Perspectives on Job

Job Sees The Light - Forty-fourth and final in a series

Some final notes on the book of Job:

1. An aspect that is not especially integral to the plot is that Job’s daughters mentioned in the final chapter received an inheritance among their brothers (Job 42:14-15). Commentators state this was not the norm, and that it proved Job’s wealth and a family unity. Also, as we know, women can be left without husbands and cast on the mercy of others, so to have their own inheritance could be helpful. Perhaps this showed that Job had not forgotten how it felt to be without resources, and did not want any of his children to experience that dilemma.

2. Was Job really blameless? In what sense did God mean that he was “perfect and upright” (Job 1:8)? We learned he was not; on the contrary God wanted to draw him out of himself, to enter the high plane of humility. He needed to see he had pursued his own perfection to the exclusion of God’s overarching right to be glorified for his preeminence as the Creator and everlasting Father.

Likewise Paul the apostle grew to understand that self righteousness was merely trusting in flesh (Phil 3:4-7). He arrived at the same revelation as Job. Anyone whose faith is resting on his own qualifications must come in to a new way of seeing.

3. An evolutionist will not like the Book of Job. God claims Creation as living proof of his superiority and sovereign power over the universe, man included. If man cannot worship God as the Creator, he has been blindsided by Satan.

4. God has the right over each of our lives to impose any trial, and we can trust that as he does, there are good and perfect reasons and an expected beautiful outcome. (Isa 64:8)

5. Finally, was Job Melchizedek? To be sure, no one can know. Yet, it is a matter for reflection.

Christ became our high priest “after the order of Melchizedek.”

A. W. Pink in “An Exposition of Hebrews” points out there are aspects to this verity that would matter to Jews who needed to emerge beyond their dependence on the Levitical priests.

Melchizedek is mentioned in Scripture as king of Salem which could only refer to Jerusalem, and priest of Jehovah, the “proper name of the one true God.” (ref) In Hebrews we are told that Levi himself paid tithes “in Abraham” to Melchizedek since he was Abraham’s descendant but not yet born (Heb 7:9-10) when Abram was blessed by Melchizedek.

Melchizedek mysteriously is present after Abram rescued from enemy armies his brother, Lot, who provided two ancestors to the line of Christ. (Mat 1:5,7 —Ruth of Moab, Rehoboam’s mother, an Ammonitess- 1 Ki 14:21) Lot and others living in Sodom were carried off with their possessions when their own king had fled in battle. Abram pursued the enemy troops along with 318 members of his own household (Gen 14:14), freeing Lot and his neighbors along with their goods.

After Melchizedek refreshed Abram with bread and wine and blessed him as belonging to the most high God (Gen 14:18-19) who had won the battle, Abram tithed to him from the spoils of the rescued.

In this single event memorialized by David (Ps 110:4), Melchizedek is established as a priest who takes precedence over the Levites. Jews should feel free to worship Christ who is the priest not modeled after the law of a carnal commandment (Lev 8:1-13), but after the power of an endless life (Heb 7:16), who lives now to make intercession for whosoever believes.

We know that Job by his repentance from self righteousness gained the power of an endless life, shown by God’s complete embrace of him thereafter. He then acted as a priest for his friends by interceding for them, asking God to forgive their sins. (Job 42:8)

Thus Job may have been Melchizedek. We cannot find any other individual in Scripture who would qualify for this honor. Considering this possibility calls us to reflect on what must be done to gain an endless life, which from one Testament to the next was different yet in locked relation.

Whether or not Job was Melchizedek, an endless life is a marvel to ponder:
For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:
Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.
(Job 19:25-27 RSV)

Was blind but now I see

Job Sees The Light - Forty-third in a series

Hover over the Scripture references to read the verses under discussion

What relief there is in renouncing false doctrine and what joy in repentance! Living in darkness is hard.

Job had carried the weight of the world on his shoulders, believing his relationship with God depended on his deeds. He has come to understand that his walk with God is enabled by God’s merciful inclusion of him in the life of faith. An amazing grace! He had not understood how he had offended the Lord by his self righteousness, but now he sees.

Job 42:1-2 RSV He also sees that God not only hears our words but reads our minds.*

Job 42:3-4 NIV In verses 3 and 4 Job is careful to repeat God’s words, making very clear that he is giving specific answers in response to the Lord’s specific questions, such as Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? (Job 38:2)

Job 42:5-6 NIV Today, we would say Job was born again. God’s covenant of grace was extended to the Hebrews, to Christians (whosoever believes), and to non-Hebrews like Job who lived before Christ. In fact, the Hebrew who would study Job would gain great spiritual insight about the ways of God. This is a mystery considering that only Abraham’s descendants were included in God’s nation.

Job 42:7-8 NIV Job could not say to the Rock of Ages, Nothing in my hand I bring, Simply to thy cross I cling, as we today may. Yet he had grown to understand he could not manipulate God by his personal works and long record of devotion.

God alone shall be praised and glorified for what he alone can accomplish, even the start-to-finish saving of souls.**

Job 42:9-10 NIV Eliphaz as the ring leader must now lead the other friends in an exercise of repentance for their wrong words about God. God emphasizes their error by stating twice that they did not speak of God what was right, as Job had done.

Each had viewed poor Job to be without any hope for release from his trial until he repented of his evil ways. Yet Job’s repentance was not for any gross sin as they had assumed.

Commentators differ on why Elihu is not included in the disciplinary action. Some believe that he spoke important truths, others say he was simply dismissed or given “the silent treatment.” He had not injured Job as a friend, but was one of those whom Job may have noted as deriding him. (Job 30:1)

After Job’s change of heart, God called on him to intercede for his friends, and after he interceded for them God restored his life.

Effective intercession has to do with a right understanding of who God is and a heart for worship, and heartfelt intercession for spiritually blind people meets with God’s highest approval.

- from God Remembered Abraham, a Bible study on the Sistersite website

Job 42:11-17 NIV The happy ending of Job.

*Other translations state instead that no purpose of God can be thwarted (vs 2b). Whether God reads our thoughts or achieves all his plans is a difference that proves it is not easy to translate the original language of the Bible.

**Some will object that this belief or doctrine opens the way for easy believe-ism and that man is responsible for his own salvation: Man must choose God, commit his heart to God, and obey his laws. All this we must do, but it is all through God’s loving help. (Phil 2:12-13) Salvation is by grace through faith—which is a gift from God to man. Eph 2:8)

A final word: To think we climb into his everlasting arms by our own will and intelligence misses the point that God alone is to be glorified for our trust in him. All who grasp this truth will not find it hard to accept Christ as Savior; thus, the importance of the book of Job in the life of the Jew looking toward the coming of the Messiah.

Whose dating system?

Thanksgivings on Special Occasions - Fifth in a series

Many feel Christ will return soon. So many signs point to that.

The realization that time is short lessens the importance of theological debate. The time is ended for quibbling over small differences that do not affect salvation. We turn now to the central concern: Are you saved? Do you know Christ as your personal Savior? Has he claimed you as his own? Are you walking with him?

But as we wait on the Lord, we will briefly look at a question that is not critical to the celebration of Easter, but holds interest for those who enjoy knowing about church history.

The early Christians disputed over when to celebrate Easter. A Bible verse caused the commotion: And you shall observe this event (the Passover) as an ordinance for you and your children forever. (Ex 12:24) Forever is forever, so the Quartodeciman faction sought to honor this command by keeping the celebration of the Lord’s resurrection on the same date as the Jewish Passover. Others associated it with the newly established day of worship, Sunday. You can read more about this schism here, and here, that an early church father Irenaeus entreated Pope Victor in about 190 not to excommunicate the Quartodeciman churches of Asia Minor. The controversy was finally adjudicated at the Council of Nicea (though some churches today continue to honor the Jewish dating system in their commemorations).

In 325 AD, only a year after the Eastern and Western Roman Empires had been united under Constantine, bishops from east and west met in Nicea for the first universal council of the church, primarily to settle the Arian controversy that had arisen.

Constantine was the first Roman emperor to permit and to profess Christianity. Throughout his life he attributed his success to his conversion to the Christian faith. Some ancient documents that share the Nicean Council’s proceedings still exist, helping us to gain an acquaintance with Constantine. In the following excerpt, we see his enthusiasm over the successful Council:

Greetings, my beloved brothers! We have received a complete blessing from Divine Providence, namely, we have been relieved from all error and been united in a common confession of one and the same faith. The devil will no longer have any power against us, since all the schemes he in his hatred had devised for our destruction, have been entirely overthrown from their foundations. At the command of God, the splendor of truth has dissolved all the poisons so deadly to unity: dissensions, schisms, commotions, and the like. We all now worship the One by name, and continue to believe that he is the One God. In order to accomplish all of this, at God’s summoning I assembled a large number of bishops at the city of Nicaea, and I joined them in investigating the truth, though I am only one of you, who rejoices exceedingly in being your fellow-servant. All points which seemed ambiguous or could possibly lead to dissension have been discussed and accurately examined. May the Divine Majesty forgive the unfortunately huge number of the blasphemies which some were shamelessly uttering against the mighty Savior, our life and hope, as they declared and confessed things contrary to the divinely inspired Scriptures. (ref)

The Council of Nicea in 325 also established when Easter would be celebrated. Constantine wrote to the churches:

At the council we also considered the issue of our holiest day, Easter, and it was determined by common consent that everyone, everywhere should celebrate it on one and the same day. For what can be more appropriate, or what more solemn, than that this feast from which we have received the hope of immortality, should be kept by all without variation, using the same order and a clear arrangement? (ref)

Unity among the faithful was important to Constantine because he had witnessed the divisions caused by the Donatist controversy and he wanted his empire to be secure from divisions. Also, of course, Scripture encourages Christians to be as one (Ps 133:1; Eph 4:3-6).

Thus, Easter came to be celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after the vernal equinox which was approximated to be March 21 by the Council. (It was several decades before the Alexandrine computations stabilized into their final form, and several centuries beyond that before they became normative.)

It’s somewhat astounding to think of an entire empire and all Christendom joining as one to celebrate Easter. I look for less allowance for this holiday in days to come, just as we have seen the erasure of Good Friday from the American calendar.

This blog series is about the special days in the Christian calendar celebrated by many protestants, however, Anglicans and other denominations today have more than the ones covered in these posts. The calendar dates of holy days leading to Easter are calculated, of course, by the Council of Nicea, and these are the ones we will look at next. Easter itself is not a Thanksgiving on a Special Occasion since those holy days are not observed on Sunday, as Easter always is.

Attention Readers

Have you visited the Biotech Blog on this website? Find information and resources to help you think about biotech as a Christian.

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Should you sign your driver’s license to be an organ donor? Is cremation OK with God? Do these practices undermine the Christian doctrine of the Resurrection?

Learn more. The conscience cannot function without facts.


Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. -Mat 5:14

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