Understanding the Book of Job? An overview of what it is and what it is not! Part 3
(Ver 2.1) This is Part 3 in a series of advanced Bible study lessons on understanding the book of Job. I have been attempting to give you some new perspectives on the meanings behind the book of Job by showing you how it fits into other verses found in the Bible. Only by using the Bible to interpret the Bible can we really see what God says in any other part of the Bible. If we attempt to interpret a verse, chapter or book in isolation, we are forced to rely on our own opinions and natural thoughts to figure out what it all means. But, I have noticed while studying the Bible that God was not stupid, He didn’t leave us in the dark with us trying to figure out what He said. However, I believe that we are required to search and dig deep in order to find out what His definitions and comments are on the subjects that we are studying. God says the natural man receives not the things written by the Spirit of God (1 Cor 2:14). So, if you do not understand the Bible, it is because you are either not saved or it is simply just the fact that you are thinking naturally. So if you have not read this series from the beginning I would strongly suggest that you go back and start with “Part 1” since I cannot repeat everything I teach in each lesson. What I have been trying to emphasize in these lessons is the fact that God is the originator of blessings and that Satan is the author of the curses encountered in this world. What I haven’t taught is why this transpires.
I will briefly make an attempt at a quick explanation of the origination of good and evil in the world before I continue with Job. When Adam was created, God placed Adam in the Garden with his wife and told Adam that he may freely eat from every tree except one. Everything created by God called “very good” by God’s own admission. There God did not create anything evil, bad or harmful and Adam knew only the goodness of God. There was one tree called symbolically the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil that God say do not eat from. God told Adam that the day that he ate from this tree he would surely die. I personally know that this was a symbolic tree that represted a hidden spiritual reality because of what I have studied and found that the Bible says in other parts. In the past I did a couple of lessons on this subject and if you are interested you can read them by going to “Does Eating Fruit Kill You?”. I will not attempt to repeat these lessons here, but I will tell you that Adam made the wrong choice. Isn’t it funny how we keep coming back to people making choices in the world? If you recall I told you that Job made some wrong choices that opened the door for Satan to come in and attack him. These choices of Job involved wrong spoken words, wrong believing, fear, and no peace or rest. This attack of Job was a repeated pattern found from when Adam was given a choice by God and made the wrong selection to let Satan into this world. Adam’s choice resulted in him knowing the evil of Satan’s power. Adam already knew the blessings of God so this was nothing new. It was only Satan and evil that Adam gained or obtained by letting Satan into the world. So if God gave Adam a choice, he must also give every man the same choice after Adam. God does not control the choices of men. God gives each man the freewill to make their own selections. Job therefore had a choice between blessings and cursing. Job allowed Satan to continue working evil in his life. Both Adam and Job experienced the loss of children. I’m sure that both men regretted their decisions, but yet it was too late to take them back.
In the first two lessons on Job, I went through chapter 1, verses 1 through 19 on all of the bad things that happened in rapid succession to Job and his family. I also spent time in trying to reveal the actions that opened the door for Satan to attack Job. It is obvious to me that this was a staged planned attack by Satan to take away everything that God had blessed him with. So what was Job’s reaction? That is where we are going to start today?
Job 1:20 Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,
Job goes into a state of mourning and anguish; after all he just lost all of his children. I do not know of any normal parent that loses their children that is not devastated. To tear your clothing is a sign of sorrow, to shave your head is sign of mourning but, then Job still worships God. This is one of the only good things that Job still does and it describes why he was blessed by God in the first place. What we will find by reading is that even after all that has happened to Job, he does not turn against his God. If you learn any lesson from Job you should learn this lesson, always stay on God’s side no matter what happens to you. If you blame God and start to curse God, you are just digging your hole much deeper. God did not kill Job’s kids, Satan did. You see in the Bible it says this about kids:
Psa 127:3 Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
What would it mean to be a reward? Children are clearly blessings from God. I told you earlier if God blesses you with children and then kills them to take them away, His house is divided. God would be both the author of the blessings and the author of the curses. How would you ever follow a God who was so crazy and inconsistent? I’m sorry but I could not. I also tried to teach you that the Bible says God is a constant and does not change. These verses prove that God is not the give of life and the destroyer of life simultaneously or God would have to change to do each. God is truly only a giver of life and the devil is the taker of that life, but only by the allowed access of man’s choices do either happen. So let’s see what Job was saying after all of this occurs to him and his family:
Job 1:21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.
Here we have the famous classic Bible verse widely used at many funerals. This is clearly a misguided application of the words of a man in sorrow. If you just lost 10 kids, what would you be saying? I am probably going to get some ignorant Christians mad at me, but I am going to tell you that not everything you read in the Bible is true. These words of Job are truly in the Bible. These words of Job were truly spoken by Job. However, both of these facts together do not make his words the truth. Job was a man without a church, a man without a Bible, a man without a spiritual leader or a pastor and a man who tried to blindly follow his God the best that he knew how to do under these circumstances. It is true that Job had heard about God, but yet at this point in time no one knew that much about God. God had not yet given man any written words to read about Him and to learn from. The only words that Job could have had are the past experiences of Adam and the other descendants of Adam. So why would you think that anything that Job says came from directly from God? Did God come to Job and say I took your kids? I took your possessions? Did God say this or did Job say this? What people say out of their limited state of knowledge and ignorance can be what they believe whole heartedly to be the truth; however, does that ever make it the truth because they believe it to be the truth? Nowhere in this chapter does it ever say that God took anything from Job, only Job says this.
Here is where I should briefly discuss the fact that the Bible says that the Word of God was given by inspiration of the Holy Ghost (2 Tim 3:16). The Greek word in this verse literally means the Bible was God breathed. However, that does not mean everything in the Bible is true. It is like watching the evening news on TV, the newsman is speaking and telling you things and events that were reported to happen that day, but does that mean everything that he says is the truth because it is on the news? What if a news man quotes another man that says “I did not have sex with that intern”. Does that make it the truth because it was on the news? Obviously we learned that it does not. This is the way the Bible was also written. There are quotes in the Bible from men that were clearly ignorant or intentionally lying. For example, in Acts 5, there was a man named Anainias and his wife that fall down dead for lying to the Holy Ghost. Is what they said recorded in book of Acts the truth? Again, obviously not. I hope you can begin to see the struggle with reading the words of men in the Bible versus reading the words of God that were given to men. If the Bible says “Thus saith the Lord” you can count it being the truth. If the Bible says “thus saith Job” you are going to have great difficutly in convincing me this is the complete truth and I talk about this more in a minute.
Let’s talk briefly now about a hedge and the reason for a hedge to even exist. Chapter 1 of Job clearly says that God had placed a hedge of protection around Job. Therefore, who was God protecting Job from? There are only two reasons to build a fence. You do realize this yes? First, you only need a fence around your property if there are animals, enemies or things that can come in and steal from you or hurt you. Second, the only other reason to build a fence is to keep something in, like a prison. I personally believe that both of these were true based upon my knowledge of the Bible. I mean this is not rocket science; you just have to use your brain and think a little bit. So let’s talk more about the first reason on keeping someone out. Who is God guarding Job from? It has to be from Satan! Satan is a created spiritual being and he is capable of coming and going from the earth back and forth to the spiritual realm in heaven. Satan is free to come and go and Job is not. Job is definitely hedged into the earth’s natural and has never seen God or been to heaven. For that matter Job has never seen Satan either, so clearly there is a hedge that prevents this view. So what is a hedge by God’s definition? This is where it really starts to get more interesting. You see our definition is usually not’s God’s definition. This word hedge is only found 3 times in the whole O.T. This Hebrew word occurs twice in the book of Job and I personally believe this second usage of the word was the key to the definition:
Job 10:11 Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh, and hast fenced me with bones and sinews.
Let’s briefly discuss the context of this verse. Job is speaking and he is describing his body and God’s intelligent design of it. Notice what Job says, Job is telling us that he is clothed with a body and that this body of flesh and bones is a “fence” around him. The Hebrew word translated as “fence” is the exact same Hebrew word that was translated as “hedge’ in chapter 1. Wow, I find that fascinating. This is what we discover happening when Adam sinned. God clothed Adam with a coat of skin. Pay close attention to the fact that the body as described is not Job nor Adam, but rather they were actually the spirit that is covered by the body. Isn’t this the definition of a hedge? To keep something in or to keep something out? What is Satan? Satan is a created spirit being. Satan is not allowed by God’s law to come into the natural realm to tempt or test as I taught in the first lesson. I believe that this physical body is our hedge of protection from the evil beings in the spirit realm. It is also our physical bodies that keeps us present in this world. But, I do not have time to fully expand that thought today in this lesson. It was simply an introduction to get you to think about something new. Think about this also, when Satan attacked Job, what did he attack? Did not Satan attack Job in the physical realm and not Job in the spiritual realm? Could Satan have hurt Job spiritually speaking? It is impossible to kill or hurt a spirit being, so Job was incabple of being harmed spiritually. Therefore, I believe that Satan attacked God’s designed hedge or protection that surrounded Job and this was the man’s body and his natural surroundings that he possessed. It certainly changes your perspective dramatically when thinking in these terms and I hope you are seeing them.
So let’s get back to the words of Job and what he said in chaoter 1 about the Lord taking and the Lord giving and determine if that is the truth or just his words. Do you understand that there are many accounts of people speaking in the Bible and some of these people are clearly ignorant and do not know what they are talking about. There are also many clear accounts of people who intentionally lie in the Bible as I just talked about found in Acts 5. Jesus taught us that Satan is the father of lies and the words of Satan are found throughout the Bible. Based upon the shear presence of lies being recorded in the Bible, do you understand how this information makes correct Bible interpretation more difficult? If it does not say “Thus Saith the Lord God” or the Words of Jesus in Red Letters, then you are taking the words that are potentially words of an ignorant man or woman and exalting them to the status of God’s words. Having said all of that there are Prophets of God who do speak God’s words, but even they sometimes quote Pharaoh or Nebuchadnezzar or someone else who does not speak for God. Correctly interpreting the Bible is not as easy as you think and it takes brains, thought, logic and seeing who is speaking, who they are talking to and then finally noticing exactly what they say.
So let me ask you this, is Job a prophet? Is Job speaking for God? I’ve been to too many funerals given by preachers who think that these are the Words of God Himself, just because they are written in the Bible. These are tough questions to answer based upon just the small parts that we have read so far. But let’s go to the end of the book of Job and see what opinion God has of the spoken words of Job. After all it really shouldn’t matter what you or I think about the Words of Job, it should really only matter what God thinks about his spoken words:
Job 38:1 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said,
As you can clearly see God is about to speak directly to Job and say something very significant to him. You should pay very close attention to the next words that do come out of the mouth of God and then go back and apply these to what Job said in chapter 1 about God taking things away from him:
Job 38:2 Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?
God basically tells Job you do not know what you are talking about, so why do you open your mouth and speak any of these words. According to God Job is speaking empty words from an empty head. Therefore, we can clearly see that Job is confirmed by God to be ignorant! God says Job has no knowledge to speak in the areas that he is attempting to speak in. So should Job be saying anything at all? Or should Job being doing what most Christians in the world should be doing and listen to God in order to learn. Instead of running their mouths on the internet, many people need to hear what God is saying and go get some knowledge before they try to speak anything. There are virtually many chapters of Job and most of these verses are just the empty words of ignorant men who should not be talking. Yet we have a vast number of preachers who want to quote Job’s words at funerals as if God had spoken them. That is just more demonstrations of ignorance in action. I hope that if you learned anything today you learned the lesson of what God thought of Job’s spoken words.
Job 1:22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.
We finally see what the last verse in chapter 1 says, after all of Job’s accusations of God stealing his possessions and killing his kids God says that Job did not sin nor charge God foolishly. You see what people do or say out of ignorance is often overlooked by God. Especially in the case where there is no written laws of God to follow. Since Job had no Bible and was doing the best that he could to figure out what was the right things to do, God overlooked his accusations. Let’s see a verse that is applicable to what is stated in Job:
Rom 4:15 Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.
Clearly God says where there is not law there is no punishment for sins. The law brings wrath and the law permits punishment, and this is true in the natural realm as well as the spiritual realm. You see there was a time when child pornography was legal, but was it right? Absolutely not, but yet because of the lack of laws, no one could be convicted of this crime. It was only after laws were passed that now people are punished. Because, Job lived during the time where there were no Mosaic laws of God written, there was no punishment that God could bring if He wanted to. So Job did not transgress God’s laws even if he did not do or say everything right.
The next time you go to a funeral and they start to tell you how God took somebody, or their children, I hope that you can at least see this was not true. God is not the thief who kills, steals and destroys. The only two times I saw God take anyone in the Bible, God did not have to kill them to do it. Enoch the Bible says was translated and poof he was gone. Elijah was caught up in a chariot of fire and Elisha saw it happen. So these are the only two times in the Bible that God is said to have taken anyone up beside the raised from the dead Jesus Christ. If you can see somebody go up in a chariot of fire, then you can claim that God took them, otherwise do not accuse God of doing something that He did not do. God does not have to kill anybody to take them to heaven; many people will find this out the hard way before too long when Jesus appears for the catching away of the church. Then the dead in Christ will arise first and those that remain will be translated as Enoch and suddenly all disappear from the planet. What a vast confusion this event will cause all over the world.
I guess I should briefly mention the subject of God’s judgment. There are times in the Bible, like Noah’s flood or Sodom and Gomorrah that God is forced to exercise judgment upon the earth. What happens when God exercises judgment? In both cases, Noah and Lot the righteous were spared and the others perished completely. So why do people want to apply God’s judgment to Job? If Job was an unrighteous man and fell into judgment, he would not have been around at the end of the book. Do not confuse judgment with attacks from Satan. Satan does not have to ask permission to attack you, all he has to do is watch for you to open the door and Satan has learned he is now free to do to you what he can get away with. In the book of Job you find that Satan is presenting himself with the other angels to learn what is valid and what is not valid for him to do. Why is Satan being so careful? You see you may recall that there are other references in the Bible to the “sons of God”. In Genesis 6, before the flood, the sons of God are again referenced. This time the “sons of God” see the daughters of men and see that they are physically beautiful. These angels have physical sex with the human females and create races of giants on the earth. This results in a polluted mixture of men and angels and God says this was an illegal perversion of God’s laws and design. This was clearly an example of the angels crossing over the hedge. You can see that by reading this verse in 2 Peter:
2Pe 2:4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
If God threw some angels into hell (but not all of them), they must have violated some spiritual law or done something that was very perverted. Having sex with natural women would be an example of this type of perversion. The angels are obviously ignorant of what is permissible and what is not permissible for them to do. So believing that Satan is appearing before God in Job chapter 1 to accuse Job and to find out what is permissible makes perfect sense to me. Satan has certainly seen that some of his angels were already cast into darkness, locked up with spiritual chains. Do you understand that Satan must learn what is permissible and what is not? So I have gone long enough in this lesson for today and I have given you many new things to think about. I appreciate greatly your time in studying the Bible and if you have any comments or question about anything I have taught, please do not hesitate to leave me a comment. God Bless.
If you would like to continue to read in this series about Job, please go to “Part 4“.
Posted on September 10, 2010, in Bible Study, Job and tagged Bible, Church, Genesis, God, Holy Spirit, Interpretation, Jesus, Job, man, Prophecy, Religion, Revelation, Satan, Symbolism, Truth, understanding. Bookmark the permalink. 26 Comments.