|- J. Preston Eby -
I never paid much attention to Job. I knew that he was an overcomer. I knew that he was tested and tried and proven to the utmost extremity and I knew that he passed the test. So I praised God for Job. I eulogized his faith and patience, and that was about as far as it went. But some time ago the Spirit of God dropped a seed of revelation into my heart. The revelatory word came and suddenly I wasn't sure whether there ever was a man named Job. It is believed that the book of Job is the most ancient of the inspired writings we have come to know as the Bible. It predates the first five books of the Bible, the books of Moses, and its exact origin is a mystery. We do not know who wrote the book of Job: no information is given us on this point either in the book itself or elsewhere. The book of Job just appeared on the scene, it came out of antiquity, it emerged from the mists of obscurity, and has always been a part of human history. It was just there! It was there before Moses. It was there, perhaps, before Abraham. We cannot tell when Job lived. The scene of the book of Job is laid in Arabia in the remote Patriarchal period. The story begins simply: There was a man. Since a parable (II Sam. 12:1) and a history (I Sam. 25:2) begin with this same simple phrase, the style does not indicate whether Job was meant to be fact or allegory.
The book of Job is written in Hebrew in the style of a poetic drama, or stage play. The first two chapters, which constitute the introduction, are in prose. Beginning with the third chapter and continuing on through 42:6 the form is poetical. From 42:7 to the end of the book it is again prose, providing as an epilogue a few facts concerning Job's later life. What is so powerfully set forth in this book is not the unfolding of a drama full of action, event, or happening. Instead it is a poem in which several great issues that relate to the righteousness of God and the mystery of life are explored by means of conversations between Job and his friends. There is no "movement," except in the intensity of the feeling and thought expressed, until the poem comes to a crescendo with the voice of Yahweh speaking from a whirlwind.
The book of Job belongs to a type of literature known as Wisdom, common in the Near East, a special kind of writing based upon practical observations about the mystery of life — and how to live it. Its modern counterpart would be philosophy. But Hebrew Wisdom writing was often in the form of a fable, or a riddle, or a proverb — most often presented in the form of poetry or poetic drama. Poetry is the language of imagination, intuition, and revelation. Poetry penetrates to a depth in the human soul that facts, reason and logic can never reach. Our confidence in the veracity of the Holy Scriptures need not be shaken, however, whether the story of Job is the history of an actual man who lived or merely the fictitious main character in a drama or stage play, for the divine inspiration of the book is readily evident. Job is not mere literature. It is life, distilled. As Mark Toohey has so aptly stated: "Indeed, no other single writing speaks as loudly to those of the Father's calling and election in this hour as does the book of Job. In its forty-two chapters is embodied the entirety of God's dealings with those whom He has called His sons, revealing the depths of truth and reality inworked by His Spirit in those of His election. No wonder, then, that the book of Job should be surrounded by such ambiguity, having no definable human origin; for that which it unveils is wholly a supernatural work undertaken out of the counsel of God and wrought in men by His hand only. Job, it would seem, was written by the very finger of God!"
It really doesn't matter to me today whether there ever was a man named Job, because the Spirit of God has made known to me who Job is. I was startled, intrigued, and awed as the spirit of revelation unfolded the striking parallels between Job and the opening chapters of Genesis. "There was a man in the land of Uz" — that's where it starts. There was man. God made a man in the beginning. God has made and is making a new man in Christ Jesus. It is written: "The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven" (I Cor. 15:45,47). Can the natural mind ever fathom the depths of the eternal truth that there has never been in the history of the world but two men? There is a deep and hidden meaning in the words, "The first man Adam" and "the last Adam." The natural mind would conclude that, if there were two Adams coming four millenniums apart, the first of these being the first Adam, it would logically follow that the next Adam would be the second Adam. The Lord Jesus Christ is here called the last Adam. But he who is called the first Adam is also called the first man. And He who is called the last Adam is also called the second man. The first Adam is the first man, but the last Adam is the second man, and the second man is also the last man. These simple statements, which on the surface seem so insignificant and scarcely worth our notice, are in fact pregnant with meaning, and full of wisdom and understanding.
The first Adam is said to be the first man. The last Adam is declared to be the second man. If the second man is also the last Adam, He is also the last man. Now if the first Adam is the first man, it would of necessity follow that there were no men on earth before him, for he was the first. That certainly rules out any pre-Adamite races of men! And if the last Adam is the second man, then there were no men on earth between the first Adam and the last Adam, for the last Adam is the second man, and there can be no men between the first man and the second man. If there was even one other man between the first man and the second man, obviously the second man could not be the second man; he would be the third man, the one hundredth man, or the five billionth man. Since the second man is also the last man, there can not have been any men since Him, for if others have followed Him, He is not then the last man. So then, the first man was the first man, the second man was the second man, and the second man is the last man, so that there have been only TWO MEN who have ever lived upon this planet — Adam and Jesus Christ! There were none before Adam, none between Adam and Christ, and none since Jesus Christ. Only two men. No more. No less. These simple statements portray as nothing else can the great truth that all men who have ever lived ARE INCLUDED IN THESE TWO MEN. These two men are corporate men, many-membered men. And since all men are contained in these two men, what happens to these two men happens to us ALL. If there have been any men on earth outside of Adam and Jesus Christ, they did not fall in Adam nor are they redeemed in Jesus Christ. Let our minds grasp the significant truth that when the first man sinned we all sinned, for we were, each and every one of us, genetically, substantially, and experientially right there in him. The same death that passed upon him because of his sin passed likewise upon us all, even to the last man of Adam's race, for all have sinned.
Now God has declared that our Lord Jesus Christ, the second man, should be both the last Adam and the last man. I cannot explain how divine power can accomplish such wonders, but God has decreed that all men of all ages should be included in Him. God has gathered up all the members of Adam's sinful race out of all ages past, out of the present, and out of all ages yet to come and included them ALL in Christ, the last Adam. Therefore, by one divine and omnipotent stroke God has included all men in His Son, declaring Him to be the last Adam and the last man, the end of the old Adamic humanity. God, almighty and omnipotent, gathered up every tribe and tongue and people and race and nation and without either their knowledge or consent, included them in Christ, the last Adam, even as He included them in the first Adam. In Jesus Christ the old Adam passes away and there is an entirely new humanity.
There was a man in the land of Uz. Uz means fertile — it also means counsel, consultation and plan. So there was a man in the land of fertility, and by counsel he was involved in a divine plan. And in the long ago there was another man in a fertile and fruitful place, according to the counsel of Elohim, and in the plan of God. We read about this man in the book of Genesis. The book of Genesis is probably the most important book ever written. The word "genesis" of course means origin or beginning, and the book of Genesis gives the only true and reliable account of the source and true nature of all things and the meaning of life. The first several chapters of the book of Genesis lay a ground-plan for the entire revelation of God's purposes in relation to man. As a piece of literature the story is sublime; magnificent in range, in profundity of design, and the unparalleled heights of spiritual revelation it attains. I can confidently say that every revelation of Himself and His purposes that God has ever given from the foundation of the world can be found in these opening chapters of Genesis. There is no revelation of scripture, spoken by holy prophet or apostle, or revealed to the spirits of worshipping men who have come into holy contact with the presence and power of God, that cannot be found in seed form as type, shadow, parable, or allegory in the book of Genesis. The entire plan of the ages is there portrayed from its majestic beginning to its triumphant conclusion. Each and every experience, situation, condition, capacity, potential and destiny of mankind, with all the principles and processes by which God brings man into the image of God are there set forth in awe-inspiring wonder. And nowhere is this more obviously true than in the account of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.
The story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden is the greatest parable in the Bible. How shall we speak of God's great and wonderful purpose in man except in the language of parables? God prepares an exceedingly beautiful and fruitful garden for man, whom He has created with His own hands. Precious stones, rare odors, refreshing streams, trees full of fruit and splendid colors surround that first man. Who can speak of the marvelous realities there initiated except in the language of pictures? Pictures are not lies: they denote things, realities; they let the things that are meant shine through. When we come to the Garden of Eden it is evident that this is more than merely a piece of real estate somewhere over in Mesopotamia! No such place has ever been found, nor the angel with the flaming sword to keep men out. The Garden of God is not a physical place located on this or any other planet. It is a STATE OF BEING. It is a higher existence for man than this cursed state we find ourselves in by physical birth and mortal consciousness. It is the state of being that man was in when he was first brought forth from the creative hand of God and placed here upon earth. It represents man in the presence of God! Man with the incorruptible life of God available to him! Man as master and lord over all things! Man living above sin, sickness, pain, limitation or death! Blessed realities, one and all! And yet — the Garden also represents man together with all the factors and conditions, internal and external, of being and environment, which ultimately were to lead to his ruin and alienation from God. In one sense, man was the Garden. Yet, man was in the Garden. The Bible reveals it as a "garden within a garden." Man both in a state of being and in an environment — the two corresponding. All the conditions that surrounded man also were obvious realities within the heart of man. The original man with his nature, characteristics, capabilities and potential is what we see in the Garden of Eden. The external conditions of man's environment corresponded precisely with man's inward nature for either good or evil, carnal consciousness or spiritual consciousness, life or death. This was man in the Garden! It is a garden within a garden, a world within a world — man within and without.
The next amazing parallel to the Genesis record that I would point out is the location of the Garden of Eden — in the east of the land of Eden. "And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there He put the man whom He had formed" (Gen. 2:8). In the opening statement of Job we find that "there was a man in the land of Uz (fertile place), this man was the greatest of all the men of the east" (Job 1:1,3). How great was this man of the East! His wealth was measured in livestock and possessions. Similar property lists in Genesis (24:35) describe the wealth of the Patriarchs, suggesting that Job's way of life was like theirs. But the number of draught bullocks shows that Job was not a nomad, like the bedouin, but an agriculturist with extensive farmlands as well as a pastoralist. Most scholars are agreed that he was of princely rank, even some maintaining that he was indeed a King. His possessions were very great, and consisted of thousands of sheep and camels, many hundred yoke of oxen and she-asses, and "a very great household." It is also evident that Job was cultured and learned to an advanced degree, for in his book we find a familiarity with writing, engraving in stone, mining, metallurgy, building, shipping, natural history, astronomy, and science in general. How great was this greatest of the men of the East! How great was Adam, the man in the Garden of God in the East! And how great was the last Adam, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, whose star arose from the East! Truly the parallels are striking.
In the book of Job there is a man and he dwells in the fertile land of Uz and his name is Job. The Hebrew word for Job is IYOWB and means, "hated, persecuted — hated or persecuted for being of an opposite tribe; enemy, calamitous, afflicted, or adversity; a coming back, restored to one's senses." It is used 56 times in the book of Job — this is 7 X 8, or PERFECTION BY RESURRECTION, or the PERFECTING OF A NEW MAN IN A NEW DAY. The primary and sequential thoughts here are: hated, tried, and restored to perfection. Those are precisely the meanings in Job's name. Can we not see the clear pattern of man's experience from the first humanity in Adam to the second humanity in Christ? Against the background of the Garden of Eden it is related how man was put into this Garden in order to live in it and how two trees stood in the middle of the Garden: one the tree of life, the other the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And upon these two trees IN THE MIDDLE OF THE GARDEN the destiny of man was to be decided. There were, indeed, three kinds of trees in the Garden. There was the tree of life, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and then all those other trees denoted as "all the trees of the garden." Man began his sojourn upon earth living in the realm of "all the trees of the garden." But man's future experience and destiny were to be decided by his relationship to the two trees in the middle.
Two trees in the middle. First of all there is the tree of life. It is clear from the context that man was not forbidden to eat of it. It was there, revealed, offered, available. LIFE, abundant, immortal, incorruptible, eternal! For this reason the tree of life is mentioned very casually in Genesis 2:8-9. It was IN THE MIDDLE — that is all that is said about it! It was right there in man's consciousness, in man's nature. The life that comes forth from God is in the middle. That means that God, the source of life, is in the middle. In the middle of the world that is at Adam's disposal and over which he has been given dominion is not Adam himself, but the tree of God's eternal and incorruptible life. Adam's life was to come from the middle which was not Adam in his self-consciousness, but in his Deadconsciousness. This means that with God as his center man would have life. It means that man was created and formed with the wonderful capacity to LIVE IN THE SPIRIT and WALK AFTER THE SPIRIT. "For to be spiritually minded is life and peace" (Rom. 8:6). One of man's inherent potentials was to know God within as the source and center of his life.
Like the tree of life, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil also stands in the middle of the Garden! To this tree is attached the warning not to eat of it upon penalty of death. Death in the middle. Within. In man's very nature. Thus is it declared with unquestionable certainty that man was formed with the capacity to LIVE IN THE FLESH and WALK AFTER THE FLESH. "For to be carnally minded is death" (Rom. 8:6). One of man's inherent potentials was to know Self as the source and center of his life. But alas! Self would not bring life, it would mean death. Man could make the outer world of appearances, the physical realm, mortal consciousness, the bodily senses and appetites his center but death would be found to dwell in that center. Life and death were in the middle. Two trees, two realities IN THE MIDST of the Garden of man's experience and being. Both realities are in the middle — within man. One or the other is every man's center, the place of his consciousness, the sphere of his existence. But mark it well — both cannot be the center of any man's life! He who eats of the tree of life will find that the death realm will come to have no more dominion over him. And he who eats of the tree of death will discover that he becomes alienated from the tree of life. Thus, both trees, both realities are in the center of man's life, but both cannot be the center of his life! "For if you live after the flesh, you shall die: but if you through the spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, you shall live" (Rom. 8:13). "This I say then, Walk in the spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh" (Gal. 5:16). How simple! God would at once be the limit and the middle of our existence.
To those who are experiencing the progressive unfoldment of the Christ-life within one thing becomes increasingly clear — within them there rages a furious battle. Upon our spirit being quickened by His Spirit, our lives become the meeting place — battle ground — for two orders that are opposed to one another — the flesh and the spirit. This conflict is clearly defined by the apostle Paul in his epistle to the Galatians. "For the flesh wars against the spirit, and the spirit wars against the flesh; for these are antagonistic to each other — continually withstanding and in conflict with each other" (Gal. 5:17). Let us glance for a moment throughout the entire Bible. It is a book of warfare. Two thrones are at war. We discern rival sovereignties. We read of two kingdoms. We are everywhere conscious of a clash of wills. There are two men, two peoples, two natures, two realms. As a result we face throughout scripture irreconcilable opposites: life and death; light and darkness; love and hate; righteousness and evil; holiness and iniquity; liberty and license; truth and lies; law and grace; mercy and judgment; the glorious city of God and the great harlot city of Babylon.
The Bible is a book of war. "The Lord is a man of war" (Ex. 15:3). The saints are men of war. Heaven is a realm of war as well as the earth. "And there was war in heaven" (Rev. 12:7). The sons of God are the Lord's army. David was a man of war. "You (Absalom) know your father (David) and his men that they are mighty men, and your father is a man of war" (I Sam. 17:8). David faced Goliath and took his sword. He was a man of war before he met Goliath. David is a type of Christ. His followers were men of war. "And there was long war between the house of Saul and the house of David: but David waxed stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker" (II Sam. 3:1). The saints follow a man of war.
Long centuries ago Rebecca inquired of the Lord concerning the conflict that was going on within her womb. The Lord answered her, saying, "Two nations are in your womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from your bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger" (Gen. 25:23). This conflict within is not only the experience of Rebecca, but in every son in whom the character of God is being developed. And as Rebecca, so too can we take much comfort from the words of God spoken to her. For within every saint pressing on unto perfection there are two nations, two kingdoms, no matter how much some try to deny it; and each kingdom is of a very different character. But the promise is sure — "the elder shall serve the younger." The spiritual meaning of this is revealed by Paul in I Corinthians 15:45-49. "And so it is written, the first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly." So shall it be fulfilled — the natural man shall be subject to the spiritual, the flesh shall be ruled over by the spirit, and then shall we see "all things in subjection under His feet" (Heb. 2:8).
There was a man in the fertile land of God and his name was hated and persecuted. He stood in the Garden of the Lord by the counsel and plan of God, but he was hated, despised, and persecuted by the negative realm without and within. Adam the first stood in a Garden. Adam the second stands in the same Garden, promising him that overcomes that He will give him to eat of the tree of life which is in the midst of the Paradise of God (Rev. 2:7). The first paragraph of the book of Job furnishes a backdrop for everything else that happens in the book. It presents the picture of a righteous man par excellence. Job was no baby saint, for no one less than God Himself had given testimony that Job was a perfect and upright man, one that feared God and eschewed evil. In fitting correspondence with his moral character and spiritual quality, Job was also a man of material prosperity, both in his family and his possessions. He had seven sons — their number suggesting completeness and perfection in spirit; and three daughters — the manifestation of the character and excellence of his soul. These numbers are also seen in his possessions — seven thousand sheep and three thousand camels; while the five hundred yoke of oxen and asses indicate complete ability for all work. Great numbers of servants complete the picture of this noble Emir, "the greatest of all the men of the East."
The thing we want to note is that although Job was wealthy in temporal things, rich in spiritual things, and proclaimed perfect by the Lord Himself, he had not been "tried by fire" as sons of God must be — he was as yet untried, untested, and unproved. In the midst of Job's ordeal of affliction and suffering the spirit of prophecy came upon him and he opened his mouth and spoke concerning the purpose of God in it all, declaring, "But He knows the way that I take; when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold" (Job 23:10). Never do I cease to be amazed at how the preachers and teachers, apparently without exception, join their voices in unison with those of Job's contemptible comforters, indicting and blaming poor old Job, charging that God brought all these calamities upon him because he had sin in his life, or because he was self-righteous, or because of some other appalling fault in Job. The only reliable testimony we have of Job's true state of being is that spoken by the Lord Himself, and HE declared that Job was A PERFECT MAN! May I reverently add: perfect, yes; but untried! His perfection remained to be tested, proved and demonstrated.
It is my earnest conviction that we can trust explicitly God's estimation of a thing. I would certainly take God's word for it ahead of the opinion of Job's miserable "comforters," and I will take God's estimation of Job ahead even of Job's opinion of himself! There is a universe of difference between man's feelings and perceptions and God's omniscience. Now, nearly all the preachers will tell you that they agree with Job's friends, or at least with what Job felt and expressed about himself before the awesome majesty of God. They believe that Job had sin in his life or he was self-righteous and needed correction. How many have heard that one? Job was self-righteous. I don't believe that! God — the highest and final authority — never said that Job was self-righteous. God said he was perfect. That is the testimony I receive. The term "perfect" means complete, entire, not lacking. The Greek word translated "perfect" is a strong one meaning absolutely finished. The first verse of the book of Job reveals Job's character, showing that his perfection had two sides. It had a positive side — he "feared or reverenced God." It also had a negative side — he "eschewed or turned away from evil." This character remained with him throughout the book with surprising persistency. To this statement even his wife added her testimony when she said, "Do you still retain your integrity?" He was integral within himself — he was a whole man! I trust that all who read these lines can now see clearly the parallels between Job and God's Christ "For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings" (Heb. 2:10). "Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience through the things which He suffered; and being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him" (Heb. 5:8-9).
Another clue to the mystery of Job is found in Job 1:6. "Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them." With what divine genius does the Holy Spirit on the inspired pages of God's Word portray the blessed scene of that first earthly son of God, in the image and likeness of God, abiding in the lovely, fragrant, luscious Garden in Eden. There was a wonderful Presence that walked in the Garden in the cool of the day, and the man presented himself there before the Presence of the Lord and walked and talked with God. We know for a certainty that there was a presentation before the Lord, for as soon as man sinned he heard the Voice of the Lord God walking in the Garden and rather than joyfully going forth to meet Him Adam and his wife "hid themselves from the Presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the Garden." God was in the Garden. Man was in the Garden. What sweet, holy communion passed between them in that blessed hour of man's innocence! But no sooner does Adam, the son of God (Lk. 3:38), present himself before the Lord than suddenly and mysteriously the serpent appears on the scene! There is a man that is perfect, but innocent — and the amazing thing is that in the presence of God and that man, there is a devil.
Can you not see how it is, my beloved, that when the sons of God present themselves before the Lord, Satan comes also among them? This very same experience happened to none other than our blessed Lord Jesus — the Pattern Son. Did you notice how strangely Matthew and Mark speak of Christ's temptation? "And immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness to be tempted of the Devil" (Mk. 1:2; Mat. 4:1). What a strange statement! Jesus had just presented Himself before the Father at Jordan, and the Father witnessed of Him before all: "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." Just as God declared Job to be a perfect man, so He declared His Son to be well pleasing to Him in every way. Then immediately the Holy Spirit of God drives the sinless Son of God into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan, the arch enemy of all righteousness, a murderer from the beginning, and the father of lies! Ah, but it was necessary for the Son of God to be proven, to be made strong, to overcome in these realms before proceeding on into His glorious ministry and the agony and death of the cross.
Do you suppose the Devil came to Jesus there as a weird looking creature, with little, evil looking horns protruding from his temple, and a pointed tail? How often with our childish and distorted understanding have we pictured Jesus confronted by that legendary figure in the red suit, with a pitchfork in his hands! This is nought but foolishness, for Satan is spirit, even that spirit which now works in the sons of disobedience (Eph. 2:2). How many times have you been tempted by the Devil? Can you count the times? How often has he spoken to you, enticing, suggesting, compelling? Have you ever seen him? Have you ever heard his audible voice? Certainly not! Yet — you have sensed his presence, you have heard his voice, you have felt his power! It was all in your MIND, in your EMOTIONS. Does not our Lord, the Spirit of Truth, speak to us in the same way? That still small voice, the inner urging, the inward knowing, the spiritual consciousness — all from a dimension beyond the natural senses. Because it is all in our mind and heart does not mean that it is imagination or hallucination! In the depths of my spirit I am absolutely certain that there was not some hideous personality materializing before the eyes of Jesus in that Judean wilderness. Remember — Jesus was not only the Son of God, He was the Son of man. Being both He was capable not only of hearing from God, but hearing those things that be of man. So when we speak of that ancient Serpent which is the Devil and Satan, we are not talking about some mighty fallen angel, but that mind that savors the things of man — the carnal mind. The apostle James put it this way: "But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death" (James 1:14-15). The Moffat Translation reads, "Everyone is tempted as he is beguiled and allured by his own desire; the Desire conceives and breeds sin, while Sin matures and gives birth to death." Everyone has desires of one kind or another, and that really can be quite natural. When we see the word "lust," most Christians think it is used exclusively in a negative, sensual, or sexual context. The word simply means desire, and a person's desires are not always evil. Even in the things of the spirit one must be keen to discern between his own desire and the desire of the Spirit. That is where the battle lies, and that is where sin is born.
The record states that after fasting for forty days, Jesus hungered. When you're hungry, what kind of desire do you have? You want to eat! In that crucial moment the Tempter came to Him. He began to feel the physiological pangs of hunger, and then the thought occurred to Him. Jesus dropped down from the high and holy thought of God, into the reasoning of the human mind. He descended in consciousness from the Son of God, to the Son of man. He said, "I know who I am; I can turn these stones into bread!" And in His natural mind the Voice cunningly suggested, "If you are the Son of God, go ahead and do it! Use your sonship to fill your belly! Use it to satisfy your own needs and desires!" Jesus quickly discerned that wily Devil and knew how to nip that idea in the bud before it had time to blossom. He got to it before it had time to conceive by entering into union with His will. When desire and will become one, sin is conceived — it makes a baby called sin! Jesus answered out of the depths of His spirit, "It is written — man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God" (Mat. 4:4). In other words — if my Father tells me to turn stones into bread I shall do so. But if the voice is any other than my Father's voice, I must do only those things which I hear from my Father. That ended the temptation! His will in union with His Father's desire conceived and brought forth the baby of righteousness. The battle lay not with some mythical personage outside of Himself. The conflict was within. The voice was an inner voice. The suggestion was in His mind, its power in His emotions and will. God speaks to us in our mind and spirit. Satan also speaks in our mind and heart. There is no monster without. There are three things in this vast world, and only three — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life; briefly, appetite, avarice, and ambition. I do not think you will be able to avoid the conclusion that all the inventions, creations, and contrivances of man are in existence to cater to these three things. It was with these three things that Eve was tempted. She saw the tree was good for food (the lust of the eyes), a tree to be desired (the lust of the flesh), a tree to make one wise (the pride of life), and the temptation was not from without but from within. How remarkably the three temptations of Jesus in the wilderness parallel these three! Every temptation of the Devil comes to us through the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life. There are no others. Not for Adam and Eve, not for Jesus, and not for us.
We see this principle fulfilled in Job. "Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them" (Job 1:6). May I reverently add that every time the sons of God present themselves before the Lord — Satan comes also among them! It bespeaks of a condition within these sons — our mind vs. His mind, our will vs. His will, our ways vs. His ways. It is a heavenly place within the sons of God wherein we must be tested to show whether we be sons indeed. This impudent Devil of self-will is in every man, and even our Lord Himself surrendered His own will to the Father's, saying, "Father, if You be willing remove this cup from me: nevertheless, not my will, but Yours, be done" (Lk. 22:42). Until every son has been thoroughly tested in all points it is not possible for the sons of God to come and present themselves before the Lord without Satan coming also among them. Does he not walk in the natural mind of every man? It is written, "And the Lord said unto Satan, Where did you come from? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it" (Job 1:7). Now the Lord's questions are never for His own enlightenment. He knew well whence Satan came. Oh, yes, Satan had been walking to and fro throughout the earth — God knew this — for he walks in our earth, even that earth that we are, from the east to the west, from the north to the south, from sea to sea and from pole to pole he walks in the earthly planes of our soul, in the secret chambers of our minds, in the fleshly motions of our bodies; he travels up and down in us from the heights of our heavens to the depths of our hells. There is not a day that he leaves us, for dust is his habitation and his food. All the way to glorification this inner antagonist is present. Of course, the one who operates within us also manifests and works outwardly through us. The seat of Satan is in man, but his manifestation is outward, affecting all things through man and because of man.
Now, what does God do but deliberately hand over Job, the perfect and upright man, into the hands of Satan to do his worst upon him, only that he should not touch his life. It was because God desired to test Job that He brought forth "the smith to blow upon the fire." Please note that it was not Satan's idea to persecute poor old Job! Oh, no! It was God Himself who brought up the subject! There Satan was, presenting himself before the Lord, appearing for duty, and God asked, "Where have you been?" Satan replied, "Walking up and down in the earth." There was no mention of Job at all. "Well, Satan," the Lord asked, "have you considered my servant Job? Have you noticed that he fears God and eschews evil? Have you noticed that, Satan?" You can be assured, dear ones, that Satan had noticed Job, but he wasn't doing anything to him.
One of the most glorious testimonies of the preservation of the saints of God is given here in this passage by Satan himself. "Does Job fear God for naught? Have You not made a hedge around him and about his house and about all that he has on every side?" Praise the Lord! Yes, there truly is a hedge around the people of God, and that hedge is Jesus Christ Himself. The Psalmist recognized and rejoiced in this fact when he said, "He that dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, HE IS MY REFUGE and my fortress: my God, in Him will I trust" (Ps. 91:1-2). "You've put a hedge around him," Satan said, "and I can't get to him!" Then he went on to say, "You must put forth your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse You to Your face." The Lord, however, who searches the reins and the heart, who knows them that are His, knows who can be trusted with affliction, and will not allow any to be tested beyond what they are able to bear. He therefore said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your power — in your hand — only upon himself put not forth your hand."
One can only know God by vital relationship with Him. Job KNEW God! Job knew in his deepest heart that God is good, loving, true, righteous, just, omnipotent, omniscient, immutable and faithful in all His way. At one point in his trial he exclaimed, "I KNOW that my Redeemer lives, and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God," and again, "I KNOW that You can do everything, and that no thought can be withheld from You" (Job 19:25-26; 42:2). Being a perfect man Job understood the nature of God, he knew what God is like — how He is. Armed with this knowledge he was unshakable and unmovable as the hand of Satan moved against him. With lightning swiftness the misfortunes fell as tribulation and affliction smote this man of God. All hell broke loose upon him. His possessions were gone. His servants were gone. His cattle, his family, and his dwelling place were as though they had never been. And now he was desperately ill, tormented with pain, and without even a bed to sleep on he lies down in the ashes of what was once his beautiful estate to listen to the relentless arguments of his friends, monotonously attempting by lengthy speeches to make a fool of him and prove that his present despair was the result of his own sin and disfavor with God. I do not know how many days their debate continued, but such miserable comforters as these are always at hand, ready to attest that those who have entered the furnace of affliction have been bad examples as Christians, lacking in faith, falling short in revelation, unfaithful to God's purposes, or that they harbor secret sins and so are deserving of punishment. Unless the Lord Himself has convicted them of sin, or unbelief, or lack of understanding and applying the Laws of Life, sufferers should pay no attention whatever to them. "If our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence before God" (I Jn. 3:21).
In one tragic day all Job's earthly wealth and glory had vanished as a mist before the rising sun. But did Job curse God for all this calamity? Did he even curse the Devil? Was he a fair weather saint without spiritual understanding? No, indeed! He rent his mantle, shaved his head, and falling upon the ground, he WORSHIPPED GOD with the unmistakable words of reverence, "Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: THE LORD GAVE, AND THE LORD HAS TAKEN AWAY; BLESSED BE THE NAME OF THE LORD!" (Job 1:22). You see, beloved, all external evidence shouted aloud that God did not love Job, that God had forsaken him, that God did not see him, that God was not concerned about what happened to him, and that God wasn't just. It seemed that God had now revealed Himself to be the opposite of all Job had experienced and known of Him. But, praise God! Job knew God! He therefore knew that in spite of all the apparent external evidence, in spite of how terrible and hopeless things appeared, God had not forsaken him, God did love him, God did see him, God was concerned about what happened to him, God was in control of everything, and God was just. Ah, this is faith — trusting God's goodness, wisdom and faithfulness in the knowledge that HE has everything in control, that ALL is according to His purpose, IN SPITE OF ALL EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY! Faith declares with Job, "Though God slay me, yet will I trust Him," — and then after being slain — TRUSTS HIM! Job, stripped of all, tried by fire, tested in the furnace of affliction, found that the key to life is not some creed or doctrinal statement of what we believe about God, but that which we KNOW OF HIM by virtue of intimacy of fellowship and vital union with Him. Truly, "the trial of your faith is much more precious than gold that perishes" (I Pet. 1:7).
I am thoroughly convinced that Job is none other than God's Christ. The first man Adam walked in the same land of fertility, the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, in the quickening presence and shimmering glory of God — but when the adversary appeared and he was put to the test — he flunked the test. But blessed be God! the second man was tested in all points like we are and — He passed the test! When the Lord Jesus told His disciples that He beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven, He was saying that He had seen Satan FALL OUT OF HIS (JESUS') HEAVEN, or actually Jesus had seen Satan FALL BEFORE HIM and become subservient to Him in the realm of spirit. So far as Jesus was concerned Satan was no longer in possession of any authority whatsoever. Jesus spoke not of a historical event, not of some mighty archangel that was expelled from heaven before the foundation of the world, but a living reality that He had seen occur within His own consciousness, life, experience and ministry. THIS WE ALL MUST SEE AND KNOW if we are to know victory in our lives, if we are to truly walk as the sons of God. We must realize that if Satan has fallen he is not the powerful and formidable head of a mighty kingdom, but he has been stripped and his kingdom broken. This must be embraced as a wonderful reality within ourselves. When we realize that Satan has fallen before the Christ within us, then we really will be set free! When this truly happens we are on our way — not to a rapture — but to that high and holy position that God has created for us and determined to bring us to.
To those who have Satan yet in their consciousness elevated to a position of power and who carry on in their thinking an image of him, HE HAS NOT AS YET FALLEN. Such people have made a god of him, but in your life, precious one, he is to be cast down, and you are to know once and for all that THERE IS ONLY GOD THAT RULES ALL. If God is controlling part of this world and Satan is running another part, may God indeed help us! We would be under two governments and our lives would be a hell. But for some of us, at least, SATAN HAS FALLEN and has ceased to be a king in our domain. When this truth is revealed in power and glory within your deepest heart, for you, at last, THERE WILL BE NO DEVIL ANYMORE! Sin and death must now be done away, swallowed up of His Life. The last enemy must be put under foot. "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage" (Heb. 2:14-15).
It is now time that the prince of this world be cast out, the spirit of blindness in men's minds, which veils the glory of the Christ within. It is time for the Son of man to be glorified. Turn, O man, and behold the Lord! See the Lord as He is in His temple! The god of this age doesn't want this for any man. Why must the god of this world be cast out? "So that the light of the glory of God, who is the very image of God, may shine to men!" The word in the Greek for image is the word from which we get our English word character. The image of God is the character of God. The character is in you, it is in the Christ, in your spirit. When you behold this Christ within, the glory of Christ begins to shine and the veil is done away; the character of God is seen by all about. The one thing that terrifies the forces of darkness is the fear that someday those who believe in Christ will wake up to the dynamic potential in the life of the Spirit within them and begin to live fully out of that realm. When this happens, the great problems that plague mankind will disappear. Ignorance will go; sin will go; disease will go; limitation will go; Satan will go; death will go; bondage of every sort will fade away and the Kingdom of God will be demonstrated in men. What a hope! What a day! The wonder of it all is that this Day is even now breaking in the hearts and lives of God's elect! I proclaim to you that the crisis hour in the history of the world has come, and God's people must now arise and shine and courageously take hold of life and bring deliverance to the whole world. Truly, we have come to the Kingdom for such a time as this!
When Jesus was driven by the Spirit into the wilderness, it was not to see whether or not He would sin. That wasn't it at all. What did the Father say when Jesus came and presented Himself at Jordan? "This is my beloved Son in whom I AM well pleased." With what was the Father pleased? What had Jesus done that pleased the Father? The fact is, He had not yet performed even one miracle. He had never healed any sick, raised any dead, cast out any devils, or done any signs. He had never preached a Kingdom sermon, and He certainly had not prayed or sweat blood in dark Gethsemane or gone to the cross. Before one gracious word of teaching had ever fallen from His holy lips, before He had saved a soul or done even one act of ministry the Father witnessed, "This is my beloved Son in whom I AM WELL PLEASED." The Father was pleased — for thirty years this Son had walked with Him, learned His ways, reverenced His name, grown in His nature, and walked in His mind. The purpose of the wilderness was not to determine whether He was perfect, but to demonstrate to the flesh realm, to principalities and powers, and to all realms from the lowest to the highest that indeed HE WAS THE PERFECT MAN! The book of Job makes it certain that this was also the great purpose in Job's testing. I want you to see Job today, tested — not to see whether he would curse God and die, but tested to prove and demonstrate that he was the perfect man God declared him to be! That is precisely what it was about. The secret of Job is not that he was self-righteous or that God was trying to teach him something. Nowhere does the record state or even infer that God was trying to teach Job anything. God was demonstrating the truth that already existed. The Job of God, the Son of God, the Christ of God IS THE PERFECT MAN AND WILL TRIUMPH! The Christ in you, precious friend of mine, is the Perfect Man.
On this point Mark Toohey has shared some precious insights. "Just as God had by His own sovereign decree declared Job to be perfect and upright, so has He pronounced that we, His called ones, are righteous, holy, and perfect in His sight. 'But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption' (I Cor. 1:30). Jesus became to us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. Are you not redeemed? It is because Jesus is your redemption. Are you not sanctified? It is because Jesus is your sanctification. Are you not righteous? It is because Jesus is your righteousness. You are in Christ Jesus; God has therefore declared you to be righteous. As with Job, when God declares one to be righteous, one IS RIGHTEOUS.
"'He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him' (II Cor. 5:21). For what purpose was the Son of God made a sin offering? That we might BECOME THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD! When by the spirit of wisdom and revelation we come to know that Christ is in us and we are in Christ, and Christ is in the Father — that we are one spirit — we will come to agree with the judgment of God on our behalf that we are His righteousness, we are His holiness, we are His perfection, we are His wisdom, we are His power and authority, the embodiment of His redemption and grace in a darkened world, and that 'His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him that has called us to His own glory and excellence, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature' (II Pet. 1:3-4). God has decreed for us nothing less than that we be perfect, that is, whole, complete, entire, and mature in the likeness of His nature and character, even as our heavenly Father is perfect (Mat. 5:48). God will have His sons to be son-like — conformed to the image of the Son. He has therefore ordained that the inworkings of His Spirit be accomplished in us through His processings, chastenings, disciplinings, and judgments that we may show forth His holiness and walk in His fullness — partakers of the divine nature. He judges us as He judged Job; not because we are worthy of punishment for the error of our ways or the hidden iniquity of our hearts, but BECAUSE WE ARE HIS SONS and have been declared RIGHTEOUS by His own sovereign decree. The end result of His judgments is that we become sons indeed" — end quotation.
We have all "heard of the patience of Job." But the great and important question is this: Have we "seen the end" that the Lord had in view in all His dealings with Job? The "end" that He brought about in His own perfect way? "You have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord, that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy" (James 5:11). Of this "end" that God accomplished in Job it is written: "And it was so, that after the Lord had spoken these words unto Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against you, and against your two friends: for you have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job has. Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that you have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job. So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went, and did according as the Lord commanded them: the Lord also accepted Job. And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him: every man also gave him a piece of money, and every one an earring of gold. So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses. He also had seven sons and three daughters. And he called the name of the first, Jemima; and the name of the second, Kezia; and the name of the third, Kerenhappuch. And in all the land were no women found so fair as the daughters of Job: and their father gave them inheritance among their brethren" (Job 42:7-15).
Job's restored and happy state brought to him the double blessing — twice as much as he had before. He had the greatest fortune in the East and now it is that greatest doubled, coupled with itself to produce absolute plenitude. It is the greater inheritance in Christ Jesus — greater far than the glory of the first Adam in Eden's fragrant Garden. The "double portion" is the portion of the FIRSTBORN. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the firstborn among many brethren (Rom. 8:29), the firstborn from the dead (Col. 1:18), and the beginning or Head of the New Creation Man (Rev. 3:14). His body is the Church of the Firstborn (Heb. 12:22-24), and is anointed to stand with Him on Mount Zion as a FIRSTFRUITS unto God and the Lamb (Rev. 14:1-5). The "end of the Lord," the consummation of His purpose in man is a NEW BODY, a NEW FAMILY, NEW SONS and DAUGHTERS, a NEW WIFE, a NEW MINISTRY, and NEW POSSESSIONS — a NEW AND MORE EXCELLENT INHERITANCE.
"And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends" (Job 42:10). While Job's friends were three, there was actually a fourth — Elihu. Elihu's speech fills chapters thirty-two through thirty-seven. Elihu has a far juster and more spiritual conception of the problem than Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar because he has an infinitely higher conception of God. God does not class him with Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar; but he is still a dogmatist, and his eloquent discourse is marred by self-assertiveness (soulishness). Yahweh's judgment of Elihu is that he darkened counsel by words (Job 38:2), the very charge that Elihu had brought against Job (Job 34:35; 35:16). Even Elihu's lofty discourse abounds with accusations against Job. Therefore, Job's antagonists are four in number. This is most meaningful.
When ancient man went outside of his home and looked about him, he had no conception of the modern world as we know it. No Copernicus had ever opened his eyes to the vast significance of the universe. To him the world was a great flat surface with four boundaries, east and west and north and south. There were four winds from the four sides of the earth. Thus, when he thought of the world he thought in terms of four. Four became the cosmic number. The world in which men lived and worked and died, was conveniently symbolized by four. There were four corners of the earth; four elements of earth, air, fire and water; four seasons, and four phases of the moon; the great "World Powers" as revealed to the prophet Daniel were four in number: Babylon, Media-Persia, Greece and Rome. Four is the number of all that is worldly, world-wide, or universal. Job's four antagonists represent all the intellect and wisdom of "this world." All of man's philosophy, psychology, learning, lecturing and judgment is but the wisdom of the carnal mind. God is raising up a people in this hour that literally and totally rejects the wisdom of this world, for it is foolishness with God. The foolishness of God is greater than the wisdom of man, says the Lord. But Job prayed for his friends. God is raising up a people who are kings and priests after the order of Melchizedek — redeemers, reconcilers, restorers. That is their heart and that is their nature. Jesus prayed for those who crucified Him, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do." Just as Job prayed for his antagonists, and Jesus prayed for His murderers, so the sons of God shall pour forth grace and mercy and salvation unto all the ends of the earth.
"Then came unto Job all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house" (Job 42:11). Hallelujah! What a word! When the processings are all complete and the hour of the manifestation of the sons of God has fully come, then all our brethren and sisters and acquaintances from before — all the Baptists, all the Pentecostals, all the Catholics, all the Moslems, all the Buddhists, all our families, all our neighbors, and even our enemies shall come to partake of the Bread of Life at our table. How my spirit longs for that day! How I wait for it with holy expectation! Nor do they come empty-handed, each brings a piece of money and an earring of gold (Job 42:11). Obviously these gifts were not to relieve Job's poverty, for that no longer existed; he was richer than all. These are brought in homage. The gift of an earring was no small thing in the ancient world and functioned as a symbol of the solemn pledge, as when the golden earring was presented as the first gift to Rebecca, the ordained bride of Isaac. The ring in the ear of the bondslave bespoke of his willing and loving servitude to his master. Isaiah describes the wonderful scene when creation comes home to Father's house, his house of sons. "Arise, shine; for your light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon you, and His glory shall be seen upon you. And the Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. Lift up your eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they shall come to you: your sons shall come from far, and your daughters shall be nursed at your side. Then you shall see, and flow together, and your heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea (multitudes of peoples) shall be converted unto you, the forces of the Gentiles (nations) shall come unto you. Surely the isles shall wait for Me...to bring your sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the Lord your God, because He has glorified you. Therefore your gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; the sons also of them that afflicted you shall come bending unto you; and all they that despised you shall bow themselves down at the soles of your feet; and they shall call you, THE CITY OF THE LORD, THE ZION OF THE HOLY ONE OF ISRAEL. Whereas you have been forsaken and hated...I will make you an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations, you shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise. The sun shall be no more your light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto you: but the Lord shall be unto you an everlasting light, and your God your glory, and the days of your mourning shall be ended. Your people shall be all righteous, a little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the Lord will hasten it in his time" (Isa. 60:1-22).
Just as God turned the captivity of Job and caused all to flow unto him, so shall God bring to an end the days of our testing, humiliation and travail, and through God's glorious house of sons the whole earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, all peoples shall flow unto the sons of the Kingdom, and all nations shall serve and obey Him. Press on, saints of God — we have received blessed promises of a mighty deliverance and overflowing glory which even now we begin to see fulfilled. Thank God, the time has come, yea, is nigh at hand when the sons of God shall be revealed. And there will be a glorious victory. THIS IS THE DAWNING OF THE NEW DAY!
I would close this message by again quoting from the anointed pen of Mark Toohey. "I must tell you, my brethren, that the hope of all creation shall not go unfulfilled! God is preparing a Redeemer, a Liberator, a Deliverer — 'SAVIORS (who) shall come up on mount Zion to JUDGE THE MOUNT OF ESAU' (Obadiah 1:21). These who have been separated unto Him and judged to be sons are not enduring the chastening of His hand and the travail of His discipline simply that they may gain some higher elevation in the heavens; God does not work on the brownie point system. This FIRSTFRUIT unto God and to the Lamb is appointed to be God's instrument in the earth to bring salvation, deliverance, and liberty to an entire world sold under the bondage of sin, corruption, futility and death. Little wonder, then, that they shall also be God's instrument of judgment among the nations, for when God's judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness (Isa. 26:9).
"Then shall the prophecy of Daniel be fulfilled that 'judgment was given to the saints of the Most High; and the time came when the saints possessed the kingdom' (Dan. 7:22). It is God's Corporate Son, His Christ, who shall judge in truth and righteousness bringing the long awaited release of the creation from the bondage to corruption. The ages to come shall witness the ever-expanding, unfolding, super abounding grace of God to every creature 'with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things upon the earth' (Eph. 1:10). God's CHRIST — the beginning of all things, and the END SUM of all things. This is the Christ in whom all the fullness of God is pleased to dwell, and through whom all things shall become reconciled into Himself (Col. 1:19-20). Blessed day! It is for this glorious ministry that the Lord is even now preparing His sons. How happy are they who have been chosen for this hour, this blessed 'day of judgment,' that their faith may be fully proved, having been tested with fire; that they may be accounted worthy of the kingdom, and stand approved in the day of His appearing" — end quote.
Writings in This Series: