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- 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 eschewed2 evil.
- And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters.
- His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.
- And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them.
- And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, “It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus did Job continually.
- Job 1:1-5 KJV
Job is a very remarkable book, one of the most remarkable books in the Bible, containing an amazing amount of wisdom. But please understand that the Book of Job is not about an Israelite, for Job didn’t belong to the tribes of Israel. It tells you that Job “was the greatest of all the men of the east” (Job 1:3). “Ah,” you say, “but don’t you realize that Israel is in the east?” Yes, but you must realize that if one is writing in Israel, Israel would not be in the east—Arabia would be in the east. This Bible is written from the geographical point of view of someone living in Israel. When the Bible speaks about east and west, you must mentally reorient yourself as though you are living in Israel in order to get your bearings properly. In that mindset you properly interpret “west” and “east” as being relative to Israel. Bearing that in mind, let’s read through the rest of Job chapter 1:
- Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them.
- And the Lord said unto Satan, “From where do you come?” Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, “From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.”
- And the Lord said unto Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one who fears God, and eschews evil?”
- Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing?
- “Haven’t You made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.
- “But put forth Your hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will curse You to Your face.”
- And the Lord said unto Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only upon himself put not forth your hand.” So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord.
- And there was a day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house:
- And there came a messenger unto Job, and said, “The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them:
- “And the Sabeans fell upon them, and took them away; yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell you.”
- While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, “The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell you.”
- While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, “The Chaldeans made out three bands, and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away, yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell you.”
- While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, “Your sons and your daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house:
- “And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell you.”
- Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,
- And said, “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.”
- In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.
- Job 1:6-22 KJV
Job “was the greatest of all men of the east.” So in this book God is taking you out of Israel, right into Arabia. That’s why it mentions that the Sabeans fell upon Job’s farm laborers (Job 1:15); Sabeans are the people who lived in Sheba, which is present-day Yemen. And the Chaldeans fell upon Job’s camel herds (Job 1:17); they were from Chaldea, just to the north of Arabia. Why is it important to know that events of the Book of Job did not take place in Israel? Here God is dealing and showing us that one of the greatest pure and holy men on earth wasn’t an Israelite at all; Job was a Gentile. God has always had His people everywhere. We have to read things carefully. For instance, Eliphaz the Temanite came from Edom. Edom was the land of the descendants of Esau. Although there was a blood-tie to Israel (in the sense that Esau was Jacob’s twin brother), Eliphaz was not from the people of Israel. Job says not one word about any of the mighty miracles that God had wrought in Israel. Instead, this book speaks of all God’s mighty works that He has wrought on the earth, things which are evident to all men. It doesn’t mention the parting of the Red Sea, or the deliverance from Egypt, both of which are specific only to Israel. God is opening up to us that He does not put all His eggs into one basket. He does not concentrate everybody in the same place. It’s good to realize God has a wonderful way of distributing His servants.4
A Heavenly Perspective
Now the book of Job is a book of wisdom. It is opening to us things that other books of the Bible hint at, but Job opens the door for us to look in to see what God is doing. It lifts our minds far above this narrow earth and the doings on it. We are one tiny speck of dust amongst exceeding billions of specks of dust, in comparison with the mighty God. This tiny, tiny earth is a small satellite of one of the smaller suns of our galaxy. There are other suns in the sky which we could point out in the night sky. We call them stars, for every star is a sun.
Consider the star Antares. If Antares were where our sun is now, its circumference would extend right out to the orbit of Mars. Imagine the size of that! Our sun is in the center of a system of planets: the nearest to the sun is Mercury; the next is Venus; the next is our Earth; the next is Mars. Our earth is an average of ninety-three million miles from the sun, and Mars is an average of one hundred forty-two million miles from the sun. So great is Antares that it would fill up all the space between our sun and the orbit of Mars with its burning mass. Astronomers designate Antares as a red supergiant star.
By comparison, our sun is classed as a yellow dwarf; yet how vast it is—so vast that, if Earth were thrown into it, it would be like throwing a pea into a giant steel furnace! We’re nothing! Our sun is only one of so many suns, or stars, that it is impossible to enumerate them. We cannot compute the number of suns, or stars, in the sky, which includes our own sun, because they are as numerous as all the grains of sand on every seashore of all the world. How utterly nothing our earth is! No wonder the Bible says of God, who has created the nations, and who encompasses them all, “All the nations are but as the dust of the balance. He takes up the isles as a very little thing” (Isaiah 40:15). When you are weighing things in balances, there is sure to be dust on the scales – so small you can’t see it, but it’s there. Yet it doesn’t affect the scales in the slightest degree. That’s how the nations are with regard to God. On His even scales of the balance of justice and of truth and of almighty power, we are before Him as nothing. That’s our God!
The Pure and Upright
- Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord.
- And the Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” And Satan answered the Lord, and said, “From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.”
- And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one who fears God, and eschews evil? and still he holds fast his integrity, although you moved Me against him, to destroy him without cause.”
- And Satan answered the Lord, and said, “Skin for skin, yes, all that a man has will he give for his life.
- “But put forth Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse You to Your face.”
- And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand; but spare his life.”
- So went Satan forth from the presence of the Lord, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.
- Job 2:1-7 KJV
When God permitted suffering to come to Job, He did it for a very wise purpose. We are often taught that Job received this correction as discipline from God because he was self-righteous. But God says just the opposite! Three times the Scripture announces it: Job is perfect and upright; he is one who fears God; and he eschews (that is, has nothing to do with) evil (Job 1:1,8;2:3). And God Himself says twice to the arch-enemy of our souls, “Have you considered my servant Job, perfect and upright?” (Job 1:8; 2:3) “Ah,” you say, “no one is perfect.” Well, you can contradict God if you like, but I dare not do that. If God declares a thing, it’s real to me. He said, “My servant Job, perfect and upright.” I believe Him. “But,” you say, “he was an exception.” Yet he was not such an exception as you think. We read about a number of other characters in the Bible who had perfect hearts, too. That means a heart that is set only to obey God. The only limit to the obedience that God is due from such a heart is the weakness of the human frame—not the sin of the heart. Don’t you think that God can give you a pure heart? Is God so very incapable? Didn’t Jesus die for that very purpose? So with Job, God is establishing that He has on earth those who are pure and upright.
Now if God has given you that tremendous blessing, through Jesus and by virtue of the baptism in the Holy Ghost, of a heart that is set only to obey Him in everything, then He will have to chasten and discipline your human nature, not because it’s wicked, but because it’s wayward. There’s a big difference between wickedness and waywardness. There is a big difference between being “weak through the flesh,” as the Bible puts it (Romans 8:3), and having “an evil heart of unbelief” (Hebrews 3:12)—the carnal mind which is “not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Romans 8:7). Now if you choose, you can keep your carnal mind. It often suits you to believe that it is not possible to get rid of the carnal mind, because that mind is so entrenched and fights you, and doesn’t want to go. But Jesus died on the cross, taking your carnal nature there with Him, and destroyed it, so that you may have this blessing from Him. The blessing is made clear: “Knowing this, that our old man” (that’s our carnal mind, that kicking, wicked, evil thing, that infection of our nature) “is crucified with Him…that henceforth we should not serve sin” (Romans 6:6). Jesus did it! Believe it, and God will do it: you will have a pure heart. You will only want to please God. You won’t have that treacherous nature continually letting you down. You won’t have a fighting in your will. You will say to God, “Yes, I accept Your will. Oh give me strength to do it, because I am so weak. And when Your will is painful to the flesh and obnoxious to my mind, because it means pain and I hate pain—mental pain and physical pain—give me grace, dear Father.” And He will give you grace to accept His will. Already you have decided His will is best anyway and have chosen it.
Enlarging Spiritual Capacity
So Job was one of God’s richest men; but he was not a capitalist, that is, a man who only lives to get more and more riches to spend on himself. Job was a steward of God’s riches, ministering to the poor and needy on God’s behalf. “For the poor you have always with you” (Matthew 26:11). Now in the book of Job we see what God is doing with one of His rich men. Job only has spiritual capacity to use the responsibility, the wealth God has given him, in a limited way. But that limited amount of wealth he faithfully discharges. “Where have I seen,” asks Job, “one who is not clothed and I haven’t clothed him? Where have the poor been hungry and I haven’t fed him?” (Job 31:16-22). And no one can contradict him. He is faithful. He is a steward of God.
But God wants to enlarge Job’s spiritual capacity and help him to grow. Why? Not so much for his time on earth, as for the time coming after his earthly life, the coming future state which I will explain more about in a moment. The only way God can enlarge Job is through suffering, through tribulation. “We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). By means of God’s tribulum (the tribulum was the threshingsledge5), by means of God’s threshing, we grow deeper and deeper spiritually. Self is crucified, and we become enlarged spiritually. The way to grow spiritually is not by taking a Bible course; it’s not by going to a Bible college; it’s not by attending such and such a seminar or conference, good or not as those things may be in themselves. You will not grow one tiny fraction of an inch spiritually by taking those courses. Increasing your mental knowledge of truth does not enlarge your spiritual capacity. The only way God can enlarge your spiritual capacity is by tribulation, by chastening. God does not say, “Take a Bible course or come to Sunday School in order that you may be a partaker of My holiness.” God says that He chastens us so “that we might be partakers of His holiness” (Hebrews 12:10). All those other things may enlighten our minds and enlarge our mental understanding of God’s truth and His will, but in no wise do they perfect the soul. They are nil with regard to holiness. This is the crowning mistake of many evangelical, Pentecostal, charismatic Christians. They think if we grow in knowledge of the Bible, we shall grow spiritually. But we only grow spiritually as God enlarges our capacity. And He can only enlarge our capacity by tribulation.
So God’s purpose was to enlarge Job. Otherwise, if He enlarged Job’s stewardship, Job would have failed in it, because he would not have been prepared for the increased responsibility. It was God’s intent that Job be an even greater steward, so He put Job under tremendous tribulation, taking everything away from him, till he owned nothing and acknowledged everything to be God’s. And that’s what God does. “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return; the Lord has given, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21). Isn’t that wonderful? I thank God for this wonderful book of Job.
So Job’s chastening, his tribulation, is not punishment, for God isn’t dealing with sin in the man whom the Book calls “perfect and upright” (Job 1:1). God is dealing with Job’s humanity, his human weakness, and enlarging him. And at the end, Job has twice as much as he had initially (Job 42:10). That means he now has twice the amount of responsibility before God that he had before. That is how God deals with us. This is a principle that will go on for all eternity, only there is no chastening in heaven. Tribulation is left down here on earth. But in heaven you will have responsibility, not as a reward, but because you are fitted to take that responsibility. You are fitted by the tribulation you have had down here. I am talking about heaven as a place to reach in God’s presence, where He puts us into our proper places throughout His universes (in the plural!), and there we each will have the place, not that He gives us as a reward, but the place for which each of us is perfectly fitted. God does the preparation in this life.
Perhaps you ask, “What if I resist God’s chastening and preparation?” Well, another will take your crown. God will have that place filled by someone who did go through with God and didn’t kick against the tribulum, and who has submitted to His wise and faithful dealings. But you will have disqualified yourself, perhaps forever. Of course you will have a happy time in heaven. Of course you will be able to sit under one of those lovely heavenly trees, and eat the fruit of the tree of life, and have wonderful fellowship with God’s people, and hear the angels sing, and learn what you have never learned down here—how to play a harp, or a golden trumpet. Oh, you will have a wonderful time. But you will have limited yourself. What reward will you have if you faithfully do that work here which prepares you for what God has ready for you to do in the other life? “His servants shall serve Him” (Revelation 22:3). The reward will be giving you a greater responsibility, and then a yet greater responsibility; you will still be growing up in heaven, but without tribulation. That’s only for down here. Hallelujah! I am glad, aren’t you?
- Now when Job s three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came every one from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite: for they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him.
- And when they lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him not, they lifted up their voice, and wept; and they tore every one his mantle, and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven.
- So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spoke a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.
- Job 2:11-13 KJV
Now, what shall we say about the friends of Job? They were convinced, like most preachers, that the cause of Job’s suffering was sin. “You have sinned, Job. And you say you haven’t sinned. You are self-righteous. Now if you will confess your self-righteousness to God, if you will admit the sinner you are, if you will only own up, Job, God will remove this suffering. You are suffering because of what you are, because although you are a good man, you are so self-righteous.” That’s what people will say about you if you witness that God has given you a pure heart. They can’t believe you; they will just say that you are self-righteous. If you speak the truth and point out errors in hymns that are sung, and in words that are said, you will be called self-righteous. It is the condemnation that all God’s saints have to receive from those who have no intention of living up to God’s standard. Prepare for it and receive it and endure it and come through, and you will still have a great hallelujah in your heart. In the end, what does God say about these friends? He says to Job, “You will need to sacrifice for them. They have offended Me. They have not spoken of Me the thing that is right, as My servant Job has” (Job 42:7-9). What they say is right, but the conclusions they draw are wrong. They are not liars; they are faithful, but unenlightened, men.
Just imagine that you have a friend who suffers such a thing as Job, and you come and you sit down for seven days and seven nights and mourn with him, not speaking a word because you see his grief is very great (Job 2:13). What intelligent Job’s comforters were! What wise men! But what do we do, if we find someone like this who suffers so much? We come prepared to shoot a lot of scriptures at him, which is like “vinegar upon nitre,” if you remember that simile in Proverbs 25:20. Shooting Bible verses or quoting religious platitudes at such a time usually isn’t helpful, so don’t do it! Let the Holy Ghost speak through you. What a difference it makes—all the difference between being able to minister the love and comfort of God, or being one of those proverbial “Job’s comforters.”
Preparing to Reign
There is so much more in Job. You can take the statements that Job’s friends make as being generally true. But when these friends apply them to Job, they go wrong. These men are wise men, good men. For example, the Temanites were famous for wisdom,6 and you will find that Job’s friend, Eliphaz the Temanite, said the truth. But now, I want to open to you something that is very much deeper that God gives us in Job. “There came a time when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came amongst them.” Why did Satan come amongst them? Because he was one of the “sons of God.” What is a son of God? A son of God in the Bible sense is one who has been created by special creation and not by procreation. We humans are not sons of God by nature. We are sons of Adam, sons of men. We came by procreation. That’s why Jesus, who is the Son of God, used to call Himself always the Son of Man, because He came by procreation through a woman and the Holy Ghost. We have all come into being by procreation. We have to have a father and mother. There is no human being on earth who doesn’t have a father and mother, or hasn’t had one.
But the angels, these to whom the Bible refers as “sons of God” in the Book of Job, were created directly; they never came through procreation. Procreation doesn’t happen in heaven. That is only for this earth period. So these beings are “sons of God” by direct creation. It would have been very much better if the translators had left in the original word—elohim. Elohim just means gods in the plural, as El means God in the singular. Elohim occurs all the way through the Old Testament, but its meaning is lost in the attempt to render it as various words or phrases. Sometimes it is translated as sons of God, sometimes as mighty ones, sometimes as judges. It’s utterly confusing! Why didn’t the translators leave it as it was? Do you know why? Probably because they didn’t understand it. Or perhaps they thought they would help to make it clear to us; but instead they obscured the meaning!
“Now there was a day”—I’ll quote the Hebrew—“when ha elohim”—the elohim—“came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came amongst them” (Job 1:6). No, Satan wasn’t sneaking in amongst them. You can’t do that with God. You can’t come into the presence of the Lord unless you are wanted. Satan didn’t gate-crash into this. There came another time when the sons of God, the elohim, came to present themselves before the Lord and Satan came amongst them then (Job 2:1). But it is only revealed here what God had to say to Satan, not to the others. What was this meeting of elohim? It is called the council of elohim, an assembly in which God takes counsel with the ones He has created to have great responsibilities throughout His universes. (I put it in the plural because the universe that we are in is a three-dimensional universe and God may have other universes with six dimensions, not even including the three that we have—so we say universes.) So the elohim came to report to God on their responsibilities. There were some elohim who had to come because when God says, “Come to the council,” you have no choice. When God calls a council of His elohim, the gods, they have to come. There are some who come who are completely disobedient. They follow the arch-rebel, Satan. They belong to the kingdom, not of light, but the kingdom of darkness, and they come though rebellious.
You say, “I’d like to hear more about it.” Let’s look at a psalm which will explain it perfectly. Here is one of those great Holy Ghost psalms that reveals truth to us.
“God stands in the congregation of the mighty.
He judges among the gods.”
That’s what it says in the King James Version of Psalm 82, and most English translations are along that line. But the Hebrew says,
“El [that is, the supreme God] stands in the congregation of the elohim.
He judges among the elohim.”
So this psalm reveals a scene of God judging the elohim. Now hear what His judgment is. This is a psalm that has nothing to do with earth, or with regard to the rulers of earth. This is what He says to these elohim who are rebels (v. 2):
“How long will you judge unjustly
and accept the person of the wicked?”
Then He gives the command about what they ought to be doing (vv. 3-4):
“Defend the poor and fatherless.
Do justice to the afflicted and needy.
Deliver the poor and needy.
Rid them out of the hand of the wicked.”
They have power to do it. Then God says of them, the fallen elohim (v. 5a),
“They know not, neither will they understand.”
They could understand, but they refuse to do so. As a result (v. 5b):
“They walk on in darkness.”
Now in the original that reads, “They walk to and fro in darkness.” Where have we seen that phrase? In Job 1:7—
And the Lord said unto Satan, “Whence comest thou?” Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, “From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.”
It should be no surprise then, that God says of them in this Psalm that “They walk to and fro in darkness.” Psalm 82 continues (v. 5c):
“All the foundations of the earth are out of course.”
Why are things so dreadfully wrong on the earth? Why are all the foundations of the earth out of course? Why are there increasing earthquakes, increasingly destructive hurricanes and typhoons, increasing disease and pestilences among people and plants and flowers and fruit and food? Why? “All the foundations of the earth are out of course,” because those whom God chose to have control of nature are not functioning rightly. They are in rebellion, so all the foundations of the earth are out of course. God is showing us behind the scenes. You say, “It is because of the wickedness of men.” What is the wickedness of men but that which is produced by these evil beings who deceive them? These fallen elohim long ago decided that they should be worshiped. That’s why they have set up false images. That’s why they have created down the years Venus, the goddess of lust and impurity, also worshiped under the name of Diana, and referred to in the Old Testament by the name of Astarte or Ashtaroth. You’ll recall reading, too, about such false and evil gods as Ba’al and Molech. All these false gods have real “gods” behind them. An idol itself, says Paul, is nothing (1 Corinthians 8:4). The demons, the fallen powers behind them, are the tragedy and the trouble. No wonder all the foundations of the earth are out of course (Psalm 82:5).
Now hear God’s judgment (Psalm 82:6-7):
“I said you are elohim
and all of you sons of the Most High,
but you shall die like men,
and fall like one of the princes.”
That is a terrible judgment on these beings who “know not death.”7 That’s what God is going to do. He who made you immortal can take your immortality away and make you mortal.
Yes, what God has given He can take back! God poured forth His own nature to create all the universe, and He can take it all back to Himself! But He did not, could not, would not draw it back to Himself until that which He put forth in all nature, in all the universe that has been corrupted by sin, is purified. The blood of Jesus on the cross not only cleanses from all sin in individuals, but it also atones for all the sin that permeated God’s universes. So when God draws it all back to Himself, it will come via the precious blood of Jesus, perfect and pure. And He is going to put forth His glorious nature, His divine energy, into all sorts of other diverse forms, so there are going to be “new heavens and a new earth in which dwells righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13), in which you and I are going to live forever. That is what God is going to do. The Holy Ghost has indited8 this amazing psalm, and He concludes it with these words (v. 8):
“Arise, O God, judge the earth,
for You shall inherit all nations.”
This is a great appeal to God: “Oh, Father, please end this domination of the fallen elohim,” and God has said, “I will when the time comes.” For God has set all the times and bounds of everything, and there is a right time for everything, as Solomon instructs us in Ecclesiastes 3:1. The time has not yet come to judge the elohim, but it will come, and one day He whom God has appointed is going to sit upon the great white throne and He will judge all, the elohim, the devil—everyone will be judged, and every human being who has ever lived will be judged, and go to the place of God’s appointing.
Hear what the Messiah says in Psalm 75:2. This is Christ speaking under the old covenant: “When I shall receive the congregation, I will judge uprightly.” God is going to take away all the dominion and power of these rebel ones who are false. It is going to be given to His Son, for “all judgment is committed to the Son” (John 5:22). “God stands in the congregation of the elohim.” That means God rules supremely in the congregation of the elohim. He stands there, glorious, because He is the living and the true God. He “makes His angels spirits, and His ministers a flame of fire” (Hebrews 1:7). “He does according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth, and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, ‘What doest thou?’” (Daniel 4:35) This is God’s wonderful revelation of the elohim that comes in Job.
Now listen to what Eliphaz says. Eliphaz gives a true word here, something which is very, very important in this wonderful book of Job. He replies to Job, because when Job speaks (and his friends think he speaks far too boldly), they think he sounds as if he understands things which he doesn’t. Yet often Job will speak by inspiration, and when he does that, his friends think he is going beyond things he ought to say and know. In Job 15:7-8, Eliphaz asks questions of Job which can only be fully understood in the context of the council of the elohim (v. 7):
“Are you the first man who was born?
Or were you made before the hills?”
That is, “Were you made before Adam?” because everyone knows the hills were made first, and Adam was made afterwards. So Eliphaz is asking, “Are you one of those superior beings, Job, who were made before the hills were made, the sons of God, the elohim?” Then (v. 8):
“Have you heard the secret of God?”
The word secret should be translated counsel. That is, “Have you listened in on, have you overheard the counsel of God? Are you one of those who were created previously? That is, are you an elohim, Job, so you have a right to be in the council of God, His council of the elohim?” So even here in Eliphaz’s speech, the truth of Psalm 82:1 is confirmed:
“God stands in the council of the elohim.
He judges among the elohim, the gods.”
“We Wrestle…Against Principalities, Against Powers…”
- For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
- Ephesians 6:12 KJV
Now that God has opened to us the existence of the elohim in Scripture, we’ll begin to discover them in other passages, albeit hidden under all sorts of names. For example, consider Eliphaz’s words just a few verses later (vv. 15-16):
“Behold, He [God] puts no faith in His saints [i.e., His holy ones].
Yes, the heavens are not clean in His sight.
How much more abominable and filthy is man,
who drinks iniquity like water?”
He is saying God puts no faith in His elohim, His holy ones. It doesn’t mean that God puts no faith in His saints, in us who are His children. He does believe in us. He believes in us far more than we believe in Him sometimes! Those words are not referring to us. It means that God no longer trusts all of the elohim, because some of them, He knows, have fallen and have caused dreadful corruption on the earth. Some of the greatest, put here to superintend nations, have used their positions for their own ends. These evil beings, like the ones governing oppressive and hostile countries, have used their authority and power to murder and to slay and to destroy, and to eliminate righteousness and to engender complete rebellion to God. And God is letting it go on until Messiah returns, the One who is going to subdue all things unto Himself (1 Corinthians 15:28) and finally abolish the last enemy, which is death (v. 26). These are the “principalities and powers” which Paul tells you about, over whom Jesus triumphed openly (Colossians 2:15). These are the principalities and powers whom He bound to His chariot wheels.9 These are the principalities and powers who struggle with us, who wrestle with us.
But these principalities and power wrestle only with God’s true saints. Lesser demons can tempt others, but Satan will appoint some of these fallen elohim to especially wrestle against those who have been placed by God in important positions in His church. I don’t mean denominational churches, like the Church of Rome or the Baptist Church or the Presbyterian Church or the Pentecostal Church or any church that is named as such on earth. I mean God’s true, often unnamed, ones. There are elohim—fallen ones—that wrestle with them. Why are they wrestling with you? Because God permits it. Otherwise He wouldn’t let it happen.
God doesn’t randomly allow these beings to come and touch all of his saints. He knows some of us are so weak we would go down and collapse from it. No, many of us are as the the bruised reed or the smoking flax (Isaiah 42:3). He holds the bruised reed together. He doesn’t put out the smoking flax, that dimly burning wick of that little lamp; rather, He blows upon it and puts more oil in it. But to some, like the Apostle Paul, He allows a special one of these evil beings, a messenger, an angelos of Satan, to be with him all the time to keep him humble, because of the abundant revelations given to him (2 Corinthians 12:7). It was constantly at him, constantly wrestling with him. Paul says that during ministry in Asia (that is, Asia Minor), “we despaired even of life” (2 Corinthians 1:8), so terrible was the struggle.
According to your growth in grace, these evil, powerful beings will wrestle with you. Why does God let them wrestle? Because the only way to become strong is to wrestle. So the wrestling, the struggle, is making you stronger all the time. These fallen elohim are terribly angry with you. When one can’t conquer you, a more powerful one is allowed. In other words, God sees that you need to become even stronger, so He allows another more powerful one. That’s the secret behind this wonderful book of Job: Satan can’t do a thing unless God gives him permission. So this wrestling goes on. And why are they angry with you, these fallen ones? They know their day is coming. They know the time is coming when God will say, “Give an account of your stewardship. You may no longer be steward.”10
And who is going to take their place? Are you? Yes, if you qualify. Modern Pentecostal, evangelical, charismatic, fundamentalist, call-it-what-you-like teaching is that we are all qualified: because Jesus died for us upon the cross, we can even live a life of sin, but once we have been saved we will never be lost, and we are going to be saints and reign on thrones. If that were true, I would resign my commission! Can it be true that a lot of imitation hypocrites, who haven’t even learned to discipline themselves or take up their cross and follow Jesus, are going to be put on thrones by God to rule? They haven’t even learned to rule themselves! How can they rule nations? How can they order spheres in their progressions? How can they operate in new worlds that God has not yet created? How can they take the place of the fallen principalities and powers?
We don’t have to be a people of great intellect to understand the Bible. But we must be real saints, humble, meek, and lowly in heart, before ever God can give us the positions for which we have qualified. Didn’t Jesus say, “Unto him who overcomes will I grant to sit down with Me on My throne” (Revelation 3:21)? “He who overcomes…to him will I give power over the nations and he shall rule them with a rod of iron” (Revelation 2:26-27). “These are they who follow the Lamb wherever He goes…the firstfruits unto God and the Lamb” (Revelation 14:4). These, in another figure,11 are the man child, born of the woman who is the Church, a special people who have qualified, whom Satan stood ready to devour as soon as the child was born. There is a special malice against you by Satan if you long in your simple and childlike heart to be only like Jesus, and are willing for Him to discipline you just as He wills. Satan waits to devour you. But that man-child was raptured, caught up unto God on His throne, and the scripture says that man-child shall rule all nations. Jesus is stating the same thing when He says, “Unto him who overcomes will I grant to sit down with Me on My throne, even as I also overcame” (Revelation 3:21). Those who will share with Jesus in His ruling capacity, who will be elohim with El in the new council of God which God brings in to take the place of the fallen elohim, will be those whom He has forged in the fire.
It’s wonderful, isn’t it? But you must qualify. To rule all the nations with a rod of iron, how just you must be, how pure in heart, how absolutely selfless! That is the sanctifying grace of the Holy Spirit. That is why He says, ”You must share My cross if you would share My throne.” Nevertheless, the preaching of the cross—not the cross for us, but the cross on us, not the substitute cross of Jesus, but the cross that we must take up and bear—is the most unpopular message of today. People will tell you all sorts of untruths about your position in Christ. They will tell you the blasphemous lie that you can speak the words of Jesus and it will be just as if Jesus spoke them. They will tell you that all you have to do is to “claim it,” and you’ve got it. They will tell you that all you have to do is to speak it out and it happens. Those who say such things—what tiny little men they are in God’s sight! They have big, puffy Bible words, but not the deeds. They are not God’s hidden saints, but men who are popular with tens of thousands of people who hang on their words. God’s true saints are hidden ones, but they are doing the full work of God. He has these hidden saints just where He wants them, and He’s training them to take the place of the fallen elohim. And because He has given me this message for you, I know that there are those of my readers who will qualify. Otherwise He wouldn’t wouldn’t have me share this.
Oh, how we need the wonderful grace of God so that when at last Jesus shares the throne of the Father, we will be able to share His throne with the Father as manifested sons of God. Nowadays so much of so-called Christian teaching is merely a balloon puffed up with hot air. But the ones who will “know their God…and do exploits” (Daniel 11:32) are those whom He has chosen, and has taken through much tribulation; they are the ones He is perfecting all the time. God’s grace and purposes will be outworked at last. These overcomers will be part of the Bride of Christ, like that bride about whom the Song of Solomon asks,
Who is this who comes out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke,
perfumed with myrrh and frankincense,
with all powders of the merchant?
– Song of Solomon 3:6 –
“Who is this who comes out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke?”—that is, with great power. “Perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all the powders of the merchant?”—that is, manifesting the nine fruits of the Spirit, and utterly humble, completely meek, perfectly poor in spirit, leaning on her beloved.
In the end of God’s appointed “tribulation” for him, Job had passed his test—and you can, too. God was able to “bless the latter end of Job more than the beginning,” and he was given twice as much to steward for God (Job 42:12), because he had qualified. God’s testimony of His servant was that he had spoken of God “the thing that is right” (42:7,8). The Lord accepted Job (v. 9) and turned away his captivity (v. 10). The leader of the fallen elohim had targeted Job—and failed in his malice. Job was still a “perfect and upright man who eschewed evil,” but now he was enlarged and deepened spiritually, having suffered and prevailed, and having been humbled by a revelation of God Himself to his soul.
(Many thanks to Ann Gutteridge for the original transcription.)
- Copyright held by Finest of the Wheat Teaching Fellowship, Inc. Edited and annotated by Jim Kerwin. Co-edited by Denise Kerwin. ↩
- Eschew: to hate, flee, and have nothing to do with something ↩
- The “Job at Prayer” image is copyright by and used under license from GoodSalt.com. ↩
- Peter came to similar realization at the house of Cornelius (Acts 10:34-35): “Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons, but in every nation he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with Him.” ↩
- A tribulum was a wooden platform studded with iron teeth (or sometimes flint) used for threshing grain. ↩
- The allusion is to Jeremiah 49:7 — Concerning Edom, thus saith the Lord of hosts; “Is wisdom no more in Teman? is counsel perished from the prudent? is their wisdom vanished?”
- “Know not death”—Pastor Gutteridge is likely alluding to a line in Lord Byron’s play Cain. Cain asks Lucifer, “How shall I know it (death)?” and the evil one responds, “As I know not death, I cannot answer.” ↩
- Not indicted, but indited. To indite is to compose or write, to treat in a literary composition, or even to dictate (as to a secretary). ↩
- The reference is to the reported practice in Roman triumphal parades of chaining enemy captives to the chariot wheels of the victorious general. Paul seems to be alluding to something like this in Colossians 2:15 and perhaps even 2 Corinthians 2:14. ↩
- The allusion is to Luke 16:2. ↩
- From Revelation 12:1ff. ↩