of God’s people who unjustly suffer injustice and persecution. There are many Scriptures about a “just balance,” and so far Job, Eliphaz, and Bildad have all placed Job on one side of the scales as counterweight to God on the other side. The true way to weigh the situation, however, is to put Job and God on one side of the scales, with Satan and his “sons” on the other side. Eliphaz and Bildad believe that God has come down hard on Job due to hidden sin, either on his part or on his sons’ part. Job thinks God has come down hard on him also, and he wants the opportunity to defend himself because he doesn’t understand why God would do this to him when his conscience is clean. All three men are unaware of the role of Satan in the spiritual realm behind the natural scenes.

8:21 He will yet fill thy mouth with laughing and thy lips with shouts of joy.

8:22 Those that hate thee shall be clothed with shame, and the dwelling place of the wicked shall come to nought.

Even though they are very confused and have repeatedly applied what they think is unassailable wisdom and truth to this particular problem, only to come up with the wrong answers, Eliphaz and Bildad are not in the same class with Satan and those who hate Job. Those who hate Job include not only Satan but all who follow Satan in his open rebellion against God. They are the ones who, in the end, will be clothed with shame. It is the dwelling place of the wicked, not the dwelling place of Job, that shall come to nought.

At least part of the spiritual battle that is raging also has to do with the eternal fate of the souls of those like Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar.

Remember, Job is also prophetically symbolic of all the people of God who have been persecuted and unjustly attacked by Satan throughout history. Satan loves to bombard the thoughts of well-meaning people if he thinks he can hoodwink them into helping to pile guilt and condemnation on people like Job. This type of thing has been prevalent throughout history and continues to happen.

Job 9

9:1 Then Job answered and said,

9:2 I know it is so of a truth, but how shall a man be justified with God?

Job knows that at least the last part of what Bildad has said is, when properly discerned, the truth. However, Job still thinks he is in serious trouble with God, even though he believes God’s apparent anger is unwarranted, and he is concerned that his health is deteriorating so quickly that he may die before he has the opportunity get this all cleared up. Job wants to be justified with God, but he doesn’t see how this can happen.

9:3 If he desires to contend with him, he will not be able to answer him one thing of a thousand.

Job knows that a man is not well equipped to contend with God, no matter how clean that man’s conscience may be.

Here is Job’s concept of God:

9:4 He is wise in heart and mighty in strength; who has hardened himself against him and remained in peace?

Job knows the answer to that question, of course, and he has no intention of hardening himself against God. In the midst of all the turmoil, his conscience is at peace because it is clean.

9:5 Who uproots the mountains in his anger, and they know not who overturned them.

Mountains are prophetic symbols of private kingdoms.

9:6 Who removes the earth out of her place and causes her pillars to tremble.

The earth is prophetically symbolic of the religious realm of Israel and the church, with a membership including a number of people like Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar.

What are the “pillars” of “the earth”?

For some of the ancients, like Bildad, the pillars are words from the heart of the patriarchs; for religious Jews, they are the law of Moses and the prophets; for many in the church, they are made up of the principles, values, and doctrines they have distilled from the New Testament. However, God’s people need to actually make personal contact with God, ask him to grant them discernment, and use that discernment to implement the truth they have learned. If they rely on their own understanding instead, the day will come (maybe suddenly) when God removes the earth out of her place and causes her pillars to tremble.34

34 This type of major earthquake has happened repeatedly throughout history, and we are coming up on the grand finale prophesied by virtually all of the prophets as the great and terrible day of the Lord.

9:7 Who commands the sun, and it rises not; and seals up the stars.

The day will come when the “sun” of this world – that is, the god of worldly prosperity that has repeatedly infiltrated Israel and the church – will set, never to rise again. On that day, Scripture tells us that the stars will not shine and the moon will turn to blood (Ecclesiastes 12:2; Isaiah 13:9-13; Ezekiel 32:1-7; Joel 2:10; Matthew 24:29; Mark 13:24-26; Revelation 6:12-17).

9:8 He alone extends the heavens and walks upon the waves of the sea.

Scientists tell us the universe is still expanding, and Scripture tells us the Lord Jesus will expand the boundaries of his domain to create a new heaven and a new earth (Isaiah 65:17; 66:22; 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1). While he was here upon the earth, Jesus demonstrated that he could literally walk upon the waves of the sea. The sea, of course, is symbolic of lost humanity.

9:9 He who made Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the secret places of the south.

There is only one other reference in Scripture to Arcturus (the name means “guardian of the bear” and refers to the star’s proximity to Ursa Major and Ursa Minor, which are known as “the Great Bear” and “the Lesser Bear” respectively); that reference occurs when God speaks in Job 38:32. Orion (“strong”), a southern constellation, has three references in Scripture (the other two are Job 38:31 and Amos 5:8), while the Pleiades, an open star cluster in the constellation Taurus consisting of several hundred stars, of which seven are traditionally held to be visible to the naked eye, are likewise mentioned in Job 38:31.35 Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades will come up later when God speaks to Job (and to us) out of the whirlwind.

35 These stars are referenced in Amos 5:8 and in Revelation 1:16, 20; 2:1; 3:1. God indicates the Pleiades have “sweet influences” (Job 38:31), and there is a mystery surrounding “the seven stars” that is revealed in the book of Revelation.

What are the secret places of the south?

The word translated as “south” could have also been translated as “noonday” and is linked with the desert (Hebrew Negev). The journey of the children of Israel through the desert, under Moses, is symbolic of the church age. The Lord prepared secret places of the south for the Israelites to camp out in while they were being prepared to enter the promised land, and he is doing the same for those of his people who, in the church age, are being prepared to enter into the fullness of our inheritance in Christ.

9:10 He who does great things past finding out, and wonders without number.

Job knows and confesses that God is unlimited and infinite. Acknowledging God’s greatness, however, also causes him to worry that he may be too small and insignificant to attract God’s attention. I suspect this same thought has crossed the minds of most of us.

Here Job is getting close to recognizing that it is possible, perhaps even probable, that his circumstances may be due to God working to achieve something that at the moment is past finding out for mortal man.

9:11 Behold, he shall pass before me, and I shall not see him; and he shall pass on, and I shall not understand him.

Job yearns for a visitation from God, but he worries that he may miss it, because he is not sure he will be able to see and understand when it happens. This is actually a very healthy attitude. Throughout history, there have been many people who – although they have been standing in the right place at the right time to witness some of the great things past finding out and wonders without number that God is capable of – have nevertheless been oblivious to what God was doing because their focus remained on the things of this world, and especially on themselves.

9:12 Behold, he shall take away, who can cause him to restore? Who shall say unto him, What doest thou?

9:13 God will not withdraw his anger, and under him those who help unto pride are bent over.

Those who help unto pride will end up getting bent over. Here Job prophesies what will happen to his three friends and to countless others throughout history who demonstrate similar blindness while claiming to be experts.

9:14 How much less shall I answer him and choose out my words to reason with him?

9:15 Who even though I am righteous, yet I would not answer, but I would make supplication to my judge.

Even though Job knows he is righteous, he would approach God with the utmost caution. He has no wish to contend with or contradict God; only to make supplication to him.

9:16 Who if I were to invoke him, and he answered me; yet I would not believe that he had hearkened unto my voice.

9:17 For he has broken me with a tempest and has multiplied my wounds without cause.

9:18 He will not suffer me to take my breath but has filled me with bitterness.36

36 The name “Mary” means “bitter.” This is also the meaning of “myrrh,” a spice that is symbolic of the way of the cross.

Job is in a quandary contemplating what would happen if God finally hearkened to his voice and answered him. He imagines he would not believe it. After all, if God has heard his pleas, why has he not intervened already on Job’s behalf?

9:19 If we were to speak of his strength, he is certainly strong; and if of his judgment, who shall cause us to meet?

9:20 If I justify myself, my own mouth shall condemn me: if I say, I am perfect, he shall prove me perverse.

9:21 If I say I am imperfect, I know not my soul; I would condemn my life.

If Job has a clean conscience and God nevertheless condemns him, whom can he ask to mediate? Job has offered burnt offerings for himself and for his family at all the appropriate times, but what if he honestly forgot something? What if his human limitations got in the way of fulfilling some obligation God thought was extremely important, and Job didn’t even realize it? What if? What if? What if?

Even though he knows he is righteous, Job feels that if he were to announce to God that he is perfect, God could easily prove him perverse. (What if God were to bring up past sins or mistakes that Job thought were covered by all the burnt offerings he had made?) On the other hand, if Job were to declare himself imperfect, he would not honestly portray the actual condition of his heart and soul and would therefore condemn himself for nonexistent sins.

At this point, Job and his contemporaries had no idea that God the Father would eventually send his only begotten Son to die for the sins of the world. Job did not know that the substitutionary sacrifice of that son, Jesus Christ, would atone for and reconcile our unwitting honest mistakes as well as our sins. He could not conceive of a scenario whereby God’s son, having voluntarily become a man, would not only give his life to redeem us but would also become the ultimate judge. As man, Jesus understands our human condition and weakness; as God, he is capable of forgiving and restoring us, and able to mediate a new covenant between God and us. And now, if we ever get back into trouble with God, we have an Advocate before the Father, Jesus, the righteous Christ, who will take our case before the throne of heaven (1 John 2:1).

9:22 One thing remains, that I say, He consumes the perfect and the wicked.

9:23 If it is the scourge, it slays suddenly, and it does not laugh at the trial of the innocent.

9:24 The earth is given into the hand of the wicked; he covers the faces of its judges; if it is not he who does this then, who is it and where is he?

As he struggles to understand how and why he has ended up in this situation, Job experiences flickers of spiritual vision. The religious wisdom of his day attributes everything that has befallen him to God, but what if someone other than God is responsible for at least some of these events? If it is not he [God] who does this then, who is it and where is he?

Job is beginning to suspect the existence of a spiritual enemy like Satan. By the end of the story, he will have a clear revelation of what is really happening.

9:25 Now my days are swifter than a post; they fled away, they never saw good.

9:26 They are passed away as the ships of Ebeh [Heb. “reed”] as the eagle that throws himself on the prey.

9:27 If I say, I will forget my complaint, I will leave off my heaviness and comfort myself;

9:28 I am afraid of all my troubles; I know that thou wilt not hold me guiltless.

Job cannot forget his complaint. Even if he were to do so in an attempt to leave off his heaviness and comfort himself, he cannot cast aside the pervasive fear engendered by his troubles; and because he sees no reason for those troubles, he believes in his despair that no matter how innocent he is of any wrongdoing, God does not and will not hold him guiltless.

9:29 If I am wicked, why then shall I toil in vain?

Job feels that if he has been found wicked in the sight of God and man, there would then be no point in him toiling to seek justice and vindication, because the case would have already been decided against him.

9:30 If I wash myself with snow water and make my hands never so clean;

9:31 yet thou shalt plunge me into the pit, and my own clothes shall abhor me.

No matter how much Job attempts to cleanse himself of his unknown sin, he believes he cannot prove himself clean and innocent before God, and he knows that unless God intervenes, he will soon die and go down to the pit (another name for Sheol, the first death). He is aware that his own clothes, or “covering,” are not adequate and that he needs to be covered by God.

9:32 For he is not a man, as I am, that I should answer him, and we should come together unto judgment.

9:33 Neither is there any arbiter between us, that might lay his hand upon us both.

When the children of Israel came to Mount Sinai and the presence of God descended upon the mountain, the people drew back in fear. They thought if they even continued to hear God’s voice, they would die (Deuteronomy 5:25). Now, under the new covenant, Jesus Christ – who is God and yet a man – is the arbiter or mediator between God and mankind (1 Timothy 2:5). This should be of great comfort to all of us.

9:34 Let him take his tormentor away from me, and his terror will not perturb me.

Job knows that he is in the hands of a tormentor that he thinks God must have sent. He still has no idea of who Satan really is, and thus he does not suspect that Satan is the prince of this world, who at the time had the empire of death (Hebrews 2:14), nor is he aware that a spiritual war is going on between Satan and God.

9:35 Then I would speak and not fear him, because in this state I am not myself.

When any of us are in what we consider to be a “normal” state, our mind filters what comes out of our hearts before it can flow from our mouths. Job is now in a state whereby what is really in his heart is coming straight out of his mouth without first being filtered by his mind. This may seem a somewhat unnerving concept in modern society, but it is a state that God desires us to be in. You see, if we do not allow the Lord to deal with our heart, our spiritual vision and discernment will remain defective. If we see into the spiritual realm at all, it will be with great difficulty. And if we do not see into that realm, how will we be able to manage responsibility, authority, or leadership in the kingdom of God?

Jesus said, Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God (Matthew 5:8). In order to achieve that purity, God will allow us to be subject to trials and tribulations proceeding from the Enemy until, like Job, whatever is in our heart will flow straight out of our mouth. This will provide a reality check on the actual status of our heart. I know, because it has happened to me on numerous occasions and for prolonged periods of time.

Let us pray

Lord, may we understand the depth of your dealings with us and the reason for your insistence that if we are to be your friends and have responsibilities in your kingdom, it is indispensable that our hearts be perfect before you. Amen.

Chap 7. Though He Slay Me, Yet I Will Trust in Him.

Job knew he was in serious trouble and his physical life (which, as far as he was aware, was the only life he had) was hanging by a thread. He also knew it was not possible for him to have trouble of this magnitude unless God was allowing it or perhaps even causing it. He was at a loss, however, to understand why such calamities had struck him, because his conscience was clean and he knew he had done nothing to deserve adversity on this scale.

His friends, Eliphaz and Bildad, were sure they knew the answer. In order for things to have degenerated to such an extreme, they argued, there had to be hidden sin. If Job had not sinned, then his children must have sinned, in which case Job was still responsible because he had not raised them properly and had not dealt with the situation that had led to their sin.

Job 10

10:1 My soul is cut off in my life; therefore, I will leave my complaint upon myself; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.

10:2 I will say unto God, Do not condemn me; cause me to understand why thou dost contend with me.

Job still thinks he is on one side of the scales of justice and God is on the other, and he wants to understand why God contends with him. Job is not condemning God, but he wants to make sure God does not condemn him when he has done nothing to deserve it.

10:3 Is it good unto thee that thou should oppress, that thou should reject the work of thine hands and shine upon the counsel of the wicked?

Job can’t figure out why God seems to be oppressing a good man like him while wicked men not only seem to go scot-free but their counsel is seemingly not reproved.

10:4 Hast thou eyes of flesh? Dost thou see as man sees?

10:5 Are thy days as the days of man? Are thy years as man’s days,

10:6 that thou dost enquire after my iniquity and search after my sin?

These are important questions, though it’s doubtful that Job realized how prophetic his words were. At the time, God, with all his unlimited power, had never lived as a man. This all changed with the advent of Jesus Christ. In order to experience things from a human perspective, God became a man. Now there is a just judge who knows all about our human weakness and infirmity and who mediates on our behalf.

10:7 Thou knowest that I am not wicked; and there is no one that can deliver out of thy hand.

10:8 Thine hands have formed me and fashioned me together round about; yet thou dost destroy me.

10:9 Remember now that thou hast formed me as the clay; and wilt thou bring me into dust again?

Job is sure God knows he isn’t wicked, so why doesn’t God deliver him?

10:10 Hast thou not poured me out as milk and curdled me like cheese?

10:11 Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh and hast hedged me with bones and sinews.

10:12 Thou hast granted me life and mercy, and thy visitation has kept my spirit.

10:13 And these things thou hast hid in thine heart; I know that this is with thee.

Even in the midst of his multiple losses, with his health continuing to deteriorate, Job is thankful that God has granted him life and mercy and that God’s presence has kept Job’s spirit.

10:14 If I sinned, wilt thou mark me and not cleanse me from my iniquity?

10:15 If I am wicked, woe unto me; and if I am righteous, I will not lift up my head, being full of dishonour and of seeing my affliction.

Job continues to ask serious questions as he pours out his heart to God in the presence of his unhelpful friends. Regarding cleansing mankind from sin and iniquity, God instituted a system of sacrifice at the fall, even before he expelled Adam and Eve from his presence. When God exchanged their hastily contrived covering of fig leaves for leather girdles, a blood covenant was implied, because something had to die in order for this covering to be obtained. Even so, the blood of animals could not really cover sin. This was only a temporary arrangement, looking forward to the once-and-for-all atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Job thought God could just decide to cleanse someone and it would be done, and in a way he was right. God could and would offer mankind the opportunity to be cleansed of sin, but unknown to Job or to virtually anyone else at the time, it would cost the life of God’s only begotten Son.

10:16 And thou dost increase. Thou dost hunt me as a fierce lion; turning and doing marvels in me.

10:17 Thou dost renew thy plagues against me and increase thine indignation upon me, bringing up armies against me.

Job believes things are getting worse for him, not better. He feels hunted by God, plagued by physical ailments, and outnumbered by seemingly invisible armies (and this was undoubtedly true), but he is not aware of the adversarial role of Satan.

10:18 Why then hast thou brought me forth out of the womb? Oh that I had given up the spirit and no eye had seen me!

10:19 I should have been as though I had not been; I should have been carried from the womb to the grave.

Job wants to know the point of all the suffering he has undergone, since it seems to him that he would have been better off if he had never been born.

10:20 Are not my days few? Cease then, and let me alone, that I may take comfort a little,

10:21 before I go, to not return, to the land of darkness and of the shadow of death;

10:22 land of darkness, as darkness itself, and of the shadow of death, without any order, and where the light is as darkness.

Job was living in the time after the flood, and it was obvious to him that the average span of man’s life was declining rapidly.37 I estimate that he was about seventy years old at this time,38 and now he is seriously contemplating death. It is obvious Job does not know very much about what will happen when he dies. He is only able to contemplate a land of darkness (Sheol) from which there is no return. He is not aware that one day, Jesus will die and ransom everyone who is his.

37 Abraham died at 175. Jacob was 130 when he told Pharaoh that few and evil have the days of the years of my life been and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage (Genesis 47:9). Jacob lived for another seventeen years in Goshen and died at the age of 147. This was a short life in comparison to patriarchs like Noah, who lived 950 years (600 before the flood and 350 after). Noah died when Abraham was about fifty, and Noah’s son Shem (who lived for 502 years after the flood, for a total of 600 years) would have been alive until Jacob and Esau were close to forty.

38 This estimate is based on the fact that when God restored Job and gave him double what he had before, included in this blessing was another 140 years of life (Job 42:16). Therefore it is likely that Job was seventy at this time.

Job 11

11:1 Then Zophar, the Naamathite, answered and said,

“Zophar” means “hairy” or “rough,” and a Naamathite is an inhabitant of Naamah39 (“pleasantness”).

11:2 Should not the multitude of words be answered? And should a man full of talk be justified?

11:3 Should thy lies make men be silent? Shalt thou mock, and shall no man make thee ashamed?

11:4 For thou hast said, My doctrine is pure, and I am clean before thine eyes.

The original meaning of the word “doctrine” had to do primarily with conduct and character and only secondarily with philosophy (or with what is called religious doctrine today).40 When Zophar claims Job said, My doctrine is pure, and I am clean before thine eyes, he paraphrases, of course; primarily he means that Job said his life was pure, but he also makes a subtle reference to Job’s philosophy, which obviously differs from that of Zophar and the other two. Zophar is outraged by what he sees as Job’s audacity, and he hopes God will intervene and straighten Job out.

39 Naamah is one of the cities in the border of the tribe of the sons of Judah towards the border of Edom towards the Negev (Joshua 15:21, 41). Naamah is first mentioned in Scripture as a descendant of Cain; she was the daughter of Lamech and Zillah (Genesis 4:22).

40 My father always used to say that right doctrine should help to bring about right living but also that right living is conducive to discovering and understanding right doctrine.

11:5 But oh, that God would speak and open his lips against thee

11:6 and that he would show thee the secrets of wisdom! For thou dost deserve double according to sound wisdom; and thou dost know that God has forgotten thee because of thine iniquity.

Zophar might be a native of “Pleasantville,” but he is definitely agitated after listening to Job, because if what Job says is true, Zophar’s worldview will be shattered. Zophar is so upset with Job for not sharing his theological perspective that he exclaims Job’s iniquity deserves not just the disasters that have already befallen him but double according to sound wisdom.

11:7 Canst thou by searching find out God? Canst thou come unto the perfection of the Almighty?

Zophar is mocking Job, yet Scripture tells us, For all that are led by the Spirit of God, the same are sons of God (Romans 8:14). Therefore if we are truly God’s sons and our hearts are pure and clean, we may encounter the face of God even while we are being tested and proven. Jesus said, Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God (Matthew 5:8). Indeed, the Scriptures encourage us to attain the perfection of God. Jesus would not have admonished Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father who is in the heavens is perfect41 (Matthew 5:48) if this were impossible. Nor would he have told us that with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26) if this were not true. Whose definition of perfection are we going to accept – ours or God’s?

41 God defines being “perfect” as being mature and complete and able to bear good fruit. In the context of Jesus Christ as the head of the body of Christ, we are complete (or perfect) in him.

11:8 It is higher than the heavens; what canst thou do? It is deeper than Sheol; how canst thou know it?

11:9 The measure of it is longer than the earth and broader than the sea.

Many people still pose the same questions today. They do not believe any of us can be perfect in the sight of God, and they may not even believe the Scripture when God declares Job to be upright and perfect before, during, and after his ordeal. What they fail to understand is that God looks for perfection in the thoughts and intentions of our heart, not in the frailness of our humanity. He desires our hearts to be like his. Scripture names several people who have had a perfect heart before the Lord (1 Chronicles 12:38; 29:9; Isaiah 38:3), but Zophar and many who think like him today do not grasp God’s definition of perfection.

Zophar desperately continues:

11:10 If he [God] cuts off, or shuts up, or gathers together, then who can hinder him?

11:11 For he knows the vain men; and he sees the iniquity; will he not then understand it?

11:12 The vain man shall make himself understood, though man is born like a wild ass’s colt.

Satan, if unbridled, will immediately use his power to destroy his enemies, and Zophar assumes God has the same outlook. He doesn’t understand that God uses his power with judicious restraint. According to Mosaic law, every matter of life or death must include evidence from two or three witnesses before judgment is rendered, and even then God is patient, giving time for reflection and repentance. God is patient with us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).42

42 From the very beginning, God chose not to immediately administer to sinners – such as Adam or Eve, or even Satan for that matter – the full penalty they deserved. When Cain murdered his brother Abel, God did not promptly strike him dead. Instead, hoping for repentance, he sentenced Cain to be a fugitive and a vagabond and never to be at rest (Genesis 4:9-12).

Job is also upheld in Scripture as an example of patience, an attribute that is linked to the mercy and compassion of God (James 5:11).

11:13 If thou would prepare thine heart and stretch out thine hands toward him (toward God);

11:14 if there is any iniquity in thy hand and thou dost put it far away and dost not consent that wickedness dwell in thy habitations,

Zophar is convinced Job’s problem is that he has not prepared his heart nor extended his hands toward God; that he has not yet abandoned his iniquity (whatever it may be); and that even if he is as free from sin as he declares himself to be, he must have at least turned a blind eye or perhaps even consented to the iniquity of his children or some other iniquity that was taking place under his roof. Zophar, like Eliphaz and Bildad, is convinced that Job’s problems would be solved if only he could be brought to repentance. Having made a long journey to visit Job as soon as they heard the bad news, the three of them have sat by his side for seven days, dumbfounded and astonished, waiting for him to speak; now, each in turn, they strive to persuade him to admit what they consider is the only reasonable explanation for his woes. If only they could get Job to repent! They draw him an encouraging word picture of the relief he would feel:

11:15 then shalt thou lift up thy face without spot; thou shalt be strongly established and shalt not fear;

11:16 and thou shalt forget thy misery and remember it as waters that passed away;

11:17 and thine age shall be clearer than the noonday; thou shalt shine forth, thou shalt be as the morning.

11:18 And thou shalt trust because there is hope; yea, thou shalt dig and sleep in safety;

11:19 thou shalt lie down, and no one shall make thee afraid; and many shall make requests unto thee.

11:20 But the eyes of the wicked shall consume themselves, and they shall have no refuge, and their hope shall be agony of the soul.

Having painted a rosy picture of what he thinks will happen if Job would only put away any iniquity, not consent to any iniquity going on in any of his habitations, and repent, Zophar goes back over the consequences if Job persists in being wicked.

Job 12

12:1 And Job answered and said,

12:2 No doubt but ye are the people, and wisdom shall die with you.

Job begins by sardonically acknowledging the three of them – Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar – as the people, prosperous and powerful and so wise that when they die, there will be no wisdom left in the world.

12:3 But I have a heart as well as you; I am not inferior to you; and who shall not be able to say as much again?

He makes it clear that despite his current problems, he will not tolerate their superiority complex and will not accept that they have a corner on wisdom.

12:4 He who invokes God and he answers him is mocked by his friend; the just and perfect man is laughed to scorn.

Job is the one who invokes God and God answers him. Deep inside, Job knows his conscience is still clear before God and that he continues to be just and perfect. The problem is that God is not justifying him in public.

12:5 The torch is held in low esteem in the thought of him that is prosperous, which was prepared to guard against a slip of the feet.

What is the torch that was prepared to guard against a slip of the feet? The Word of God.43

43 In order to walk in covenant with God, we must hear from him and stay in his light (Genesis 15:17-18; Psalm 36:9; 119:105).

Job’s friends attempt to counsel him by repeating sayings apparently passed down from the patriarchs. However, although their words are in alignment with the established and theologically correct religious wisdom of their day, the speakers are not in contact with God. The torch was designed to guard against missteps, but the torch bearer must hear from God and follow what he says, a concept that is held in low esteem in the thought of him that is prosperous. Job’s friends are convinced their worldly prosperity is a sure sign that God approves of them and their philosophy.

12:6 The tents of robbers are at ease, and those that provoke God and those who carry gods in their hands live secure.

If prosperity and apparent security in the things of this world are proof that a person is wise and right with God, then people who steal, provoke God, and worship idols would all qualify.

12:7 But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the heavens, and they shall show thee;

There are many lessons we can learn from the natural creation. However, beasts can also be symbolic of humans who do not have the Spirit of God, and fowl can symbolize the angels of God who have access into the heavenly realm. The fact that there are some beasts that have been domesticated and may be safely used for the purposes of man, and other beasts that remain wild and extremely dangerous to man, should tell us something about the fall of mankind and the curse. Similarly, there are at least three classes of fowl: those that eat seeds and fruits and insects, those that kill and eat their prey, and those that eat only carrion. This should tell us that not all angels are benign. Scripture implies that Satan swept a third of the angels into his rebellion (Revelation 12:4).

12:8 or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee; the fishes of the sea shall declare it unto thee also.

Spiritually, there are three basic realms: the “sea” of lost humanity, the religious “earth,” and the “heavens.” Regarding “the sea,” remember Jesus told his disciples that if they left everything to follow him, he would make them fishers of men. The religious people of the “earth” are those who – like Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar – attempt to use God to get what they want, instead of the other way around. Even though these three do not acknowledge (or even detect) Job’s heavenly citizenship, he tells Zophar to speak to the earth and it will teach him, and the fishes of the sea shall declare it to him also.

What shall they declare?

The apostle Paul sums it up: For the invisible things of him, his eternal power and divinity, are clearly understood by the creation of the world and by the things that are made so that there is no excuse (Romans 1:20). Therefore, thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest; for in that which thou dost judge another, thou dost condemn thyself; for thou that judgest others doest the same things (Romans 2:1).

 Job continues:

12:9 What thing of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD made them?

Even those who live in the spiritual realm of the “sea” or the “earth” know full well that the hand of the LORD made them.

12:10 In his hand is the soul of every living thing and the spirit of all flesh of man.

12:11 Certainly the ear proves words and the mouth tastes foods.

Job can hear and taste in a spiritual sense, and this gives him enough insight and understanding to know that wisdom and intelligence originate from God.

12:12 With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days intelligence.44

12:13 With him is wisdom and strength; he has counsel and intelligence.

44 See Daniel 7:9-14 for more detail.

The oldest and only reliable source of wisdom and intelligence is God.

12:14 Behold, he shall break down, and it shall not be built again; he shall shut up a man, and no one shall be able to open unto him.

12:15 Behold, he shall withhold the waters, and they shall dry up; also he shall send them forth, and they shall destroy the earth.

Water can be a symbol of the word of God. God can withhold his word and cause a spiritual desert, or he can send forth his word and destroy the earth. When the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth (Genesis 6:7), the flood eventually followed.

12:16 With him is strength and existence; he who errs and he who leads astray are his.

12:17 He causes the counsellors to walk away stripped of counsel and makes the judges to be fools.

Job’s three so-called friends or comforters are conducting what looks like a trial (of Job), and each one has now borne witness (a total of three witnesses); their foregone conclusion, however, is that Job is guilty. In the course of this “trial,” each witness could be expected to make a total of three interventions, that is, three discourses laying out their testimony.45 Job now warns them that if they exceed their mandate, they could walk away stripped of counsel (disbarred) and revealed by God to be fools instead of judges.

45 This pattern was almost completed. Eliphaz and Bildad each spoke three times, but Zophar only spoke twice. Elihu replaced him and gave what probably should have been Zophar’s third intervention when Zophar (along with Eliphaz and Bildad) eventually found himself at a loss for words to respond to Job.

12:18 He looses the bond of kings and girds their loins with a girdle.

12:19 He leads priests away spoiled and overthrows the mighty.

God may set us loose from the allegiance that would bond us to earthly kings, and he will decide whom he will cover (God even chose to cover Adam and Eve with leather girdles after their sin). The word “priest” originally defined those who have face-to-face access to the king and therefore are in a position to mediate between the people and the king and intercede on behalf of the people. If God leads priests away spoiled, he strips them of their perks and authority.

12:20 He impedes the lips of those that speak the truth and takes away the counsel of the aged.

Job’s three friends obviously thought of themselves as truth tellers, aged counselors, and judges. They also may have thought of themselves as priests or even kings.

12:21 He pours contempt upon princes and weakens the strength of the mighty.

Those who consider themselves to be mighty in their own right will be weakened and ultimately overthrown (this includes Satan).

12:22 He uncovers the depths of the darkness and brings out to light the shadow of death.

How does God uncover the depths of the darkness?
By bringing out to light the shadow of death.

Those who are like Job’s comforters want to get rid of the darkness by beating away at the darkness, but God gets rid of the darkness by shining forth the light. In order to shine his light into a place of darkness, however, he must have someone who is willing to die for his cause, someone who will follow him no matter what, so that his light will shine in us and through us.46

46 It is not all that difficult to begin to follow the Lord. We enter by way of the Passover and receive the Lord Jesus by faith as our Passover Lamb who shed his blood to take away our sin. Jesus is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). Then we may proceed to Pentecost and by grace receive the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those that persuade him (Acts 5:32). God said, I will pour out [of] my Spirit upon all flesh (Joel 2:28; Acts 2:17), for it is only through the Spirit that we may mortify the deeds of the flesh (Romans 8:13). This is the only way the flesh can be truly dominated. One of the reasons that I stated previously that the book of Job is a prophetic book is because in addition to the obligatory feasts of Passover and Pentecost, there is a third feast, The Feast of Tabernacles, preceded by the Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Reconciliations (or Day of Atonement) that the Jews were also required to celebrate (Leviticus 23). The Passover was fulfilled by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Pentecost was fulfilled by the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, as described in Acts 2. The fulfillment of the Day of Reconciliations and the Feast of Tabernacles has yet to take place, and we will learn more about this as the book of Job unfolds. On the Day of Reconciliations, ye shall afflict your souls and offer an offering made on fire unto the LORD (Leviticus 23:27). That is a good description of what was happening with Job, as all of his dreams and ambitions had gone up in smoke and he literally became an offering made on fire unto the LORD. Such an act of atonement paves the way for the Feast of Tabernacles, the feast of fullness, in which God once again tabernacles – that is, dwells with redeemed mankind once again. This is how God uncovers the depths of the darkness and brings out to light the shadow of death.

12:23 He multiplies the Gentiles and destroys them; he scatters the Gentiles and gathers them again.

Who are the Gentiles?

In the Old Testament, the Gentiles were those who had not undergone circumcision of the body. In the New Testament, the sign of the covenant is circumcision of the heart, and Gentiles are all those who are not in a proper blood covenant with God. The term can refer to individuals, families, tribes, or nations.

God multiplies the Gentiles in the sense that he makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the just and on the unjust (Matthew 5:45), or as Paul said in his message to the Greek Gentiles at the Areopagus, God is not far from each one of us; for in him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:27-28). But God now commands all men everywhere to repent because he has appointed a day, in which he will judge the world in righteousness (Acts 17:30-31), because Gentiles – whether they are individuals or nations – who refuse to respond to the Word of God, which is the gospel, will eventually be destroyed. God scatters them (as he did at the Tower of Babel), and he also gathers them again (as he did when he sent Peter to the house of Cornelius or when he commissioned Paul as the apostle to the Gentiles).

Many today who call themselves Jews or Christians might really be Gentiles in God’s eyes; it depends on whether or not their hearts have really been circumcised and transformed.

12:24 He takes away the heart of the heads of the people of the earth and causes them to become lost, wandering without a way.

What about Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar, and their modern counterparts? When they encounter someone like Job or his modern-day equivalent, their response demonstrates that something is radically wrong with their heart, even though they consider themselves to be heads of the people of the earth.

12:25 They grope in the darkness and not the light, and he causes them to err like drunken men.

Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar have not been just a few degrees off in their spiritual discernment. Even when they are half right they have repeatedly gotten their conclusions one hundred and eighty degrees reversed, in spite of their veneer of wisdom and piety. However, even though they have shown themselves to be very slow learners, before this is over God will use Job to uncover the depths of the darkness (darkness that the three friends are presently convinced is light) while God himself brings out to light the shadow of death. Without God’s light revealing what is really happening, these three are living in spiritual darkness, even in the midst of their vain worldly prosperity.

Job 13

13:1 Behold, my eyes have seen all this; my ears have heard and understood it.

In the midst of all of his pain and suffering, Job receives a revelation. His eyes have now been opened to all the religious blindness of his friends. His ears have heard and understood it. God has caused these hypocrites to err like drunken men, and now Job can clearly see it.

13:2 As you know it, I know it; I am not inferior unto you.

Job’s children are dead, his livestock lost, and his health failing, while everything these three friends have is apparently intact and prospering. Even so, Job points out that deep down inside, they really know (or ought to know, if they would only follow their conscience instead of their warped doctrine) that they are not his superiors. This point had to have pricked them like a knife.

13:3 But I would speak with the Almighty, and I desired to dispute with God.

Job wants to speak with the Almighty face to face. He desired (past tense) to dispute with God, but now he realizes that his dispute with his three friends is much bigger than any he may have with God. Job wants to speak with God about his own troubles, but he is deeply concerned about the attitude, words, and doctrine of his friends, not to mention their outright lies, and he wants to bring this up with God.

13:4 That ye are certainly forgers of lies; ye are all physicians of no value.

13:5 O that ye would altogether be silent! And it would be unto you instead of wisdom.

13:6 Hear now my dispute, and hearken to the arguments of my lips.

Job’s dispute is now increasingly focused upon his three friends. His words flow with a clarity and passion that can only come from the Spirit of God.

13:7 Are ye to speak iniquity for God? Are ye to speak deceit[1]fully for him?

In order for a person to speak the truth, what they say must come from God. It is impossible to speak iniquity or to speak deceitfully while authorized to speak on behalf of God, yet this is exactly what Job’s friends have been and are doing. And worse still, they accuse Job of being the one involved in iniquity (hidden sin) and deceit.

13:8 Are ye to bring honour unto him? Are ye to contend for God?

13:9 Would it be good for him to search you out? As one man mocks another, do ye so mock him?

Sooner or later, everything will come out into the light. Scripture is very clear on this. Do not deceive yourselves; God is not mocked: for whatever a man sows that shall he also reap (Galatians 6:7). It is impossible to plant one thing and reap another, and those who have planted the wrong crop will eventually reap their harvest. This has been true throughout history, but things will really come to a head very soon, at the end of this age.

13:10 He will reprove you severely, if in secret you give him such honour.

The thoughts and intents of the hearts of others are veiled and secret to everyone except God, which is why Jesus warned us: Judge not, that ye not be judged. For with the judgment with which ye judge, ye shall be judged, and with the measure with which ye measure, ye shall be measured again (Matthew 7:1-2). The very last thing that any of us should ever do is to heap judgment, condemnation, and guilt on someone else if God is not really speaking through us, yet this is exactly what the three friends have done to Job while flattering themselves that they speak for God. At present these friends appear to stand firm and secure in their own lives, in the eloquence God has given them, and in their worldly prosperity, and it will come as quite a shock to them when God reproves them severely.

13:11 Certainly his excellency should make you afraid, and his dread should fall upon you.

Remember that the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 9:10). Job’s friends, however, while priding themselves on their wisdom, demonstrate virtually no fear of the Lord. Fear of the Lord involves a healthy, solemn respect for him, but those who misrepresent him may soon experience horror, and even terror, when the reality of what they do becomes clear to them.

13:12 Your memories shall be compared unto ashes, your bodies to bodies of clay.

Their memories shall be compared unto ashes, and they shall go into the dustbin of history. Their bodies shall be compared to bodies of clay.47 The word “bodies” can be symbolic of entire groups or congregations, and clay symbolizes the natural man (born of a woman).48

47 There are seven references to clay in the book of Job. This is the third. The first use of this word in Scripture is when Hiram made the vessels of brass for the temple and the king caused them all to be cast in the plain of the Jordan, in the clay ground between Succoth [“dwelling places” or “tabernacles”] and Zarthan [“becoming cold”] (1 Kings 7:46; 2 Chronicles 4:17). The Jordan river is a symbol of death, and the brass vessels are symbolic of judgment or even of “vessels of wrath.” The clay ground was the mold for making all the brass vessels, and as noted above, clay has to do with the natural man: for example, those that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust (Job 4:19).

48 In the book of Daniel, there are nine references to clay. This substance formed part of a huge statue that King Nebuchadnezzar saw in a dream (a dream that he forgot, but the content of which and meaning God subsequently revealed to Daniel). All of the world kingdoms or empires were represented in this statue, beginning with a head of gold and then gradually diminishing in strength and value through arms of silver to a body of brass, legs of iron, and finally feet and toes made of iron mixed with clay. Iron represents law (in the highest sense, the word of the Lord), and it does not mix with clay, which here represents the seed of men (Daniel 2:43). In the end, the statue’s feet were broken when they were struck by a stone cut without hands, after which the statue disintegrated and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors (Daniel 2:35). In other words, all the memories of the kingdoms of the natural man shall be compared unto ashes and their bodies (congregations or kingdoms) to bodies of clay.

13:13 Listen to me, and I will speak, and afterward let come on me what will.

13:14 Why shall I take my flesh in my teeth and put my life in the palm of my hand?

13:15 Though he slay me, yet I will trust in him; but I will defend my ways before him.

Job is no longer desperate to defend his natural life. He will defend the integrity of his ways before God, but he will continue to trust in God even if God kills him.

13:16 He also shall be my saving health; for the hypocrite shall not enter into his presence.

Job is convinced that God shall be my saving health (note the future tense).

Job is also sure he is not a hypocrite, but how does he know this? Why is he so sure?

Because his heart is perfect and right before God. This is Job’s strong perception, his unwavering conviction, and his discernment from deep within, even in such desperate circumstances.

13:17 Hear diligently my reason and my declaration with your ears.

13:18 Behold now, if I draw near unto the judgment; I know that I shall be justified.

13:19 Who is he that will contend with me? For now, if I remain silent, I shall die.

Job is not afraid of final judgment. He is confident that he shall be justified (future tense). He does, however, strongly desire to make his case before he dies. But a question arises: Who is he that will contend with me?

Right now it is Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar who contend with Job, and by this point Job is certain they are not worthy representatives of God. If they do not represent God, however, then whom do they represent? Note that the context that follows clearly indicates that Job poses this question directly to God.

Now we can see how God is using the case of Job to unveil the spiritual conflict that had been going on for over two thousand years between God and Satan. Remember that the book of Job is very likely the first portion of Scripture that was written down, a fact that often goes unnoticed because the book has been sandwiched into the middle of the Old Testament.

13:20 At the least, grant me these two things; then I will not hide myself from thee:

13:21 withdraw thy hand from me; and let not thy dread make me afraid.

13:22 Then call, and I will answer; or let me speak, and answer thou me.

Even though Job’s heart is in tune with God, he yearns to be able to see God and speak to him face to face, daunting though this prospect is for a natural man. It was deeply ingrained into the belief system of the ancients (ever since the cherubim and a flaming sword were placed to prevent anyone from returning to the presence of God in the garden of Eden) that anyone who ventured into God’s presence would die. Nevertheless, Job is willing to take that risk if God will mitigate Job’s key concerns.

13:23 How many are my iniquities and sins? Make me to know my transgression and my sin.

13:24 Why dost thou hide thy face, and hold me for thine enemy?

13:25 Wilt thou break a leaf driven to and fro? Wilt thou pursue the dry stubble?

Job’s heart and conscience clearly do not condemn him (otherwise he would not insist upon his innocence before his three friends), yet the Enemy mentally bombards him. What if he did something terrible in the past that he doesn’t remember or that he wasn’t even aware of at the time? Job would like to get to the bottom of anything like this now, before having a face-to-face encounter with God. I can remember having similar thoughts when I was tied to the tree out in the jungle.

13:26 Why dost thou write bitter things against me and make me carry the iniquities of my youth.

Here is a hint that someone may be sitting beside Job and his three friends, writing down everything they say. In fact, this may have even been part of the agreement between God and Satan. Later on, we will examine additional evidence regarding who might be doing the actual writing. Job may feel that the accusations of his so-called comforters unfairly rely on the iniquities of his youth, even though he has already dealt with these to the best of his ability by confessing them to God and making the necessary sacrifices.

The sins, iniquities, or rebellions of our youth are, or have been, of concern to all of us. After the fall, God promptly instituted the sacrifice system as a way of temporarily dealing with sin and guilt. Now, under the new covenant, we may confess our sins directly to the Lord Jesus Christ and receive forgiveness. Even so, when we are in the midst of tribulations, the devil likes to bring up our past and attempt to torment our mind by reminding us of the sins of our youth that have already been confessed, repented, and forgiven.

King David had good reason to plead with God: Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my rebellions; according to thy mercy remember me for thy goodness’ sake, O LORD (Psalm 25:7). We can all be grateful that when God reconciles us and forgives our sins, he remembers them no more (Jeremiah 31:34; Hebrews 8:12; 10:17).

Job continues:

13:27 Thou dost put my feet also in the stocks and look narrowly unto all my paths; thou dost set a print upon the heels of my feet.

13:28 And man, is as a rotten thing that is being consumed, as a garment that is moth eaten.

Job is fully aware of the rotten and temporal state of the natural man, and the devil is determined to never let him forget it. When we are in a spiritual state in which we are able to hear at least some of what goes on in the spiritual realm but are unable to see by the Spirit, it is extremely difficult for us to discern whether it is God or the devil (or one of his unclean spirits) who is speaking.

It is obvious that Job’s friends lacked such discernment. Job’s heart was in much better shape than theirs, and he perceived many things in the spiritual realm, but still he had questions that seemed to have no satisfactory answer. Like Job, I went through a time in which God was speaking to my heart but the devil bombarded my mind while my enemies taunted me.

Why had God allowed all of this misfortune to happen to me? Why wasn’t he protecting me? Was there some hidden thing I had unwittingly done that could have caused the disasters that had befallen me? Could it have been the lie I told when I was nine years old? The quarters I stole from my dad when I was six? What about all those occasions when, for one reason or another that seemed compelling at the time, I had flown my airplane and even conducted some business on a Sunday (including on the day I was kidnapped)? How many tithe payments had I missed?

These and many similar thoughts bombarded me even though I knew my heart and conscience were clean.

Suppose you were to go to the doctor with some symptoms (possibly even psychosomatic in nature) and the doctor were to say, “Well, I can’t really make a diagnosis on the information you’ve given me, but come in tomorrow and we’ll cut you open, spread your ribs apart, and take a good look at your heart. If your heart isn’t the problem, we’ll make another incision and examine your liver. If your liver’s okay, we’ll just keep extending that incision till we can check out all of your insides to see if we can find what’s causing the trouble.”

How much confidence would you have in the doctor’s knowledge and competence? Yet credence is often given to religious persons who, in their apparently well-meaning attempts to troubleshoot our trials and tribulations, spend time digging deeper and deeper into our past, looking for a sinful cause of our crisis and failing to consider that whatever wrongs we committed in our youth may very well have been forgiven years ago and be under the blood. This is why Job exclaimed to his friends, Ye are all physicians of no value. The only physician who is qualified to perform spiritual open-heart surgery on any of us is God. He may, of course, elect to use a team of surgical assistants who have clean hands and pure hearts, but they will work entirely at his command.

Let us pray

Lord, may we have discernment and understanding and may we use them in your service. May we place our hearts upon your altar so that you may intervene as you see fit. May your Word by your Spirit profoundly penetrate and circumcise our hearts.

We ask you to grant us spiritual vision and clarity, that we may not cause damage to anyone by improperly judging or condemning their hearts. Amen.

Chap 8. The Purpose of Pain and Suffering.

Something else that Job did not seem to understand at the beginning but came to realize as his situation unfolded is this: when we give ourselves to God and begin to follow him, it is a sacrifice that is not merely symbolic. When Job offered all those burnt offerings to the Lord, they genuinely represented him and his entire family and meant that all of them now belonged to God. When we receive Jesus Christ as our all-sufficient sacrifice and are born again by the will and grace of God, this too creates a redemptive and regenerative bond by the Spirit, so that we belong to God. His plan is to deliver us from being slaves to the flesh and to sin, so that we might become the “slaves” of righteousness. When this happens, our compulsive appetites will radically change.

God is, of course, our creator, and this gives him sovereign rights over us. However, because he created us with free will, he allows us to decide for ourselves whether to receive Jesus and choose to follow God, or to reject the gospel. When we submit to God of our own free will and enter into his plan of redemption, then he may do with us as he sees fit. God may bless and prosper us in the things of this world, as he did with Job at the beginning of the book. On the other hand, he may use us as an example in his dealings with Satan and the angels (allowing our faith to be tested). He may also use adversity to bring forth a greater depth of character, discernment, and clarity in us.

As Christians, we are aware (as at first Job was not) that a realm exists in which a spiritual battle is being waged. Some beings in this realm present themselves as angels of light and sons of God when in fact they are in rebellion against God and desire to discredit him. Ranged against them we find angels such as Michael and Gabriel, who are faithful to God. There may also be, or have been, angels who have trouble making up their minds (particularly three thousand seven hundred years or so ago, at the time of Job). Events here upon the earth provide an opportunity for people who believe in God unconditionally (like Job and some – perhaps many – of us) to exonerate God from the false charges laid against him and demonstrate to the entire universe the reality of who he is. In a similar context, Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, Whatever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in the heaven; and whatever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in the heaven (Matthew 18:18).

Job 14

14:1 Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble.

14:2 He comes forth like an open flower and is cut down; he flees as a shadow and does not remain.

14:3 And dost thou open thine eyes upon such a one and bring me into judgment with thee?

14:4 Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? No one.

This is true regarding man that is born of a woman, but what about those who are born again by the Spirit of God? Jesus told Nicodemus, That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again from above (John 3:6-7).

All of us have a limited number of days upon this earth in which we may respond to God’s offer of redemption. None of us can ever be truly fulfilled or satisfied unless we are at peace with God, and only God knows how much time we have to resolve our eternal future.

Because there is no way to bring a clean thing out of an unclean, God is determined to bring down the unclean natural man. This is why we must be born again and become a new creation in Christ Jesus.

14:5 Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass.

14:6 If thou should leave him, he will cease to exist; until then, he shall desire, as a hireling, his day.

We have only the number of days that God has allocated to us, and we may spend them, like hirelings, working hard in the field under the hot sun and looking forward to the end of the day, when we can assuage our hunger, quench our thirst, and rest. Yet even then, we are not satisfied but yearn for something more. We may not be able to define it, but Jesus knows what we need: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied (Matthew 5:6). Only the new man who is born again from above has an appetite for righteousness (that is, for being and doing what God desires).

14:7 For there is yet hope for a tree, if it is cut down, that it will sprout again and that its tender branch will not cease.

14:8 Though its root waxes old in the earth and its trunk is dead in the ground,

14:9 at the scent of water it will bud and bring forth boughs like a new plant.

God’s plan to deal with the old man and the old nature is not to just give it a superficial trimming or even to chop it off at ground level. He insists that all of our corrupt appetites be pulled out by the roots so we can become part of the body of Christ, grafted onto the good olive tree of which he is the root (Romans 11:17).

14:10 But when man shall die and be cut off, and the man shall perish, where shall he be?

14:11 The waters from the sea went, and the river ran out, it dried up.

14:12 So man lies down and does not rise; until there is no heaven, they shall not awake nor be raised out of their sleep.

Most of mankind will continue in spiritual slumber until there is no heaven. When will that day be, and what will take place on the day of awakening? During a discussion with Peter, James, and John about the time “when all things are to be finished” and what the warning signs will be (Mark 13:4), Jesus explained, Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. But of that day and that hour no one knows, no, not even the angels who are in the heaven, neither the Son, but only the Father (Mark 13:31-32). As Peter prophetically wrote: But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise (2 Peter 3:10a).

When the day of the Lord comes, it will take by surprise those who have no spiritual discernment or vision. On that day, the heavens or firmament dividing the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above (Genesis 1:7) are going to pass away with a great noise. The apostle John describes the scene this way:

And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth and the princes and the rich and the captains and the strong and every slave and every free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains and said to the mountains and to the rocks, Fall on us and hide us from the face of him that is seated upon the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of his wrath is come, and who shall be able to stand before him? (Revelation 6:14-17)

When the heavens depart as a scroll when it is rolled together, Jesus Christ will be revealed in all his glory, and those who are not hidden in Christ as part of the new creation will scramble to hide themselves from the awesome presence of him that is seated upon the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb.

Job’s physical, emotional, and financial problems have begun to improve his spiritual eyesight. The apostle Paul understood this process: For now we see as through a mirror, in darkness, but then we shall see face to face; now I know in part, but then I shall know even as I also am known (1 Corinthians 13:12).

Job now gets a pretty good glimpse of the judgment day that is to come.

Job 14

14:13 O that thou would hide me in Sheol, that thou would keep me covered until thy wrath is past, that thou would appoint me a set time and remember me!

If even the heavens are going to go up in smoke, depart as a scroll when it is rolled together, and pass away with a great noise – if on the day of judgment and wrath, when all the dead shall be raised, there will be no heaven – then where can anyone find shelter and safety? Job requested to be hid by God in Sheol (in death) and yes, our old man needs to be brought down to death so that we might be hid in the life of Jesus Christ.

Our shelter and our safety are in the Lord, and his people can trust him to make provision for them. God will surely appoint a set time and remember all those who are his (Hebrews 11:39-40).

Job asks God to hide me in Sheol, that thou would keep me covered until thy wrath is past. The future redemptive work of Jesus Christ is still mostly veiled to Job, and he doesn’t realize that Jesus will conquer death, descend into Sheol (Hades), preach to the dead, lead captivity captive, and ascend on high (Ephesians 4:8-10; 1 Peter 3:19).

14:14 If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time I will wait until my transformation comes.

14:15 Then thou shalt call, and I will answer thee; thou wilt have a desire towards the work of thine hands.

Close to fifteen hundred and fifty years would pass from the time of Job’s physical death to Jesus Christ’s physical death. This would be an appointed time, and Job would be among the patriarchs in Sheol when Jesus would descend into the bowels of the earth to conquer death, ascend on high with those who were his (including Job), and leave the souls that remained imprisoned as they awaited final judgment (Revelation 20:13).

Even so, all the days of [Job’s] appointed time are still not fulfilled. He and countless others await the first resurrection, in which we will be transformed at the sound of the last (or seventh) trumpet (1 Corinthians 15:52; Revelation 11:14-19).

14:16 For now thou dost number my steps; thou dost not open up my sin.

14:17 My transgression is sealed up in a bag, and thou dost sew up my iniquity

While the Old Testament animal sacrifice system was in place, this was the best that could be accomplished. Transgressions were temporarily “sealed up in a bag” and iniquity was “sewed up,” but animal blood sacrifices were only a temporary fix, and death and Sheol managed to imprison virtually all the souls of the dead, with only three known exceptions. This all changed radically, however, after the first coming of Jesus Christ.

Even so, Satan will continue to accuse the brethren day and night (Satan means “accuser”) before the throne of God, until he is overcome (Revelation 12:7-11). This second stage of victory over Satan will take place at Jesus’ second coming, and at that time Satan will be subdued, chained, and locked up in the bottomless pit – another name for the abyss that pertains to Sheol or Hades – for a thousand years (Revelation 20:1-3).

14:18 And certainly the mountain that falls is undone, and the rocks are removed out of their place.

A mountain is a prophetic symbol of a strong kingdom. From the time of Job to the time of this mountain’s fall would be about three thousand seven hundred years and counting, a period so lengthy that it may be another reason why Job is lifted up in the New Testament as a great example of patience. Job knew that if a mountain falls, It is undone and the rocks (the foundation upon which it stood for so long) are removed out of their place.49

49 There are some very interesting references in Scripture that have to do with the fall of this mountain of false religiosity (Mark 11:21-26; Revelation 8:8).

14:19 The impetuous waters break the stones and wash away the dust of the earth; in like manner thou dost cause man to lose hope.

Another way of looking at this is that we are the living stones on which God is working so that we might become part of his temple (which is his people). The purpose of the impetuous waters of God’s word is the destruction of the old man and the old nature. These waters wash away the dust of the earth and remove anything in us that is corruptible. It is when we lose hope in our own abilities and resources that we are prone to mourn and become candidates to receive the Comforter. When we are brought to acknowledge that there is nothing we can do on our own to save ourselves or anyone else, we face the reality that our only hope is to allow God to work in and through us by the Holy Spirit.

14:20 Thou shalt be stronger than him for ever, and he passes; thou dost change his countenance and send him away.

A great deal of water would flow under the bridge before this hope of Job’s could be fully realized. He would spend about fifteen hundred and fifty years “sent away” into Sheol waiting for Jesus to redeem those who were his, and then another two thousand or so years as a bodiless soul (or spirit) ascended with Jesus awaiting the first resurrection, at which time he (and many others) will receive a glorified body (Hebrews 11:39-40).

As Job points out, God will always be stronger than we are. That limitless strength is one of the reasons it is wiser for us to depend directly on the Spirit of God than on any gifts and callings with which he has provided us.

14:21 His sons shall be honoured and he shall not know of it; or they shall be afflicted, but he shall not perceive of them.

This may have been the situation for those who spent time in Sheol waiting for Jesus to redeem them, but it is no longer the case for those who have ascended on high with him. They are part of a great cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1) who are very closely observing the conduct and testimony of those of us who remain here on the earth. Not only are they watching us, they are cheering us on to make the most of each and every God-given opportunity to be effective for Jesus Christ.

14:22 But while his flesh is upon him, he shall have pain, and his soul within him shall mourn.

While we are here in the flesh, the older we get, the more pain we will experience. For all of us, the time will come when our soul will mourn within us and we will wonder if life is worthwhile. Jesus said, Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted (Matthew 5:4). It is when we are sick and tired of our own life that we are candidates to be comforted with God’s life. Jesus’ victory on the cross not only redeemed the souls who were his and imprisoned by death in Sheol, it also made it possible for him to send us the Comforter, who is the Holy Spirit.

Remember what Peter wrote: Since the Christ has suffered for us in the flesh, be ye also armed with the same thought; for he that has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so that now the time that remains in the flesh, he might live, not unto the lusts of men, but unto the will of God (1 Peter 4:1-2).

It is when we are full of pride, arrogance, and confidence in our own abilities that we are in great danger of doing something foolish. The more pain, suffering, trials, and tribulations that we have experienced or are experiencing, the harder it gets for us to continue to sin. The word translated here as “sin” is the Greek hamartia, which is often said to mean, “to miss the mark” whereas in fact it means “to consciously shoot or aim at the wrong target(s).” If we are willing to suffer for Christ, this is a sure sign we are aiming at the right target (and the right target is the righteousness of Christ), even though we may need to practice if we are to hit it consistently. Practicing diligently is actually not all that hard to do if we have been born again and our heart has truly been circumcised, because then we will hunger and thirst for righteousness.

Job 15

15:1 Then Eliphaz, the Temanite, answered, and said,

As you remember, “Eliphaz” means “to whom God is dispenser.”50 The fact that Eliphaz is a Temanite most likely means that he is the firstborn son of Esau and founder of the line of the dukes of Teman (meaning “south wind” or “to the right hand”).

50 Some people seem to think that God is there to give them what they want instead of them being there to do what God wants.

This is the second discourse of Eliphaz:

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

The east wind that blew into the coast from the desert brought no rain and therefore was a symbol of lies or vanity.

15:3 Should he dispute with useless words and with reasons that are not profitable?

Since Eliphaz believes God is there to grant him whatever he wants, he finds Job’s views on pain, suffering, and loss to be useless words and with reasons that are not profitable.

15:4 Thou dost also cast off fear and undermine prayer before God.

For Eliphaz, prayer before God seems to be his request to God for whatever he wants. Therefore he feels that Job undermines prayer and that Job has cast off fear. The fear Eliphaz talks about may have more to do with fear of not prospering in health and the things of this world instead of the fear of the Lord.

15:5 For thy mouth has declared thine iniquity, and thou hast chosen the tongue of the crafty.

15:6 Thine own mouth shall condemn thee, and not I; thine own lips shall testify against thee.

Job had honestly asked God, How many are my iniquities and my sins? Make me to know my transgressions and my sin (Job 13:23), but Eliphaz sees this as an apparent admission of guilt.

15:7 Wast thou born before Adam? Or wast thou formed before the hills?51

51 Eliphaz is clearly familiar with the story of Adam and the roots of the Semitic peoples (of the line of Shem) and the entire human race. The “hills” that Eliphaz refers to are prophetic symbols of the foundational truth that God instituted from the very beginning. In fact, even though Eliphaz was naturally unaware of it, these foundational (or eternal) hills would later be referred to as the mountains of Israel in eighteen prophetic Scriptures because God, desiring to bring forth his eternal truth in his people, repeatedly ordered his prophets to prophesy in those terms.

When Eliphaz satirically asks Job if he was formed before the hills, I wonder if he knew of the blessing and prophecy that Jacob (the uncle of Eliphaz) bestowed on Joseph (the uncle of Job), the actual prince of Egypt, immediately prior to Jacob’s death. Jacob’s words were these: The blessings of thy father [Jacob is referring to himself] were greater than the blessings of my progenitors [Isaac and Rebekah, who were also the progenitors of Esau, the father of Eliphaz]; unto the borders of the eternal hills they shall be upon the head of Joseph and on the crown of the Nazarite of his brethren (Genesis 49:26, emphasis added).

What are the eternal hills? And what did Jacob mean when he prophesied that they shall be upon the head of Joseph and on the crown of the Nazarite of his brethren?

If Joseph was virtually in charge of Egypt, which was the dominant world power at the time, then what does Joseph’s head represent? Yes, I know it was Pharaoh who placed Joseph in this unique position of authority, but who was behind all of this? God, of course. The head of Joseph is equated with the crown of the Nazarite of his brethren, which is a clear, yet veiled, prophetic reference to the Lord Jesus Christ.

15:8 Hast thou heard the secret of God, that thou dost detain wisdom in thee alone?

What is the secret of God?

It is that God desires to put his Spirit in us. At the time of Job, the Spirit of God could be upon a limited few (such as Job); it was not upon all of God’s people at the same time. This changed radically after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 2), yet even so, there are still many people who, like Eliphaz, do not believe that others can hear the secret of God while they do not. For centuries this secret was a great mystery, but eventually God revealed it to his saints (Colossians 1:26-27). That mystery, of course, is Christ in you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27b).

15:9 What dost thou know that we do not? What dost thou understand, which is not in us?

15:10 Among us are also gray hairs; there are also aged men, much elder than thy father.52

15:11 Are the consolations of God in such small esteem with thee? Is there by chance any secret thing concerning thee?

52 At this time, if Job, the third son of Issachar (Genesis 46:13), was about seventy years old, we can assume his father would have been over one hundred. Eliphaz says that among us (that is, among the Semitic line of Esau, which would have included all the patriarchs of common heritage with Israel right up to Isaac) there are also grey hairs; there are also aged men, much elder than thy father. Indeed, Eliphaz himself could have been older than Job’s father.

Yes, there is a secret thing concerning Job, but it is not what Eliphaz suspects. Job is beginning to have his spiritual eyes opened, and this is mind-boggling to him as the Spirit of God puts prophetic truth into his mouth even in the midst of his seemingly inexplicable pain and suffering. God has chosen Job (and those represented by Job throughout history) for something that he has been keeping secret.

15:12 Why does thine heart carry thee away, and why do thine eyes blink,

15:13 that thou dost reply unto God with thy spirit and bring forth such words out of thy mouth?

Even Eliphaz can’t help but notice that now and again Job’s heart “carries him away” and his eyes “blink.” When he hears Job speak under these conditions, Eliphaz feels utter consternation. He thinks Job replies to God with his own spirit, when in reality it is God’s Spirit that brings forth such words out of Job’s mouth.

15:14 What is man that he should be clean and that he that is born of a woman should be justified?

Eliphaz does not understand that even though the natural man, born of a woman, cannot be clean or justified, his whole argument breaks down when the Spirit of God appears on the scene, because under the anointing of that Spirit, we can be transformed into part of the new creation as part of the body of Christ (the anointed).

15:15 Behold, he puts no trust in his saints, and not even the heavens are clean in his sight.

Eliphaz has obviously been listening to the wrong spirit (again).

15:16 How much less the man who is abominable and filthy, who drinks iniquity like water?

Notice how this lie develops. First Eliphaz presents himself as an immaculate counselor, seated on a high horse, talking down to Job (who has lost virtually everything, including his health) about hidden sin and iniquity being the cause of Job’s predicament. Then, when Job refuses to accept this line of reasoning because his conscience is clean, Eliphaz turns around and tries to tell him that no one can be clean and that every human being is abominable and filthy and drinks iniquity like water. Under this line of reasoning, God puts no trust in his saints and not even the heavens are clean in his sight.

This is also part of the lie of the Enemy to ingrain in us the conviction that man is hopelessly depraved and that this will never change. It is true that in our natural state we are hopeless, but God desires to place his Spirit in us so that by the Spirit we can mortify the deeds of the flesh. Job is a chosen precursor and prophetic example of what God intends to do with the entire body of Christ as the gospel is extended to whosoever will come (Revelation 22:17). This is why Jesus taught us to pray, Thy kingdom come, thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10).

Eliphaz continues:

15:17 Listen to me and I will show thee and declare unto thee that which I have seen,53

15:18 that which the wise men have told us of their fathers and have not hid it,

15:19 unto whom alone the earth was given, and no stranger passed among them.

The fact that Eliphaz claims that the wise men have not hid the supposed wisdom of their fathers (as opposed to the occult – that is, hidden – traditions claiming sources such as Nimrod54) does not make their fathers’ statements into the word of God. Eliphaz argues that these were the fathers unto whom alone the earth was given. This is true of the initial days of Adam and Eve, but once they were expelled from the garden of Eden (and thus from the presence of God), it is very clear that Satan usurped their authority. Why else would Jesus call Satan the prince of this world (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11)? Eliphaz is thrilled by, and even enamored with, what he claims to have seen regarding wise men and their fathers unto whom alone the earth was given, and no stranger passed among them. He may have even happily concluded that he is among the lucky heirs of these wise men and their fathers. Such a conclusion, however, would be quite unfounded.

53 There was obviously a great deal of oral tradition and doctrine that was being passed from one generation to the next. Eliphaz talks about what the “wise men” have told us of their “fathers.” Presumably these fathers begin with Adam, whom Eliphaz has already mentioned. Eliphaz has “seen” this in the sense that he has spoken to some of the patriarchs, possibly of the line of Shem, who would have been alive until Eliphaz’s father, Esau, was about forty years old. Esau married at age forty, taking two Canaanite brides. There were also other ancient patriarchs he could have met and to whom he could have listened. With the book of Job, God instituted the writing of the Scriptures to prevent his word from being twisted or warped or garbled by word-of-mouth transmission. He also raised up the people of Israel and tasked them with (among other things) faithfully preserving his written word. This meant that later, when Jesus debated the priests and elders and scribes and Pharisees and Sadducees, he did not have to rely on ancient oral wisdom or even on Jewish tradition but could and did repeatedly quote undeniable Scripture, declaring, “For it is written ….”

54 Genesis 10:8-10.

Contrary to what Eliphaz believes, there were indeed strangers or imposters among the fathers. Chief among them was Satan, the ancient serpent or dragon (Revelation 12:9), but there was also a spiritual line of his followers (also called sons or daughters or men of Belial in at least twenty Scriptures) whose spiritual descendants still dwell among us. Some follow Satan wittingly, others unwittingly. The original entanglement relates to the “seed” of the serpent (Genesis 3:14-15), also referred to as “leviathan” and described as having many heads (Psalm 74:14).

15:20 The wicked man travails with pain all his days, and the number of years is hidden from the violent.

15:21 Fearful sounds are in his ears; in peace the destroyer shall come upon him.

15:22 He will not believe that he shall return out of darkness, and he is always watching the sword.

15:23 He wanders abroad for bread, saying, Where is it? He knows that the day of darkness is prepared for him.

15:24 Tribulation and anguish shall make him afraid; they shall prevail against him, as a king ready to the battle.

Here Eliphaz repeats the ancient “wisdom” that his friends the “wise men” learned from their “fathers,” who all seem to think that worldly prosperity and physical health are unmistakable signs of God’s blessing and that every “wicked” person always faces adversity, tribulation, and anguish. He seems to think that this twisted theology applies to Job, due at least in part to circumstantial evidence, when in reality it eventually applies to those who build their own kingdoms (Esau and Edom are spiritual examples). Those who build or attempt to build their own kingdoms knowingly or unknowingly fall under the influence of Satan, because all the kingdoms of this world belong to him, and Satan showers them with prosperity as long as he is able to do so, while at the same time he passionately opposes anyone who is part of the kingdom of God.

In spite of all his efforts, the kingdom of God is the only one that does not presently belong to Satan, for it is a kingdom that is not of this world, just as Jesus is not of this world (John 8:23; 18:36). In this context, “world” does not refer to planet earth but rather to the system (Greek cosmos) instituted by Satan and based on lies, the consequences of which are sin and death (Genesis 3).

15:25 Because he extended his hand against God and strengthens himself against the Almighty,

15:26 he shall run him through in the neck, upon the thick shoulder pieces of his shields;

15:27 for he covered his face with his fatness and made collops of fat on his flanks;

15:28 and he dwelt in desolate cities and in houses which no one inhabited, which were in heaps.

Eliphaz thinks that all of this supposed ancient wisdom applies to Job, but in reality God uses Eliphaz to unconsciously prophesy what will eventually happen to those who build their own kingdoms (including their modern counterparts) if they do not repent.

15:29 He shall not become rich, nor shall his strength be established, neither shall he extend his beauty upon the earth.

On the contrary, the wicked can become extremely rich here upon the earth as a result of the system of this world. However, they will be utterly destitute when it comes to heavenly treasure.

15:30 He shall not escape from the darkness; the flame shall dry up his branches, and by the breath of his mouth he shall perish.

The wicked may perish from the breath of their own mouth (and even more so it they blaspheme God), but those who are wicked will definitely be consumed by the Spirit (or breath) of Jesus’ mouth when he returns (2 Thessalonians 2:8). Once again Eliphaz has gotten things one hundred and eighty degrees reversed. The breath of Job’s mouth really has to do with the Spirit of God, and it is Eliphaz who is in grave danger of blasphemy. Even so, he continues on his dangerous rant against Job.

15:31 He shall not be established; in vanity he shall err; therefore, he shall be changed into vanity.

15:32 He shall be cut off before his time, and his branch shall not be green.

The wicked may or may not be cut off from this earth before their time. They seem to have a way of establishing themselves from generation to generation and continue to pervert the things of God while consolidating control over the things of this world. (A fatal flaw in Satan’s world system, however, is that all of his kingdoms are in conflict with one another, as well as being directly opposed to the kingdom of God.) The most serious problem of the wicked is not their condition here upon the earth; it is their condition when they die. Jesus made this very clear in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31). The wicked individual may or may not be cut off before his time, but after he dies his branch shall not be green. He will qualify for resurrection unto judgment, not resurrection unto life (of which the color green is symbolic).

15:33 He shall shake off his sour grapes as the vine and shall cast off his flower as the olive.

15:34 For the congregation of the hypocrites shall be made desolate, and fire shall consume the tents of bribery.

15:35 They conceive pain and bring forth iniquity, and their belly meditates deceit.

Just as modern scholars have most likely inverted the true meaning of the name Job (believing it to mean “hated” or “persecuted”), so it is with the recital by Eliphaz of the ancient wisdom of his “friends.” No doubt Eliphaz believes he is speaking the truth, but he is deceived.

After the flood, Satan worked against God however he could. The fact that mankind is prone to expound what they think is their own wisdom and understanding undoubtedly helped Satan accomplish his goals. On the one hand he was hard at work at the Tower of Babel, subtly inciting a rebellion against God. Beginning with Nimrod (and with what Nimrod undoubtedly thought was his own kingdom at Babel), he developed an occult pagan religion that spread from Babylon, to Assyria, to Egypt, to Philistia, to Asia Minor, to Greece, and to Rome, and so on. On the other hand, he was also helping to twist the religious orthodoxy of the descendants of Noah and Shem into the inverted theology promoted by Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, and used by them against Job.

When Satan obtained permission from God to destroy all that Job had, he made a mistake that he has been very prone to repeat: that is, he vastly overplayed his hand. In his arrogance, Satan does not seem to know when to quit. He repeated the same type of error when he rallied all his forces against Jesus Christ to his own demise. This had a devastating effect on his empire of death (Hebrews 2:14-15). As a result of Satan’s over-the-top onslaught on Job, all of his clever manipulation and insertion of lies into seemingly correct religious theology was exposed. On top of that, God made sure the entire debate was written down, and this was the beginning of the Holy Scriptures (the written Word of God).

Let us pray

Lord, we give you thanks for clarifying this message. We ask for understanding by the Spirit so that we will not invert things. We ask for discernment to identify and reject the lies of the enemy.

May we be delivered from our own criteria, ideas, and thoughts if they do not line up with yours. Deliver us from our human tendency to apply things backwards.

May your Spirit lead us into all truth. Amen.

Chap 9. Afflictions Along the Way of the Cross.

Job begins his fifth discourse (out of a total of nine) by answering Eliphaz’s second intervention.

Job 16

16:1 Then Job answered and said,

16:2 Many times I have heard such things; miserable comforters are ye all.

The strongly held views of Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar were not an aberration, it seems. If Job has heard such opinions expressed many times, this type of thinking was obviously the prevalent “wisdom” at the time. In his present circumstances, however, Job can sum up the opinion of these three so-called friends and declare that miserable comforters are ye all.

16:3 Shall vain words have an end? Or what is it that emboldens thee to answer?

What is really behind Eliphaz’s veneer? Why does he press his twisted and inverted point so determinedly, almost gloatingly?

16:4 I also could speak as ye do. I wish your soul were in my soul’s stead, that I could heap up words against you and shake my head at you.

16:5 But I would strengthen you with my mouth, and the consolation of my lips would assuage the pain.

If the roles were reversed, Job tells his friends, I could heap up words against you and shake my head at you. But even though he could, he would not. Instead, I would strengthen you with my mouth, and the consolation of my lips would assuage the pain. This is because the Spirit of God is leading Job, whereas the other three are miserable comforters because their counsel is devoid of God’s Spirit.55

55 There have been times when I found that my mortal enemies were in serious trouble and in a significant amount of pain. Such times offer a perfect opportunity to overcome evil with good. If God confronts our enemies, then we can let him work even as we offer them true consolation by the Holy Spirit. This is how we can turn the tables and win our enemies for the Lord Jesus Christ by treating them with kindness, love, and respect. If this response is meaningful even to our enemies, think how much more must it mean to our friends when they are in the midst of trials and tribulations.

16:6 Though if I speak, my pain does not cease; and if I forbear to speak, it does not depart from me.

Many have wondered why, if God is good, he allows pain to exist, but the answer is a straightforward one. When God created mankind, he chose to grant us free will, and since all our choices have consequences one way or another, there must be room for both pain and pleasure to exist. If there were no pain, we would never know if our hands were getting uncomfortably close to the fire, and we would burn ourselves without knowing it or being able to prevent it from happening again.

Depending on our attitude, pain can either draw us closer to God or embitter us. Even if our pain is a result of decisions made by Satan or our enemies, if we are innocent and continue to trust God, then our pain will help develop godly character in us. For we now know that unto those who love God, all things help them unto good (Romans 8:28). One of the most difficult things Job faced in the midst of his pain was that people he had believed to be his friends refused to understand and show him mercy.

16:7 But now he has made me weary; thou hast made desolate all my company.

This phrase seems to indicate Job knows that his enemy (see verse 9) has made him weary. He declares that Eliphaz has made all his company desolate, since Eliphaz is the leader of Job’s visiting friends and the other two follow his example by offering Job no fellowship or consolation.

16:8 And thou hast filled me with wrinkles, which is a witness against me: and my leanness rising up in me bears witness to my face.

Eliphaz has done nothing but criticize and point out Job’s “wrinkles,” that is, his condition (including his supposed spiritual flaws). Job perceives this as a “witness” against him, coupled with another obvious witness that he describes as his “leanness.” This experience has obviously been very hard on his flesh.

16:9 His wrath has torn me and has been against me; he gnashed upon me with his teeth; my enemy sharpened his eyes upon me.

16:10 They have opened their mouth against me; they have smitten me upon the cheek reproachfully; they have gathered themselves together against me.

Satan, the Enemy has sent his minions to kill his children and destroy his possessions, and even Job’s friends have taken the position that this is all Job’s fault. Supposedly they came to console him, seeming to be concerned for him, and then they used the occasion to drive home their mistaken points of view.

16:11 God has delivered me unto the liar, and in the hands of the wicked he has caused me to tremble.

Who is the liar?

Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44).

Whose hands are the hands of the wicked?

Satan is the wicked one, and all his followers are wicked.

Having been captured, kidnapped, or imprisoned on false charges on multiple occasions, I know what it is to be in the hands of the wicked. One of the hardest things to cope with in those circumstances is not knowing where your enemies will draw the line, or even if they will draw a line at all, short of your death. Not knowing that God had prohibited Satan from taking his life, it is little wonder that Job found himself trembling.

16:12 I was prosperous, but he has broken me asunder; he has taken me by my neck and shaken me to pieces and set me up for his mark.

16:13 His archers compassed me round about; he cleaved my kidneys asunder and did not spare; he poured out my gall upon the ground.

16:14 He broke me with breach upon breach; he ran upon me like a giant.

16:15 I have sewn sackcloth upon my skin and put dust over my head.

In Job’s culture, wearing sackcloth (a coarse cloth made from goat’s hair) was a sign of repentance, and putting dust over one’s head was a sign of remorse. For example, at the time of the end, in a call to individual and corporate repentance, God will provide two witnesses that shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth (Revelation 11:3).

God acknowledges those who have sewn sackcloth upon [their] skin and put dust upon their head, because he heals the broken hearted, and he binds up their wounds (Psalm 147:3).

Job continues:

16:16 My face is foul with weeping, and on my eyelids is the shadow of death,56

16:17 even though there is no injustice in my hands, and my prayer has been pure.

56 The shadow of death is mentioned twenty times in Scripture, and the first ten of them are in the book of Job. This is the fifth reference. The eleventh reference is by King David: Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff shall comfort me (Psalm 23:4). David must have studied the testimony of Job carefully, which would have helped prepare him to trust God completely during his own trials and tribulations. In addition to David’s words, there are three more references to the shadow of death in the Psalms (Psalm 44:19 and 107:10, 14). It is also mentioned four times by the prophets (Isaiah 9:2; Jeremiah 2:6, 13:16; Amos 5:8) and twice in the synoptic gospels (Matthew 4:16; Luke 1:79). Taken together, these references make it very clear that only the Lord Jesus Christ can deliver us from “the shadow of death” and that he accomplished this when he died for us and overcame death (Revelation 1:18).

Do you remember what King David wrote when he was fleeing from Saul? His words provide a glimpse of what was going on in the heavenly realm.

The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry. The anger of the LORD is against those that do evil to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. The righteous cried out, and the LORD heard and delivered them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near unto those that are of a broken heart and saves such as are of a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD shall deliver him out of them all, keeping all his bones; not one of them shall be broken. Evil shall slay the wicked; and those that hate the righteous shall be declared guilty. The LORD ransoms the soul of his slaves, and none of those that trust in him shall be declared guilty. (Psalm 34:15-22)

All of the above applies to Job and to countless others who have gone through similar situations along the way of the cross. Their ordeal may have seemed a long and drawn out one, and they may even have felt that God was distant from them, but he was really paying close attention all the time.

Job 16

16:18 O earth,57 do not cover my blood; and let there be no place where my cry is hidden.

16:19 Certainly my witness is even now in the heavens, and my record is on high.

57 Remember the “earth” is also a symbol of the religious realm that contains those who attempt to use God to get what they want, instead of being willing to do what God wants, even if this requires us to put our own life on the line. In this sense Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar are typical inhabitants of the religious realm of the earth and are representative of their modern counterparts.

Remember that chronologically, this is the sixteenth chapter of the Scriptures to be indicted. Remember, too, that the Bible is by far the oldest and most distributed book of all time. It has been or is being translated into the language of virtually every country and most every people known to man. Job’s plea that there should be no place where my cry is hidden is still being fulfilled, and with ever-increasing intensity as the second coming of Jesus draws closer.

I have absolutely no doubt that Job’s witness continues even now in the heavens and that his record is on high.

16:20 Those who dispute with me are my friends, but my eyes shall pour out tears unto God.

Even though Job’s friends have turned on him, he has no wish to respond in kind. Instead, he intends to pour out the tears of his lamentation unto God, and God will use him in the end for the healing and restoration of his friends.

16:21 O that a man might dispute with God, as he can with his neighbour!

16:22 When the counted years are come, then I shall go the way from which I shall not return.

Job believes that when his time here upon the earth is over, he will go to Sheol (which is linked to the grave), and he does not expect to meet God there. In fact, he and the others are all convinced that death is a one-way ticket to Sheol (and at that time it was). When the book of Job was written, the power of death held virtually everyone who had died in Sheol, where they would remain for at least another seventeen hundred years (although the situation was not clear to people back then, because Satan had been spreading the rumor that there was no life after death and that those who went to the grave and to Sheol were permanently out of circulation58). Therefore, Job wanted to come face to face with God and have a direct conversation with him as soon as possible, since his health was such that he felt he might soon die.59

58 In fact, during Old Testament times people were not aware that although Satan can kill the body, he has no power to destroy the soul (Matthew 10:28), neither did they understand the difference between the first death (linked with Sheol, or Hades) and the second death (the hell that is the lake of fire). Hell is only mentioned in six Old Testament Scriptures, and three of these are in the book of Job (Job 26:6; 28:22; 31:12; Psalm 88:11; Proverbs 15:11, 27:20). It is mentioned twelve times in the New Testament. Conversely, there are sixty-two references to Sheol in the Old Testament, eight of which are in the book of Job, but there are only eleven references to Hades in the New Testament. (Sheol in Hebrew is the equivalent of Hades in Greek.) It is not until the book of Revelation that there are references (four of them) to the lake of fire, which is the second death, the real and ultimate hell. It then becomes clear in a good Bible translation, such as the Jubilee Bible, that Hades is only the first death and that at the final judgment even Hades will give up its dead and then Hades and death will be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14). And I saw a great white throne and him that was seated upon it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and their place was not found. And I saw the dead, great and small, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened; which is the book of life; and the dead were judged by those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and Hades delivered up the dead which were in them; and the judgment of each one was according to their works. And Hades and death were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11- 15)

59 Not until the New Testament would an inspired man – the apostle Paul – boldly declare, We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8).

Job 17

Job addresses the next several verses directly to God:

17:1 My breath is corrupt, my days are cut off, and the grave is ready for me.

17:2 Now there are only mockers with me, upon whose bitterness my eye continues to gaze.

17:3 Put up now, give me surety with thee; who is he that will strike hands with me?

Job knows he is on trial. He feels his life running out and knows that virtually all of the witnesses on earth (except the witness of his own heart and conscience) are against him. He wants confirmation from God to know for sure if his witness is even now in the heavens, and if his record is on high.

17:4 For with these, thou hast hid their heart from understanding; therefore, thou shalt not exalt them.

The attitude of his friends confirms to Job that God has hid their heart from understanding and that therefore God shall not exalt them (which is borne out later in the book). The status of their hearts has blinded them to the truth.

Job directs the following words to his three friends:

17:5 He that speaks flattery to his neighbour, even the eyes of his sons shall fail.

17:6 He has made me a byword of the peoples; and before them I have been as a tambourine.

This is the first use of the word flattery in Scripture. Job uses it to describe the wrong attitude that is causing spiritual blindness in the hearts of his friends. Praise can lift others up and encourage them, but flattery (defined by the Oxford Living Dictionaries as “excessive and insincere praise, given especially to further one’s own interests”) has an ulterior motive, and thus it is always duplicitous and often evil. The ultimate flatterer, of course, is Satan. The evil man flatters his neighbour and leads him into the way that is not good (Proverbs 16:29). Do not be a false witness against thy neighbour, and do not flatter with thy lips (Proverbs 24:28). Job’s friends flattered themselves and one another while at the same time they were all false witnesses against Job in his most desperate trial, when he was being made into a byword of the peoples.

The man that flatters his neighbour spreads a net for his feet (Proverbs 29:5). Job’s friends fell all over themselves as they unwittingly helped entangle one another in the net of the Enemy. In the end, if not for Job, they would all likely have been lost.

The person who becomes a flatterer leads his neighbor in a way that is not good, conducts himself as a false witness, and spreads a net for his neighbor’s feet. Another consequence of this type of behavior is that even the eyes of his sons shall fail. We know that in the case of Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, problems of the heart have already caused God to hide their heart from understanding, or in other words to blind them spiritually, and this deficit will be passed on to their “sons.” This can be taken literally or spiritually. The natural and spiritual descendants of religious people like this are bound to have serious blind spots.

17:7 My eyes are dim by reason of sorrow, and all my thoughts are as a shadow.

17:8 Upright men shall be astonied at this, and the innocent shall stir up himself against the hypocrite.

17:9 The righteous shall hold on to his way, and he that has clean hands shall be stronger and stronger.

When those who are upright and innocent read the testimony of Job, they will be astonished and will feel stirred up against the hypocrisy he encountered. This has been true for the past thirty-seven hundred years, during which millions and millions of people have read this book. On the other hand, when those who are not upright and righteous read Job’s story, they shrug it off and come up with their own twisted explanation of the events he describes.

Even while his eyes are dim by reason of sorrow and all his thoughts are as a shadow, Job gathers courage from the thought that the righteous shall hold on to his way and he that has clean hands shall be stronger and stronger.

Job is beginning to realize that even though he still does not understand all the reasons behind what has happened to him, his discourse and example will serve to challenge and encourage those who are upright everywhere. His trial, he now sees, is taking place on a much larger stage than he could have imagined at the beginning.

His story can only inspire people if they are aware of it, however, and this can only happen if it is passed on orally or in writing. We know that all Scripture is inspired by God, but who was the actual human scribe of the book of Job?

Was it Job himself?

I doubt it. Struggling to make sense of his affliction, his eyes dimmed by sorrow and his thoughts darkened and shadowy, he may not have been in a fit state to meticulously record what was happening. It is possible, of course, that God, by the Spirit, dictated it to him afterwards, but it seems far more likely that God made sure there was someone capable and literate on the scene who carefully took notes. Admittedly, in those days literate people were extremely scarce, and we will develop this thought more as the book moves along. I bring it up now simply to point out that if this were the case, Job would be greatly heartened by the knowledge that no matter what happened to him, his testimony would be preserved.

17:10 But return all of you, and come now; for I shall not find one that is wise among you.

17:11 My days are past, my thoughts were broken off, even the purposes of my heart.

As those who follow the way of the cross advance closer and closer to the actual death of the old man with his old nature, they begin to think less and less of themselves and all their previous thoughts and ambitions. Those who do not understand this are not wise.

17:12 They changed the night into day; the light is short because of the darkness.

When Job says, They changed the night into day, who or what does he mean by “they”?

He is referring to the thoughts and purposes of his heart that have been broken off. Nevertheless, Job begins to get glimpses of light that enable him to see things from a very different perspective (which turns out to be God’s perspective), even if only briefly. When this happens, the night is changed into day, but the light is short because of the darkness with which Satan strives to dim Job’s spiritual sight. Even so, the wisdom that God places in his heart shines in bright contrast to the lies of Satan and the deceptive discourse of Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar.

17:13 If I wait, Sheol is my house; I have made my bed in the darkness.

17:14 I have said to the pit, Thou art my father; to the worms, my mother, and my sister.

17:15 And where shall my hope be now? As for my hope, who shall see it?

17:16 They shall go down to the bars of Sheol, and together they shall rest in the dust.

The reference to the bars of Sheol indicates that Job knows Sheol is a prison, and he is virtually certain he will soon be incarcerated there for a very long time (possibly forever). This gives him a strong incentive to express everything that is in his heart.

Let us pray

Lord, may you open our minds, and may you not hide our hearts from understanding as the hearts of Job’s comforters were hidden. May we recognize what was really taking place in the book of Job. May we be among the upright and innocent who stir ourselves up against the hypocrites, and may we be among the righteous who shall hold on to our way. May we have clean hands and become stronger and stronger in your service. Amen.

Chap 10. The Controversy Continues.

This is the second intervention of Bildad.

Job 18

18:1 Then Bildad, the Shuhite, answered and said,

Remember that “Bildad” means “son of contention”60 and a Shuhite is a descendant of Shua61 (meaning “wealth”).

60 Another possible translation of “Bildad” is “divided or confused love.” Bildad is mentioned five times in Scripture, all of them in the book of Job.

61 It is possible that Bildad the Shuhite was of the line of Shua, a Canaanite whose daughter was the first wife of Judah. Judah married her when he went away from Jacob and the rest of his brethren for a while, and many problems came from this. God slew two of Judah’s sons from this union because they were evil in the sight of the LORD (Genesis 38). If Bildad was the son of Shua, he would have been Judah’s Canaanite brother-in-law and likely a contemporary with Judah, who was Job’s uncle. The sons of Judah: Er, Onan, and Shelah. These three were born unto him of the daughter of Shua, the Canaanitess. And Er, the firstborn of Judah, was evil in the sight of the LORD, and he slew him (1 Chronicles 2:3). Remember that Canaan’s grandfather, Noah, cursed him because of what his father, Ham, did (Genesis 9:20-27).

18:2 How long will it be ere ye make an end of words? Understand, and afterwards we will speak.

Bildad wants Job to understand that he must repent or else. He thinks Job has been beating around the bush with excess words, proclaiming his innocence instead of openly admitting to what surely must be hidden sin and iniquity.

18:3 Why are we counted as beasts? Are we vile in your sight?

18:4 O thou that dost tear thy soul in thine anger; shall the earth be forsaken because of thee and shall the rocks be removed out of their place?

Bildad is sure that his words, and those of his friends, contain a wisdom equivalent to the foundational rocks of the earth. He misinterprets Job’s strong righteous convictions as anger, and he thinks this anger is wounding Job’s soul (in Hebrew, “soul” and “life” are the same word).

The views Job has expressed are so radical and go so much against what Bildad believes to be universally true, that if his perspective is accurate, the “earth” (the religious system) would be forsaken and the “rocks” (the fundamental assumptions on which the religious system is based) would be removed out of their place. In fact, if Job refuses the counsel of Bildad and his friends, he must be questioning their very humanity and reducing them to beasts – and vile ones, at that.

Now Bildad throws out some boilerplate statements that he is sure are completely unquestionable and that he must have memorized from the sayings of the ancient patriarchs. His beliefs are almost mathematical in their logic: anyone who does what his religious view requires will always prosper in the things of this world and have good health; therefore, if someone who has been prosperous and in good health suddenly loses both prosperity and health (not to mention losing all his children while they were at a party), that person must have failed to conform to correct religious behavior; therefore, that person is sinful and even wicked.

18:5 The light of the wicked shall certainly be put out, and the spark of his fire shall not shine.

18:6 The light shall be dark in his tabernacle, and his lamp shall be put out with him.

18:7 The steps of his strength shall be cut down, and his own counsel shall cast him down.

Contrast this with Job’s words in the previous chapter: The righteous shall hold on to his way, and he that has clean hands shall be stronger and stronger (Job 17:9). But Bildad continues his description of the evils that await those who fail to meet what he sees as the prescribed standards of righteousness.

18:8 For a net shall be cast at his feet, and he shall walk upon a network.

18:9 The snare shall take him by the heel, and the robber shall prevail against him.

18:10 The cord is hidden in the ground and a trap for him in the way.

18:11 Terrors shall make him afraid on every side, and his own feet shall drive him away.

18:12 His strength shall be hungerbitten, and destruction shall be ready at his side.

Bildad is convinced that he speaks forth great foundational truth – as immovable as a rock – and that he must warn poor, wicked Job before it is too late, so he doubles down on the fate of the wicked, still blind to the fact that Job is not actually wicked at all.

18:13 They shall devour the protection of his skin; the firstborn of death shall devour his members.

18:14 His confidence shall be rooted out of his tent, and he shall be brought to the king of terrors.

18:15 He shall dwell in his tent, as if it were not his; brimstone shall be scattered upon his habitation.

In Scripture, brimstone (now known as sulfur) is associated with the righteous judgments of God. This is the case in all fourteen Scriptures that contain this word (six in the Old Testament, beginning with the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and eight in the New Testament, ending with the lake of fire). This is the third instance according to the way the books of the Bible are arranged, but it is the second chronologically. Bildad obviously repeats something he has heard about the ills that befall the wicked, but he is mistaken in thinking that this applies to Job.

18:16 His roots shall be dried up beneath, and above his branch shall be cut off.

Bildad thought that since Job’s “branches” had been cut off (that is, his children had been killed), his “roots” must first have been dried up beneath (that is, he must have ceased to be rooted in righteousness). In reality, however, Job continued to be firmly rooted in God.

18:17 His memory shall perish from the earth, and he shall have no name in the streets.

Bildad’s prediction is almost laughably wrong. Job’s memory lives on, and even in today’s secular realm, almost everyone has heard of his name. Ironically, although many people are familiar with the term “Job’s comforter,” few recall the names of his friends, who for all their vaunted wisdom have no name in the streets.

18:18 He shall be driven from the light into the darkness and chased out of the world.

Again Bildad is wide of the mark, for the world is in the hands of Satan and is a kingdom of darkness, and since the devil is in charge, the wicked are not chased out of the world. Rather, Satan is content to have the world be a haven for the unjust and the unrighteous, which is why it will eventually come to a spectacular end (of which the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah is a prophetic example). Bildad’s entire concept of light and darkness is inverted. He thinks the world is in the light and darkness lies in wait outside the world. Such are the thoughts of the natural man.

18:19 He shall have neither son nor grandson among his people, nor any to succeed him in his dwellings.

On the contrary, Job is a shining example and prototype of all of the true people of God who have been unjustly attacked by Satan and his cohorts. The legacy of Job not only continues but has greatly increased.

18:20 Those that come after him shall be dismayed at his day, as those that went before were overcome with fear.

Instead of being overcome with fear, Job is well on his way to defeating it. Because his heart was perfect, he was one of the first to experience the fact that perfect love casts out fear.

18:21 Surely such are the dwellings of the wicked, and this is the place of him that does not know God.

Based on circumstantial evidence, Bildad has erroneously concluded that the only explanation is that Job does not know God, when the exact opposite is true. Job is the one who really knows God (and who will come to know him better and better) while Bildad and his friends are the ones who have no direct knowledge of God and no true relationship with him. All of their purported wisdom is hearsay.

While it is true that the wicked can find themselves experiencing all the unpleasant situations that Bildad describes, none of these things happen automatically to those whom we judge to be wicked (while they are alive upon this earth). It is very dangerous for man to apply the judgments of God without his counsel and Spirit. God can give the wicked a vast amount of time to repent, and conversely, many times the devil attacks those who are righteous, like Job. If Satan had to ask God for permission to attack Job, won’t he also have to ask God for permission to attack us?

It could happen.

And why would God grant permission?

God only knows.

In the story of Job, God used the tribulation partly to open Job’s eyes so he could see into the spiritual realm with clarity and partly to save Job’s friends who arrived blind, without the Spirit, even though they considered themselves to be great counselors.

If nothing bad had happened to Job, his three friends would have been lost, and Job himself would have never have been able to see by the Spirit. Instead, his knowledge and understanding concerning God would have remained limited.

Job 19

19:1 And Job replied and said,

This is the sixth discourse of Job, responding to the second intervention of Bildad.62

19:2 How long will ye anguish my soul and break me in pieces with words?

19:3 These ten times ye have reproached me; are ye not ashamed to make yourselves strange to me?

62 Bildad’s first intervention was twenty-one verses long and the second contains twenty verses, but his third and final speech will consist of only five verses. After that, he will remain silent.

If we add up the times that Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar have reproached Job up to this point, the total appears to be five. Job, however, counts each of these interventions as a double reproach: ten times ye have reproached me, and ten is a number that symbolizes the word or commandments of God. Why would Job count the number of offenses this way? Because his friends had twisted their religious doctrine into a reproach against Job, and since Job’s standing in God was perfect, in reproaching him they also reproached God. David (later quoted by Paul, who applied this principle to Christ) felt the same way when he poured out his heart to God, saying that the reproaches of those that reproached thee are fallen upon me (Psalm 69:9; Romans 15:3). Indeed, God himself later confirmed that he was angry with Job’s friends because they misrepresented him (Job 42:7).

19:4 And if indeed I have erred, my error shall remain with me.

19:5 If indeed ye will magnify yourselves against me and reprove me of my reproach,

19:6 know now that God has overthrown me and has compassed me with his net.

Job is willing to acknowledge his error, if in fact he made one. However, since his “comforters” magnify themselves against him and take advantage of his desperate circumstances to bolster their own prejudice and doctrine, Job tells them that if they really want to know who is responsible for this situation, they should know now that God has overthrown me and has compassed me with his net.

And yes, it was definitely God who turned Satan loose on Job after asking him, Hast thou considered my slave Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that fears God and has departed from evil? (Job 1:8).

19:7 Behold, I shall cry out that I have been wronged, and I shall not be heard; I shall cry aloud, and there shall be no judgment.

19:8 He has walled off my way and I shall not pass, and he has set darkness in my paths.

19:9 He has stripped me of my glory and taken the crown from my head.

19:10 He has pulled me up on every side, and I am dried up; he has caused my hope to pass like an uprooted tree.

19:11 He has kindled his wrath against me, and he counted me unto him as one of his enemies.

19:12 His troops came together and raised up their way over me and encamp round about my tent.

Plainly Job still has no idea what transpired between God and Satan regarding his testimony and witness upon the earth, and it seems reasonable to conclude that part of the deal must have included keeping the conversation(s) between God and Satan a secret, at least until the end of the test.

19:13 He has put my brethren far from me, and my acquaintances are verily estranged from me.

19:14 My kinsfolk have failed, and my familiar friends have forgotten me.

19:15 Those that dwell in my house and my maids have count[1]ed me for a stranger; I was an alien in their sight.

19:16 I called my slave, and he gave me no answer; I intreated him with my mouth.

19:17 My spirit came to be strange to my wife, although I intreated her for the sons of my own body.

19:18 Even the young children despised me; as I arose, they spoke against me.

19:19 All my intimate friends abhorred me; and those whom I loved are turned against me.

During this test, Job’s perfect and upright heart is pitted against all of the apparently logical thoughts assailing not only his own mind but also the minds of all his brethren, acquaintances, kinfolk, friends, all those who belonged to Job (and their children), and even his wife. Job would have gained some measure of comfort from having more children, but apparently his wife did not respond well to the idea (although this situation got straightened out later).

19:20 My bones cleave to my skin and to my flesh, and I am escaped with the skin of my teeth.

Many striking phrases from the book of Job have made their way into common usage in English, and such is the case with the skin of my teeth.

19:21 Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, O ye my friends; for the hand of God has touched me.

19:22 Why do ye persecute me as God and are not satisfied with my flesh?

If Job’s “comforters” are unable to show him mercy, they should at least pity him. As Jesus would later say, Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy (Matthew 5:7). But the beliefs of Job’s friends do not align with the heart of Christ. In the end, it is Job who shows mercy to his friends, immediately before God restores to him double what he had lost (Job 42:8-10).

19:23 Oh, that my words were now written! Oh, that they were printed in a book!63

19:24 That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever!

63 The book of Job was written in fully developed Hebrew at least one hundred and fifty years before the books of Moses. It occurs to me that someone who might have had the ability to write Hebrew (or who possibly developed the characters and technology to do so) was Job’s uncle, Joseph, the prince of Egypt. It’s even conceivable that Joseph, who wished his family to enjoy the best that Egypt had to offer, might have ensured his nephews were well educated and were taught to read and write Hebrew. If Job was a youth or possibly even a teenager when his family moved to Egypt, Joseph was about thirty-nine at the time (thirty years old when he began to govern, plus seven years of prosperity and two years of famine). If Job was ten or fifteen years old when Joseph was thirty-nine and if Job was seventy years old now, fifty-five or sixty years later (see footnote 37), then Joseph would have been in his mid to late nineties (he died when he was one hundred and ten). Given Joseph’s own history of having been kidnapped by his brothers, sold for a slave, and unjustly imprisoned for thirteen years, only to learn that all these tragedies were part of God’s plan to put him in charge of Egypt at a time of crisis and thus save not only his extended family but everyone in the entire region from the coming famine, I’m sure he was very intrigued with the story of what befell his nephew Job.

At the time of Job, books per se were virtually unknown, although hieroglyphics were beginning to be written on papyrus scrolls in Egypt. If writing were to endure, it would indeed be nice if it were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever.

Job’s three friends think they speak immutable and immovable truth. Job, however, wants his words set in stone so they can be neither altered nor moved. Actually, something much better happened: Job’s words in reply to the accusations of his friends became part of what is likely the oldest of the sixty-six sacred and inspired books of the Bible, one hundred and fifty years or more before Moses wrote his books.

Thinking of the book that could be written appears to trigger a surge of inspiration in Job. Look at what comes next:

19:25 For I know that my redeemer lives and that he shall rise at the latter day over the dust;

What an astounding messianic prophecy! Jesus Christ is indeed the same yesterday, today, and forever, but this powerful word came bursting forth out of the perfect heart of Job long before Jesus was born: I know that my redeemer lives and that he shall rise at the latter day over the dust. Not only does Job need a redeemer (as do all of us), but Job knows that he lives! And he knows that his redeemer shall rise (in resurrection) at the latter day over the dust, which is the stuff of which all flesh is made (Genesis 2:7). Jesus would overcome the death sentence of man at a latter day some seventeen hundred years into the future, and the completed body of Christ of many members (including Job) will come forth in the first resurrection at Jesus’ second coming (Revelation 20:4-6).

19:26 and afterward from this, my stricken skin and from my own flesh, I must see God:

19:27 whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another, though my kidneys be consumed within me.

A tremendous, unstoppable desire is welling up in the heart of Job: I must see God!

Job’s heart (symbolic of his motives and intentions) continues to be in perfect shape, but he is concerned about his kidneys. That may seem odd to us, but according to Scripture, God tries the hearts and kidneys (Psalm 7:9). In addition, Proverbs tells us: My son, if thy heart is wise, my heart shall also rejoice; my kidneys shall also rejoice when thy lips speak right things (Proverbs 23:15-16).

In all, there are thirty-four Scripture references to kidneys, the first sixteen of which have to do with offering the kidneys of certain blood sacrifices along with the caul of fat above them and burning them up upon the altar of God.

Why does God want kidneys offered upon his altar and consumed by his fire?

We know the heart pumps the blood through the flesh, which causes it to live. In the words of Leviticus 17:11, the life (or soul) of the flesh is in the blood. The kidneys, however, filter the blood and remove impurities. Without the kidneys, our lifeblood would soon become toxic and we would die.

Isaiah prophesied of the Messiah: And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faith the girdle of his kidneys (Isaiah 11:5). This means that our “loins” – that is, our intimate, private parts – are to be covered by righteousness (which is the state of being and doing what God desires), and our “kidneys” are to be covered by faith (which is complete trust and dependence upon the Lord). Because they filter the blood of our spiritual life, the “kidneys” cannot be under the covering of our own “fat” (which has to do with our worldly prosperity, purposes, or desires). In the sacrifice system, the kidneys, with the caul of fat above them, had to be consumed upon the altar of God because both the fat and the kidneys belong to the Lord.

After God straightens out our hearts64 so they are set on following him no matter what, he still must deal with our “kidneys” to ensure that “impurities” are removed from our life “blood” on an ongoing basis. But when at last our hearts and our kidneys have been dealt with so they are lined up with God’s nature, it will be natural for us to please him and to fulfill Jesus’ commandments. Then we will love one another without guile; then we will seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and we will trust him by faith to add unto us whatever he considers we need.

64 The heart is one of the major themes in Scripture, with almost a thousand references.

Job concludes this discourse with a solemn warning to his friends:

19:28 But ye should say, Why should we persecute him, seeing that the root of the matter is found in me?

If Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar think that the root of the matter is found in Job, then they should question why they continue to persecute him. Here Job insinuates to them that their real reason is that there may be a root of the matter in them.

19:29 Be ye afraid of the sword; for the wrath of the sword comes because of the iniquities, that ye may know there is a judgment.

Job is now convinced there will be a final judgment (even though he does not want to wait until then to present his case before God). Here he warns his friends against committing iniquities (repeated known and hidden sin). It is one thing for them to be honestly mistaken but quite another if they insist on judging him with lies and hypocrisy when they genuinely know better. Job begins to chip away at their veneer, and his arrows of truth hit the target. Eventually his friends will decide to keep their mouths shut, just as toward the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry there came a time when his detractors were silent and no one dared to ask him any more questions.

Let us pray

Heavenly Father, we ask for a wise, pure heart and for sharp discernment. May our kidneys be purified and covered by faith instead of by the fat of our earthly desires. May our discernment begin by making sure that when our lips speak, right things come out of our mouths. We ask this in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Chap 11. What Really Happens to the Wicked?

This is Zophar’s second and final intervention.

Job 20

20:1 Then Zophar, the Naamathite, answered and said,

“Zophar” means “hairy” or “rough,” and a Naamathite is an inhabitant of Naamah,65 meaning “pleasantness.”

65 Naamah is one of the cities in the border of the tribe of the sons of Judah towards the border of Edom towards the Negev (Joshua 15:21, 41). Naamah is first mentioned in Scripture as a descendant of Cain; she is the daughter of Lamech and Zillah (Genesis 4:22).

20:2 My thoughts certainly cause me to answer, and therefore, I make haste.

20:3 I have heard the check of my reproach, and the spirit of my intelligence causes me to answer.

The spirit of Zophar’s intelligence is an intellectual one, not a holy one.

20:4 Dost thou not know this that always was, since man was placed upon earth,

20:5 that the triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite but for a moment?

Zophar sets up a strawman argument. No one is debating whether the triumphing of the wicked is long or short, since the answer depends on how the terms are defined. Remember that Satan, the wicked one, has now been at it for close to six thousand years and still has not been brought to justice.

Zophar, however, is not really thinking about Satan. He thinks it is Job who is wicked. To his mind, Job is a hypocrite whose previous triumph as the greatest of all the men of the east was cut short due to some unknown perversion or iniquity that Job must be hiding.

20:6 Though his excellency mounts up to the heavens, and his head reaches unto the clouds,

20:7 yet he shall perish for ever like his own dung; those who have seen him shall say, What is become of him?

20:8 He shall fly away as a dream and shall not be found: yea, he shall flee away as a vision of the night.

20:9 The eye which saw him shall see him no more; neither shall his place behold him any more.

The wicked don’t just fly away as a dream and disappear, much though we may wish they would. Instead, they must be fought and overcome. And it is only with the initiative, tactics, and weapons of God, under the close direction of his Spirit, that this may be accomplished.

Zophar continues his diatribe against the fictitious wicked straw man that he implies is like Job:

20:10 His poor sons shall go forth begging, and their hands shall restore that which he stole.

20:11 His bones are full of the sins of his youth, which shall be buried with him in the dust.

20:12 If wickedness was sweet in his mouth, if he hid it under his tongue,

20:13 if it seemed good unto him, and he did not forsake it, but savored it within his mouth,

20:14 his food shall be changed in his bowels, it shall be the gall of asps within him.

20:15 He has swallowed down riches, but he shall vomit them up again; God shall cast them out of his belly.

Do all of these things really happen to everyone who is wicked here upon this earth? I don’t think so. It seems to me that many wicked people amass huge fortunes and pass them on to their heirs, who become even more wicked than their parents, and so on. If Zophar’s description were accurate, Satan’s corruption of the world would be decreasing, not increasing, whereas the opposite is true.

Jesus said, For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? (Mark 8:35-36).

Zophar is speaking only about seven hundred years or so after the flood, and Satan has already managed to twist the truth about God’s judgment of the wicked into a mishmash of fairy tales and outright lies that unwitting “intellectual” dupes like Zophar can use against righteous people like Job when Satan takes away their fame and fortune and health. God waited until the time was ripe and the contaminated religion of Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar – and who knows how many others – was well defined; then he set the stage for the story of Job to unfold so that the writing of the Scriptures could begin.

Zophar continues to regurgitate statements he must have acquired from patriarchs that he and many others considered to be wise men. Their concept of the wicked is, of course, far removed from anything that might possibly pertain to self-righteous people such as themselves. Before he was overtaken by disaster, Job must have been quite an impediment to life going on as usual while Satan smoothly conducted the group down the spacious road that gradually descends into perdition.66 Now Zophar and the others take advantage of Job’s current weakness to move in for the kill. What Zophar presents as fact does not, in reality, even apply to those who, like Satan, are truly wicked. To claim that all these evils await Job is a travesty of the truth, despite the intellectual veneer of the “in” group who think they have a right to judge him.

20:16 He shall suck the poison of asps; the viper’s tongue shall slay him.

20:17 He shall not see the rivers, the floods, the brooks of honey and butter.

20:18 He shall restore the work that was not his; according to the substance that he took; neither shall he devour, nor rejoice.

20:19 Because he oppressed and forsook the poor; because he has violently taken away houses which he did not build,

20:20 therefore, he shall not feel quietness in his belly; he shall not escape with that which he desired.

20:21 Nothing is left that he did not eat; therefore, his goods shall not last.

66 The setting for this situation is described in Job chapter 29.

Zophar thinks that all of Job’s previous wealth must have been ill gotten. He cannot accept the idea that God made Job the greatest of all the men in the east. Nevertheless, in God’s eyes, Job still holds that position. Indeed, Job is going up in God’s esteem, not down. God is winning his wager with Satan, and he is rooting for Job. After more than two thousand three hundred and some years of human existence, God is going to put into motion the writing of the Bible, and he’s excited about it! He uses this occasion to confront some of Satan’s most subtle lies that have gradually infiltrated the beliefs of people of God.

20:22 In the fullness of his sufficiency, he shall come into anguish; the hands of all the wicked shall come upon him.

The cat is starting to peek out of the bag. Now it is clear that Zophar is not just ranting about what will happen to some generic wicked straw man that he made up. His entire message has been carefully calculated and aimed directly at Job. The line, the hands of all the wicked shall come upon him, doesn’t ring true. After all, if Job is wicked and God has decided to take him down, how can all the wicked come upon him unless he attacks himself? Zophar trips over himself in his haste to put Job down.

20:23 When he is about to fill his belly, God shall cast the fury of his wrath upon him and shall rain it upon him and upon his food.

Zophar says, not only are the hands of all the wicked against Job, but God is against him too.

20:24 He shall flee from the weapons of iron, and the bow of bronze shall strike him through.

Iron is a symbol of the word or law of God, and bronze represents judgment. It is true that many of Job’s servants were slain by the sword (an iron weapon) and possibly shot with arrows, but this line also implies that Zophar conceives he and his friends are wielding the word and judgment of God against Job.

20:25 He shall draw forth an arrow from his quiver, and like lightning it shall strike through his gall; terrors shall come upon him.

Earlier, Job said of God: His archers compassed me round about; he cleaved my kidneys asunder and did not spare; he poured out my gall upon the ground (Job 16:13). Zophar takes that statement and turns it into Job shooting himself with an arrow from his [own] quiver.

20:26 All darkness is kept for his secrets; a fire not blown shall consume him; his successor shall be broken in his tent.

Zophar wonders what awful, deep, dark secrets Job is hiding. He cannot imagine that Job has nothing to hide.

What is a fire not blown?

In order to melt metal and refine it or work with it, a forge needs a bellows to blow on the fire and make it hotter. If even a fire not blown can consume Job, he has no character or accomplishments of lasting value. In other words, Zophar considers everything pertain[1]ing to Job to fall into the category of wood, hay, and stubble – of little value and easily destroyed. The part about his successor shall be broken in his tent obviously refers to the death of Job’s oldest son. On top of delivering low blow after low blow, Zophar puts all of this in future tense and recites it as if it were a prophecy given in advance that now somehow relates to Job.

20:27 The heavens shall reveal his iniquity; and the earth shall rise up against him.

20:28 The increase of his house shall be taken captive; they shall be scattered in the day of his wrath.

20:29 This is the portion of a wicked man from God and the heritage that God appoints unto him by his word.

On occasion I have heard preachers give similar messages and engage in this type of judgment toward people who don’t routinely go to church, pay their tithes, and jump through the required religious hoops.

Zophar thinks he has just delivered the word of God. In a certain sense he is right, in that his words are recorded here in Scripture. However, we must also take into account that in addition to good examples and words of wisdom that we are encouraged to follow, the Bible contains many bad examples and costly mistakes from which we are exhorted to learn (Romans 15:3-4; 1 Corinthians 10:11). My father used to say that God could find a useful purpose for everyone; even in a worst-case scenario, he can always use people as a bad example for everyone else!

When God chose someone to place in a critical spiritual battle to prove his word against Satan’s, he picked Job. I think you can now see why Zophar failed to make the cut.

Job 21

21:1 But Job answered and said,

21:2 Hear diligently my speech, and let this be instead of your consolations.

This speech is Job’s seventh discourse, and its purpose is to replace the “consolations” of Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar.

21:3 Suffer me that I may speak; and after I have spoken, mock on.

Job considers the “consolations” he has so far received to be nothing less than mockery.

21:4 As for me, is my complaint to man? And if so, why should not my spirit be troubled?

If Job’s complaint is to man, then his spirit should be troubled. His complaint, however, is to God, and even though his mind desperately seeks justice or at least an answer, his spirit is not troubled because his conscience is clean.

21:5 Look upon me and be astonished and lay your hand upon your mouth.

21:6 Even I myself, when I remember, I am afraid, and trembling takes hold on my flesh.

The magnitude of what has happened to Job is not to be taken lightly. I’m sure that when he looked back (which must have happened repeatedly), he would go over each scenario and wonder what he could have done differently that could have saved the lives of his children and his servants and prevented the loss of his livestock.

21:7 Why do the wicked live and become old and even increase in riches?

21:8 Their seed is with them, established in their sight, and their offspring before their eyes.

21:9 Their houses are safe from fear; neither is the rod of God upon them.

21:10 Their cows conceive, and do not abort; their cows calve and do not cast forth their young.

21:11 They send forth their little ones like a flock of sheep, and their children dance.

21:12 They jump at the sound of the timbrel and harp and rejoice at the sound of the organ.

21:13 They spend their days in pleasure and in a moment go down to Sheol.

This is the sad truth about what happens to the vast majority of the wicked. In Jesus’ parable of the rich man and Lazarus, the reckoning for the rich man did not come until after he had died and gone to Hades (Sheol). Remember that Sheol is down, not up.

21:14 Therefore, they say unto God, Depart from us; for we do not desire the knowledge of thy ways.

21:15 Who is the Almighty that we should serve him? And what profit should we have if we pray unto him?

21:16 Behold that their good is not in their hands; the counsel of the wicked is far from me.67

67 Considering their blindness to the reality of verses 7-16, it is clear that Job’s comforters do not even have common sense. They have been conditioned and programmed.

One reason the wicked spend their time on earth seeking pleasure and the things of this temporal world is because God’s judgments are, for the most part, delayed until after death. Unseen consequences are fairly easy for them to ignore.

21:17 How often is the lamp of the wicked put out and their destruction comes upon them, and God distributes sorrows upon them in his anger.

Sometimes God does put out the lamp of the wicked. In the Old Testament, for example, this happened to the first two sons of Judah, who were named Er (“watchful”) and Onan (“strong”). The Lord slew Er because Er was wicked in his sight, and he slew Onan because he displeased God (Genesis 38:7, 10). In the New Testament, the angel of the Lord smote wicked King Herod because he allowed the crowd to give to him the glory that belonged to God (Acts 12:21-23).

21:18 They shall be as stubble before the wind and as chaff taken up by the whirlwind.

21:19 God shall lay up his violence for their sons; and he will reward him so that he shall know it.

God visits the iniquity of the fathers upon the sons unto the third and fourth generation of those that hate him (Exodus 20:5). (Job is the fifth generation of a family that pleased God.)

21:20 His eyes shall see his destruction, and he shall drink of the wrath of the Almighty.

21:21 For what delight shall he have in his house after him, being cut off in the number of his months?

21:22 Shall he teach God knowledge, seeing he judges those that are high?

21:23 This one shall die in the full strength of his beauty, being completely at ease and quiet.

21:24 His breasts are full of milk, and his bones are moistened with marrow.

21:25 And another dies in the bitterness of his soul, never having eaten with pleasure.

21:26 They shall lie down alike in the dust, and the worms shall cover them.

God is known for being merciful and slow to anger, and he often grants time for repentance even to those who have done horrible things. He rejoices in forgiving the penitent. You will recall that when Peter suggested we are to forgive our brother seven times, Jesus increased this figure to seventy times seven. And when Israel lapsed into apostasy during the unprecedented prosperity of the reign of Solomon – who instituted pagan demonic high places all over the land – God didn’t lower the boom until exactly four hundred and ninety years later (seventy times seven), when Nebuchadnezzar overthrew Jerusalem and instituted the Babylonian captivity.

21:27 Behold, I know your thoughts and the imaginations which ye devise against me.

21:28 For ye say, What is of the house of the prince, and what of the tent of the habitation of the wicked?

21:29 Have ye not asked those that go by the way, and do ye not know their tokens?

21:30 That the wicked is reserved for the day of destruction, they shall be brought forth to the day of wrath.

21:31 Who shall declare his way to his face? And who shall repay him what he has done?

21:32 He shall yet be brought to the grave and shall remain in the tomb.

21:33 The clods of the river valley shall be sweet unto him, and every man shall be drawn after him, as there were innumerable before him.

21:34 How then do ye comfort me in vain, given that your answers remain as falsehood?

It is true that those who continue in wickedness (in repeated, voluntary, known sin) will ultimately come to a bad end. In the short term, however, it is difficult to judge. In Jesus’ parable of the wheat and the tares, the workers are not allowed to remove the tares and burn them until the time of the harvest, at which point the stalks of wheat will be seen to have borne good fruit while the tares have borne poison (Matthew 13:30, 38). When Jesus said that we shall know them (that is, people) by their fruits (Matthew 7:20), he was referring to their godly character, not their earthly prosperity. In Job’s case, however, it hasn’t even occurred to his comforters to take a good look at his attitude, let alone his character. They have only considered the circumstances, blindly made up their minds in accordance with their preconceived ideas, and with gross and repeated lies condemned Job’s motives and trashed his character.

As we have seen, the double reproach and falsehoods of Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar were not only levelled against Job; they were also levelled against God. These falsehoods had undoubtedly been developing for quite some time over the centuries. Now, however, we will see how God uses Job to powerfully set the record straight, and all of this will be recorded as the oldest book of the Bible.

Let us pray

Lord, may we be granted discernment and understanding so that we will not fall prey to the lies and deception of the Enemy and will not receive enemy agents who present themselves as angels of light. May we take a good, close look at their fruits and discern between those who have a genuine heart for you and for their neighbors and those who do not. Amen.

Chap 12. “I Have Come Forth as Gold”.

This is the third and last intervention of Eliphaz, who is obviously the leader of the three “comforters.” His first speech was two chap[1]ters long. His second was thirty-six verses. This final dissertation will contain only thirty verses, and after that, Eliphaz will remain silent.

Job 22

22:1 Then Eliphaz, the Temanite, answered and said,

22:2 Can a man be profitable unto God? For he that is wise is profitable unto himself.

According to God, the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 9:10). In the first verse of the book of Job, God declared that Job was one that feared God and departed from evil. In order to depart from evil, we must first rely on God to show us what is evil and what is good. This concept is completely foreign to Eliphaz, however. He thinks that a wise person is profitable unto himself. On the other hand, as we are beginning to see, Job’s role in this unprecedented episode is becoming extremely profitable unto God.

Over the centuries, many seemingly important thinkers and theologians have agreed with Eliphaz, and they have gradually refined his position into a dogma that states that since we are in a human condition, we cannot avoid sinning every day in word, thought, and deed, as well as by omission. Therefore these “wise” thinkers are profitable unto themselves, but they question how profitable man can be unto God because they believe that man sins compulsively; they have even redefined a Greek word for “sin” to make it fit their theology.68

22:3 Is it any pleasure to the Almighty that thou art justified? Or is it gain to him that thou makest thy ways perfect?

68 Several Greek words are translated as “sin” in the New Testament, with the most predominant of these being hamartano and its derivative, hamartia. While it is definitely true that these words have to do with an offense, it is not true that they mean “to miss the mark.” The New Testament Greek word hamartano is an archery term and means to intentionally shoot at the wrong target (such as to target a friend instead of an enemy in the midst of a battle). The person aiming at the wrong target would be committing hamartano if they missed the mark (or target) but also if they struck it perfectly. The person aiming at the right target, however, would not commit hamartano if his arrow failed to hit the bull’s-eye, missed the mark altogether, or even, in the heat of the battle, struck someone he was not aiming at. This is why the apostle John wrote, Whosoever is born of God does not commit sin; for his seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God (1 John 3:9). If we are born again from above, our motives and intentions will be to please God, and even though we may need some practice to consistently hit the mark, at least we will always aim at the right target. See Knowing God the Father, Russell Stendal, Ransom Press International, Hollywood, FL.

People like Eliphaz don’t even contemplate the possibility of making their ways perfect (and remember that the word for “perfect” is the same as the word for “mature,” in the original) because they consider it to be impossible. It never dawns on them that in God’s eyes, this is a matter of the heart, and God can put his heart (which is perfect) in us even while we live here upon the earth and are subject to human frailty.

Just as we can be content in God, he can also be content in us. In order for him to find contentment in us, however, there is one chief requirement: that we have a pure, clean heart. This might seem like a distant hope or even an impossibility, but in fact it is entirely possible because the Spirit of God can be with us wherever we are. God not only requires the purity that comes with maturity, he can use adversity to bring this about. Therefore the present circumstances of our life do not matter, and our needs, race, gender, financial status, vocation, work, or present situation are not the defining factors, because all things will help us unto good if we love God and his call is upon our life. Eliphaz the Temanite and his two friends don’t seem to understand any of this, however.

22:4 Will he reprove thee or will he enter with thee into judgment because he fears thee?

If we are like Job, God may reprove us or enter into judgment with us because he loves us, but he will certainly not do so because he fears us. What has God to fear from man? Rather, he desires for us to fear and respect him. It does, of course, give deep satisfaction to the Almighty when we are justified and when our ways are perfect (or mature), and he was greatly pleased to describe Job to Satan in these terms on two occasions (Job 1:8; 2:3). Furthermore, if we are justified and our ways are perfect, this is God’s doing, as he works in and through us by his grace.

22:5 Certainly thy wickedness is great and thine iniquities have no end.

In his search for a satisfactory explanation for why his children died, why he lost his estate and his health, and why he found himself in such a desperate and embarrassing situation, Job is determined to find God and discuss this. Eliphaz, however, thinks he already has the explanation, which is that Job is wicked and has no end of iniquities (known sin that he keeps hidden). He is convinced that Job must be hiding something truly abominable. But Eliphaz and his friends have unwittingly listened to Satan’s lies and then expressed those lies as if they were the truth. Remember that Satan means “accuser,” and he is indeed a relentless accuser of the brethren, collectively and (as in Job’s case) individually.

Eliphaz finds it unthinkable that despite his obvious and deplorable human condition, Job might really be justified and have a perfect heart. Therefore, even though he has no direct evidence of any wrongdoing on Job’s part, Eliphaz imputes great wickedness and no end of iniquities to him.

22:6 For thou didst take a pledge from thy brother without cause and stripped the naked of their clothing.

22:7 Thou didst not give water to drink to the weary, and thou hast withheld bread from the hungry.

22:8 But the man of means had the earth; and the honourable man dwelt in it.

22:9 Thou hast sent the widows away empty, and the arms of the fatherless have been broken.

The conventional religious wisdom of the day suggests that Job must be guilty of all of the above, the sins of commission as well as the sins of omission. Eliphaz does not hold these accusations out as possibilities in an attempt to troubleshoot what he perceives as Job’s problem. He states them as if they are hard facts that have resulted in dire consequences.

22:10 Therefore, snares are round about thee, and sudden fear troubles thee

22:11 or darkness, that thou canst not see, and abundance of waters cover thee.

Eliphaz thinks Job is completely sunk and that his only hope is to come clean and repent. It never even occurs to Eliphaz and his friends that Job may be innocent despite suffering great loss, in which case they should console him by sharing what they have with him (as he would have consoled them had the roles been reversed). Unaware that his beliefs have been contaminated by Satan’s lies, Eliphaz continues.

22:12 Is not God in the height of the heavens? Behold the height of the stars, how high they are!

22:13 And thou shalt say, What does God know? How can he judge through the darkness?

22:14 Thick clouds are his hiding place, and he does not see; and he walks in the circuit of heaven.

Eliphaz realizes that God can see and perceive everything, but his concept is that God is far away, up high in the heavens surrounded by thick dark clouds; God can see us as he walks in the circuit of heaven, but we cannot see him. Eliphaz argues that because it is so difficult, if not impossible, for Job to see God, Job must think he can get away with all manner of wickedness without God noticing.

22:15 Dost thou desire to keep the old way which wicked men have trodden?

22:16 Who were cut down out of time, whose foundation was overflown with a flood.

Eliphaz is well aware of what happened in the universal flood, when those of the corrupt ancient world were destroyed by water.

22:17 Who said unto God, Depart from us; and what can the Almighty do unto us?

22:18 He had filled their houses with good things. Therefore, the counsel of the wicked is far from me.

22:19 The righteous shall see it and be glad; and the innocent laughs them to scorn.

22:20 Whereas our substance was not cut down, when the fire had consumed the rest of them.

Here we have Eliphaz, the son of Esau, confronting Job, the grandson of Jacob. It is even possible that their grandparents or great-grandparents could have met men such as Shem or Ham or Japheth and heard the story directly from the survivors of the ark. Shem would have died when Jacob and Esau were about forty years old. The ancestors of Eliphaz and Job just a few generations back would have certainly known Shem and possibly even known Noah.

These ancestors are likely what Eliphaz refers to when he says, Whereas our substance was not cut down, when the fire had consumed the rest of them.69 While it is true that the patriarch ancestors of Eliphaz and Job were not cut down, the next part of the phrase is misleading because even today, the fire has not yet consumed the rest of the wicked. The flood (or any subsequent judgment, such as what happened to Sodom) did not eliminate Satan and his angels or even deter them. That day will come, however. Peter says that the heavens which are now, and the earth are conserved by the same word, kept unto the fire in the day of judgment and of perdition of ungodly men (2 Peter 3:7).

69 Some think Eliphaz may have been referring to the fire that came down on Sodom and Gomorrah, which, along with the flood, is also an example of end time judgment. (See Luke 17:26-30.)

Eliphaz continues:

22:21 Make up thy friendship now with him, and thou shalt have peace; thereby good shall come unto thee.

22:22 Receive, I pray thee, the law from his mouth, and lay up his words in thine heart.

22:23 If thou return to the Almighty, thou shalt be built up, thou shalt put away iniquity far from thy tent;

22:24 then thou shalt lay up gold as dust and the gold of Ophir as the stones of the brooks.

22:25 And the Almighty shall be thy defence, and thou shalt have plenty of silver.

Eliphaz is caught up in a prosperity gospel of temporal treasure on earth instead of incorruptible treasure in heaven. While he would be familiar with the prophesies of Enoch as part of his supposed ancient wisdom, he hasn’t really contemplated or understood those words that could possibly refer to people such as him and his two friends. Enoch is quoted by Jude, beginning in verse 14.

Jude 1

12 These are spots in your banquets of charity, feeding themselves without any fear whatsoever: clouds without water, carried to and fro of the winds; trees withered as in fall, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots;

13 raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own abominations; erratic stars, to whom is reserved gross darkness eternally.

In spite of Job’s words of warning, Eliphaz and his two friends are feeding themselves without any fear whatsoever. They are clouds without water (they do not have the real word of the Lord) and trees withered as in fall without fruit (unable to provide either nourishment or restful shade). If they are not careful, and if they continue to spew double reproach against Job and against God, they are on a path to end up twice dead, plucked up by the roots. Fortunately God uses Job to extend mercy and restoration to them in the end.

14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his saints

15 to execute judgment upon all and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have unfaithfully committed and of all the hard words which the unfaithful sinners have spoken against him.

Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar have spoken some very hard words, not only against the good name and character of Job, but also against God. For this reason, Job is very concerned for them and keeps on attempting to warn them. Eventually, they shut their mouths and keep silent.

Continuing with the words of Enoch:

16 These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own desires; and their mouth speaks arrogant things, admiring persons to take advantage.

We have already seen the role of flattery as the three friends puff up themselves at the expense of Job and God. As we will see later, however, a fourth member of the group, Elihu, will take flattery to a new level.

17 But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ,

18 how that they told you, That in the last time there would be mockers, who would walk after their own ungodly desires.

Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar have already been identified as mockers. They have many modern counterparts now, in the last time.

19 These are those who make divisions, and are as animals, not having the Spirit.

The bottom line is that these men are definitely identified with those who make divisions, and are as animals, not having the Spirit. Instead of bearing good fruit of the Spirit, they make divisions.

20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves upon your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit,

Remember that if we are in Christ, it is faith, rather than our own “fat,” that is to be the girdle or covering for our “kidneys.” Then what we say will be good and pleasing to God.

21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, unto eternal life,

22 And receive some with mercy, discerning;

23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.

Job has treated his friends with mercy even though they have shown him none. In Job 22:20, Eliphaz speaks offhandedly of the fire that consumed the rest of them, happily oblivious to the fact that he and his friends are in the fire and that God will use Job to pull them out, even though Job hates their garment (or covering) that is defiled by the flesh.

24 Now unto him that is powerful to keep you without sin and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,

By the Spirit, Job knows him that is powerful to keep you without sin and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, but he wants to actually stand before his throne and present his case.

25 to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, do[1]minion and power, now and in all the ages. Amen.

It won’t be long before Job has a first-hand encounter with the glory and majesty, dominion and power of God.

In the meantime, he still has to put up with Eliphaz and his sanctimony:

Job 22

22:23 If thou return to the Almighty, thou shalt be built up, thou shalt put away iniquity far from thy tent;

In fact, now we have enough evidence to question the identity of the particular “Almighty” to which Eliphaz is referring. Could it be that he is so blind as to mistakenly invoke the god of this world instead of God who created the heavens and the earth? The promised rewards that follow make this an open question:

22:24 then thou shalt lay up gold as dust and the gold of Ophir as the stones of the brooks.

22:25 And the Almighty shall be thy defence, and thou shalt have plenty of silver.

22:26 For then shalt thou have thy delight in the Almighty and shalt lift up thy face unto God.

22:27 Thou shalt make thy prayer unto him, and he shall hear thee, and thou shalt pay thy vows.

This is the first chronological reference in Scripture to the paying of vows, which Eliphaz seems to link to prayer. Jesus said:

Ye have heard that it was said to the ancients, Thou shalt not perjure thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths; but I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne, nor by the earth, for it is his footstool, neither by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communications be, Yes, yes; No, no; for whatsoever is more than this comes of evil. (Matthew 5:33-37)

Look at the downhill progression: (1) Thou shalt make a prayer unto him, and (2) he shall hear thee, and (3) thou shalt pay thy vows. But Jesus cautions us against oaths or vows and tells us not to swear at all, because anything beyond a simple yes or no comes of evil. It apparently does not dawn on Eliphaz that an essential aspect of prayer is for us to hear from God, not just for God to hear our prayer.

22:28 Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee; and the light shall shine upon thy ways.

The path of the progression continues: (4) Thou shalt also decree a thing, and (5) it shall be established unto thee; and (6) the light shall shine upon thy ways.

In Eliphaz’s parallel universe, man can also decree a thing. Eliphaz thinks we don’t have to wait upon God and hear from him, but rather we can make up our own word of faith and it will be established unto us, and then the light will shine upon our ways. The progressive path that Eliphaz describes here does not lead into God’s ways; it leads into our ways. In fact, the entire concept of us decreeing things out of thin air and having them established is the foundation of the occult that pertains to the realm of Satan.

Satan knows it will be hard to get people to openly acknowledge him and follow his ways if they understand who he is and where those ways lead. His most subtle deception, therefore, lies in convincing us that following our own ways is the natural consequence of recon[1]ciliation with God in a process of give and take (whom we will then meet halfway between our “venial” and our “mortal” sins). The next thing you know, the impostor Satan has taken the place of God and promotes his ministers as angels of light.

Eliphaz finishes his message with some more sanctimonious humanistic boilerplate:

22:29 When others are cast down, then thou shalt say, There is lifting up; and he shall save the humble person.

22:30 He shall deliver the island of the innocent; and in the pureness of thine hands thou shalt be kept.

In the prophetic language of the Scriptures, “islands” represent private kingdoms. In God’s view, there is no safe and secure island of the innocent.

There are only seventeen references to islands in Scripture, and this is the first of them. A relevant vision of the apostle John indicates that on the day of the Lord, every mountain and island were moved out of their places (Revelation 6:14). The judgment of God continued until every island fled away, and the mountains were not found (Revelation 16:20).

Moreover, there is no truth in the statement that in the pureness of thine hands thou shalt be kept. Our own hands, no matter how pure, will not be enough to keep us. If we are to be kept, we must be in God’s hands, not man’s.

Job 23

23:1 Then Job answered and said,

This is Job’s eighth discourse.

23:2 Today I will also speak with bitterness; my stroke is heavier than my groaning.

The way of the cross is associated with myrrh, a bitter aromatic spice with a unique and penetrating odor. Myrrh is also one of the five special ingredients of the sacred anointing oil.

23:3 Oh, that I knew where I might find him! That I might come even to his seat!

Job knows in his heart and in his spirit that he is not in trouble with God. The problem is how to physically locate the throne (or seat) of God.

23:4 I would order judgment before him and fill my mouth with arguments.

23:5 I would know the words which he would answer me and understand what he would say unto me.

Job is sure that if he could manage to find God’s throne, God would understand him and he would understand God. He knows that he is compatible with God. There are many things he doesn’t understand here and now, but he is certain that if only he could stand before the throne of God, all his questions would quickly be resolved.

23:6 Will he plead against me with his great power? No, but rather he would put it in me.

23:7 There the righteous might dispute with him; and should I escape for ever from the one who condemns me.

Job cautiously wonders if God will plead against me with his great power and then promptly answers his own question. Of course God won’t do that! Instead, since Job is righteous, God will put his great power inside him to strengthen him so he can plead his case. This is an astounding revelation of a profound mystery in our relationship with God. The apostle Paul described it like this: even the mystery which has been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints, to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery in the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:26-27).

Job has realized now that he needs to escape for ever from the one who condemns him, a description that seems to be aimed at his “comforters.” He understands that despite his present circumstances, God is not his enemy. Job knows he is righteous and that the righteous have legal standing to take their case before the throne of God and prevail. His problem is, how does he discover the location of God’s throne? Today, after the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, we have a mediator of the new covenant, but in the time of Job, with no guide or intermediary, finding the throne of God was a major difficulty.

23:8 Behold, I shall go to the east and not find him; and to the west, but I cannot perceive him;

23:9 if he is working to the north, I shall not see him; to the south, he hides himself, that I shall not see him.

23:10 But he has known the way that I take; he has tried me, and I have come forth as gold.

Maybe the reason Job cannot see God’s throne in any direction on earth is because the kingdom of God is not of this world.

Even though Job cannot locate God precisely, he finds solace in the fact that God knows the exact way Job has taken. Job is aware he has been tried and has come forth as gold. Gold can symbolize at least two things: (1) Eliphaz, centered on earthly values, enthusiastically wanted to teach Job how to lay up gold as dust and the gold of Ophir70 as the stones of the brooks. In this context, gold is nothing more than temporal treasure. (2) God, on the other hand, has tried Job and brought him forth as gold. In this context, gold symbolizes the nature of God.

70 Ophir was a region famous for its fine gold and precious stones. The name, however, means “reduced to ashes” or “reducing to ashes,” and there is no doubt that from an eternal perspective, the gold of this world is worth nothing more than that.

23:11 My feet have held to his steps, I have kept his way, and have not departed.

23:12 Neither have I separated myself from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.

Having announced that he has come forth as gold, Job now declares, My feet have held to his steps. But how is it possible for him to walk in God’s footsteps? He continues, I have kept his way, and have not departed. What is his way? It is the way of the cross, and when we choose to follow that path, we walk in the footsteps of Jesus and thus of God. The way of the cross means death to the control of the flesh, death to sin, death to the very life and nature of the old, carnal man. Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar do not understand this, nor would they believe it to be possible. The secret of Job’s success in holding to God’s steps, keeping his way, and not departing from it lies in his next words: Neither have I separated myself from the commandment of his lips. If we directly hear the voice of God and embrace his word with faith, then we will be granted sufficient grace to walk in his steps, keep his way, and not depart from it. Our priorities are also a factor, of course, and we can see where Job’s priorities lie: I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.

Bearing in mind Job’s difficulty locating the throne of God so that he can have a face-to-face encounter with him, how is it possible for him to stay connected to the commandment of his lips and to continue to give top priority to the words of his mouth?

Job’s relationship with God is internal. God is in his heart, which is why his heart is perfect; this is how he knows what God is saying. It is not a mind thing; it is a heart thing. Even while the mental battle raged and the fiery darts of the Enemy rained down upon Job, even when his thoughts became as a shadow, the presence of God never left his heart and spirit (and his conscience always remained clean). All through his ordeal, Job’s heart has remained one hundred percent centered on God, and he has given top priority to what God says (even though there has apparently been quite a bit of pain in his “kidneys”).

23:13 But if he determines something, who can turn him? His soul desired it, and he did it.

23:14 Therefore, he will finish that which is necessary for me; and there are many such things in him.

God will finish dealing with Job’s “kidneys” and will complete whatever else he desires to accomplish. When God determines something, Job knows that he will follow through. Job also knows that even though he does not yet have an explanation of why so many terrible things have happened to him, God must have a reason, and so he can say, Therefore he will finish that which is necessary for me. And if this were not sufficient, he adds, and there are many such things in him.

23:15 Therefore, I shall fear before his face; I shall consider, and I shall fear him.

23:16 For God has made my heart tender, and the Almighty has frightened me.

Job is aware that he is dealing directly with the awesome power that made the universe and holds it together, and he realizes how serious it is to come face to face with God with no mediator or veil between them. When God spoke to the children of Israel from Mount Sinai, they drew back in fear as the mountain thundered and smoked and quaked, and the trumpet blasts sent shivers up and down their spines. Those who stiffened their necks and hardened their hearts all died in the wilderness, and only two of those twenty years and older who had heard God’s voice made it into the promised land.

All that has happened to Job has not hardened his heart. To the contrary, he is able to say that God has made my heart tender, even while adding and the Almighty has frightened me. So Job has a soft, tender heart and is filled with the fear of the Lord.

23:17 Why was I not cut off before the darkness, neither has he covered my face with the darkness.

Job’s thoughts go back to that terrible day when he lost his children, most of his servants, and all of his livestock. He wonders, Why was I not cut off before the darkness? In such an all-out, ruthless enemy ambush (and Job pretty well knows now who the real Enemy is), he should have been killed first, and then his attacker should have gone after everything else. Why was he spared? The shadow of death closed in on him when Satan took away his health, yet God never allowed the darkness to cover Job’s face.

Job 24

24:1 Why, seeing that times are not hidden from the Almighty, do those that know him not see his days?

Job can tell that the kingdom of God is not of this world, and he lists many reasons to believe that the world is full of wickedness. However, the question remains: why do we not see his days? Why doesn’t God declare a day of judgment, invade this planet in force, and put a stop to all the dishonesty, injustice, and hypocrisy? Consider what the wicked have done and continue to do, in the spiritual realm as well as the natural.

24:2 Some remove the landmarks; they violently take away flocks and feed thereof.

The landmarks are the boundary markers, and they can be spiritual as well as natural. In our time as in Job’s, there are those who steal “sheep” and “goats” and feed thereof.

24:3 They drive away the ass of the fatherless; they take the widow’s ox for a pledge.

The ass is a symbol of flesh (of the carnal man), and the fatherless signifies those who are not in a covenant relationship with Father God. A widow has no husband, and her ox is her only means of plowing ground and providing food for her family. If the desperate needs of a widow (who can also represent an entire congregation) force her to surrender her “ox” for a pledge, she will be at the mercy of those who violently take away flocks and feed thereof. Does any of this sound familiar?

Those who drive away the ass of the fatherless are not interested in reaching the lost. They prefer to take advantage of “widows” (congregations) instead.

24:4 They turn the needy out of the way; and all the poor of the earth hide themselves from them.

These merciless and mercenary people are not interested in helping the needy; the poor of the earth recognize this and wisely hide themselves from them lest what little they have is taken from them. Jesus said, Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of the heavens (Matthew 5:3).

24:5 Behold, as wild asses in the desert, they go forth to their work, rising early for a prey; the wilderness yields food for them and for their children.

Job compares these thieves to wild asses in the desert. In the kingdom of God, we are to care for widows and orphans, not take advantage of them, but “wild asses” (false ministers) do not live by the principles of the promised land. They operate in “the wilderness” (the untamed nature of the natural man) and use their gifts and abilities to obtain food for them and for their children. They and their spiritual offspring feed on what they have plundered.

24:6 In the field they reap their fodder, and the wicked gather the vintage that is not theirs.

In the field (of ministry) they reap their fodder (they feed on a dry, legalistic word that has no life). Fodder is food for beasts (that is, the natural man, who may be very gifted but does not have the Spirit of God). Wine, on the other hand, is a symbol of life, but there are two vintages – either the life of sour grapes of the natural man or the sweet wine of the life of Christ – and the wicked have no claim on the latter. They can only take advantage of the life of the natural man (which is not really theirs).

24:7 They cause the naked to lodge without clothing, that they have no covering in the cold.

They manipulate others to bring them under their “covering,” but since they do not have the Spirit of God, they cause the naked to lodge without clothing in their religious institutions. The result is that the naked have no covering in the cold. When God led his people through the wilderness, he spread a cloud for a covering and fire to give light in the night (Psalm 105:39). The only effective covering is by the Spirit of God (Isaiah 30:1). Like the children of Israel when they were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, those who are under the covering (or authority) of man instead of the covering of God are not free to be led by the Spirit.

24:8 They are wet with the floods of the mountains and embrace the rock for want of a covering.

These mountains are symbols of strongholds or kingdoms. To be wet with the floods of the mountains is to be tainted by the dogmas and doctrines of the wrong type of “mountain.” The hapless and misguided congregations embrace the rock for want of a covering because they base their security on what seem to be solid doctrines, principles, and values, oblivious to the danger of trusting in anything other than a direct personal relationship with the Lord (Isaiah 28:20; Revelation 6:16).

24:9 They pluck the fatherless from the breast and take a pledge of the poor.

These false ministers wean the spiritual orphans (who are their proselytes) from the milk of the word and place these poor people in their debt even while they manipulate them with guilt.

24:10 They cause the naked to go without clothing, and they take away the sheaves from the hungry.

If they allow the “naked” to be led and covered by the Spirit, they will no longer be able to control them. Thus, if any member of their congregation somehow manages to glean any “sheaves” of the grain of the mature word of God, these so-called ministers do their best to take such nourishment away from those who are hungry for truth.

24:11 They press oil within their walls and tread their wine[1]presses and suffer thirst.

They think that the “oil” of the anointing is only available within the walls of their tightly contained group or institution. They press oil within their walls, but although this anointing or spirit may be supernatural, it is not holy. They tread their winepresses, but what they are treading is the “grapes” of the life of Adam, and the “wine” from such “grapes” will never satisfy the thirst of lost humanity.

24:12 Men groan from out of the city, and the souls of the dead cry out; yet God did not hinder them.

Those who are trapped inside the city of religion groan because there is no deliverance from the control of the flesh. The souls of those who are dead (in trespasses and sin) cry out, yet God did not hinder them (the false ministers). This situation continues today, and God has not yet hindered these so-called spiritual leaders. However, the day of the Lord is fast approaching, and things are about to change radically.

Can you see how Job, inspired by the Spirit, is turning the argument of Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar on its head?

24:13 They are among those that rebel against the light; they have never known its ways nor abided in its paths.

In the highest sense, the Lord Jesus is the light. Those who rebel against the light rebel against him. Although he has held out his arms to them, they have never known his ways nor abided in his paths. There will soon be a day of reckoning, however. Jesus said, Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then I will profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity (Matthew 7:22-23, emphasis added).

24:14 The murderer rises with the light, kills the poor and the needy, and in the night is as a thief.

Satan has been a murderer from the beginning of his rebellion, when by flattery and lies he brought sin and death upon the entire human race (Genesis 3; John 8:44). Then, in the ensuing spiritual night, he turned into a thief and usurped the authority that God had given Adam over the earth.

24:15 The eye of the adulterer waits for the twilight, saying, No eye shall see me; and disguises his face.

Satan and his ministers love to entice God’s people into spiritual adultery by pretending to have the anointing of God and thus beguiling people to have spiritual communion with them instead of with God. This is the spirit of antichrist. The eye of the adulterer (that is, Satan) waits for the twilight because he wants just enough light to be able to target his victims, the poor and needy (who desperately seek a miracle). He waits for the twilight, saying, No eye shall see me, and disguises his face so his victims will not be able to discern who he really is. This is what Eliphaz may have experienced when he said that a ghost stood in front of me, whose face I did not recognize, and I heard it say … (Job 4:12-21).

24:16 In the dark they dig through houses, which they had marked for themselves in the daytime; they do not know the light.

In the dark they dig through houses (sometimes these ministers of Satan penetrate entire congregations or even denominations and institutions), which they had marked for themselves in the daytime. In the daytime, when God is working and moving, they spy out the houses (places of worship) where they plan to steal sheep or entire flocks (congregations of the people of God), although many times what they steal turns out to really be goats (that is, people who only pretend to believe in God, just as the so-called ministers only pre[1]tend to represent him). That they do not know the light seems to be a contradiction, but the meaning as earlier translated into Old English indicates that they do not have intimate communion with the light, even though they know how to use light to their advantage. All of their lies have a high component of what appears to be truth; otherwise no one would believe them.

24:17 For the morning is to them even as the shadow of death; if they are known, the terrors of the shadow of death come over them.71

71 This verse contains the sixth and seventh references in the book of Job (and overall in Scripture) to the shadow of death.

At first, Job was concerned that he would be pulled into the land of darkness and of the shadow of death (Job 10:21-22). Then he realized that God uncovers the depths of the darkness and brings out to light the shadow of death (Job 12:22). Now Job can see that the morning of God’s light is to the wicked even as the shadow of death. They commit their nefarious deeds under cover of darkness, and if they are discovered and found out by the light, they are known (recognized), and the terrors of the shadow of death come over them.

The wicked may fear the morning as they fear the shadow of death, but Job is starting to see the first faint rays of dawn on his horizon, and it brings him nothing but a sense of relief. Satan, who has been orchestrating Job’s troubles from behind the scenes, is starting to be found out. From a prophetic point of view, the totality of Satan’s antichrist conspiracies has not yet been fully revealed, but we are now at a time when the first faint rays of God’s new day are making our horizon glow. Satan is about to be completely exposed, and when this happens the tables will turn (2 Thessalonians 2:3). Up until now, he has troubled many of God’s people with the shadow of death. Now, however, those same terrors of the shadow of death are about to come over Satan and his sons and all of the wicked. I sense that they are running scared, increasingly aware of the fact that they are out of time.

I find it very interesting that after this intervention from Job, we do not hear another word out of Eliphaz, the Temanite. I think those he represents will find that the terrors of the shadow of death grip them more and more strongly as the morning light of God’s new day intensifies.

Job continues:

24:18 They are swift upon the waters; their portion is cursed in the earth; they never come by the way of the vineyards.

The wicked are swift upon the waters of the sea of lost humanity, and their portion (or inheritance) is cursed in the earth (symbolic of the people of God, that is, Israel and the church).

Why do they never come by way of the vineyards?

In the vineyards of God, Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. These grapes of that vineyard produce the wine of the life of Christ. Satan and his followers may not fear us much, since we are mere branches, but he is deathly afraid of the power and presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. If we are in Christ and if his life flows in and through us to produce the fruit of righteousness, then the Enemy can never come by the way of the vineyards.

24:19 Drought and heat consume the snow waters; so does Sheol consume those who have sinned.

Sheol (the grave) is a real place linked to death and to the abyss or bottomless pit. It also symbolizes the insatiable appetites of the natural man that consume those who have sinned. We know that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), a penalty that was paid by the rich man described in Luke 16. Soon after this man arrived in Hades (Sheol), he was “tormented in this flame” and begged for water to cool his tongue, only to be reminded that “thou in thy lifetime didst receive thy good things.” The “good things” of the natural world are transient, like beautiful snow packs that gradually melt and are consumed in the midst of drought and heat. Sin and death, however, can be ongoing processes.

24:20 The Merciful One shall forget them; the worm shall feed sweetly on them; they shall never be remembered again; and iniquity shall be broken as a tree.72

Who is the Merciful One?

This title is clearly messianic. It is used twice in Scripture, with an additional thirteen references being in the plural.73 The Merciful One himself is a title of Christ, and his merciful ones (who reflect this aspect of his nature) are those who are in covenant with God by sacrifice (Psalm 50:5) and those who are members of the priesthood of all believers (Psalm 132:9, 16). God’s plan from the beginning has been, of course, to have a royal priesthood of all believers with Jesus Christ as our new high priest (Hebrews 6:20; Revelation 5:10). Job is a precursor to this, and God uses him as a priest in the restoration and redemption of his three friends (Job 42:7-9). This is the first mention of the title of Merciful One in the writings of Scripture, with the second being in Psalm 16:10.

Whom shall the Merciful One forget?

The wicked who have gone past the point of no return. Remember that when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin; and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death74 (James 1:15). After the death of such wicked sinners, the worm shall feed sweetly on them and they shall never be remembered again. This is how iniquity shall be broken like a tree that has been so badly damaged it can never recover enough to thrust out new growth.

72 When a whirlwind (or a tornado or a hurricane) comes by, many trees are broken. When God comes on the scene at the end of this book, the first thing that everyone perceives is a whirlwind (Job 38:1).

73 For the LORD loves uprightness and does not forsake his merciful ones; they are preserved for ever, but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off (Psalm 37:28). Jesus said, Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy (Matthew 5:7). Beyond the shadow of a doubt, Job is one of God’s merciful ones.

74 Remember that the death of the natural man is linked to Sheol (or Hades) and that those who remain in Hades will eventually be brought to the final judgment observed by John in which whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire, which is the second death (Revelation 20:11-15)

24:21 He afflicted the barren woman that did not conceive and never did good unto the widow.

He refers to the Wicked One, of course, but who is the barren woman that did not conceive?

Barren wives in Scripture were real women (for example, Abraham’s wife Sarah and Jacob’s wife Rachel) who were afflicted with a real and heartbreaking problem, but they are also symbolic of willing and dedicated people of God who know that they are expected to bear good fruit but who recognize that they are sterile and barren and will never fulfill God’s expectations unless he performs a miracle in them. Satan afflicts and taunts these barren people even while he flatters hypocrites who reproduce carnal proselytes. In order for spiritual sons of God to be born (again), God must perform a miracle of grace.

He never did good unto the widow.

Why is this?

The Wicked One and his followers attempt to take advantage of widows in a literal sense because they do not have a husband to defend or care for them, and therefore they are seen as easy prey.

Matters are a bit complex in the spiritual realm. For example, Paul refers to the earthly realm when he writes that the law has dominion over a man only as long as he lives … [and that] the woman who is subject to a husband is obligated to the law so long as the husband lives; but if the husband dies, she is free from the law of the husband (Romans 7:1-2). However, as individuals, if we follow the footsteps of Jesus along the way of the cross, this will lead to the death of our carnal selves, and we will become dead to sin (Romans 6:2; 1 Peter 2:24).

In spiritual terms, this death will free us from the compulsive bondage to sin and the flesh that coerced and controlled us like a domineering, manipulative husband. God will circumcise such compulsive desires right out of our hearts, and once we are spiritual “widows,” we are free to belong to a new husband, Jesus the Christ. Now we are free from the law of death in which we were held, that we might serve in newness of Spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter (Romans 7:6). Satan hates this, and therefore he will never lift a finger to do good unto the widow because “widows” are free of the earthly lusts that would keep them his prisoner. Instead, they can enter a joyous spiritual union with Jesus.

24:22 He furthered the violent with his power; he did not lend to anyone in his life.

The Wicked One (again, note the singular pronoun “he”) furthered the violent with his power. He aided and abetted those who took the law into their own hands. He did not lend to anyone in his life. Not only does Satan never give anything to mankind, he doesn’t even lend anything to anyone, ever. On the other hand, Jesus freely died for us that we might partake of his life. What a contrast!

24:23 If he gave credit to some to take them over, his eyes were upon their ways.

Even though Satan never lends anyone anything, he does on occasion grant credit to some to take them over. If Satan gives credit, it is at usury, with the goal being to take them over. Anything Satan gives will have serious strings attached. If he invests in anyone, he only does so because his eyes were upon their ways, carefully observing their attitude and their conduct while calculating where to invest his limited resources for the greatest possible return.

24:24 They were exalted for a little while, but are gone and brought low; they are taken out of the way as all others and cut off as the tops of the heads of grain.

If Satan gave credit to some to take them over, flattery would be one of the ways by which he would persuade his victim to accept this “loan,” puffing them up with pride at being selected, but unfortunately, They were exalted for a little while, but are gone and brought low. Those in whom Satan invests will only be exalted for a little while, as their time here upon the earth will soon run out and then they will be virtually useless to him. As soon as they are dead and gone and brought low, awaiting final judgment in Sheol, it is clear that they are taken out of the way as all others and cut off as the tops of the heads of grain.

Those in whom God invests, on the other hand, will likely face humility and adversity and rejection, even in the midst of, or inter[1]twined with, blessing and prosperity. God will search their heart and their kidneys. Their faith will be tried by fire. Among them will be those who, like Job, are able to say that he has known the way that I take; he has tried me, and I have come forth as gold. My feet have held to his steps, I have kept his way, and have not departed (Job 23:10-11). These virtuous ones will enter a glorious future for all eternity, either when they come face to face with God on their death or when Jesus comes back.

24:25 And if it is not so now, who will make me a liar or reduce my speech to nothing?

Job 25

25:1 Then Bildad, the Shuhite, answered, and said,

This is Bildad’s third intervention. It is short and his words seem restrained, yet there are serious issues with what he affirms and what he questions.

25:2 Dominion and fear are with God; he makes peace in his high places.

It appears that Bildad is still not clear about the magnitude of the problem that Satan is causing and the extent of his infiltration, usurpation, and dominion upon the earth. Bildad thinks God makes peace in his high places, and while ultimately this will be true, meanwhile a huge conflict rages not only on earth but in heaven. The confrontation between God and Satan that triggered most of the events recorded in this book took place on high and continues.

Bildad glibly declares, Dominion and fear are with God, and therefore he makes peace in his high places. He seems to understand that God is sovereign, but he does not realize how God uses his power and dominion, and it is this lack of comprehension that created the fundamental flaw in his reasoning that seriously marred his two previous interventions. By immediately applying dominion and fear, God could simply overwhelm those who disagree with him, but he chooses not to do so. He is slow to anger and measured in his response. Having created us (and the angels) with free will, he allows the consequences to play out so that everyone in heaven and earth will not only fear him but will realize he is truly good and just and righteous. The peace he provides, which passes understanding, does not come from the arbitrary use of brute force.

25:3 Is there any number to his armies? And upon whom does his light not arise?

Like Bildad, many people seem to think there must be no limit to the armies of Almighty God, and indeed, there is no reason to think he cannot create as many angels and other creatures as he wishes. However, his goal is not simply to spawn a huge fighting force. God desires for those who are in his armies to love him and follow his orders out of profound respect and admiration (this is the true “fear of the Lord” that he seeks). He does not want to compel their obedience through horror or terror.75

75 We know that although most of the heavenly hosts appear to have sided with God, a significant portion sided with Satan. However, there are some hints in Scripture which suggest that throughout history, some of them may have still been making up their minds. When God sent a special envoy to answer the words of Daniel, the messenger said, I am come because of thy words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days: and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me (Daniel 10:12-13). Remarkably, it took a twenty-one day battle, which was only settled through Michael’s intervention, just for God to send Daniel an answer.

Bildad also wants to know, And upon whom does his light not arise?

The answer is that the entire kingdom of Satan is in spiritual darkness, and those who live in or under that kingdom walk in that darkness; likewise, anyone who hates his brother is in darkness (1 John 2:9-11). Of course the natural light of the sun shines upon the righteous and upon the unrighteous, but spiritual light is a different matter. Jesus wrote to the angel of the congregation of Ephesus, Remember, therefore, from where thou art fallen and repent and do the first works, or else I will come and remove thy lampstand out of its place, except thou repent (Revelation 2:5).

25:4 How then can man be justified with God? Or how can he that is born of a woman be clean?76

The word “justified” is used eight times in the book of Job. The first usage in Scripture is when Job responded to Bildad’s first intervention with the words I know it is so of a truth, but how shall a man be justified with God? (Job 9:2)77 Now Bildad asks the very same question.

How then can man be justified78 with God?

People have struggled with this question throughout the ages. David, for example, pleaded with God to enter not into judgment with thy slave; for in thy sight shall no man living be justified (Psalm 143:2). If justification with God is so difficult – or even (in David’s view) impossible – to achieve, we must first understand what it is. The New Testament links justification to grace and faith.79 Paul sums it up: he that is dead is justified from sin. In order to be fully justified we must not only be born again by the Spirit of God, but the “old man” with its affinity for sin must die, crucified with Christ (Romans 6:1-11).

76 The only clean person ever born of a woman is Jesus Christ, and we can be clean if we are in him.

77 Later, in response to Zophar, who had sneered, Should a man full of talk be justified? (Job 11:2), Job declared, Behold now, if I draw near unto the judgment; I know that I shall be justified (Job 13:18). Eliphaz’s take on the subject was, What is man that he should be clean and that he that is born of a woman should be justified? (Job 15:14).

78 The root word, “justify,” in its different forms occurs seventy times in Scripture (a major theme).

79 … being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Jesus, the Christ, whom God purposed for reconciliation through faith in his blood for the manifestation of his righteousness, for the remission of sins that are past, by the patience of God, manifesting in this time his righteousness that he only be the just one and the justifier of him that is of the faith of Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? No, but by the law of faith. Therefore, we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. (Romans 3:24-28).

Justification is an important legal requirement for salvation, which is why death was able to hold hostage in Sheol the unjustified souls of virtually everyone who had departed this life (even those considered to be righteous, like Abraham) until Jesus himself died and went down and overcame death and – led captivity captive (Ephesians 4:8-10; Acts 2:25-31). Jesus holds the keys to death and to Sheol (Revelation 1:18) and we are justified in his blood, reconciled to God by his death, and shall be saved by his life (Romans 5:9-10).

Various scriptural figures stress different aspects of justification at different times. Isaiah, for instance, ties the justification of all the generation of Israel to the coming of the messiah.80 James, on the other hand, links justification to works of faith that only God can inspire us to do, as we trust in him (James 2:20-26).81 However, Jesus tells us, But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned (Matthew 12:36-37). In this sense, God justified Job when he said to Eliphaz, My wrath has been kindled against thee, and against thy two friends; for ye have not spoken by me in uprightness, as my slave Job has (Job 42:7). Note that God’s judgment was based on what each one of them had said. In other words, God confirmed that Job really spoke by him (by the Spirit) in uprightness while the others had not.

80 And unto me he [God] shall say, Surely in the LORD is the righteousness and the strength; until he shall come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed. In the LORD shall all the generation of Israel be justified and shall glory. (Isaiah 45:24-25)

81 … being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Jesus, the Christ, whom God purposed for reconciliation through faith in his blood for the manifestation of his righteousness, for the remission of sins that are past, by the patience of God, manifesting in this time his righteousness that he only be the just one and the justifier of him that is of the faith of Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? No, but by the law of faith. Therefore, we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. (Romans 3:24-28)

Bildad also wants to know:

How can he that is born of a woman be clean?

The answer is that he that is born of a woman can never be clean unless he is born again from above by the Spirit of God. This is why Jesus told Nicodemus, who sneaked over by night to see him, Except a person be born again from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:1-3). Bildad was haunted by this question because he was still in the dark; like Nicodemus, he had not been born again spiritually into the light.

25:5 Behold, even the moon shall not shine, neither are the stars pure in his sight.

According to the creation account, God declared, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for appointed times and for days and years (Genesis 1:14). The Jewish calendar of the Bible is lunar based, with each new month starting on a new moon.

As he begins to make the case for the hopeless corruption and depravity of man, Bildad announces, Behold, even the moon shall not shine. He knows this to be true because the moon goes through a predictable twenty-nine-and-a-half-day cycle of waxing to a full moon and then waning to nothing. God designed it that way as part of his program for signs and for appointed times and for days and years.

On the spiritual side, however, the fact that the moon has a cycle of about the same duration as the menstrual cycle of most women has caused some to consider the moon to be a symbol of the people of God under law. In prophetic language, the congregation or people of God are frequently portrayed as a woman. Those under law instead of grace will always wax and wane and go from one extreme to the other. At the time of the end, the sun of this world will become black as sackcloth of hair and the moon as blood (Revelation 6:12) because keeping the law (or doing our own good works) will not be able to save anyone (Romans 3:10, 20). Salvation, like justification, is inextricably linked to grace and faith. In the new creation, however, the light of the sun and the moon will be different.82

82 Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold as the light of seven days, in the day that the LORD binds up the breach of his people and heals the stroke of their wound. (Isaiah 30:26).

Neither are the stars pure in his sight.

The stars symbolize the heavenly hosts and also the spiritual descendants of Abraham by faith. Approximately one third of the heavenly angelic hosts seem to have joined Satan and thus are no longer pure (Revelation 12:3-4).

25:6 How much less man, who is as a worm, and the son of man, who is also a worm?

A worm is symbolic of corruption. If the son of man (human offspring) is also a worm, this indicates that man can only reproduce corruption and can never be clean. Bildad apparently has not observed the wonderful process of metamorphosis in which a lowly, drab, earth-bound worm or caterpillar is transformed into a glorious, colorful butterfly that can overcome gravity and fly.

It is clear that Bildad knows little or nothing about the prophecies regarding the Lord Jesus Christ (but he could obviously benefit greatly if he were more willing to hear and receive God’s prophet, Job – which fortunately he did in the end after God intervened). Bildad is completely unaware that Jesus (in his pre-incarnate, incarnate, and post-incarnate forms) is the light of the world and the supreme commander of the heavenly armies; similarly, he does not know that Jesus will be born of a woman as a man, delivered for our offenses, and raised again for our justification (Romans 4:25), and that he will never see corruption.

Let us pray

Lord, we thank you for this message, and we ask that we may always walk in your light. We ask for discernment so we will not invert or confuse things with our human reasoning. May we receive your word by faith, and may you infuse in us such love of the truth that we may follow in your footsteps wherever you lead until we are completely transformed. Amen.

Chap 13. The Fleeing Serpent.

This is the first part of Job’s ninth and final discourse. It is his response to the third and last intervention of Bildad, the Shuhite, who is still hung up on the question of whether man can be justified before God. Bildad does not seem to think so. In his estimation, it is impossible for any man born of a woman to be clean and free from corruption. This continues to be the position of many today who do not think that spiritual victory over sin is attainable here and now, although a significant number of such people dogmatically believe, like Eliphaz, that virtually unlimited earthly prosperity is well within our grasp if we will only follow their advice.

Job 26

26:1 Job answered and said,

26:2 How hast thou helped the one who has no power? Hast thou saved with thy arm the one who has no strength?

If the one who has no power is Job, then Bildad has done nothing concrete to help him. Bildad and his friends have touted themselves as being prosperous and powerful, yet they have not used any of their might to help the one who has no strength.

26:3 How hast thou counselled the one that has no wisdom? and how hast thou plentifully declared the thing as it is?

According to these friends, Job is also the one that has no wisdom and is thus in need of their counsel, since they are older and wiser than he. So far, however, this “counsel” has consisted of vain and repeated attempts to condemn Job and load him with guilt. Then how has Bildad plentifully declared the thing as it is? Far from seeing things as they really are, and without consulting and hearing from God, Bildad has been spiritually blinded by the “correct” doctrine he has learned by rote. How many counselors, spiritual directors, or psychologists are wearing spiritual blinders today?

26:4 To whom hast thou uttered words, and whose is the spirit that comes forth from thee?

26:5 Dead things are formed under the waters and of its dwelling places.

Has Bildad uttered words directed only to Job, or have his words also offended God and all of God’s merciful ones? Bildad needs to carefully consider whose spirit is coming forth from him, because it is definitely not the Spirit of God.

The waters of condemnation and guilt in which Bildad has attempted to half-drown Job are where dead things are formed. Sheol (the abyss) is one of the dwelling places under these waters that collect dead things. When dead things are formed under the waters, it is a sign that the waters are contaminated. The word that Bildad and his friends have ministered to Job is likewise contaminated. It does not bring life because it is coming forth from an unclean spirit.

26:6 Sheol is naked before him, and hell83 has no covering.

83 This is the first use of the word “hell” in the Jubilee Bible translation. There are only six instances in the Old Testament and twelve in the New Testament, for a total of eighteen.

Sheol is linked to the first death, and it is naked before him in that it has no secrets from God, even though at the time, the power of death dominated.

Hell (the lake of fire) is the second death, and if anyone is cast into hell, no covering is available. Judgment will be irreversible and eternal. After Hades (Sheol) and death deliver up their dead for final judgment, Hades and death were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:13-15).

26:7 He stretches out the north wind over the empty place and hangs the earth upon nothing.

“He” refers to God, and the cold north wind is a symbol of adversity and judgment.84 The empty place is the realm of vanity (or nothingness). God hangs the earth upon nothing, for there is nothing earthly that has value in his eyes. Those who seek temporal prosperity will find, in the end, that they have gained nothing of eternal worth.

26:8 He binds up the waters in his thick clouds; and the cloud is not rent under them.

God binds up the waters in his thick clouds. The waters have to do with his blessing, which he will release only at the proper time and only unto those who keep his commandments.85 The waters may also contain his judgments (reward upon the righteous and destruction upon the wicked).

84 Eliphaz (“to whom God is dispenser”) set up his sons as dukes, each with their own kingdom (Genesis 36:15). His eldest son was duke Teman (“south wind” or “to the right hand”). The family sought to use God to get what they wanted, which was the “south wind” of earthly prosperity and authority. To a great extent, God has allowed the kingdoms of this world to run their course, knowing they will attain nothing of true and eternal value. Satan has prospered these kingdoms, which are not a threat to him, and he has even furthered the violent with his power. At the same time, he has instigated much of the adversity and persecution faced by the true people of God. However, at the time of the end, God will stretch out the north wind over the empty place and place the kingdoms of this world in great tribulation.

85 And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day: to love the LORD your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul that I will give you the rain of your land in its due season, the early rain and the latter rain, and thou shalt gather in thy grain and thy wine and thine oil. (Deuteronomy 11:13-14).

26:9 He holds back the face of his throne and spreads his cloud upon it.

Trying to find the face of his throne has been a frustrating experience for Job. Entrance into the realm of God’s throne, later defined as the realm represented by the holy of holies behind the veil, is by invitation only. If we attempt to enter there in our own life, we will be overwhelmed and destroyed by the direct presence of God. For our protection, therefore, he holds back the face of his throne and spreads his cloud (as a veil) upon it. One of the reasons it took so long for Job to be able to come into the direct presence of God may have been that God wanted to make sure every carnal desire of Job was completely dead, so Job would survive the encounter.

If, however, we are hidden in the life of Jesus Christ, everything changes. Having, therefore, a great high priest who penetrated the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast this profession of our hope. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us, therefore, come boldly unto the throne of his grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:14-16).

26:10 He has compassed the waters with bounds until the end of light and darkness.

After the flood, God made this promise to Noah: While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease (Genesis 8:22). God also made a covenant with every living thing that he would never again destroy the earth with a flood, and he set his rainbow in the clouds as a sign of that covenant (Genesis 9:8-17). Since that time, the rainbow has been associated with the throne of God.86

86 Sadly, however, in modern times this symbol has been hijacked and perverted. How long will God allow this?

26:11 The pillars of heaven tremble and are astonished at his reproof.

This seems to be the only reference in Scripture to the pillars of heaven. There are at least three references, however, to the fact that at the second coming of Jesus Christ, the heavens and the earth will shake (Joel 3:16; Haggai 2:6-7, 21-22).

26:12 He divides the sea with his power, and by his intelligence he smites its pride.

In the third day of creation, God used his power to divide the sea from the dry land. Later, after the flood, upon observing that the sea of humanity had become unruly at the Tower of Babel, God divided the sea of humanity when he confounded the language of all the earth (Genesis 11:9).

When driven by strong winds, the sea has such tremendous power that it can obliterate a shoreline and destroy countless ships in a matter of minutes, but when he chooses, God smites its pride by stilling the waves with equal swiftness (see Psalm 89:9, Matthew 8:26).

26:13 By his spirit he has adorned the heavens; his hand has formed the fleeing serpent.

The fleeing serpent is elsewhere referred to as “leviathan” (Isaiah 27:1). Satan, the serpent of old (Revelation 12:9; 20:2), is a created being, formed by the hand of God. I find it interesting that Job would have a revelation here about the fleeing serpent. The book of James contains a passage that sheds more light on this: God resists the proud, but gives grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves, therefore, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you (James 4:6-8, emphasis added).

Have you noticed that as he becomes greatly humbled, Job becomes less centered on himself and on his loss and predicament? He is prepared to accept the will of God even if it kills him (and it almost has). Having been tried and come forth as gold, Job is now getting clear revelation from God and uses this to resist the devil. He has been shining the light of the truth on Satan to identify him and counter his lies.

Satan is now recognized and exposed. Could it be that he has been defeated and now flees from Job?87 The tribulation to which Satan subjected Job has served to draw Job closer and closer to God and to turn the tables on Satan. God likewise draws closer and closer to Job, and soon God will reveal himself to him. In all of my own trials and troubles, I have certainly found this pattern to hold true.

87 Satan is being forced to retreat. Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar have nothing left to say against Job, but Satan is not quite finished. Before this is over, he will launch one final battle.

26:14 Behold, these are parts of his ways; but how little a portion have we heard of him? For the thunder of his power, who shall understand?

This is the end of the first twenty-six chapters of the Bible in terms of when they were written. Over the next eighteen hundred or so years, the remaining 1,163 chapters about God and his ways will follow. What we have studied up to now reveals parts of his ways. Then Job throws a question out to Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar, and anyone else who might be listening: but how little a portion have we heard of him? It’s as great a question now as it was then.

According to Jesus, we really will not learn much about God and his ways unless we have “ears to hear.” Jesus spoke to the multitudes in parables: true natural stories with a spiritual meaning that those who did not have spiritual “ears to hear” could not understand. In fact, Scripture states that Jesus spoke all these things unto the multitude in parables and said nothing unto them without parables (Matthew 13:34).

But not everyone hearkens unto the gospel. For Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed our report? So then faith comes by hearing, and the ear to hear by the word of God. (Romans 10:16-17)

Job 27

27:1 Moreover, Job continued his parable and said,

This is the first chronological use of the word “parable” in Scripture. The statement right here in the text that Job continued his parable confirms that what he says has both a natural meaning and a spiritual interpretation. Please do not misunderstand me: Scripture is true. God inspires it all, and he does not lie. Both the natural and the spiritual components of a scriptural parable must therefore be true. This story, or living parable, of Job really happened (and God and Satan and Job and Eliphaz and Bildad and Zophar really spoke all of the words recorded here), but we need “ears to hear” and “eyes to see” in order to understand and perceive its spiritual and prophetic meaning from God’s perspective.

Let us pray

Heavenly Father, we ask that we might have spiritual ears to hear what the Holy Spirit would say to us through the living parable of Job. We ask that you might speak directly to each one of us. May you build our faith as we hear from you. May we humble ourselves and submit to your mighty hand so that we may resist the devil until he flees from us. We ask this in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Chap 14. The Innocent Shall Divide the Silver.

What follows is the second part of Job’s ninth and final discourse:

Job 27

27:1 Moreover, Job continued his parable and said,

27:2 As God lives, who has taken away my rights; and the Almighty, who has made my soul88 bitter,

27:3 that all the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils,

27:4 my lips shall not speak iniquity, nor my tongue utter deceit.

88 Remember that in Hebrew, “soul” is essentially the same word as “life.” It is not until we get into the Greek of the New Testament that these concepts are represented by different words, similar to the distinction we make in English between body, soul, and spirit.

When we belong completely to God, all of our rights likewise belong to him. This being the case, we must acknowledge that it was God who decided to embark Job on the way of the cross (which is a bitter path to walk). Yet even though his soul is bitter, Job confesses that the spirit of God is in my nostrils.

27:5 In no wise should I justify you; until I die I will not remove my integrity from me.

27:6 I hold fast to my righteousness and will not let it go; my heart shall not reproach me so long as I live.

In order to agree with Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, Job would have to excise his integrity, abandon his righteousness, and come under the reproach of his heart (or conscience). For Job, therefore, agreeing with his friends is not an option.

27:7 Let my enemy be as the wicked and my adversary as the unrighteous.

Even though Job says God has taken away my rights, he sees that God is not his enemy. The wicked are Job’s enemies and the unrighteous are his adversaries. This is an interesting distinction. Satan is definitely Job’s number one enemy, but Job seems to consider Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar as his unrighteous adversaries.

27:8 For what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he has stolen much, when God takes away his soul?

Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar are hypocrites who have stolen Job’s reputation and who knows what else. Where will their hope be if God takes away their soul?

27:9 Will God hear his cry when the tribulation comes upon him?

Physical death is inevitable, but the events and situations that precede it have been, and continue to be, tribulation for those who have led hypocritical lives. Indeed, our present age is prophesied to end in great tribulation for the hypocrite. He can cry out, but will God hear his cry?

27:10 Will he delight himself in the Almighty? Will he always call upon God?

The person who consistently puts God first will delight himself in the Almighty. In prosperity and in adversity, he will always call upon God. Satan, however, did not believe that this would be the case with Job.

27:11 I will teach you what there is in the hand of God; I will not conceal that which is regarding the Almighty.

27:12 Behold, all ye yourselves have seen it; why then are ye so completely vain?

God may decide it is best for those who belong to him, and whom he loves and prospers, to take away their rights and send them along the way of the cross. After all, he did not even spare his only begotten Son from walking this path. Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar have seen it happen in Job’s life, yet they remain so completely vain.

27:13 This is the portion of a wicked man with God and the heritage of the violent, which they shall receive of the Almighty.

Those who are utterly vain are never far from being wicked and violent, for they cannot tolerate any challenge to their image of themselves. This is a warning from the Old Testament that still applies to us today. Some may deny its relevance, but they are as mistaken as Job’s three friends. For it is time that the judgment begins from the house of God; and if it first begins with us, what shall the end be of those that do not obey the gospel of God? And if the righteous are saved with difficulty, where shall the unfaithful and the sinner appear? Therefore, let those that are afflicted according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls unto him as unto a faithful Creator, doing good (1 Peter 4:17-19).

Job committed the keeping of his soul unto God even when he couldn’t understand why he was afflicted. Although his mind may have been confused in the midst of the battle, he always knew at the bottom of his heart that God was a faithful Creator, doing good, a fact that became clearer and clearer to him as he responded to his friends’ lectures. If all of this affliction (which was specifically designed by Satan to ensure Job’s ruin and make him turn his back on God, as well as to embarrass and delegitimize God) was visited on righteous, faithful Job according to the will of God, what will happen to the vain, unfaithful hypocrites heading down the path that leads to wickedness and violence?

27:14 If their sons are multiplied, it is for the sword; and his offspring shall not be satisfied with bread.

27:15 Those that remain of him shall be buried in death; and their widows shall not weep.

Those who are “in” with the devil will not inherit the earth. If their sons are multiplied it is for the sword. His [Satan’s] offspring shall not be satisfied with bread. Jesus tells us, Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied (Matthew 5:6). The bread of unrighteousness, however, will never satisfy. Those that remain of him will be buried in death. In fact, this is what will happen to Satan himself, along with all his ministers (Isaiah 14:4-23). Their widows (symbolizing entire congregations they have enslaved) shall not weep because they will be so glad to be free of them.89

27:16 Though he heaps up silver as the dust and prepares raiment as the clay,

27:17 he may prepare it, but the just shall put it on, and the innocent shall divide the silver.

89 Some of these “widows” may be like the beautiful Abigail, who was unhappily married to a wealthy despot named Nabal. After her husband refused to help David (who was fleeing from Saul in the wilderness), the Lord smote Nabal and he died. Then King David sent for Abigail and married her (1 Samuel 25:2-42)

Silver is a symbol of redemption, and mortal man is likened to clay. God formed man from the dust of the ground (Genesis 2:7). The silver (currency of redemption) that Satan heaps up is as the dust (humanistic and corruptible). The raiment (covering) that he prepares is as the clay, since he can only fill positions of authority or covering on earth with mortal men and women, who are temporal.

On top of this, whatever Satan has prepared, the just shall put it on. When God gave the children of Israel the promised land, for example, they came into possession of houses they had not built, wells they had not dug, and vineyards they had not planted. Likewise, King David captured the gold and silver and resources of the pagans from the entire region and set them all aside to build the temple. And in the spiritual realm, the children of God are “living stones” that will form his eternal temple.

Who are the innocent, and how will they divide the silver? We know Jesus was innocent even though Satan had him falsely accused and crucified. Those who are redeemed by Jesus are declared innocent, because if they have died to their own way, their lives are hidden in his and they are justified. God’s innocent, merciful ones form his royal priesthood, ministering life and redemption (“silver”) to lost humanity. For example, in the end, God will use innocent Job to minister life and redemption (symbolized by silver) to the self-righteous Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar.

27:18 He built his house as a moth and as a booth that the keeper makes.

Satan’s house is corrupt, flimsy, and temporal.

27:19 The rich man shall lie down, but he shall not be gathered; he shall open his eyes and not see anyone.

Up until Jesus’ death, when the righteous died, even though they went to Sheol (Hades), they were gathered to their people (Genesis 25:8). There were two compartments in Sheol, with a great gulf in between. Lazarus, who had been a beggar on earth, was gathered into the arms of Abraham in one compartment, and the rich man was on the other side of the gulf from them in torment (Luke 16:22-26). The rich man could see Lazarus and Abraham, and it was possible to have a conversation from one side to the other but it was impossible for Abraham to send Lazarus over to the opposite side to minister to the rich man who remained entirely focused on himself.

Right now, Satan and his ministers proudly think they are rich, but they will learn differently.90

90 Jesus did not think highly of the rich, saying instead, Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of the heavens (Matthew 5:3).

27:20 Terrors shall take hold on him as waters; a whirlwind shall carry him away in the night.

27:21 The east wind shall take him away, and he shall depart; the storm shall catch him up out of his place.

Satan tried everything to overcome Job with terrors, and he has been attempting the same thing against God’s representatives for almost six thousand years. Soon, however, he and his people and his kingdom will receive a double dose of their own medicine (Revelation 18:6) and he will be on the receiving end of terror. A whirlwind is a symbol of the judgments of God.

The east wind brings in God’s kingdom of everlasting righteousness, and it shall take him (Satan, as was the case with the rich man) away, and he shall depart. The storm of great tribulation upon him and upon his kingdom shall catch him up out of his place (see Ezekiel 39:4-5; Daniel 11:40-45).

27:22 For God shall cast down on him and not spare; he would attempt to flee out of his hand.

Satan will not only be thrown out of his kingdom, but God shall cast down on him and not spare. Satan will attempt to flee from God’s hand, but he will not succeed. The apostle John tells us: And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, the serpent of old, which is the Devil and Satan and bound him a thousand years and cast him into the bottomless pit and shut him up and set a seal upon it, that he should deceive the Gentiles no more (Revelation 20:1-3).

The bottomless pit is another name for the abyss (which is Sheol in Hebrew, Hades in Greek).

27:23 Men shall clap their hands at him, and from his place they shall hiss at him.

When men see that Satan cannot escape God, they will applaud, and those who are from his place (that is, the rest of the souls in Hades awaiting final judgment) shall hiss at him. His arrival down in the bottomless pit will evidently cause quite a stir: Sheol from beneath is aghast at thee; it stirs up the dead to meet thee at thy coming; it has raised up from their thrones all the princes of the earth, all the kings of the Gentiles. They all shall shout and say unto thee, Art thou also become sick as we? Art thou become like unto us? Thy pride is brought down to Sheol, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee (Isaiah 14:9-11).

Worms, of course, are a sign of physical corruption and a symbol of spiritual corruption. When Satan is brought down, it will be demonstrated that he is corrupt in every conceivable way. And once he is locked up, things will be different in his former kingdom: The whole earth is at rest and is quiet; they sing praises (Isaiah 14:7).

Let us pray

Heavenly Father, we ask that you may hasten the day when the whole earth is at rest, and the only sound that breaks the quiet is the music of everyone singing your praises. We ask this in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Chap 15. The Place of Understanding.

This is the third part of Job’s ninth and final discourse.

Job 28

28:1 Surely there is a mine for the silver, and a place for gold where they refine it.

Silver comes from a mine, that is, a source that is hidden under[1]ground, and many of those who trust in money (silver) obtained at least the basis of their fortune by illicit means. On the other hand, prior to the advent of Jesus Christ, the origin of our redemption (which is also symbolized by silver) was not all that easy to trace. As we have seen, it was questionable if man could even be justified before God. Souls (including those of the righteous) rapidly accumulated in Sheol, waiting to find out. Surely there is a mine for the silver, but almost no one knew the exact location. There is also a place for gold where they refine it. Lately Job has been finding out exactly where that place is, as he has been tried in the fire and has come forth as gold.

28:2 Iron is taken out of the dust, and bronze is melted out of the stone.

Iron, symbolic of the law or commandments of God, is taken out of the dust. God formed man from the dust of the earth, and it is God’s purpose to place his law in our souls and in our hearts (Jeremiah 31:33). He wants his law inside of us so we can embody the integrity that is necessary to minister his life. David wrote, Thy spoken word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee (Psalm 119:11).

Bronze, a symbol of judgment, is melted out of the stone. God set the Ten Commandments in stone because the children of Israel refused to listen to his voice (Exodus 20:19; Deuteronomy 5:25). These laws set in stone are not for the righteous but for the unrighteous (1 Timothy 1:9), and on the day of judgment, God will melt the “bronze” of his judgment out of the stone and apply it to the unrighteous as necessary.

28:3 He set a border unto the darkness, and unto every perfect work that he made, he placed a stone of darkness and shadow of death.91

91 This is the eighth reference in the book of Job, and in chronological Scripture, to the shadow of death.

God set a border unto the darkness from the first day of creation (Genesis 1:4). He created man with free will, enabling him to choose between light or darkness, but he also set some boundaries. What is a stone of darkness? It is a boundary marker, and anyone who goes past the stone of darkness walks into the shadow of death. The first instance of this took place when God, having finished his work which he had created in perfection (Genesis 2:3), told Adam, Of every tree in the garden thou may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and of evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou dost eat of it thou shalt surely die (Genesis 2:16-17). In spite of being given a very clear warning and an equally clear penalty, Adam chose to pass the boundary marker, and the consequences of that choice will continue until the judgment day, after which there shall be new heavens and a new earth (Revelation 20:11-21:1).

There were also many literal stone markers or landmarks in ancient times, of course, and as Job already noted, Some remove the landmarks; they violently take away flocks and feed thereof. Fifteen verses later, he linked this type of behavior with the shadow of death (Job 24:2, 17).

28:4 The river breaks forth next to the inhabitant; even the waters forgotten of the foot, that were higher than man, are gone away.

The translation of this verse does not work well in English, but I believe the meaning has to do with the fact that in the beginning, a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it was divided into four heads … (Genesis 2:10). The water of provision and blessing flowed out of a single source (God), and then it split into four heads and so on in order to water the entire garden of Eden, so that the river breaks forth next to the inhabitant.

When things are done God’s way and the river flows from his throne, the needs of every individual in his kingdom are met. However, since the fall, the streams flow into the rivers, and the water becomes more and more centralized until it forms one huge river, swollen and contaminated by the humanistic streams elevating man, rushing to dump its murky contents into the sea. Therefore the waters … that were higher than man, are gone away.

What are the waters forgotten of the foot?

This phrase could have been translated as waters without feet, and I think it refers to the word of God that used to flow in the beginning but never got “walked out” in practice. Just before describing how a river went out of Eden, Scripture states: And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is desirable to the sight and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden and the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:9). If only Adam and Eve had focused on the tree of life and ignored the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, mankind could have walked in the waters of unimaginable blessings. Instead, the blessings represented by these waters have been untouched by human feet. But when the river of God is restored, then every thing shall live that shall enter into this river (Ezekiel 47:9), and on either side of the river was the tree of life (Revelation 22:2).92

92 See: The River of God, Russell Stendal, Ransom Press International, Hollywood, FL.

28:5 Land out of which bread comes forth, and underneath it shall be as if it were converted in fire.

God will restore the land out of which bread comes forth. This “land” is really us, his people, and underneath, deep within us, our hearts will burn with the love and the nature of God as if they have been converted in fire.

28:6 A place where its stones shall be sapphires; and it shall have dust of gold.

The sapphire is a precious stone that is usually a clear, deep blue (although it can come in other colors), a color that represents integrity and symbolizes the priesthood. A place where its stones shall be sapphires; and it shall have dust of gold sounds like a royal priesthood (blue and gold, of course, are the colors of Israel). The sapphire is also associated with the throne of God.93

93 And above the heaven that was over their heads was the figure of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the figure of the throne was a likeness as the appearance of a man seated upon it. And I saw something that looked like the colour of amber, that appeared to have fire round about within it, which could be seen from his loins upward; and from his loins downward, I saw what looked like fire, and it had brightness round about that looked like the bow of heaven that is in the clouds in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the vision of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. (Ezekiel 1:26-28).

28:7 A path which no fowl knows and which the vulture’s eye has never seen;

The fowl of the air are symbolic of angelic beings of the heavenly realm. In fact, in several Scriptures the cherubim are depicted as having either four or six wings and four faces, one of which is the face of an eagle (Ezekiel 1:10; 10:14). As for the vulture, it is similar to the eagle except that it only feeds on carrion, whereas eagles like to kill what they eat, or at least eat something that is not long dead. After the fall, Satan and his angels seem to have transitioned into the vulture category.

God takes mortal men and women like Job and us down a path which no fowl knows (not even the faithful angels know the path where God takes us) and which the vulture’s eye has never seen. Satan knows absolutely nothing of the way of the cross and where it really leads. These are things the angels desire to look into (1 Peter 1:10-12).

28:8 the young of the proud have not trodden it, nor has the fierce lion passed by it.

The proud young offspring of Satan have not trodden this path, and Satan has not passed by it. Satan was a powerful cherub94 when he fell (Ezekiel 28:14-16), and cherubim are described as having four faces, with one of these being the face of a lion (Ezekiel 10:14; 41:18-19). In the New Testament, Satan is described as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8).

28:9 He put his hand upon the flint and overturned the mountains from the root.

Flint is a rock that is symbolic of Christ, the Messiah. There are only eight references to flint in Scripture (this is the first chronological reference and the fourth sequential reference). Flint can cut like a knife and is linked to water, oil, judgment, and courage.

When God put his hand on Christ, he overturned the mountains from the root. God dealt with the root cause of human rebellion and failure, and he overturned the kingdoms of Satan and of man from the root.

28:10 He cut rivers out of the rocks;95 and his eye saw every precious thing.

28:11 He detained the rivers in their source and caused that which was hid to be brought to light.

94 Cherubim is the plural of cherub.

95 This is the third reference to the rocks in the book of Job.

The term the rocks is used twenty-two times in Scripture. It symbolizes the supposed wisdom of the patriarchs (into which Satan undoubtedly injected some toxic substance). God cut rivers out of the rocks by writing the Scriptures, starting with the book of Job, and he used the Word of God to demolish Satan’s lies.

Once the rocks were split apart and rent (1 Kings 19:11; Matthew 27:51), his eye saw every precious thing that had been hidden inside them. The “rivers” of his mighty Word could then wash the “gold” and “sapphires” of verse 6 (that is, the royal priesthood) out of their hidden places (where their value was overshadowed by the accepted wisdom of the patriarchs) and onto the “beaches,” where they could be sorted out and separated and used for God’s purposes. In this, Job was a living parable or prototype of what would happen later with Jesus Christ.

Then God detained the rivers in their source. What is their source? The source of rivers in the natural world is found in the hills and mountains. When God detains the rivers of humanism in their source, the mountains quake at him, and the hills melt. Then the private kingdoms of man, controlled by Satan, are undone, causing that which was hid to be brought to light.

There is a relevant prophecy in the book of Nahum:

God is jealous, and the LORD avenges; the LORD avenges and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserves wrath for his enemies. The LORD is slow to anger and great in power and will not at all treat the guilty as though they were innocent; the LORD whose way is in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. He reprehends the sea and makes it dry and dries up all the rivers; Bashan was destroyed, and Carmel; and the flower of Lebanon was destroyed. The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, and the world and all that dwell therein. Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him. (Nahum 1:2-6, emphasis added)

And consider what transpired when Jesus died and gave the spirit:

But Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, gave the spirit. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in two from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who slept arose and came out of the graves after his resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared unto many. (Matthew 27:50-53, emphasis added)

That happened when Jesus overcame death.

When Satan glibly asked God to remove his hedge of protection around Job, he walked right into a fatal trap. Little did Satan know that the book of Job would serve as the foundation of virtually all the key doctrines of the Holy Scriptures, not only revealing Satan’s lies but exposing him and his followers for what they are, while encouraging countless millions of God’s followers through the ages to stand fast and be faithful in the midst of Satan’s unjust attacks. All these results hinged on Job passing the test and remaining faithful to God, but God would never have agreed to the wager if he had not been confident that he could rely on Job. God took this risk because he knew Job’s heart, because he knew that Job was dominated by God’s heart.

Job continues with his prophetic parable:

Job 28

28:12 But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding?

28:13 Man never knew its price; neither is it found in the land of the living.96

28:14 The deep saith, It is not in me; and the sea saith, It is not with me.

96 The land of the living (used fifteen times in Scripture) is another phrase from the book of Job that has been incorporated into the heritage of the English language.

Wisdom is found by following the way of the cross.

Jesus put it like this: For whosoever desires to save his life shall lose it, and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it (Matthew 16:25; also see Mark 8:35).

This is wisdom. This is the way to the place of understanding.

28:15 It cannot be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weighed for its price.

28:16 It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx or the sapphire.

28:17 Gold cannot equal it, nor can diamond; neither shall it be exchanged for vessels of fine gold.97

28:18 No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls; for wisdom is better than precious stones.

28:19 The emerald of Ethiopia shall not equal it, neither shall it be valued with pure gold.

97 Even if we are vessels of fine gold, we are still only empty vessels and will not have wisdom unless God fills us with his Spirit.

Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar seemed to think that if a person had an abundance of earthly riches, it was infallible proof that they were wise. Jesus, however, had a different perspective: For what is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matthew 16:26; see also Mark 8:36-37).

28:20 Where then does wisdom come from? And where is the place of understanding?

28:21 Seeing it is hid from the eyes of all living and kept concealed from every fowl of the heaven.

God kept his wisdom carefully concealed for over four thousand years. Not even the angels knew that he planned to implement John 3:16. If God’s wisdom had been revealed too soon, Satan would not have fallen into the trap of blindly expending his energy on killing Jesus. God has chosen to manifest his wisdom through people like Job and like us. This is why, when God decided to extend the gospel to the Gentiles and pour out his Spirit upon them, he sent an angel to the house of Cornelius to get their attention, but he had the angel tell them to send for Peter.

Paul wrote:

Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of the Christ and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the ages has been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ. To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the congregation [of people of God like us] the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Ephesians 3:8-11)

Job continues:

28:22 Hell and death say, We have heard its fame with our ears.

28:23 God understands its way, and he alone knows its place.

God understands the way of wisdom leading to the place of understanding. “Hell” and “death” have heard testimonies, but God alone knows its place, and we will find it only if we allow him to order our steps unconditionally.

28:24 For he looks unto the ends of the earth98 and sees under the whole heaven,

28:25 To make a weight for the wind and to supply water by measure,

28:26 when he made a law for the rain, and a way for the lightning of the thunders.

98 The phrase the ends of the earth is used three times in the book of Job: once here by Job, once by Elihu, and once by God. This phrase is used a total of thirty times in Scripture. Remember that in the prophetic language of Scripture, there are three realms in which it is possible to dwell: 1) the sea of lost humanity; 2) the religious realm of the earth; and 3) the heavens. When God told Satan there was none like Job in the earth, this identified Job as being in the center of the realm of the earth. This book tells the story of how God revealed himself (and the heavenly realm of wisdom and understanding) to Job, along with God’s plan for people like Job (and us) to become citizens of heaven even while we walk here upon the earth. Job’s three friends, on the other hand, qualify as being from the ends of the earth (from the fringes of the realm of the people of God, as opposed to the sea of lost Gentiles). They not only know virtually nothing about the place of wisdom and understanding, they also continually seem to get almost everything completely backwards.

God keeps an eye on everything in the natural and the spiritual realm. The reason he does this is to make a weight for the wind (to weigh or discern the spirits) and to supply water by measure. God sends the “rain” of his word on the just and on the unjust by measure, but he only fully blesses what is compatible with his Spirit. All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the spirits99 (Proverbs 16:2). Our heart must be clean and in tune with the Lord if we are to be able to discern the spirits as clean or unclean. This is where Eliphaz failed (Job 4:12-21). Those who attempt to get God to do what they want will easily be deceived. Those who are willing to do what God wants, no matter if it costs them their life, will allow God to make a weight for the wind and not blindly trust their own evaluation or the evaluation of others. This is wisdom.

99 Same root word as “wind” in Hebrew.

God made a law for the rain (sometimes he uses rain for judgment instead of for blessing). There are certain things that he will bless and others that he will not. He also made a way for the lightning of the thunders. In Scripture, thunder is extensively associated with the voice of God, with his throne, and even with the sound of the wings of the cherubim that are near his throne. On earth, of course, thunder is associated with lightning. The lightning of the thunders is a projection of the light and power and presence of God. Lightning travels from heaven to earth. It can illuminate, but it can also destroy, striking without warning. It is wise for us to seek God early, be sensitive to his Spirit, and not wait until he has to send a lightning bolt from heaven to get our attention.

28:27 Then he saw it and counted it; he prepared it and also searched it out.

What is it that God saw and counted and prepared and searched out?

Job is talking about wisdom and the place of understanding. When God in his wisdom decides to do something, he first takes a good look at what it is that he plans to do. Then he counts it: that is, he determines the cost and what will be needed to finish it. Then he prepares it by putting everything in place. Finally, he searches it out, studying it from every angle to ensure there will be no unforeseen consequences. This is wisdom.

28:28 And unto man he said, Behold, that the fear of the Lord, is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.

When we operate in the wisdom of the fear of the Lord, then wherever we have to go in order to depart from evil is the place of understanding. In order to find this place, we must be directed by the Spirit of God. External human counsel, no matter how wise, will not suffice. If Job had listened to his three seemingly experienced and illustrious friends instead of to the voice of God in his heart and conscience, he would have failed the test. And yes, he did experience some “kidney” trouble along the way to the place of understanding, but God saw him through. I have found time and time again that God will not let the enemy sink us over any honest mistakes that we may have made. (However, even our “honest” errors may turn out to be painful enough that we learn to never repeat them.)

From the beginning, God described Job as my slave Job and said that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that fears God and has departed from evil (Job 1:8). God doubled down on this in Job 2:3.

Job never wavered from his moral uprightness. Even when he thought God must be his enemy, even when he realized the Almighty had taken away all his rights, even when he thought death was imminent, Job doubled down and declared, Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him (Job 13:15). All through his ordeal, in the midst of intense pain and suffering, and even though he complained at times, Job maintained his number one priority in the fear of God; he would not agree to even one iota of the evil counsel of his friends (counsel which proved to be coming from a strange spirit). Even when Job’s human mind was fatigued and confused, the wisdom of God remained pure in his heart.

Let us pray

Lord, we thank you for this twenty-eighth chapter of Job. May we rely on your wisdom instead of our own wisdom or the wisdom of others. May your Spirit lead and guide us like Job into the place of understanding. Amen.

Chap 16. Blessed Are Those Who Mourn.

From the perspective of those of us who have studied the history of the past two thousand years and who are aware of, and have experienced, the way in which the Holy Spirit operates in and through the believer, it is very clear that the Spirit of God was definitely operating in and through Job as he demolished the arguments of his accusers, unmasked Satan, and prophesied what God was really doing by means of his ordeal. Job’s discourse in the past three chapters is phenomenal. The only way he could have said what he did is if God was with him by the Spirit.

The operation of God in and through his people by the Holy Spirit may seem normal to some of us now. In Job’s day, however, it was not.

Here is the fourth part of Job’s ninth and final discourse:

Job 29

29:1 Moreover, Job continued his parable and said,

This is the second time Job’s discourse has been referred to as a parable. It is an important marker that confirms to us that the next three chapters (in which Job focuses more on himself and his predicament) will be of great spiritual value to those who have “ears to hear” and “eyes to see.”

29:2 Oh, that I were as in months past, as in the days when God preserved me;

Job’s ordeal has gone on for a matter of months. He is now extremely aware of just how wonderful and miraculous the hedge of protection was with which God had previously surrounded him.

29:3 when his lamp shone upon my head, and by its light I walked in the darkness;

29:4 as I was in the days of my youth, when God was familiar in my tent;

29:5 when the Almighty was yet with me, when my children were about me;

29:6 when I washed my steps with butter, and the rock poured me out rivers of oil!

Butter is a symbol of the best that we have. This is the fifth time (out of a total of ten) that the word “butter” appears in Scripture. The first use is when the Lord in person, along with two angels, appeared unto Abraham among the terebinth (oak) trees of Mamre (meaning “fatness”) as he was sitting in the door of his tent (Genesis 18:1). Abraham hastened to wash his guests’ feet and feed them. And he took butter and milk and the calf which he had dressed and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they ate (Genesis 18:8).

This happened shortly after a previous visit during which Abram had entered into a blood covenant with God and been circumcised, and God had changed his name to Abraham (Genesis 17). In fact, it seems that in those days, God had been accustomed to veiling himself with human form to interact with man. Adam and Eve heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day (Genesis 3:8), and Enoch walked with God (Genesis 5:22, 24). God also directly interacted with Noah (Genesis 6-10).

Even though the Spirit of God used Job mightily in his reply to Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, Job looks back wistfully on the good old days when God was familiar in my tent; when the Almighty was yet with me. This makes me think the relationship between God and Job may have been similar to the one between God and Abraham, who was called the Friend of God (James 2:23). Job may have also literally walked with God and his angels, and like Abraham,100 may have had a reputation for doing so. This would shed light on the following verses:

29:7 When I went out to the gate to judgment, when I had my seat prepared in the plaza!

Inside the gate of the city was a plaza where the elders sat, the most respected of whom were the judges.

29:8 The young men would see me and hide themselves, and the aged would arise and stand.

29:9 The princes would refrain from talking and lay their hand on their mouth;

29:10 the voice of the principals would not be noticed, and their tongue would cleave to the roof of their mouth.

29:11 When the ears that heard me, called me blessed; and when the eyes that saw me,101 gave witness to me:

29:12 because I delivered the poor that cried and the fatherless who had no one to help him.

100 God’s friendship with Abraham had occurred only a couple of hundred years or so prior to the time of Job.

101 Whose were the ears that heard the righteous judgments of Job and called him blessed? Whose were the eyes that saw him and gave witness unto him? They belonged to those with clean hearts who had spiritual “ears to hear” and spiritual “eyes to see.

Job was evidently held in great respect, but I wonder if any of the princes who would refrain from talking or any of the principals whose voice would not be noticed ever felt jealous of him. What about Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar?

In what city could this have been taking place? If Job was the greatest man in the east, presumably it would have happened wherever he went, in any city in that area.

29:13 The blessing of the one that was ready to perish came upon me; and I caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy.

29:14 I put on righteousness, and it clothed me as a robe; and my diadem was judgment.

Job helped widows and those who were ready to perish, perhaps through hunger. His covering was righteousness (being and doing what God commands or desires), not submission to human order. His diadem or crown recognizing his authority was right judgment.

29:15 I was eyes to the blind and feet to the lame.

29:16 I was a father to the needy; and the cause which I did not know I searched out.

29:17 And I broke the fangs of the wicked and caused their teeth to release the prey.

When the book of Job opens, he is the greatest of all the men of the east (Job 1:3). Obviously, his greatness was not measured solely by the size of his flocks; the size of his heart was also a factor, as he helped those who were experiencing physical and financial challenges, acted as a just judge, and forced the wicked to release their prey. No wonder God said twice that there is none like him in the earth (Job 1:8; 2:3)!

29:18 Then I said, I shall die in my nest, and I shall multiply my days as the sand.

29:19 My root is spread out by the waters, and the dew shall remain upon my branches.

29:20 My glory is renewed with me, and my bow is renewed in my hand.

29:21 They would hear me and wait, and keep silent at my counsel.

29:22 After my words they would not reply, but my reason dropped upon them.

Before God decided to lift him up as a sterling example before Satan, Job had lived a life in which he glorified God with his God-given gifts, talents, and abilities, and he thought he would live peacefully for many years in the nest he had created, with his days being as numerous as the grains of sand in the desert or on the beach. Job refers to my days, and my root, and my branches, and my glory, and my bow, and my hand, and my counsel, and my words, and my reason.

29:23 And they waited for me as for the rain, and they opened their mouth wide as for the latter rain.

A few months earlier, Job had been the “rain maker.” His wealth, spiritual gifts, and intimate friendship with God had made him the person to go to in any kind of trouble. Job remembers that they waited for me as for the rain that blessed them and refreshed them. Those who settle for a secondhand revelation have opened their mouth wide as for the latter rain. 102

Rain is also, of course, necessary over the course of growing a crop to maturity. The latter rain is the rain that is needed to bring the crop to its peak as harvest approaches, and without it there can be no harvest.103

102 Since the time of Job, over the history of the people of God there have been many like this. Moses was also the person to go to. The people decided that it was way too scary to seek God and hear directly from him so they sent Moses up the mountain to hear from God and report back to them (this is how they got God’s commandments written on tablets of stone instead of written in their hearts and in their souls).

103 And now is harvest time.

29:24 If I laughed at them, they did not believe it; and they did not cast down the light of my countenance.

If Job laughed at them all sitting there with their mouths wide open like little birdies waiting for him to put some more spiritual food in their mouths, they did not believe it. The people were so delighted at having a fine, capable, gifted, wealthy, leader like Job that they rejoiced in his laughter and did not cast down the light of [his] countenance. It seems many people placed him on a pedestal, but his character was such that their admiration did not cause him to become vain and arrogant.

29:25 I approved their way and sat at the head and dwelt as a king in the army, as one that comforts the mourners.

Job approved their way and sat at the head. Everyone came (individually and corporately) and shared their plans with Job for him to approve. He dwelt as a king in the army, as one that comforts the mourners.

Why is it up to the king in the army to comfort the mourners?

The purpose of the army is to fight battles, and after most battles, there will be dead and wounded. One of the king’s duties is therefore to comfort the mourners.

Job 30

This is the fifth part of the third and final discourse of Job. Job has gone from comforting the mourners to being one of them.

30:1 But now those that are younger than I have me in derision, whose fathers I would have disdained to have set with the dogs104 of my flock.

104 Chronologically, this is the first use of the word “dog(s)” in Scripture which later became used to describe Gentiles who were not in a proper covenant with God.

In Scripture, dogs are a symbol of unconverted Gentiles who are not in a proper blood covenant with God. Dogs like to lick blood (1 Kings 21:19), which contains the life of the flesh (Leviticus 17:11). Those who are in covenant with God (under both the old and the new covenants) are prohibited from eating blood (Genesis 9:4; Leviticus 3:17; Acts 15:20, 29). Those who are with the dogs feed on the life of the flesh; those who are in covenant with God feed on the life of God.

30:2 For, unto what might the strength of their hands profit me, in whom time was lost?

The strength of the hands of those who operate in the flesh will not profit Job (or us either). They all waste their time.

30:3 For want and famine they walked alone; fleeing into solitude, to the dark place, desolate and waste.

30:4 Who cut up mallows among the bushes and juniper roots for their food

Those who operate in the flesh suffer spiritual want and famine. They walk alone (without the comfort of the Holy Spirit). They flee into solitude, to the dark place, desolate and waste. Inside they are hollow and empty, and they know it. The appetites of the natural, carnal man are for things that do not satisfy, such as mallows (a type of tasteless edible plant) and juniper roots, which represent the fleeting attractions of this world. Jesus said, Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied (Matthew 5:6). Those whose appetites are purely carnal, however, will never experience true satisfaction.

30:5 They were driven forth from among men (they cried after them as after a thief).

The word “men” above was added by the translator for clarity. I think the original meaning is along the lines of they were driven forth from among the congregation, and it would therefore be the congregation (of believers) who cried after them as after a thief.

What were these people attempting to steal?

Satan is the original thief. In his unchecked pride and arrogance, he attempted to usurp the glory and even the position of God (Isaiah 14:13-14), and those whom he deceives follow in his footsteps.

30:6 They dwelt in the clifts of the valleys, in caves of the earth, and in the rocks.

30:7 Among the bushes they brayed; under the nettles they were gathered together.

30:8 They were sons of fools and men without names; they were lower than the earth.

The realm that is lower than the earth is the realm of Sheol (linked to the consequences of sin and death). Their dwelling places in the clifts of the valleys, in caves of the earth, and in the rocks are representative of how the natural man seeks security in religious doctrine and compromise and what he calls “precepts” and “values.” This security, however, turns out to be earthly and not heavenly. Such natural men bray among the bushes and are gathered together under the nettles because in their carnality they have never been able to escape the effects of the curse. Jesus told Nicodemus, That which is born of flesh is flesh, and that which is born of Spirit is spirit (John 3:6). Those who are born of the flesh are sons of fools and men without names unless they have been born again from above by the Spirit of God.

30:9 And now I am their song, and I am their byword.

30:10 They abhor me, they distance themselves from me, and do not spare to spit in my face.

30:11 Because God has loosed my cord and afflicted me, they have also gone out of control before my face.

Back when Job was in a position of power, those who were carnal rather than spiritual had been subdued in his presence. Now that he is perceived as weak and discredited, they exact their revenge and have gone out of control in front of his face. When Job represented and enforced God’s righteous government, there was at least a semblance of order. Now, however, it is obvious that there was never any significant change inside the hearts of these unnamed sons of fools.

30:12 Upon my right hand rise the youth; they push away my feet, and they raise up against me the ways of their destruction.

30:13 They cast down my path, they took advantage of my calamity, against them there was no helper.

30:14 They came in as through a wide breach; they were stirred up because of my calamity.

Who are these youth that rise up against Job’s right hand (of authority)?

They are those who have not come to maturity (same word as “perfection”). Remember, God described Job to Satan as a perfect and upright man, one that fears God and has departed from evil. Could it be possible that Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, although senior to Job in years, are among these spiritually immature and imperfect youth that came in as through a wide breach? Were they stirred up because of Job’s calamity?

How about today? Could there be powerful yet immature Christian people like Job’s comforters who continue to mistreat God’s true prophets?

30:15 They have loosed terrors upon me; they fought my will as the wind and my saving health as a cloud that passes.

30:16 And now my soul is poured out upon me; the days of affliction have taken hold upon me.

30:17 My bones pierce me in the night, and my sinews take no rest.

During the time when I was held hostage and tied to a tree in the jungle, I came down with dengue fever (also known as break-bone fever) on top of all my other physical woes, which included malaria, heart problems, and a broken rotator cuff tendon. I can readily identify with Job when he says, My bones pierce me in the night, and my sinews take no rest. For me, nights were torture, and since sleep was virtually impossible to achieve, I spent my time praying. Daytime was a bit different but not much better because my captors loosed terrors upon me, attempting to break my will. Every time I got my hopes up that I might be released or rescued, the possibility drifted out of reach like a cloud that passes.

30:18 By the great force of my disease my garment is changed; it binds me about as the collar of my coat.

Job’s garment (or covering) was the Spirit of God. He was in fellowship and communion with God, doing only what he knew was pleasing to God, and then somehow, to his utter consternation, he found that he was on the way of the cross. All of a sudden his covering (the way he had been and was being led by the Spirit) seemed to choke him to death. I know what Job means when he says, it binds me about as the collar of my coat.

30:19 He has cast me into the mire, and I have become like dust and ashes.

30:20 I cry unto thee, and thou dost not hear me; I present myself, and thou regardest me not.

I was my kidnappers’ captive for five months, and even though my conscience was clean, and I know God inspired me on how to reason with my captors (plus I gleaned some spiritual wisdom and understanding), it was only in the last two days of my captivity that I heard directly from God regarding his future plans for me. Up until then, I didn’t know whether I would live or die, or whether I would see my wife and family again in this world.

30:21 Thou art become cruel to me; with the strength of thy hand thou dost hate me.

30:22 Thou didst lift me up and cause me to ride upon the wind, and didst dissolve my being.

Job knows it was God who lifted him up until he became the greatest man in the east, causing him to ride upon the wind (that is, to be carried to great heights by the Spirit). Now, however, he complains that God didst dissolve my being. Job thinks that this is cruel and that God hates him, but he misunderstands God’s motivation. God likes to lift us up and cause us to ride upon the wind until our faith and confidence in him is built up, so he can then turn around and dissolve our being with the goal of destroying the power of the carnal, natural man all the way to its roots.

30:23 For I know that thou dost conduct me unto death and to the house appointed for all living.

This is exactly true. The only way any of us can exit our earthly existence is by death. God has this wired. It is his plan to bring the natural, carnal man to an end. It is also his plan for us to be born again by the Spirit and come to maturity in Christ. God’s plan is to bring death to the control of the flesh and to sin, even while consolidating us in the maturity (perfection) of the life of Christ. This is the way of the cross.

If the old man of sin does not actually die, there will not be room for the new man in Christ to flourish. The old man will never please God, and therefore he must be pulled out by the roots. The new man in Christ always desires to please God. The old man is a slave to the flesh and to sin, but the new man is the slave of righteousness. Remember that slaves have an owner, and the new man belongs to righteousness (to being and doing what God desires).

30:24 But he will not stretch out his hand against the grave; do those who are buried cry out when he destroys them?

The new man cannot break free into the heavenly realm and see God until the old man is buried in the grave (Romans 6:3-7). This is why God will not stretch out his hand against the grave. Job is still extremely concerned about the grave (which is linked to Sheol) and does not relish the thought of going there. Remember this was before Jesus overcame death and the grave, and at this point in history, neither Job nor any other person was clear on what would happen to them after death. They did not know if their soul died when their body died. In the Hebrew of the Old Testament, the word “soul” means the entire being of the person. In the Greek of the New Testament, however, we have clear differentiation between body, soul, and spirit, and Scripture assures us we have no need to fear those who kill the body but are not able to kill the soul (Matthew 10:28).

Due at least in part to his confusion on this issue, Job desperately wants answers from God regarding his eternal situation, before his physical death. Therefore he continues to press his case.

30:25 Did I not weep for the one that was in trouble? Was not my soul grieved for the needy?

30:26 When I expected good, then evil came unto me; and when I waited for light, there came darkness.

Prior to being kidnapped, I thought the exact same thing. I had helped many in need and considered myself to be a successful missionary. I had stuck it out in a very difficult place as rebel Marxist guerrillas were taking over eastern Colombia and forcing missionaries, pastors, and Christians in general out of their areas. I expected good. I expected God to reward me for my faith and for my stand, and then evil came unto me when I was taken hostage and tied to a tree for five months. I had, of course, been praying that God would send the gospel to the FARC guerrillas who were wreaking havoc with the work and ministry of hundreds of missionaries and thousands of pastors, but I never dreamed God would send me to minister to them as a hostage tied to a tree. As I waited for light, there came darkness, and soon the entire area became like a spiritual black hole, with no pastors or missionaries or congregations of any sort allowed. Yet God’s ways are past finding out. The day Jesus was crucified was not a day of light but a day of darkness (Mark 15:33). The new day of resurrection would come later.

30:27 My bowels boil and do not rest; the days of affliction came upon me.

30:28 I went about darkened, but not by the sun; I stood up and cried out in the congregation.

30:29 I have become a brother to dragons and a companion to owls.

The affliction that I felt was not only the pain and suffering in my body but also the belief in my heart that the spiritual labor that I and others had conducted for many tedious years now was well on its way to extinction. Now the only “congregation” I could hope to minister to consisted of those in the guerrilla camp, and at first only a few would listen. Before my captivity was over, however, I was allowed to address the entire camp. Moreover, as time progressed the rope was lengthened, and I was tethered with a bit more slack. My physical health deteriorated, but I was greatly encouraged in my spirit as I read the book of Job (which I have been contemplating over the thirty-five years that have elapsed since that captivity). As I reached out to the terrorists who had captured me and who almost always traveled by night (with me marching among them), it came to the point where I was also able to say, I have become a brother to dragons and a companion to owls.105

30:30 My skin is black upon me, and my bones are burned with heat.

30:31 My harp is turned to mourning, and my organ into the voice of those that weep.

105 Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; it shall come to light quickly; shall ye not know it? I will again make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls because I give waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert to give drink to my people, my chosen. This people I have formed for myself; they shall show forth my praise (Isaiah 43:18-21, emphasis added). I am pleased to report that over the years, many of the FARC guerrillas who captured me have come to the Lord.

The word “skin” has to do with “covering” and is used eleven times in the book of Job, beginning with when Satan told God, Skin for skin, all that a man has he will give for his life (Job 2:4). Satan was betting that if he could touch Job’s “skin” (which Satan considered to be Job’s physical health), Job would soon be willing to give up his relationship with God in order to save his own skin. Our skin covers our body and can be considered a symbol of our natural “covering.” If we are naked, however, we are considered to be “uncovered.” Satan also challenged God to put forth thy hand now and touch his bone and his flesh, and thou shalt see if he does not blaspheme thee to thy face (Job 2:5), so it appears that a face-to-face encounter between Job and God was part of the original wager between Satan and God.

Job may have been relatively dark-skinned, but when he says, My skin is black upon me, and my bones are burned with heat, he speaks metaphorically. Bones provide the basic structure of our body and symbolize our foundation. Even though Job’s “skin” and “bones” faced the heat of tribulation, he remained true to his foundation in God under the covering of the Spirit of God (despite the fact that he was literally reduced to skin and bones). When the time came for Job to have a direct encounter with God, he did not blaspheme God to his face, and Satan’s accusation and prediction were proven to be false.

Let us pray

Heavenly Father, we ask that we may not only understand this message but that we may experience it so we may come into true victory. We ask this in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Chap 17. A Covenant with My Eyes .

This is the sixth and last part of the ninth and final discourse of Job. He sums up his defense against the accusations of Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar:

Job 31

31:1 I made a covenant with my eyes; why then should I look upon a maid? 31:2 For what reward would God give me from above and what inheritance of the Almighty from on high?

This is the first chronological appearance of the words “reward” and “inheritance” in Scripture (in terms of the order in which the books were written). Job knows there is the possibility of receiving a reward and an inheritance from God, and he fervently desires to qualify. It is likely Job would have made a covenant of fidelity to his wife when they married, but here he goes further, saying, I made a covenant with my eyes. In other words, he made a covenant not to even look in the wrong direction, not to even consider an improper relationship. Job’s strict uprightness in this is an interesting foreshadowing of Jesus’ warning that whosoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart (Matthew 5:28).

With reference to our eyes, Jesus also said: The lamp of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye is sincere, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye is evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If, therefore, the light that is in thee is darkness, how great is that dark[1]ness (Matthew 6:22-23).

There is a huge difference between Job, whose eye is sincere, and Satan, whose eye is in the process of being demonstrated to be evil.

31:3 Is there no destruction for the wicked? And banishment for the workers of iniquity?

31:4 Does he not see my ways and count all my steps?

There is indeed destruction for the wicked and banishment for the workers of iniquity, but God will give them due process. It took some time for the wager between Satan and God to play out, and on a larger scale the dispute between them has been going for close to six thousand years. Satan and his workers of iniquity are about to be banished into the abyss (Sheol) for a thousand years, after which they will be judged and destroyed in the second death, which is the lake of fire (Revelation 20). And yes, God does see all of our ways and count all of our steps. King Jesus will most definitely take all of these factors into account at his imminent return (Revelation 11:15-19).

31:5 If I have walked with falsehood or if my foot has hastened to deceit,

31:6 let me be weighed in a just balance, that God may know my integrity.

31:7 If my step has turned out of the way and my heart walked after my eyes and if any blot has cleaved to my hands,

31:8 then let me sow, and let another eat, and let my offspring be rooted out.

Despite our good intentions, our eyes do tend to wander, which is why Job bound himself to a covenant with his eyes. He wanted to ensure that his heart would not walk after his eyes and that a blot would not cleave to his hands. Job’s heart was perfect and upright before God, and he passionately desired to please the Lord in everything he did.

31:9 If my heart has been deceived regarding a woman, or if I have laid in wait at my neighbour’s door,

31:10 then let my wife grind for another, and let others bow down upon her.

31:11 For this is lewdness and iniquity that is proven.

31:12 For it is a fire that consumes unto hell and would root out all my increase.

This is the third and final reference to hell in the book of Job (out of only six references in the entire Old Testament). Hell, of course, has to do with final and irrevocable judgment and eternal condemnation. Job’s declaration that infidelity is a fire that consumes unto hell goes in tandem with the fear of the Lord that has so greatly influenced him to become a man who has departed from evil. God himself has told Satan twice that this is how he views Job (Job 1:8; 2:3). When Job declares that this type of infidelity would root out all my increase, he refers to the increase in his perfection and uprightness of heart (since all of his earthly increase has already been taken away by Satan).

31:13 If I had despised the right of my manslave or of my maidslave, when they contended with me;

31:14 what then would I do when God rises up? And when he visits, what would I answer him?

31:15 Did not he that made me in the belly also make him? And did not the same one fashion us in the womb?

Job is God’s slave, that is, he belongs to God.106 Job also has (or had) menslaves or maidslaves (indentured servants) who in a certain sense belonged to him. Even so, he has been very careful not to despise their rights, because he knows that God made them and therefore he will have to answer to God for any injustice he might perpetrate on them. He also knows he has an obligation to set them free after their debt has been paid.

106 We all start out as slaves to the flesh and therefore to sin. When Jesus redeems us by purchasing us with his blood, we become his slaves. However, Jesus really redeems us to set us free, because where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. It is not until we are free that we have the ability to use our freedom to voluntarily do the will of God and consolidate his ownership over us. Some choose to be like hired servants, who can quit whenever they please. This was not the case with Job, and I don’t want it to be the case with me either. (See Exodus 21:5-6; Deuteronomy 15:16-17.)

31:16 If I have disturbed the desire of the poor or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail;

To disturb the desire of the poor is to oppress and afflict them and make them unhappy. To cause the eyes of the widow to fail is to take advantage of her and dash her hopes.

31:17 or have eaten my morsel alone and the fatherless has not eaten thereof;

Job has always been very concerned about the plight of the poor and the widow and the orphan. In fact, the theme of providing aid to the underprivileged (as exemplified by these groups) carries all the way through the Bible. In the New Testament, James wrote: The pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their tribulation and to keep thyself unspotted from this world (James 1:27). Job not only understood this concept long before James’s words were written, he also practiced pure and undefiled religion before God.

31:18 (for from my youth the fatherless was brought up with me, as with a father, and I have guided the widow from my mother’s womb)

Job was brought up (by his parents and grandparents) with the fatherless. His heritage as a son of Issachar, of the line of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, was to practice pure and undefiled religion before God. While he was still in his mother’s womb, their family guided the widow. I know what this is like because I was brought up this way, and relying on God, I have done my best to bring up my children and my grandchildren in like manner.

31:19 if I have seen any perish for want of clothing or any needy without a covering;

31:20 if his loins have not blessed me and if he were not warmed with the fleece of my sheep;

Job has made sure that no one died of the cold or remained naked on his watch. Remember, however, that this discourse is a living parable and has both a natural and a spiritual application. In the natural realm, Job has done much for the widowed and the fatherless, as demonstrated in verses 16 to 22.107

107 In the spiritual realm, widows can represent entire groups of people or congregations that have no husband, in that they are not under the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. Spiritually, the fatherless are those who have not been born again by the Spirit and do not know Father God.

31:21 if I have lifted up my hand against the fatherless, even when I saw that they would all help me in the gate; 31:22 then let my back fall from my shoulder blade, and my arm be broken from its joint.

The shoulder symbolizes government, and the arm represents power and authority. Even if all the other elders were inclined to help Job in the gate where judgment was served, it was unthinkable to him that he would ever lift up his hand against the fatherless.

31:23 For I feared destruction from God, against whose highness I could have no power. Truly the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

31:24 If I have made gold my hope or have said to the fine gold, Thou art my confidence;

31:25 if I rejoiced because my wealth was being multiplied, and because my hand had gotten much;

The apostle Paul wrote, 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 (1 Timothy 6:10). Job understands this perfectly.

31:26 if I beheld the sun when it shone or the moon walking in beauty;

31:27 and my heart has been secretly enticed, and my mouth kissed my hand;

31:28 this would also be a proven iniquity; for I should have denied the God that is sovereign.

Many years later, Moses would write that God conceded the sun and the moon and the stars unto all the peoples under all the heavens (Deuteronomy 4:19) but that his people, whom he redeemed, were to worship only him, on pain of death (Deuteronomy 17:2-5). Job says that if his heart had been secretly enticed, then his mouth would have kissed his hand (his words and his deeds would have demonstrated reverence to the creation rather than the creator), and this would have been a proven iniquity.

The words that come out of our mouth indicate the status of our heart, for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34). We use our hands to carry out our work, by which everyone shall be judged (Revelation 20:12-13). Therefore if our heart has been secretly enticed by this world and our mouth has followed suit by kissing our hand, eventually the corruption of our heart will be manifest in the work of our hands. Job says that if this had happened, it would be a proven iniquity because it would show he had denied the God that is sovereign. His friends, however, have showered Job with charges of iniquity, even though the purity of his heart has been repeatedly demonstrated by both the words of his mouth and the work of his hands.

31:29 If I rejoiced at the destruction of the one that hated me or lifted up myself when evil found him;

31:30 for I have never even suffered my mouth to sin by wishing a curse upon his soul;

31:31 when the servants of my tent said, Oh that we had of his flesh! We would never be satisfied.

This is further evidence that Job has a perfect, upright heart. If he has never cursed those who hated him, if he has not rejoiced or lifted himself up (exulted) when evil struck his enemy, if he has not encouraged any savage desire of his servants to literally tear his enemy apart, this proves that his heart has been clean.

Jesus tells us, The good man out of the good treasure of the heart brings forth good things, and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned (Matthew 12:35-37). And indeed, at the end of this book, God makes it clear that Job is justified by his words while Eliphaz and his two friends are condemned by theirs, because they have not spoken by me in uprightness, as my slave Job has (Job 42:7).

31:32 The stranger did not lodge in the street, but I opened my doors to the traveller.

In the New Testament we are admonished: Do not forget to show hospitality; for thereby some, having entertained angels, were kept (Hebrews 13:2). In the Old Testament, Abraham understood and practiced this (Genesis 18), and we see from verse 32 that Job, too, enjoyed showing hospitality, due to the generosity that God had placed in his perfect and upright heart.

31:33 If I covered my transgressions as Adam, by hiding my iniquity in my bosom;

Job seems well versed on the tragic history of Adam. When transgressions are covered up and hidden, this is iniquity.

31:34 if I feared a great multitude or did the contempt of families terrify me, that I kept silence, and did not go out of the door?

Job is willing to stand alone for truth and righteousness even if a great multitude threatens him. He must face the contempt of families if he has to take one of their own to task, but this does not terrify him. When God declared to Satan that there was none like Job in the earth, this statement was not to be taken lightly. However, Job was not able to hear the wonderful things God said about him at that time, because God’s conversations with Satan took place in a heavenly realm that Job was not able to access.

31:35 Oh that someone would hear me! Behold, my mark is, that the Almighty will testify for me, even though my adversary had written down the charges.

Despite Job’s difficulties in getting through to Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, his words have likely been making a tremendous impact in the heavenly realm. He is now confident that the Almighty will testify for me. This is Job’s mark (or sign or seal or signature). He knows that he has an adversary who has put him on trial and written down the charges,108 but he also knows that his adversary is not God, because it is the Almighty who will testify on his behalf at the end of that trial.

108 This might be an indication that Job’s friends had brought a scribe with them who was busy writing down exactly what each man said. If so, I wonder who could this have been?

31:36 Surely I would take it upon my shoulder and bind it as a crown to me.

In describing his response to his adversary’s written indictment, Job uses words that presage the way of the cross that Jesus (of whom Job is a living parable) trod after his own trial, when he was forced to wear a crown of thorns and then to bear a heavy cross upon his shoulder. The way of the cross, however, did not end with Jesus’ painful death. From Golgotha it continued into a direct confrontation with Satan down in Sheol (Hades). In this encounter, Satan was cast out of the underworld and Jesus ended up with the keys to Hades and death (John 12:31; Revelation 1:18), after which he led captivity captive and ascended on high with the souls of all those that were his. Death had been holding these souls hostage, but Jesus had now redeemed them (Ephesians 4:8-10).

31:37 I would declare unto him the number of my steps; as a prince I would go near unto him.

Job looks forward to facing his accuser. He would declare unto him the number of my steps. What was the number of Jesus’ steps along the way of the cross? It is the number of perfection, because Satan was defeated when he was unable to find a single misstep.

Job will approach his accuser with the confidence of a prince. Again we can see a parallel with Jesus, who is now the prince of the kings of the earth (Revelation 1:5).

31:38 If my land cries against me and all its furrows likewise complain;

31:39 if I ate of its strength without money or have afflicted the soul of its owners;

Job felt a responsibility for the “land” (which represents the people of God); Job has a duty to care for it so that it will produce an abundance of healthy grain (which represents the good fruit that God seeks in us). Furrows are the plowed rows where the grain is cultivated. If the land were to cry out against Job and if all its furrows likewise complain, this would indicate that Job was derelict in his duties as a wise and compassionate leader.

Job refers to my land, yet he also understands that it is possible to have afflicted the soul of its owners. Job realizes that God has given him responsibility over the people of God (my land) and also that there are individual “owners” that have souls and that could cry out against unjust government. The farmers, who have performed the work of plowing the land and growing the crop, would have the right to complain if Job ate of its strength without money, that is, if he claimed the results of their work without compensating them. This is another part of the parable, for the word translated as “money” is the word for “silver,” which is a symbol of redemption.109

Job makes the case that as a God-appointed ruler, he has always treated his people fairly. He declares that if his words are not true,

109 Even though, as God’s people we all started out as slaves to the flesh and to sin, it is God’s plan to purchase and redeem us. Those whom God chooses as princes over his land (that is also our land) do not run around afflicting the soul of its owners by forcing them to violate their conscience (God never does this to any of his redeemed).

31:40 let thistles grow up unto me instead of wheat and stinkweed instead of barley. The words of Job are ended.

Thistles and stinkweed are part of the curse. Wheat and barley belong to the blessing. Job’s description of his life, his work, and his reputation has made an airtight case for why he is associated with God’s blessing, not under God’s curse, no matter what the circumstances his friends have interpreted to the contrary. Without knowing it, Job has demonstrated that his life is a living parable of Jesus’ perfect life here on earth.

Let us pray

Heavenly Father, may we understand this message while there is still time for us to choose the ideal path you have for us. May we walk in the light and understand why we must continue to struggle with the evil world of darkness that surrounds us, with all its obstacles and difficulties. We ask this in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Chap 18. The Wrath of Elihu.

And now Elihu takes center stage …110

Job 32

32:1 So these three men ceased to answer Job because he was righteous in his own eyes.

The three men, of course, are Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. The fact that they perceive Job as righteous in his own eyes means that they know that they have failed to bring Job to repentance. Therefore they have ceased to answer Job because they have run out of arguments.

32:2 Then the wrath of Elihu, the son of Barachel, the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram, was kindled; against Job was his wrath kindled, because he justified himself rather than God.111

110 Elihu appears on the scene seemingly out of nowhere, but I wonder if Elihu may have been the young scribe (or one of the scribes) writing everything down. This would explain his presence throughout the trial.

111 The topic that Job justified himself rather than God was brought again a bit later on when God spoke out of the whirlwind: Wilt thou disannul my judgment? Wilt thou condemn me, that thou may be justified? (Job 40:8). Elihu is very concerned, and rightly so, that God be justified in everything.

The name “Elihu,” meaning “as God himself,” is found in eleven Scriptures, the first seven of which are here in the book of Job. His father, Barachel (“whom God blessed”) was a Buzite. Buz (“contempt” or “argument”) was the second son of Milcah and Nahor (Abraham’s brother). This means that Buz was the uncle of Rebekah, who was the mother of Esau and Jacob (Genesis 22:21). Elihu was also of the kindred of Ram,112 meaning “height.”

112 “Ram” could be short for Ramses, a city of Egypt near or inside the land of Goshen. Elihu’s father was of Semitic Hebrew origin, and his mother may have been Egyptian. Remember that in the east, the nationality of the mother is a determining factor, and thus if Elihu’s mother was Egyptian, then Elihu was Egyptian.

32:3 Also against his three friends was his wrath kindled because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job.

The three friends had found no answer for the cause of Job’s predicament and yet had condemned Job. That Elihu is upset about this injustice seems to be to his credit.

32:4 Now Elihu had waited until Job had spoken because they were all elder than he.

32:5 But when Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, then his wrath was kindled.

Elihu’s reaction to the dialogue between Job and his three friends is not one of charity but rather one of wrath – and wrath not against one side of the argument or the other, but against all four men, albeit for different reasons. He is evidently ignorant of what it behooves us all to remember: the wrath of man does not work the righteousness of God (James 1:20).

The reason given for Elihu’s wrath against Job is that he justified himself rather than God. In other words, he feels that Job has been more concerned about defending himself against accusations of unrighteousness and iniquity than about defending God against accusations of unfairness and capriciousness. Elihu apparently believes that his wrath in defense of God is justified, and he is not alone in this opinion. Over the centuries, a considerable amount of conflict has been generated in Christendom by angry people attempting to defend God against what they perceive as unjustified and unjustifiable attacks. Many, if not most, of us have gotten very hot under the collar at one time or another (especially in our youth), attempting to defend what we consider to be key doctrines that we believe to be essential to the very integrity of God.

The reason given for Elihu’s wrath against Job’s three friends is that they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job. Here, too, Elihu is not alone in his opinion that anger is a justifiable response, since most of us are frustrated and infuriated by obvious injustice.

32:6 And Elihu, the son of Barachel, the Buzite, answered and said, I am younger, and ye are older; therefore, I was afraid, and I feared to declare unto you my opinion.

32:7 I said, Days shall speak, and the multitude of years shall declare wisdom.

32:8 Certainly there is a spirit in man, and the inspiration of the Almighty gives them understanding.

Elihu understands that there is a spirit in man, and he recognizes that the inspiration of the Almighty gives them understanding. In contrast, the speeches of Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar indicate that they are only tangentially aware of the realm of the spirit.

32:9 Great men are not always wise; neither do the aged understand judgment.

32:10 Therefore I said, Hearken to me; I also will declare my knowledge.

And even though the reputations of Job, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar are respected far and wide, Elihu asserts that great men are not always wise. Nevertheless, having insulted them, he wants them to listen to him, announcing, I also will declare my knowledge.113

113 It is interesting to note that as things develop, Elihu will eventually reverse himself on all four counts. Within a couple of chapters he will begin to butter up Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar in an attempt to bring them into agreement with him against Job but by the end of his intervention he will have undergone a complete, one-hundred-and-eighty-degree reversal of his concept of Job.

32:11 Behold, I waited for your words; I gave ear to your arguments, while ye searched out what to say.

32:12 Even so, I attended unto you,114 and, behold, there was none of you to reprove Job or to answer his words.

32:13 Lest ye should say, We have found out wisdom; it is needful that God thrust him down, and not man.

114 When Elihu says, Even so, I attended unto you, does he mean he was paying attention to their words, or is it possible that he was serving them in some manner? Was he the scribe (or one of the scribes) writing everything down? Is that how he became involved in an altercation that must have gone on for days?

Job’s discourses have deeply upset young Elihu, and the fact that Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar have failed to reprove Job or to answer his words has brought him to the boiling point.

Elihu is afraid that the three might be getting ready to declare themselves the last word in wisdom by saying that it is needful for God to thrust him down, and not man. This is further indication that what had been going on up until now was really a formal trial and that Elihu is afraid that the three judges are about to cop out on their responsibility because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job.

32:14 Now he has not directed his words against me; neither will I answer him with your reasons.

32:15 They were amazed, they answered no more; they left off speaking.

32:16 And I waited, (for they did not speak, but stopped, and answered no more);115

115 The phrasing here seems to lend further credence to the idea that Elihu may have been the scribe taking notes of what was said.

Total and complete silence, because Eliphaz and his two friends were genuinely wrong. Remember that they have learned their principles, values, and dogmas by rote. Now they are at a loss when challenged and have no answer for Elihu, even though they have vigorously condemned Job.

32:17 I said, I will also answer my part, I will also declare my opinion.

32:18 For I am full of words; the spirit within me constrains me.

Elihu is so full of words that he can barely contain himself, but the spirit within him definitely causes him some distress

32:19 Behold, my belly116 is as wine which has no vent; it is ready to burst forth like spirits.

32:20 I will speak, that I may be able to breathe; I will open my lips and answer.

Elihu answers from his belly117 (not necessarily from his heart or even from his mind). He is about to vent his gut feelings, which are ready to burst forth like spirits (like wine which has no vent).

116 This is the eighth use of the word “belly” in the book of Job, out of a total of nine.

117 The word “belly” is used forty-nine times in Scripture. For instance, in Daniel’s vision of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, a huge statue or image represented all of the kingdoms of the world, and the belly of that statue was made of brass, symbolizing judgment (Daniel 2:32). The belly (along with its appetites and judgments) also demonstrates our nature, for that which is born of the flesh is flesh. Nevertheless, Jesus said, He that believes in me, as the scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water (John 7:38).

32:21 I will not now be a respecter of persons, neither will I give flattering titles unto man.

32:22 For I do not know how to give flattering titles; otherwise my maker would soon take me away.

Elihu seems to be quite serious when he claims that he will not now be a respecter of persons118 and promises that he will not give flattering titles unto man. He argues that he doesn’t even know how to give flattering titles and implies that if he were to do so, his maker would soon take him away. To some, these declarations reflect a brash, blunt truth-teller. To others, they are so unduly emphatic as to border on boastfulness. But to me, they somehow give the impression that young Elihu is concerned he may be in over his head, and he is struggling to boost his credibility with these more experienced men by insisting he will offer them nothing but straight talking.

118 This is the only time in Scripture that the description of not being a respecter of persons is applied to anyone other than God. The phrase is used at least four other times in Scripture when referring to God, including once by Elihu himself (Job 34:19; Matthew 22:16; Acts 10:34; Ephesians 6:9).

We now come to the first part of the discourse that Elihu addressed to Job. (We could have expected a third discourse from Zophar, but he has chosen to remain silent and let Elihu take his place.)

Job 33

33:1 Therefore, Job, hear now my reasons, and hearken to all my words.

33:2 Behold, now I shall open my mouth, my tongue shall speak in my mouth.

33:3 My reasons declare the uprightness of my heart; and my lips shall utter pure knowledge.

Elihu thinks that his reasons declare the uprightness of [his] heart. There are many today who seem to share this perspective, particularly if they are spiritually gifted. Jesus put it differently, pointing out that by their fruits ye shall know them (Matthew 7:20). The fruit Jesus refers to is godly character, of course, not “reasons.” Based on Elihu’s reasons, he claims his lips shall utter pure knowledge. The word translated “knowledge” here means wisdom acquired though actual experience, not “head knowledge” (reasons).

33:4 The Spirit of God made me, and the breath of the Almighty gave me life.

33:5 If thou canst answer me, set thy words in order before me, stand up.

33:6 Behold, I am according to thy wish in God’s stead; I also am formed out of the clay.

Elihu isn’t just standing in for Zophar, he claims to be standing in for God! Is this youthful arrogance or a passionate desire to defend the Lord? We shall see.

The word translated as “breath” also has to do with divine inspiration or intellect. Elihu claims to be a young man of the Spirit. Since the Spirit of God made him and the breath (inspiration) of the Almighty has given him life, he has no qualms in declaring that he ought to represent God in an emergency situation like this, when it seems to him that the Lord’s reputation is at stake.

33:7 Behold, my terror shall not make thee afraid, neither shall my hand be heavy upon thee.

Elihu heard Job say earlier that he wanted to take his case before God and he was concerned about approaching God’s throne even if he could find it. Elihu, feeling that he is full of the Spirit of God, thinks he is the answer to Job’s prayer.

33:8 Surely thou hast spoken in my hearing, and I have heard the voice of thy words, saying,

33:9 I am clean without rebellion, I am innocent; neither is there iniquity in me.

33:10 Behold, God sought occasions against me, he counts me for his enemy,

33:11 he put my feet in the stocks, he guards all my paths.

Rebellion is openly revolting against God and joining the enemy. Iniquity is covering up transgressions, as Adam did. Job has already avowed that unlike Adam, he is not hiding iniquity in his bosom, and God has already declared that Job to be perfect and upright, both before and during his predicament. Yet Elihu, even constrained by the spirit within him, cannot directly perceive the throne of God and therefore cannot reconcile Job’s grievous circumstances with his repeated declarations of innocence. Elihu cannot conceive that God would ever allow a righteous person to suffer as Job has done, let alone orchestrate such an experience. Although Elihu’s spiritual vision may be clearer than that of Job’s three friends, it is by no means 20/20, and thus Elihu responds to Job and the three friends out of wrath instead of out of love.

33:12 Behold, in this thou art not just; I will answer thee, that God is greater than man.

Being just is virtually the same thing as being upright. Elihu carefully chooses a few points in which he declares that Job is not being just, but this does not square with God’s twice-stated word at the end of the book, that Job has spoken by God in uprightness (Job 42:7-8). There is a sense in which Job is right when he says that even though his conscience is clean, God treats him as an enemy. Scripture states that the natural, carnal man feels enmity toward God. God does not like this attitude on man’s part, and he is willing to use even Satan to help eradicate any remaining trace of it. This is at least part of what kept throwing a monkey wrench into everyone’s established theology.

33:13 Why dost thou strive against him? For he will not answer all of thy words.

This statement was proved false in the end, when God appeared to Job and answered his words. Although Elihu appears to operate in a more advanced spiritual realm than Eliphaz, Bildad, or Zophar, he obviously does not have access to the realm represented by the holy of holies of the direct presence of God.

Elihu continues:

33:14 Nevertheless, in one or two manners God speaks to the one who does not see.

33:15 In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls upon men, in slumberings upon the bed;

33:16 then he opens the ears of men and seals their instruction,

33:17 that he may withdraw the man from his own work and cover the man from pride.

33:18 Thus he keeps back his soul from the pit and his life from perishing by the sword.

Elihu understands that the problem faced here is one of blindness. He knows of one or two manners in which God speaks to the one who does not see. God can speak in a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls upon men, in slumberings upon the bed, and this is when he opens the ears of men and seals their instruction. All this is true, but Elihu is blind to the fact that Job’s spiritual ears are already open and Job has had a long and fruitful history of God speaking to him and sealing his instruction. Elihu doesn’t realize that God gave Satan a direct order not to take Job’s life and this is how he keeps back his soul from the pit and his life from perishing by the sword.

33:19 He is chastened also upon his bed with strong pain in all his bones,

33:20 so that his life abhors bread and his soul dainty food.

33:21 His flesh is consumed away, that it cannot be seen; and his bones that were not seen stick out.119

33:22 His soul shall draw near to the grave, and his life to those that would bury him.

119 It is true that now, Job’s “flesh” is not on display: it is consumed away, that it cannot be seen. This change has revealed Job’s “bones” (his foundation, substance, and structure): his bones that were not seen stick out.

Satan was even authorized by God to take away Job’s health, and yet Elihu refers to Job’s precarious situation as an indication that Job is about to die because he is chastened. Everything else Elihu says regarding Job’s health appears to be true, but his lack of discernment regarding the real reason behind Job’s physical problems causes him to continue to misunderstand and misjudge Job.

33:23 If there is a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to show unto man his uprightness;

33:24 to tell him that God had mercy on him, that he delivered him from going down to the pit; that he found a ransom;

33:25 his flesh shall become more tender than a child’s; and he shall return to the days of his youth.

This might have been a message to give to a great man of God who had persisted in hiding some fatal fault and was now in desperate straits. Job’s continual insistence on his uprightness has even been taken into account (although the phrase to show unto man his uprightness reeks of humanism). This special messenger with him120 would ask Job to admit to nonexistent guilt. If Job had sinned and then been brought to repentance, it would indeed have been important to tell him that God had mercy on him, that he delivered him from going down the pit; that he found a ransom. Elihu seems to minister grace, not law. There is even a prophetic application for much of what he preaches, for now we know the true interpreter, we know who paid the ransom, and we know that this will lead to resurrection.

120 Elihu seems to consider himself to be this special messenger and interpreter, one among a thousand. This could indicate a major ego problem.

Elihu continues his message:

33:26 He shall pray unto God, and he will love him; and he shall see his face with shouts of joy; for he will render unto the man the recompense of his righteousness.

33:27 He looks upon men, and if any say, I have sinned and perverted that which was right, and it did not profit me;

33:28 God will ransom his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light.

This seems like a wonderful gospel message about the grace of God (and considering the spiritual beliefs prevailing when Elihu was preaching these words, the message surely must have been given to him in some type of revelation), but it doesn’t really fit Job’s case. Elihu is a gifted preacher, but he does not understand the way of the cross. At that time, of course, virtually no one did.121

121 Many preachers all over the world today have a great deal in common with Elihu. They are prone to apply what they consider to be the gospel of grace to those who are sick or in financial (or other) trouble, without discerning the real reasons behind the problem. Job’s problems were not due to lack of repentance or want of faith. However, it is entirely possible that someone else could suffer a similar disaster due to hidden sin.

33:29 Behold, God does all these things two and three times with man,

According to Elihu, God gives everyone at least two or three opportunities to repent when they fall into iniquity and rebel.

33:30 to turn back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living.

33:31 Hear me, O Job, hearken unto me; be silent, and I will speak.

33:32 If thou hast anything to say, answer me; speak, for I desire to justify thee.

Elihu says that he wants to justify Job. He is willing to accept that Job might have even been upright most of the time. However, Elihu insists that in order to be justified, Job must repent of whatever it is that he is hiding. So Job is now being given what Elihu considers to be a golden (and maybe even a final) opportunity to repent.

33:33 If not, hearken unto me; be silent, and I shall teach thee wisdom.

Apparently this was followed by a period of silence, rather like the hush in many churches after the altar call is given, to allow time for anyone to respond.

Let us pray

Heavenly Father, we ask that you will deal directly with us and cleanse our hearts and help us to keep them clean, so we will have crystal clear discernment as we interact with those like Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar, and Elihu. May you teach us wisdom. May you continue to lead and guide us to the place of understanding. We ask this in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Chap 19. Elihu Chooses His Judgment.

This is the second part of the discourse of Elihu, and he apparently addresses Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, whom he now calls wise men.

Job 34

34:1 Furthermore, Elihu answered and said,

34:2 Hear my words, O ye wise men; and give ear unto me, ye that have knowledge.

Are they really wise men and do they really have knowledge? In the end, God didn’t think so (Job 42:7-8). Elihu himself didn’t seem to think so near the beginning of his discourse, when his anger first burst forth and he announced, Great men are not always wise, neither do the aged understand judgments (Job 32:9).

34:3 For the ear tries words, as the mouth tastes food.

34:4 Let us choose our judgment; let us know among ourselves what is good.

Elihu is about to abandon all pretext of impartiality. He doesn’t even claim to have been granted discernment from the Spirit of God. Instead, he says: Let us choose our judgment; let us know among ourselves what is good.122 He now places himself with Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar on one side of the scales, leaving Job on the other side. He and his friends will determine what is good based on human hearing (which he likens to the sense of taste) rather than any spiritual senses they may or may not possess. They will ignore the fact that only God is qualified to determine what is good and what is evil.123 Jesus warned us against this error when he said, Judge not, that ye be not judged (Matthew 7:1).

122 Remember, God commanded Adam not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17). There continue to be many today who, like Elihu, preach the humanistic message that we can know among ourselves what is good. However, if we attempt to decide for ourselves what is good while pretending to allow God to decide what is evil, we will inevitably make mistakes that will preclude our recovery from our fallen state. This will be true as long as we usurp and refuse to acknowledge God’s authority in any area. Furthermore, once we arrogate to ourselves the right to decide what is good, we may very well end up also attempting to decide what is evil.

123 Remember that chronologically, the book of Job was written long before Moses wrote or compiled the book of Genesis.

Elihu continues with his judgment, and it soon becomes clear that he is not deciding what is good. Rather, he is determined to show that Job is evil.

34:5 For Job has said, I am righteous; and God has taken away my right.

34:6 In my judgment he was a liar, my arrow wound is grievous without my having committed a transgression.

Elihu now accuses Job of calling God a liar, but this is a gross distortion. Job has insisted he is innocent and his conscience is clean, and therefore he desires to take his case before God, who he believes will agree with him. This is not, however, the same as saying In my judgment [God] was a liar.

34:7 What man is like Job, who drinks up the scorn like water?

34:8 Who goes in company with the workers of iniquity, and walks with wicked men.

34:9 For he said, It shall profit a man nothing that he should conform his will with God.

These are serious accusations, but on what evidence does Elihu base them? Who are the workers of iniquity and wicked men that supposedly accompany Job? Elihu furiously endeavors to defend his own warped and distorted concept of God. Elihu is not only convinced it is not possible to justify Job and God at the same time; like the others, he has it in for Job, and having already reached his conclusion, he attempts to justify it by falsifying evidence and misquoting Job. Look at the religious smoke screen he puts up:

34:10 Therefore, hearken unto me, ye men of understanding: far be it from God, that he should do wickedness; and from the Almighty, that he should commit iniquity.

Are Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar really and truly men of understanding? As we see later, God doesn’t think so. Does Elihu think this? Or is he merely buttering them up? Remember, this is the man who insisted, I do not know how to give flattering titles; otherwise my maker would soon take me away.

34:11 For he shall pay man according to his work and cause every man to find according to his ways.

34:12 Yea, surely God will not do wickedly, neither will the Almighty pervert judgment.

It is true that God will eventually pay man according to his work and cause every man to find according to his ways, but this may not happen here and now. In any case, one of the problems with the way this argument is put together is that Elihu wants to be the one who decides what is good and what is evil. This would mean that he, not God, would be the judge of which acts are wicked and iniquitous.

Faced with Elihu’s combination of anger and flattery, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar have enough sense to keep their mouths shut. Elihu, however, has the bit between his teeth, and he charges on for another three and a half chapters.

34:13 Who visited the earth for him? And who set the whole world in order?

In the time of Abraham, and likely also with Job, it was God who visited the earth. On the other hand, it was Satan who set the whole world in order after Adam’s rebellion and who has been the god or prince of this world ever since. If this is true, Elihu mixes God’s attributes with those of Satan.

34:14 If he were to set his heart upon man and gather unto himself his spirit and his breath,

34:15 all flesh would perish together, and man would turn again unto dust.

The minute God lifted his hedge of protection around Job, Satan immediately inflicted as much damage on the man as possible.124 While it is true that God is almighty, he does not use his power in the same fashion. If he chose, our spirit and our breath would instantly cease to support us and we would turn again unto dust, but fortunately for mankind, God is slow to anger, and of great mercy (Nehemiah 9:17), and he does not immediately destroy us even when our sins deserve it. From the time of the New Testament forward, the average life span for those who (as far as we can determine from outward appearances) are Christians has been very similar to the average life span for those who appear not to be Christians. There are, of course, exceptions, such as when God grants Job another hundred and forty years of life at the end of this book.

124 If God always provided total protection to his people, then the fullness of the thoughts and intentions of those who are evil would never be completely manifest, and this would limit the possibility of bringing them to judgment, for everyone shall be judged by their works (Revelation 20:11-15).

34:16 If now thou hast understanding, hear this: hearken to the voice of my words.

34:17 Shall even he that hates judgment govern? And wilt thou condemn the Mighty One that is righteous?

Elihu claims that Job hates judgment, an attitude which he implies renders Job unfit to govern. He thus paints Job as a hypocrite who hates being judged but is quite happy to judge others. Is there a personal element to this accusation? Had Elihu previously felt himself unduly restricted under Job’s righteous government?

Elihu follows this accusation with a question he thinks is a knockout: And wilt thou condemn the Mighty One that is righteous? By this time, of course, some readers may be wondering exactly who Elihu conceives the “Mighty One” to be.

34:18 Is it fit to say to the king, Thou art of Belial and to the princes, Ye are ungodly?

34:19 How much less to him who is not a respecter of the persons125 of princes, nor respects the rich more than the poor; for they all are the work of his hands.

The word “Belial,”126 meaning “worthless” or “lawless,” is used only once in the book of Job and is a veiled way to refer to Satan and to his followers. Elihu insinuates that Job’s words are the equivalent of stating that God (“the king”) is of the devil and God’s sons (the “princes,” by which he means Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar, and himself) are ungodly. If Elihu’s implication was true (which it is not), Job would have been guilty of blasphemy. You will recall Satan’s cynical prediction that if God allowed Job’s possessions, status, and health to be touched, Job would blaspheme God to his face.

Was Elihu fully aware of the implications of his words? Did he understand who stood to benefit from his indirect accusation? And did he use those words wittingly or unwittingly? To say he did so wittingly is to call him a willing tool of the devil. To give him the benefit of the doubt and say he did so unwittingly, however, tends to confirm that something is seriously wrong with Elihu’s spiritual discernment, causing him to make errors of a far greater magnitude than the inverted logic of Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar.127

Elihu continues with an explanation of what he considers will be the fate of every member of the human race:

34:20 In a moment they shall die, and the peoples shall be troubled at midnight and shall pass away; and the mighty shall be taken away without hand.

34:21 For his eyes are upon the ways of man, and he sees all his steps.

34:22 There is no darkness nor shadow of death,128 where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves.

125 Here Elihu clearly refers to God as being the one who does not treat people differently based on their title or wealth (or lack thereof). Previously Elihu had made a similar claim about himself, saying that he would not now be a respecter of persons (Job 32:21).

126 “Belial” is used a total of twenty-eight times in Scripture.

127 In the realm of the Spirit it is extremely easy for this to happen to any of us. You remember when Simon Peter told Jesus, Thou art the Christ, and Jesus responded by explaining to Peter that it was God the Father who had revealed this to him. Then, a few verses later, when Jesus said that he must go to the cross and die, Peter tried to talk him out of it, and Jesus replied, Remove thyself from before me, Satan! (See Matthew 16:13-23.) Elihu, like many others throughout history, is having some serious trouble discerning the spirits. I might add that it is when our anger is out of control that we are very susceptible to being used by a wrong spirit. Another major factor that will contribute to being deceived is if we desire personal gain.

128 This is the ninth use (out of ten) of the phrase shadow of death in the book of Job (there are twenty total in Scripture). Elihu’s understanding of the meaning of this phrase seems to differ radically from Job’s last use of it in regard to the boundaries that God places (Job 28:3).

The real problem for all of those who have given their judgment and opinion about Job is that they have absolutely no idea of the spiritual confrontation going on in heaven between Satan and God, nor are they aware that Satan is the prince of this world (system) and that all the kingdoms of this world belong to him. Living as they do before the first coming of the Lord Jesus Christ (and not even being certain that there will be such a first coming), they do not know that Satan’s kingdom (referred to as leviathan in Job 41) will not be toppled until Christ’s second coming (Revelation 11:15). This limited perspective is reflected in Elihu’s next line about God:

34:23 For he will not lay upon man more than that which is just; that he should enter into judgment with God.

Because their viewpoint is from the realm of the earth, they all think God will not lay upon man more than that which is just. They can see absolutely no reason why Job should enter into judgment with God. Job, on the other hand, keeps insisting that what has happened and is happening to him is unjust, that he is blameless, that an accuser is framing him, and that he wants to take his case directly to the throne of God.

34:24 He shall break in pieces mighty men without number and set others in their stead.

34:25 Therefore, he shall cause their works to be notorious, when he shall overturn them in the night, so that they are destroyed.

34:26 He shall strike them as wicked men in the open sight of others

34:27 because thus they turned back from him and would not consider any of his ways

34:28 so that they cause the cry of the poor to come unto him, and he hears the cry of the afflicted.

34:29 When he gives rest, who then can make trouble? If he hides his face, who then can behold him? This applies to a nation and the same to a man,

34:30 that the hypocrite not reign, lest the people be ensnared.

The accepted wisdom of the day was that God would never hesitate to use his unlimited power. People remembered the flood and the ministry of righteous men such as Noah and Shem. Joseph was on the throne of Egypt (which was the major world power), and the religious leaders were confident God would never again let a hypocrite reign or allow the people to be ensnared.129 Obviously the devil had been hard at work pushing them too far in what at first seemed to be the right direction after the flood. These leaders were oblivious of Satan’s power and scope and authority, not only in the world but in Sheol, the underworld, while (having duped mankind by spreading the lie that the grave is final and there is no afterlife) death held hostage the souls of almost everyone who had ever died.

129 Think about it: how many hypocrites reign in the world today, and how many people are ensnared?

People like Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar, and Elihu were utterly convinced that there was not, and could not be, any danger or risk for God. The idea of a wager in heaven between God and Satan – a wager that God could conceivably lose – was not on their radar. While these people blindly and stubbornly (and falsely) accused Job of being unfaithful to God, something was going on that was totally beyond their comprehension. They were aware of the existence of the devil, but he was not referred to as Satan, meaning “accuser,” until the writing of Scripture began with the book of Job.

In his confrontation with Satan, God was counting on Job not to fail him. God had carefully prepared Job to the point where he could confidently say to Satan, Hast thou considered my slave Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and upright man, one that fears God and has departed from evil? That God was willing to risk his credibility on the faithfulness of one man is more than mindboggling.

Elihu continues:

34:31 For it is of God to say, I have forgiven, I will no longer destroy.

In a broad sense, this is a true statement, but it is also further evidence that Elihu believes God is destroying Job because of Job’s unforgiven sins.

34:32 Teach me that which I do not see; if I have done iniquity, I will do it no more.

Elihu is about to bring the hammer down even harder on Job, but here he hesitates and seems a little unsure of himself. Now Elihu may be beginning to wonder if he himself may have done iniquity. Could some conviction from the Spirit of God be pricking his conscience?

34:33 Will he, perchance finish his work by thee; whether thou refuse or whether thou choose, or by me? Speak what thou knowest.130

130 In reality, God will finish his work by the Lord Jesus Christ of whom Job is a prophetic example.

Will God finish his work by Job? Or by Elihu? In other words, will Job ever be restored to the high place of authority in the land that he had before his troubles, or (which is perhaps Elihu’s secret desire that he has inadvertently let slip here) will God replace Job with Elihu?

34:34 The men of understanding will say as I say, and the wise man will hearken unto me.

34:35 Job has spoken without knowledge, and his words were without prudence.

34:36 My desire is that Job may be tried unto the end, that there may be answers against wicked men.

34:37 For he added rebellion unto his sin, he claps his hands among us and multiplies his words against God.

Elihu’s wrath against Job’s three friends has abated. Now he flatters them again, calling them men of understanding and claiming that the wise man will hearken unto him (instead of unto Job131), and he proceeds to disparage Job’s knowledge and prudence by way of contrast. This apparently causes his wrath against Job to surge, and he expresses his desire that the inquisition of Job continue because he believes Job is guilty of rebellion against God in addition to his original sins (although despite their accusations, none of them have been able to actually put their finger on what those sins may have been, let alone prove Job committed them).

131 Remember, Scripture records that Job is a true prophet of God (James 5:10-11). There is no divine endorsement of Elihu.

Now comes the third part of Elihu’s discourse:

Job 35

35:1 Elihu proceeded in his reasoning and said,

35:2 Dost thou think this to be right, when thou didst say, I am more righteous than God?

35:3 For thou didst say, What advantage will it be unto thee? And, What profit shall I have, if I am cleansed from my sin?

Once again Elihu puts words in Job’s mouth as he proceeds with his reasoning. This is not what Job actually said, because he was always very respectful of God. However, once we have made up our minds about a person’s character, it’s all too easy for us to misremember their actual words in a way that confirms what we’ve already decided about them. This is what Elihu may be doing here, rather than deliberately distorting Job’s words, and it’s a good reminder for all of us never to twist anyone’s words or take them out of context (this is particularly true regarding our use of Scripture).

35:4 I will answer thee and thy companions with thee.

35:5 Look unto the heavens and see; and behold the heavens which are higher than thou.

35:6 If thou dost sin, what hast thou done against him? Or if thy rebellion is multiplied, what doest thou unto him?

35:7 If thou art righteous, what shalt thou give him? Or what shall he receive of thine hand?

35:8 Thy wickedness shall hurt a man as thou art; and thy righteousness shall profit the son of man.

In order for Satan to win his wager with God, Job would have to blaspheme God to his face, which he has not done. Nevertheless, if Job was committing sins other than blasphemy right now, with all of the heavens watching, his misdeeds would tend to justify Satan. Similarly, if what Elihu perceives as Job’s rebellion were to be multiplied, this would seriously discredit God.

Since Elihu does not know about the wager, he seems clueless about what is really going on, even though he appears to be aware that unseen things are happening in the spiritual realm. Is he occasionally confusing the antichrist132 spirit of Satan with the Holy Spirit of God? When Elihu looks down his nose and asks Job, If thou art righteous, what shalt thou give [God]? Or what shall he receive of thine hand?, Job treats it as a rhetorical question and does not respond, but he could have truthfully replied, glory and majesty, dominion and power (Jude 1:25).

132 The prefix “anti-” in the word “antichrist” does not mean “the opposite of ” Christ. It means a “false or counterfeit” Christ. This is why Elihu is having such a hard time with his discernment.

Elihu reproaches Job for his wickedness, which he claims shall hurt a man as thou art. There is, of course, no wickedness in Job, but there is ample wickedness in fallen man, and it has greatly affected God. We should never cease to be grateful that he responded with charity and gave his only begotten Son to die for the sins of the world (John 3:16).

35:9 By reason of the great violence they shall call out; they cry out because of the strength of the many.

35:10 But no one shall say, Where is God my maker, who gives songs in the night;133

35:11 who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth and makes us wiser than the fowls of heaven?

35:12 There they shall cry, but he shall give no answer because of the pride of those that are evil.

133 Elihu seems to be chiding Job for his comment about the night on which he was born: O, let that night be solitary; let no song come therein! (Job 3:7). However, the occasion of our natural birth in the flesh is not nearly as important as the occasion of our spiritual new birth. When Jesus was born, there was undoubtedly a song in the night, and there is a celebration in heaven every time someone is born again from above.

Who are the beasts of the earth? Who are the fowls of heaven? What do they represent?

Does Elihu refer to demons and angels? He seems to proudly believe that God, his maker, has taught him more than the beasts of the earth and made him wiser than the fowls of the heaven. Then he goes on to mention the pride of those who are evil without stopping to consider that God might consider his harsh judgment of Job to be evil.

35:13 Surely God will not hear vanity, neither will the Almighty look upon it.

35:14 For much that thou dost say, he will not look upon it, submit to judgment before him, and trust thou in him.

35:15 But now, because he has not visited in wrath; nor is it known in great extremity;

35:16 therefore, Job opened his mouth in vain and multiplied words without knowledge.

Elihu seems to think Job’s prayers are useless. Yes, it is true that God will not hear vanity, neither will the Almighty look upon it. But Elihu will learn a lesson in this regard, for later, when God appears, he interrupts Elihu and directs his answer to Job.

If Job comes out of this trial with his faith in God intact, then God will win the wager; if Job loses his faith to the extent that he blasphemes God to his face, then God will lose the wager. Remember that Scripture (the written Word of God) states that God does not lie (Titus 1:2) and Scripture cannot be broken (John 10:33-36). God chose to start the written Bible with an account of a serious wager with Satan, and within the first twelve verses he put the validity of his word on the line, based on the perfect and upright character of Job.

If we analyze history, we find there are key moments where a positive outcome seemed to be almost impossible to achieve, and right actions by a key person or persons proved to be the factor that turned the tide. The Bible relates the story of many such heroes of faith (Hebrews 11). Job is not mentioned in that particular list, but there is no doubt that he is just such a person of virtue, and his patience and endurance are praised by James (James 5:10-11). Nevertheless, a surprising number of Christians seem to agree with Elihu that Job opened his mouth in vain and multiplied words without knowledge, that is, said a great deal but to no real purpose. Those who think this way have never faced the type of trial that Job did. Maybe God has never placed them on the front line of a major battle like this because he knew they might not pass the test. After all, when God selected a redeemer for lost and fallen mankind, he did not pick someone whose character was in doubt; he chose his only begotten Son to reveal the victory of the cross to the entire universe.

Let us pray

Heavenly Father, we ask that you will continue to open our spiritual eyes and increase our discernment. We desire to leave the knowledge of good and of evil in your hands. Deliver us from making judgments on our own. We ask this in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Chap 20. God is Great, and We Know Him Not.

This is the fourth part of the discourse of Elihu.

Job 36

36:1 And Elihu added and said,

Apparently there was a somewhat awkward pause after Elihu’s last words, but when no one spoke up, he continued.

Even though he was angry, Elihu had maintained a cordial manner toward Job until it became clear that Job did not agree with him (toward the end of chapter 33). Then he turned on Job with a vengeance. Have you ever fellowshipped with a leader and congregation that seemed very loving and kind until they discovered you didn’t agree with some of their doctrine? If so, you may well have learned how some “Christians” can go from loving and accepting you to hating and shunning you at the drop of a hat, while still being convinced they speak and act on behalf of God.

36:2 Wait for me a little, and I will teach thee; for I yet speak on God’s behalf.

36:3 I will take my knowledge from afar and will ascribe righteousness to my Maker.

36:4 For truly my words are not lies; for I share perfect knowledge with thee.

Elihu claims to yet speak on God’s behalf, but he also says, I will take my knowledge from afar. He claims that truly my words are not lies; for I share perfect knowledge with thee.

This is the formula for a very dangerous concoction: a mixture of part us and part spiritual gifts that were originally from God. We should never drink of it, for it nourishes spiritual pride and arrogance and thus gives the Enemy a foothold within us.

The apostle Paul, on the other hand, undoubtedly spoke on God’s behalf, and truly his words were not lies. Unlike Elihu’s arrogance, however, the perfect knowledge that he shared with the Jewish believers at Corinth was that spiritual gifts (and good works) were nothing without charity: Charity suffers long and is benign; charity envies not; charity does nothing without due reason, is not puffed up, is not injurious, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil, rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). Now ask yourself this: were Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar, and Elihu extending charity to Job? Were they willing to give him the benefit of the doubt? Or were they adding to his ordeal by baselessly accusing him and then heaping on guilt and condemnation?

Charity is never lost, but prophecies shall come to an end, tongues shall cease, and knowledge shall come to an end (1 Corinthians 13:8). So much for Elihu’s perfect knowledge. Note that even though God several times described Job as a perfect and upright man (speaking of Job’s heart for God), he is never said to have perfect knowledge. On the contrary, Job’s knowledge is so imperfect that he desperately seeks to understand what has happened and is happening to him, and why. He is convinced that he will only be able to learn the explanation at the throne of God (if he can locate it).

For we know in part, and we prophesy in part (1 Corinthians 13:9). And if we are not very careful, even in a best-case scenario, we can intervene in a manner that turns out to be part us and part God. Therefore, although God may use us and even speak through us from time to time, it is extremely dangerous for us to claim to speak on God’s behalf if God has not authorized us and moved us by his Spirit.

But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things (1 Corinthians 13:10-11). Who is being immature – Job or his so-called comforters? Remember that when God describes Job as “perfect and upright,” the word “perfect” in Hebrew is also the word for “mature.”

Elihu continues:

Job 36

36:5 Behold, God is mighty and does not despise; he is mighty in virtue of heart.134

134 This is part of a smoke screen that Elihu creates. The real issue is that Elihu despises Job, who is a true prophet of God. Jesus said, He that hears you hears me, and he that despises you despises me, and he that despises me despises him that sent me (Luke 10:16).

I think we can all agree that God is mighty (and mighty in virtue of heart), but it is not quite true to suggest he never despises anyone. For example, he despises workers of iniquity (Psalm 53:4-5), and when the Lord rises up, he will despise even the appearances of the wicked (Psalm 73:20).

36:6 He shall not give life to the wicked; but to the poor he shall give their right.

Again Elihu does not have an accurate picture of God. When we are lost in trespasses and sin (i.e., when we are wicked), our only hope is for God to extend his life to us. The gospel is not about God giving the poor their right but rather it is about us surrendering all our rights to God and acknowledging that he is the only one who is righteous. Fortunately for us, God does not wait until we are perfect to bless us with the gift of the Holy Spirit. He is willing to pour out his Spirit on all flesh (Acts 2:16-17) because it is only by the Spirit that we may mortify the deeds of the body (or of the flesh) and live (Romans 8:13).

36:7 He shall not withdraw his eyes from the righteous; but with kings he shall place them on the throne for ever, and they shall be exalted.

36:8 And if they were bound in fetters and captive in cords of affliction,

36:9 then he shall show them their work and that their rebellions prevailed.

36:10 He opens their ear to instruction and commands that they turn from iniquity.

Elihu seems to look upon Job as a “king” that God raised up.135 In Elihu’s concept of such kings, God shall place them on the throne for ever, and they shall be exalted. But Elihu thinks that “King” Job has now fallen from grace and is bound in fetters and captive in cords of affliction. In this discourse, Elihu claims to yet speak on God’s behalf, and therefore when kings fall, he (Elihu) can show them their work and that their rebellions prevailed. He can then speak on God’s behalf with a word that opens their ear to instruction and commands that they turn from iniquity.

135 Under the new covenant, God wants to raise up a royal priesthood of kings and priests (1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 1:6). However, the path to maturity (perfection) as kings and priests leads through the cross, and whenever anyone is chosen by God to advance along the way of the cross, it is common for someone immature but loaded with spiritual pride, like young Elihu, to arrive on the scene in a confused and mixed-up attempt to straighten them out. However, it is extremely dangerous for someone to speak on God’s behalf when God has not authorized that person to do so, and Elihu is about to find that out.

36:11 If they hearken and serve him, they shall spend their days in goodness and their years in delight.

36:12 But if they do not hearken, they shall perish by the sword, and they shall die without knowledge.

36:13 But the hypocrites in heart shall irritate him more; they shall not cry out when he binds them.

36:14 Their soul shall die in youth, and their life is among the male pagan cult prostitutes.

Elihu thinks he is on a roll and is speaking as a major prophet. In his opinion, “King” Job can either hearken and serve God and spend his remaining days in goodness and his years in delight, or else he will perish by the sword and die without knowledge.

Elihu informs Job that the hypocrites in heart shall irritate [God] more. In other words, Elihu implies that God is already very irritated with Job because Job is just such a hypocrite in heart. Claiming to speak on God’s behalf, he tells Job that if he continues in iniquity (hidden sin), he will irritate God even more. Elihu proclaims, as if it were the word of God, that for those who continue on this path of hypocrisy, their soul shall die in youth (in immaturity), and their life is among the male pagan cult prostitutes (some of whom may have been homosexual).

Elihu continues:

36:15 He shall deliver the poor from his poverty, and in affliction shall open their ears.

The circumstantial evidence of Job’s poverty and affliction is alluded to again.

36:16 Likewise, he would have removed thee out of the mouth of anguish into a broad place where there is no distress and should have set thy table full of fatness.

A few hours before Jesus went to the cross, he said, In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world (John 16:33).

36:17 But thou hast fulfilled the judgment of the wicked, against the judgment and the justice that sustain everything.

36:18 Therefore it is to be feared that he take thee away with a stroke,136 which cannot be avoided even with a great ransom.

136 Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar were very fortunate that God did not take them away with a stroke but instead used Job to pray and intercede for their restoration. But what about Elihu? There is a distinct possibility his words will boomerang. Elihu doesn’t just present himself as a friend offering advice and counsel; he claims to represent God and to speak on God’s behalf.

Elihu is desperate for Job to plead guilty and confess to something he did not do. Failing that, if Job does not repent of his non-existent sin, Elihu wants to portray him as a bad example for everyone else. Either way, Job would be discredited. Elihu has stepped in unbidden to take the place of Zophar (the third witness) in what should have been Zophar’s third discourse. Since Elihu’s desire is that Job may be tried unto the end (Job 34:36), he continues his filibuster until God finally interrupts him.

36:19 Will he esteem thy riches? No, not gold, nor all the forces of strength.

A lesser “prophet” of the prosperity gospel might have asked Job for money, but not Elihu (and this is to his credit).

36:20 Do not desire the night, when he cuts people off in their place.

Jesus said, It is expedient that I do the works of him that sent me while it is day; the night comes, when no one can work (John 9:4). The Scriptures repeatedly point to “the day of the Lord” when God will cut off the wicked (it is never called “the night of the Lord”).

36:21 Take heed, do not regard iniquity, to choose it rather than poverty.

36:22 Behold, God is exalted by his power;137 what teacher is like him?

36:23 Who has prescribed his way unto him? Or who shall say unto him, Thou hast wrought iniquity?

36:24 Remember to magnify his work, which men behold.

36:25 Every man may see it; man may behold it afar off.

36:26 Behold, God is great, and we know him not, neither can the number of his years be searched out.

137 God the Father is primarily exalted by who he is. His power is unlimited, but his use of it is determined by his nature and character. As this verse indicates, he is a teacher, and the lessons that he teaches mankind relate to love, sacrifice, patience, forgiveness, and justice. Satan, on the other hand, likes to terrorize people and exalt himself with his arbitrary use of power, for that is his nature and character.

As Elihu continues with his filibuster to extend Job’s trial, he inadvertently lets slip another truth: Behold, God is great, and we know him not. After announcing to Job, Behold, I am according to thy wish in God’s stead (Job 33:6), and then confidently repeating, I will yet speak on God’s behalf (Job 36:2), Elihu unintentionally reveals that he does not believe he and his friends really know God. They only know about him.

In many countries, we find grand and immense cathedrals and impressive religious buildings designed by the very best architects to convey God’s greatness and grandeur. All too often, however, those who sing and worship inside them embody Elihu’s words: Behold, God is great, and we know him not.

In contrast, despite his trials, Job knew God the Father and God knew Job.

36:27 For he detains the drops of water; when the rain pours down rain out of its vapour,

36:28 which the clouds do drop and distil upon man abundantly.

36:29 Shall you understand the spreadings of the clouds or the noise of his tent?

Even as modern science examines the most minute details of the natural realm around us, the majority of people continue to be almost oblivious to the spiritual realm. In order for us to truly understand the spreadings of the clouds or the noise of [God’s] tent, we must receive revelation directly from God, and this will not be easy if we know him not.

36:30 Behold, he spreads his light upon it and covers the roots of the sea.

36:31 For by them he judges the peoples; he gives food to the multitude.

I think Elihu may have also gotten this one backwards. When God spreads his light upon it (upon the clouds that surround his presence or the tent that contains it), the lightning flashes forth, followed by the thunder of what Elihu calls the noise of his tent. This light does not cover the roots of the sea (of lost humanity) but rather exposes those roots and reveals what is really going on. Therefore Elihu’s concept of how God judges the peoples and gives food to the multitude is off. Along with thunder and lightning comes rain, which can be either a means by which God judges the people (as in the days of the flood) or a means by which he gives food to the multitude (by watering the crops).

36:32 With the clouds he covers the light and commands them to come against the light.

36:33 The one gives news of the other; the one acquires wrath against the one that comes.

Elihu seems to think the clouds and the light are at war, and this is definitely the impression we get from a natural perspective. However, it is possible to view this interaction from another angle. When the children of Israel were being led through the wilderness, the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire (light) were not at war. They were virtually one and the same in terms of guidance for the people of God (Exodus 13:21).

Elihu understands that the clouds surrounding the presence of God distill rain that can be a means of judgment or of blessing. Because he does not understand Satan’s role in the conflict going on in the heavens, however, he does not grasp that the fire and lightning and thunder of God (the direct dealings of God) are not really at war with the clouds (the indirect dealings and blessings of God).

From Job 36:26, when Elihu confesses that God is great, and we know him not, his entire discourse seems to dramatically change for the better. What he at first perceived to be a most unusual storm (with a giant “whirlwind” in its midst) that appeared on the horizon really contained the presence of God. Massive displays of lightning lit up the sky, accompanied by what sounded like great peals of thunder among the dense clouds. The “wind” picked up as the presence of God gradually drew closer and closer, prompting Elihu’s next words:

Job 37

37:1 At this also my heart trembles and is moved out of its place.

37:2 Hear attentively his terrible voice and the word that goes out of his mouth.

37:3 He shall place it straight under the whole of the heavens, and his light shall extend unto the ends of the earth.

37:4 After it shall the sound roar; his valiant voice shall thunder; and he will not stay them even when his voice is heard.

37:5 God shall thunder marvelously with his voice; he does great things, which we cannot comprehend.

Having just acknowledged that God is great and we know him not, we now have another admission from Elihu: God does great things, which we cannot comprehend. Now the established dogmas and doctrines about God in Elihu’s mind are coming loose from their moorings, and the words coming out of his mouth flow forth ever clearer from the depths of his heart.

37:6 For he saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth; rain after rain, and rain after rain in his strength.

If Job and the others were in or near mountains, rain could have been descending on the plains below while ice and snow fell farther up the slopes, and spectacular displays of clouds and lightning and thunder (and possibly hail) gradually drew closer and closer, as Elihu continued to speak.

37:7 He seals up the hand of every man that all men may know his work.

When God appears and seals up the hand of every man (that is, stops every man from working), his own work will be revealed to everyone. It can be shown in and through his people who are clean and upright, such as Job.

37:8 Then the beast shall go into its lair and inhabit its dwelling.

What is the beast that shall go into its lair as the storm of God’s presence draws near?

Could it have anything to do with Satan? Is he forced to retreat to shelter as God moves into the scene with his heavenly hosts?138 Something great and terrible definitely appears to be happening, and the first major indication is when Elihu says, At this also my heart trembles and is moved out of its place (v. 1). Satan’s bombardment of Elihu (to get him to attack and accuse Job) has ended, and Elihu’s attitude has undergone a one-hundred-and-eighty-degree transformation.

37:9 Out of the south comes the whirlwind and cold out of the north wind.

The ideal conditions for a whirlwind (or tornado) arise when a cold front moves south and confronts warm, moist air coming from that direction.139

138 Satan is able to influence, manipulate, and control all those who have the mark of the beast on their hand or on their forehead: that is, those who act and think according to the natural man who operates in the flesh (Revelation 13:16).

139 From another prophetic perspective, the conflict between the king of the north and the king of the south is described in Daniel, chapter 11. See The Book of Daniel, Russell Stendal, Ransom Press International, Hollywood, FL.

37:10 By the breath of God ice is given; and the broad waters are constrained.

All of a sudden, the broad waters of Satan’s warfare against Job have been turned to ice and are constrained. This all happens by the breath of God.

37:11 In addition to this, with clarity he wearies the thick clouds; and he scatters them with his light.

As God draws closer, Elihu observes that with clarity he wearies the thick clouds that have veiled Job’s true circumstances and situation, and he scatters them with his light.

37:12 And they are turned round about by his counsels; that they may do whatever he commands them upon the face of the world in the earth.

These thick clouds are turned round about by his counsels; that they may do whatever he commands them upon the face of the world in the earth. The earth belongs to the Lord, and the world system set up by Satan will ultimately comply with God’s commands.

37:13 On some occasions for correction, on others for his land, on others for mercy he causes them to appear.

God’s counsels and commands are intended on some occasions forcorrection (many false religious concepts are about to be straightened out), on others for his land (for his people; the Bible that is being written will bless for all time the people represented by his land), on others for mercy (God will not only justify Job but, because of Job’s faithful patience, he will extend his mercy to Job’s friends and not deal with them according to their folly). Mercy is when God spares us from the penalty we deserve.

As God exhales his breath with unadulterated force, some of it strikes Elihu, causing his heart to tremble and be moved out of its place. Meanwhile, the thick clouds dissipate and the “beast” slinks back into its lair, and Elihu, suddenly realizing he needs some answers, turns to Job in amazement. Now he also seems to have a genuine desire to encourage Job.

37:14 Hearken unto this, Job; stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God.

Satan has done his worst, yet Job is still standing. Now Elihu exhorts him to remain on his feet and consider the wondrous works of God. Elihu is like a man regaining his senses after being spellbound. His entire worldview is undergoing radical change.

37:15 Dost thou know when God disposed them and caused the light of his cloud to shine?

A few minutes earlier, Elihu thought that with the clouds he [God] covers the light and commands them to come against the light (Job 36:32). Now Elihu asks Job if he knows when God disposed them and caused the light of his cloud to shine. The answer (though Elihu does not give Job time to respond) is that God disposed them when he lifted the veil between the natural and the spiritual realms. Elihu previously thought that God’s cloud was dark, but now he has abruptly become aware that the light of God’s cloud shines. Words cannot describe this. From the perspective of the natural man upon the earth, God lives in darkness, veiled by thick clouds (Exodus 20:21; Deuteronomy 4:11; 5:22; 1 Kings 8:10-12). From God’s side of the veil (that is, from his perspective in the realm represented by the holy of holies), he causes the light of his cloud to shine with his Shechaniah140 glory.

140 Shechaniah means “the Lord dwells.”

37:16 Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of the one who is perfect in knowledge?

Elihu’s wonder and curiosity know no bounds as he bombards Job with questions. Now that he has caught a glimpse of the wondrous works of the one who is perfect in knowledge, he tries to figure out the balancings of the clouds.

37:17 How thy garments are warm, when he quiets the earth by the south wind?

When Elihu was attacking Job, he undoubtedly thought Job’s “covering” (the spiritual authority under which Job was operating) was deficient. Now he is amazed and even a little puzzled as he wonders how Job’s garments are warm. The cold north wind of adversity has ceased to pummel Job. Instead, at God’s command, the warm south wind of peace and quiet and prosperity will blow gently upon the earth (upon his people, as symbolized by Job), and there will be rest.

37:18 Hast thou with him spread out the sky, which is strong and as a molten looking glass?

Elihu has had a revelation that has completely upended him. Now he can see that Job has been God’s intimate friend for quite some time. He even asks Job, Hast thou with him spread out the sky?141 Elihu is having a glimpse of the unlimited realm of the heavens, which he now perceives as strong and as a molten looking glass.

141 The word translated as “sky” here is the same word used when God created a “firmament” that he called “heavens” in Genesis 1:6-8. Similarly, Jesus Christ was with God the Father when he spread out the sky (Colossians 1:16). Job is symbolic of Jesus and the body of Christ.

The apostle Paul had already had numerous experiences of the spiritual realm when he wrote, For now we see as through a mirror, in darkness, but then we shall see face to face (1 Corinthians 13:12). Elihu is still a novice in this regard, but he now sees the heavenly realm represented by the holy of holies as a molten looking glass (or mirror) as the presence of God draws nearer and nearer. Now it dawns on him that they will soon see God face to face, and he cries out to Job:

37:19 Teach us what we should say unto him; for we cannot order our speech by reason of darkness.

37:20 Shall it be told him when I speak? When someone is swallowed up shall it be told him?

Elihu, who shot off his mouth earlier while claiming to represent God, is suddenly very concerned about what will happen when the group comes into the direct presence of God (which now seems imminent). He implores Job to teach us what we should say unto him. Not too long ago, Elihu flattered Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, calling them “wise men” and touting their “knowledge” and “understanding” while he attempted to unite them against Job. Now, pleading with Job to teach all of them what to say when they face God, he cries out that we cannot order our speech by reason of darkness. He has realized that what he thought was light was really darkness.

Suddenly another horrifying thought strikes Elihu as he remembers all the unpleasant things he said while falsely claiming to represent God. Shall it be told him when I speak? When someone is swallowed up shall it be told him? The fear of the Lord has now completely overtaken Elihu, and he is wondering if it might be too late for him to repent. Is God aware of all the things he has said?142 If he were to get swallowed up, would God even notice?

142 Jesus said: For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man out of the good treasure of the heart brings forth good things, and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. (Matthew 12:34-37)

Scripture does not record anything Job may have said at this point, but we have his earlier words when he told his friends that if the roles had been reversed, I would strengthen you with my mouth, and the consolation of my lips would assuage the pain (Job 16:5). Now the roles have most definitely been transposed, and I believe Job’s attitude to Elihu and the others would be in line with his earlier assurances, as they all know the moment of truth is imminent.

Observe how Elihu has changed his tune:

37:21 Also, sometimes the clear light which is in the heavens is not seen, but the wind passes and cleanses them.

Despite being very gifted, Elihu had not previously been able to see the clear light which is in the heavens … but the wind passes and cleanses them. His arrogance, his human limitations in reasoning, his strong emotions, and his lack of spiritual discernment had prevented him from perceiving the reality about Job’s situation. Also, there are certain things about God that can only be known by revelation and experience. The word translated as “wind” could also have been translated as “breath” or “spirit.” God is so close now that some of his breath (or wind) has already blown past Elihu and “cleansed” him of at least some of his confusion. Elihu goes on to say:

37:22 Fair weather comes out of the north; with God is terrible majesty.

The word translated as “fair weather” actually means “gold-colored.” Gold, of course, is a symbol of the nature of God. Elihu has finally realized that the adversity represented by the cold north wind has actually revealed and refined the nature of God in Job. He goes on to say that with God is terrible majesty.

37:23 Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out …

Elihu had thought earlier that he was wise and full of knowledge and understanding. He had believed that, of course, he was well qualified to stand in for God and bring “stubborn,” “rebellious” Job to repentance or judgment. Now he is humbled and says that touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out. This seems to indicate Elihu realizes that with regard to the Almighty, he and his friends have been blind and have merely been feeling their way along as they seek him. Now he concludes that by “touch,” we cannot find him out.143

143 This sends a message to those who are immature and remain fascinated with the touchy-feely religious realm.

37:23 … he is excellent in power and in judgment, and in plenty of righteousness he will not afflict.

37:24 Men, therefore, shall fear him; all the crafty of heart shall not see him.

This is as far as Elihu got before he was interrupted – by God himself!

Let us pray

Heavenly Father, we thank you for opening our ears and our eyes, and we ask that we may fully comprehend the beginning of wisdom. We ask this in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Chap 21. Who Gave Intelligence to Understanding?

The last five chapters of the book of Job are the direct intervention by God. This is the first of those chapters.

Job 38

38:1 Then the LORD answered Job144 out of the whirlwind145 and said,

38:2 Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?

Elihu (who inserted himself into Job’s trial) is the one who has been speaking for the past six chapters when the Lord interrupts him to answer Job. So, either the Lord ignores him completely or else he refers to Elihu when he asks Job, Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?146 This would be the ideal opportunity for Job to complain to God about Elihu (or any of the other three), but he refrains from doing so. Interestingly, however, Elihu disappears from the narrative at this point and is never mentioned again.147

144 Note that God did not address Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar, or Elihu; the LORD answered Job.

145 The whirlwind is a symbol of the judgments of God (mentioned in 35 Scriptures; this is the fourth use in the book of Job). However, in the case of Elijah, who was also clean before God, the whirlwind did not destroy him but instead transported him to a higher realm (2 Kings 2:1, 11).

146 The word knowledge here denotes personal experience or relationship. Job has personal knowledge of God. Elihu has declared that he does not (Job 36:26). Therefore I am inclined to think God is asking Job about Elihu in Job 38:2. God could also be alluding to the leviathan (that had been influencing Elihu) because three chapters later, Job repeats a very similar phrase after God finishes explaining this to him: Who is he that hides counsel without knowledge? (Job 41:3)

147 Among the parables of Solomon, we find the following: The fear of the wicked, it shall come upon him, but God shall grant the desire of the righteous. When the whirlwind passes, the wicked is no more, but the righteous is founded for ever (Proverbs 10:24-25). Was Elihu wicked and antichrist (a false person in the place of God), or was he deceived and honestly mistaken? This judgment is not ours to make, but what we do know is that he is never mentioned again. In a worst-case scenario, Elihu did not survive the whirlwind of God; in a best-case scenario, he finally learned to keep his mouth shut and not put himself in the place of God and baselessly accuse people such as Job. It is very interesting to note that both Elihu’s appearance in the narrative of the book of Job and his disappearance from it are equally sudden and virtually without explanation.

The Lord continues:

38:3 Now gird up thy loins like a man; for I will enquire of thee, and answer thou me.

The word translated as “man” is the one used for a freeborn man of nobility. If Job were a slave, he would be covered under the authority of his owner; thus Job can acknowledge God’s ownership over him, submit to it, and remain silent. If he wants to argue or dispute with God like a free man, God warns him that he should now gird up thy loins like a man (and cover himself); for I will enquire of thee, and answer thou me (in other words, God will ask questions of Job before Job gets to ask questions of him).

38:4 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Cause me to know, if thou hast understanding.

Our modern concept of the earth is to equate it to the entire planet, but God’s use of the word is a little different. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was without order, and empty (Genesis 1:1-2). As God ordered his creation, he became more specific: And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters he called Seas (Genesis 1:10). Later the dry land, or earth, became a symbol of God’s covenant people (Genesis 8), and the seas came to represent those who are not in covenant with God. When God laid the foundations of the earth, man had not yet been created.

With Abraham, God introduced the concept of the promised land, which is really a portrayal of our inheritance in Christ. Job was very likely aware of God’s repeated promises to his ancestors: Abraham, Isaac, and Israel.

38:5 Who ordered its dimensions, if thou knowest? Or who has stretched the line upon it?

38:6 Upon what are its foundations founded? Or who laid its corner stone;

In a spiritual sense, the original dimensions of the earth are the righteousness (or justice) of Jesus Christ, the living word, the only begotten Son of God, who was with the Father from the beginning (John 1:1). And he is before all things, and by him all things consist (Colossians 1:17). Ever since the fall,148 Satan has spent a great deal of time and effort trying to convince mankind that the original dimensions of the earth are an unattainable utopia and that there can be no sustainable victory over sin or over the world (which he controls). God, however, laid for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation (Isaiah 28:16), and he that believes on him shall not be confounded (1 Peter 2:6).

148 Remember, prior to the fall the spiritual realm was not veiled off and separated from the natural realm.

38:7 when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

The night when the Lord Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem as a man, the angels sang (Luke 2:8-11) as God laid the cornerstone of the new creation.

38:8 Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it broke forth, as if it had issued out of the womb?

There are three basic realms mentioned in Genesis 1 – the sea, the earth, and the heavens – and creatures were created for each realm. In the new creation, after final judgment of those who have lived in the old creation, there is no more sea (Revelation 21:1). So, who shut up the sea with doors? In the natural creation, God did this when he caused the dry land to appear. Right now, the sea represents those whose eternal future is not secure because they are not in covenant with God. However, God is using the old creation as a womb to bring forth the new.

God has provided the sea of lost humanity with doors. We can choose to follow God; he can open the door for us to be born again and become part of his people (on the “dry land” where it is possible to produce good fruit for his kingdom).

38:9 When I made the clouds its garment and thick darkness a swaddling band for it,

38:10 and established my decree upon it, and set bars and doors,

38:11 and said, Thou shalt come unto here, but no further; and there shall the pride of thy waves be stayed.

Clouds and thick darkness are the “covering” or metaphorical swaddling band that God has made to hide the truth he has birthed out of the sea (of the lost humanity of the world). So dense is this cover that unless God chooses to reveal himself, it is not possible for anyone abiding in that sea to perceive him. When God’s only begot[1]ten Son, Jesus, was born into the world, his mother, Mary, wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger (Luke 2:7). Jesus (the personification of the truth) was hidden from everyone living in the sea of humanity except for a chosen few (such as the shepherds watching their flocks by night, the wise men from the east, and Anna and Simeon in the temple) who were given a revelation from God.

Having established his decree regarding the sea and its covering, God set bars and doors. The doors lead out, and the bars prevent certain lines from being crossed (for instance, wicked King Herod, with all his power and pride, was not able to destroy baby Jesus even though he killed all the other young children in Bethlehem). As mentioned above, there is also a time limit set by God on how long the “sea” will remain.

38:12 Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days? Hast thou shown the dayspring its place,

38:13 that it might take hold of the ends of the earth, that the wicked might be shaken out of it?

Those who live in the natural realm see a new morning every twenty-four hours, and although these mornings do not shake the wicked out of the earth, God warns that this will soon change at his command. For, behold, the day comes that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, and all that do wickedly shall be stubble; and the day that comes shall burn them up, said the LORD of the hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness be born, and in his wings shall bring saving health (Malachi 4:1-2).

As that new day dawns over all the earth, the wicked will be shaken out of it.

38:14 It is transformed as clay to the seal and then stands as a garment;

38:15 but the light of the wicked is taken from them, and the high arm is broken.

How is the dawn of God’s new day transformed as clay to the seal? How does it stand as a garment (as a covering or authority)?

Remember how seals were made in the old days: a mold was made of clay, and when molten metal (usually gold) was poured into the mold, the image on the clay was transformed into a seal. Then the king, to authenticate orders, directives, and official documents, would drop a blob of hot wax on each one and impress the seal on the wax, stamping it with his authority. Also, things that were not to be opened except under certain conditions and by authorized persons (Revelation 6) could be sealed shut with hot wax bearing the mark of the seal.

Mankind is made of clay, and God desires to put the light of his nature into us and by his Spirit, transform us into a royal seal. Satan and his followers, on the other hand, have been discovering how the light of the wicked is taken from them, and the high arm (that is, the arm raised in defiance or rebellion) is broken.

38:16 Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea? Or hast thou walked searching out the deep?

In the day the Lord delivered David from all his enemies, including Saul, he wrote a song that contains the line, Then the springs of the sea appeared and the foundations of the world were uncovered, at the rebuking of the LORD, at the blast of the breath of his nostrils149 (2 Samuel 22:16). Later in the Old Testament, this song is repeated in a slightly different rendition: Then the depths of the waters were seen, and the foundations of the world were discovered at thy rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of the breath of thy nostrils (Psalm 18:15). The world is a system founded by Satan and linked to the realm of the sea. The springs that sustain the sea arise out of the deep (or the abyss). The abyss150 is part of Sheol or Hades (the underworld) and is linked to the death of the body. Before the advent of Jesus Christ, death was able to hold hostage the souls of virtually everyone who died.151

38:17 Have the gates of death been opened unto thee? Or hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death?152

The gates of death (of Sheol) were opened to the Lord Jesus Christ immediately after his death on the cross: he opened the doors of the shadow of death, led captivity captive, and ascended on high. Jesus declared to his disciples that the gates of Hades (of death) shall not prevail against his congregation (Matthew 16:18).153

149 Elihu, got caught by the blast of the breath of [God’s] nostrils. Referring to David’s enemies, his song goes on to say, They cried out, but there was none to save them: even unto the LORD, but he did not answer them (Psalm 18:41).

150 The abyss, or bottomless pit, is also linked to the insatiable desires and appetites of the natural, carnal man. Satan will be chained and bound in the bottomless pit for a thousand years, prior to the final judgment (Revelation 20:1-3).

151 At the final judgment, the entire realm of Hades and death (the abyss) is cast into the lake of fire, which is the second death (Revelation 20:14). Two verses later, we find that there was no more sea (Revelation 21:1). It is interesting to note that death, not Satan, is the last enemy that shall be destroyed (1 Corinthians 15:26).

152 This is the tenth and final reference to the shadow of death in the book of Job, out of a total of twenty references in Scripture.

153 After his death, resurrection, and ascension Jesus declared: behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen, and have the keys of Hades and of death (Revelation 1:18).

38:18 Hast thou perceived the breadth of the earth? Declare if thou knowest it all.

There is only one New Testament reference to the breadth of the earth, and it has to do with the fate of Satan and his minions after they are released from the bottomless pit: 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. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and they shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever (Revelation 20:9-10, emphasis added).

The breadth of the earth therefore has to do with the camp of the saints (the people of God). In the highest sense, it represents our inheritance in Christ. You will recall Jesus’ promise: Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5).

At the time of Job, no one knew very much about what happened after death, let alone the events that would take place so many years in the future. In these verses, God cracks the lid on his plan and allows Job a glimpse into what is really happening and what will happen, but he does it in a way that cannot be understood without revelation regarding his nature and character and vocabulary.

38:19 Where is the way to the habitation of the light, and where is the place of the darkness?

38:20 If thou shalt take it in its borders, and if thou should understand the paths to its house?

On the very first day of creation, God said, Let there be light, and there was light. And God saw that the light was good, and God divided the light from the darkness (Genesis 1:3-4). The light proceeds from the word of God, who divides the light from the darkness.

Jesus, the living Word of God, is the only way to the Father, and the habitation of the light is where we may dwell in fellowship with the Father and the Son by the Spirit.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with the God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with the God. All things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness apprehended it not. (John 1:1-5)

Thus the place of the darkness is wherever there is no light. Although we may walk through the darkness of this present world, we can carry the light of the Word of God within us, and it will be a lamp unto our feet (Psalm 119:105).

38:21 If thou didst know when thou wast to be born or if the number of thy days was to be great?

We are unable to predetermine the precise time when any of us shall be born of a woman; the only one who knows exactly when that time will be is God; the same thing applies to the number of our days. This should give us ample food for thought regarding the possibility and timing of corresponding spiritual events such as being born again.

38:22 Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow,154 and hast thou seen the treasures of the hail,

38:23 which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war?

154 He sends forth his word upon earth; his word runs very swiftly. He who gives snow like wool scatters the hoarfrost like ashes. He casts forth his ice like morsels; who can stand before his cold? He shall send forth his word and melt them; his wind shall blow, and the waters shall flow. (Psalm 147:15-18)

Treasures are carefully guarded in a storehouse until they are needed. The word of the Lord is compared to rain, which can also come down as snow or hail. Snow that has fallen on the mountains may melt and flow down to the valleys in the proper season, but it can also accumulate in glaciers and be stored for millennia. God has a word stored up (represented by treasures of the snow) that he has reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war,155 but it may be accompanied by judgment (treasures of the hail,156 a substance that can be devastating).

155 The phrase “time of trouble” is mentioned seven times: this is the first. It also goes in tandem with the prophesied day of the Lord. Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it (Jeremiah 30:7).

156 The treasures of the snow and treasures of the hail are described in the book of Revelation as trumpets and vials.

38:24 By what way is the light divided; from where is the east wind scattered upon the earth?

The light divides when it passes through the rain, which serves as a prism and separates it into the seven colors of the rainbow. When seen from above, rainbows appear as a complete circle, called a glory. Spiritually speaking, rainbows may appear before or after a “storm,” when the light of the presence of the Lord penetrates the rain of his word. The rainbow is the sign of God’s covenant with all creation and is associated with the throne of God (Genesis 9:12-17; Revelation 4:3).

The east wind is consistently associated with the judgments of God upon the earth in twenty-two Scriptures, beginning with the good pharaoh’s dream that led to Joseph being appointed prince of Egypt (Genesis 41:6, 23, 27). The east wind brought in the ninth plague of Egypt, during which the locusts destroyed everything that was green (Exodus 10:13). It opened the path through the Red Sea for the escape of the children of Israel and then closed that path for the destruction of the wicked pharaoh and his army (Exodus 14:21).

The east wind is mentioned three times in the book of Job. First, Eliphaz patronizingly asked Job, Should a wise man utter vain knowledge and fill his belly with the east wind? (Job 15:2). Next, in his final defense (and speaking of the rich man), Job said, The east wind shall take him away, and he shall depart; the storm shall catch him up out of his place (Job 27:21). This may be the explanation for Elihu’s sudden disappearance. And finally, this wind is mentioned in the verse above.

So, from where is the east wind scattered upon the earth? It can only be from God, for the east wind is the wind of the LORD (Hosea 13:15).

God continues to speak from the whirlwind:

38:25 Who has divided a watercourse for the overflowing of waters or a way for the lightning of thunder,

When David took Jerusalem, he and his men divided a watercourse for the overflowing of waters that had been streaming into the city, and then they went in through the place where the water (of humanism) had flowed. Babylon was overrun and destroyed in the same manner by Darius the Mede, on the night when King Belshazzar held a great drunken banquet (during which he and his princes drank wine out of the vessels of the house of the Lord) and saw the hand writing on the wall (Daniel 5). Their sacrilegious behavior made a way for the lightning of thunder, which is the direct presence of God coupled with the direct voice of God.

In the case of David and Jerusalem, these events ended a five-hundred-year war with the Jebusites, and David was able to consolidate control over all the borders of the promised land, much of which had degenerated into wastelands under Saul, the previous king. In the case of the fall of Babylon, events opened the way for a remnant of the Jews to return to the land of Israel, which had also become wasteland. Currently, God is getting ready to do something similar. He will shut off the flow of water into the city of humanism and of the religion of man, and his forces will invade the earth with the lightning of thunder (Matthew 24:27; Luke 17:24).

38:26 to cause it to rain on the earth, where no man is; on the wilderness, in which there is no man;

38:27 to satisfy the desolate and waste ground and to cause the bud of the tender herb to spring forth?

There continue to be vast spiritual wastelands, in desperate need of the rain that will cause the seed of the true word of God to germinate and grow (Mark 4:26-28).

38:28 Has the rain a father? Or who has begotten the drops of the dew?

38:29 Out of whose womb came the ice, and the hoary frost of heaven, who has begotten it?

Rain and dew can water a garden and make the plants grow, or ice and hoarfrost can cause those same plants to wither and die. There are times and seasons in God that only he births and predetermines.

38:30 The waters harden as stone, and the face of the deep is frozen.

The word translated as “the deep” is the same word as “the abyss” (also known as the bottomless pit). This region is part of Sheol or Hades. The time will come, says God, when the waters harden as stone, and the face of the deep is frozen. This is a hint that Hades (some mistakenly call it hell) will “freeze over,” with Satan trapped inside, for a thousand years.

38:31 Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?157

157 Pleiades, the seven stars, has “sweet influences” and Orion, meaning “strong,” is bound with “bands.” In Old English the word bands can be the equivalent of bonds and indicate bondage. Such is the war that is taking place in the heavens.

Pleiades is a cluster of seven stars visible to the naked eye. It is mentioned here and in Job 9:9, where Job declares that God made Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the secret places of the south. When the glorious resurrected Jesus Christ revealed himself to the apostle John, he was walking in the midst of seven golden lampstands and had seven stars in his right hand, and he explained to John, The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven congregations, and the seven lampstands which thou sawest are the seven congregations (Revelation 1:20). In prophetic language, seven congregations can be representative of all the congregations.

“Orion” means “strong” and is a constellation of the south. Another prophecy that mentions both Orion and seven stars is found in the book of Amos: Ye who turn judgment to wormwood [or hemlock, a deadly poison] and leave off doing righteousness in the earth, look unto him that makes the seven stars and Orion and turns the shadow of death into the morning and makes the day dark with night, that calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD is his name (Amos 5:7-8).

38:32 Canst thou bring forth the signs of the heavens in their season, or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons?

You will remember that on the fourth day of creation, God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for appointed times and for days and years (Genesis 1:14, emphasis added).

“Arcturus” is one of the early titles of Ursa Major, or the Great Bear. God would thus seem to be referring to the stars that make up Ursa Minor, or the Little Bear, as the sons of Arcturus.

Interestingly, however, although to the naked eye of antiquity Arcturus would have looked like a single star, in 1971 it was discovered that this very bright star appears to be moving with a group of at least 52 other stars, known to astronomers as the Arcturus stream but known to God, perhaps, as Arcturus’ sons.

38:33 Dost thou know the ordinances of the heavens?158 Canst thou use its power in the earth?

158 I don’t know very much about the ordinances of the heavens, but I know enough to understand that they may be used powerfully on earth and that on the day Satan and his angels are cast out of heaven, they will lose much of their power and authority (Revelation 12:9-10). Jesus revealed the key when he said, Verily I say unto you, Whatever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in the heaven; and whatever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in the heaven (Matthew 18:18).

I doubt whether Job, or anyone else upon the earth in his day, knew the ordinances of the heavens, yet these ordinances must have governed the wager between God and Satan involving Job. Now Satan has lost the bet and Job has been proven faithful. God has won the victory and will use its power in the earth. In fact, the power of this victory continues on a geometric progression as God unfolds more and more truth and revelation from the book of Job (and from the rest of the Scriptures), and as we approach the imminent day of the Lord.

38:34 Canst thou lift up thy voice to the clouds, that abundance of waters may cover thee?

38:35 Canst thou send lightnings, that they may go and say unto thee, Here we are?

There are several Hebrew words that can be translated as “clouds.” This one means thick (dark) clouds that cover.

The Hebrew word for “lightnings” is linked to a flashing sword. It is an offensive weapon that can strike down God’s enemies.

38:36 Who put wisdom in the inward parts? Or who gave intelligence to understanding?

38:37 Who declared the heavens in wisdom? Or who can stay the bottles of heaven

38:38 when the dust hardens and the clods cleave fast together?

Clearly, the answer is God.

The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord, as we know, and he desires to put wisdom in our inward parts so we might be made participants of the divine nature, having fled the corruption that is in the world through lust (2 Peter 1:4). Regarding intelligence, God’s definition is much different from ours. We look on it as “the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills” (Oxford English Dictionary), whereas in God’s eyes, intelligence proceeds from him. Those who are filled with the Spirit of God, however, are given both wisdom and intelligence (Exodus 31:3; 35:31; 36:1).

What are the bottles of heaven? This phrase could refer to containers holding the water that will descend as rain at God’s command. Alternately, it could be a reference to vials such as those John saw in a vision. For example: And when he had taken the book, the four animals and the twenty-four elders fell on their faces before the Lamb, each one of them having harps, and golden vials full of incense, which are the prayers of saints (Revelation 5:8). Many saints over history – no doubt including Job – have prayed asking God to deal with the wicked. Some of these prayers may have been answered immediately, but the rest are stored in vials (the bottles of heaven), and they will be answered in due course (will not be stayed or held back).

And one of the four animals gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who lives for ever and ever (Revelation 15:7). God is the one who decides who his saints are and when their prayers will be answered, but meanwhile he encourages Job and assures him that his prayers have not been in vain. And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth (Revelation 16:1).

The bottles of heaven’s wrath will not be stayed when the dust hardens and the clods cleave fast together. Humans are made of “the dust of the ground” (Genesis 2:7), and when the dust hardens, and the clods cleave fast together and human hearts are no longer pliable in the hands of God, judgment will fall from heaven. The clods cleaving fast together refers to men uniting against God, as happened at the Tower of Babel and repeatedly throughout history. The rebellion of man will come to a head at the time of the end (Revelation 9:20-21).

38:39 Wilt thou hunt the prey for the lion or fill the appetite of the young lions,

38:40 when they crouch in their dens and abide in their lairs to lie in wait?

38:41 Who provided food for the raven; when his young ones cry unto God, they wander for lack of food?

The raven was considered an unclean bird, yet God ordered the ravens to feed the prophet Elijah, and they obeyed. It is God who gives the beast his food and to the sons of the ravens which cry unto him (Psalm 147:9). God is merciful and will feed those who cry out to him, even if they are “beasts” (including “lions”159) or sons of “ravens.” How much more will he do for mankind?

159 The young lions roar after their prey and seek their food from God (Psalm 104:21).

Let us pray

Heavenly Father, we ask that we may be filled with your Spirit and receive wisdom and intelligence to understand you, and that we will continue to have profound respect for those things you say that we still do not understand. We ask this in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Chap 22. As the Hawks and the Eagles .

This is the second chapter of God’s response to Job out of the whirlwind.

Job 39

39:1 Knowest thou the time when the mountain goats bring forth? Hast thou observed when the hinds calve?

39:2 Canst thou number the months that they fulfil, and knowest thou the time when they bring forth?

39:3 How they crouch down, they bring forth their young ones, and dismiss their pain.

39:4 Their young ones are healthy, they grow up with grain; they go forth and never return unto them again.

Both the mountain goat and the hind (female deer) or hart (male deer) are on the list of clean animals that the children of Israel were permitted to eat (Deuteronomy 14:5). Yet for most of us, raising “mountain goats” would be difficult, if not impossible, compared to raising “sheep” (which are also on the list).

King David wrote, The voice of the LORD shall make the hinds to calve and shall uncover the forests: and in his temple every one speaks to his glory (Psalm 29:9).

In God’s temple (symbolic of his people), not everyone is a “sheep” (which are relatively easy to shepherd or pastor), yet every one speaks to his glory. David started out as a shepherd boy, in charge of literal sheep, and God ultimately put him in charge of the nation of Israel. Along the way, David spent many years in the wilderness being persecuted by King Saul. However, during this time he gained the support of six hundred mighty men. Some of these men did not come from among the “sheep” of Israel; they were Gentile “mountain goats” or “harts” born of “hinds” that could navigate the steepest slope and bound over the most formidable obstacle. They embraced David, recognizing his courage, for he was on his own journey along the way of the cross. Only God knows when the mountain goats bring forth and when the hinds calve, and just as he placed David at the right place at the right time to be chosen as king, so he can place any or all of his faithful followers in a position whereby they may win a great reward at his hands.

When the hinds calve, one of the things they have in common with human mothers is that after they bring forth their young ones, they dismiss the pain they endured in giving birth. But hinds and human mothers differ radically in their attitude toward their offspring. The hinds are satisfied if their young ones are healthy and they grow up with grain, but God-fearing human mothers know that their young ones also need to be fed on the Word of God; otherwise their children will go forth and never return unto them again. Similarly, if pagan children encounter the Word of God and learn to feed on it, they are born again and will not willingly return to their pagan parents and heritage. This was the case with the hundreds of Cherethites (meaning “Palestinian executioners”) and Pelethites (“the swift”) who, after Saul’s death, returned to Israel with victorious David and became his personal bodyguards (2 Samuel 8:18).

David put it like this: He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and sets me upon my high places (Psalm 18:33).

Even today, God is doing many curious and wonderful things outside the box of the traditional “sheepfold” mentality of many churchgoers.

39:5 Who freed the wild ass,160 and who loosed its bands?

160 The zebra is virtually impossible to domesticate and may be among whatever species are referred to here as the wild ass.

In some places, asses or donkeys still live free in the wild. Domesticated donkeys are under bondage as the most common beast of burden, yet even they can be freed from their bands. So, too, God can free us from our bondage to the world and the flesh.

39:6 Unto whom I made a house in the wilderness, and his dwellings in the salty land.

God made this freed ass a house in the wilderness, and his dwellings in the salty land. The salty land of the wilderness is a symbol of the church age, the age of grace.

39:7 He laughs at the multitude of the city, neither does he hearken to the voice of the exactor of tribute.

Just as the freed ass is no longer under the bonds of drudgery, those who benefit from the grace of God are no longer under the law, they no longer live in the city of the religion of men, and they no longer hearken to the voice of the exactor of tribute. And there is more: the city of the religion of men will not endure forever. Because the palaces shall be forsaken; the noise of the city shall cease; the forts and towers shall be for dens for ever, a joy of wild asses, a pasture of flocks (Isaiah 32:14, emphasis added).

39:8 The range of the mountains is his pasture, and he searches after every green thing.

God can take the wild ass and set him free so that the range of the mountains is his pasture, and he searches after every green thing; likewise God can set us completely free to search out the length and breadth of our inheritance in Christ and feed on the green things of the living Word of God.

39:9 Will the unicorn be willing to serve thee or abide by thy crib?

39:10 Canst thou bind the unicorn with his band in the furrow? Will he harrow the valleys after thee?

39:11 Wilt thou trust him because his strength is great? Or wilt thou leave thy labour to him?

39:12 Wilt thou trust him, that he will bring home thy seed and gather it into thy barn?

In Scripture, the unicorn (meaning “one horn”) is the rhinoceros.

“One horn” means that the animal’s tremendous power and purpose are aimed in only one direction (in other words, it focuses on its own interests and benefit). Once the rhinoceros has chosen that direction, if you attempt to correct it or make it do something it doesn’t want to do, or if you bother it in any way, it will charge you. You may have known a few people like this.

Is it possible to take someone like this and put them in a yoke to plow and cultivate for the kingdom of God? I will admit that, awed by the potential of such people for good if only their tremendous strength could be harnessed for the work of the Lord, I have attempted this a time or two, but I have never been successful. Even in the natural world, although I have seen some amazing feats of training that involved lions or tigers, I have never seen anyone succeed in training a rhinoceros for any useful purpose. It is simply not in their nature.

39:13 Didst thou give beautiful wings unto the peacock, or wings and feathers unto the ostrich?

39:14 Who leaves her eggs in the earth and warms them in dust

39:15 and forgets that the foot may crush them or that the wild beast may break them.

39:16 She is hardened against her young ones, as though they were not hers, not fearing that her labour is in vain,

39:17 because God caused her to forget wisdom and did not give her understanding.

It is true that the peacock has beautiful wings, but how about the tail? Ravishing as it is, the peacock’s tail has become a symbol of unregenerate pride. For millennia, paganism has used the peacock as a symbol of things that are shameful even to mention, and this symbolism has permeated a great deal of religious art over the centuries. I will not discuss it further here, but the next time you examine the art of a beautifully ornate cathedral, pay attention to where you see the peacock in relation to the egg of the ostrich.161

161 See, The Two Babylons, Alexander Hislop, 1850, for the description and trajectory of these and other pagan symbols that have infiltrated the church.

Even though the peacock is so beautiful, from a human perspective it is a terrible mother, as is the ostrich. They are both hardened against [their] young ones. Indeed, while the male and the female ostrich share the task of incubating the eggs (with the female taking the day shift and the male the night shift), once they hatch, it’s the male who is the primary caregiver, teaching the hatchlings to hunt as well as protecting them against predators.

Like the mountain goat and the hind in a previous verse, the peacock and the ostrich have been placed together in this verse because they have much in common. The ostrich, of course, is famous for responding to danger by sticking its head in a hole in the sand and pretending that nothing serious is happening, as well as for abandoning its eggs. This is because God caused her to forget wisdom and did not give her understanding. (Modern animal experts say that in fact, when threatened, the ostrich does not bury its head but merely presses its neck flat on the ground in an attempt to become less visible. However, given the diameter of the bird’s long neck compared to its body, this attempt at camouflage still suggests a suboptimal intelligence.)

Have you ever been part of a congregation where religious pride predominated and legalism prevailed? Where those who are hardened against their young ones cause generational problems? Where over time the congregation becomes almost devoid of young people (particularly of males between the ages of fourteen and forty)?

Why does God cause these adults to forget wisdom? Why doesn’t he give [them] understanding?

Because in their pride, legalism, and carelessness, they disdain the fear of the Lord that is the beginning of wisdom.

39:18 In her time she lifts up herself on high; she scorns the horse and his rider.

The ostrich is the fastest-running land bird, achieving speeds of forty miles per hour or greater. She scorns the horse and his rider because she can outrun a horse over a short distance, especially if the horse is encumbered by a rider. What good, however, does her fleetness do if she runs along the wrong path?

When adult human believers finally realize that their children are taking the wrong path and becoming an unmitigated disaster, some of them attempt to find a nice missionary in a foreign country to receive their youngsters in the hope that they may be able to straighten them out (or they may send them out with a youth mission group). Unfortunately, it is very difficult to straighten out young people who have been raised in a religious environment of “peacocks” and “ostriches.” Could this have been the case with young Elihu?

39:19 Hast thou given the horse strength? Hast thou clothed his neck with thunder?

39:20 Canst thou make him leap as a grasshopper? The glory of his nostrils is formidable.

39:21 He paws at the earth and rejoices in his strength; he goes forth to meet the armed men.

39:22 He mocks fear and is not afraid; neither does he turn his face from the sword.

39:23 The quiver rattles against him, the glittering spear and the shield. 39:24 He swallows the ground with fierceness and rage; the sound of the shofar does not trouble him;

39:25 for the blasts of the shofar fill him with courage; he smells the battle afar off, the thunder of the princes and the sound of the battle-cry.162

162 This is one of my favorite passages in Scripture. What a masterpiece of prose! As editor of the Jubilee Bible, I did my best to bring out the full range of drama and emotion of the original. I have written previously on this passage. See: God’s Plan for Spiritual Battle, Ransom Press International, Hollywood, FL.

These verses describe a powerful war horse that loves the battle yet meekly submits to its master. In Scripture, the horse is a symbol of the strength of the natural man.

Who gave the horse its strength?

The psalmist has it right: Happy is the man whose strength is in thee, in whose heart are thy ways (Psalm 84:5).

Who clothed his neck with thunder?

Remember that thunder is synonymous with the direct voice of God and the neck is the key to guiding the horse. If horse and rider are to be successful in battle, it is generally understood that there can be no reins or bridle, because the rider must have both hands free to wield his sword, his bow, or his shield. The horse must be able to instantly turn and leap in response to voice commands and the pressure of the rider’s knees. The time will come when the well-trained horse readily understands the nuances of the battle. Then the glory of his nostrils is formidable. 163

163 Over the years I have owned or been given a number of wonderful horses (and dogs). Some of our most dangerous work on the mission field has been establishing and maintaining, in the midst of an intense war, high mountain radio stations that we access on horseback, at altitudes sometimes in excess of 13,500 ft., over extremely treacherous terrain. Many times my life has literally depended on my horse. On occasion I have been injured due to an unreliable horse, but far more often horses have kept me safe.

In Latin America, there is a saying: “A racehorse can run just as fast in either direction.” Those who have been running after the wrong goals and ambitions can run just as quickly in the right direction if God’s ways are in their hearts. I have been privileged to see this happen time and time again.

He paws at the earth and rejoices in his strength; he goes forth to meet the armed men.

After several bad experiences with lesser horses, I was given a beautiful high mountain horse that I named Silver. He would not only paw at the earth, he also loved to paw at the water whenever we went through a stream or a small river. Silver never let me down even in the midst of intense conflict between groups of armed men.

He mocks fear and is not afraid; neither does he turn his face from the sword.

This is how God desires us to be. He does not want us to be like hireling shepherds (pastors) who leave the sheep and flee in the face of danger.

My anger is kindled against the pastors, and I will visit the he goats, for the LORD of the hosts shall visit his flock, the house of Judah, and shall make them as his horse of honour in the battle (Zechariah 10:3, emphasis added).

Scripture is clear: we are not to trust in horses (that is, in the strength of the natural man). Rather, God desires for us to meekly submit to him so he can make us as his horse of honour in the battle. (See also Revelation 6:2; 19:11.)

The quiver rattles against him, the glittering spear and the shield.

He swallows the ground with fierceness and rage; the sound of the shofar does not trouble him;

The horse of honour in the battle obeys the rider by voice and knee commands and does not fear for its own life. In a certain sense, Job was God’s horse of honor in this battle against Satan. Even in the midst of dealing with the loss of his children, servants, estate, position, and reputation, Job remained focused on the battle and refused to compromise the integrity of his heart. This is how the “meek” battle horse operates:

39:24 He swallows the ground with fierceness and rage; the sound of the shofar does not trouble him;

39:25 for the blasts of the shofar fill him with courage; he smells the battle afar off, the thunder of the princes and the sound of the battle-cry.

Other components of the battle include the blasts of the shofar that fill him with courage.

The shofar, or ram’s horn trumpet, is symbolic of the direct voice of God. The voice of God resonated into Job’s conscience even before the beginning of this conflict. In his spirit, in his heart, in his conscience, he was aware of the blasts of the shofar. As a result, courage filled him little by little, and he refused to turn and run from the battle, which he smelled afar off.

Even before the battle, God made sure Job’s neck was clothed with thunder, and thus he was confident Job would not violate his conscience, no matter what. The thunder of the princes and the sound of the battle-cry is something in which Job actively participated.

What is the battle cry?

There is the only one other Scripture where this term occurs: Behold, I have received blessing; and he has blessed; and I cannot reverse it. He has not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither has he seen rebellion in Israel; the LORD his God is with him, and the battle-cry of a king is in him (Numbers 23:20-21).

Balaam had been hired to curse Israel, but instead God put the above words in his mouth. I believe the exact same speech applies to Job. The battle cry is the word of the Lord in the mouth of a king (and Job is a king).

39:26 Does the hawk fly by thy industry and stretch her wings toward the south?

The word translated as “south” has to do with the right hand (of a person facing east). The right hand is the place of power and authority.

39:27 Does the eagle mount up at thy command and make her nest on high?

Most of the time, an eagle’s wings are at rest as the bird mounts up and soars effortlessly, riding the thermals. As God reminded Moses, Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you unto myself (Exodus 19:4).

39:28 She dwells and abides on the rock upon the crag of the rock and the strong place.

39:29 From there she seeks food, and her eyes behold afar off.

39:30 Her young ones suck up the blood; and wherever the slain are, there she is.

In Hebrew, every noun is either masculine or feminine.164 The mountain goat and the hind are feminine, while the wild ass is masculine and so is the unicorn. The peacock and the ostrich are feminine. The horse is masculine, and the hawk and the eagle are feminine.

164 The same is true in Greek and Spanish but not in English.

In Scripture, the congregation is feminine and may be represented by a woman (such as the bride of Christ, or Mystery Babylon) while individual sons of God, regardless of gender, are masculine.

Therefore this chapter of Job starts out with corporate people who are typed as “mountain goats” or “hinds.” These people correspond to the sea of humanity, in which there are individuals who are like wild asses (that God can set free) or like unicorns (obsessed with pulling in their own direction – Elihu would be an example). There are also corporate religious groups that are like the peacock and the ostrich (which seem to have a great deal in common with people like Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar). Then there is the perfectly trained battle horse (like Job), and finally the hawk and the eagle that represent the overcoming people of God who soar over the earth and have access to the heavenly realm.

She dwells and abides on the rock and on the crag of the rock and the strong place. That is, she (the hawk and the eagle) abides in Christ. From there she seeks food, and her eyes behold afar off. It is from her position in Christ that she seeks food.165 This is linked to her phenomenal vision. Her young ones suck up the blood; and wherever the slain are, there she is.

165 See Deuteronomy 8:3; Matthew 4:4; and Luke 4:4.

What do we find as we approach the end of the way of the cross? Blood.

The soul (or life) of the flesh is in the blood (Leviticus 17:11).

She produces young ones that understand the way of the cross and are not like the foolish “religious” offspring of the peacock and the ostrich.

Her young ones suck up the blood.

That sentence may sound a bit gruesome until you remember this:

Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Unless ye eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, ye shall have no life in you. Whosoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day (John 6:53-54).

Wherever the slain are – that is, wherever there are those who are actually dead to sin (Romans 6:2; 1 Peter 2:24) – there she is. 166

166 When God was in the process of elevating Peter to a higher realm, to include extending the gospel to the Gentiles, Peter fell into a rapture of understanding and saw the heaven opened and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners and let down to the earth, in which were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth and wild beasts and reptiles and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter, kill and eat (Acts 10:10-13). Peter protested and was shocked, but this is what life is like in the realm of the eagle. The mature sons of God who have access to the heavenly realm are not weak and emasculated. Any unclean persons or entities that challenge them should beware, for God can fully authorize them to kill and eat. Even in the natural realm, an eagle can kill a full-grown wolf.

Here is the third chapter of God’s answer to Job:

Job 40

40:1 Moreover, the LORD answered Job and said,

40:2 Shall he that contends with the Almighty instruct him? Let him that disputes with God answer this.

Even though he obviously knew Job’s heart, the Lord wanted to put Job on the record so his response would be clear for all time. When we pass through trials and tribulations, how many times do we blatantly attempted to instruct God? Remember that all of us shall be called upon to account for every idle word we have uttered (Matthew 12:36).

40:3 Then Job answered the LORD and said,

40:4 Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay my hand over my mouth.

40:5 Once I have spoken; but I will not answer; even twice, but I will proceed no further.

There are three levels of maturity described in Scripture: 1) children; 2) young people; 3) parents or fathers who are mature. Job might have spoken once (childishly) or even twice (in immaturity), but he will proceed no further. This is maturity (same word as “perfection”).

40:6 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said,

40:7 Gird up thy loins now like a man; I will ask thee, and explain thou unto me.

If we are going to explain things to God, then we will have to gird up our loins. We will need to cover ourselves like a man (the word used here for “man” denotes someone who is born free). Stop and think: how many times have you (and I, for that matter) recklessly given God all kinds of advice about how to run his universe? When Job answered God, Behold, I am vile, the word translated as “vile” means “to make light (of).” The phrase could have also been rendered colloquially as, “Look, I was only kidding. I didn’t really mean it.”

Job’s earlier thoughts about how God had taken all his so-called rights away from him had completely melted away, now that he was in the direct presence of God and listening to God speak to him out of the whirlwind.

40:8 Wilt thou disannul my judgment? Wilt thou condemn me, that thou may be justified?

40:9 Hast thou an arm like God? And canst thou thunder with a voice like him?

40:10 Deck thyself now with majesty and excellency; and array thyself with glory and beauty.

40:11 Cast abroad the rage of thy wrath; and behold every one that is proud and bring him down.

40:12 Look on every one that is proud, and bring him low; and tread down the wicked in their place.

40:13 Hide them in the dust together; and blindfold their faces in darkness.

40:14 Then I will also confess unto thee that thine own right hand can save thee.

Here is where God communicates the most essential part of his message to Job and makes sure Job not only understands it but can demonstrate that he understands. From this point on, God reveals to Job deep secrets about what is really happening and what the only solution is.

For more than three thousand seven hundred years, this knowledge has been locked up, for it was in code. If it is unsealed now, this is in accordance with the timing of the Lord. Even so, this is a message that no one will fully understand unless they have a perfect and upright heart before God.

Let us pray

Heavenly Father, we ask that we may assimilate this message and live it. May we learn to be silent in the face of your beauty and majesty as we await your orders, as we wait to know exactly what role you will assign to us and what you desire for us to accomplish. May you make us as the hawks and the eagles. Amen.

Chap 23. Behemoth and Leviathan.

Job 40

40:15 Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eats grass as an ox.

There has been some debate whether “behemoth,” meaning “a dumb beast,” specifically refers to an elephant or a hippopotamus, or even to some other large mammal that is now long extinct, such as the woolly mammoth. I am more inclined to think along the lines of a wild ox or some type of water buffalo. The behemoth seems to be representative of the beasts of the earth that God made on the sixth day of creation along with man (Genesis 1:24), although man is not on the same plane as beasts, in God’s eyes: Man that is in honour that does not understand is like the beasts that are cut off (Psalm 49:20).

The behemoth eats grass as an ox. God gave the green grass to the beasts for food (Genesis 1:30).

No doubt you remember this parable: So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should spring forth and grow up, he knows not how. For the earth brings forth fruit of herself: first the blade, then the ear, after that the full grain in the ear (Mark 4:26-28).

The word of God comes forth on three different levels: first the blade (of green grass), then the ear (or flower), and finally the full grain in the ear (the fruit).167

167 God gave man every grass bearing seed as food (Genesis 1:29).

Those who are not born again are like a beast that does not understand, yet they can feed on the first level of truth represented by grass.

40:16 Behold now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly.

40:17 He moves his tail like a cedar; the sinews of his stones are wrapped together.

The behemoth represents the natural, carnal man whose strength is in his loins. He is genetically locked into his fallen nature by the sinews of his stones (or testicles) that are wrapped together and can only reproduce more of his own kind; his force is in the navel of his belly. He is entirely motivated by his natural appetites.

The book of Job makes three references to man that is born of a woman. Anyone born of a woman has a navel. After birth, when the umbilical cord is cut, we soon find out that we are slaves to our carnal appetite.

An important difference between Adam and Eve and the rest of the human race is that unlike us, they were not born of a woman. Each one of us has a navel, but they did not (and in the beginning, they were not ruled by compulsive carnal appetites).

A significant difference between men and beasts is that (except for invertebrates) most animals have tails, but man does not. Even serpents have tails (Exodus 4:1-4), which begin at the cloaca and continue for the rest of the snake’s length. The word “tail” appears in twenty-one Scriptures, including this one: The prophet that teaches lies, he is the tail (Isaiah 9:15). When the natural man, devoid of real understanding, operates in the flesh (as a “beast”) and plays into the hands of Satan (the liar), he moves his tail like a cedar (cedars are tall and lofty trees that sway in the wind).

40:18 His bones are as strong as brass; his members are like bars of iron.

His bones represent his foundation and structure. Brass represents judgment (or the ability to recognize that which is right), and iron represents law. The natural man has a conscience and knows what is right. He demands right behavior from others and does not hesitate to judge those who do not meet his standards. However, his members are like bars of iron and operate under another law. I think all of us can identify with the apostle Paul’s description of his situation prior to experiencing the grace of God: So that, desiring to do good, I find this law: evil is natural unto me. For I delight with the law of God with the inward man, but I see another law in my members which rebels against the law of my mind, bringing captive unto the law of sin which is in my members (Romans 7:21-23). We are not alone with this struggle!

40:19 He is the beginning of the ways of God; he that made him shall make his sword draw near unto him.

The beginning of the ways of God is for each person to be born of a woman into this world of spiritual darkness. Then the time will come when he that made him shall make his sword draw near unto him. Sooner or later, the sword of the word of God168 will confront each of us and present us with a choice between submitting to the dealings of God or rebelling against him.

168 For the word of God is alive and efficient and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

40:20 Surely the mountains bring him forth food, where all the beasts of the field play.

The mountains represent the private kingdoms of men that they have built upon the earth but that really belong to the Lord. Remember the driving force motivating the behemoth is in the navel of his belly. These mountains or kingdoms (small or large) bring him forth food and feed the appetites of his belly. This is where all the beasts of the field play.

40:21 He shall lie down under the shade, in the covert of the reeds and of the damp places.

40:22 The shady trees cover him with their shadow; the willows of the brook compass him about.

The behemoth likes to operate from the shade, where he is not exposed to the hot sun. He seeks the covert (or hiding place) of the reeds and of the damp places (associated with the cool comforts of “Egypt”) and the covering of the shadow of shady trees while enclosed and hidden by the willows of the brook. Like Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar his discernment is not just a little bit off; it is one hundred and eighty degrees opposed to the plan of God. In order to even begin to celebrate (or enter into) the Feast of Tabernacles (the feast of the fullness of the harvest or ingathering typed with the realm represented by the holy of holies), the coverings in which the behemoth (who is symbolic of the natural, carnal man) delights must be cut down and offered to God.169

40:23 Behold, he shall drink up a river and not change; he trusts that he can draw up the Jordan into his mouth.

“Jordan” means “flowing down,” and the river is a symbol of how death will ultimately overcome the natural man. The Jordan “flows down” until it ends in the “Dead Sea.” Eventually the behemoth shall drink up a river and not change. Similarly, the natural man will flow down the length of the river representing his life here upon the earth and not change because he trusts that he can draw up the Jordan into his mouth. He thinks that with his own mouth he can make a covenant with death on his own terms and survive.170

169 And on the first day ye shall take branches with fruit of a beautiful tree, palm branches and the boughs of thick trees and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days. (Leviticus 23:40)

170 See Isaiah 28:14-22.

40:24 His maker shall take him by the weakness of his eyes in a snare, and pierce through his nose.

The behemoth’s chief vulnerability is the weakness of his eyes. Likewise, the natural man has little or no spiritual vision (or discernment), and therefore it is very likely – indeed, virtually inevitable – that at some point he will stumble into a pit or snare, and when he is in a situation like that, where escape is impossible, he is most likely to call out to God.

The way to domesticate a wild creature like the behemoth171 is to trap him and pierce through his nose. Once God has trapped the behemoth and pierced through his nose, he will put a big brass nose ring in place, and then even a child can lead him.172 From this point on, the behemoth will reliably pull in yoke with God’s purposes, to plow and plant and tread out the grain for the increase of the mountain of the kingdom of God.173

171 A major difference between a wild ox and a domestic ox is that the latter has been castrated (the sinews of his stones that are wrapped together have been removed). This removes his compulsive carnal appetites and his desire to join all the beasts of the field as they play high up on the mountains of the kingdoms of man (see Job 40:20). The spiritual equivalent to this in humans is the circumcision of the heart.

172 The brass nose ring symbolizes the fear of the Lord.

173 I have been around and worked with donkeys, mules, horses, and oxen since childhood, and it has been my observation that up in the high mountain paramo (the alpine meadows above the tree line), donkeys and mules cannot always be depended on to keep going through the sleet, snow, hail, thunder, and lightning that are often encountered there. On the other hand, when oxen are used as pack animals, even though they are slower, they will not stop in the midst of a storm, even one so violent that it would likely cause donkeys or mules to quit. The ox’s owner may grasp its tail (not a good idea with donkeys or mules), and the ox will continue steadily down the trail in the freezing, blinding storm until it reaches a safe place, usually at a much lower and warmer elevation. (Some horses will also do fine, especially if they are well trained and have a strong connection to their rider.) Every ox I ever had anything to do with always had a large brass nose ring, and as far as I can remember, none of them ever pulled it out of their nose.

It seems that a vast number of people manage to avoid the direct dealings of God until being trapped very late in life, possibly even on their deathbed. Fortunately for them, he is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).

Now we reach the fourth chapter of God’s answer to Job from out of the whirlwind:

Job 41

41:1 Canst thou draw out leviathan with a hook or with the cord which thou lettest down on his tongue?

The creature referred to as “leviathan” is mentioned only five times in Scripture. The word means “that which entangles” or “that which goes around and around entangling” and is based on the word “levi” (meaning “joined, bonded, united”). Leviathan, unlike the behemoth, does not have a navel; he is an entirely different animal, and he cannot be fished or captured by any means known to man. We also need to know that leviathan is a dragon (also known as a sea serpent) with many heads (Psalm 74:13-14; 104:26).

41:2 Canst thou put a hook into his nose or bore his jaw through with a thorn?

Bringing leviathan under control is not as simple as trapping him and putting a hook or a ring into his nose. Nor are we permitted to bore his jaw through with a thorn. Remember that “thorns” did not originally exist in the garden of Eden; they are a product of the curse and therefore have serious limitations if we attempt to use them against leviathan. Even if our adversary is lawless, we are to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).

Nevertheless, God promises that when the time is ripe, he will put hooks in the jaws of his enemies (Ezekiel 29:3-5; 38:4).

41:3 Will he make many supplications unto thee? Will he speak soft words unto thee?

41:4 Will he make a covenant with thee that thou shall take him for a slave for ever?

There is nothing we can do to corner, trap, or even threaten leviathan so that he will make many supplications or speak soft words. He will never covenant with us to be our slave for ever, because he considers his power and authority to vastly exceed ours. God originally gave man dominion of over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of the air and over the beasts and over all the earth and over every serpent that moves upon the earth (Genesis 1:26), but Satan managed to usurp this power and authority from Adam and impose the system and “order” of leviathan (the system that continues to control the world).

41:5 Wilt thou play with him as with a bird, or wilt thou tie him up for thy maidens?

41:6 Shall the companions make a banquet of him? Shall they part him among the merchants?

Why are these activities inadvisable?

Because leviathan is a serpent with many heads, and serpents have been cursed since the garden of Eden. The LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all beasts and above every animal of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life; and I will put enmity between thee and the woman and between thy seed and her seed … (Genesis 3:14-15).

Therefore, leviathan (including Satan and his spiritual offspring) is limited to the realm of the belly (which defines his nature), but the desires of his “belly” are very different from the appetites of the behemoth (who seeks his own comfort). Satan hates anyone born of God, and his gut desire is to steal and to kill and to destroy (John 10:10).

Because this is Satan’s – and thus leviathan’s – ultimate goal, it is extremely unwise to attempt to play with him as with a bird or to tie him up for thy maidens. It is even highly dangerous for us to run around with companions who attempt to make a banquet of him or to part him among the merchants. It might be possible to do some of these things with the behemoth,174 who is oriented to comfort of self rather than destruction of others, but attempting them with leviathan would be a very risky matter indeed, and almost certain to end in disaster. The system (or order) of leviathan is expert at using humanism (having to do with behemoth) to attain its goals. Not too many people will worship Satan for what he is but if he can get us to worship man, then he can even entice atheists to enthusiastically participate in his system.

174 And even that would not be wise, because we reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7).

41:7 Canst thou cut his skin with knives or his head with a fish spear?

41:8 Lay thine hand upon him; thou shalt remember the battle and do no more.

It is enormously difficult for anyone to cause leviathan any lasting damage. Those who recklessly attack him will remember the battle and do no more. History is littered with the wreckage of ill-fated crusades against evil conducted by self-righteous fools who, as it turned out, did not really hear from God.

41:9 Behold, your hope regarding him shall fail; for even at the sight of him they shall faint.

41:10 No one is so bold as to dare stir him up; who then shall be able to stand before me?

Once they see leviathan up close, even at the sight of him they shall faint. If no one is so bold as to dare stir him up, it is fair to question who then shall be able to stand before Almighty God?

41:11 Who has preceded me, that I should repay him? All that is under the whole heaven is mine.

Absolutely no one has preceded God; therefore he owes no debt to leviathan. Everyone and everything under the whole heaven belongs to God.

41:12 I will not conceal his lies, nor his might, nor the beauty of his order.

Here, God primarily refers to Satan, the mastermind of the world system (including its economic, political, and religious components that have many incompatible “heads” that never get along, so his kingdom is always divided against itself). Much of the book of Job has to do with revealing the devil’s lies. God does not deny that Satan has might and there is a certain beauty or attraction to his order (at least on the surface). If the latter were not true, the Enemy would not be so dangerous.

41:13 Who shall uncover the face of his garment? Or who shall come to him with a double bridle?

God has meticulously used Job to uncover the face of his (that is, Satan’s) garment, or covering (symbolic of the basis for his authority) and show everyone what really lurks underneath (and he uses this episode to begin the inscribing of the Scriptures). God has also repeatedly managed to entrap leviathan into sticking his heads into a double bridle. The first part of the bridle was the creation of written Scripture, so that when Jesus came on the scene some seventeen hundred and some odd years later, he was able to overcome Satan’s temptations by quoting Scripture (prefacing his answers with For it is written …). The second part of the bridle is the compulsion (of Satan and his followers) to vastly overplay their hand, an action they have not been able to resist, but which has repeatedly backfired and helped expose his lies.

Job has been getting quite an education. When he was as powerful and wealthy as a king, he was not even completely clear on how God handles the “behemoth,” let alone “leviathan.” Job used his God-given wealth, power, and authority to keep in check those who were carnal, but as soon as he lost status, their ugly heads reappeared because no one had ever put a hook into their noses and the sinews of [their] stones remained wrapped together (that is, they had never been born again and their hearts had never been circumcised).

Only God can bring about the conversion of the carnal man. Exterior order or force cannot succeed because true conversion requires a change of heart. Satan’s kingdom, on the other hand, does not run on love and trust, and his minions are always at each other’s throats; thus his kingdom is destined to fail. As Jesus explained, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself shall not remain (Matthew 12:25; Luke 11:17).

41:14 Who shall open the doors of his face? The orders of his teeth are terrible.

What are the doors of his face?

Remember that Satan, originally known as Lucifer, was created as one of the cherubim (Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28:14-19), which are described in Scripture as having more than one face (Ezekiel 10:14; 41:18). The term doors implies choice, since doors may be opened or closed. Satan can decide what face he will put on (with Eve he chose to appear as the serpent, but he has many other guises). No matter which face he chooses, however, the orders of his teeth are terrible. 175

41:15 His scales176 are his pride, shut up together as with a close seal.

41:16 One is so near to another, that no air can come between them.

41:17 They are joined one to another; they stick together, that they cannot be separated.

175 We may say that as soon as God lifted his hedge of protection from Job, Satan sank his teeth into the man. On a slightly different note, Job made a rather strange comment that has become part of the culture of the English language when he said, I am escaped with the skin of my teeth (Job 19:20), suggesting that his teeth had a covering (“skin”). This covering has to do with the fear of the Lord. Job was always very careful not to use his “teeth” (power) against anyone without due process and the necessary witnesses; and with the use of this phrase, he seems to indicate that this restraint was a major factor in his having escaped with his life. Satan, on the other hand, has no covering over his teeth. He attacked Job and then, after the fact, manipulated Job’s friends and Elihu to make false charges against Job based on their misinterpretation of nothing more than circumstantial evidence.

176 Heb. “shields.”

This leviathan represents Satan’s entire corporate system. His order, which looks beautiful on the outside, consists of scales (or shields) that are his pride. These scales of his order, which is a tight hierarchy, are shut up together as with a close seal (each one bears the imprint of the entangled order of leviathan). One is so near to another, that no air can come between them. This word used here is not the normal word for air: it could have been translated as “breath” or “spirit.” People who form part of the order of leviathan are stifled and have no individual liberty. They are bonded to groupthink, and there is no possibility of any of them being led individually by the Spirit. They are joined one to another; they stick together, that they cannot be separated. The order of leviathan operates in both the secular and the religious realms.

God’s order, on the other hand, is based on living stones. Each one is unique and special and creative under the mighty hand of God as he forms them by his word. Then, when he ordains, they all fit together perfectly, united, joined, and bonded by his nature (this is what “Levi” means). “Leviathan” is a perversion of “Levi” in that it entangles and goes around and around ensnaring anyone or anything that it can.

41:18 By his sneezings lights are lit, and his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning.

Leviathan can “sneeze” and light false or “strange” fire (Leviticus 10:1-2). Incidentally, he can even make this “fire” fall from heaven (Revelation 13:13).177

177 Most false religious revivals, movements, and shrines have a supernatural element that seems to validate them in the eyes of the natural man who lacks spiritual discernment. There are many spirits that are supernatural but not holy, which deceive many.

What are the eyelids of the morning?

Once again, a choice is implied here. By lifting or lowering our eyelids, we can open or close our eyes, and thus we can choose to see or not see. Satan has chosen to close his eyes to the “morning” of God’s plans for a new beginning for lost humanity. This is somewhat ironic, considering that he was once called Lucifer, the son of the morning (Isaiah 14:12). Lucifer means “light bearer.” Due to his pride, however, his discernment has become inverted. Woe unto those that call evil good and good evil; that put darkness for light and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Woe unto those that are wise in their own eyes and prudent in their own sight! (Isaiah 5:20-21).

41:19 Out of his mouth go burning lamps, and sparks of fire leap out.

41:20 Out of his nostrils goes forth smoke, as out of a seething pot or caldron.

Remember Elihu jumped into the fray when his wrath was kindled against Job and even against Job’s three friends (he claimed to speak out of charity and integrity, but this was not the case). When Satan or his minions (including duped followers) begin to speak (and Satan loves to use seemingly respectable people as his false prophets), out of his mouth go burning lamps, and sparks of fire leap out. He starts out with burning lamps that give the impression of piety and seem to light the way. Soon, however, sparks of fire leap out, hinting at the fiery hatred he harbors within. In a similar way, Elihu kept making unguarded statements that revealed his inner anger at the others.

To cover this up, Satan spews a religious smoke screen: out of his nostrils goes forth smoke. The smoke seems smooth, but it is generated by the seething pot or caldron of his rage. He is filled with jealousy and hatred of God or any worthy representative of God.

41:21 His breath kindles coals, and a flame goes out of his mouth.

Do you recall how Elihu repeatedly flattered Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar by calling them “wise men” and flaunting their “knowledge” and “understanding” while simultaneously doing everything possible to kindle with his breath any coals of repressed anger against Job they may have hidden in their heart? This is exactly the type of scenario Satan loves, especially when someone’s temper reaches the point where they will use words that injure others (a flame goes out of his mouth), and the reader may wonder whether Elihu unknowingly acted as Satan’s dupe at that point.

41:22 In his neck dwells strength, and before him the work is undone.

Satan’s order or system, “the leviathan,” has many heads, and he uses the strength of his neck to control his heads. Wherever he is found, man’s work is undone because undoing such work is his purpose: he goes forth to steal and to kill and to destroy. This is why Jesus forewarned us that by their fruits ye shall know them (Matthew 7:20). While in the midst of his flattery, a flame goes out of his mouth when he moves in for the kill.

41:23 The failings of his flesh are joined together; his flesh is firm in him and does not move.

Leviathan is the sum total of those who operate in the flesh, and their failings are joined together in him. As a result of this synergy, they are much worse as a group than any of them would be as mere individuals. The thoughts and desires of his flesh [are] firm in him and [do] not move. Carnality and humanism dominate and will not be displaced.

41:24 His heart is as firm as a stone; as hard as a piece of the lower millstone.

He does not have the ability to respond to individuals, or even to issues, with emotions such as mercy or compassion or charity. His heart never changes; it is as firm as a stone. Instead, he reasons out his policy and grinds out doctrines, directives, and procedures as if his heart were a piece of the lower millstone. The upper millstone turns, but the lower millstone, like leviathan’s heart, is fixed in place and never moves.178

178 The corporate heart and groupthink of leviathan never changes. There may be individuals trapped in the system that still have a relatively soft heart but they find themselves participating in hard, callous actions that they may have never considered doing as individuals.

41:25 Of his greatness, the mighty are afraid; by reason of breakings they remove sin from themselves.

At every level, leviathan rules by sheer terror so that even the mighty are afraid. Even his powerful princes are very careful not to set off his rage. By reason of breakings (that is, as a result of observing how men are broken by leviathan’s ruthless and destructive orders), even mighty princes are highly motivated to remove sin from themselves; in other words, they will eliminate any “wrong” or rebellious intentions that may build up inside of them against the leviathan, as he would consider these to be sinful and would punish the “sinner” accordingly.

41:26 When one catches up to him, no sword or spear or dart or coat of mail shall endure against him.

Job knows that leviathan is also the fleeing serpent (Job 26:13), and he understands that the only thing that will make leviathan flee is when the basis for our resistance to him is our complete and total submission to God; leviathan will only flee from us when he knows we belong to God. God resists the proud, but gives grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves, therefore, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:6-7).

However, if we were to pursue the fleeing leviathan and catch up to him, we would find to our surprise that no sword or spear or dart or coat of mail shall endure against him.

41:27 He esteems iron as straw and bronze as rotten wood.

He is completely lawless, viewing iron (the law) as straw and bronze (judgment) as rotten wood.

41:28 The arrow cannot make him flee; with him, slingstones are turned into stubble.

41:29 He counts any weapon as stubble; he laughs at the shaking of a spear.

If we go on offense and pursue leviathan and engage him in battle without direct and specific orders from God to do so, no spiritual gift or weapon at our command will suffice to win the day. Up until now, our spiritual weapons have been primarily for defense, not offense. Paul encourages us: Put on the whole armour of God that ye may be able to stand firm against the wiles of the devil (Ephesians 6:11).

Remember that leviathan comprises not only the devil but his spiritual principalities and powers and his earthly minions, all of which he has formed into a system (a way of operating). This is how he controls all the kingdoms of the world.

41:30 Broken clay vessels are under him; he carves his imprint upon the mire.

Those who serve the Lord are often compared to clay vessels. Over the millennia, leviathan has broken many clay vessels that have refused to receive his imprint. Multiple millions have been martyred in this way,179 and still leviathan continues to stamp his imprint upon the mire of lost humanity.

179 For the God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shined in our hearts to bring forth the light of the knowledge of the clarity of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in clay vessels that the excellency of the virtue may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are unsure of our lives, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we who live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. (2 Corinthians 4:6-11, emphasis added)

41:31 He makes the deep to boil like a pot; he makes the sea like a pot of ointment.

41:32 He makes the path shine after him; one would think the deep to be hoary.

The first word that is translated as “deep” above could also have been translated as “quarrel.” Leviathan provokes deep quarrels (some of them going back centuries or even millennia) that boil like a pot, to his advantage. He makes the sea (of lost humanity) like a pot of ointment; that is, he prepares a special anointing for those who seek the things of this world. He makes the path shine after him. Leviathan makes the worldly path glow, and he dazzles humanity with all the celebrities he raises up, so that one would think the deep180 to be hoary (grey hair is associated with age and thus symbolizes wisdom that deserves respect).

180 This second word translated as “deep” refers to the abyss, which is linked to Sheol (the bottomless pit) and to the insatiable desires of the natural man. Satan causes the world and its system to seem very attractive, so the casual observer is led to believe that those who cater to the bottomless pit of the insatiable desires of the flesh are wise and worthy of respect.

 41:33 Upon earth there is not his like, who behaves without fear.

41:34 He despises all exalted things; he is king over all the sons of pride.

We saw how leviathan (with Satan at the head) has consolidated the sea of lost pagan humanity (many of whom openly worship him as “the dragon.”) He also operates upon dry land (the earth), even among those who claim to be the people of God (Revelation 13:1) as well as presents himself in heaven among the sons of God (Job 1:6; Revelation 12:3).

Upon the earth there is not his like. No one can outdo leviathan in the religious realm. He despises all exalted things (everyone and everything that is lifted up by God). He offers his followers treasures on earth instead of treasures in heaven. Because he knows that most Jews or Christians (or even Muslims) will not openly worship him as “the dragon,” he lifts up mankind’s pride so that man will worship himself instead of God (this self-worship is humanism). Satan doesn’t mind flattering man into thinking that mankind is the “head” as long as leviathan gets to be the “neck,” so in the end, the devil is the king over all the sons of pride.

Job 42

42:1 Then Job answered the LORD, and said,

42:2 I know that thou canst do every thing and that there is no thought hidden from thee.

42:3 Who is he that hides counsel without knowledge?…

Now that God has explained everything, Job can see that he that hides counsel without knowledge is really leviathan, who can use people wittingly or unwittingly for his nefarious purposes. To what extent could this have been the case regarding Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar, and Elihu?

It is reassuring to note that God will use Job for the restoration of his three friends but after God interrupted Elihu (by asking Job, Who is this that darkens counsel with words without knowledge?) he is never mentioned again.181

181 Job 38:1,2.

42:3 …Therefore, I have denounced that which I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.

Regarding the book of Job (and many other seemingly unfathomable Scriptures), most – if not all of us – should now join Job in admitting, I have denounced that which I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.

How many times have we blamed God (or been severely tempted to blame him) when bad things have happened to us and to those around us? How many of us really understand the way of the cross and its consequences?

Those who have been tried and proven, as they have followed in the footsteps of Jesus along the way of the cross into the realm of having their spiritual eyes opened, will identify with Job.

Let us join with Job as he finishes his prayer

Heavenly Father,

42:4 Hear, now, and I will speak; I will ask of thee, and thou shalt cause me to know.

42:5 With my ears I had heard thee; but now my eyes see thee.

42:6 Therefore, I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes. Amen.

This is the end of humanism. This is the end of trusting in our own wisdom and understanding. This is revelation in the knowledge of Him (Ephesians 1:17).

Chap 24. Job is Justified by God and Given a Double Portion.

Here is God’s answer to Eliphaz and his two friends:

Job 42

42:7 And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz, the Temanite, My wrath has been kindled against thee, and against thy two friends; for ye have not spoken by me in uprightness, as my slave Job has.

42:8 Therefore, take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my slave Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my slave Job shall pray for you; for only because I will accept him, I shall not deal with you according to your folly, in that ye have not spoken by me in uprightness, like my slave Job.

God uses the phrase my slave Job four times in the short passage above, in order to drill it into Eliphaz and the others that Job really and truly belongs to God, obeys God’s orders, and speaks on God’s behalf.

The Lord makes it very clear that even though Job was confused at times, wondering why God had allowed such dreadful things to happen to him and his family and his servants, his upright heart never wavered. God’s rebuke (stated twice) is for Eliphaz and his two friends, for ye have not spoken by me in uprightness, as my slave Job has.

They are ordered, therefore, to take seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my slave Job. The seven bullocks represent the totality of their sin, while the seven rams represent the totality of their guilt. We can only imagine the mad scramble they must have made to find the necessary animals quickly, but we can be sure the animals they offered were absolutely in perfect condition. Even though God only told them to sacrifice seven bullocks and seven rams altogether, I speculate they sacrificed seven bullocks and seven rams each. I know that’s what I would have done if I’d been in their shoes!

42:9 So Eliphaz, the Temanite, and Bildad, the Shuhite, and Zophar, the Naamathite, went, and did according as the LORD commanded them; and the LORD accepted Job.

Even though Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar made the required sacrifices according as the LORD commanded, they were not the ones who were accepted: the LORD accepted Job. This is a living parable foretelling the role Jesus Christ would have in the future as our new High Priest after the order of Melchisedec (Hebrews 6:20). After Jesus’ once-and-for-all sacrifice for our sin and guilt, he ascended high above all heavens to his seat at the right hand of the Father as the sole mediator of the new covenant. Since the Father accepts Jesus, if we are in Christ, then we are also accepted.

42:10 And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends; also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.

Jesus said, Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy (Matthew 5:7). Job was still in captivity when he prayed for his friends. Even though they did not support him, his merciful heart nevertheless prayed for them. Much later, out of a heart overflowing with love and mercy for mankind, Jesus offered his high priestly prayer for us (recorded in John 17) a few hours before he went to the cross.

Pay very close attention to this: And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends.

42:11 Then all his brethren came unto him and all his sisters and all those that had been of his acquaintance before and ate bread with him in his house; and they condoled him and comforted him over all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him; each one also gave him an ewe, and an earring of gold.

While Job was in the midst of his ordeal, not one of his brothers or sisters was seen, but this is not an unusual situation when dealing with fallen humanity. When Queen Jezebel hunted down Elijah after committing wholesale slaughter among the prophets of the Lord, Elijah believed he was the only prophet left and thus felt no one would come to his aid. Even Jesus went to the cross seemingly alone (Matthew records that only a few women followed from afar). And when I was tied to a tree in the jungle, there were no brothers or sisters in Christ nearby to comfort and encourage me. However, once the Lord turned Job’s captivity around, then all his brethren came unto him and all his sisters and all those that had been of his acquaintance before.

They all came and ate bread with him in his house; and they condoled him and comforted him. The Lord sent an angel to Elijah with food and drink to sustain him. Jesus’ overjoyed disciples and family embraced him after his resurrection. After I was released from my captivity, my wife and I spent a couple of years traveling (living out of a suitcase and never spending more than a week – or at the most two – in any given place) while we were received by all of our brothers and sisters in Christ182 along with all those that had been of [our] acquaintance before who desired to hear our testimony and bless us.

182 Most had been praying for us all along.

How many relatives and acquaintances did Job have?

Well, let’s just say that after each one gave him an ewe and an earring of gold, Job had twice as much value in the way of material possessions as he had before! Something similar happened in my own situation, and God enabled us to greatly multiply and extend the ministry with dozens of radio transmitters and millions of books and Bibles.

Each productive ewe (sheep) from someone who embraced Job183 was accompanied by a gift of an earring of gold (which is symbolic of having ears to only hear the voice of the Lord). Jesus said, My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall anyone pluck them out of my hand (John 10:27-28).

183 This prefigures Jesus’ method of evangelism: He that receives you receives me, and he that receives me receives him that sent me (Matthew 10:40). He that receives whomsoever I send receives me, and he that receives me receives him that sent me (John 13:20).

42:12 So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning; for he had fourteen thousand sheep and six thousand camels and a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand she asses.

Fourteen184 is a number that is symbolic of salvation, and one thousand is symbolic of perfection (fourteen thousand sheep represents the perfect number of those saved). Six is the number of man (and of the behemoth), and six thousand camels means that even Job’s “camels” (animals that are unclean, comparable to Gentiles working with or for Job) reached perfection (as defined by having an upright and perfect heart). Camels are designed to travel through the “wilderness,” a place of trials and tribulations from which Job has now emerged. In the natural realm in the day of Job, having six thousand camels would be like someone having a large fleet of eighteen-wheelers today; they were the means of transportation and commerce.

184 On one occasion, after my release, I spoke in a guerrilla area (where church buildings, missionaries, and pastors had been prohibited for many years) to a huge crowd that received me, in spite of my presence being previously forbidden. We “sacrificed” fourteen steers and were able to serve lunch to seven thousand people (while we passed out ten thousand books and Bibles). With the bullocks and rams sacrificed by Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, it is likely that a multitude was fed as people quickly learned that God was on the scene. This feast has prophetic parallels to the wedding supper mentioned by Jesus and to the Feast of Tabernacles.

A thousand yoke of oxen means that Job’s farming team (or evangelistic ministry) was plowing, planting, and harvesting (working together) in “perfection” (to bring others to maturity in Christ). A thousand she asses means that the flesh – of Job, his family, his servants, and his coworkers – was circumcised and under perfect control. (I have had a slight taste of what it is to live and minister under these blessed conditions!)

42:13 He also had seven sons and three daughters.

Note that Job did not receive double the number of sons and daughters that he had before. As we mentioned earlier, this is because his first seven sons and three daughters were not really lost after Satan murdered them.185 They were safe and would be redeemed by Jesus at the proper time.

185 There is also no mention that Job ever had another wife. We can infer from this that his second set of seven sons and three daughters were with his original wife. Remember Job had covenanted to never look upon a maid (Job 31:1). Likewise, Jesus will always be faithful to his bride, and she to him. Fidelity is also linked to reward and inheritance (Job 31:2).

42:14 And he called the name of the first, Jemima, and the name of the second, Kezia, and the name of the third, Kerenhappuch.

“Jemima” means “dove.” “Kezia” is cassia, which means “bowing down.” Cassia is a symbol of true worship. It is an important ingredient in the special anointing oil prepared for prophets, kings, and priests (Exodus 30:24). “Kerenhappuch” means “horn of many colors.” Job undoubtedly remembered the story of the coat of many colors that his grandfather, Israel, gave to his uncle Joseph about eighty years previously, right before Joseph was sent along the way of the cross.

The coat with the many colors of the rainbow symbolized Israel’s186 fervent desire that his favorite son, Joseph, always be covered by covenant with God. When Israel recovered the torn and bloody garment from the hands of Joseph’s jealous brethren (who had sold him into slavery and then lied to his father that a wild beast must have killed him), his grief caused him to embark on his own journey along the way of the cross.

186 God changed Jacob’s name to Israel after a face-to-face encounter that left Jacob limping but blessed: And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel [the face of God]; for I have seen God face to face, and my soul was saved (Genesis 32:30).

It is significant that only the names of Job’s daughters are recorded and not those of his sons. Together the three make a beautiful composite of the bride of Christ. Jemima, the dove of the Spirit; Kezia, symbolizing true worship, a key ingredient of the anointing oil; and Kerenhappuch, the many-colored horn of the overwhelming power and voice of a people living in covenant with God under the rainbow (or glory) surrounding God and his throne.

42:15 And in all the land no women were found as beautiful as the daughters of Job; and their father gave them inheritance among their brethren.

The beautiful bride of Christ (without spot or wrinkle or any such thing) will also receive an inheritance.

42:16 After this Job lived one hundred and forty years, and saw his sons, and his sons’ sons, even four generations.

42:17 So Job died, being old and full of days.

Something to think about:

Since Job was given twice as much as he had before, and since God gave him an additional one hundred and forty years, then he would have been seventy at the time these extra years were granted and would have lived a total of two hundred and ten years. Consider this in the light of the prophetic plan that God revealed to Abram (just before he changed his name to Abraham) about twenty-two years before Isaac was born:

Then [God] 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 and also that nation, whom they shall serve, I will judge; and afterward shall they come out with great riches. And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. But in the fourth generation they shall come here again; for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. (Genesis 15:13-16)

It is likely that the four hundred years are counted from the birth of Isaac, because at that time Egypt was the dominant world power and because By faith [Abraham] sojourned in the promised land, as in a strange country (Hebrews 11:9).

In any case, it looks as though Job lived for more than half of those prophesied four hundred years. Also, he was part of the first generation to enter the land of Egypt, and God told Abram that in the fourth generation they shall come here again. Job saw his sons and his sons’ sons even four generations. Therefore Job lived to see the generation that would enter the promised land.


So, you’re probably wondering what happened to Elihu, aren’t you? I don’t know his outcome for sure. It is quite possible (since he was young and immature, and therefore may not have been of age187) that God considered him to be the responsibility of Zophar (whose place you will recall Elihu took in lieu of what should have been the older man’s third discourse). In that case, Elihu would have been included in God’s treatment of Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar under the mediation of Job. Remember that God told them: For only because I will accept [Job], I shall not deal with you according to your folly, in that ye have not spoken by me in uprightness, like my slave Job (v. 8).

187 Men were held to come of age (and accept complete responsibility for their actions) at the age of thirty. Elihu may have been in his mid to late twenties.

On the other hand, Elihu clearly demonstrated the basic characteristics of a false prophet or antichrist (much more so than any of the other three and to such a degree that even they kept silent when he repeatedly sought their approval to destroy Job). Scripture states, When the whirlwind passes, the wicked is no more, but the righteous is founded for ever (Proverbs 10:25). Was this the case with Elihu and Job? We know Job was righteous, but how wicked was Elihu?

His behavior was wrong enough (even if he was restored in the end) that God does not clearly spell out his fate in Scripture, a strong intimation that everyone should think twice before following a similar course. Elihu could have simply fainted when the whirlwind of the presence of God drew near (and this could account for his sudden silence), or he could have been annihilated.188

In the day when leviathan is finally destroyed, many are going to go down with Satan.

Some further thoughts:

Isaiah 27

1 In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall visit punishment upon leviathan the fleeing serpent, and upon leviathan that serpent of double vision;189 and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.

188 Even Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar did not escape by the skin of their teeth; they escaped by the skin of Job’s teeth when he prayed for them. See footnote 175.

189 Hypocrites have double vision: one set of standards for themselves and their friends and a completely different standard for everyone else.

It takes the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword to destroy leviathan. In other words, the leviathan that Satan has spawned will be destroyed not with hands (Daniel 2:34-45). Remember that “leviathan” is a perversion of “levi.”

Psalm 74

12 For God is my King from of old, he who works saving health in the midst of the earth.

13 Thou didst divide the sea by thy strength; thou didst break the heads of the dragons in the waters.

14 Thou didst break the heads of leviathan in pieces and didst give him to be food to the people inhabiting the wilderness.

On the surface, this is a metaphorical account of how God divided the sea for the children of Israel to pass through and then destroyed Pharaoh and his armies. It is, however, also prophetic of the end time, when God will not only break the heads of leviathan in pieces but will also break the heads of the dragons in the waters (the heads of all the dragons that leviathan has spawned in the “waters” of the world system that is based on his lies).

Yes, one of the heads of this beast did apparently survive a deadly wound (Revelation 13:3), but God will soon break all of his heads along with the heads of all of his “sons.”190

190 The age old sentence of God upon the serpent will be completely fulfilled: And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all beasts and above every animal of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life; and I will put enmity between thee and the woman and between thy seed and her seed; that seed shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel (Genesis 3:14-15).

Ezekiel 29

3 Speak and say, Thus hath the Lord GOD said: Behold, I am against thee, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great dragon that lies in the midst of his rivers, who has said, My river is my own, and I have made it for myself.

4 But I will put hooks in thy jaws, and I will cause the fish of thy rivers to stick unto thy scales, and I will bring thee up out of the midst of thy rivers, and all the fish of thy rivers shall come out stuck onto thy scales.

Note that when God hooks the dragon and brings him out of the midst of his “rivers,” then all the “fish” of leviathan’s rivers shall come out stuck onto his scales (or shields), which have to do with his pride.

5 And I will leave thee thrown into the wilderness, thee and all the fish of thy rivers; thou shalt fall upon the open fields; thou shalt not be brought together, nor gathered; I have given thee for food to the beasts of the field and to the fowls of the heaven.

We find a parallel passage in the book of Revelation:

Revelation 11

15 And the seventh angel sounded the trumpet, and there were great voices in the heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are reduced unto our Lord and to his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.191

191 See Revelation Unveiled, Russell Stendal, Ransom Press International, Hollywood, FL.

God is not interested in taking over the kingdoms of this world. They shall be reduced to dust and ashes, and God’s heavenly kingdom shall rise and dominate the earth and never be corrupted (Daniel 2:31-33, 44; 7:13-14).

Meet the Author.

At the age of four, while his family was living in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Russell Stendal prayed and asked God to call his parents, Chad and Pat, to be missionaries. God answered that prayer and within just a few years the whole family was on the mission field in Colombia, South America. He became an accomplished jungle pilot and married a beautiful Colombian lady named Marina. They have four children, Lisa, Alethia, Russell Jr., and Dylan, plus six grandchildren.

When Russell was 27 years old, Marxist guerrillas of the FARC kidnapped him for 142 days. The story of his kidnapping is told in the book he wrote titled Rescue the Captors. His reason for the title is because he realized that his captors were more captive than he was. There was a possibility he would be released, but most of his kidnappers were young people who had been taken from their families, given a weapon, and taught to kill. They had little hope of survival.

To reach all the actors of the armed conflict, including his former captors, Russell established a radio ministry to air programs into the dangerous war stricken areas of Colombia with messages of peace and hope. He has also written more than 50 books in English and Spanish.

In 2017, he was awarded the Shahbaz Bhatti Freedom Award, (given to Pope Francis the year before) for his tireless efforts towards spreading peace and reconciliation in Colombia (in the context of promoting religious freedom). Russell travels extensively as a guest speaker in conventions around the world. His speaking is unique in that he is very sensitive to the Lord’s voice and does not hesitate to deliver the message imparted to him, no matter how uncomfortable that may be to him or to others. Most of the books he has published were transcribed directly from the radio messages he has preached in Spanish and beamed into virtually all of the war torn areas of the countryside.

Russell is the editor of the Jubilee Bible translation that has been published in English and in Spanish. Well over a million copies of this Bible have been donated and distributed into the most needy areas of Colombia and Venezuela.

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