By: Mark Tabata (Evangelist)
Quotation For Contemplation
“The most significant question, however, is the third one: what kind of Savior do we need? Or to put it another way, what kind of man does the universe need? The more I have bashed my head against the text of Job year after year, the more deeply convinced I have become that the book ultimately makes no sense without the obedience of Jesus Christ, his obedience to death on a cross. Job is not everyman; he is not even every believer. There is something desperately extreme about Job. He foreshadows one man whose greatness exceeded even Job’s, whose sufferings took him deeper than Job, and whose perfect obedience to his Father was only anticipated in faint outline by Job. The universe needed one man who would lovingly and perfectly obey his heavenly Father in the entirety of his life and death, by whose obedience the many would be made righteous (Romans 5:19).” (Christopher Ash (Edited by Kent Hughes), Preaching The Word: Job, 21 (Kindle Edition); Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway)
One of the most powerful Messianic passages in the Book of Job is found in chapter nineteen. There, Job exclaims:
Job 19:25-27-25 For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth;
26 And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God,
27 Whom I shall see for myself, And my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!
Identifying The Redeemer
What exactly does the word “redeemer” mean?
“It is interesting that the writer uses the word redeemer rather than deliverer or savior….Yet a redeemer is someone who pays a price in your behalf. The word in Hebrew is go’al which is an avenger, one who pays a ransom, to redeem one from slavery. It is used for a kinsman redeemer who was to marry his brother’s widow to bring forth a child for him….It is saying that Job knew he had a redeemer and from the context he was not looking to any normal human being to be his redeemer. He was looking for a redeemer from his sins and that fits only one person in the human form and that would be the Messiah, who I believe is Jesus. He knew it; he was intimate in that knowledge that one day a redeemer would come who would pay the price for his sins and that he was not suffering now because of some sin that his buddies were trying to lay upon him. He could not explain the reason for his suffering, but he knew one thing. It was not because of any sin he committed, for there would be a redeemer who would one day ransom him from that sin.” (Chaim Bentorah, Hebrew Word Study: Ancient Biblical Words Put Into A Modern Context With The Help Of The People Who Ride My Bus, 10-11 (Kindle Edition); Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Hartline Literary Agency)
We see here that the Redeemer is One Who pays a price. In the context of this passage, we see that the Redeemer of Job must be God-for only God can pay the price for Job’s suffering!
Yet, Job describes God as the One Who still “stand at last on the earth.” However, Job knows (as do his friends) that God is Spirit. We read for example:
Job 26:13-By His Spirit He adorned the heavens; His hand pierced the fleeing serpent.
Job 33:4-The Spirit of God has made me, And the breath of the Almighty gives me life.
By these statements, it is clear that the patriarchs understood God to be Spirit, not flesh (cf. Luke 24:39).
How then could God stand upon the earth? After all, it is generally understood that a spirit does not have flesh and blood. As Jesus points out:
Luke 24:39-Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.”
It seems that Job is identifying his Redeemer as God, yet as separate from God.
Apart from an understanding of the Bible doctrine of the Trinity, this would make no sense.
Indeed, there are indications from the Old Testament that the saints had some understanding of the Bible teaching of the Godhead.
The Angel Of The Lord
One of the most powerful indicators that the people of God understood that there is a plurality within the Godhead is seen from the teachings of the Old Testament Scriptures regarding THE ANGEL OF THE LORD.
Carefully consider the following passages of Scripture: Genesis 16:7-13; 31:11-13; 32:24-30 with Hosea 12:3-4; Genesis 48:15-16; Exodus 3:1-6; 13:2-22 with 14:19; 23:20 with 33:14; Joshua 5:13-15 with Revelation 19:10; Judges 6:11-13; 13:3, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 15, 16, 17-18, 21-23.
Speaking of the identity of The Angel Of The Lord, Edward Myers points out:
“The angel of the Lord is identified with God himself, so he must be a manifestation of God and not just a created angel. There are several reasons why we believe this to be the correct understanding. First, the grammatical construction of the expression “the angel of the Lord” has special significance. From Weingreen’s Grammar of Hebrew Language we learn that a noun in the construct state never takes an article. So, “Malach Elohim,” or “angel of the Lord,” without the article, would mean “an” angel of the Lord. However, the scriptural references to the angel of the Lord read “Malach Ha Elohim,” which means “the” angel of the Lord. Therefore, the reference is to one specific angel. Second, the people to whom the angel of the Lord appears acknowledge him as the Lord….Third, the angel of the Lord accepts sacrifices and worship offered to him….Created angels do not accept worship….The writers of the Old Testament identify the angel of the Lord with God, as we have seen in Judges 6: 12-16; Exodus 14: 19, 13: 21. So our first conclusion is that the angel of the Lord is identified with God Himself….Not only is there identification with God, there is differentiation from God. That would mean that the angel of the Lord is distinguished from the Lord….The angel of the Lord was a manifestation of the eternally preexistent Logos, who was with God from the beginning, who was God, and who was later made flesh….He must have been deity. Since he is identified with the Lord and yet differentiated from the Lord, our conclusion is that he is the pre-incarnate Logos.” (Edward P. Myers, A Study Of Angels, 71-76 (Kindle Edition); New York; Howard Books)
Michael Heiser has well written of the Old Testament whispers of a Godhead:
“The fact that the Old Testament at times has Yahweh appearing in visible form should now be on your radar. We’re going to see a lot more of him (pun intended). One of my favorite passages that features Yahweh made visible is 1 Samuel 3 , the story of the young soon-to-be prophet, Samuel….I was amazed the first time I saw this passage for what it was really saying. Yahweh “appeared” to Samuel with regularity in verse 21 . The first verse of the chapter makes a clear association between the Word of the Lord and a visionary experience—not a mere auditory event. The idea of the visible Word—the visible Yahweh—in human form is nailed down by the “standing” language. Some passages go beyond presenting Yahweh in visible, human form. Genesis 18 is perhaps the most startling example where Yahweh is not only visible, but embodied….One final example from the Old Testament of an embodied Yahweh who is the “Word” is far less known, but no less dramatic. In Jeremiah 1 the prophet is called to service. He writes that “The word of Yahweh” came to him and said, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you came out from the womb I consecrated you; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah identifies this Word as Yahweh himself when he replies, “Ah, Lord Yahweh! I do not know how to speak, for I am a youth” (v. 6 ). Yahweh—the Word—tells him to not be afraid, and then something shocking happens. Jeremiah writes in verse 9 that Yahweh, the Word, “stretched out his hand and he touched my mouth.” Sounds don’t reach out and touch people. This is the language of a physical, embodied presence….What we’ve begun to uncover in this chapter are whispers of the idea of a Godhead—in the Old Testament, the Bible of Judaism. Those whispers will get much louder as we continue….The startling reality is that long before Jesus and the New Testament, careful readers of the Old Testament would not have been troubled by the notion of, essentially, two Yahwehs—one invisible and in heaven, the other manifest on earth in a variety of visible forms, including that of a man. In some instances the two Yahweh figures are found together in the same scene . In this and the chapter that follows, we’ll see that the “Word” was just one expression of a visible Yahweh in human form. 1 The concept of a Godhead in the Old Testament has many facets and layers….The first thing to notice is that when the angel of Yahweh speaks to Abraham, Abraham recognizes the voice. He does not ask the identity of the speaker, as though the voice is unfamiliar. He does not fear that he is harkening to the voice of another god. The reader, however, knows that the source is not Yahweh per se, but the angel of Yahweh. The word translated “angel” here is the Hebrew word mal’ak , which simply means “messenger.” The next observation is very important. The Angel speaks to Abraham in verse 11 , and so is distinguished from God. But immediately after doing so, he commends Abraham for not withholding Isaac “from me .” There is a switch to the first person which, given that God himself had told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac ( Gen 22:1–2 ), seems to require seeing Yahweh as the speaker….Genesis 26:1–5 marks Yahweh’s first visible appearance to Isaac (“And Isaac went … to Gerar … and Yahweh appeared to him”)….In verse 15 Yahweh promises protection for Jacob and pledges to bring the man back to this location, the land promised to Abraham. Jacob names the place Bethel, “house of God” (v. 19 ), and erects a pillar to commemorate his conversation with Yahweh (vv. 18–19 ). Jacob saw the visible Yahweh at Bethel. Given what we’ve already seen in Genesis, this isn’t unusual….Genesis 32:28–29 makes it apparent that the “man” with whom Jacob wrestled was a divine being. The mysterious combatant himself says “you have striven with elohim ,” a term we know can be translated either “God” or “a god.” The narrative nowhere says Jacob’s encounter was only a vision. This elohim is tangible and corporeal. Hosea 12:3–4 confirms the divine identity of Jacob’s opponent—but then adds two surprising details. 5 Note the way Hosea uses parallelism to express the thought: 3 In the womb he [Jacob] deceived his brother, and in his manhood he struggled [Hebrew, sarah ] with God [ elohim ]. 4 He struggled [Hebrew, yasar ] with the angel and prevailed: he pleaded for his mercy. He met him at Bethel, and there he spoke with him. 6 Not only does Hosea describe Jacob’s elohim opponent as an angel, but the last line of this quotation identifies this angel with Bethel ….We’ve seen this “confusion” of God with an angel before. It is deliberate. The point is not that Yahweh, the God of Israel, is a mere angel. The reverse is the case. This angel is Yahweh . We have one more passage to consider. The way it fuses Yahweh and the angel is nothing short of amazing. Genesis 48 records Jacob’s deathbed words of blessing to Joseph’s children. The passage references the God who had appeared to him at Bethel, who, readers know from Genesis 31:13 , is called an angel. It’s all set up for the thunderbolt in the section in bold below (vv. 15–16 )…The parallel position of elohim and mal’ak (“angel”) is unmistakable. Since the Bible very clearly teaches that God is eternal and existed before all things, and that angels are created beings, the point of this explicit parallel is not to say that God is an angel. On the other hand, it affirms that this angel is God. 9 But the most striking feature is the verb (“may he bless”). In Hebrew, the verb “bless” in this passage is not grammatically plural , which would indicate two different persons are being asked to bless the boys. Rather, it is singular , thereby telegraphing a tight fusion of the two divine beings on the part of the author. In other words, the writer had a clear opportunity to distinguish the God of Israel from the angel, but instead merges their identities….When the biblical text does this, it pushes us to wonder whether there are two Yahwehs, one invisible in heaven and one visible on earth. We’ll see next that this is precisely the point. The God of Israel is God, but in more than one person.” (Michael Heiser, The Unseen Realm: Recovering The Supernatural Worldview Of The Bible, 2403-2617 (Kindle Edition); Bellingham, WA; Lexham Press)
Other passages in the Old Testament also provide hints of plurality within the Godhead:
Psalm 45:6-7-6 Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. 7 You love righteousness and hate wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.
Psalm 110:1-A Psalm of David. The LORD said to my Lord,”Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”
Isaiah 48:16-Come near to Me, hear this: I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; From the time that it was, I was there. And now the Lord GOD and His Spirit Have sent Me.”
The Redeemer Who Lives
Notice that Job describes this Redeemer as the One Who “lives.” One of the characteristics of the God described in Scripture is His everlasting and eternal Nature. He is the “I AM (Exodus 3:14). He is the God Who always has lived, is living, and Who always will live. He is from “everlasting to everlasting” (Psalm 90:2). Death can have no part of God; for He is the very Essence of life (John 1:1-5).
The Redeemer Who Would Pay The Price
Job did not understand why he was suffering, as he made clear throughout his Book. However, he had faith that one day, his Redeemer would pay the price for him and help him to understand the answers to the questions that he had. He did not understand the WHY at the time, but he knew (and further learned) that he could trust in God to help him understand and to take care of him.
In this, we see another powerful lesson from the Book of God for us when we are suffering: we can trust in God to take care of us when we don’t understand the “why” in our struggles. As Paul wrote:
2 Timothy 1:12-For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.
God promised Ezekiel the Prophet that one day, he would understand why God had brought such terrible punishments upon the people of Israel:
Ezekiel 14:23 (ERV)-You will see how they live and all the bad things they do. Then you will know that I had a good reason for punishing them.” This is what the Lord GOD said.
Let us, like Job, trust in our Redeemer. He came and paid the price for our sins to redeem us (2 Timothy 2:24-26). He was buried, and arose from the dead on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:1-8). Shouldn’t we respond to His Gospel today?
To non-Christian believers, God’s Word declares:
Acts 2:38-Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
To Christians who have turned from the Lord, we are told:
1 John 1:9-If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.
What are two Old Testament passages which clearly reference the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit? _____________________________________________
List some passages which identify The Angel Of The Lord with God. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Regular angels of God do not accept __________________, but The ____________ ____ ______ _______________ does.
What doesn’t a spirit have? ____________________________________
What is the meaning of the Hebrew word GO’AL? _________________________________________________________________________________________________________
For Prayer Partners:
In what ways is Boaz an example of a redeemer? Discuss in particular the tragic situation of Ruth, and how Boaz “redeemer.