© 2012 Jasper Life Publications Inc. 1st Edition in English – December, 2012 1st Edition in Portuguese – February 2006 Não mais eu, mas Cristo Livro de Jó Translated from Portuguese with permission of Editora Árvore da Vida All rights reserved by Jasper Life Publications Inc. Jasper Life Publications Inc. 725 Viscount Road London, Ontario, Canada N6J 4G9 Email: email@example.com http://www.jasperlife.com ISBN 978-1-926970-47-9 Printed in Canada All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Other versions of scripture are indicated as follows: ASV American Standard Version lit. Literal translation
Contents Preface, 7 Introduction, 9 The Time of Job, 19 Job’s Integrity, 29 Job’s Greatest Trial, 39 The First Debate Between Job and His Three Friends, 51 The Second Debate Between Job and His Three Friends, 61 The Third Debate Between Job and His Three Friends, 71 The Fourth Debate Between Job and His Three Friends, 83 The Fifth Debate Between Job and His Three Friends, 99
The Sixth Debate Between Job and His Three Friends, 111 No Longer Job, but Christ, 123 The Eighth Debate, 137 The Ninth Debate, 149 Job Speaks of Himself, 159 Elihu’s Words, 181 Elihu’s Words – On the Creation Of God, 199 Elihu’s Words – A New Vision from God, 211 God’s Speaking to Job, 225 God’s Speaking to Job – The Matter of Pride, 245 God’s Double Blessing to Job, 261
Preface (The chapters in this book are based on conferences given by Dong Yu Lan in February 1993 in SumarĂŠ-SP, Brazil.) The book of Job is often referred to both by Christians and non-Christians, because it apparently speaks about sufferings and the injustice of suffering. Some only know Job for his patience. Others emphasize the fact that, just as it was with Job, we also will be abundantly blessed by God after going through suffering. This whole process of suffering recorded in the book of Job and enriched by the conversation between Job and his three friends, shows deep seated concepts of good and evil and its consequence: one receives good from God when doing good, and evil when doing evil. This concept was absolutely under the old covenant. But today under the new covenant, we enjoy the fact that Christ died for us and then when we believe in Him, He came to dwell in us. So we should no longer be living according to the concepts of good and evil, of right and wrong, but by the life of Christ within us. However, many Christians, because they ignore the deep meaning of the new covenant, do not understand the scope of the book of Job when considered in light of the New Testament. As a consequence, the deepest spiritual aspects that God wants to pass on to us through Job are lost. These aspects are the focus of Dong Yu Lan
in this practical and objective book, according to the viewpoint of Godâ€™s economy in the New Testament. The Editors
Chapter One INTRODUCTION
Godâ€™s Economy Godâ€™s economy is His eternal purpose to have an expression in the universe through the man He created, and it was revealed by God Himself through His Son Jesus Christ. In Matthew 16, there is a great revelation of God: the Father in heaven has revealed His mystery which is Christ, the Son of the living God, Who, in turn, revealed His own mystery which is the church that He would build upon the rock and against which the gates of Hades shall not prevail (vv. 16-19). After having revealed the church, the Lord also revealed that He needed to suffer at the hands of the religious leaders in Jerusalem, to be killed, and to be resurrected on the third day in order to bring forth the church (v. 21). These sufferings are not only related to the redemption accomplished on the cross, but also to the building of the church. Christ went through these sufferings so that today, when we suffer for the building up of the church, we suffer with Him, or in other words, partake of His sufferings for the building up of the church. The main suffering of the Lord as He prepared to go to the cross was to deny His will. The Lord Jesus received from Mary, His mother, a human life with its own desires.
8 – No Longer I, but Christ
But throughout His life, He refused to live by His human life and always lived by the divine life within Him. Thus, His speaking and acting were always in complete agreement with the heavenly pattern. However, while praying in Gethsemane, Jesus especially showed through His prayer that He did not want to go through the suffering of the cross, since that kind of death was horribly painful and slow. So He prayed to the Father saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will” (Matt. 26:39). As we see, the building of the church and denying ourselves— denying to live by our own fallen life—are closely related. This is why the Lord, right after speaking about the building of the church, told His disciples that anyone who would follow Him must deny himself and take up his cross. This indicates that the self is of no benefit to the church. Rather, the building of the church suffers great hindrances because of the self, which causes the children of God to be divided, therefore, damaging the testimony of the oneness. Therefore, in order to live the church life, it is necessary to deny our soul life, that is, to deny living according to the life we receive from Adam, and to decide to live by the divine life we received at the time of regeneration. If we try to save our life today, living for ourselves, we will not enjoy the full salvation of God during this age, which will mean that we will not be qualified to participate as overcomers in the millennial kingdom. If we are willing to deny ourselves today, we will be rewarded with the reward of the kingdom at the second coming of the Lord. Denying ourselves and participating in the kingdom are two facts that are closely related, as evidenced by the fact that the transfiguration of the Lord—a miniature of the kingdom—took place right after His word on the taking up the cross (Matt. 16:24-27; 17:1-2). With this, the Lord shows us that if we really want to be overcomers and participate in the manifestation of the kingdom of the heavens, today we must live by His life, denying ourselves from living by the life of Adam.
Job and the Self It is with this background that we will study the book of Job. This book reveals how much we need to reject ourselves with our opinions and selfrighteousness, so that God may be manifested and fulfill His plan. All our problems, especially in the spiritual life and the church life, reside in our self. Therefore, when we totally reject the self, there will be only Christ. When we speak of the self, we must not think only of the bad aspects of our character, such as pride or lust, but also of the good aspects. In fact, these aspects, such as natural kindness and patience, are the ones which hinder the Lord the most from working in us. Job represents precisely the good self, full of virtues and natural abilities. But God does not want anything that comes from man, whether good or bad—God only wants Christ. Only Christ can fully please God. The book of Job is often referred to by both Christians and non-Christians, because it apparently speaks about sufferings and the injustice of suffering. Others only know Job for his patience, and yet there are those who emphasize the fact that, as it was with Job, we also will be abundantly blessed by God after going through suffering. We cannot say that these concepts about Job are totally wrong, however, they are very superficial. In fact, what the book of Job teaches us is that for God to do something in us, we need to reject our self, our natural life of living in ourselves and for ourselves. We are unable to receive the blessing of God when we do not allow Him to deal with ourselves. It is right that Christians want to receive God’s blessings, but we must remember that the most important aspect of the blessing is not the material aspect, but “every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3b). If we wish to fully receive the blessing of God, we must allow Him to do away with our natural life day by day, replacing it with His divine life. Those who are satisfied with material blessings only manifest that they still do not fully know God. At the end of his book, Job acknowledges that he did not truly know God, but he had only heard of Him. Only after having gone through all the suffering described there, could he really see God. Introduction – 9
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All of us Christians who live under the new covenant, are more blessed than Job, because we cannot only see and hear God, but we also have Him abiding within us. Whenever we deny ourselves and allow God to live in us, we will enjoy all His heavenly blessings in Christ Jesus (Eph. 1:3).
Hated and Persecuted We cannot find anything regarding Job in history, but the fact is that his story is part of the Word of God and therefore, brings us important spiritual lessons. Beginning with his name: Job means hated or persecuted. Why would anyone have given such a name to a child? The only way to understand this is to read Job according to the viewpoint of God’s New Testament economy. As we have said, Job represents our self, which needs to be hated and persecuted without mercy. If we really want the divine life within us to grow, we must allow Him to deliver us more and more from living in accordance with our vile and fallen self. The more we reject the self, the more we experience that it is no longer us who live, but Christ Who lives in us (cf. Gal. 2:20).
The Story We believe that the facts reported in Job occurred between 2000 and 1500 BC, at the time of Abraham, before God sent the law. God had abandoned the Adamic race because of the great rebellion that occurred at Babel (Genesis 11) and He called Abraham in order to have a new beginning in the fulfillment of His purpose. In Genesis 11:27 and 29 we read: “This is the genealogy of Terah: Terah begot Abram, Nahor, and Haran. Haran begot Lot.... Then Abram and Nahor took wives: the name of Abram’s wife was Sarai and the name of Nahor’s wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran the father of Milcah and the father of Iscah.” This shows that Nahor married his own niece. Abraham and Nahor are brothers, they are contemporaries, and Nahor had two sons, Uz and Buz, contemporary with Isaac, Abraham’s son.
Probably after thirty or fifty years, Uz became someone famous enough to have a certain place after his name. And Job lived in Uz. Job’s three friends came to talk to him when they heard of his suffering. The first is Eliphaz, a Temanite, which is a descendant of Esau. Teman was Esau’s grandson (36:9, 11). The tribe or nation of the Temanites was formed in the region of Edom. Another friend of Job was Bildad the Shuhite. The Shuhites were descendants of Shuah, the son of Abraham and Keturah (25:1-2). Another friend was Elihu the Buzite, descendant of Buz, son of Nahor (22:21). Thus, considering the time elapsed before a man becomes a nation, we can say that the story of Job took place between 2000 and 1500 BC, perhaps some fifty to one hundred years after Abraham. The age of Job also brings some important indications about the time it describes. Job lived at a time when men’s ages still exceeded one hundred years. After the fall of man, man’s lifetime was gradually decreasing because of the multiplication of sin. Abraham lived one hundred seventy-five years, Isaac one hundred and eighty years, Jacob one hundred forty-seven years, Joseph one hundred and ten years, Moses one hundred and twenty years, Joshua one hundred and ten years. When Job was especially blessed by God, he was about fifty years old and still lived another 140 years, resulting in about one hundred and ninety. That puts him at the time of Abraham.
Good and Evil There is one fact that stands out in conversations between Job and his friends: the ingrained concepts of good and evil and their consequences: one receives good from God when doing good and receives evil when doing evil. Those who do good would certainly receive many, many blessings from God, but if on the contrary, some do evil, surely the righteous judgment of God would punish them while still in this lifetime. This was a concept altogether in accordance with the old covenant. But today, under the new covenant, we enjoy the fact that Christ has died Introduction – 11
12 â€“ No Longer I, but Christ
for us and then when we believed in Him, He came to dwell in us. Thus, we can no longer live according to the concepts of good and evil, of right and wrong, but according to the life of Christ within us. However, many Christians, because they ignore the deeper meaning of the new covenant, do not understand the meaning of the book of Job, considering it in light of the precepts of right and wrong, rather than considering it in light of the New Testament. Thus, we lose the deeper spiritual aspects that God wants to pass on to us through the Job.
Dispensations We can divide the economy of God from creation, in three ages or three dispensations: the first we can call the age of the conscience, extending from Adam to Abraham, the second the age of the law, which starts with the calling of Abraham and ends with the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, a fact which began the age of grace. God used seven days to complete His creation. For Him, one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day. The best Bible scholars believe that this indicates that the entire history of humanity is of seven thousand years. From Adam until the second coming of the Lord, six thousand years will have passed, to which will be added to the thousand year millennial kingdom, totaling seven thousand years. About two thousand years passed from the creation of Adam to the call of Abraham. Man had been created and placed in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep the garden. Tending is related to the care of life, while keeping relates to the exercise of authority. Man should have received the divine life and allowed it to develop; thus, he would spontaneously express God and exercise authority in His name. This was clearly indicated by the command of God, which allowed man to eat of every tree of the garden, including the tree of life which represents God in Christ as life for man, but should have not eaten from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, because death would come into man (Gen. 2: 9, 16-17). In fact, God wanted man to eat of the tree of life to receive the eternal life.
Satan, however, being very clever, entered the garden and deceived Eve, the helpmeet that God had given to Adam to tend and keep the garden with him. Satan in the form of a serpent, led the woman to admire and desire the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, telling her that she would become like God by eating it. Instead of driving the serpent out of the garden, Eve gave heed to the serpent, and ate the fruit and offered it to her husband. When Adam ate of it, the eyes of both were opened, and from then on, the knowledge of good and evil came into man and death too. Today, man discerns right from wrong independently of God because he no longer feels that he needs Him. This was the worst consequence of the fall—the independence of man from God. Whenever we speak of the fall, probably what first comes to our mind is the horrible moral sins resulting from it. However, we must realize that sins are only an evidence of a greater sin—since the fall, man believes that he no longer needs God. In our eyes, evil things are to be reproached severely; however, many good things have the same origin as the evil things—both proceed from the tree of knowledge. Everything that is done apart from God, no matter whether it is mere knowledge or whether it is a good or evil act, is sin and rebellion against God. Beginning from the fall, man was unable to fully know God’s will. Many think that they are serving God by doing things for Him. However, even while thinking they are serving Him, if they do not do it in God’s way, no service can please Him. Many would argue that there is nothing wrong in serving God; in doing for Him what we know pleases Him, for example, preaching the gospel. The error is not so much in what we do, but the way we do it; if we serve correctly, but the origin of our service is not God, this service is an abomination to Him. When man sinned, his conscience was awakened—he realized he was naked and he reacted to this by hiding among the trees of the garden. This was the conscience of man accusing him and showing him that he had offended God. Thereafter, man began to live under the rule of his conscience. And today it still is the conscience that preserves humanity from committing even greater sins. Introduction – 13
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After the fall, God had a new beginning with Abraham, starting the second dispensation, the law, but his descendants became slaves in Egypt and thus could not express and represent God (Gen. 15:12-13). Then Moses was sent to take the people out of Egypt (Exo. 3:4-10). After that at Mount Sinai, God revealed that the Israelites were called to be a nation of priests to serve Him (19:6). In other words, God wanted them to continuously walk on the line of life—as priests, to restore the service to God in the line of life and as kings, who followed the line of life in order to exercise God’s authority. But even before God gave the law, the Israelites, because they did not know themselves and the sin that dwelt in them, told Moses that everything the Lord said they would do (v. 8). This indicated their pride; they felt capable of pleasing God by themselves. This was the manifestation of the self. God then gave the Ten Commandments to the people (20:1-17), which were later developed in all of the law, statutes and ordinances. God knew that they were unable to keep them, but the people had no awareness of their disability. As a result, they failed. God gave the law not for us to fulfill, but that through it we would realize our inability to keep it and turn back to Him. When the Lord Jesus came, He proclaimed that He had not come to abolish the Law but to fulfill it (Matt. 5:17). And before fulfilling it, He uplifted it by adding precepts that were even more impossible to be observed by sinful man. On the one hand, we are unable to keep the law, and on the other, God cannot abolish it for this reason. Then God in Christ crucified man— Christ thus fulfilled all the law—and when Christ was raised, man was also justified and raised in Him so that today he can live by the divine life within him, the life of Him who has fulfilled the entire law.
How Do We Live? Based on this, we are in this age of the new covenant, the covenant of life, of the Spirit, of righteousness—but how do we live? Do we still act as if we were in the Old Testament, behaving according to laws and
concepts of right and wrong? Or do we live in Christ by the divine life we received when we were saved and regenerated in spirit? In Galatians 2:20a, we read Paul’s statement: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God.” The first “I” which is the old man, the fallen man, has been crucified with Christ and in Christ. Thus, the second “I” which now lives, is in fact, Christ himself living in man. This is an accomplished and real fact, which becomes our experience by faith. Thus, whenever we refuse to live by ourselves, by our fallen life, Christ lives in us spontaneously. Paul adds that the Son of God loved him and gave Himself for him (v. 20). This manifestation of love constrained Paul to no longer live for himself, but to let Christ live in him. When Jesus went to Jerusalem, He was willing not only to suffer for our sins, but also to replace us on the cross so that today He can replace us in our lives. This was His love for us! So when we let Him live in the place of our fallen and sinful self, this is a manifestation of our love for Him. If we clearly see this, we won’t murmur when suffering because we will realize that it is allowed by the Lord for our sake, with the sole purpose of making us return to Him. Before His crucifixion, Jesus suffered a harsh examination for four days by the Pharisees and Sadducees who wanted to find some defect in Him (Matt. 19:3-12; 22:15-22, 23-33, 34-40). They slandered, persecuted, stripped, and whipped Him (26:47-68; 27:1-44). All this He suffered not because He had any guilt or sin, since He Himself had no sin, but that we would no longer live, and that He would live in us. His cross is the proof that there is nothing in us that can please God.
Introduction – 15
The book of Job is often referred to both by Christians and non-Christians, because it apparently speaks about sufferings and the injustice...