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Job and people of the heavenly kingdom

The book of Job in the Bible is especially meaningful when read in conjunction with the Gospels. Here, two different stages in the plan and heart of God’s salvation are stated, and in between is inserted the entire history of Israel, the age of the Law.

Although the book of Job comes after the books of the law in the Bible, the events in the book took place in a time before the law was given through Moses. This timing is meaningful because it is part of God’s plan.

Job is the manifestation of the seed of the kingdom. He is not the only one, for the manifestation of the seed of the kingdom began with Abel, then Noah, then Job, and then Abraham.

The history of Israel in the Old Testament is the seed of the kingdom of heaven buried in the earth.

The New Testament, on the other hand, is the seed of the kingdom of heaven beginning to grow out of the ground, sprouting and maturing until it is ripe and finally harvested.

This is the plan of God, all completed in Jesus Christ.

But as part of the plan, before giving the law to Israel, God chose a man on the earth, Job, as a preparation.

The key criterion of this man: Faith in God.

Satan’s Challenge

Satan challenged Job, trying to prove that even such an excellent man as Job was not worthwhile because all his uprightness, fear of God, and turning away from evil, were due to the benefits he had received from God. Satan makes a straightforward prediction as an argument against Job: as soon as those benefits were removed, Job would be changed, turning his heart away from God and even cursing God.

Satan’s intentions are evident here. Satan is against God’s choice of man, and he considers God’s treatment of him (Satan) to be unreasonable. In Satan’s mind, the worship is the result of a trade. He himself is the inventor of this kind of trade. Giving benefits in exchange for the worship of angels is the very trade that Satan started and dealt with (Ezekiel 28:16).

But all the benefits that Satan uses to give to the fallen angels for their worship come from God’s original gift to him, and none of them are of Satan’s own creation. Satan is not a creator but a creature.

The created should not use what is given by the creator against the creator. This is the basic moral element in the relationship between the creator and the created. It is a fundamental order, the most basic order of the universe. Any deviation from or violation of this order is lawlessness, which originates from Satan, long before the sin entered into man, and will be fully revealed on earth in the end (2 Corinthians 2:7-8).

It is in Satan’s nature and interest to challenge God in relation to Job, because it has to do with Satan’s own future.


But God finds a precious thing in the man Job: faith. This is where God’s confidence in Job lies because God knows that true faith does not grow out of man but comes from God. Even if faith is a very small seed, it has the potential of eternity in it.

God allowed Satan to test Job. God had confidence in the result.

The testing of Job was unprecedented upsets, challenges, and destruction of all aspects of a person’s life, as severe as God would allow.

The result of the test showed that Satan was almost right.

But Satan was wrong on a crucial point. After Job was deprived of everything, not only of material things but also of his dignity and honor based on his virtues, righteousness, and his piety in fear of God, there was still a precious thing that was left in him: he believed in God.

He had faith in God. Faith of a mustard seed size perhaps, but faith nevertheless.

Although his knowledge of God was limited, there was in him a thing called “faith”, and this faith was not destroyed. It was not self-confidence, but on the contrary, faith in God when he was not confident at all.

That was enough for God. It is not enough for God to be completely satisfied with man, but it is enough for God to answer Satan. God affirms His plan with man.

But it is important to understand what kind of faith God was looking for and found in Job to His satisfaction: contrary to a very common misunderstanding, Job’s faith was not that he believed God would certainly restore his fortune after all the destruction and calamity. He did not have that kind of belief at all, and more importantly, that was not the kind of faith that God was looking for, even if Job had it.

This is the faith God expected to find and did find in Job: despite all the destruction and calamity, Job never questioned the righteousness of God. He grew bitter about himself and even cursed his birth, but he did not curse God. You may make a theological argument that cursing one’s birth is an indirect way to express disrespect to God, but there is a fundamental difference, and the difference marks the nature of a person’s heart. And the heart is where God searches (Psalm 44:21, Jeremiah 17:10, Romans 8:27, Revelation 2:23).

This matter of true faith in the righteousness of God Himself rather than in the benefits one receives from God is of fundamental importance. But the point is very commonly misunderstood. Misunderstanding the true nature of faith is both a cause and an indicator of a weak faith. We become weak because we focus on ourselves, not on God Himself.

Note that in the end, God did restore Job’s fortune. But that is precisely an illustration of the beauty of true faith. The true faith is in God, not in the blessings, but blessings do come with God because that is God’s nature.

For Job, his fortune on earth was restored. However, for the New Testament saints, the earthly blessing is not the ultimate hope of their faith. Job’s test was only a parable, not the real substance for eternity and God’s kingdom. For this purpose, as in most parts of the Old Testament, Job’s blessing is manifested in the earthly, namely his family and his fortune. That is all but a shadow pointing to the real substance, the heavenly blessings in Christ and eternity.

Receiving a kingdom that is not to be shaken (when everything else is to be shaken) is the true substance of the hope for God’s people (Hebrews 12:28). The true faith waits for that eternal kingdom despite all the calamity of this world. That is why in the epistles Christ sent to his churches in the book of Revelation, the highest praise to a church (Philadelphia) characterizes the saint’s faith in this peculiar way: “You kept my word of patience” (Revelation 3:10).

The word of patience. The word is the Word of God, but it is not about doctrines and creeds, but about godly patience, patience not for any earthly fortune sometime in the future, but patience for the coming of the ultimate kingdom of God.

Faith that is detached from Christ’s word of patience is not true faith.

Job was not chosen from among the children of Adam to give God a perfect answer, but as a representative of faith, to give God a basic reason to answer Satan’s challenge to the fundamental value of man (in fact, a challenge to God’s plan for man).

Through Job, God illustrated why He chose man as the object and vessel to fulfill His plan of salvation and why He will continue from that point on. This will soon lead to Abraham.

But what truly satisfies God is not in Job, but in Christ.

The Book of Job is not the Gospel

God’s plan of salvation is hidden in the Book of Job, but the Book of Job itself is not the gospel. Job is not the representative of the new man born again In Christ unto the kingdom of heaven.

God began with Job, starting with such qualities as his fear of God and integrity, and burned them with fire until only one thing remained at the end, which was “faith”.

This was Job’s testimony on behalf of the children of Adam. It was not the end of God’s work with man but a preparation for a new stage of God’s plan with man.

The Gospel and the New Man

The gospel arrived with the Lord Jesus, who first gave His own faith to men. Out of that faith grew a completely different kind of man, the new men born from above, a people of the heavenly Kingdom.

The most beautiful summary of the characters of the people of the heavenly Kingdom is found in Matthew 5.

They live temporarily on this corrupt and fallen earth, and they do not belong to this world, nor is the world envious of them;

For they are the poor in spirit; they are the mourners; they are the meek; they are the hungry and thirsty for righteousness; they are the compassionate; they are the pure; they are the peacemakers; they are also the persecuted for their righteousness.

But they are the people of the kingdom of heaven, and they are blessed.

For the kingdom of heaven is theirs, and they shall be comforted, and they shall inherit the earth, and they shall be filled, and they shall have mercy, and they shall see God, and they shall be the sons of God, and the kingdom of heaven is theirs.

With regard to such a people, the word of God here begins with “the kingdom of heaven is theirs” (Matthew 5:3) and ends with the repetition of “the kingdom of heaven is theirs” (Matthew 5:10), so profoundly meaningful.

Salt and Light

They are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Without them, the earth, which thinks it is rich and delicious, would soon rot. Without them, the world, which thinks it is wise and intelligent, immediately becomes dark.

The Lord is the wise businessman, the all-knowing investor, who paid a very high price for the whole earth. He wanted the treasure hidden in the earth, considering it worthy of the value of his investment. The treasure is his little ones, the heavenly ones.

The Lord poured himself out into his people. The world does not understand them, does not appreciate them, and even rejects them, but it can’t go through life without their benefits and effects.

If they cease to have the property of salt that reserves, this earth shall feel it; if they cease to have the light that shines, this world shall feel it because the world suffers without them, even though it despises them.

Therefore, these people cannot cease to be salt and cannot cease to be light. They please God, but not men. The Lord has no other backup plan for them nor any other use of them.

The glad tidings of the kingdom

Think not that, in the teaching on the mountain in Matthew 5, the Lord was only promoting a more reasonable way of life or advocating a noble ethic. If you and I really are the kind of people the Lord is talking about, even if we fit into just one point of the characters spoken by the Lord, we will rejoice when we hear His words, as one who is in distress seeing deliverance.

For your heart understands one thing that the rest of the world does not understand, that the Lord is not just coming to encourage people to be “good”, but is declaring that there is such a people on earth, a people who were predestined before the creation of the world to belong to Him. They are His “little ones”. They are poor in spirit, mournful, meek, hungry and thirsty for righteousness, compassionate, pure in heart, peacemakers, and are persecuted for righteousness; they were hopeless prior to the Lord’s arrival, not because they were incompetent, but because they were placed in a place to which they do not belong, a “strange country”, in which they were strangers and foreigners.

They were strangers and foreigners in it, not only because of the difference in mindset, culture, and values, but more importantly because of the difference in “blood” (life). This is not their country, not their home, and they have a hard time here. They could hardly survive in this sinful world before the appearance of the Lord Jesus, the King of their kingdom. They were “weak” in the eyes of the world; they were despised and persecuted, and had the Lord not come in time, they would have had no more courage or reason to persevere in the face of the tides of evil.

But now their Lord, their Savior, came and proclaimed (a proclamation, not just an exhortation) that:

Blessed are you, for the kingdom of heaven is yours.

They heard it. This is the gospel for the heavenly people, and this is their glad tidings.

For the Lord brings a completely different kingdom. The people of that new kingdom have become a new kind of people who, although they still have to journey for a while on this sin-filled earth, are “not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21.