The origin of the Book of Job is controversial, that Job is not a real person and that the whole book is just an allegory; also, that Job was the contemporary of Jacob or Abraham. No one can resolve this.
Be that as it may, what is the message that comes from the Book of Job?
Did Job actually sin? As defined, “sin is a transgression of the law”and the consequence is “eternal death” which is irreversible or second death. Humans , created “flesh-composed”, are finite and subject to “natural/reversible death”not due to sin, a principle that emanates from John 9:3.
It is true that there were sins as later defined by the Law even before the Law was given. But, as the time of Job was around Abraham’s time and therefore before the Law was given to Moses at Mt. Sinai, there was no consequence of eternal death to him. Remember, “sin is not accounted when there is no law” and therefore irrelevant as there was no consequence. Both sin of omission and sin of commission require knowledge of what Law is being broken. Hence, the aphorism “ignorance of the law is not an excuse”, also does not apply. With these prolegomena, let us now focus on the book of Job and the challenges he faced.
Context of Job’s challenges
1. Satan’s challenge: As in Job 1:1, he was described as “that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.” He was blessed with a wife, 7 children and great possessions that qualified to be called “…the greatest man among all the people of the East.” (Job 1:3). Satan’s dare to God from the rest of Job 1 was that Job worshipped God only because of his blessings and the challenge was without his children and possessions, Job will curse God. Then God allowed these to happen to him but still, as in Job 1:20-22, Job did not sin nor blame but instead worshipped God. Same result when God allowed Satan to cause physical sufferings on Job (Job 2:1-10) but spare his life, showing God-in-control, the sovereignty of God.
2. Friends’ challenges: From Job 2:11-13, Job 4:7-9, the interpretation of Job’s friend Eliphaz was that his sufferings were the result of his sins; that “bad/evil things” happened to Job because of his sin against God. Job vehemently denied that he sinned; he could not accept his friends “cause-and-effect” explanation for his sufferings. And, that he still could not understand why he had to suffer. God agreed with him that his sufferings were not because he sinned, as in “Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.” (Job 1:22).
Other issues discussed with his 2 other friends, Bildad and Zophar, were in a nutshell about the same and blaming Job. See Job Chapters 11,15, 18,20, 22, 25,
3. Elihu’s challenge: youngest among four of them. In Job 32:2 Elihu’s wrath was kindled against Job because he justified himself rather than God; also against Job’s 3 friends because “they found no answer, yet they condemned Job”(Job 3:3)
4. Lord’s challenge: Job 38 shows the supreme and complete sovereignty of the Almighty God putting Job in his place. He is the Creator God who plans and decides on everything he created including their limits and boundaries.
Job’s understanding and venting:
Job 9:4-12, Job understood God’s sovereignty but only to the extent that he is nothing compared to God who he acknowledged “destroys both the blameless and the wicked” Job 9:22. Also in Job 9:13-21, Job was humble enough and did not have pride by disavowing knowledge he was perfect/blameless even when he knew he did “not depart from the commands of his lips” as in Job 23:12, although he maintained the claim of his own righteousness “to his own eyes” as in Job 32:1. In Job 19:26, he also knew he would be resurrected in his flesh. For the depth and breadth of his understanding of God, see also Job Chapters 12-14, 16-17, 19, 21, 24, 26-31. Nevertheless, while asking for answers to his sufferings, Job’s knowledge was incomplete and in a way, questioning to the point of contending, instructing, correcting, striving, fault finding or rebuking God
Job saw, not just heard, the truth
God did not directly answer Job’s question of “Why?”—He instead overwhelmed Job and his friends with the truth of His supreme majesty and overwhelming sovereignty. Job came away with a deeper sense of God’s power and splendor, trusting Him more:“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding” (Job 38:4).
After God’s dissertation to educate, Job then saw the light, “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees You;
Therefore I retract, And I repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:5–6)
Not Sin but Lack of Understanding
Job did not sin as confirmed by God but his understanding was wrong in that he thought and said in Job 27:6 “I will cling to my (own) righteousness and never let go. As long as I live, my conscience will not accuse me”(BSB). He did not know then, what was revealed through Isaiah 64:6 “Each of us has become like something unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all wither like a leaf, and our iniquities carry us away like the wind.”(BSB). Moreover, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.(Isaiah 55:8). Also, he justified himself according to Elihu, instead of the need for God to justify all humans (Job 32:2).
Imputed vs accounted sin in relation to Job and unique man-Christ Jesus
As explained through Paul, he wrote in Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Meaning literally or functionally by imputation and accounting.
Job’s sin was “imputed sin” of Adam, not actual as he was “perfect/upright/blameless”. But this “imputed sin” was not charged nor accounted until and only after the Law was given to Moses. Similar to Job, being “perfect/upright/blameless, this “man-Christ Jesus” (being human) also had imputed and accounted sin that deserved “eternal death”. The difference between Job and man-Christ Jesus was that the latter’s death (not the former’s and the only one man’s death) was taken or counted by God-the-Father as “eternal death of all mankind” from which Jesus was resurrected, as promised, by God-the-Father, to receive the empowering Holy Spirit for our “ongoing creation”
Teaching principles that emerged from the book of Job are the following facts:
1. Man was created by a perfect Almighty God and can be “blameless and upright, fears God and shuns evil”, like Job and man-Christ Jesus were. Man, by nature, did not have to sin, but chose to sin nevertheless. Job in the Bible, professed and believed his “blamelessness” and thought that he didn’t deserve to suffer with loss of wealth and deaths in his family but God educated him otherwise. In the eyes of many, Job was described as “perfect and upright” in his ways, although still needed a Savior, unlike man-Christ Jesus who is the Savior himself.
2. Adam’s sin is imputed to all and therefore the need for a Savior from “eternal death”. All our sin is “imputed/accounted sin” of Adam’s and not our own individual sins, although we have actually and awfully sinned, unlike Job. Remember, “sin is not imputed when there is no Law”.
3. Although perfectly created from the beginning, man is “still weak”,(message in Gethsemane) in the sense of being “incomplete” for lack of the empowering Holy Spirit. Man is still temporal, a “clay marred by sin” and needs “change” or “re-made” from mortal to immortal through a “process of salvationt”.
4. Blinded until God “opens eyes spiritually”. All of us were “blinded” in a way because of “hope” in man-Christ Jesus who was the incarnated YHVH-Elohim Creator/ the Word.
5. Principles: Sovereignty of God. Trust God. Prelude to “perfect Jesus” who suffered and did not need a Savior because he himself is the Savior by taking on the consequence of “one man’s sin”, his/mankind’s death. Also, the predicate that righteousness that God requires is NOT our own righteousness which is “as filthy rags” but righteousness that emanates from the Holy Spirit “as fruits”.
Job is “perfect, blameless, upright” as acknowledged by God (Job 1:1). He followed whatever God’s commandments were at that time. Not only he “did not sin on his own”,but also he did not commit any “accounted sin” as defined after the Decalogue was given to Moses at Mt. Sinai. His sin was “imputed sin of Adam” and “accounted sin” only after The Law was given to Moses.
However, Job’s deficiency was lack of knowledge, i.e. that he could not justify himself, he carried “imputed and accounted sin” from Adam in Genesis that meant eternal death and therefore needs a Savior still.
Moreover, his experience is a reflection of what was to happen to another man-Jesus who was “sinless, perfect, blameless and upright” Both Job and man-Jesus suffered physically and died naturally, viz., Job from boils all over his body, recovered and died subsequently and Christ suffered physically from crucifixion and died, being mortals. The difference between the two is that Job died a “reversible/first death” being mortal from which he will be resurrected and later saved from “eternal death”, albeit had “imputed sin from Adam” and “accounted sin” which meant “eternal death”. Whereas, Christ took on all “imputed and accounted sins of mankind” worthy of “eternal/second death” which was irreversible, were it not for the promise of grace from the Father that he would be resurrected as “first of the firstfruits”. This all means that salvation from “eternal/irreversible/second death” is by grace as in Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”
God bless 🙏👍😇
Original/hyperlink version posted 12/15/2020
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