Lesson 7, Job’s Need For a Mediator–Book of Job


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So far in the Book of Job, we have learned that God ordains the existence of evil and regulates it with the use of hedges. When the hedges around Job are removed, Satan creates so much calamity that it leads Job’s friends to believe that he committed evil. In the meantime, Job is tempted to curse God, which thankfully he refuses to do even though he questions God’s justice.

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We have been making the case that “the endurance of Job” that James speaks of refers to his faithfulness in trial. Throughout Job’s responses we see something that looks like a glimmer of hope. At times, the sparks of faith burst into a fire.


Job’s faith in Christ is not explicit. Rather, he has a vague notion of there being a mediator between him and God. As well will find out later, this mediator also IS God, which reflects upon the fact that Job was not a unitarian.


The first mention of the mediator is in Job 9. Ironically, the translators of the NASB name the chapter, “Job says there is no mediator between God and man.” This comes from Job 9:32-33 where he says:


“For He is not a man as I am that I may answer Him,

That we may go to court together.

“There is no umpire between us,

Who may lay his hand upon us both.


Job is exasperated and giving up on hope only for a moment, because as we will find later he speaks explicitly of his hope in there being a mediator.


Job’s exasperation and frustration prove to be the embers of his hope. Job’s makes the following appeal in chapter 10:


Is it right for You indeed to oppress, to reject the labor of Your hands?…Your hands fashioned and made me altogether, and would You destroy me? Remember now, that You have made me as clay. And would You turn me into dust again? You have granted me life and lovingkindness and Your care has preserved my spirit. (Job 10:3, 8, 9 12)


Here, Job is passing comment on the fact that he knows God cares for him. God’s creation testifies to His glory and goodness. In the same way, Job looks at how God fashioned him and reminds God of His love towards him.


This feeling of frustration, mixed with a knowledge of God’s love for him, results in Job wishing to debate with God and set everything right. “I desire to argue with God,” he says (Job 13:3). Yet, he pleads his case willing to deal with the consequences if he is found in the wrong (Job 13:13): “[L]et come on me what may.”

In this, Job is confident that he would win his case: “Behold now, I have prepared my case; I know that I will be vindicated” (Job 13:18). Why is he so confident that he is right and won’t be punished, like his friends? Our interpretation is that deep down, Job is a man of faith. We can see this in Job 13:15-16, “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him. Nevertheless I will argue my ways before Him. This also will be my salvation, for a godless man may not come before His presence.”

His Godliness is proven by the fact that like Jacob, he is wrestling with God in faith (Gen 32:28). God does not wrestle with unbelievers, because they are not allowed into the presence of God anymore than someone can be in the presence of the Persian king apart from being summoned (Esther 4:16). Those not imputed Christ’s righteousness cannot even be looked upon by God whoseeyes are too pure to look at evil and You can not look on wickedness(Hab 1:13, literal rendering, italics removed).

David, another man of faith, expressed similar confidence after he was brought low by divine chastening:

For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning…O Lord, by Your favor You have made my mountain to stand strong; You hid Your face, I was dismayed…You have turned for me my mourning into dancing, You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness, that my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever (Ps 30:5, 7, 11, 12).

So, why shouldn’t Job hope in the one who slays him, for His anger is but for a moment while His favor is assured forever? Again, the doctrine of assurance gives the believer real comfort in times of trial. Without assurance, there is positively no reason to hope that God’s anger will ever cease. Thus, the doctrine gives the believer confidence in God’s righteousness, even when suffering is present.

God does not forsake His people, because it is His promise He will lose none of them (John 6:39). “For the Lord loves justice and does not forsake His godly ones. They are preserved forever, but the descendants of the wicked will be cut off” (Ps 37:28).

Throughout the Book of Job, there are indications that there is both a judgment on the wicked and a resurrection of the righteous. Let’s take Job 14:13–

Oh that You would hide me in Sheol,

That You would conceal me until Your wrath returns to You,

That You would set a limit for me and remember me!

Job asks to be hidden in death so his pain may cease. However, this state is not eternal, as he expects that God would remember and restore him after His wrath returns upon Himself. When did God’s wrath return upon Himself? When Christ became a curse for us!

The resurrection looms in the background of the next verse, Job 14:14–

If a man dies, will he live again (Job 14:14a)?


All the days of my struggle I will wait

Until my change comes (Job 14:14b).

Here, Job reflects his faith that though God slay him now, he will be restored because of his faith. The “change” is his resurrection after death.

You will call, and I will answer You;

You will long for the work of Your hands (Job 14:15).

It appears that Job understand was Jesus taught much later: “[A]n hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live…all who are in the tombs will hear His voice (John 5:25, 29).

For now You number my steps,

You do not observe my sin (Job 14:16).

This is why Job is confident in his restoration: by faith, God has forgiven him for his sins nor his imputed sin of Adam (Rom 5:12).

My transgression is sealed up in a bag,

And You wrap up my iniquity (Job 14:17).

Job understood what the Holy Spirit said in Micah:

He will again have compassion on us;

He will tread our iniquities under foot.

Yes, You will cast all their sins

Into the depths of the sea (Mic 7:19).

After these lofty words of faith, Job returns to despair (Job 14:18-22, i.e. You destroy man’s hope.20 “You forever overpower him and he departs.”). Why? It is not because he lost his faith in God.  Rather, because Job does not understand why God slays him, so he cannot make sense of the present suffering.

In the middle of his complaints, Job again returns to his hope for a mediator.

Even now, behold, my Witness is in heaven and my Advocate is on high. My friends are my scoffers, my eye weeps to God. O that a man might plead with God as a man with his neighbor (Job 16:19-21)!

Did you catch that? Who is Job’s mediator? He weeps to God!

Joseph Caryl points out further that: “[Job] calls who is in Heaven to witness, that is God” (An Exposition on the Book of Job Chaps. 15-17, p. 361).

Why God Himself? Why not an angel or someone less divine than God?

‘My witness is in heaven, my record is on high.’ Who is Heaven, who is on high? You may know whom he means when he saith, ‘He that is in heaven, he that is on high,’ though His name may not be expressed. There are Angels in heaven, but they are nothing compared to God…there is no name in heaven but God, God is all in all in heaven….Again that which Job calls heaven in one part of the verse, he calls high in the other… (Caryl, An Exposition on the Book of Job Chaps. 15-17, p. 369, 371).

Or, in plain 21st century english, because the witness is in heaven and on high, there is no higher authority in which can be appealed to. So, Job is appealing to the highest possible authority, which can only be God and no other. Because God slays him, Job is calling upon a heavenly mediator, that is God Himself to stand as judge between him and God. Because Christ is at the right hand of God the Father continually making intercession for us as our High Priest (Heb 7:25), then the only conclusion we can draw is that God intercedes for us on behalf of God. There is no other possible interpretation aside from laying aside trinitarian theology and adopting a historically heretical view.

Unitarianism is inconsistent with this often glossed over passage in Job. So, though God (the Father) slay Job now, he will trust in Him (Christ). Further, he knows his Redeemer (Christ) lives. Who else, other than Christ, can be Job’s Witness and Advocate, and be weeped to as his God?

As we move into chapter 17 when Job falls from hope to despair, the spark of hope lights back up. “Where now is my hope?,” he asks in Job 17:15. His hope is within him, because it is his faith in God. “And who regards my hope?” The Lord does.

“Will it [my hope] go down with me to Sheol? Shall we [my hope and I] together go down into the dust?,” Job asks concerning his hope in verse 16. It is a rhetorical question. His hope will follow him to Sheol, because he anticipates his own resurrection in chapter 14.

How do we know we are justified in this interpretation? After Bildad gives his piece Job laments his suffering and then picks up where he left off:

“Shall we [my hope and I] together go down into the dust?” (Job 17:16)

25 “As for me, I know that my [f]Redeemer lives,

And [g]at the last He will take His stand on the [h]earth.

26 “Even after my skin [i]is destroyed,

Yet from my flesh I shall see God;

27 Whom I [j]myself shall behold,

And whom my eyes will see and not another (Job 19:25-27).

So be it! I so look forward to beholding God and not another, for there is nothing else that can satisfy us for an eternity other than the eternal!

Job knows that in the Last Day, though his body is destroyed, he will be resurrected in the flesh. He will see God, face to face, and in this beatific vision he will see no other. The greatest blessing is that “the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you” (Num 6:25).

However, his hope does not match his present condition. So after defending God from the false teaching of the friends that God always crushes the wicked in this life he returns to questioning God’s justice, hoping that the Mediator would side with him.

“Oh that I knew where I might find Him,

That I might come to His seat!

4 “I would present my case before Him

And fill my mouth with arguments [such as those in a few verses].

5 “I would learn the words which He would [c]answer,

And perceive what He would say to me.

6 “Would He contend with me by the greatness of His power?

No, surely He would pay attention to me.

7 “There the upright would reason with Him;

And I [d]would be delivered forever from my Judge…

“But He knows the [e]way I take;

When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

11 “My foot has held fast to His path;

I have kept His way and not turned aside.

12 “I have not departed from the command of His lips;

I have treasured the words of His mouth [f]more than my [g]necessary food.

13 “But He is unique and who can turn Him? [Only the Mediator]

And what His soul desires, that He does.

14 “For He performs what is appointed for me,

And many such decrees are with Him. [In reference to the Father]

15 “Therefore, I would be dismayed at His presence;

When I consider, I am terrified of Him.

16 “It is God who has made my heart faint,

And the Almighty who has dismayed me (Job 23:3-7, 10-16).

Job in fact starts questioning the Father’s justice again in the next chapter. The most egregious example is Job 24:21–”He wrongs the [m]barren woman And does no good for the widow.”


In short, it appears that Job’s hope is the Mediator, that is God the Son, will be reasonable. At the same time, he fears the Father, that is God, who apparently creates disorder, allows the wicked to prosper, and wrongs the barren woman.


Job has His merciful Mediator correct. He has his righteous God all wrong.


Before we end our lesson for today, it is worth touching on what the Book of Job teaches about the afterlife.


Many liberal critics believe that there is not a resurrection from the dead taught in the Old Testament. This is hardly new, as the Sadducees thought the very same thing. Disproving the critics, I want to argue that the Book of Job contains several references to an afterlife which are not immediately obvious.


We already covered that in Job 14 and 19 there are references to Job expecting to be resurrected.


In addition to this there appear to be several references to Hell and the judgement. The language of the proceeding indicates that much of this is metaphorical. However, as John Piper said about metaphors, metaphors generally describe things because they are so bad, regular language cannot describe them.


For the company of the godless is barren, And fire consumes the tents of the corrupt(Eliphaz, Job 15:34).


Terrors come upon him,

26 Complete darkness is held in reserve for his treasures,

And unfanned fire will devour him;

It will consume the survivor in his tent.

27 “The heavens will reveal his iniquity,

And the earth will rise up against him.

28 “The increase of his house will depart;

His possessions will flow away in the day of His anger (Zophar, Job 20-25-28).


He lies down rich, but never [l]again;

He opens his eyes, and it is no longer.

20 Terrors overtake him like a flood;

A tempest steals him away in the night…

22 “For it will hurl at him without sparing;

He will surely try to flee from its [m]power (Job, in place of Zophar, Job 27:19-20, 22).


For that would be a lustful crime;

Moreover, it would be an iniquity punishable by judges.

For it would be fire that consumes to Abaddon,

And would uproot all my increase (Job, Job 31:11-12).


“All around terrors frighten him,

And harry him at every step.

12 “His strength is famished,

And calamity is ready at his side.

13 [e]His skin is devoured by disease,

The firstborn of death devours his [f]limbs.

14 “He is torn from [g]the security of his tent,

And [h]they march him before the king of terrors.

15 [i]There dwells in his tent nothing of his;

Brimstone is scattered on his habitation.

16 “His roots are dried below,

And his branch is cut off above. (Bildad, Job 18:11-16)


Is Bildad referring to Satan when he speaks of the “firstborn of death” and the “king of terrors” (Job 18:13 and 14)? Yes. However, how does this make sense with the fact that Job elsewhere describes Sheol as a place of eternal rest and essentially nothingness?


Sadly, the Scripture does not give us too much detail. We do know that ancient religions did have Satan-like figures and hell-like places, such as Hades. For example, within Hades in Greek mythology Elysian Fields was essentially heaven and Tartarus (see 2 Peter 2:4) was hell, and both were separate compartments. So, when one spoke of being in Hades, sometimes it was the common abode of the dead and other times it was a Greek God specifically tasked with punishing those in Tartarus.


It is worth noting that the Greek word “Apollyon” in the Scripture is similar to Hades. Abaddon, translated into Greek as “Apollyon,” is both a place in Job 31:12 (i.e. “the pit,” a euphemism for Hades/Sheol) and “the Destroyer” in Rev 9:11 (i.e. the King of Terrors/the Satan). The fact that Hebrew words such as Sheol and Abaddon have been translated into Greek words such as Hades and Apollyon, and that the way these words are applied in the Scripture is identical to how Hades is in Greek mythology, adds credibility that Sheol may be very similar to what the Greeks called Hades.


Christ’s parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus might add credibility to this notion: “In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me…’” (Luke 16:23-24). The fact Abraham in this parable hears the Rich Man shows that there is some sort of relatively close proximity between the two. We may infer from the picture drawn in the parable that Sheol has two compartments similar to Hades.


Now, whether we are supposed to take the idea totally literally is open for debate and ultimately not answerable this side of heaven. The Jewish interpreters such as the Sadducees did not even believe in an afterlife and many other ancients did not seem to take it that seriously (the wealthy or powerful would hope to make their mark on history so that their names might live forever, because there might have been a lack of confidence in any life after death).


Does Bildad’s remark reveal that he rejects such eschatology? Not exactly. More likely, his “king of terrors” remark was likely just a passing comment which had to do more with contemporary mythology than a serious belief.


We might not get a serious portrayal of the afterlife from any of the men in this book. Yet, we can make a few firm conclusions.


First, when Job speaks of Sheol, he believes that fetuses attain to the same afterlife that dead kings and others go to (see Job 3:11-19). This accords a level of dignity to the unborn that is lost in the modern day. Further, it is suggestive of infant salvationism as Job does not take the stance that infants, born with original sin, will be subjected to the king of terrors.


Second, we can infer from Job speaking of Sheol positively and that he is confident that the king of terrors, the pre-eminent one (“firstborn”) among the dead, is not going to be lord over him. In fact, his faith leads him to believe that even eternal rest is not the abode of the faithful, but rather resurrection.


This helps make sense of both Job’s current frustration and unwavering trust in God. He disagrees with God’s meting out of justice on Earth, but he never accuses God of being unfair in an eschatological sense. Instead, as Job speaks of in the 27th chapter, Job takes issue with the wicked often prospering during their earthly lives before meeting their doom. Job, like many of us, wants everything to be made right, right now! He does not understand that God has purposes for the wicked: “The Lord has made everything for its own purpose, even the wicked for the day of evil” (Prov 16:4).


Lastly, because Job does not believe that the righteous are subject to “terrors” such as that which awaits the wicked in Job 27:20, we can infer that Job believes in a differentiated abode of the dead. This means that Job shares an understanding with his friends that the part of Sheol the wicked go to is different from where the righteous, and perhaps miscarried infants, go to.


Let me make this clear–Job does not speak inscrutable truth every time he opens his mouth. That being said, neither does Bildad! Because we know this to be the case, we do not have a good reason to take the speculations about the afterlife drawn from their comments overly seriously.


For example, just because Job thinks fetuses join kings in Sheol does not mean we have strong Scriptural support for the salvation of unbelieving infants. In addition, one may argue in favor of a differentiated abode of the dead that would have existed before the resurrection of Christ from such texts as those found in this book. Nonetheless, such conjecture can hardly proved without a shadow of a doubt. Nonetheless, we may concede that the evidence is highly suggestive. The fact that Christ our Lord God felt it necessary to invoke the same picture of Sheol in one of His parables means that there is benefit in at the very least being acquainted with these things and their possible ramifications. We just cannot draw any firm conclusions about the matter.


Why cover this? It makes sense of what Job and his friends are really disagreeing about. Job and his friends shared the same idea of the afterlife, but a different idea of the plight of the wicked on Earth. Job’s friends conclude that the wicked are crushed “before their day,” while Job concludes that God is being unjust and smiling upon the wicked and wronging the widow, even if it is temporarily.


This is why Job 20 is about Zophar saying the triumph of the wicked is short while Job 21 is about Job saying that God doesn’t deal with the wicked soon enough (‘Why do the wicked still live, Continue on, also become very powerful” 21:7; “They spend their days in prosperity, And [g]suddenly they go down to [h]Sheol” v. 13, “Behold, their prosperity is not in their hand; The counsel of the wicked is far from me,” v. 16”). This is why Eliphaz responds in Job 22 that the wicked “are snatched away before their time” yet God “filled their houses with good things; But the counsel of the wicked is far from me” (Job 22:15, 18).


The repeating of “the counsel of the wicked is far from me” shows that they are affirming one point (the judgement) but fundamentally disagreeing about another, the plight of the wicked on earth. Eliphaz is mimicking Job in order to imply that Job’s idea that the wicked don’t get punished in this life is as wicked as the idea that the wicked are not judged after death.


Next week we will be covering Job 28 in detail, and then we are on to Elihu. I just want to review in short Job’s final response so that we can make sense of it and understand it’s place in the book.



  • Job 20: Zophar says that the triumph of the wicked is short and unfanned fire will devour him.
  • Job 25: Bildad says man is like a worm and is absolutely nothing compared to God.
  • Job 26: Job responds to Bildad and shows him that he has a profound understanding of who God is and what He does, so he refuses to be intellectually cowed by talk of what goes on in the heavens.
  • Job 27: Job responds to Zophar by mimicking his point, but focuses only on their death and judgment. This implies that it is not right that they triumph for more than a short time.
  • Job 28: Job speaks about how he truly understands Godly wisdom, revealed to Him by God.
  • Job 29: Job speaks about how he really lived by that wisdom and God blessed him.
  • Job 30: Job speaks of how these blessings have been suddenly pulled away, though he is righteous.
  • Job 31: Job makes his final defense of his righteousness, taking care to show that he was not a hypocrite as a judge and even in his thought life.

One final note: Some people may take issue with Job impugning God’s justice on one hand, yet on the other trusting in the Mediator, Jesus Christ. Do not let this trouble you, for our Mediator forgives us of all sorts of sin, even the sin of not honoring God as we ought or worshipping as we ought. This is a sin we commit every single day. Thanks be to God that mercy triumphs over judgement. Amen.

Cyril of Alexandria and Limited Atonement


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In a previous article, I exegeted John 10 and quoted some Church Fathers in defense of the doctrine of Limited Atonement.


This morning, I was reading Cyril of Alexandria’s commentary on the Gospel of John and was taken in by how thoroughly monergistic he was. In the same commentary, he speaks of Penal Substitution and has some less than choice words for Saint Mary, because of how she acted in the Wedding Feast in Cana.

In the following, we shall see he also appears to believe that Christ specifically died for his own sheep:

“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” These words apply to the sheep tended by Christ: but let us now consider the state of the flocks of those others. Surely, by him who looks carefully and fairly into their condition, those others will be detected as nothing else than hirelings and false shepherds and wretches and betrayers and cowards, who have never taken any thought for the benefit of the sheep, but eagerly grasp on every side at whatever seems pleasing in any way to themselves individually. For they were hirelings, according to the Saviour’s words, whose own the sheep were not. No: the sheep were Christ’s (Commentary on John, Book VI, John 10:12-13).

On one hand, Cyril appears to differentiate between the sheep that Christ laid His life down for, and the sheep of others. However, this is not what he is getting at here. Rather, he is speaking of Christ’s disciples versus the Jewish people, who are essentially under the thumb of the Pharisees for the moment. According to Cyril, Jesus is in effect saying that they are illegitimate shepherds and that their sheep belong to Him. As we know from Acts of the Apostles, there were to be many sheep under the Pharisees’ care that were to leave their flock for Christ’s.

For He did not say: “Mine know Me and I know Mine,” but He introduces in the first place Himself as knowing His own sheep, then afterwards He says that He shall be known by them. And if knowledge be taken in the sense of acquaintance, as we were saying at the beginning it might be, thou wilt understand something like this: “We did not first know Him, but He first knew us.”…Therefore, as a matter of course, He says that He first knew us, then afterwards that we knew Him.

“And I lay down My life for the sheep.”

Thus He was prepared on behalf of those who were now His friends and relations to afford protection in every way, and He promises even willingly to incur peril, giving a proof in fact by taking this upon Himself that He really is the Good Shepherd (Commentary on John, Book VI, John 10:14-15).

Here, Cyril makes the point that just as those who know Christ can only do so because they were known first (which implicitly excludes all that do not know Him), Christ died specifically for “His friends.”

Accordingly, when the unholy Jews mocked at His words, especially because He promised that He would struggle on behalf of His own sheep to such a degree and so very earnestly that He was actually ready even to die for them, thinking that He now talked foolishly and deeming Him mad; forcibly now at length He shows those who were mockers, because of the ignorance and at the same time the unbounded impiety that was in them, that they are guilty both in words and in deeds of dishonouring that which God the Father recognises as worthy of great honour…For it is a work of love to have chosen even to suffer, and to suffer ignominiously, for the salvation of some; and not to die only, but also to take again the life that was laid down, in order to destroy death and to take away sorrow from [the thought of] corruption (Commentary on John, Book VI, John 10:17).

Cyril makes the point that Christ only died for the salvation of some, specifically His own sheep.

Penal Substitution in the Church Fathers: Part II


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In a previous article I pointed out how Jerome, Cyril of Alexandria, and Athanasius all described the atonement similar to terms used by Calvin.

John Calvin wrote that Jesus Christ was “made a substitute and a surety in the place of transgressors and even submitted as a criminal, to sustain and suffer all the punishment which would have been inflicted on them” (Institutes 2:16.10).

In this article I will quote five more Early Church Fathers that said similar things to the same effect and issue a challenge. Is there a single Early Church Father that endorsed the “Satisfaction” theory of atonement, that being Jesus Christ satisfied the Father’s due need for honor?

First, six more quotes that show an understanding of Penal Substitution:


1. Theodore of Heraclea, Fragments on Isaiah–quoted in Ancient Christian Commentay on Scripture, Old Testament XI, p. 164.

He bore the sum of human evils and every form of transgression, as well as their recompense and punishment. And as if he were our debtor, the only-begotten Word of God, coming into the world alongside us, fulfilled every law and all righteousness and did not stumble over sin but received it willingly so as to change our punishment into peace and harmony. For undergoing temptation he carried our rebukes and punishments, and by faith we make our own his suffering, and dying together with Him we are saved by grace. He was not delivered by force but by an act of obedience.

Theodore gets bonus points not only for plugging Penal Substitution, but fully endorsing the “Great Exchange” (i.e. the double imputation of Christ’s righteousness onto us and our sin onto Him.)


2. Hilary of Poitiers, Homilies on the Psalms, Psalm 54, Chap. 13:

[I]t was always necessary to go through this whole sacrificial action because the addition of a curse to the commandment forbad any trifling with the obligation of the offering. It was from this curse that our Lord Jesus Christ redeemed us, when, as the Apostle says, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, being made curse for us, for it is written: Cursed is every one who hangeth on a tree.” Thus He offered Himself to the death of the accursed that He might break the curse of the Law, offering Himself voluntarily a victim to God the Father, in order that by means of a voluntary victim the curse which attended the discontinuance of the regular victim might be removedOf which offering the holy Apostle thus speaks: “This He died once for all when He offered Himself up,” securing complete salvation for the human race by the offering of this holy, perfect victim.


3. Chrysostom, Homily 3 on Galatians

For all have sinned, and are under the curse (Homily 3, Gal 3:10).

You see how he proves that they are under the curse who cleave to the Law, because it is impossible to fulfill it…But, you may ask me, how I prove that this curse is not still of force? Abraham lived before the Law, but we, who once were subject to the yoke of bondage, have made ourselves liable to the curse; and who shall release us therefrom? Observe his ready answer to this (Homily 3, Gal 3:12)?

In reality, the people were subject to another curse, which says, Cursed is every one that continues not in the things that are written in the book of the Law. Deuteronomy 27:26 To this curse, I say, people were subject, for no man had continued in, or was a keeper of, the whole Law; but Christ exchanged this curse for the other, Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree. As then both he who hanged on a tree, and he who transgresses the Law, is cursed, and as it was necessary for him who is about to relieve from a curse himself to be free from it, but to receive another instead of it, therefore Christ took upon Him such another, and thereby relieved us from the curse. It was like an innocent man’s undertaking to die for another sentenced to death, and so rescuing him from punishment. For Christ took upon Him not the curse of transgression, but the other curse, in order to remove that of others. For, He had done no violence neither was any deceit in His mouth. Isaiah 53:9; 1 Peter 2:22 And as by dying He rescued from death those who were dying, so by taking upon Himself the curse, He delivered them from it (Homily 3, Gal 3:13)?.

Some people might point out, “Look, in bold Chrysostom said that Jesus did not literally pay the penalty for sins!” I consider this a misunderstanding of Chrysostom’s point. Chrysostom is just making clear that Christ did not personally accrue the curse of transgression, because He did not actually transgress the Law.  As Severus of Antioch states, “The One who offered Himself for our sins had no sin of his own. Instead, He bore our transgressions in Himself and was made a sacrifice for them” (Catena, quoted in Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, New Testament XI, p. 96).


4. Theodoret of Cyrus, On Divine Providence, 10:26:

Christ was nailed to the cross, paying the penalty not for His own sins but paying the debt of our nature. For our nature was in debt after transgressing he laws of its maker. And since it was in debt and unable to pay, the creator Himself in His wisdom devised a way of paying the debt. By taking a human body as capital, he invested it wisely and justly in paying the debt and thereby freeing human nature.


5. Eusebius of Caesarea, Proof of the Gospel quoted here.

[Jesus was] chastised on our behalf, and suffered a penalty he did not owe, but which we owed because of the multitude of our sins; and so he became the cause of the forgiveness of our sins, because he received death for us, and transferred to Himself the scourging, the insults, and the dishonor, which were due to us, and drew down upon himself the appointed curse, being made a curse for us.

As an added bonus, Eusebius wrote in Ecclesiastical History, Book X, Chapter 4, Par. 12, “But he alone having reached our deep corruption, he alone having taken upon himself our labors, he alone having suffered the punishments due for our impieties, having recovered us who were not half dead merely, but were already in tombs and sepulchers, and altogether foul and offensive, saves us, both anciently and now…”

In closing, my challenge to Roman Catholics: I just quoted eight Early Church Fathers in two articles, and there are more quotes. Without nitpicking that any of these quotes do not fully encompass what Calvin or whomever else said about Penal Substitution in one of their writings, can you bring up one ECF who wrote anything suggestive of the Satisfaction Model of the Atonement?

Lesson 6: A God of Disorder? – Book of Job


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For Previous Lesson Click Here, For Subsequent Lesson Click Here

Now we are really starting to dig into the Book of Job. We have learned how God is good and He regulates suffering and wickedness because He knows that it is better to bring good out of evil than not to permit the temporary existence of evil whatsoever. This is what Augustine said, and this is what we see working its way out in heaven in the first few chapters. But, Job’s friends do not know this and neither does Job. We will find out later how God takes issue with this and corrects both Job and his friends on this point.

Why dig into the book now? I just gave you the whole point! You already know the conclusion! I am so grateful for the opportunity here to really relish what the book says, dig into the details, and truly learn it inside and out. Joseph Caryl took 30 years and more than 10,000 pages, about 10 times larger than our Bibles to explain this wonderful book. I have maybe a couple more months to try to give you just some of the goods those 10,000 pages have!

So, bear with me because upon reflection and prayer, I feel that it is extremely important to unpack what we were reviewing in the end of last week.

My wife pointed out a very good point to me last week, and it was something I was concerned about too and I was not quite sure how to phrase it, but I’ll give a go at it now. We are nearing the end point of our discussion of Job chapters 3 to 31. Teaching these chapters in a chronological manner is challenging, because Job and his friends do not make their points one after another like Paul does in the Book of Romans. Rather, they make the same kinds of points in varying order.

For this reason, I have in varying order gave us categories to understand the responses of Job and his friends gave considering suffering.

For example, Job’s friends said that Job suffered as a punishment for sin, but what else did they also say? Yes, that Job is totally depraved and can be punished at any moment, and God is inscrutable.

In the same way, Job’s responses vary throughout the chapters, but also tend to fall into a select few categories. These include laments of his suffering, defenses of his own righteousness, accusations that his friends are wrong, and accusations against God’s justice.

The accusations against God’s justice also tend to fall into several categories and are repeated in an uncertain order. These include that God is overly scrupulous, acting inconsistently with the Gospel, gets His way by force, and creates disorder.

I am going to make the case to you today that a significant part of Job’s responses, at the very least 45 verses which is equivalent to two chapters of the book, relates to the accusation that God is a God of disorder, both creative and social.

This is particularly true in chapters 9 and 12. Chapters 17, 18, 20, 21, 27, and 30 all speak of the issue of social disorder, particularly God blessing the wicked and allowing the righteous to suffer. We cannot ignore this issue. Too much of the book covers it.

Let me lay out for you what I mean by creative and social disorder. First, what is creative disorder? Creative disorder means that God made the physical world, its weather and geology, in such a sense that it could have been done better. For example, couldn’t God have made the world where there are no hurricanes, earthquakes, droughts, and meteor showers?

Social disorder is a simpler concept. Social disorder is when society is not ordered the way it ought to be, whether it be by caste, honor, equality, equity, or whatever measures and concepts we conflate with order. Corrupt politicians, crooked preachers, ISIS, crimes, and race riots are all examples of things that create social disorder. You know, like the final scene in Police Academy.

When we suffer and say in layman’s terms, “Something is not right in the world,” what are we really saying? What’s not right? We are really saying, “The world could have been made better, it is not ordered right!”


And, this is what Job is saying in chapters 9 and 12 when he accuses God of creating disorder. Is there any truth to this accusation? No. The Scripture says, “[F]or God is not a God of confusion (Greek: disorder) but of peace” (1 Cor 14:33).

Now, who made the winds who killed Job’s children and set loose the Sabeans and what not to kill his servants and steal his property? Not God, Satan! Satan sows disorder, not God. God allows Satan to sow disorder to an extent, just like God lets the tides of the ocean and waves rise and toss to an extent. But then he marks a line where they cannot cross and says, “No farther!” In the same way, God tells evil, just like Satan in the first two chapters, “No farther!”

Job’s accusation is very serious, as it accuses God of doing what Satan actually does! Let’s unpack Job’s accusations:

First, Job 9:1-16:

Then Job answered,

2 “In truth I know that this is so;

But how can a man be in the right before God?

3 “If one wished to dispute with Him,

He could not answer Him once in a thousand times.

4 “Wise in heart and mighty in strength,

Who has defied Him without harm?

5 “It is God who removes the mountains, they know not how,

When He overturns them in His anger;

6 Who shakes the earth out of its place,

And its pillars tremble;  (What does this sound like? This sounds like volcanoes or Earthquakes. Were there volcanoes and Earthquakes killing animals and threatening Adam and Eve in the garden? No! They are a result of sin. Satan is behind the destructive elements of weather.)

7 Who commands the sun not to shine,

And sets a seal upon the stars;

8 Who alone stretches out the heavens

And tramples down the waves of the sea;

9 Who makes the Bear, Orion and the Pleiades,

And the chambers of the south;

10 Who does great things, unfathomable,

And wondrous works without number. (These are all references to God’s power in creation. God’s power scares Job.)

11 “Were He to pass by me, I would not see Him;

Were He to move past me, I would not perceive Him.

12 “Were He to snatch away, who could restrain Him?

Who could say to Him, ‘What are You doing?’

13 “God will not turn back His anger;

Beneath Him crouch the helpers of Rahab.

14 “How then can I answer Him,

And choose my words before Him?

15 “For though I were right, I could not answer;

I would have to implore the mercy of my judge.

16 “If I called and He answered me,

I could not believe that He was listening to my voice (Job 9:1-16).


We need to remember what Job said in Job 9:20 as a result of everything he just said:  “For though I were right, I could not answer.” He is calling God wrong!


What is Job’s premise for saying this? God’s creative power is discussed in a way that invokes fear and does not reflect positively upon God. It is as if Job is saying he could have done it better, without the Earthquakes (“pillars tremble”), cloudy days (“covers the sun”), and what not.


Let’s go to chapter 12:6-25, where Job gives examples of God creating disorder in both the social and physical realms:

“The tents of the destroyers prosper,

And those who provoke God are secure,

Whom God brings into their power. (God brings into power those who create social disorder)

7 “But now ask the beasts, and let them teach you;

And the birds of the heavens, and let them tell you.

8 “Or speak to the earth, and let it teach you;

And let the fish of the sea declare to you.

9 “Who among all these does not know

That the hand of the Lord has done this, (Job is saying ALL OF CREATION testifies that God uses His power to sow disorder.)

10 In whose hand is the life of every living thing,

And the breath of all mankind?

11 “Does not the ear test words,

As the palate tastes its food?

12 “Wisdom is with aged men,

With long life is understanding.

13 “With Him are wisdom and might;

To Him belong counsel and understanding. (Let’s see what God uses His counsel and understanding for according to Job.)

14 “Behold, He tears down, and it cannot be rebuilt; (Likely a reference to Earthquakes–creative disorder)

He imprisons a man, and there can be no release. (He puts men in jail–social disorder)

15 “Behold, He restrains the waters, and they dry up; (He creates droughts–creative disorder)

And He sends them out, and they inundate the earth. (He creates floods–creative disorder)

16 “With Him are strength and sound wisdom,

The misled and the misleader belong to Him. (He creates confusion among men–social disorder)

17 “He makes counselors walk barefoot

And makes fools of judges. (He creates injustice–social disorder)

18 “He loosens the bond of kings

And binds their loins with a girdle. (He creates political instability, think of tyrants–social disorder)

19 “He makes priests walk barefoot

And overthrows the secure ones. (He creates religious confusion, think of false preachers–social disorder)

20 “He deprives the trusted ones of speech

And takes away the discernment of the elders. (He creates intellectual confusion, think of the universities–social disorder)

21 “He pours contempt on nobles

And loosens the belt of the strong. (He creates instability among castes and social classes–social disorder)

22 “He reveals mysteries from the darkness

And brings the deep darkness into light.

23 “He makes the nations great, then destroys them;

He enlarges the nations, then leads them away. (Again, political confusion–social disorder)

24 “He deprives of intelligence the chiefs of the earth’s people

And makes them wander in a pathless waste. (Again, intellectual confusion–social disorder)

25 “They grope in darkness with no light,

And He makes them stagger like a drunken man (Job 12:6-25).

Thomas Aquinas writes in his interpretation of the preceding, For God sometimes darkens the mind of those men by taking away his grace so that they cannot find the truth, and, consequently cannot speak it, as Romans says, “Saying that they were wise, they have become foolish.” (1:22)”


Now let me ask everyone here, is Aquinas right about this? Yes. Is Job saying that the things in chapter 12 are a just punishment for sin? No!


Job is saying that God messes up both nature and people. If God messes up both of those things, then He in effect is messing up the whole of creation, which makes him a bad God. But, what’s the one other part of the world that Job is missing? The spiritual part! What happens behind the scenes to makes these different things happen in nature and society? What we saw in Job 1 and 2! But Job does not know that.


Job is most definitely, without reservation, not concurring with 1 Cor 14:33! He gets a pass because it was not written for another 1500 years. But we cannot ignore Job’s accusation, God creates disorder, and so His justice is arbitrary and should invoke fear.


We can see the idea that God creates social disorder elsewhere in the book.


Last week, we began unpacking what Job said in 30:15. If we can understand this verse, it will help us see how profoundly important the social order was to Job. This helps us appreciate how big a deal his fall from grace was, and why he would be so bitter at God for allowing it to happen.


An interesting comment Job makes about these men is that, “They pursue my honor as the wind” (Job 30:15). In modern societies that do not follow practices such as “honor killings,” the term honor does not quite carry the importance or implications that it would in Job’s time.

Space does not permit an extremely detailed discussion here, but “honor” was to the ancients a bank account of respect. Think of it how maybe during the Great Depression, everyone was poor so no one had any financial means in which to be respected more than the next. So, a man having “his word” meant something. He might not have any money, but that man had “his word!”

Likewise, in older times, the “family name” meant something. For example, the idea of divorce was very difficult for many to swallow, but not because of religious reasons. Rather, people were afraid of ruining, as you may guess, “the family name.” The “family name” was important for people who wanted to marry into “good families.” A “good family” was not always rich, but marrying into such a family was sought after because they were seen as a cohesive body of respectable people. Having the reputation for being good was in many ways more important than money.

These illustrations help us understand what honor is like, but in reality honor itself is a little more complicated than this. Individuals had honor such as their “word,” but they also had honor as a family unit (i.e. “the family name.”) The way this plays out in an honor killing would often work like this: a man sleeps with an unwed daughter of another family. The man not only gratifies himself, but by shaming the woman accrues personal honor at her expense. She is not supposed to be sleeping with anyone so by not doing her socially expected duty, she loses her honor and it is given to the man who slept with her. The family, due to their family’s shame, likewise loses their overall honor.

When one’s honor is slighted, outsiders perceive you as weak and prime for shaming, so that they can accrue honor at your expense. It essentially becomes a free-for-all at the expense of the family that just lost their honor.

How does one protect himself from being abused in a vicious cycle? In this situation, a male representative of the shamed family often will kill the man who slept with his sister. This restores to his family some degree of honor, while accruing personal honor to the brother for fulfilling his fraternal duty. In some situations, the woman is also killed because her continued existence is seen as a slight on the family’s honor. In this way the family preserve their good name! This still exists in Israel amongst the Arabs today. The killing part is important, because by ridding their family of shame they regain their “street cred” which in effect is a protective measure.

Now all of this sounds crazy, but understanding it helps open up meaning in many parts of the Bible. In the Old Testament there are designated “cities of refuge” (Num 35:11-24). The dynamic at work with the vengeance killing has to do with restoring honor, because we already know that the cities of refuge were for involuntary manslaughter. As we said before, among pagan cultures, to let someone just kill your family member (or sleep with them, or defraud them, or wrong them in anyway) dealt a blow to one’s honor, leading to one being open to continued abuse. God in His mercy provided a way for His people to have their lives preserved and mitigate the role that “honor” would have played in perpetuating bloodshed.

So, when the lowlives pursue Job’s “honor as the wind,” they are targeting Job in his moment of weakness. It is to be expected in this honor-obsessed culture. But, because Job is a blameless man, it is a grave injustice that he holds God responsible for because “He has loosed His bowstring” (Job 30:11).

Let’s now sum up the rest of what Job and his friends say about social order. We are going to blow through this so sit tight!


In Job 17, Job makes the comment, “But He has made me a byword of the people, and I am one at whom men spit” (Job 17:6). In chapter 19 he speaks of how his family abandoned him, his wife hates his breath, and children criticize him. We know from Job 30, what Job means by this that he is a man worthy of immense respect who has been humiliated by God.


Bildad responds in Job 18:5-7, 17-19:


Indeed, the light of the wicked goes out,

And the flame of his fire gives no light.

The light in his tent is darkened,

And his lamp goes out above him.

His vigorous stride is shortened,

And his own scheme brings him down…

Memory of him perishes from the earth,

And he has no name abroad.

He is driven from light into darkness,

And chased from the inhabited world.

He has no offspring or posterity among his people,

Nor any survivor where he sojourned.


Zophar responds:


That the triumphing of the wicked is short,

And the joy of the godless momentary?


He returns what he has attained

And cannot swallow it;

As to the riches of his trading,

He cannot even enjoy them.

For he has oppressed and forsaken the poor;

He has seized a house which he has not built.

Because he knew no quiet within him,

He does not retain anything he desires.

The heavens will reveal his iniquity,

And the earth will rise up against him.

The increase of his house will depart;

His possessions will flow away in the day of His anger.

This is the wicked man’s portion from God,

Even the heritage decreed to him by God.”

(Job 20:5, 18-20, 27-29)


Translation: What goes around comes around, they’ll never enjoy their ill-gotten gains and won’t even have kids. God simply CANNOT allow it.


Job responds:


Why do the wicked still live,

Continue on, also become very powerful?

Their descendants are established with them in their sight,

And their offspring before their eyes,

Their houses are safe from fear,

And the rod of God is not on them (Job 21:7-9)


Job in both chapters 21, 24 and in 27, where he mocks Zophar’s intended response, makes the argument that God should recompense men while they are alive–not the afterlife, and not their children.


They spend their days in prosperity,

And suddenly they go down to Sheol.

They say to God, ‘Depart from us!

We do not even desire the knowledge of Your ways.

‘Who is the Almighty, that we should serve Him,

And what would we gain if we entreat Him?’

Behold, their prosperity is not in their hand;

The counsel of the wicked is far from me.  (Job affirms the judgement)

You say, ‘God stores away a man’s iniquity for his sons.’

Let God repay him so that he may know it.

Let his own eyes see his decay,

And let him drink of the wrath of the Almighty (Punish the wicked in this life, not the next)

“Behold, I know your thoughts,

And the plans by which you would wrong me.

“For you say, ‘Where is the house of the nobleman,

And where is the tent, the dwelling places of the wicked?’

“Have you not asked wayfaring men,

And do you not recognize their [s]witness? (This disproves Zophar, everyone knows much of the wicked live sweet lives)

“For the wicked is reserved for the day of calamity;

They will be led forth at the day of fury.

“Who will [t]confront him with his actions,

And who will repay him for what he has done?

“While he is carried to the grave,

Men will keep watch over his tomb.

“The clods of the valley will [u]gently cover him;

Moreover, all men will [v]follow after him,

While countless ones go before him. (God, by not striking these men down when they are living, encourages continued wickedness)

(Job 21:13-16, 19-20, 27-34)


Why are [a]times not stored up by the Almighty,

And why do those who know Him not see His days?

2 [b]Some remove the landmarks;

They seize and [c]devour flocks.

3 “They drive away the donkeys of the orphans;

They take the widow’s ox for a pledge.

4 “They push the needy aside from the road;

The poor of the land are made to hide themselves altogether.

5 “Behold, as wild donkeys in the wilderness

They go forth seeking food in their activity,

As [d]bread for their children in the desert.

6 “They harvest their fodder in the field

And glean the vineyard of the wicked.

7 “They spend the night naked, without clothing,

And have no covering against the cold.

8 “They are wet with the mountain rains

And hug the rock for want of a shelter (Job 24:1-8).


What is Job saying? “He mocks the despair of the innocent. The earth is given into the hand of the wicked; He covers the faces of its judges. If it is not He, then who is it” (Job 9:23-24)?


This argument between Job and his friends is about social order. If God allows the wicked to be successful and run things, it at least appears on the surface that God endorses a malevolent social order. So, even if there is judgement on the wicked in the afterlife, it still does not explain why God would uphold wickedness in this life.


When we appreciate how central Job’s desire for order is to his responses, all his casual mentions about Sheol start making sense:


‘Why then have You brought me out of the womb? Would that I had died and no eye had seen me! ‘I should have been as though I had not been, Carried from womb to tomb.’ Would He not let my few days alone? Withdraw from me that I may have a little cheer Before I go—and I shall not return—To the land of darkness and deep shadow, The land of utter gloom as darkness itself, Of deep shadow without order, (Earth was a “formless void” in Gen 1) And which shines as the darkness (Darkness is the antithesis of light which God made)” (Job 10:18-22).

Yeah, Job simply wants to die so he does not feel more pain, but there is more it it than that in what we just read.

Because God’s view of order appears to Job unjust, he wishes to go to Sheol where there is no order at all. This is the connection between Job wishing he was never born and the images of disordering creation he often invokes. God’s view of the social and moral order is wrong, according to Job. The creative order is also wrong. Therefore, this makes disorder preferable to order. (This is difficult to grasp, let me repeat this!)

There’s more to it than that. We will cover next week about how Job is faithful and looks forward to his restoration. Sheol, to Job, is temporary. It relieves him of his sufferings until he can see God face to face.

Let’s review the response of Job’s friends and Job himself, so we know how to internalize suffering.

The friends are wrong in that we don’t suffer because simply because we committed sin. Neither is God’s inscrutability or our total depravity the reason.

Likewise, Job got a lot of things wrong too. God is not overly scrupulous, inconsistent with His Gospel promises, tyrannical, or unjust in any way.

Throughout Job, all of these different ideas are picked up and put back down in a varying order. It is easy to forget what is being talked about but just remember, they are all wrong.

What lesson can we draw from Job’s friends’ responses? Don’t respond to suffering like Job’s friends!

What lesson can we draw from Job’s responses? It is important to speak the truth. Everything Job said was true until he started talking about God.

Unlike the friends who were being sophistic, Job was being sincere. So, we should be sincere but we must be aware that we ground what we view as the truth in God’s word. Job should have done this, as he did earlier in the book in his first two responses to Satan’s assaults.  

Instead, he questioned God.

Maybe he simply did not know enough about God. God is going to fix that later! But none of us do, we like Israel, like Job, wrestle with God. We learn more about God in our wrestlings, in our suffering. But those wrestlings are mitigated if we are grounded in the Bible.

A Brief Response to DesiringGod.com’s Pro-Refugee Agenda


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They [Israel] transformed the beauty of His ornaments into pride, and they made the images of their abominations and their detestable things with it; therefore I will make it an abhorrent thing to them. I will give it into the hands of the foreigners as plunder and to the wicked of the earth as spoil, and they will profane it. I will also turn My face from them, and they will profane My secret place; then robbers will enter and profane it (Ezek 7:20-22).


David Crabb wrote an article on DesiringGod.com which essentially said, politics aside, Chistians should relish the missionary opportunity to preach the Gospel to the heathen at their very doorstep. This comes off the heels, or is it the other way around, of D. Glenn’s “Eight Words From Jesus in a World Full of Refugees” which essentially implies that if you do not want to roll out the red carpet to refugees, you do not know Christian love.

I believe both of these articles miss the mark entirely. They presume the worse from their readers, the already converted. They speak as if we Christians are not going to seek to love these people and preach the Gospel to them.

Of course we should, and we will. However, the issue pertaining to Muslim(!) refugees is much more than that.

First, as we can see from the Ezekiel quote above, the onslaught of unbelieving foreigners is not some sort of blessing. It is specifically a curse for non-belief. Has anyone noticed that the refugees are going to all post-Industrial, formerly Christian nations? Wherever they go, they enter the welfare rolls helping bring about the financial destruction of their host nations and along with carrying with them a virulently anti-Christian religion. There is no silver lining here–it is obvious that God is handing us over to our sins. The more we reject Him and embrace religious diversity, the more the Christian religion will be persecuted and essentially regulated out of existence.

Second, the refugee crisis is the fault of the nations that now host them. These refugees will bring with them militant Islam, which as a result will compel their host countries to bomb Muslim countries even more. This in turn creates an even greater refugee crisis which the West will respond to in the same way. Rinse and repeat.

You can be a Christian but have enough brains to realize that the refugee crisis is not only a symptom of a problem we are directly responsible for, but also the seeds to an even greater problem. This is why with every morally Christian bone in my body that I believe that not a single refugee from Syria should be let into any country unless he or she is not Muslim. Let’s not beat around the bush. The threat is not militant Assyrian Orthodox or Coptic Christianity, but militant Islam.To ignore this is to literally beg for one’s own destruction.


This is precisely what the West is doing and they do not even see it. They are completely blind to how their “let’s blow’em up over there and give them freedom while we are at it, so we don’t have to blow’em up over here and lose our freedoms” results in both losing freedom and things blowing up over here. So, we end up having violence and evils at home, overseas, and everywhere.

Jesus Christ warned that those who live by the sword die by the sword. In this case. the West is pointing their own sword back at themselves and don’t even know it. This patent blindness is our punishment from God for our sin and hubris.


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