IT IS NO SECRET THAT JOB, LIKELY WRITTEN centuries before the Law of Moses, is a flat earth book. Geocentricism abounds. But there’s far more to Job than most contemporary connoisseurs of Scripture are willing to admit. Theologians have long noted that Job ascribed to a peculiar belief regarding the afterlife. Mainly, where consciousness is concerned, there wasn’t one. Or more precisely, there wouldn’t be—that is, not until the resurrection of the dead which, as of the writing of this book, has yet to come. Job was a mortalist. During the reformation, his doctrine would come to be labeled by his Calvinist detractors as soul sleep. His position on the soul was akin to his belief in the afterlife. A man lives, he dies, and then he, along with his soul, return to the earth. That’s it.
His only hope, Job would add, is in the Redeemer. Let us not fall into despair. That is a competent hope to cling to, if ever I’ve heard one.
If anything, Job sets the stage. The book which bares his name is akin to reading The Hobbit before The Lord of the Rings. The latter chronicle takes the former publication and stylizes it with a mesmerizing narrative of epic (or more precisely, Biblical) proportions. The whole of Scripture not only agrees with Job, it will seek to expound upon it. Moses and the Law agree, as does John the Revelator, and just as importantly, every writer in-between. Everyone concurs. God revealed heavenly truth to Job, and a little later on, after the Egyptians and the Greeks put careful thought into the matter, He did not change His position. We can rest assured that Yahweh did not simply feed culturally misconstrued assumptions to an ignorant people only to revise doctrine as a method of evolving our cognitive thinking. Rather, the Spirit invited the Prophets and the Psalmists, and later the Apostles, to the pen and parchment in order that they might expound upon the only accuracy which God has ever revealed—truth. God’s holy revelation is certain on these facts. The earth is flat and immovable and the soul at present is mortal. There is no confusion here. So why does the contemporary church refuse to believe it?
If Job were alive today to vouch for the true shape of the Earth and the condition of the soul—all of which is based upon God’s own Testimony to begin with—people would listen. Church congregations would listen. And so would their leaders. They might even choose to follow by his example. I would hope that my readers will too. We have much to learn from him. Among his ash-heap recollections, Job described God’s candle as having once shined upon his head. By His light alone he walked through the darkness. And everything he committed himself to was a success. “I washed my steps with butter,” he lamented in his anguish, adding: “The rock poured me out rivers of oil.” It was because of the life Job lived that he received everyone’s respect. To this he gives account:
7 “When I went out to the gate of the city,
When I took my seat in the square,
8 The young men saw me and hid themselves,
And the old men arose and stood.
9 The princes stopped talking
And put their hands on their mouths;
10 The voice of the nobles was hushed,
And their tongue stuck to their palate.”
The rulers of the Earth had reason to fear Job. He himself was a bit of a researcher. To this effect he said: “The cause which I knew not I searched out.” And if he found evil, wherever it attempted to hide, he exposed it. Job further claimed: “And I brake the jaws of the wicked, and plucked the spoil out of his teeth.”
But let us not confuse Job’s humble yet entirely honest self-evaluation with a George Thorogood song—or worse, a modern prosperity gospel. The young men did not hide themselves; the aged did not arise; the princes did not lay a hand on their mouth; and the nobles did not cleave their tongue to the roof of their mouth—even when found in disagreement—because the man from Uz washed his steps with butter or knew how to rock a tune. “When the ear heard me, then it blessed me; and when the eye saw me, it gave witness to me,” Job confessed, but only—and this is important;
11 “For when the ear heard, it called me blessed,
And when the eye saw, it gave witness of me,
12 Because I delivered the poor who cried for help,
And the orphan who had no helper.
13 The blessing of the one ready to perish came upon me,
And I made the widow’s heart sing for joy.
14 I put on righteousness, and it clothed me;
My justice was like a robe and a turban.
15 I was eyes to the blind
And feet to the lame.
16 I was a father to the needy,
And I investigated the case which I did not know.”
If God heaped unto Job earthly riches, they were only as He would upon the four and twenty elders—in heavenly terms—who fall prostrate before Him that sits upon on the throne, and cast their crowns in worship before Him that liveth for ever and ever (Revelation 4:10). God was certainly not speaking presumptuously when he asked of the Satan:
“Have you considered my servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil (Job 1:8).”
Job’s first action, upon hearing of the calamity that instantaneously dismembered him from his empire of dirt, was to arise, and rent his mantle, and shave his head, and fall down upon the ground, and worship. (Job 1:20). With the words that very well might proceed from the mouths of the kingly co-heirs in heaven, Job immediately confessed: “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Yahweh gave, and Yahweh hath taken away; blessed be the name of Yahweh.”
There is hardly another man alive like the man from Uz. If Job were counted among our ranks today, people would listen. Church congregations would listen. And so would their leaders. With Job as our maestro, the God-fearing soul would find little reason to struggle against the otherwise demeaning threats and shallow, often hypocritical, spiritual demands from agenda pushers. The God-fearing soul would first and foremost be delivered savory fruit—action matched with heavenly virtue—before we ever got around to the meat and the delectable dogma. If we as the people who inhabit this joyous cosmology are anything like Job—a community which bases much upon the very book that bears his name—I am a firm believer that the God-fearing soul will not be able to resist the wine we offer them.