The Book of Job - Part 3

Series: My Preaching Bucket List

September 10, 2017
Brad Shockley

Episode Notes

We are three messages in to Job and only at verse 6! It will speed up from here.

If you remember, verses 1-5 set the stage for Job’s story. He is a great man who fears God and runs from evil. He has great wealth. And he has a great family with great relationships. God has blessed him in big ways.

And then we come to verse 6, a verse that seems simple enough but when you study it carefully it opens a can of worms theologically.

It talks about a meeting of the “sons of God.” Study these guys carefully in the Bible and you’ll discover they are most likely part of a divine council made up of high ranking, powerful angels set in authority over the nations. Study them even more, and you’ll find some of them went rogue, rebelling against God and doing terrible things.

And yet, here they are on God’s council. Like many things about our Creator, we have a hard time understanding this. But if God really is God, by definition he must be hard to figure out.

This, as well as a host of other difficulties we’ll come across in Job,  just has to to stay in deep waters.

Let’s go back and finish it out our verse today, so next time we can get on with the story…

Job 1:6 (ESV) — 6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. 

Last week we grappled with how there can be bad guys on God’s divine council. This week, verse 6 has us asking another question: how could these bad angels and the devil himself be in God’s presence if God lives in heaven? Can there be bad things in heaven?

To answer this we have to wade in deep waters as well, but not as deep as last week. Simply put, heaven evidently has levels. In other words, there’s more than one.

Solomon, in dedicating the temple said…

1 Kings 8:27 (ESV) — 27 “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you; how much less this house that I have built!

And Paul, in relating an experience he had said…

2 Corinthians 12:2 (ESV) — 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows.

Wherever the divine council met, it was a heavenly place, but not the highest of heavens where God dwells. Of course, nothing bad could ever exist there.

One Bible scholar writes…

“Job 1 does not use the word ‘heaven’, but it refers to ‘the presence of the Lord’ (1:12) to mean exactly this. There is another realm, another place, where God holds council with his heavenly court and where actions are taken which affect people on earth.”

Once you come to terms with this whole divine council thing and you read verse 6 and it says Satan also came among them, it doesn’t throw you much. But it’s a little more complicated than that.

Literally in Hebrew it says “the satan,” little “s” because technically “satan” was not a name but a title. In Hebrew, just like English, we don’t put the definite article (the) before proper names. I am the pastor (title) but not the Brad (name). Though I do kind of like the sound of that.

Satan means adversary or accuser. So it says literally “and the adversary” or “the satan” also came among them. 

Up until the time of Jesus’ birth or so, the Jews saw the satan, or the accuser not as the embodiment of evil like we do but a heavenly being serving in an office, something like a prosecuting attorney. His job was to go around finding people doing wrong and exposing their sinfulness.

So, why did those who translated the Hebrew into English (and most every English translation does this) leave out the article and capitalize “S,” making it a proper name instead of a title? Because, as one fellow puts it…

“The satanic being’s identity was gradually pictured in ever clearer and more evil terms until by the time we reach the Gospels, ‘Satan’ is the name given to the devil. But here he is ‘the Adversary’…”

Look at…

Revelation 12:7–9 (ESV) — 7 Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, 8 but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

See how the apostle John, under the inspiration of the Spirit, brings it all together for us. He made clear what wasn't so clear back in the time Job was written. 

Isn’t it amazing all the trouble we can get into from studying just one verse? 

So the devil was originally on the divine council or at least he had access to it. Looking backwards from the NT, we do know he is the embodiment of evil, the accuser of the brethren, the serpent responsible for not only leading Adam and Eve into sin, but also the high ranking angel who led other angels in a rebellion against God.

Conclusion: Now we are introduced to the protagonist in Job’s story, the villain, the one who the antagonist or the hero in the story contends against. It’s none other than Satan, the devil himself. This can’t be good.

I found out something interesting about the satan mentioned here in verse 6. There are many ancient writings  by the Jews we could compare to commentaries. They interpret and explain the OT (because the Jews’ Bible was and is the OT more or less).

One very old commentary is called the Talmud. It’s a collection of teachings that record the oral tradition of early rabbis.

“the Talmud notes that [the] “Satan has no permission to act as accuser on the Day of Atonement”; [every other day of the year he “has permission to act as the accuser” but is not allowed to do so on the Day of Atonement …”

That’s legend or tradition not Scripture, but is interesting when you consider that the day of atonement was a “day [when] Israel fasted, cleansed the sanctuary of impurity, and dealt with their sin through [the] blood [sacrifice of one goat] and [through] sending [of another] goat into the wilderness (called the scapegoat). [It] took place on the 10th day of the seventh month.”

The brutality of blood sacrifice pointed to the seriousness of sin. Sin separates us from a holy God who is wholly offended by it. If we’re honest, the satan wouldn’t have to look far to find someone to prosecute. 

The day of atonement, like most everything in the OT points us to truths revealed in the NT, in the gospel.

Our day of atonement as Christians took place on the cross. Jesus is our blood sacrifice once and for all.

Hebrews 9:12 (ESV) — 12 he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.

And because of that we need not fear the adversary! He can’t touch us just one day of the year but every day. Our sins have been dealt with.

And because Jesus’ work on the cross is our final and complete day of atonement, the Accuser cannot accuse us even when he finds something!

Romans 8:1 (ESV) — 1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:33–34 (ESV) — 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.

One fellow writes…

“[The day of atonement] was a temporary, partial solution until the fullness of time had come. [It] was a foreshadowing of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who took away the sin of the world. The high priest, the slaughtered goat and the scapegoat were shadows to point to the ultimate Day of Atonement when Jesus Christ offered Himself as a sacrifice for us on the cross. Jesus is the Great High Priest who offered on behalf of His people the perfect once for all sacrifice, the Slaughtered Lamb whose blood was poured to pay the penalty of death and the Scapegoat who died outside the city taking away the sin of the world (Heb. 7:27; 9:12, 26, 28; 10:10; 13:12). Jesus the perfect, spotless and precious Lamb, who knew no sin, God made to be sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21).”

The devil is our adversary, but he has been defeated. Everything he could accuse us of (and rightly so) has been covered by the blood of Jesus, our advocate. 

Oh, how appropriate to celebrate the Lord’s Supper today.

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