Posted by Jim-Wilson on December 3, 2014 under Curriculum
Our Wednesday Evening Bible Class is 16 weeks into a series entitled “A Garden Wedding for His Son”.
Class members have recently asked for a “recording” of the class for catch up when they are unable to attend or for review.
The links below are to the presentations for the relevant week’s lesson beginning tonight December 3, 2014.
The link is to a Microsoft Office “Mix”. The standard “Mix” can be viewed in most web browsers.
If you are unable to view in a browser or need to download the lesson for offline viewing, you can follow the link to download a video.
If you have trouble or questions e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
December 3, 2014 – https://mix.office.com/watch/ba79xwdgmkdx “Creation and Law”
December 10, 2014 – https://mix.office.com/watch/ulazu6mmgdjt “Judgment and Rest”
December 17, 2014 – https://mix.office.com/watch/1jfkj9c4n0awv “Joshua, Final Judgment and Revelation”
December 24, 2014 – No Class
December 31, 2014 – No Class
January 7, 2015 – https://mix.office.com/watch/u0sseos1qihs “Covenant – Part 1”
Supplement to January 7 lesson: http://thechristians.com/?q=content/skit-guys-deliver-god%E2%80%99s-chisel-remastered
January 14,2015 – http://1drv.ms/14Y39Yi “Covenant – Part 2 – Genesis 12-22 Overview in PDF Only”
January 28, 2015 – https://mix.office.com/watch/70ranxdlyhzj Covenant – Abraham to Israel
February 4, 2015 – https://mix.office.com/watch/hl0be8n9gl6r – Covenant and Relationship to God
February 11, 2015 – https://mix.office.com/watch/1kzedkpaebujm – Covenant – Made in Love
February 18, 25 and March 18 – Michael Cole on the Song of Solomon
March 4, 2015 – No Class due to weather and Michael Cole out of town March 11 – will finish SofS March 18
March 11, 2015 – https://mix.office.com/watch/eiiugepqj18o – Broken Covenant – New Choices
PDF of Passage List on the word “atone” in Old and New Testaments – http://1drv.ms/1wY5DTk
March 18, 2015 – Michael Cole with last of 3 lessons on the Song of Solomon
March 25, 2015 – https://mix.office.com/watch/35dj7qmz4n52 – Covenant – Maintaining It (Atonement)
Please Note: Our class will take about a six month break from this series. In the interim, I will script and record the first 15 or so lessons of this series that preceded the lessons above. Hopefully, in the Fall we will continue on with this series with an ongoing look at God’s Loving and Creative Purposes through His Son as Bridegroom in search of a Bride made pure, holy and fit to be wed.
Posted by Chris on March 6, 2013 under Curriculum, Resources
1. Paul arrived in Corinth and founded the church, staying for a year and a half (Acts 18).
2. He then left for Syria and arrived in Ephesus (Acts 18). From there he wrote a letter that carried an exhortation not to associate with immoral persons in their midst (1 Corinthians 5:9-13).
3. The church misunderstood this as a plea for exclusivity (1 Corinthians 5:12).
4. After a visit by Chloe’s people and the reception of a letter from Corinth, Paul finds it necessary to address various questions (7:1). Foremost among these, are the continuing problem of sexual immorality (5:1-8) and division (1:10-11).
5. Timothy is sent with this letter (1 Corinthians 4:17; 16:10) and he is to remind them of Paul’s ethical teaching about Christ.
6. Paul intended on visiting Corinth (2 Cor 1:15), but word reached him that his letter (1 Cor) had troubled the church and they had become critical of Paul and his companions (1:17-22; 3:1; 4:5; 10:1; 10:8; 10:10; 12:16-19). Thus Paul decided that it was best to head to Macedonia via Troas instead of Corinth (2:12).
7. In Troas, Paul hoped to encounter Titus who would have the latest word on Corinth since he had been there recently to begin the collection (8:6). When Paul eventually encountered Titus in Macedonia, there was consoling news that the church had repented (7:9-13).
8. Paul now felt comfortable enough to prepare for a new visit (12:14). However, some were irritated that Paul did not keep his original plans (1:17-21). Thus Paul found it necessary to send along 2 Corinthians with Titus, whom he had urged to restart the collection (12:18).
9. The purpose of 2 Corinthians then was to give Paul’s apology for his missed visit and to warn the Corinthians that he would correct them if they had not handled their problems as they should have (12:21). So, they should put things in order, listen to Paul, and start living peaceably (13:11).
10. Whether Paul made his intended visit is ultimately unknown, but the force of 2 Corinthians suggests he did. Luke’s account in Acts 20:2 only says that Paul went to Greece, but it is possible that Corinth was among the visits that he made in Greece.
Posted by Chris on December 6, 2012 under Curriculum, Front Page Announcements, Resources, Sermons
VISIONS and DREAMS for the CHURCH
The seminar is over, but the learning continues. During the seminar we laughed and learned. We thank Patrick for sharing his time with us.
This seminar was a significant event in the story of West-Ark. The shared experience of these teachings will initiate conversations and spiritual growth throughout the New Year and beyond. Therefore, we want to make the recordings of the seminar available to those who could not attend. They are also available as a resource for review as we continue to unpack what the Bible lessons mean for us.
Click on the links below to access and audio recording of the session.
Saturday, Dec. 8, Session 1
Saturday, Dec. 8, Session 2
Sunday, Dec. 9, Session 3 (AM Class)
Sunday, Dec. 9, Session 4 (Sermon)
Sunday, Dec. 9, Session 5 (Q&A Session)
In addition to the recordings, many have asked for links to Patrick’s other teaching resources.
The Facebook group for attenders of the Seminar is at http://www.facebook.com/groups/WAvisiondreamsMead/
About Patrick Mead
Patrick serves as the senior minister for the Eastside Church of Christ in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Raised by missionaries and a former missionary himself, Patrick has a burden to reach the left out, forgotten, and broken who live invisible lives all around us. He has worked with minority people groups all over the world and has a special passion to those under fire or persecution.
Patrick earned his doctorates in England while researching the connection between psychology and immunology. In addition to two Ph.Ds, he holds a Masters in Counseling Psychology and several postdoctoral qualifications. He teaches special courses several times a year at The Ohio State University and other Midwestern Universities. He is also a frequent speaker to law enforcement and military groups. He is known for using his Celtic humor to make even the most complex subjects fun and understandable.
Patrick’s charitable work includes fighting human trafficking, providing support for halfway houses, and setting up counseling protocols for veterans with PTSD and law enforcement officers who have been involved in shootings. He also works with foster care agencies to provide clothing, toys, books and other comfort items to those who have been displaced.
Patrick has been married to the former Kami Taylor for 32 years. They have two children. Kara Graves (29) is married to a minister in the Nashville area and Duncan (23) is a former US Marine who works and worships in the Detroit area.
Posted by Jim-Wilson on May 20, 2012 under Curriculum, Resources
Note to Readers – these Job Class notes are a rough compilation of some of the material we cover in the class. In these blog posts it is not possible to retain all of the formatting and graphics that are present in the native files. Also, I will post the most recent lesson at the top of the blog. There is quite a bit of introductory material to follow the current week’s lesson. Also, at the end of the blog is a “Resources” page with links to outside sources and recommended reading materials – these will be added to as we go through the study.
As always, if you would like to have access to the full file in Adobe Acrobat format (i.e. a .pdf file) you may find it at my Dropbox:
(When you go to the above link, the file will open in your web browser but it will not be “functional” – that is, clicking on a relevant link in the Contents page will not allow you to “jump” to the relevant section. For full functionality of the .pdf file, download the file to your desktop and then open it in Acrobat Reader or similar .pdf reading software. The “Download” link for the .pdf will most likely be in the upper right of your browser window.)
What immediately follows is the posting for lesson 11. For the sake of space Lesson 11 is the only one posted here. If you are interested in all of the lessons (all those completed by me) then click on the Dropbox link above. Also, as of July 6, 2012 I have added Jerry Canfield’s summary of the Book of Job after Week 11 and before the Resources page. Jerry did in a wonderful fashion what I was not yet willing to do in summarizing and overviewing the Book of Job – please look at it. Hopefully, I’ve not lost anything in the conversion/editing process. As always, the downloaded .pdf opened in Adobe Acrobat will have the best formatting for viewing.
New Resource Posted in July, 2012. I have come across a wonderful summary of the Book of Job that most closely reflects my thinking about the book. It is the Chapter on the Book of Job from Dr. Bruce Waltke’s Old Testament Theology Book/Text. You may find a .pdf of that chapter at the link below:
Week 11 – Our Epilogue: On Understanding – or not!
And now, it is the time of “Our Epilogue: On Understanding – or not!” It is not my intention here to summarize, rehash, overview or draw conclusions (though each of us will be doing that in our own minds to some extent). It is time to ponder. It is time for reflection. It is time to consider what we know and don’t know as a result of this very superficial look at the Book of Job.
But, first, my “confession” before my reflection. I am definitely not “comfortable” with my understanding of the Book of Job. There are still large areas of question for me. Some people’s confidence about their conclusions and lessons learned from the Book of Job definitely exceed my level of confidence. I have been seriously humbled by this effort to “study” the Book of Job. I have to conclude that in the past 3 months I have not really “studied” the Book of Job. I have read it, read about it, thought about it, and written about it but I have not “studied” it to the degree I feel necessary to impart to others any confidently profound conclusions (and perhaps I never will). So, I “confess” that I bit off more than I could chew in the time we’ve allotted to this look at the Book of Job.
By “Our Epilogue”, I intend to suggest that there really should be some “take home” material for us in our lives as a result of our study. These “take home” points as suggested by me need to be cautiously considered and not blindly accepted. “Our Epilogue” is really only meaningful to the extent that we have developed some sense (perhaps not full understanding) of the purposes behind the Book of Job being placed in the canon of Scripture by God. I do not feel I have a complete understanding of all of God’s purposes (from the Book of Job) for me/us.
Let me, though, make some general observations based on our look at the Book of Job and the “Epilogue” God provided in Job 42. What follows will not be in “exegetical” order from a study of Job 42. These are overall impressions of what I think I should be considering for myself (you may think differently and that’s OK).
First of all for me, I am profoundly humbled by the life and character of the man Job – for indeed he was a man. I do not believe he was a “made up” man. I’m convinced he was all so very real and to me, almost unbelievably awesome in his character. He was a man God bragged about! It is profound to me to see a “pre-cross” man with such a wholesome, loving, compassionate and giving character. I am humbled to a very great degree to look at all the ways I’ve been blessed and yet fall short of such accomplishments of character. This is probably the biggest “take home” for me. The character of Job that made God proud to the point of bragging is attainable – I need to pursue that (let’s not here confuse the issue with redemption, sanctification, faithfulness and all the post cross things we’re so wont to fall back on).
This remarkable character of Job was obviously established in Job’s profound acceptance of God and Who He Is. Job lived in the patriarchal period. He did not have the benefit of the recorded word in the entirety that we enjoy and likely not in any fashion. He did not have the recorded lessons of “men of faith” as we have. But, he had a rock solid faith – not only in God but in who he himself was before God. Would I be so bold and confident of my past to challenge God to trial! – Most certainly not. My only fall back is to the cross – a fall back that I am so much more appreciative of after reflecting on Job – “The man God bragged about”.
I really love the way Buttenweiser said what I’m trying to say (Buttenwieser, M. (1922). The Book of Job (39–40). New York: Macmillan Co.)
Step by step the conflict in Job’s soul is revealed to us. We see him bewildered at God’s inexplicable harshness, weighed down by his appalling afflictions, goaded beyond endurance by the coldness and suspicion of his friends, those one-time chosen friends of his spirit of whose understanding and sympathy he had felt confident. We see him passionately repudiating the suspicion cast on his integrity by the undeserved calamities with which God has visited him, proclaiming his innocence again and yet again, and asserting that it is God’s treatment of him which requires explanation, not his own thoughts or conduct—these are open and above reproach. We see him searching, reasoning, wrestling, until it comes to him that in spite of all appearances he is not really cut off from his God. We see him thus through the sheer force of his own moral sense rising to a larger conception of God and of His rule of the world, and as the intolerance of the friends becomes more fanatic, and their distrust and disaffection more pronounced, finding ever greater comfort in the reflection that in spite of his afflictions God is on his side, and in the conviction that grows on him that He will one day vindicate him before his fellowmen. We see him, finally, transported by this assurance, rising above his fate and humbly rejoicing in the knowledge of his oneness with God. His trials are still with him, but what are physical suffering and material losses to him who has surrendered himself to the unfathomable wisdom of an infinite God?
This unfolding of the processes going on in the mind of Job constitutes the sole action of the drama. The dramatic incidents narrated in the Prologue, the plot laid in Heaven and its execution on earth, are but the means employed to set the real drama in motion and to illuminate its general purpose, which might otherwise be dark. (A similar dramatic expedient is God’s revelation amidst the storm in the concluding act.) By the altercation between God and the Satan the purpose and tendency are at once disclosed. God in vouching for the steadfastness of Job defends, in effect, the proposition that there is such a thing as disinterested piety in man, such a thing as real, unselfish love for the good—with the corollary that once the love for the good is firmly implanted in the human heart, no power in heaven or on earth can avail to uproot it. The Satan for his part scoffs at the idea of disinterested piety, or any real nobility of soul in man, and claims that material considerations, the hope of reward and the fear of punishment are the sole motive power back of human virtue.
I thrill to consider approaching the kind of character Buttenweiser describes above. It is attainable! It is lovely to consider living a life that could lead to being “The man God bragged about” (again, let’s leave post cross issues out of the discussion at this point).
As thrilling as it is to consider Job’s character and indomitable faith as well as the beauty and inspiration of all that Job accomplished, there is some real darkness in the Book of Job. In saying that, most of us will likely turn to thinking of the problem of suffering and the action of “The Satan” behind the scenes. But, to me, there is an even “scarier” darkness to consider. That is the issue of Job’s friends whose thoughts, actions and words so devastatingly hurt Job and angered God Himself. Perhaps the “Problem of Suffering” is not the “main point” of the Book of Job. Perhaps a more important “main point” is the lack of empathy engendered in Job’s friends when their religious understandings and biases drove them to attack Job. Oh, that we could see ourselves in the story. Where would I be? Which character would I be in the story? How do my understandings of God and my character and empathy equip me to function in the environment that Job and his friends found themselves in? Would the failure of Job’s “friends” be my failure? Would I be the “Job” in the story? – “The man God bragged about”. The degree to which there is this other “darkness” in the Book of Job is the degree to which I’m at risk of being in the place of Job’s friends.
It is this risk of being Eliphaz, Bildad or Zophar that should strike some fear in us. It is not the pain of the suffering that Job endured that should scare us (granted there is some lingering dread of being a fellow sufferer with Job (or Christ) that festers within each of us). Jesus was clear in Matthew 10 – “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Are we convinced that Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar were at risk of eternal judgment because of their “defense” of God in view of their conviction that Job was a liar and reprobate? If not convinced, we sure need to be careful – why was it they needed Job to pray for them and to themselves offer sacrifice. Why was God “angry” with them? Reading what they had to say sounds like how I might have approached the situation – that’s scary!
Here’s what Mike Mason had to say (The Gospel According to Job: An Honest Look at Pain and Doubt from the Life of One Who Lost Everything (pp. 433-434). Kindle Edition). :
The fact that Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, after all they have said against job, should now do a complete about-face and come to him virtually on bended knee, bringing not only apologies but ritual sacrifices and humbly begging him to intercede for them with his God-is this not astounding? This could only be the work of an unusual outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Ironically, Eliphaz himself had prophesied this very turn of events back in 22:29-30, when he told Job that if he repented, “When men are brought low and you say, `Lift them up,’ then God will save the downcast. He will deliver even one who is not innocent, who will be saved through the cleanness of your hands.” Little did Eliphaz realize how exactly his words were to be fulfilled! Adding to the wonder of this occasion is the fact that as yet there has been not one iota of change in Job’s outward circumstances. For it was only “after Job had prayed for his friends” that “the Lord made him prosperous again” (42:10). The prayer that moves mountains does not happen in the midst of prosperity. For all we know, at the point when Job’s friends brought him sacrifices his body was still covered with boils and he was still sitting on his ash heap swatting flies. What a comeuppance it must have been for these three proud pillars of society to have to pay homage to a man in this condition.
But just so is the time approaching when the whole world will have to bow before a crucified Savior. Reading the Epilogue of Job, we are reminded of these words of Isaiah: Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. (53:4-5)
I do not want God to see me as He saw Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar. To avoid that end, we must be incredibly humble and cautious when looking at the lives of others and offering proscriptions we represent as being from God. God, please help us all with this.
What moved Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar to stumble into their diatribes against Job? It was their conviction that they “knew” the heart of Job as well as the heart of God. That’s a fearful place for us to go. See where it led these fellows. They totally lost all empathy for Job and his plight based on a false, firmly held, religious conviction.
It is this issue of feeling empathy that appears to me to be another very important point in the Book of Job. This is the empathy that keeps us stable and close to the heart of God. It is the empathy that keeps us involved in the good things that bring blessings to others and completeness to our own lives. It is the empathy that truly keeps us “human” (in the “made in the image of God” sense). Those things in our lives that lead to loss of empathy are to be avoided at all cost. They will drive us away from God and His purposes. They will lead us to places of dark conduct that we might never have imagined possible for us.
As an interesting aside in this regard let me share with you an interesting experience Deborah and I had on our recent trip together. Prior to the trip Deborah had selected a number of books to read and I had downloaded 4 movies to watch on our iPad while we were away. We didn’t know what the other had selected. One evening as Deborah finished reading one of her books I suggested to her we watch one of the movies I had downloaded, “Attack on Leningrad”. Amazingly she at that moment had just finished reading Hannah Kristin’s “Winter Garden” which was also about the siege of Leningrad by the Germans in WWII. It was written from the perspective of the women in Leningrad for indeed there were few men in the city for those 828 days of siege. We were both amazed at the timing of the circumstances and we watched the movie together. It was produced in Russia (an amazing occurrence in and of itself considering the preceding silence in Russia concerning the events of the siege of Leningrad). The movie was also shown from the perspective of a grouping of women in Leningrad.
Those interesting circumstances for Deborah and me aside, I want to share with you some comments that the author of Winter Garden made in her “Epilogue”. These comments fit well with an important point to consider for us and our understanding of the need for “empathy”.
In writing Winter Garden, it was my goal to take this epic, tragic event and personalize it as much as possible. I wanted to give you all this story of survival and loss, horror and heartache in a way that would allow you to experience it with some measure of emotion. I am not a historian, nor a nonfiction writer. In writing Winter Garden, it was my goal to take this epic, tragic event and personalize it as much as possible. I wanted to give you all this story of survival and loss, horror and heartache in a way that would allow you to experience it with some measure of emotion. I am not a historian, nor a nonfiction writer. My hope is that you leave this novel informed, but not merely with the facts and figures; rather, I want you to be able to actually imagine it, to ask yourself how you would have fared in such terrible times.
Hannah, Kristin (2010-01-28). Winter Garden (p. 394). Macmillan. Kindle Edition.
The author’s comments regarding her Novel “Winter Garden” are the thoughts I want to leave you with as we conclude our superficial look at the Book of Job. That is – “My hope is that you leave this novel (class for us) informed, but not merely with the facts and figures; rather, I want you to be able to actually imagine it, to ask yourself how you would have fared in such terrible times.”
Jerry Canfield’s Job Summary
Job Summary Comments
- We are blessed to live on this side of the cross. God now sheds light on, though not fully answering, the perplexing questions presented by the existence of evil in the world by the revelation of His purpose and grace in the salvation of man by abolishing death and bringing life and immortality to light by the gospel of Jesus Christ. II Timothy 1: 7-12. Satan contends Job and the rest of us are not worthy of God’s purpose and plan for us — contending we love and trust God only for what we can get from Him. God cannot fully explain to Job or to us why evil is happening; otherwise, Satan’s challenge of God for creating and loving man cannot be fully responded to or proven wrong. May we humble ourselves to the sovereignty of God and acknowledge Him as supreme, as creator, and worthy of our trust regardless.
- An additional look at creation. In some respect, Job presents another, different look at the creation of man. Job lives in a Garden of Eden with perfect peace, wealth, family and purpose. Yet Job is taken from the garden. God, Satan, man and the earth are common participants in this garden scene just as in Genesis. Both Genesis and Job acknowledge the principal truth that God is the creator. But they look at that fact from different perspectives. Genesis reports man acting with God and the curses resulting from man’s sin — those curses eventually being nailed to Jesus’ cross thus making possible a heaven with no curse. Galations 3:13; Revelation 22:3. Job looks at the same fact of creation from one perspective of God’s action with man — why is man’s existence in the world influenced by real evil? Man’s exercising his freedom of choice may explain evil caused by sin or inflicted to build character, but why do the innocent suffer evil which, more often than not, destroys character?
Job introduces us to true ra-a (Hebrew word for evil). Our word study reminded us of the evil which comes as punishment for sin (whether of those who receive the evil or of their predecessors) (Deut. 32:21-26; Amos 9:14), and with evil which is discipline to improve the character of man (Josh. 24:20; Prov. 17:3; Psa. 66:10; I Peter 1:7), and evil sent to fulfill the purposes of God (Gen. 50:20). But Job deals with evil of a different type — evil that exists and is not explained — Eccl. 9:12. For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them.
Is God the creator of this true evil? Consider Isaiah 45:7. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil (ra-a): I the Lord do all these things. Is Isaiah considering God’s judgment on sin, His discipline or action to carry out His purposes? Or, is Isaiah talking of true ra-a? Whatever is intended by Isaiah, we know that God is the creator of this world and, thus, responsible for a world in which true ra-a exists. But is any other kind of world possible if man (and other created beings) are to have free choice? But can God fully explain evil and a world of free choice continue to exist?
We should not forget that Job is restored to his Garden of Eden. Job 42:10-17, Being on this side of the cross, we have revealed to us the purpose of God. We should not forget that God, who cannot lie, tells us: There is no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able: but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it. I Cor. 10:13.
Footnote re: Satan.
- Satan challenges God’s judgment that Job is righteous. Job 1:8-11. Satan says that if God removes God’s protection of Job, Job will curse God to his face. Satan says Job, and all of us, are selfish and our belief, love and trust of God are based on what God does for us. Take it away, Satan says, and Job will sin. God disagrees and accepts Satan’s challenge.
- Implicit in the challenge is an assertion that God has lost his authority to judge. If God is wrong about Job, then God’s judgment is not perfect (Romans 2:2) and He should step down from being judge (Satan does not challenge God’s initial authority to judge because God is the creator). Satan is quite willing to step into God’s role of judge.
- Also implicit in the challenge is Satan’s assertion that God was wrong to make man. Satan would have this world and all of us destroyed as a failed experiment.
As a part of the heavenly host, Satan has access to God to bring the challenge. He apparently has free choice. When God persists in His plan and purpose of redeeming man so man can spend an eternity with God, Satan, together with other angels, exercise free choice and rebel against God. Revelation 12:7-12. Being on this side of the cross, we understand Satan no longer has access to God to accuse man of sin and to challenge God’s purpose and plan for each of us. Rev. 12:10; Luke 10:18.
God knows his created man (represented by Job) will be righteous (Job is declared to be righteous and God has a plan by which each of us can be imputed with the righteousness of God himself) and that God’s creation can and will trust God selflessly in spite of true evil. The trial of Job confirms the defeat of Satan and the sovereignty of God. And we, like Job, are sent into the world to demonstrate agape love.
III. Job asks why, why, why. Job 3:11-12, 16, 20, 23. Job trusts that God has a purpose in allowing the evil to come to Job, but he cannot understand why God has hidden the purpose and not revealed it to his servant Job. Job 10:13. We also ask why God, all powerful and all good, allows evil to exist.
In reading Job, we must accept as true the signposts that (1) Job is innocent (Job 1:1; 2:3) and (2) Job speaks correctly in defending himself and protesting to God (putting God on trial) (Job. 42:7, 9). Footnote — don’t be concerned with Romans 3:23. Job’s innocence with reference to the evil that happens to him does not speak to and is not relevant here to the universal nature of sin. See, also Luke 1:6 (Zacharias and Elisabeth).
IV. Do Job’s friends have an answer or can their discussion lead Job to an answer? No — all the talk about God does not provide an answer. If you are like me, the long winded discussion simply “wears me out.” The three cycles of speeches constitute a whirlwind of righteous indignation. Bildad describes Job’s speeches as a “great wind.” Job 8:2. Eliphaz describes them as “windy knowledge.” Job. 15:2. Job describes the speeches of all his friends as “windy words.” Job 16:3. They go round and round the issue of evil in the world. They wear each other out. The only peace to be had is at the center of the whirlwind — the peace that only the answer of God can give. Not surprisingly, when God appears to answer, he appears in a whirlwind. Job 38:1.
God may have an answer, but God isn’t speaking. How can Job get God to answer?
V. Possible avenues.
- Perhaps a mediator can help settle the dispute. Job 8-9. But there is no “daysman betwixt us” that might compel an answer. Job 9:33.
- Perhaps Job could speak to God and reason with him (Job 13:3) even if the result is that God would kill him. (Job 13:15) But God does not appear.
VI. Job is bitter and wants to argue with God. Job 23:3-4. Job is convinced he is innocent and would come out of the discussion “as gold.” Job 23:10. With no other option, Job decides to put God on trial through a judicial procedure existing in many cultures including the Hebrew under the Law of Moses. Job asserts an Oath of Innocence which requires a response by God, failing which a default judgment can be issued proving Job’s assertions. See I Kings 8:31-32; II Chronicles 6:22-23. God is the source of judgment and any cause too hard for God’s leaders should be brought to God who will hear it. Deut. 1:17.
Job asserts he is innocent, that God is the source of the evil that has befallen Job (Job 27:2), and that God should appear and explain the reason (Job 31:35), which Job assumes God has. Job’s Oath of Innocence is stated in Job 38. The following summary of the Oath of Innocence is from Robert Sutherland’s Putting God on Trial: The Biblical Book of Job – A literary, legal and philosophical study.
Job is putting his temporal and eternal life on the line. Job has already indicated he would suffer the “unrelenting pain” of a hell to get that answer. (Job 6:10) And now he is preparing to condemn or damn God to such a metaphorical hell should he not get his answer,
- “If I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I look upon a virgin? What would be my portion from God above, and my heritage from the Almighty on high? Does not calamity befall the unrighteous, and disaster the workers of iniquity? Does he not see my ways, and number all my steps? (Job 31;1-4)
- ”If I have walked with falsehood, and my foot has hurried to deceit– let me be weighed in a just balance, and let God know my integrity!— (Job 31:5-6)
- “If my step has turned aside from the way, and my heart has followed my eyes, and if any spot has clung to my hands; then let me sow, and another eat; and let what grows for me be rooted out. (Job 31:7-8)
- “If my heart has been enticed by a woman, and I have lain in wait at my neighbor’s door; then let my wife grind for another, and let other men kneel over her. For that would be a heinous crime; that would be a criminal offense; for that would be a fire consuming down to Abaddon, and it would burn to the root all my harvest. (Job 31:9-12)
- ”If I have rejected the cause of my male or female slaves, when they brought a complaint against me; what then shall 1 do when God rises up? When he makes inquiry, what shall I answer him? Did not he who made me in the womb make them? And did not one fashion us in the womb?” (Job 31:13-15)
- “If l have withheld anything that the poor desired, or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail, or have eaten my morsel alone, and the orphan has not eaten from it– for from my youth I reared the orphan like a father, and from my mother’s womb I guided the widow—(Job 31:16-18)
- “If I have seen anyone perish for lack of clothing, or a poor person without covering, whose loins have not blessed me, and who was not warmed with the fleece of my sheep; (Job 31:21:19-20)
- “If I have raised my hand against the orphan, because I saw I had supporters at the gate; then let my shoulder blade fall from my shoulder, and let my arm be broken from its socket. For I was in terror of calamity from God, and I could not have faced his majesty. (Job 31:21-23)
- ”If I have made gold my trust, or called fine gold my confidence; (Job 31:24)
- “If I have rejoiced because my wealth was great, or because my hand had gotten much; (Job 31:25)
- “If I have looked at the sun when it shone, or the moon moving in splendor, and my heart has been secretly enticed, and my mouth has kissed my hand; this also would be an iniquity to be punished by the judges, for 1 should have been false to God above.” (Job 31:26-28)
- “If I have rejoiced at the ruin of those who hated me, or exulted when evil overtook them– I have not let my mouth sin by asking for their lives with a curse—(Job 31:29-30)
- “If those of my tent ever said, ‘0 that we might be sated with his flesh!’– the stranger has not lodged in the street; 1 have opened my doors to the traveler—(Job 31:31-32)
- “If I have concealed my transgressions as others do, by hiding my iniquity in my bosom, because I stood in great fear of the multitude, and the contempt of families terrified me, so that I kept silence, and did not go out of doors—(Job 31:33-34)
- “If my land has cried out against me, and its furrows have wept together; (Job 31:38)
- “If I have eaten its yield without payment, and caused the death of its owners; let thorns grow instead of wheat, and foul weeds instead of barley.” (Job 31:39-40 Italics and paragraphing added for emphasis.)
A number of items here merit comment. The standard of social justice Job claims to have met is centuries, perhaps even millennia, ahead of its time. All human beings are created equal by God. Every person, regardless of rank or wealth, is entitled to the equal benefit and protection of the law. (Job 31:13-15) The standard of personal righteousness Job claims to have met is very high. The sins denied are not merely deeds, but words and thoughts. This standard greatly exceeds the traditionally accepted Old Testament norm of morality.
In the judicial proceeding, God has been put on trial and is, of course, the defendant/accused. Job intends to call witnesses if God appears to answer. Interestingly, God is the true witness Job intends to call. Job. 16:18-22. Moreover, Job has an advocate vindicator, a redeemer, who will prosecute Job’s claim against God. Of course, God himself is Job’s advocate and redeemer. Job 19:25. And Job knows that God himself is the true judge. Interesting trial !!
- Amazingly, after all the talk about God, God does respond to the summons and appears so that Job has the opportunity to talk with God.
First, God asks Job to consider the fact that God is the creator. In rehearsing the creation of the physical world, God presents seven (perfect) courses of creation bringing order from chaos. Job 38-40:1. But Job and even Job’s friends acknowledged as much. Job is humble (Job 40:2-5), but the complaint of Job still has not been answered. God then describes the mythical world of the behemoth and the leviathan, a fire breathing dragon, who God asserts God can hook and capture whenever God intends. Job 40-41. The strong implication is that true ra-a, personified by the mythical beasts (as the great red dragon of Revelation 12), is subject to capture and control by God. God never broaches the topic of “selfless love.” Job is humble and acknowledges that God can do every thing. Job 42:2-6.
Why doesn’t God explain the prologue (Job 1-2) and advise Job of Satan’s contention that Job only trusts God because of what God does for Job? God cannot explain without giving Job a selfish reason for loving God. God has appeared and defended against the complaint of Job, but God closes his defense having hinted that God has an answer to Job’s question of “why” but without having ever presenting it. God closes by asking Job and all of us a single question (Job 42:8): will you condemn God that you might be justified? Job seems to understand. Even though he has not received a direct answer for his suffering, he is willing to give God more time (final judgment) to explain. Until then, Job kneels in worship and patiently endures until that day when God will answer further and demonstrate to us that he is both all good and all powerful and will then destroy evil. Revelation 20:10.
- Conclusion. Habakkuk 3:16-18. If God’s blessings and protection disappear, will you still, with worship, acknowledge He is sovereign God and trust Him to “get it right?”
I learned or, at least, became willing to acknowledge:
- God may be the cause of true evil — at least, He created this world in which it exists;
- He may not be morally wrong for doing so and may reveal the reason in full as he implies to Job;
- Job was right to challenge God about this issue — God said Job spoke correctly. We too must consider this issue in order to mature and be able to give an answer for the hope within us; and,
- We will not fully know the answer until judgment. Until then we must serve as God’s priests to show repentance and salvation to others. Job 42:7-9; I Peter 2:9; II Cor. 5:20.
IX. God has empathy for man, even in the midst of true ra-a.
Israel in Egypt; Gen. 45:7; 50:20; stories from Daniel; Dan. 3:15-25; 4:20-23; Ester 4:14; the marking of God’s people – Ezekiel 9:4 and Revelation 7:3; I Cor. 10:13; Revelation 1; Psalms 23
Posted by Chris on May 14, 2012 under Curriculum, Resources
ANCIENT NON-CHRISTIAN SOURCES
Cornelius Tacitus (55-120 AD), “the greatest historian” of ancient Rome:
“Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired. Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle, and was exhibiting a show in the circus, while he mingled with the people in the dress of a charioteer or stood aloft on a car. Hence, even for criminals who deserved extreme and exemplary punishment, there arose a feeling of compassion; for it was not, as it seemed, for the public good, but to glut one man’s cruelty, that they were being destroyed.”
Gaius Suetonius Tranquillas, chief secretary of Emperor Hadrian (117-138 AD):
“Because the Jews of Rome caused continous disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, [Claudius] expelled them from the city.”
“After the great fire at Rome [during Nero’s reign] … Punishments were also inflicted on the Christians, a sect professing a new and mischievous religious belief.”
Flavius Josephus (37-97 AD), court historian for Emperor Vespasian:
“At this time there was a wise man who was called Jesus. And his conduct was good and he was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. And those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion and that he was alive; accordingly, he was perhaps the messiah concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders.” (Arabic translation)
Julius Africanus, writing around 221 AD, found a reference in the writings of Thallus, who wrote a history of the Eastern Mediterranean around 52 AD, which dealt with the darkness that covered the land during Jesus’ crucifixion:
“Thallus, in the third book of his histories, explains away the darkness as an eclipse of the sun–unreasonably, as it seems to me.” [A solar eclipse could not take place during a full moon, as was the case during Passover season.]
Pliny the Younger, Roman governor of Bithynia in Asia Minor around 112 AD:
“[The Christians] were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verses a hymn to Christ, as to a god, and bound themselves by a solemn oath, not to any wicked deeds, but never to commit any fraud, theft or adultery, never to falsify their word, nor deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up; after which it was their custom to separate, and then reassemble to partake of food–but food of an ordinary and innocent kind.” Pliny added that Christianity attracted persons of all societal ranks, all ages, both sexes, and from both the city and the country. Late in his letter to Emperor Trajan, Pliny refers to the teachings of Jesus and his followers as excessive and contagious superstition.
Emperor Trajan, in reply to Pliny:
“The method you have pursued, my dear Pliny, in sifting the cases of those denounced to you as Christians is extremely proper. It is not possible to lay down any general rule which can be applied as the fixed standard in all cases of this nature. No search should be made for these people; when they are denounced and found guilty they must be punished; with the restriction, however, that when the party denies himself to be a Christian, and shall give proof that he is not (that is, by adoring our gods) he shall be pardoned on the ground of repentance, even though he may have formerly incurred suspicion. Informations without the accuser’s name subscribed must not be admitted in evidence against anyone, as it is introducing a very dangerous precedent, and by no means agreeable to the spirit of the age.”
Emporer Hadrian (117-138 AD), in a letter to Minucius Fundanus, the Asian proconsul:
“I do not wish, therefore, that the matter should be passed by without examination, so that these men may neither be harassed, nor opportunity of malicious proceedings be offered to informers. If, therefore, the provincials can clearly evince their charges against the Christians, so as to answer before the tribunal, let them pursue this course only, but not by mere petitions, and mere outcries against the Christians. For it is far more proper, if anyone would bring an accusation, that you should examine it.” Hadrian further explained that if Christians were found guilty they should be judged “according to the heinousness of the crime.” If the accusers were only slandering the believers, then those who inaccurately made the charges were to be punished.
The Jewish Talmud, compiled between 70 and 200 AD:
“On the eve of the Passover Yeshu was hanged. For forty days before the execution took place, a herald went forth and cried, ‘He is going forth to be stoned because he has practised sorcery and enticed Israel to apostacy. Anyone who can say anything in his favour, let him come forward and plead on his behalf.’ But since nothing was brought forward in his favour he was hanged on the eve of the Passover.”
[Another early reference in the Talmud speaks of five of Jesus’ disciples and recounts their standing before judges who make individual decisions about each one, deciding that they should be executed. However, no actual deaths are recorded.]
Lucian, a second century Greek satirist:
“The Christians, you know, worship a man to this day–the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account. … You see, these misguided creatures start with the general conviction that they are immortal for all time, which explains the contempt of death and voluntary self-devotion which are so common among them; and then it was impressed on them by their original lawgiver that they are all brothers, from the moment that they are converted, and deny the gods of Greece, and worship the crucified sage, and live after his laws. All this they take quite on faith, with the result that they despise all worldly goods alike, regarding them merely as common property.” Lucian also reported that the Christians had “sacred writings” which were frequently read. When something affected them, “they spare no trouble, no expense.”
Mara Bar-Serapion, of Syria, writing between 70 and 200 AD from prison to motivate his son to emulate wise teachers of the past:
“What advantage did the Athenians gain from putting Socrates to death? Famine and plague came upon them as a judgment for their crime. What advantage did the men of Samos gain from burying Pythagoras? In a moment their land was covered with sand. What advantage did the Jews gain from executing their wise king? It was just after that that their kingdom was abolished. God justly avenged these three wise men: the Athenians died of hunger; the Samians were overwhelmed by the sea; the Jews, ruined and driven from their land, live in complete dispersion. But Socrates did not die for good; he lived on in the teaching of Plato. Pythagoras did not die for good; he lived on in the statue of Hera. Nor did the wise king die for good; he lived on in the teaching which he had given.”
The Gospel of Truth, probably by Valentius, around 135-160 AD:
“For when they had seen him and had heard him, he granted them to taste him and to smell him and to touch the beloved Son. When he had appeared instructing them about the Father. … For he came by means of fleshly appearance.” Other passages affirm that the Son of God came in the flesh and “the Word came into the midst. … it became a body.”
“Jesus, was patient in accepting sufferings. . . since he knows that his death is life for many. . . . he was nailed to a tree; he published the edict of the Father on the cross. … He draws himself down to death through life. … eternal clothes him. Having stripped himself of the perishable rags, he put on imperishability, which no one can possibly take away from him.”
The Aprocryphon of John, probably by Saturninus, around 120-130 AD:
“It happened one day when John, the brother of James,–who are the sons of Zebedee–went up and came to the temple, that a Pharisee named Arimanius approached him and said to him, `Where is your master whom you followed?’ And he said to him, ‘He has gone to the place from which he came.’ The Pharisee said to him, ‘This Nazarene deceived you with deception and filled your ears with lies and closed your hearts and turned you from the traditions of your fathers.'”
The Gospel of Thomas, probably from 140-200 AD:
Contain many references to and alleged quotations of Jesus.
The Treatise On Resurrection, by uncertain author of the late second century, to Rheginos:
“The Lord … existed in flesh and … revealed himself as Son of God … Now the Son of God, Rheginos, was Son of Man. He embraced them both, possessing the humanity and the divinity, so that on the one hand he might vanquish death through his being Son of God, and that on the other through the Son of Man the restoration to the Pleroma might occur; because he was originally from above, a seed of the Truth, before this structure of the cosmos had come into being.”
“For we have known the Son of Man, and we have believed that he rose from among the dead. This is he of whom we say, ‘He became the destruction of death, as he is a great one in whom they believe.’ Great are those who believe.”
“The Savior swallowed up death. … He transformed himself into an imperishable Aeon and raised himself up, having swallowed the visible by the invisible, and he gave us the way of our immortality.”
“Do not think the resurrection is an illusion. It is no illusion, but it is truth. Indeed, it is more fitting to say that the world is an illusion, rather than the resurrection which has come into being through our Lord the Savior, Jesus Christ.”
“. . . already you have the resurrection … why not consider yourself as risen and already brought to this?” Rheginos was thus encouraged not to “continue as if you are to die.”
LOST WORKS QUOTED IN OTHER SOURCES
Acts of Pontius Pilate, reports sent from Pilate to Tiberius, referred to by Justin Martyr (150 AD):
“And the expression, ‘They pierced my hands and my feet,’ was used in reference to the nails of the cross which were fixed in His hands and feet. And after he was crucified, they cast lots upon His vesture, and they that crucified Him parted it among them. And that these things did happen you can ascertain the ‘Acts’ of Pontius Pilate.” Later Justin lists several healing miracles and asserts, “And that He did those things, you can learn from the Acts of Pontius Pilate.”
Phlegon, born about 80 AD, as reported by Origen (185-254 AD), mentioned that Jesus made certain predictions which had been fulfilled.
ANCIENT CHRISTIAN SOURCES
Clement, elder of Rome, letter to the Corinthian church (95 AD):
“The Apostles received the Gospel for us from the Lord Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ was sent forth from God. So then Christ is from God, and the Apostles are from Christ. Both therefore came of the will of God in the appointed order. Having therefore received a charge, and having been fully assured through the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and confirmed in the word of God with full assurance of the Holy Ghost, they went forth with the glad tidings that the kingdom of God should come. So preaching everywhere in country and town, they appointed their firstfruits, when they had proved them by the Spirit, to be bishops and deacons unto them that should believe.”
Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, letter to the Trallians (110-115 AD):
“Jesus Christ who was of the race of David, who was the Son of Mary, who was truly born and ate and drank, was truly persecuted under Pontius Pilate, was truly crucified and died in the sight of those in heaven and on earth and those under the earth; who moreover was truly raised from the dead, His Father having raised Him, who in the like fashion will so raise us also who believe on Him.”
Ignatius, letter to the Smyrneans (110-115 AD):
“He is truly of the race of David according to the flesh, but Son of God by the Divine will and power, truly born of a virgin and baptised by John that all righteousness might be fulfilled by Him, truly nailed up in the flesh for our sakes under Pontius Pilate and Herod the tetrarch (of which fruit are we–that is, of his most blessed passion); that He might set up an ensign unto all ages through His resurrection.”
“For I know and believe that He was in the flesh even after the resurrection; and when He came to Peter and his company, He said to them, ‘Lay hold and handle me, and see that I am not a demon without body.’ And straightway they touched him, and they believed, being joined unto His flesh and His blood. Wherefore also they despised death, nay they were found superior to death. And after His resurrection He ate with them and drank with them.”
Ignatius, letter to the Magnesians (110-115 AD):
“Be ye fully persuaded concerning the birth and the passion and the resurrection, which took place in the time of the governorship of Pontius Pilate; for these things were truly and certainly done by Jesus Christ our hope.”
Quadratus, to Emperor Hadrian about 125 AD:
“The deeds of our Saviour were always before you, for they were true miracles; those that were healed, those that were raised from the dead, who were seen, not only when healed and when raised, but were always present. They remained living a long time, not only whilst our Lord was on earth, but likewise when He had left the earth. So that some of them have also lived to our own times.”
(Pseudo-)Barnabas, written 130-138 AD:
“He must needs be manifested in the flesh. … He preached teaching Israel and performing so many wonders and miracles, and He loved them exceedingly. … He chose His own apostles who were to proclaim His Gospel. … But He Himself desired so to suffer; for it was necessary for Him to suffer on a tree.”
Justin Martyr, to Emperor Antoninus Pius about 150 AD:
After referring to Jesus’ birth of a virgin in the town of Bethlehem, and that His physical line of descent came through the tribe of Judah and the family of Jesse, Justin wrote, “Now there is a village in the land of the Jews, thirty-five stadia from Jerusalem, in which Jesus Christ was born, as you can ascertain also from the registers of the taxing made under Cyrenius, your first procurator in Judea.”
“Accordingly, after He was crucified, even all His acquaintances forsook Him, having denied Him; and afterwards, when He had risen from the dead and appeared to them, and had taught them to read the prophecies in which all these things were foretold as coming to pass, and when they had seen Him ascending into heaven, and had believed, and had received power sent thence by Him upon them, and went to every race of men, they taught these things, and were called apostles.”
Justin Martyr, in Dialogue with Trypho, around 150 AD:
“For at the time of His birth, Magi who came from Arabia worshipped Him, coming first to Herod, who then was sovereign in your land.”
“For when they crucified Him, driving in the nails, they pierced His hands and feet; and those who crucified Him parted His garments among themselves, each casting lots for what he chose to have, and receiving according to the decision of the lot.”
“Christ said amongst you that He would give the sign of Jonah, exhorting you to repent of your wicked deeds at least after He rose again from the dead … yet you not only have not repented, after you learned that He rose from the dead, but, as I said before, you have sent chosen and ordained men throughout all the world to proclaim that ‘a godless and lawless heresy had sprung from one Jesus, a Galilean deceiver, whom we crucified, but His disciples stole Him by night from the tomb, where He was laid when unfastened from the cross, and now deceive men by asserting that He has risen from the dead and ascended to heaven.'”
“For indeed the Lord remained upon the tree almost until evening, and they buried Him at eventide; then on the third day He rose again.”
For more details of the historical and scientific evidence for the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ:
Habermas, Gary R. Ancient Evidence for the Life of Jesus. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1984.
Read related: “The Historical Christ–Fact or Fiction?” by Apologetics Press