W W W W World Wide Web Witness Inc. Home Page Contents Page for Volume What is New
What has JOB to do with the Fellowship of Christ’s Sufferings ?
Did not the Spirit of Christ signify things to come, concerning His Messianic Sufferings (I Peter ), and was not that spirit IN the prophets of old, before He came! (cf. Joyful Jottings 22-25). Since Christ is the incarnation of God in the very form which He first made for man, He readily could take what was previously installed with such a facility. Being fitted for fellowship with Him, it permitted deployment for Him, in that being first made in His own image, man could also be used to express His own life. The image of course is non-geometrical, since geometry is a configuration in space, and space is a creation – cf. Romans 8:39, Colossians 1:15ff., John 1:3 correlative to matter, which is itself with space and time, part of the creation (Genesis 1:1-2).
Having made both the form and the fact of man, to permit access and fellowship, He used it to secure salvation for those who, having aborted the interface, needed its restoration.
In fact, much of the ground for the current collision of the human psyche with reality, with peace, with joy, with probity, with virtue, in its shute-like descent (rather like washing dispatched by this means from the first floor to the basement) is found simply here. Made for God, man in his present natural state, lacks Him. Made to have fellowship, he finds it missing. Made for oversight, he rather acts to incite, and great is the stress found in lacking the housing for which he is made, the presence for whom he is manufactured by the hand of God. So vicious is the malignity of the spirit which comes to inhabit man, that it can even – and does often – imitate these missing needs of man, as in Communism, Islam and Romanism, together with all the other sects and derivative sequences from the Bible, in various stages of collision with that also (cf. Highway to Hell, Things Old and New Ch. 9, 10 Epilogue, Appendix ).
Thus the PRINCIPLE of a certain future is borrowed by communism, the NEED for dedicated action with it, the HOPE of a certain future and the FAULT in the heart of man, all are touched, none truly or verifiably, none except by that presumed absence of truth in PRINCIPLE from which in PRACTICE they make theories which HAVE to be false, therefore! (cf. SMR pp. 925ff., 612-615), and are so in simple investigative fact. The SAVIOUR is now to be the proletariat(cf. Lester de Koster’s Communism & Christian Faith), but the fact is that they are mere pawns, and the non-saviours are those with houses on the Black Sea, limousines and special food store tickets, the aristocracy of flesh that has not even some semblance of moral ground for their new elevation to privilege, who appear to save only themselves, and that only for a time, the better to be judged for their preferences (cf. Arthur Koester’s Darkness at Noon, Solzhenitsyn’s First Circle, One Day … and SMR pp. 971-2, News 19).
But you may say: Certainly man is lacking, his need may thus be me in the only and necessary Saviour, but how is the SPIRIT OF CHRIST to be deemed present in the case of the patriarch Job, apparently from evidence, prior to Moses! How could JOB engage in sufferings which in ANY sense, however remote, let alone intimate, would be deemed a fellowship with those of Christ!
The answer is not far to seek.
Ø NOT ONLY was the Spirit of Christ active in the minds of the prophets, as they were given through Him vision of what was to come, but
Ø Christ as a condition, in His salvation to which He was sent from eternity by His Father (Micah 5:1-3, Zech. 12:10, Psalm 45, 110, Isaiah 48:16, 51:16 cf. … Immovable Faith Ch. 3), was essential to the very act of Creation.
Without Him, no creation. God is knowledgeable and knowing the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10), He has not the slightest interest in doing things which at the end, do not satisfy His principles, or fulfil His desire. However in Christ, the eternal and living Word of the Infinite God, there was the provision, and hence the creation of things temporal and indeed of man could go ahead. Thus, when at ANY time in the history of that creation, this necessitous provision of Christ was seen apt for revelation further, then there it was, given by the prophets. God would not have undertaken the creation if what was needed to restore and redeploy aright, what had become wrong in His image-bearer, man, himself directly flearing against righteousness, was not divinely desired. Since it was desired, the nature of the case was approved, and hence the case could be permitted to exist! God created without inhibition just as He then redeemed without obstruction in precise accord with His own will (Ephesians 1:11).
At all times God knew of the Fall to come when time was provided, of the Plan to overthrow its results, of the necessitous faith provision (without faith, no open door to Himself), and what was provided for it (objective overthrow of all impediment), and being personal, it was He who in His own Being, had allocated His Eternal Word for the labour, that Person, His own fellow, who would accomplish it (Ephesians 1:4, Isaiah 48:16, Zechariah 2:8). Indeed, He had even in His predestination, made sure the foreknowledge of who were His own, so that there election was accomplished before time was, just as we read of the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”
The predestination ? It was done in love (cf. Ch. 1 above), but it was done with knowledge. If time relayed reality, timeless eternity when nothing must wait for conditions, held it: the Lord indeed still as always, KNOWS HIS OWN (II Timothy 2:19), just as He knew, on earth, that “ONE OF YOU IS A DEVIL”! (John 13:21, and to this add 6:70). Nevertheless, He is acutely willing to test as He commands His people to do, saying “test all things” (I Thessalonians 5:21). Nothing is clandestine about His principles, nor is anything delivered that it might, untested, show later its fallacies, faults and failure. Testing in the power of God, is relish; and if one falls at this point or that, all men being sinners, then is His mercy profound and His power sufficient, with His grace, to restore a wiser heart to the one who faltered.
It is not the Father’s pleasure that any of His created image-bearers fail, as Colossians 1 so categorically proclaims, and He has done amply to meet the needs of all and any; but it is equally not His will that unbelief don the garments of pretended praise, confused contrition or artificial insemination, as if something other than His word would do, other than His salvation would suffice, or than faith out of a purified heart were acceptable: faith in His appointed Saviour, the Christ.
Ephemeral indeed have been the Arminian intrusions or indeed invasions from effete philosophy, as if God could not know and do what He would; and the Calvinist extremes as if He did not in fact love with an outgoing love ALL, that ALL might be reconciled, did not love without restriction, fraying or waylaying, though the results were plain and indeed, it is He who effects them WITH THESE PRINCIPLES intact and sure. These things are treated in The Kingdom of Heaven Ch. 4, Tender Times for Timely Truths Ch. 11 and Predestination and Freewill, as indeed in measure in Ch. 1 above. Indeed, the severity of test, the rigour of the impact of reality is seen in the book of Job in extended measure.
Nothing is pretended, nothing is made to limit the test as if in indulgence and knowing His own, and knowing that this is no pretence but practicality, made test retreat. Far from it; the tests can astonish the world in what they bring forth. As we see in Job, God was most willing to let the devil challenge the supremacy of His knowledge, the assurance of His wisdom and the testability of His salvation. Knowledge here is no substitute for reality, but its expression; and it is knowledge from eternity, available in time. Tests merely attest the truth; and God as the truth, encourages them! Those who are His, the way it should be done, the embrace of His love, the plan of salvation, the sending of the Messiah, the murder, the resurrection, His own oversight of all things: it was all clear, known, assured before a clock ticked, or its focus moved with or without the apparatus of a clock.
Anthropomorphic, simplistic substitutes for God are not really relevant. God has liberty to present Himself aptly for man as man, as can readily be seen, for God not only became man, but instituted him in His image as well! Indeed, that is how it could be. That His love should stretch so far is indeed staggering; yet that His knowledge contained all things is apparent, for God does not grow into His system, or merely witness like some research scientist what HAPPENS: it is in His profound counsel that things happen at all (Ephesians 1:11), and His comprehensive knowledge is limited by nothing, for nothing is precisely what is beyond Him. The building called man, and the spirit within him is open before God, like a book (cf. SMR Ch. 8 at the outset), and how to remove the blots that would fall upon its open pages was not only clear, but the plan made ready.
In so doing, He had provisions for redemption in advance, and it is in Job that we see one of their most poignant and triumphant peals of the nature of these good tidings, as we shall find as we turn its pages.
Amazing as may seem to some, this fact, it is of the uttermost in simplicity: for what General would not provide for a contingency; and what Commander would not know what the response might be, allocating resources to the task; and if he were shrewd and knowledgeable, as in some measure were the Allies before the Normanby landing, would he not know, would he not long have prepared the forces for the response to foreseen emergencies ? Would he, indeed, perceiving the plans and dispositions of the enemy, if he had the power, make provisions long before the battle emerged, lest on the day, the meeting should violate his desire, vitiate his principles or obscure his ideals.
In Christ however, the emergency was not only foreseen but KNOWN! Thus when God created, He was not facing some vast unknown. THIS, it is the plight of those who not knowing God, move through the universe not with confidence, as did so many of the early scientists like Newton, whose attitude of faith is so strongly discernible in his writing, with a conviction of resolution, being assured that because the mind of God had made, therefore the rationality would arrive. It is these who, unlike Newton and Faraday, Maxwell and Boyle, Cuvier, Kepler and Lister, all clear-cut Christians, walk as on steaming ground with unknown shafts below. As to God, however, He knew not only the future, but the REASONS of all things, having reasoned it Himself; and the nature of man whom He had made.
When therefore JOB suffered, it was not as some piece of animated clay with no background, meaning or portent, in a world without design or destiny; but as the book shows, it was part of a plan so vast, yet to Job’s eyes at first so obscure, that it was one of the major axes of history.
WAS there such a thing as a sincere lover of God ? THIS was the question.
The devil posed it in practice, in the case of Job, and his ready assumption that Job loved only what he could make out of God, that he did not love God in any essential way at all, was so oozily, snoozily urbane in its preconceptions, that its answer in this illustration, serves for all time. After all, to make an exception to a rule, to show that it is not universal, you need ONLY ONE CASE. Naturally there have been thousands who have so loved God that they even suffered torture and death; but this was an experimentally specific case. Satan was given the opportunity to put to the test his evil theory, by occasioning Job vast suffering, though he could not kill him, for that would be to break up the laboratory, not to find the result: and that, it was the point of the plan.
What then did Job have to do with the fellowship of the sufferings of Christ ? Let us answer this in stages.
1. God does not change, and just as He
allocated His Eternal Word (John 1:1, 8:58, Isaiah 48:16, 42, 49, Psalm 45, 2,
110) to the task in advance, so that eternal word was present in the
predestination (Ephesians 1:4), for God was not speechless in anything. What
Christ was seen to be, predestination is known to have been, in character. As
to God, always what He would be, embracive in His own being of all that He
might wish – for what could prevent it, or constraining or restraining Him
preclude His ultra-temporal standards - and expounding it in what is permitted
to arrive, whether this should be liberty and its payments or else redemption
and ITS payment, the one by man, the other for him: He does not change.
What He is shown to be, He has been and will be. All movement in mutability could only be contrary to Himself.
2. If in predestination, the Saviour was present, how much more in time.
3. If in time, He was present, how much more when a servant of God was placed in duress, in test.
4. Whatever man may not know of God, there is nothing God does not know of men; and in KNOWING, He is who He is, not someone or something else. In His eternity, He reposes, in time He composes, and in His composition, His creation, He exposes His nature, His will and His deliverance, just as at the first, He foreshadowed this with dark and deep outlines, as in Genesis 3:15. So do predestination and prediction accord.
5. The general mercies of God, so that man can reason and think, these are one thing; but the revelation of God, so that man gains the scriptures of truth, the definitive declaration of God to mankind, this is another. You can surmise what your beloved may think from her letters about various occurrences; but when she writes to tell you, the category is different. There is then no guess-work, for integrity within the truth - God having made all to meet His will - is peace in Him whom no contrariety can afflict, nor any power distort.
6. The truth, quite simply, is His utterance. Let us pursue this theme once again,
7. Nothing can tame Him, invade Him or temper His Being, tamper with His thought; nor does it writhe within itself, for then there would be something external to God which made His life an affliction; and who is that which can so act! Irresolvability within His own being, on the other hand, would amount to conditions laid down, and who is he who lays them! (cf. Tender Times for Timely Truths Ch. 11, Repent or Perish Ch. 2, A Spiritual Potpourri Ch. 16, Deliverance from Disorientation Ch. 9).
8. As noted in the last reference, God is
not available to “the reckless rampaging of irreconcilable irrationalities”, as man
builds towers on feeble foundations which fall on themselves. Nor is He subject
to them, for if His will wanted the impossible, and was hence faced with
irreconcilability of desire and performance, then His will could not have
created the situation, so that the person being discussed would in that case,
not be God, but a mere imagination of the febrile mind!
Would the omnipotent create what denies what He is ? Does He invent what circumvents Himself ? Does He create His own conqueror ? But if such COULD be created, then God is no more omnipotent, source of all, cause and ground, but subjectible to conquest and hence analysable as part of a system, the creator of which is then God, not this thingummy so designated.
9. In that case, it is not He of whom we speak, that the discussion concerns, so that it is irrelevant. If He were ‘stuck’ with this in Himself, then it is a creature not the Creator of whom we speak, and this too is irrelevant. If, again, He even wanted such an irreconcilability within Himself, then His will is for His own demise as a Being, so that He would compound Himself with His own creation, becoming hybrid, and so not God. Creating change in Himself, He would not be satisfied with what He was, and since time is a mere creation, this would imply that it was not God but a creature, seeking to understand and develop with whom we are dealing, and so again, it is irrelevant when the topic and the them is God Almighty Himself!
10. All endeavours in thought to force the will and the being of God apart, so that He wants what is contrary to Himself, aborts Himself and so on, in character, simply imply that He is immersed in time, that barrier to eventuation at will, not its inventor, contrary to Himself and hence part of a system, growing in awareness, potentiated and not final, a given Being and a given Will not in accord, so that there are two; and we then look for the Creator of the system in which both inhere; the being in question, being irrelevant.
As noted in Acme, Alpha and Omega: Jesus Christ Ch. 11:
“Even the desperado notion of a lying creator does not work logically. He has no need of fabrication, in such a case, the physical fabrication, not the mental one, being to the point; and the resurrection being a mere work of power. Indeed, since to lie with the omnipotent God, would be to deny His own works, it would indicate mere sub-system not God, since He cannot be at war with Himself, words and actions in conflict, having nothing fixed with which to war, and being in charge of all things. A divided mind even, this too is impossible, as it would mean a given thing, and from whom ? but if He wanted a divided mind, then He would want to defy Himself, and hence would be in the grip of a double personality, the source of which doublet would need to be sought. In the end, there is God and His is truth. There is no other. You cannot HAVE it any other way.
“What is more: In the presence of HUMAN LIES, and fraudulence, incestuous misuse of the truth as if it were a play-thing, verbal 'conquests' of reality in commerce, domestic life, philosophy, politics, there is merely the absolute certainty that He has spoken to the world that He suffers, and waits till the time is complete for His program, in terms of that speech. That is readily verified in the Bible.”
Again, as seen in Sparkling Life … Ch. 4:
“What then ? ONE BEING with infinite power cannot without flat self-contradiction, promote or approve clash between infinitely powerful beings, without these eliminating each other. If these are His creation, then we are not talking of God at all, but creation. If it is Himself, then with infinite power He seeks to have opposing thoughts, systems, values, decisions, desires in Himself to remain in mutual opposition. If however they were HIS desire, all being God, either one, it would prevail. If both are His desire, who is infinite in power, then the opposition is either finite or infinite. If finite, it is not a work of God in Himself, for He IS infinite. If not finite, then there is self-contradiction, for infinite oppositions are clearly a contradiction in terms, any one of them being unable to be so defined in the presence of the other. In that case, it is an irrationalist whim, not the divine being who is being logically discussed as to His minimal powers.”
Before all time, God simply is, and is what He would be, and does what He will; but what He wills is in accord with what He is, there being no spiritual schizophrenia, as if illicit components warred being limited, contained and mere species within a system.
When there He speaks, it is truth, for all creation is after His will, whether to make, to test, to cure or to discipline. Nothing escapes Him; and He, He has nothing to escape, having devised all things in accord with His will (Isaiah46:10, Ephesians 1:11).
11. Having made this little excursion into old territory, we re-affirm, it is when God makes His declaration that we find the Scriptures of Truth, setting apart Him who is Judge from the things to be judged, and as to these we find the Saviour held in reserve for His coming, before time, and even His own people discriminated before temporality had its institution.
12. Part of this temporal situation, was Job; and in Job, the divine declaration for the record, we have this testing in the presence of suffering, by the word, through the plan, in the response of God to the devil; and in this testing is not some other God, but He who having devised the plan of salvation, in His own Person held its key, the Saviour incarnated as Christ.
13. Before that incarnation, God was not lost: the Saviour was present, for the character He displayed on earth was present in heaven (cf. John 14:9); and in history therefore, it is the same Spirit of Christ who is active as in the writing of the Scriptures themselves (I Peter 1:10ff.). God does not change.
14. Moreover, we find in Job 19 that even Job becomes, at length aware, of this same, this very Redeemer and of His coming, and to no small extent, with what results for believing man.
It is time
It is time to stop the idolatry of the
unattested, total contrariety of Islam, the godless idolatries of Buddhism (for
starting with no God, many of them even make Buddha to fit where he left no
space, another of the antinomies of unbelief cf. SMR pp. 995-1026), and all the rest of man’s
inventions, cultural religions, and to return to the One who came to show
Himself, as none other has done, could do or will do (cf. SMR Chs. 1, 10);
though as many try as in some tennis tournament, where it is only the Champion
who wins, though a seemingly endless parade of hopefuls make their assault.
In that case, however, the Champion is not so, until he wins; in this one, time itself is mere structure, and He had won before He began, as God always does (Rev. 13:8), even specifying triumphal points on the way, whether in enduring agony for salvation (Psalm 22:1ff.), or meeting the great congregation after being murdered (Psalm 22:25): for He will work, and who can overthrow it, and He will speak, and who makes the contrary happen! (Isaiah 14:27, 43:13).
As He says,
Compare His words and history.
After all, THAT is something He ASKS you do to (Isaiah 43:8ff., 48:6ff.).
It is equally delightful and staggering when you do it; not in the sense of being SURPRISED, any more than the Rockies surprise you as you regard the undisturbed magnitude of their solemnities, but in that of being impelled to praise by the sheer wonder of it.
We shall now DV select various foci in Job, to show the above. As this may be somewhat detailed, to the next Chapter, let us proceed.