Monday, April 18, 2016

Did Job Believe That God Was The Reason Behind Both The Good And The Bad?

Did Job Have Knowledge About Satan Behind His Ordeal?

Question : Did Job knew the existence of Satan or just believed that God is the reason for both the good and the evil?

Answer : Greetings in Jesus wonderful name! The main point to note here is not whether Job knew the existence of Satan or not, but rather he knew God as the great and the good, and the One who is of perfect moral character and moral qualities to be worshiped in spite of one's circumstances by faith and is worthy enough to be defended for His uprightness and justice towards all created beings
(Job 1:20; 2:10). We should understand that although God said about Job, “There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil” (Job 1:8), God gave Satan a chance to test him because he had legal rights over Job because of self-righteousness which is a form of pride that gave Satan and his demons a right to attack the life of Job, but only with the permission of God (John 14:30; Job 1:12; 2:3, 6). Even when Satan has attacked and have hijacked all the blessings of Job for his own selfish end, yet God was saying about it to Satan in this way, "you incited Me against him [i.e. Job]," which conveys to us that God Himself did not consider the information about Satan doing evil things to steal, kill and destroy as something that is worth enough to be revealed to Job as he was living by the law of God through which he feared God (Rom 2:12-13), unlike to the New Testament believers who have come to know much more about it because of the grace of God than what has been previously revealed to saints and faith warriors of the Old Testament times (Job 2:3; John 10:10). So for the man of God Job it was a partial understanding of the spiritual warfare that he was facing in his life (Eph 6:12). The original Hebrew term Satan is a noun from a verb meaning primarily "to obstruct, oppose". Satan with the definite article occurs 13 times in the Masoretic Text, in two books of the Hebrew Bible: Job ch.1–2 (10x) and Zechariah 3:1–2 (3x). Satan without the definite article is used in 10 instances, of which two are translated 'diabolos' in the Septuagint and "Satan" in the King James Version (1 Chron 21:1; Psa 109:6b).

As much as Job knew about God, He expected and wanted Job to entrust himself to the righteous and faithful Creator in doing what is right
(1 Peter 4:19). In other words, God wanted Job to trust that God is good in spite of the ordeal that Job was facing in his life which was shouting out loud from all directions to convince him that God sometimes is a bad God and can harm people with malicious intent. In fact, Satan wanted Job to believe his lies about God which he was orchestrating, and shouting with a megaphone of circumstances around him to prove his own point to God that Job is a fair-weather man when in fact he is not. Satan implied that Job had a selfish motive, a cynical reason for obeying and trusting God (verses 9-22). “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan asked God. Satan insinuated to God that Job is simply out for what he can get from God. God had faith in Job, more than he himself had about overcoming the trials of faith he faced.

In the initial times of trial, Job overwhelmingly proved God's faith over his life by (1) Believing that God is good in spite of all the evils that has come in to his life of which is controlled by him and allowed by him, and that He is worthy of our worship at all times
(Job 1:20), and that (2) We should not speak good about God only when we are comfortably good and prosperous in our lives and speak bad about Him when bad things of adversity happen to us which will pull down God's character to the level of the circumstances we face which is what all humans who are without real faith do towards God in their unbelief which is absolutely wrong and sinful (Job 2:10). Usually foolish unbelievers without faith will give full vent of their anger against God when bad things happen to them because of their own foolishness in their behavior (Gal 6:7), but a believer who is wise will correct his mistake when he faces adversity and will close the door in their personal lives which had given the legal rights to the powers of darkness to attack them by correcting their bad attitude and behavior (Prov 19:3; 29:11; 12:16).

Sometimes when we go through times of severe testing and are perplexed by the difficulties that confront us through the trials that suddenly comes in to our lives to cause devastation to make us think and suffer through it over for months together afterwards, our spirit gets negatively affected and we tend to murmur and complain because of a broken spirit and hopelessness. That is what happened to Job later during the time of after-trial, the period of time during which, he felt that he has spoken justly
(Job 27:3-4) and that God had wronged him (Job 19:6). He also felt that he had the right to be impatient and to complain (Job 21:4). He wanted to argue out his case before God (Job 23:4, 7). God always understands us through these time of turmoil we go through as an after effect of the trial that has come in to our lives. But at the same time, He will correct us through His revelation of our bad attitudes and also will transform us by revealing to us the magnificence of His unchanging character through it all to make us get blessed doubly at the end of it all.

Did Job knew the existence of Satan or just believed that God is the reason for both the good and the evil?

(1) If the existence of Satan has not been revealed by God to Job, they who were all the part of the story which someone within their reach have recorded word by word as Job desired it
(Job 19:23), would not have done so accurately by revealing in the first two chapters of what happened behind the scene in the life of Job. At least part of the revelation of God's magnificence would have been the revelation of what happened behind the scenes in heaven which Job understood at the end of the ordeal and got so humbled by God's goodness towards him in spite of his unfaithful time of blabbering in unbelief against God during the period of time after the first two great trials in the first two chapters of the Book of Job (Job 38:1; 42:1-6). In other words, there is a high chance of Job knowing about the work of Satan in the heavenlies at least during the end of his trials.

(2) Job had enough knowledge about the transgression of Adam and also about the Noah's flood which must have been passed by the elders of his society which were recorded by everyone of his ancestors right from the time of Adam his forefather
(Job 31:33; 22:16). First, Job’s postdiluvian status seems apparent from a question Eliphaz raised in his final speech. This must have given him the idea of how Satan and his evil angels are at prowl to destroy the lives of people who love God and are intimate with Him which happened at the time of the fall of Adam and Eve (Gen 3:1-8).

(3) Job believed in the Sovereign rulership of the Lord over good and evil and that is why he said to his wife,
"“You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips." (Job 2:10), which God acknowledged as a true statement and also affirms in the Book of Isaiah to say, "I create the light and make the darkness. I send good times and bad times. I, the LORD, am the one who does these things." (Isa 45:7, NLT). This makes us understand that Satan himself was part of the purpose of God that Job understood in a larger than life perspective with a eternal outlook upon it. In other words, Job considered Satan only as a servant to God even though he was a rebel, which again conveys to us that Job believed that Satan was under the choke chain of God beyond which he will not be able to do anything at any time of his life.

(4) God, Himself, takes credit for the creation of Satan - - as Satan!

The Bible says,
“I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy.” (Isa 54:16). In other words, God had said, “I have created the Waster (the Destroyer who is Satan) to Destroy.” God created Satan – and named him Satan (the Adversary) to be just that – the Adversary or an opposer against God. His job is to test us to see if we will stand for God through difficult trials and tribulations. Even though Satan wants to rule the world, and in fact, probably the Universe, even though Satan wants to stand in the place of God, he is still under God’s complete control. He can only do what God allows as the story in Job, Chapters 1 and 2 confirms.

Job understood this concept of God fully well like no other man, and thus expressed it saying,
“His hand hath formed [i.e. pierced] the crooked serpent.” (Job 26:13) and we know that Satan the serpent was a person who initially was created by God's Spirit to adorn the heavens (Rev 12:9), but was turned to ashes upon the earth when he fell from heaven initially because of his pride and arrogance (Ezek 27:14-15, 16-17, 18; Isa 14:12, 13-14). Job states that God’s hand formed the serpent. And God said Job spoke of God “what is right.” If these were the words of one of Job’s friends, we might well beware, lest it be merely human philosophy, for the Lord said to Job’s friends, “You have not spoken of Me the thing that is right, as My servant Job has.” (Job 42:7).

(5) Job must have understood in his time through tradition of the Word of God passed on by his forefathers that Satan was created without sin by God, but when he sinned and lost the glory of God, ever since he had become a adversary to God in opposing his purpose and plan through his insidious methods which always will fail in the end
(Job 15:15; 4:18). In other words, if sin’s entrance was a mistake, then God sinned! But we know from the Bible that Satan and not God who sinned from the beginning of time before earth was fully created and inhabited (Gen 1:1; 1 John 3:8). God NEVER fails, or sins, because he knows the end from the beginning (Jam 1:13; Titus 1:2; Num 23:19; Isa 46:10-11). Just because God knows by His omniscience that Lucifer the arch angel will become as Satan like as a movie director knows the end from the beginning, doesn't mean that he intended them to fail and choose evil by their own choice. God never influences any one to make bad choices, but gives the free will to choose good or bad, and to me the power of choice that God has given to angels or humans is the greatest power that one holds and is the greatest risk God has taken to create us (Rom 9:20, 21-22, 23). When Adam disobeyed God and inclined his ears to the adversary, Adam sinned and through him sin entered the world (1 Tim 2:14; Rom 5:12, 14, 19). We do not have the rights to ask God, why He chose to create us all including the bad angels when He knows that sin is going to come out of us all (Rom 9:19-20; 3:23). The Creator always works for the good of the creation, without partiality. To the angels who sinned and in whom God found error, were not given a second chance for redemption because they consciously sinned without any external interference, unlike the case of humans who were influenced by Satan from the outside and fell in to transgression (Heb 2:16; Gen 3:12-13).

(6) Job was a patriarch who lived prior to the time of Moses, and probably closer to the time of Abraham, seems evident from the following facts:

(i) Like other patriarchs of old
(Genesis 8:20; 12:7-8; 31:54), Job, as the head of his family, offered up sacrifices to God (Job 1:5; cf. 42:8). In the book of Job, there is no mention of the Levitical priesthood, the tabernacle, the temple, the Law of Moses, etc. In other words, Job definitely lived before the time of Moses.

(ii) Unlike Israelite law, where the family inheritance was passed on to daughters only in the absence of sons
(Numbers 27:1-11; 36:1-13), Job gave his daughters “an inheritance among their brothers” (Job 42:15). Job followed the God of the Bible in a better way even above the law, which shows that God has revealed to all humans after the flood about his absolute justice and requirement for salvation of their souls.

(iii) Job’s material wealth was measured, not in money, but in the amount of livestock he owned
(Job 1:3; 42:12), which is more characteristic of patriarchal times. If Abraham, Issac and Jacob were not mentioned at all in the Book of Job, it shows that God dealt with all men equally who approached him in obedience to the previous revelation that He had given to all men through Noah's sacrificial method to draw near to God by faith (Gen 8:20-21, 22).

(iv) Finally, that Job lived long before the time of Moses seems evident by the fact that the longevity of his life is more comparable to the long lives of the patriarchs who lived around 2200 B.C. The book of Job reveals that Job lived long enough to marry, become
“the greatest of all the men of the east” ( Job 1:3), and then witness his first 10 children reach at least the age of accountability (Job 1:5), and probably much greater ages (cf. Job 1:13,18). Then, after suffering greatly, losing all of his children and his material wealth, God blessed Job with 10 more children and twice as much wealth (Job 42:10-13). The book of Job then concludes: “After this Job lived one hundred and forty years, and saw his children and grandchildren for four generations. So Job died, old and full of days” (Job 42:10-17). Thus, it would appear that Job lived well into his 200s or beyond. Interestingly, the Septuagint testifies that Job died at the age of 240—an age more comparable to the ancestors of Abraham (e.g., Serug, Abraham’s great-grandfather lived to be 230—Genesis 11:22-23). So Job lived sometime after the Flood, but long before the time of Moses.

We know from the above facts from the Scripture that Job must have clearly understood the God of the Bible so clearly and must have realized the adversary of humans and God, was the one who caused all difficulties to humans because of the sin nature we all inherited from our forefather Adam who sinned and it spread to all humans. Even if Job only had a slightest idea theoretically about Satan as the adversary of all humans before the beginning of his trials, after all the trials were over, definitely he must have experienced the revelation of God revealing his own sin nature which is driven by Satan the adversary who wants us all to become a rebel against God and self-destroy ourselves through it.

Much Blessings...


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