Job is a slightly mystical character from the Old Testament who endured unparalleled hardship and possibly lived around the same time as Abraham. However, Job prefigured Jesus in a number of amazing ways.
Given the size of his estate listed in the first chapter, Job must have been a successful individual and he was clearly well respected – he is described as ‘blameless’.
This does not mean Job was ‘sinless’ – there is a difference between being sinless and blameless. The term ‘sinless’ describes a vertical dimension whereas being ‘blameless’ describes a horizontal dimension. Job was not ‘sinless’ before God (unlike Jesus). However, from the watchful eye of his peers, no one could charge Job with any moral failure. His reputation was impeccable and we could borrow a phrase from 1 Timothy 3:2 and say that Job was ‘above reproach’. With the exception of the Lord Jesus, Scriptures like Romans 3:23 make it clear that no one has been or ever will be sinless.
However, as is the case with so many Old Testament characters, one of the great things about Job is that he prefigured Jesus Christ in a number of ways. God was teaching something of the coming Redeemer through the life of Job – consider the following parallels:
- Job was declared innocent and blameless – Jesus was the sinless lamb of God
- Satan is permitted access to Job to inflict unspeakable harm – Satan had the same access to Jesus resulting in his unjust trial and crucifixion.
- Satan was convinced he would be proven right when accusing Job and it backfired – in the same way, Satan thought he would have victory with Jesus’ death, but it backfired spectacularly with the resurrection.
- Job suffered terribly and then received an enormous blessing – Jesus suffered unimaginably, enduring the ‘cup of wrath’, and was then exalted and raised to glory.
- Job’s friends avoided God’s judgment because Job interceded for them (Job 42:7-9) – in the same way, we avoid God’s judgment because Jesus intercedes for us!
Can you see these patterns and how Job is typological of Jesus Christ?
Although the book of Job is a heavy read, it has a very happy ending with lovely detail included. We are told that God gave Job twice as much as he had before (compare Job 1:2-3 with Job 42:12-13). Yet, if you look carefully, you will notice that there are only 7 sons and 3 daughters at the end (the same as at the beginning) as opposed to 14 sons and 6 daughters. Why is this – all the other numbers doubled?
The reason the number of his children does not appear to have been doubled was that he had not lost his original children in the first place – they had just been taken to heaven and Job would be reunited with them in heaven one day, so they were also doubled! It’s great how these little details tie together.
We strongly recommend reading the book of Job in one sitting. As heavy as the material is in places, we believe you will feel spiritually exhilarated at the end, particularly when reading through chapters 38-42. The is no better book for appreciating the majesty, splendour and magnificence of our great God.
Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand… (Job 38:4 NIV)