JOB: The Historical Example of Suffering to the Glory of God (Part-4)

Heroism is the brilliant triumph of the soul over flesh—that is to say, over fear...Heroism is the dazzling and brilliant concentration of courage.

—Henri-Frederic Amiel: Journal (October 1, 1849)

Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

Hebrews 11:35-40 KJV

In vile and rough clothing, so were the saints brought to extreme poverty, and constrained to live like beasts in the wilderness. An amplification taken from the circumstance of the time: their faith is so much the more to be marveled at, by how much the promises of things to come were more dark, yet at length were indeed exhibited to us, so that their faith and ours is as one, as is also their consecration and ours. But saw Christ afar off.

Geneva Bible, Notes Hebrews 11:37, 39 (1599)

Hebrews chapter eleven is an honor role of believers who lived the faith-rest life! Through the human scribe, the Spirit has testified (cf. II Tim. 3:16, 17) that these people were real heroes in the spiritual warfare of the angelic conflict. Ezekiel has testified to the fact that Noah, Job, and Daniel were real heroes in the spiritual warfare of the angelic conflict (cf. Ezk. 14:14; 20). Everyone needs some heroes to show us the value of honor, integrity, and courage under extreme duress. What better place could we find to begin our list of heroes, than with those who greatness is recorded in Scripture?

There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.

Job 1:1 KJV

Here, then, we have a very rare specimen of a man. He was perfect, upright, God-fearing, and eschewed evil. Moreover, the hand of God had hedged him round about on every side, and strewed his path with richest mercies. He had all that the heart could wish,—children and wealth in abundance—honor and distinction from all around. In short, we may almost say, his cup of earthly bliss was full.

—C. H. Mackintosh, Job and His Friends (1898) p 5

His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

Matthew 25:21, 23 KJV

Job does not set out to answer the problem of suffering, but instead shows that even a righteous man can utilize such an experience as that through which the hero passed to attain the heights of emotional and spiritual maturity. Quite obviously nobody can be exempt from suffering for where there are men there will always been emotional and mental conflicts, with corresponding adverse effects.

—Roland K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament (1969) p 1046

The Book of Job consists of forty-two chapters and contains one thousand and seventy verses. Just pause and think for a moment, the Word of God has committed this much teaching to describe a series of events that occurred in the life of one man all within a time span of less than a year. This book testifies to the fact that Jehovah gave this man Job the title “My Servant” twice within the first two chapters (Job 1:8, 2:3) and again twice repeats the title in the closing chapter of the book (cf. Job 42:7, 8). Jehovah also speaks directly to Job in chapter thirty-eight verse one and continuing through chapter forty-one verse thirty-four. When Job appears before the judgment seat of Christ for the redeemed from the dispensation of the Gentiles we expect him to receive, along with his other honors, the above accolade. We hope that Job’s testimony will edify each one of you as much as we are edified by it. We encourage you to reread the last three Bible study newsletters to refresh your memory on the things we have already taught concerning Job and his experiences.

Although the Book of Genesis comes first in our Bible, it may not have been the first to be written. There are grounds for believing that the Book of Job is of an even earlier date, In fact, this Book of Job may be the oldest book in the world. Yet despite the changing scenery of the forty centuries which have elapsed since the author of this old-world epic laid down his pen, can we find any more poignantly up-to-date treatise on the pathos of human experience.

—J. Sidlow Baxter, Explore the Book Vol. III (1960) p 25

Job is in the form of a dramatic poem. It is probably the oldest of the Bible books, and was certainly written before the giving of the law. It would have been impossible, in a discussion covering the whole field of sin, of the providential government of God, and of man’s relationship to Him, to avoid all references to the law if the law had then been known. Job was a veritable personage (Ezk. xiv.20; James v.ii), and the events are historical. The book sheds a remarkable light on the philosophic breadth and intellectual culture of the patriarchal age. The problem is, Why do the godly suffer?

—C. I. Scofield, Scofield Reference Bible (1909)

The identity of Job is something that cannot be definitely established. However, we can establish the approximate time period; and then from Scripture draw a logical conclusion as to who he most likely was. In a careful reading of the Book of Job, it can be definitely established that it does not include any reference to the Law, or to recorded Hebrew prophecy, religious ritual, or religious terminology. Israel’s suffering in Egypt and the Hebrew Exodus are also unmentioned. This lack of internal Hebrew doctrinal information leads us to believe that it was of pre-Sinaitic origin. We therefore must conclude that it was written in the time of the patriarchs.

Job lived one hundred and forty years after his great test (cf. Job 42:16); and if Jehovah doubled his age, as his did his material blessings, then he would have lived to be two hundred and eighty. Abraham, “the friend of God” (cf. Jas. 2:23) and the father of the Hebrew race (cf. Gen. 12:1-3) only lived to be one hundred and seventy-five (cf. Gen. 25:7), though Scripture says he died “an old man” (cf. Gen. 25:8). His son Isaac only lived to be one hundred and eighty (cf. Gen. 35:28), and his grandson Jacob only lived to be only one hundred and forty-seven (cf. Gen. 47:28). The length of Job’s life would then appear to place him in the patriarchal age before Abraham. Job’s longevity provided ample opportunity to reflect upon his trials and to write the Book of Job.

The dispensation of Man (i.e. Gentiles) began with the creation of Adam and lasted until the dispensation of the Hebrews was introduced with the confirmation of the unconditional Abrahamic covenant and the sign of the ritual of Hebrew circumcision (cf. Gen. 2:7 with Gen. 17:1-14). The flood is mentioned (cf. Job 22:15) and therefore Job would have had to live in the dispensation of Man the age of Human Government. This age began immediately after the flood (cf. Gen. 8:20) and was the last age in the dispensation. It was replaced with the dispensation of the Hebrews the age of Promise. The Father promised Adam and Eve that their Redeemer would come by means of the “seed of woman” (cf. Gen. 3:15 with v 21). When Abel brought his blood burnt offering sacrifice to God it was accepted by Jehovah; but Cain’s bloodless offering was rejected (cf. Gen. 4:1-7 with Heb. 11:4). The offerings were both brought to a specific place where an altar already existed. God’s acceptance of one offering and the rejection of the other offering had to have been based on the holiness of God. Therefore, it implied that prior instruction concerning the sacrifice had been given to Adam. Scripture declares that God had earthly prophets from the beginning of the dispensation of Man (cf. Lu. 1:69, 70 with Acts 3:21; Heb. 1:1). We know that Enoch was also a prophet of God (cf. Jude 1:14) and that Noah was a prophet (cf. Heb. 11:7 with II Pet. 3:20; II Pet. 2:5). Noah lived nine hundred and fifty years. He lived after the flood for three hundred and fifty years and therefore was the last prophet from the age of Conscience and the first prophet from the age of Government (cf. Gen. 10:28). The prophetic- genealogical line of the “seed of woman” started with the prophet Adam (cf. Gen. 3:15) as given directly to him by God the Son in a pre-incarnate appearance (cf. Gen. 3:8-10).

The prophetic-genealogical line came down from Adam to Abraham (cf. Gen. 12:1-4) through Seth (cf. Gen. 4:25), Noah (cf. Gen. 6:8-10) and Shem (cf. Gen.9:26, 27). This line of special blessing is clearly confirmed in Scripture (cf. Gen. 12:10-26). However, without explanation, Moses records a genealogical line of Shem that splits between the twin sons of Peleg and gives us the thirteen sons of Joktan instead of continuing the prophetic-seed line through Joktan’s brother Reu (cf. Gen. 10:21-29). The thirteenth son, where the genealogy ends, is named Jobab; a name very similar to Job. Please remember all Scripture has spiritual value (cf. II Tim. 3:16, 17) and if he is not Job, then we can detect no real purpose for this genealogy.

The family of Joktan were not the ancestors of the Messiah; neither were any of the sons of this patriarch so peculiarly distinguished in the subsequent history of Israel, that the enumeration of their names only might have been anticpated in this genealogy. But nothing is written in the Holy Scripture’s without an object, and in the abscence of any other object for which Moses deviated from his plan, and recorded the names of the sons of Joktan only, terminating the list with the name of Job-ab or Job—I conclude that this design was to tell us that the Job who was the youngest son of Joktan was the Job who lived in the land of Uz, though he was not born there, and suffered and tempted as the Book of Job recorded.

Dr. Townsend’s Bible Vol. I p 181

A careful examination of Genesis 11:10-26 reveals that Shem lived for five hundred years after the flood. We can also compute the birth dates of the line from Shem to Abraham starting with the flood and utilizing post-flood (PF) dating. Arphaxed was born in 2 PF, Salah in 37 PF, Eber in 67 PF, and Peleg in 101 PF. Peleg’s twin brother Joktan is the father of Jobab, the man we believe was Job. Now Arphaxed lived to be 438, Salah to be 433, Eber to be 464; but Peleg died at the age of 239. His son Regu was born in 131 PF and also lived to be 239; and his grandson Serug was born in 163 PF and lived to be 230. The line continues with Nahor being born in 193 PF and only living to 148. His son Terah, the father of Abraham, was born in 222 PF and lived to be 205. He was the last member of the prophetic-seed line to reach the age of 200 or better. Abraham was born in 292 PF and lived to be 175. Isaac would have been born in 392 PF and his lifespan was 180 years (Gen. 35:28). Jacob would have been born in 452 PF and his lifespan was only 147 years (cf. Gen. 47:28). Now Jobab was the nephew of Peleg, the first cousin of Regu, and the first cousin once removed of Serug. These men all lived to be 230 or more. If Job is Jobab, then these men were his contemporaries and his lifespan is consistent with the Father’s plan at the time in which he was reducing down the length of human life.

Some Hebrew tradition, the translators of the Septuagint, the Coptic version of Job, Origen, and the Greek fathers selected Joab of the line of Esau (cf. Gen. 36:33, 34).

The immediate problem with this should be evident to all grace believers. God the Father rejected Esau and removed him and his prodigy from the prophetic- genealogical line (cf. Rom. 9:13; Heb. 12:16). Joab, the son of Duke (i.e. Emir) Zerah of Bozrah, (cf. Gen. 36:33, 34) was the grandson of Duke Reuel (cf. Gen. 36:13, 17). Reuel was Esau’s son by Bashemath, the daughter of Ishmael (cf. Gen. 36:1-4). “But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free. (cf. Gal. 4:23, 30, 31).” Scripture declares that Job was one of the greatest believers in Old Testament history. We do not have enough Scriptural proof to dogmatically teach Job and Joab, the son of Joktan, are the same person. All we can do is produce enough facts to make a logical deduction. However, we believe that we can dogmatically teach that Job was not the great grandson of Esau and the great great grandson of Ishmael. The Hebrew religious leaders always paid great homage to Abraham (cf. John 8:33, 39, 53). Hence it is a logical deduction that subjectivity caused them to seek to make the writer of this unique portion of Scripture to have been a descendant of Abraham, even if it came through the lines of Esau and Ishmael. The genealogies that come from the line of Ishmael are in Scripture because they are the enemies of Israel (cf. Joel 3:19; Amos 1:9, 11; 2:1; Ob. 1:1-8; Mal. 1:4).

Job lived in the land of Uz; but Scripture does not tell us where he was born. Abraham was born in the Ur of the Chaldees (cf. Gen. 11:218, 31; 15:7); but emigrated west. The exact location of Uz is also hard to pinpoint because the name is historically found in several locations. The best conclusion is that it covers a large territory between Damascus and Edom and at various times may have extended east to the Euphrates River. The fact that in the debates concerning sin and the judgment of God no one mentions the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (cf. Gen. 19:1-29) are also indicate that the historical events in Job preceded the divine judgment that came upon them.

Now many pastors would think that we are giving you too many unnecessary details concerning the identity and time in which Job lived. We disagree with those who feel this way because to understand Job’s impact on history, we need to understand a few things that were not available to him. We know that he was saved Semetic-Gentile; since divine progressive revelation was limited to Shem and his descendants (cf. Gen. 9:26, 27). No mention is made of God’s unconditional covenant with Abraham and therefore, we can add this as evidence that Job lived before it was made. What we find in the Book of Job are instructions in the doctrines of the Sovereignty of God, the Supremacy of God, the Righteousness of God, the Justice of God, the Omnipotence of God, the Omniscience of God, the Omnipresence of God, the Veracity of God, the Faithfulness of God and the Love of God.

From Job we have the most unique and independent book of the sacred canon—the sublimest section of the inspired record,—a grand monument of patriarchal life, manners, and theology—evidencing a knowledge of earth and sky; of providence and grace, and a command of thought, sentiment, language, and literary power, which no mere man has ever equaled. In it we find familiarity with writing, engraving in stone, mining, metallurgy, building, shipping, natural history, astronomy, and science in general, showing an advanced, organized, and exalted state of society, answering exactly to what pertains above all to the sons of Joktan, whose descendants spread themselves from Upper Arabia to the South Seas, and from the Persian Gulf to the pillars of Hercules, tracking their course as the first teachers of our modern world with the greatest monuments that antiquity contains.

—Joseph Seiss, A Miracle in Stone (1877)

Job lived before Abraham and therefore, he lived before Moses. He had no written Canon of Scripture, though he may have had access to some writings by his forefather prophets such as Adam, Seth, and Enoch (Lu. 1:69, 70; Acts 3:21; Heb. 1:1). Consider this fact; if Job was Jobab, the son of Joktan, then he could have personally known the great patriarch Noah. We do not know the exact date of Jobab’s birth; but his first cousin Regu was born in 131 PF. Now he was the 13th and youngest son of Joktan, who was the twin brother of Peleg, who was Regu’s father. If both of these men’s oldest son’s were born in the same year, then depending upon whether there were any twins among Joktan’s sons and how many daughters he had before Jobab’s birth, we have to consider the fact that Jobab could possibly have been thirteen to perhaps twenty years or so years younger. If we suppose he was born around 150 PF, then we need to understand that Noah would have died in Jobab’s 200th year. Shem would have to have been considered a great patriarch, though not in the classification with his father Noah, because he lived for one hundred years in the Anti-Diluvium Civilization and for six hundred years in the Post-Diluvium Civilization. In fact, a careful examination of the Biblical genealogical data reveals that Shem outlived Abraham by thirty-three years. He died when Isaac was one hundred and ten and Jacob was forty-eight. Shem would have been about one hundred and fifty at the birth of Job (i.e. Jobab, son of Joktan) and along with Noah could have had direct influence on him.

In future newsletters, as we reach down into the depths of this great theological treatise, which the Holy Spirit has given to us; we trust that you will begin to see its great value to each and every believer. This Bible study newsletter has centered on some historical information and inductive reasoning necessary to challenge us to more deeply consider the Book of Job. Many men have paid great honor to it.

Speaking of the Book of Job, I called that one of the grandest ever written with pen.

—Thomas Carlyle (1795-1801)

The Book of Job is one of the noblest poems in history.

—Dr. W. G. Moorehead

Among all writings, inspired or uninspired, the Book of Job stands preeminent for its lofty representations of the pure moral personality, the holiness, the unchallengeable justice, the wisdom, the Omnipotence, the absolute Sovereignty of God. Whatever may be said of its obscurities and difficulties in other respects, in the splendor of its theism, it is unsurpassed...‘Crude theistic conceptions’ have been charged upon the whole Old Testament, surpassing, in some respects, those of surrounding nations, yet still characteristic of the infancy of the race and the infancy of science. The Book of Job refutes this. Our best modern theology, in its most approved and philosophical symbols, may be challenged to produce any thing surpassing the representations which this ancient writing gives us of God as ‘a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in His being, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.’ Nothing approaches the ideal of the ineffable purity of the divine character, before which the heavens veil their brightness, and the loftiest intelligences are represented as comparatively unholy and impure. God the Absolute, the Infinite, the Unconditioned, the Unknowable—these are the terms by which our most pretentious philosophizing would characterize Deity as something altogether beyond the ordinary theological conception. But even here the old Book of Job surpasses them in setting forth the transcending glory, the ineffable height, the measureless profundity of the Eternal.

—Taylor Lewis, A New Rhythmical Version of the Book of Job (1874)

We have used this Bible study lesson to try to introduce you to background for the Book of Job and to prepare you for its ultimate spiritual value. In many ways, Job is an embarrassment to most 21st Century Christians. The Spirit did not have Moses write the Book of Genesis until long after Job’s death. Job may have had some prophetic writings from the Anti-Diluvium Civilization that also could have been available to Moses later on. If so, they would have only contained material relevant to Genesis One to Eleven. However, Job hungered and thirsted after Bible doctrinal truth. He believed in a future REDEEMER-GOD (cf. Job 38:12; 19:25-27). We will start with doctrine of undeserved suffering for blessings.

Sooner or later, everyone identifies with Job. Suffering is part and parcel of the human condition. When that moment comes, whether innocent or guilty, we cry out in anguish, Why? Unless we are sadists obsessed with guilt, we feel that the pain and suffering is always more than we deserve. So, while few of us can match the uncontested innocence of Job, all of us in the time of suffering raise angry questions about God’s justice, our righteousness, and religion’s answer. Invariably, we also get down the cosmic question ‘Why do the wicked prosper and the innocent suffer in an orderly universe created by a just God?’ This is the question upon which scholars and skeptics stumble in their search for faith.

—David L. McKenna, The Communicator’s Commentary Job (1986)
Historical Impact in The Spiritual Warfare of the Angelic Conflict Lesson V