Heaven’s Official Introduction: Job 1:1-2:13
As a vital interpretation to the earthly situation that was soon to unfold, the first two chapters of Job give the reader a glimpse into Heaven. For, unless men look heavenward, their earthly pilgrimage will be fraught with stumbling-stones that purposefully debase proud mortals into the dust from which they came (Ezek. 3:20, Jer. 6:21).
The Heavenly Vision: Job 1:1, 6-12, 2:1-7
The Book of Job is unique from all others in the Bible because it is a written record of an actual discourse between several of the godliest men in the Church, exchanging words with Job while in sharp disagreement with him. Therefore, seeing that nearly the whole book is a record of an ongoing controversy that took place in real time, a heavenly perspective is offered in retrospect at the beginning of the Book to prevent the reader from being tossed about with confusion during the discourse, which begins in Job 3.
There would have been no controversy at all, if only Job’s friends had been more informed about the heavenly situation that is freely conveyed to the reader in Job 1-2. For, the controverted issue was whether or not Job was righteous or wicked to begin with, which would determine whether these calamitous judgments were unmerited or merited. Lo and behold, Job was righteous (Job 1:1, 2:8)! Furthermore, Job’s righteousness was far from average. God said, “there is none like him in the earth” (Job 1:8)! This extraordinary divine statement about Job is worthy of our studious consideration (“What about Job?”). The 42 Chapters provided should be cherished by Christians everywhere. At the very least, this would mean that the life of Job is a character study worthy of our utmost attention.
Consequentially, Job became the focal point of conversation between Satan and God amidst an assembly of Holy Angels in the splendor of Eternity (Job 1:6, 2:1; Note: This sheds light on how the Apostle Paul became known by the fallen Angels of Hell, as it was written, “And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?” – Acts 19:15). Remarkably, God directed the attention of Satan to Job, by the question, “Hast thou considered My servant Job…?” (Job 1:8). Hence, this calamity was occasioned as a result of Job’s extraordinary righteousness (not wickedness!), while it honestly appeared to be the contrary in the eyes the generally assembly of the Saints (Job 5:1; Jude 1:14).
Nevertheless, in love, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar were burdened to come and comfort Job (Job 2:11), but upon hearing his first outcry of bitterness after 7 days of silence (Job 3:1-26), which further convinced them that Job had been secretly engaging in wickedness before God, Job’s friends were moved to rebuke him for his foolishness. The fact that Job broke the silence of 7 days with such vile words of bitterness and worldly sorrow certainly complicated things for Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar (Job 2:12-3:1).
Job Curses his Birth and Wishes to Die: Job 3:1-26, 6:8-9, 10:18-22
However, despite the fact that Job fell into sin in this way from Job 3 and onward, this doesn’t change the reality that Job was blameless and upright prior to this time (Job 1:20-22), which would mean that this calamity didn’t befall him for any wickedness found in him. Therefore, upon being reproved and reasoned with by his friends, Job held to his integrity.
Job Holds to his Integrity: Job 6:10, 14-15, 24-25, 9:15-28, 10:7, 14-15, 12:3, 9-10, 13:2, 15-18, 16:16-17:10, 19:3-5, 7, 23-27, 21:5-6, 16, 19-20, 22, 29-31, 23:11, 27:4-6, 30:25, 31:1-40
Job said a lot of things amiss while holding to his integrity! Truly. Nevertheless, there would be no argument, or ongoing discourse, if it wasn’t integrous for Job to maintain the confession that he was indeed righteous before God to begin with. This is where Job was proved right and the others were proved wrong at the end of the day (Job 42:8). Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar were convinced that this calamity originally came upon Job because of wickedness that he was committing in secret before God, and the fact that Job held to his integrity only further exasperated the others, and this in turn further exasperated Job.
Explicit Instances where Job’s Friends Sought to Erroneously Prove to Job that he was Wicked: Job 4:7-8, 5:3-5, 8:3-7, 11-22, 11:2-20, 21:27-28, 22:3, 5-23
This isn’t to be taken lightly (Ps. 55:12-14). Job loved these men as dear friends and brethren (Job 6:14-15, 27)! Therefore, it pained him deeply to be dealt with falsely and wrongly accused, and as a result Job’s spiritual condition worsened over time. In the beginning, Job’s worldly sorrow and bitterness was directed towards himself, and so he cursed his birth and wished to die and nothing more (Job 3). At this point Job refused to accuse God of any wrongdoing. However, as bitterness progressed within his soul, and as the discourse escalated in sharp disagreement with his friends, Job then began to doubt the integrity of God and accuse the Most High (Job 7:11-21), even desiring to argue with the Almighty if only such a thing could be possible!
Job Doubts the Integrity of God and Utters Accusations, even Desiring to Argue with the Almighty: Job 7:11-21, 9:3, 14, 19, 22-23, 32-33, 10:3, 13:3, 13, 19, 16:21, 23:3-4, 7, 27:2, 31:35
Clearly, Job expected Eliphaz, Zophar, and Bildad to have spiritual discernment about what was happening to him (Job 16:4, 17:2, 4-5, 7-10), but instead they approached an extraordinary situation in an ordinary way by adhering to the protocols of doctrine that they all agreed upon as a Church. This was a mistake.
Evidence of a Unified Church: Job 2:10, 11-13, 4:3-7, 5:1, 8, 27, 6:10, 25, 8:8-10, 9:2, 12:2-3, 9-10, 12-13, 13:1-2, 15:7-10, 17-19, 16:2, 4, 8, 17:2, 4, 8-10, 18:3-4, 20-21, 19:3-5, 7, 20:2-4, 21:29-31, 22:15-17, 24:1, 27:12 (Laws of Perpetuity: Deut. 32:7-8, 4:32, Ps. 44:1, 77:5-12, 78:1-8, Ps. 119:52, Isa. 46:9, 63:11, Joel 1:2-3)
Job was an anomaly. What was happening to Job had never been seen before in all of Church History (Job 5:1)! Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar had never heard from Noah, Shem, & Eber (who were indoctrinated by the likes of Adam, Seth, & Enoch) that God would ever allow such sore judgments to befall a righteous man. Therefore, Job serves as a type of Christ (Isa. 53:1-12, Ps. 22:1-19) – whose reproach is also borne by true Christians (Heb. 13:13) in the mysterious Gentile Church Age of the New Covenant (Ps. 44:9-26, Rom. 8:35-39), all of which will change when God turns back to the Jews at the 2nd Advent of Christ (Rom. 11:25-36).
However, after Job fell into sin, his darkened soul serves as a typological Captivity both physically and spiritually according to the Prophets, which is why at the end of the Book, Job’s restoration is said to be when “the LORD turned the Captivity of Job” (Job 42:10). This deserves some careful consideration. For, this is yet another major reason why Job is such a remarkable figure of Holy Scripture. Firstly, it’s remarkable that Job didn’t fall into sin in the beginning. Secondarily, the manner in which he eventually fell into sin correlates with the peril experienced by the Jews in the Assyrian & Babylonian Captivities of the future. Lastly, the manner in which Job is brought to repentance and restored spiritually and physically shadows the glorious Restoration that was and will be brought to pass in the aftermath of the tribulation periods of the past and the future. These things can be traced as follows.
Physically, Job’s glory is systematically dissolved from every direction at the same time in one day – by the Sabeans & Chaldeans and by Fire & Wind – and it was all reported to Job by back-to-back messengers who were the lone survivors of each event, so that their reports came suddenly and in rapid succession resulting in a moment of maximum temptation to Job (Job 1:13-22). Nevertheless, in all this Job did not sin with his lips (Job 1:22). This is truly remarkable.
However, upon falling into sin Job’s spiritual Captivity began. The following are evidences that Job was backslidden and consciously under the wrath of God, despite his resolve to “trust” the LORD as described in Job 13:15. Namely, because of the hidden face of God associated with spiritual enmity (Job 13:24, 19:11), the wrath of God associated with divine hatred for sin (Job 16:9), the delusions of God associated with spiritual darkness (Job 19:7-8), and the destruction of God associated with spiritual arrows (Job 19:10, 16:13).
“Wherefore hidest Thou Thy face” – Job 13:24
“Wherefore…holdest me for Thine enemy” – Job 13:24
“He teareth me in His wrath, Who hateth me” – Job 16:9
“Behold, I cry out of wrong, but I am not heard: I cry aloud, but there is no judgment. He hath fenced up my way that I cannot pass… …and He hath set darkness in my paths” – Job 19:7-8
“He hath destroyed me” – Job 19:10
“kindled His wrath against me…counteth me unto Him as one of His enemies” – Job 19:11
“His archers compass me round about, He cleaveth my reins asunder” – Job 16:13
“against me is He turned” – Lam. 3:3
“The Lord was an enemy: He hath swallowed up Israel” – Lam 2:5
“He hath… pulled me in pieces: He hath made me desolate” – Lam. 3:11
“when I cry and shout, He shutteth out my prayer” – Lam. 3:8
“He hath hedged me about, that I cannot get out…He hath inclosed my ways with hewn stone” – Lam. 3:7, 9
“brought me into darkness, but not into light” – Lam. 3:2
“He was unto me as a bear lying in wait, and as a lion in secret places” – Lam. 3:10
“Thou hast not pardoned” – Lam. 3:42
“Thou hast not pitied” – Lam. 3:43
“desolation and destruction” – Lam. 3:47
“bent His bow” & “caused the arrow” – Lam. 3:12-13, 2:4
The harmony of these perilous experiences simply cannot be denied. Evidently, Job was speaking of the same spiritual experience suffered by the Jews in the Babylonian Captivity according to the Book of Lamentations. Therefore, let the reader understand: true faith in Job would have delivered him from divine wrath by ushering him into the presence of God resulting in confessions exactly contrary to the above lamentations (Ps. 14:7, 53:6, 68:18, 78:61, 85:1, 126:1, 4). Can you believe it?
The Church on your street corner wouldn’t agree. It would tell you that Job is a philosophical masterpiece on why or how a good God allows so much human suffering to take place in the world. Sitting in the galleries, the Christian Academics of today would have you bow in reverence to such a thesis as this for the Book of Job. Nevertheless, something about it just doesn’t heal the hurt of sad and gloomy Christians (Jer. 6:14, 8:11). What amuses insensitive Scholars in seminaries then abuses suffering sinners who resort to Job for hope and comfort.
Job is popular today, and referenced often by peace preachers, because it seems that people have never been more depressed than in modern times. Of course, they misinterpret Job! So, his story becomes nothing more than a dimly lit candle in the dungeon of despair to help the mourners cope with their misery. No cure is offered through an incorrect interpretation (2 Cor. 1:24). No freedom is granted through false peace. Job needed to repent! “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” (Gal. 4:16). Why else do you think Elihu and Jehovah so sorely rebuked Job in the end of the Book in Job 32-42. Likewise, may a correct interpretation of Job’s misery serve as a wakeup call to the tens of thousands of depressed and impenitent Christians of the modern era, even as they delight to trace their misery in Job’s experience to tell themselves that everything is going to be okay.
Depressed souls like these become sadder at the sound of preaching on repentance. They cannot suffer anyone to tell them about the faithfulness of God – how the LORD would certainly lift their spirits if only they would denounce and totally divorce their secret affection for iniquity. They don’t want anyone to tell them that their sadness is sin! For the record, the bible calls it worldly sorrow (2 Cor. 7:10-11). Coincidentally, modern readers also believe Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar to be the antagonists of the situation simply because they had a heavy burden for Job and were persuaded that he was in sin. They totally disregard the fact that Job was in total agreement with the doctrine and practice of his friends, even echoing them, and at times excelling them, which shows that these were universally recognized truths among all the saints of the Early Church, namely because they were all learning from the same sources of aged counselors and teachers.
Sadly, the most noble morals of ancient generations are totally disregarded by future generations. The most noble doctrines of former times are totally denounced in latter times. Even so, today, Christians are prone to grossly oversimplify the discourse between Job and his friends because they are totally ignorant of the Early Church in Genesis 1-11.