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Dec 02: Job 1-2 | Jonah 2-3 | Heb 8-9

Reading 1 - Job's "satan"

Job's "satan": an angel of evil?

  • Job's "satan" comes into the presence of God, and is in conversation with Him, among the "sons of God" (Job 1:6). Elsewhere in Job the sons of God are plainly His angels (Job 38:4-7). True, "sons of God" can refer to human believers (as in 1Jo 3:2), but Job should interpret Job first!

  • Job's affliction is consistently attributed to God (Job 4:9; 5:17; 6:4; 7:20; 11:6; 19:21; and esp Job 42:11).


  • Why is an angel of God called "Satan" (or "satan")? Because this designation well described his actions here -- he was Job's "adversary" (cp also Num 22:22).

  • Isn't there a wicked or sinful mind behind his words (Job 1:9-11; 2:5)? Answer: The words CAN be read that way, but they do not HAVE to be read that way. Although "angels of God" are immortal, they can be limited both in their personal knowledge and in their personal powers. (Consider Mat 24:36; 1Pe 1:12; Dan 10:13; 8:13; Gen 22:12; 32:24-28; Exo 31:1,7 compared with Exo 23:12). So it is possible to read the words of this angelic "satan" as expressing his assessment of the life of Job... distorted a bit by his own limited knowledge.

I would suggest that in all that this "satan" says of Job there is no sign of wickedness, only limited understanding seeking clarification. He declares his unwillingness to believe that Job's "righteousness" is anything but self-serving:

"Then Satan answered the LORD, Does Job fear God for nought? Hast thou not put a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But put forth thy hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will curse thee to thy face" (Job 1:9-11).

As if to say, 'All my experience of this race of humans tells me that when they serve God they do so only for selfish reasons. Let us see how he reacts to severe trials.'

And so God gives over to this "angel" the testing of Job:

"Behold, all that he has is in your power; only upon himself do not put forth your hand" (v 12).

Now compare this v 12 with v 21: "The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD." Who was it that took away Job's health, wealth, and family?

And with Job 2:10: "Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?"

And also with Job 19:21, where Job says: "Have pity on me, have pity on me, O you my friends, for the hand of God has touched me!" Doesn't this equate the "satan" with "the hand of God"?

And so, all through Job 2, "Satan" continues to hold out for his own assessment of things, while God agrees to bring more and yet more trial upon Job... until, eventually, it may be assumed, "Satan" is finally satisfied with the integrity of Job.

Is this fair? Is this the way God acts? Of course. The NT is filled with discussions of the trials brought by God on His faithful ones, to perfect or purify their faith.

And from his trials, extreme though they were, Job emerges as a man of tested and perfected faith... a fitting type of the Lord Jesus Christ, who was to come, and who would himself suffer "unfairly" and "unjustly" as a way of showing (to men... and to angels?) the way into the most holy place of the Father.

Also, please note 1Pe 1:6-12:

"In this you rejoice, though now for a little while you may have to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold which though perishable is tested by fire, may redound to praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Without having seen him you love him; though you do not now see him you believe in him and rejoice with unutterable and exalted joy. As the outcome of your faith you obtain the salvation of your souls. The prophets who prophesied of the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired about this salvation; they inquired what person or time was indicated by the Spirit of Christ within them when predicting the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glory. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things which have now been announced to you by those who preached the good news to you through the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look."

In this passage (and, compared with Job) we see:

  • severe trials by which the faith of the believer is purified.

  • the prophets (OT writers?) who saw, faintly perhaps, the sufferings of Christ mirrored in the lives of OT men (like Job?).

  • the sufferings were followed by subsequent glory.

  • ... AND... "into these things (sufferings, trials, perfecting of faith, of righteous men who pointed forward to the Messiah) ANGELS LONGED TO LOOK!"

Reading 2 - Jon 3:4,5

"On the first day, Jonah started into the city. He proclaimed: 'Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned.' The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth" (Jon 3:4,5).

"The transformation that took place was breathtaking in its magnitude and comprehensive character. But it is not unlikely that the impact of the message of such an extraordinary man as Jonah would be reinforced by the considerable reputation of those other notable prophets of the Lord, Elijah and Elisha. It may be, too, that Jonah's campaign went on for all the forty day period which was Nineveh's time of grace. However it happened, the transformation in those Ninevites far surpassed the effect produced by John the Baptist in Jewry, and of all the prophets there was none greater than he (Mat 11: 11). And after John the Baptist, Jesus was to hold up to the same people the example of this city's repentance: 'The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here' (Mat 12: 41). The message of John was: 'Yet forty YEARS and Jerusalem shall be overthrown!' (AD 30-70). Those Ninevites changed their lives so dramatically because they were led by the good example of their ruler. What a lesson was held out here to Judah and Israel, with their sequence, rarely interrupted, of unworthy kings, so often downright wicked. The narrative here is careful to specify 'the high and the low', appropriately reversing the phrase: 'both small and great' (Jer 31: 34), this latter form being more usual because God has greater regard for the humble than for the proud" (Harry Whittaker, "Jonah").

"God delights to do the impossible, and never more so than in turning men to Himself. Instead, then, of denying on the grounds of its 'human' impossibility the repentance that swept over Nineveh, let us see it as an evidence of divine power. For this, not the episode of the sea monster, is the greatest miracle in the book" (Frank Gaebelein).

Reading 3 - Heb 9:12

"He [Christ] did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption" (Heb 9:12).

The AV adds, in italics, "for us", at the end of this verse -- as if to say that there was no salvation required for Christ at all.

This is manifestly untrue. Christ obtained redemption for himself, as well as for others -- for us! Our redemption is bound up in his. "[Christ] obtained eternal redemption" (the words "for us" -- italicized in the AV, are omitted in various other versions, including RV, RSV, and NIV; Jesus obtained redemption FOR HIMSELF AND for others).

"He [Jesus] was a sufferer from the hereditary effects of sin; for these effects are physical effects. Death is a physical law in our members implanted there through sin ages ago, and handed down from generation to generation. Consequently, partaking of our physical nature, he partook of this, and his own deliverance (as 'Christ the first fruits') was as necessary as that of his brethren. In fact, if Christ had not first been saved from death (Heb 5:7), if he had not first obtained eternal redemption (Heb 9:12), there would have been no hope for us, for we obtain salvation only through what he has accomplished in himself..." (Robert Roberts).


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