CHAPTER 10 - The Satan in Job, Human Adversary or Evil Incarnate?
The topic of whether or not Satan exists is not one that can be casually glanced at. One cannot merely take a cursory view of some of the common Scriptures that are from the scant armory of ammunition used to prove there is a “satan.” It would be impossible to fully explore the topic of “Satan’s” existence or absence of existence without taking a good look at the book of Job. I would like to lay out the concept of how Satan has traditionally been seen in the book of Job, and then I will submit the concept of how Satan should more correctly be viewed when considering that ancient document. After that, I will delve into an explanation of some of the passages and concepts that help us to understand exactly what is the situation with the Satan in the book of Job.
Allow me to remind you that this concept, that is the concept of a cosmic archenemy of Yahweh not existing in the form of a being called “Satan,” is not a new idea. Some seem to think this idea is birthed from rabbinic Judaism however, if one looks at the post-exilic development of Judaism, one will see that it was Rabbinic Judaism and its mystical brother Kabbalism, which cemented the false idea of a cosmic “satan” into the religion of the Jews, which then became a tenet of the religion of the Muslims and Christians. Therefore, it is not from Rabbinic Judaism that the thought of Satan not existing springs, rather it is centuries before post-exilic Judaism took form that the Jews testified to there being only one God and no other such as a cosmic Satan. The belief in other Gods did exist for the Hebrew people at times during their adventurous history; however, the predominant perspective that was to be held by the chosen people was that there truly is only one God, only one being that is supernal, celestial, and ethereal.
In his 1929 book titled, “Origin of the Church and Synagogue” author and scholar, Kaufman Kohller outlines many concepts and practices that the Jews adopted as a result of their Persian exilic experience. Although Kohler does a fine job of pointing out those practices and beliefs that came from exile, he does not make it his job to conclude that a true follower of Yahweh is to reject these additions to the faith of Israel. Kholler is in all likelihood coming from the perspective of so many of the Rabbinic sages through out the centuries. It is not far fetched to say Kholler, because of his ingrained belief system which I refer to as “his grid,” accepts the concept that says Torah Scholars and Rabbis are allowed to alter the Faith of Israel at numerous and varied fundamental levels, in order to move with culture and current trends.
True, many of the practices of Judaism are founded on the Torah and stand up clearly to the litmus test of analyzing said practice through the light of the Torah. But, and there seems to always be a great, big but; all through Israel’s history they were exhorted to not add to or take away from the Word of Yahweh, that Torah. All through Israel’s history, they were told not to learn the way of the nations and all through her history Israel was told by Yahweh and his prophets to keep commands of the Torah in the manner He wanted them kept from the beginning; that is without adding doctrines of men and teaching them as commandments. The Israel of God has continually fallen short of the injunctions that God has placed on her as a people who are supposed to be His faithful. Here is a short list of some of the additions Kohler identified as coming out of Persia only to become “foundational” in post-exilic Judaism. Notice that demonology was a late addition to the faith of the Jews known as Judaism and one should not consider the turning from the demonology of the Persians as an anti-biblical Judaic behavior.
Pg 45...Thus the entire Messianic hope of Judaism underwent a change, while at the same time the Jewish angelology and demonology was formed under Perso-Babylonian influence.
Pg 50…In post exilic time the use of the name Yahweh became more and more restricted and finally withdrawn from common use…
For the people at large the name Adonai, “The Lord,” was introduced as a substitute both in the reading and translation of the Scriptures, as is shown by the Septuagint and the Targum.
Pg 58… Apparently the first benediction introducing the Shema, which directly refers to the Deutero-Isaianic verse: “ the Former of light and Creator of all things”- the term Ra, “evil,” being intentionally changed, in order not to have evil ascribed to God- was brief, as the Shema itself was originally brief and only gradually extended, as were also the Benedictions.
Pg 63…It seems, then, that under Persian influence the Hasidim introduced the wearing of the Teffillin, which had been used before as amulets, as a religious practice based upon the scriptural passage, and also made it a rule not to walk four ells without them.
Pg 168… But since the Scriptures do not indicate a place of punishment for those found wicked in the divine judgment or a place of reward for those found righteous, the Apocalyptic writers borrowed their ideas from the Persians.
Pg 203…The Babylonian captivity was the crucible from which emerged the Synagogue, a house of God for the people, a religious democracy.
Pg 273…[speaking about the Gnostic Christians which is the Christianity of today Kohler says]… Their system was a combination of Babylonian and Persian systems, a dualism of light and darkness, or of life and death, in which however the Persian predominated, inasmuch as the Babylonian star deities were turned into evil powers and the mother goddess Ishtar into a demon Namrus, the consuming noon heat, who, in opposition to the Jewish religion, was given the name of Ruah Di K’dusha, “the Holy Ghost.”
The above small list of changes that occurred as a result of Persian influence contains the Shema; the synagogue system; teffillin; heaven and hell as the destination for the dead; and demonology/angelology which is so prolific in thought today.
Is it any wonder the God of the Universe came to earth as the Messiah to die and to teach the correct application of the Torah? So much has been added to the Torah by man that true faith in the God of Israel remains hidden away under the mountains of traditions. Traditions that were borrowed and learned from non-God fearing nations.
It seems to me that the Israelite people, because of their exposure to Persian influence, were robbed of the true message and manner of the Torah and through that were rendered as prisoners. As a result of their Persian sojourn, what was to be an exclusively monotheistic Torah keeping faith of Israel, was subject to the addition of laws, commands, precepts, statutes, and doctrines, by those who were supposed to be teaching the true faith. They in essence could not remove themselves from the situation or the false religious ideas that became pervasive to their culture and faith because of their situation.
We have talked previously at length about the Persian influence but it becomes clear when looked at critically that the real hold of the Persian influence came as a result of leaders of Israel adopting false doctrine from Persia and her religion. Clearly if the leaders and people abjectly refused to accept any practice or idea that wasn’t completely Torah based, they would have not become blind and deaf. It seems as if there was a bit of a catch 22 going on, The Israelites were told to prosper in exile, they got close to their captors and then were influenced and seduced by their captor’s ways. Those who would have had the leadership strength to guide Israel safely through the melting pot society of theology and mythology appeared to have misused their leadership, whether wittingly or not, to implement additional doctrines and concepts into the faith of Israel. Just before Isaiah tells us of the people being robbed, spoiled, and trapped in snares, he tells us that the servant would come to make the Torah honorable. The blatant disregard that was displayed in Persia/Babylon and beyond was a major contributor to the furthering of a false religious system developing called Judaism. Judaism was and is a precursor to Christianity and the practice of adopting concepts from other cultures has been rampant in both major streams of Christianity, Protestantism, and Catholicism. As Kaufman Kohler points out, the “Jews” of Judaism were really in a large part a product of their environments. In addition, it becomes apparent that the Christianity of today, which has Judaism in its direct lineage, is also a product of the Persian religious system with many adaptations and adoptions of varied philosophies and doctrines along the winding path to today. History reveals that many of the practices and beliefs of Christianity and Judaism are not found to be prescribed in Scripture. Moreover, we have not found “Satan” evident in any of the Scripture we have discussed yet.
Is “Satan” then to be found in the book of Job? After all, doesn’t it say right there in plain English, “Satan was among the sons of God.?” In addition, does it not also say that Satan “was going to and fro throughout the earth?” Well it is true, it does say that, but does it mean a cosmic Satan with the power to roam about freely looking for some trouble to get in, where he might cause one of Yahweh’s children grief and pain in hopes of getting them to curse God and die? It seems that that is exactly the case when the English words are read and taken literally but a deeper look brings much doubt of the literalness of this writing to the surface. Here is what is likely going on in the book of Job. Understand that for anyone, including me, to dogmatically say this is exactly what was occurring in Job, why it was occurring, and who the “satan’ was or what the “satan” is would be a mistake.
The minutiae of details which are given and the even greater minutiae of details which are absent from the story of Job make it impossible to give a complete and 100% accurate interpretation of all that is and is not contained in Job. It is quite possible though to be dogmatic at this point, on what the teaching in the wisdom book of Job is not about. I would be bold enough to state that the Book of Job is not about a man Job who becomes the target of an evil archenemy of God. The book of Job is not about a spiritual nemesis to man and God, who threatens the complete destruction of all who are Job’s and all that is Job’s. To be clear, the book of Job, when wisely viewed against the backdrop of the entire Scriptures, is not teaching us that “Satan” is always looking for a target and has to ask the God of the universe what he can do to cause someone grief. One writer elucidates the unlikeliness of such a situation when he says this in his article on the Implausibility of Satan;
…is Satan constantly asking God, "hey God, can I, like, shoot massive pain through Joe's body and see if that turns Joe against you?" And God says, "No, Satan, you may not." And then Satan asks, "well--can I, like, kill Joe's baby and see if that turns him against you?" And then God says, "Oh, okay, Satan, I guess you can do that." You might think I'm being sacrilegious but the point is that, although some theologies may sound logical when you read them in a book, when you try to take them off the pages of the book and see how they work in actual practice, they are exposed as just being pat answers that have no real value.
I agree with this writer on this point. He adeptly makes the point that the existence of a counter–God called Satan, who begs God for opportunities to afflict the faithful, is implausible. There are so many inconsistencies and incongruities in common “Satanology” that one need not investigate it for long to see it is very suspect as a theological doctrine or teaching. It has been easy for contemporary scholars and spiritists who think Satan is a spirit being to be contended with, to impose their evolved concept of this spirit being onto ancient texts of the Bible. Texts which were never intended to instruct us in that manner.
When looking at Job while having the information that “satan” is the English translation for the Hebrew word for adversary or one who opposes or accuses, we can come to a more clear and sensible conclusion as to what is being taught in Job. The fact that the word sawtawn is only either a messenger sent from Yahweh; or a human man acting in an adversarial manner; or the rebellious nature which is inherently present in the spirit of every human being; it is easy to conclude that the story of Job is not supporting the commonly understood idea of “Satan.” In Job’s story, we are given the opening lines of the tale and promptly we are told of Job’s righteous standing.
There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.
Job 1:1 KJV
Why is it so easy to understand that this statement does not literally mean Job is perfect? Most understand it to speak of Job’s maturity and desire to do the best he could for God always. If understanding the terminology that states Job is perfect is so simple, should we not be able to understand the use of the term “sawtawn” translated as “Satan” in the English text? Study will show that the wording used is intended to mean something different from a literal “Satan” entity. In the Hebrew as it appears in all Hebrew texts we have the term “ha sawtawn.” The fact sawtawn is preceded by “ha,” which means “the,” shows us that it is a common noun, and refers to a title of someone or something and not a proper noun that would indicate the name of someone or something. This is represented fairly in Young’s Literal Translation of the Bible by being translated as “the Adversary”;
And the day is, that sons of God come in to station themselves by Jehovah, and there doth come also the Adversary in their midst.
Job 1:6 KJV
So, just as Job can be called “perfect” and not literally be perfect, then the English word “Satan” potentially could be meaning something other than the cosmic Satan we have been told it means. In his article titled, The Satan, Bill Long writes about translation of the word:
Standing behind the translation "Satan" in almost all translations is the Hebrew word hasatan. In Hebrew the "ha" is the definite article. If we were, therefore, to take the name directly over into English it would be "The Satan." Every time the word is used in the first two chapters of Job (an amazing 12 times), the creature is called hasatan. Never once is it called "satan." Thus, as any good translator must do, you must render what you have. It is "The Satan." Therefore, the word hasatan is more of a title than a proper name, more of a designation than an appellation.
Another element of ancient culture that is being taught in this writing is that the servant Job is one who regularly brings sacrifices to Yahweh.
And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.
Job 1:5 KJV
Verse 5 of chapter 1 is teaching us there is a sacrificial system of some type and because Job is perfect and upright as the story reveals, He would be sacrificing as a priest or through utilizing a priest of the Most High. This therefore would likely occur at some type of a temple that is approved by Yahweh or at least at some place where there is an altar approved by Yahweh.
Scholars disagree on the exact period of Job and the exact dating of when the story was written and I will not be developing an argument to show when this book was written or the events it seems to speak of took place. It is however easy to conclude that the story of Job, whether real or allegorical, did not occur before Esau was alive. Esau was the son of Isaac whose story comes some time after the flood of Noah in the book of Genesis. A clan called the Temanites eventually surface as a clan that is the descendants of Esau. Now in the story of Job one of Job’s “counselors” was a Temanite. This means he would have to have been of the line of Teman. The first Teman who appears in Biblical history is the grandson of Esau. Esau had a first son named Eliphaz who is not the Eliphaz of Job. Then Eliphaz had a son named Teman. This Teman may or may not be the one who is referred to in the mention of Eliphaz the Temanite but there is no previous option so at least through this and the other characters mentioned in Job, we know that the story of Job took place no further back than 2 generations this side of Esau. A third point to draw from the ancestral references is to aid us in believing that the horrific tale of the destruction of Job’s family and wealth is about real people and truly would have occurred somewhere in history. Job being called perfect, is described for us as one who fears Yahweh and one who shuns evil or turns off evil. If the text describes what it means to be “perfect” then can we too allow the text to define what it means to be "ha satan?”
Job as a sacrificer is seen according to chapter one where we see Job going off to make sacrifices on behalf of his children;
It is possible that Job performed the service of sacrifice on his own but more likely is that Job employed the services of an approved priest, as was the practice for the ancients from periods long before Job’s story came to us. Some may not be aware of the presence of priests during the period represented in Job’s story, however, long before the
Hebrews were instructed to build the Temple in a specific fashion and maintain personnel in specific priestly offices, nations all over the known world operated with established Temple environments that incorporated priestly personnel. Priests of Yahweh were present at the time of Abraham, which was before Job’s time. The King of Salem, who blessed Abraham, was a priest according to the account in Genesis seen below.
And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all:
And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. Genesis 14:18 KJV
Now Job would take his sacrifices before the Lord and offer them with a pure heart. It is often thought that to say someone comes before the Lord here in the book of Job means that there is an audience in heaven where the Creator resides.
We first see the phrase in the writing of Job in chapter 1:
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and the adversary came also among them.
The term “before the LORD,” as we have it in the English will be considered in depth further on in this chapter. It is a term that speaks of someone, a physical human being, coming into the presence of Yahweh. In Genesis 19 verse 27, Abraham is said to get up early in the morning at the place of the previous evening’s sacrifices where he is said to have been “before the Lord.” We are told Nimrod was a mighty hunter “before the Lord” and in the Exodus period, Moses is told the Israelite males must go up to the tabernacle three times a year to appear “before the Lord.” Exodus 30 verse 8 shows us the place in the tabernacle where Aaron was to burn incense unto God, was known as a place that was “before the Lord.” In the later history of Israel, the term “before the LORD” is a term to indicate coming to the Temple to worship or offer sacrifice. The prophet Zechariah tells of a time when many people from many nations will go to the Holy city Jerusalem that is known to be the geographic location of the temple and there they will pray “before the Lord.”
Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD.
As indicated, Job was one who sacrificed regularly and as the priest of his clan perhaps in the same manner that Jethro, Moses’ father in law was a priest of his Midian clan, he brought sacrifices on behalf of his children who may have sinned and require that blood be shed for them. The connection to Job being a sacrificer and the term “before the LORD,” is enough to lead us in a direction to see whom the sons of Elohim which came before Yahweh in Job’s story were. They were not angels but were men, who were either going to the “temple” or designated sacrificial precinct that was administrated by a priest or they were gathering to worship, “before Yahweh,” in some other place. Either way, we are not necessarily seeing the picture of angelic beings, with one of them being Satan. If the case was that Satan had entered heaven to talk to Yahweh after he was supposedly cast out of heaven then we should be asking; “hey, why is Satan back in heaven?” How could this cosmic monster be entering the heavenly court to talk to Yahweh face to face? The picture is just not there when we are given information of what other picture may be discerned from this text. If Satan was evil and was ejected from Heaven, how is he able to get back in to heaven where God is? Especially since iniquity cannot stand in the presence of God.
Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he?
Habakkuk 1:13 KJV
So let me suggest that what we are shown in the writing of Job is a picture of human men gathering before the Lord at the Temple, or elsewhere. They are called the “sons of God” as are all who are His children. One of the men is opposed to Job for some reason. This one is said to be “ha sawtawn” the adversary, as the text says. Probably one of the following two things is going on in bringing about this situation. It is very possible we are seeing that a human adversary is jealous of Job and tells his friends, the sons of God, that Job is only so prosperous because Yahweh has a wall around him and therefore is favoring Job. This human adversary is allowed by the Creator to afflict Job as a test because Yahweh will prove to Job and all who are near that Job is serving Him out of love and not because Yahweh is seen as some kind of deified sugar daddy. In the story, Job never once blames all his calamity on “Satan.” Job knows that good and evil come at the hand of Yahweh and he makes this abundantly clear when he admonishes his wife for her part in encouraging Job to curse God and die.
But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips. Job 2:10 KJV
The telling of this tragic tale is not told through simple historic prose or documentation, rather the style of writing known as Wisdom Writing is used. One of the purposes of this Wisdom Writing, called Aggadah in Hebrew, is to teach us that good and bad can happen to every human being on the planet regardless of how “perfect” one is. The adversarial force that came against Job is not a cosmic archfiend but is most probably other men. The second possibility for explaining the situation in Job is that Yahweh sent an angel of some celestial variety to enact the affliction on Job. However, in my view it is most plausible that a jealous contemporary of Job performed the evil acts that befell Job.
There are numerous assertions as to who or what the satan in Job is. Saadiah Gaon a 9th century translator, biblical scholar and philosopher states that this “satan” in Job was a man who envied Job and was not a cosmic monster as other of his contemporaries suggest. We can find reference to Saadiah Gaon’s remarks made on the monstropedia.orgwebsite.
Not all Rabbinic commentators agreed on Satan's spiritual nature. Rabbi Saadia Gaon, an [9th] century philosopher and scholar, wrote in his commentary to the Book of Job that Satan was simply a human being who resented Job's righteousness and called upon God to test him. This interpretation rests on a literal reading of the Hebrew word שטן or "adversary,” which Saadia claims refers only to the intentions of the individual in question and not to any spiritual or supernatural status
Other sources are available to direct us to a correct understanding that the “adversary” who accused Job was just an envious worshipper of God. Jealousy and envy causes many problems according to the Scriptures and the Apostles, who agreed that jealousy and envy do damage to people. The letter from the apostle James makes mention of what results from jealousy in James 3:16, he says; For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. The Proverbs teach us how inexorable jealousy is and it is next to impossible to withstand it.
Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?
Proverbs 27:4 KJV
We find the following understanding on the Key Bible Lessons web site that explains well the thought of Job’s adversary being a human being:
THE 'SATAN' OF JOB
This leaves only the record in Job where the word 'Satan' occurs (but there again, the AV has the revealing term 'adversary' in the margin). The introduction of the orthodox personal Devil theory into the Job picture is totally incongruous. This 'Satan' or 'adversary' was 'among the sons of God' (the worshipers) who came to 'present themselves before the Lord' (Job 1:6). To picture the traditional Devil in such a situation is an absurdity, and betrays a very low concept of God.
To see it for what it really says - an adversary of Job, a professed worshiper of God who was jealous and envious of Job's favor with God - is perfectly natural and reasonable, and is the picture anyone would get if it were translated correctly. To suppose that God would negotiate and argue with a supernatural personage almost as powerful as Himself - as traditional theology would have us think - and give him power to bring God's faithful servant Job to the very gate of death, illustrates the depth of confusion to which popular religion has sunk.
In the above excerpt we see that the writer identifies the “adversary” in Job as a human being who may well have been a worshipper of God but became envious of Job and therefore took on the role of adversary, which we see translated as “satan,” bringing trouble upon Job that caused Job to experience great suffering.
THE ADVERSARY IS A HUMAN WHO IS FILLED WITH JEALOUSY
Evidence suggests that the “satan” in Job was a human adversary acting out of a heart of jealousy yet still under the sovereign allowance of the Creator. Where else is the adversary a human, or an inherent, rebellious propensity to choose evil in man? There are a number of instances in Scripture where the adversary is an “angel.” In the majority of uses in the “Old Testament” where the Hebrew word for “angel,” which is melek, is used, it is clear the word is speaking of a human being, as is the case in Job. It is entirely possible that the majority of references to “angels” in Scripture are human beings. The lesser probability when the word angel appears in Scripture is that the messenger being spoken of is a supernatural being such as a celestial messenger from above. Because we see the word “angel” in the English translation does not have to mean it is a spirit being that can fly through the heavens and perform tasks on earth then fly back again for the next assignment. This is a difficult concept for one who is convinced that angels are everywhere and working all the time to orchestrate human affairs and bring messages from Yahweh. Based on the fact that Yahweh is the omniscient sovereign who is present everywhere all the time as the non-physical “Holy Spirit,” it is then possible that He is the entity directing all human affairs without controlling the will of a human which has to make a choice. Although He is not moving each of us as if we were pawns in a chess match, he certainly does have an effect on humanity and can direct some of our choices as was seen in 2nd Samuel 24 when Elohim was angry and caused David to number the tribes of Israel. By somehow setting up the path so David would choose to number the tribes of Israel, a path was opened up for God to render a needed judgment. That said, is there any reason a person who has been stirred by the Creator’s Spirit to perform an action or behavior, whether wittingly or unwittingly, would not fit into the definition of a mawlawk? An angel (mawlawk) can simply be a person who is acting out of a prompting from God to move in a certain direction or speak a certain word. Being as how there are human “angels” in Scripture, it makes perfect sense to be open to the idea of a Satan being a human too. So, are there human “satans” in the Scriptures?
We know that in the New Testament when Peter desired the things of man instead of the things of God, the Messiah Himself called Peter a Satan. In the Old Testament, there are numerous occasions where “the satan” is a human and numerous occurrences of a satan coming from God. In the book of Numbers, we see the adversary is manifested by Yahweh because God is angry with Balaam. In other places, we are told of an “evil spirit” which comes from The Lord upon certain individuals. It is difficult for many to try to separate what is called “an evil spirit” that comes from God, from being connected to a “satan” under the present day concept of Satan and evil spirits. Even if one were to say that the evil spirit was not Satan but was just one of his many minions then one would still have to deal with the fact that the evil spirit is said to come from God in every case that “satan” appears in the Old Testament. Below are a few examples that show the “evil spirit” is from Yahweh. These verses are among many that firm up the position that the so-called “bad demonic spirits from Satan” are in fact not bad demonic spirits but are methods and modalities Yahweh uses to accomplish His will. The “lying spirit” is included in this list for your discernment as well. I have added emphasis to the verses that show that Yahweh sends the evil spirit.
Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech: Judges 9:23 KJV
But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him. 1Samuel 16:14 KJV
And the evil spirit from the LORD was upon Saul, as he sat in his house with his javelin in his hand: and David played with his hand. 1Samuel 19:9 KJV
Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee. 1Kings 22:23 KJV
Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil against thee. 2Chronicles 18:22 KJV
There are a significant number of occurrences in the Bible that demonstrate “the satan” to be a human being. In many verses the Hebrew word “sawtawn,” is translated as “adversary.” These examples, which I cite below, truly represent what a “satan” is in the Hebrew Scriptures. The following list shows the use of the Hebrew word “sawtawn” in each verse but translate it as “adversary.” I have added emphasis and placed the English word “satan” into the text to show how one reads it differently if the translated word is not correctly chosen by the translators.
1Samuel 29:4 KJV+ And the princes8269 of the Philistines6430 were wroth7107 with5973 him; and the princes8269 of the Philistines6430 said559 unto him, Make this fellow return,7725, (853), 376 that he may go again7725 to413 his place4725 which834, 8033 thou hast appointed6485 him, and let him not3808 go down3381 with5973 us to battle,4421 lest3808 in the battle4421 he be1961 an adversary7854(satan) to us: for wherewith4100 should he reconcile7521 himself2088 unto413 his master?113 should it not3808 be with the heads7218 of these1992 men?376
2Samuel 19:22 KJV+ And David1732 said,559 What4100 have I to do with you, ye sons1121 of Zeruiah,6870 that3588 ye should this day3117 be1961 adversaries7854(satan) unto me? shall there any man376 be put to death4191 this day3117 in Israel?3478 for3588 do not3808 I know3045 that3588 I589 am this day3117 king4428 over5921 Israel?3478
1Kings 5:4 KJV+ But now6258 the LORD3068 my God430 hath given me rest5117 on every side,4480, 5439 so that there is neither369 adversary7854 (satan) nor369 evil7451 occurrent.6294
1Kings 11:14 KJV+ And the LORD3068 stirred up6965 an adversary7854 (satan) unto Solomon,8010 (853) Hadad1908 the Edomite:130 he1931 was of the king's seed4480, 2233, 4428 in Edom.123
1Kings 11:23 KJV+ And God430 stirred him up6965 another adversary,7854 (853) (satan)Rezon7331 the son1121 of Eliadah,450 which834 fled1272 from4480, 854 his lord113 Hadadezer1909 king4428 of Zobah:6678
1Kings 11:25 KJV+ And he was1961 an adversary7854 (satan) to Israel3478 all3605 the days3117 of Solomon,8010 beside854 the mischief7451 that834 Hadad1908 did: and he abhorred6973 Israel,3478 and reigned4427 over5921 Syria.758
Psalms 109:6 KJV+ Set6485 thou a wicked man7563 over5921 him: and let Satan7854 (adversary) stand5975 at5921 his right hand.3225
With perhaps the last verse in the above list as the only one in question, all the examples given are instances where a human being is called a “satan.” We see sawtawn translated as adversary correctly on a number of occasions because that is the correct translation of this Hebrew word.
It is interesting to note that if in fact there is a “Satan,” his name has remained unchanged through at least three language changes to get to the English. In Hebrew, it is sawtawn, in Greek it is satanas, which comes from the Hebrew; and in English of course, it is “satan.” There has been no trouble bringing the supposed name of the archenemy of “God” across barriers of language without altering it significantly from the original pronunciation. The power of a myth to stay current is incredible. The fact that Satan has not undergone a name change, unlike the name Jesus which has been changed from Ieseus which in turn was changed from Yeshua, testifies to this satan-myth being developed and passed on from a huge misunderstanding and wrong interpretation of the meaning of the word satan. Meanwhile we have extensive evidence from Scripture and history that the “satan” was not ever to be understood as the name of a cosmic being.
The previously quoted verses showed that a “sawtawn” is a man and it is clearly revealed the propensity to be an adversary can be situated in what is known to be the spirit in man. The “spirit” of man, called the “ruah” in Hebrew, refers to man’s personal attitude and intentions with the word bearing the nuance of a force that influences. This is not particularly referring to a spiritual entity within a man but is understood by the Ancient Hebrews as man’s character. We can think of this term in the same way as we might think when we hear a person being spoken of as having a gentle spirit or a humble spirit; or perhaps an angry spirit. It is to be understood more as the description of a person’s character rather than identifying the presence of a supernatural entity inhabiting a person. Knowing that “spirit” does not necessarily mean some type of an ethereal being which is sent to inhabit a human man but may more likely describe the behavior of the person, helps us understand what an “evil spirit” is. When speaking of an “evil spirit” being sent to a person we are to recognize that person has been guided by the Creator in such a way that he or she no longer has a heart that chooses to live in a holy and pleasing manner. A manner that is in accordance with acceptable behavioral patterns of one who is submitted to God. Hence, an evil spirit was sent from Yahweh.
Imagine if you will, a young man who enters the realm of Christian leadership. This young man intends to serve “God” and lead His people in the ways of his understanding of the Word of God. At the outset, to give the benefit of the doubt, this young man has good intentions to do what is right and to honor and obey the Creator as he was taught from his pastoral schooling and church upbringing. This could be seen as a man of integrity and seems to have a spirit of holiness about him. As things go, he is a very charismatic individual and soon is the pastor of a thousands-big super-church and is broadcasting services across the globe on a satellite TV station. Early thirties, married,
words in the last sentence are “his ministry.” As with any church leader, he is quick to claim it’s “the Lords” ministry and that he is only the vessel. This story could go any number of ways; perhaps a counselling situation goes a little too far and the pastor gets involved sexually with his little lost sheep. Or although he is financially secure this pastor has a hankerin’ for the green stuff and takes a little more than his share on a semi-regular basis. Alternatively, maybe the sermon preparation on Thursdays was cut short one day by a “coincidental” appearance of a pornographic image on the internet while preparing. Now Pastor “golden boy” is visiting pornographic websites on an almost regular basis. This young man is in deep mental, emotional, and spiritual trouble but he is supposedly still leading “Gods people.”
I think as with many young professional church leaders, this pastor’s intention was pure enough off the start and pride, compromise, or selfishness crept in. Now, no longer serving “God” through his ministry, but regularly serving himself, he no longer could be considered as exhibiting a “holy spirit” but in essence he has received an “evil spirit.” Could one say this evil spirit was from Yahweh? I think so. For it was Yahweh who placed the opportunities for choice in the path of this self-aggrandizing pastor who was poor at self-assessing and unable to bridle his evil inclination. It is highly doubtful that Yahweh actually sends a type of a ghost-like entity into this man and through that, imparts an evil spirit to him. What type of a God just throws a powerful force into a weak human being to turn the human evil? Wouldn’t that fly against His architectural design of humanity to allow us free choice? We won’t engage in the free will discussion here but rather try to see the point as we think about the Pharaoh of the Exodus.
The King, we are told hardened his own heart a handful of times when the judgments came upon his kingdom, and then we are told, “God hardened the heart of Pharaoh.” What does it mean that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart?
It is possible that God just goes “ZAP” and now Pharaoh no longer has even the potential to agree with the Creator because his heart is hard. However, I think that a God who created humans with the ability of choice would not make such a forced change to a human creature, but allows the choices of our hearts to bring about that change all on our own. That change, due to Yahweh’s influences, is referred to as God hardening the heart. It makes sense that Yahweh after offering a way out over and over again to Pharaoh or anyone, would eventually stop giving chances for the hard hearted to go Yahweh’s way. After numerous rejections of the grace, love, and mercy of the Father, the Father simply leaves a rebellious human to their own devices. Refusing to do things God’s way, the Father leaves us to prove to ourselves that we are truly in control and allows us the chance to see the outcome of running the show our own way.
Letting a person run their life without receiving God’s direction and assistance is a little like what can happen when a child is being taught to ride a bicycle for the first time. It often happens with the child’s father trotting alongside for a number of attempts to help the child stay balanced and off the pavement. After a few wobbly attempts, the child insists that the dad let go and he do it by himself. The father tries, without breaking the little guy's “spirit,” to coax his child to continue accepting his help. Well, the child was simply too strong in his pleas and the father, knowing what the result would likely be, reluctantly allowed the little cyclist to go it alone. The father would ultimately be right, but he allowed his son to attempt a solo ride without his protective hand guiding his son’s progress. The father let go of the seat and the child’s wobbly start looked promising, however in a few novice pedal strokes the child crashed into a bush coming to a quick stop and fell to the ground. Suffering only a few minor scratches, the rider sheepishly turned back to the father and readily accepted his stabilizing hand on the next attempt.
If we relayed this story using biblical imagery and language, perhaps one could say that the child’s father, in releasing the child to his own designs, sent the child an evil spirit. The “evil spirit” in this scenario was simply the act of letting the child be the master of his own destiny, if only for a poignant moment. Like the pastor that was spoken of above or the Pharaoh, the child started out with the guidance of the Father but out of his or her own desires each one ended up separated from the protective and guiding presence of the Creator and thus were susceptible to an “evil spirit from the Lord.” An “evil spirit” when found in Scripture, always comes from Yahweh. A more understandable way to express this concept might be to say; due to the response to the circumstances that are presented to an individual, one has a greater inclination towards choosing and then receiving evil, when God places them in various defining situations.
Thought in the Apocalyptic Period Helped to Create the Satan of Today
Sawtawn was a common noun originally before it was transformed to a proper noun as the term passed through different cultures. The word should have kept its original meaning as it moved through time but it was altered because of a skewed concept of evil that flourished during the Apocalyptic period. A period where literature was produced to explain all manner of theological concept and done from the framework of a culture that had been given to mythology. The Apocalyptics were a truly Hellenized people and highly creative in their writing. This trait is particularly evident in the leaders and teachers of that religious culture. A culture that flourished under Greek and then Roman rule in the 400 years after coming out of the Persian exile. One writer points to the meaning of the word sawtawnas it should be seen in the story of Job.
The word 'satan' as used in many English Bibles, and in the book of Job, is a transliterated word from the Hebrew that means 'adversary' or 'opponent.' It can mean 'the adversary' or 'the opponent' as in Job, with the definite article 'the.' Sometimes it means 'accuser' as 'a prosecutor in a trial,' The word is a title. It is NOT a proper name as 'Satan.' Saddam is an adversary (a satan) to George Bush, but the opposite is also true; Bush is a satan to Saddam. Interesting enough the adversary in Job is a 'messenger' (Angel) of Yahweh (Job 1:6). So also in Job this satan was performing his properly appointed role as the 'adversary' of Yahweh. He is performing under the complete control of Yahweh, for in the above passage of Job, it indicates very clearly that Yahweh gives this adversary 'limited' power and authority to bring affliction (bad or evil) to Job.
It seems the reason the pronunciation of the word “Satan” moved through the linguistic labyrinth virtually unscathed is that it was a term describing a concept and behavior, not an actual name. The transition of the term from one language to another was virtually seamless as it described a concept and there was no word to adequately articulate the concept of “adversary” that was held by the original word sawtawn. Therefore, when an adversary was described by the Hebrew word sawtawn, the same adversary would have been described by the Greek word satanas and the English word “satan.” There is more for us to consider about the word sawtawn and its derivatives. It often falls to the revisionists as the ones responsible for taking a solid concept such as the word sawtawn, which is a common noun, and infusing it with new and not previously accepted meaning to create something drastically different from what was originally intended.
The word “sawtawn” (Strong’s 7854) has a minimal change to represent the plural form of this word. It is Strong’s 7853 (seen below), as mentioned earlier in this book:
H7853 saw-tan' A primitive root; to attack, (figuratively) accuse: - (be an) adversary, resist.
The following verses use a plural version of the Hebrew word for “satan” and in each of the following examples, once again the “satan” is always human and never divine. Emphasis is added.
Psalms 38:20 KJV+ They also that render7999 evil7451 for8478 good2896 are mine adversaries;7853 (satans) because8478 I follow7291 the thing that good2896 is.
Psalms 71:13 KJV+ Let them be confounded954 and consumed3615 that are adversaries7853 (satans) to my soul;5315 let them be covered5844 with reproach2781 and dishonor3639 that seek1245 my hurt.7451
Psalms 109:4 KJV+ For8478 my love160 they are my adversaries:7853 (satans) but I589 give myself unto prayer.8605
Psalms 109:20 KJV+ Let this2063 be the reward6468 of mine adversaries7853 (satans) from4480, 854 the LORD,3068 and of them that speak1696 evil7451 against5921 my soul.5315
Psalms 109:29 KJV+ Let mine adversaries7853 (satans) be clothed3847 with shame,3639 and let them cover5844 themselves with their own confusion,1322 as with a mantle.4598
Zechariah 3:1 KJV+ And he showed7200 me (853) Joshua3091 the high1419 priest3548 standing5975 before6440 the angel4397 of the LORD,3068 and Satan7854 standing5975 at5921 his right hand3225 to resist7853 (satans) him.
Once again, all but perhaps the Zechariah reference listed above are referring to human beings as the adversaries/satans, and even Zechariah can be shown to be a vision that contained human adversaries. We will discuss the Zechariah “Satan” in chapter 11 but for now, we can acknowledge the many occurrences of “satan” as a human being in the Scripture. So knowing that in most cases the “satan” is a human, is it possible to find if the “satan” may perhaps be a human being in Job? Shouldn’t we be eager to take the meaning of the original Hebrew word and try to understand how and why it was used here? In the Hebrew text, the article “the” is placed before the word for adversary. This indicates that we are dealing with a title for a character. Too quickly, we default to our belief system, which has taught us that this character is in fact Satan. However, there are many clear clues in the story of Job that tell us that it is Yahweh who does the evil to Job. Moreover, this evil was done for the most part, at the hands of men. Amelia Wilson expresses the point in her 2002 book with the idea that this story may in fact be a real occurrence but told with somewhat of a literary license in order to emphasize a point. Her book gives us a history of images and ideas about the devil and how they formed in the public imagination. Amelia says;
“The Satan in the story of Job is really a device in a traditional Jewish allegorical tale- Aggadah-used to illustrate a concept. Such Aggadic stories abound in the Talmudic literature and the frequent parable told by Jesus to his followers are in the same tradition.
The use of overemphasized and utterly embellished components in wisdom literature is so frequent in this ancient story telling that many have taken every aspect of the tale as literal. As Wilson stated above, Yeshua employed this technique in His teaching and even admitted to His disciples that He taught in parables. The reason being is that those not following Him would be incapable of understanding His meaning because they were unfamiliar with His personal style of teaching. If you have ever been the fifth wheel in a group of really tight friends who spend all their time together, then perhaps you might understand how an “outsider” might feel when listening to Yeshua. It is common for the fifth wheel guy to not get the humor or understand the passion or intensity behind the statements and stories of members of the core group. It is no fault of the fifth wheel’s but he or she simply lacks the exposure to the form, style, and mannerisms of those in the group. This difficulty in “getting” someone is particularly notable when a student in university walks into a professor’s class two or three times and then, when sitting with other students from that class, concedes to the group the difficulty they are having in comprehending what the prof is trying to teach. They may state their complaint by saying; “I don’t get him.”
Of course, what is meant by this student is that as a learner, he is having a difficult time connecting to and understanding the prof. Typically, there is another student or two who have had this professor in a previous class or semester, and they may respond something like this. “I never got him either for the first month but after I got to know him a little better he started to make sense.” The prof was really never being “senseless,” it was just that the student who was a new initiate to the prof and his style of teaching, eventually began to understand the prof as the student figured out the profs delivery techniques coupled with the profs body language, voice inflection and tone. All the pieces came together for the confused student when he received further understanding of the professor’s almost undetectable, sarcastic, and dry wit. We see the same thing going on with Yeshua and those who get to know Him and how He teaches and we should see Aggadah in a similar manner. Aggadah can be explained variously and one explanation that is fairly comprehensive says:
Aggadah (Hebrew, narrative) is rabbinic teaching which is not halakhah and which (is) stories, legends, history, and witticism. The rabbis themselves state that the aggadah is not authoritative and insist that no halakhah may be derived from aggadot, but it is held in high esteem concerning insight and piety. This is emphasized by the comment, "Do you want to know him who created the world?" read the aggadah. Aggadic literature was developed in Palestine from the era of the second Temple until the end of the Talmudic period.
Within the literature are expressed ideas and sentiments of the tannaim and the amoriam and draws on old myths and legends as well as popular teachings. For example, Rabbi Hillel was supposed to know "the conversations of trees and clouds, and of the beasts and animals," while Rabbi Meir was said to have known 300 fox fables.
Discourses on the rabbinical biblical teachings were preserved, and sermons apparently were delivered at Festivals, after the reading of the Torah scroll in synagogues on occasions of family joy and sorrow and at other public functions. Such discourses preserved in aggadic literature were subsequently employed (by) later rabbis.
In aggadic history of the literature some of the accumulative additions seem highly fanciful to later readers. For example, the contrast between Esau and Jacob in Genesis 27:22 is seen as a contrast between Esau's and Jacob's descendants, namely the Romans and the Jews.
Theological doctrines as well were discussed, and sages attempted to answer such questions as to whether the heavens or the earth were the first to be created, how proselytes should be treated or whether Israel's salvation was dependent on prior repentance. Much later mystical speculation also is drawn from aggadic teaching.
Although the aggadah lacked the authority of the halakhah it was the literature from which evolved over a period of nearly a thousand years the treasury of Jewish thought and feelings which formed the Hebrew people.
Understanding the nature of Aggadah allows the reader to glean the intended message from the story being told. Other stratagem used to aid comprehension would be perhaps to get to know the teacher or speaker of the story of Job; however, the fact is that we are unable to get to know the original speaker who spoke and penned the words of the book of Job thousands of years ago. Therefore, either we are left to adopt customary interpretations and understanding of the book of Job or we can try to do better, knowing that we may or may not be dealing with an actual occurrence that has been told to emphasize a point and not to teach us of literal characters. It may or may not be safe to presume that Job’s story actually happened to some degree, and I am aware there are many who say the entire story is an allegory or a myth. Some even allege that Job’s story is simply a retelling with different characters of an ancient mythical account of a suffering worshipper of the pagan gods. I, for now, will lean toward the probability of this being an occurrence which truly happened and that a lesson is to be gleaned from this tale that is “embellished for emphasis.” Who’s to say that we are not reading a well-written weave of truth and larger than truth words and ideas when ingesting this story? Perhaps it is so that Job existed and Job did suffer the trials depicted in his tale. It is not unusual that such mythical and poetic imagery might be added to the story to bring home the point that the teller wants to make.
Pictures of the human activity being the adversary in Job’s affliction are numerous. In Chapter 1 verse 8 we are told it is the sons of God coming before Yahweh. Most see this as a group of angels and “Satan” standing before Yahweh. This would be acceptable but first off, if “Satan” existed and had a heart to make a choice to do evil at one point and rebel, then how can he stand in the presence of the Almighty and remain. There is no sin or wickedness in Heaven at the throne of the Almighty. There is no possible way to reconcile that sin cannot be in the presence of Yahweh in Heaven and yet allow the one who is supposedly the epitome of sin into the heavenly court. The psalmist considers this in Psalms chapter 5:
For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee. Psalms 5:4
We are the Sons of God
Reading the above verse it is sensible to conclude that one who is the embodiment of sin would not likely be found in the presence of Yahweh in heaven. It is excessively convenient for erring theologians to simply flip a concept on its proverbial head in order to make a piece of their theology fit the distorted puzzle they call their belief system. Either Yahweh allows sin in heaven or He doesn’t. We can’t flip back and forth on this one. Knowing that evil cannot come in the presence of God and that the character of Satan is said to be the epitome of evil, then it is not possible for there to have been a Satan in the story of Job that literally went and stood in the presence of Yahweh. The adversary was in the presence of God or “before the Lord” and therefore we can ask who was it that came “before the Lord” if the verse is not talking about angels and Satan? In this tale, we are told those who come before Yahweh are “sons of God,” including the satan. If humans are sons of God then who are the “sons of God” in Job’s story?
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan(the adversary) came also among them.
One might also ask; “Hey, don’t I become a son of God when I choose to follow the Messiah?” The answer is; Yes. You do become a “son of God” when you choose to follow the Messiah. Of course a female becomes a daughter of God and the two groups combined then are the children of Yahweh. A son of God is at times still called a “son of God” even when they become a prodigal and choose to go against the Father’s wishes as the prodigal son in the Gospels did. Note the following list that represents who a “son of God” is according to the apostles.
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: John 1:12 KJV
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. Romans 8:14 KJV
For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. Romans 8:19 KJV
And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Galatians 4:6 KJV
That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Phillipians 2:15 KJV
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 1John 3:1 KJV
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 1John 3:2 KJV
According to the apostle’s teachings as seen above, humans are “sons of God” here in this physical life. The first time the term “son of God” appears is in Genesis.
That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. Genesis 6:2 KJV
Some might have been taught that understanding a term or word according to the “first mention” of it in Scripture is how to apply an interpretation to further appearances of that word or term. This practice is referred to as “The Rule of First Mention.” This is generally a good practice however, the Genesis 6 account that first mentions the sons of God is mistakenly taught by many to be speaking of the fallen angels who had sex with human women and created a race of giants. These “sons of God” are said to be essentially, wicked demon-people but the term is really referring to human sons of Elohim. One should be careful to not rigidly apply that guideline of the Rule of First Mention in every case. There is an instance here where a reference to an earlier son of God precedes those sons of God mentioned in Genesis 6. The rule of first mention can be applied in essence by knowing that Adam was the one who was first referred to as a son of God, rather than applying the rigid use of the practice, which requires only the first written uses of the term be used to define further uses of the term. Adam, being the first human, was called a “son of God” as we are told in the genealogy given us by Luke in the gospel that bears his name.
Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.
Luke 3:38 KJV
The Sons of God Can’t be Demon Angels
Even under the erroneous doctrine that the sons of God in Genesis 6 are demons that had intercourse with women, one can find that Adam being the first human, was the first one referred to as a “son of God,” identifying references to “sons of God” in the future as human. Any good commentary will bare this out for you but to give you a little fodder on this topic, one of the better arguments against the idea of the sons of God being fallen angels goes like this:
If the “sons of God” from Genesis 6 are fallen angels, having sexual intercourse with human women, then that blows apart the belief that angels have no gender or sex organs and possess no power to create anything. If in fact they are ejaculating into human women in Genesis to “create” a super species of demon-man, then they are in fact creating and have creative powers that are only possessed by Yahweh. Only humans were given the command and procreative blessing to be fruitful and multiply. If the fallen angels had in fact undertaken to have sexual relations with human women resulting in some form of procreation, are then the fallen angels still procreating with human women today? It is highly unlikely, as angels then must possess sex organs in a form similar to humans. In well-known medieval lore, we can find mention of the incubus and succubus, demons that were supposedly capable of procreating with humans. Monstropedia tells us about both of these fictitious entities:
In medieval legend, a succubus (plural succubi; from Latin succuba; "prostitute") is a female demon that seduces men (especially monks) in dreams to have sexual intercourse. They draw energy from the men to sustain themselves, often until the point of exhaustion or death of the victim. From mythology and fantasy, Lilith and the Lilin (Jewish), Lilitu (Sumerian) and Rusalka (Slavic) were succubi.
In European medieval legend, an incubus is a demon in male form supposed to lie upon sleepers, especially on women in order to have sexual intercourse with them. They are also believed to do this in order to spawn other incubi.
Aside from the belief that fallen angels can have productive sexual relations with women, is the curious perspective that claims in Genesis these sons of Elohim are angels that fell and took human wives. That belief is gleaned by some from verse 2 of Genesis chapter 6.
That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.
Genesis 6:2 KJV
If they are “angels” who married women, then Yeshua must have misunderstood the role of angels when He told us that there will be no marrying for men in his kingdom and alluded to that being like the angels as not marrying.
For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.
Matthew 22:30 KJV
Of course Yeshua did not misunderstand, because He knew that the sons of God in Genesis were not fallen angels seeking to copulate with humans, motivated by the evil plot to form a race to take down the Creator’s precious humans. The period spoken of was one of depraved human behavior in human history that saw strong men taking any woman they pleased and doing with them as they wanted. Because of this unmitigated depravity, Yahweh destroys the earth and all human beings except Noah and his family. God enacts this judgment because of the inclination of mans' heart which is always evil. Yahweh does not indicate that the wickedness has anything to do with apostate angels and their inter-species relationships. As I said, there are lots of excellent resources available to help you unpack this false concept and see it truthfully, but before we go on with Job, take a look at where else and what else is a “son of God” as we see in the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia in the article The Sons of God.
In Luke 3:38 it is applied to the first man; and from the parable of the Prodigal Son it may be argued that it is applicable to all men. It is applied to the Hebrew nation, as when, in Exo_4:22, Yahweh says to Pharaoh, “Israel is my son, my first-born,” the reason being that Israel was the object of Yahweh's special love and gracious choice. It is applied to the kings of Israel, as representatives of the chosen nation. Thus, in 2Sa_7:14, Yahweh says of Solomon, “I will be his father, and he shall be my son”; and, in Psa_2:7, the coronation of a king is announced in an oracle from heaven, which says, “Thou art my son; this day have I begotten thee.” Simply put, a son of “God” is not an angel nor is it an angel who has fallen from Heaven, but a “son of God” is always pertaining to humanness.
The “sons of God” in Job then are mere humans as is every other son of God in the Scriptures. The term is used of Yeshua to identify that He took on human form. From this point we can move forward to see that the sons of God, known to be men, came “before the Lord” as was the common practice of men engaging in a temple-like setting.
BEFORE THE LORD
Our question of who and what the Satan is in the book of Job is unanswerable without understanding what is the meaning of the phrase “Before the Lord.” What does it mean to “come before the Lord?” Does it really mean to be present in Heaven in front of the throne or court of Yahweh? Could it perhaps be a term with a different meaning, which needs to be understood through looking in the Old Testament? It all gets very simple when we use Scripture to define Scripture. How on earth could a shepherd or a fisherman understand what Yahweh was trying to say if He kept giving new meanings to the terms found in His word? New words and terms that had no prior understanding that could be found in previous writings. It would be like living with a bipolar father in-law who is next to impossible to understand because he doesn’t remember what he said yesterday and you know the meaning of what was said today will change the next time he speaks. No, I assure you, Yahweh is not like a bipolar father in-law. The words that come from God are able to be understood by a child. This is why He provides a way to determine the meaning or intention for a phrase or a word that remains consistent. If he leaves His words with no available manner of understanding the meanings, then He is a God of confusion.
It is so easy serving a God who doesn’t keep changing but is stable where things He says are always simple to keep in order. When Yahweh states for instance that a “son of God” is a human man, He will not change the meaning to become a term for an angel who wants to destroy humanity. God is a consistent God and His consistency is proven over an over again. We will see it again as we consider further the phrase “before the Lord.” A phrase that is thought by some to refer to being in attendance in Heaven.
Following are uses of “before the Lord” to look at, and then we will talk about how this phrase refers to an actual physical visit to a place right here on earth, where worshippers convene to engage Yahweh. Engaging Yahweh is often done at that place through His priests. I have added emphasis to the pertinent words in the passages below where we can see that “before the Lord” is always connected to the Earthly Temple.
For I will cast out the nations before thee, and enlarge thy borders: neither shall any man desire thy land, when thou shalt go up to appear before the LORD thy God thrice in the year. Exodus 34:24 KJV
But when Moses went in before the LORD to speak with him, he took the vail off, until he came out. And he came out, and spake unto the children of Israel that which he was commanded. Exodus 34:34 KJV
And they brought that which Moses commanded before the tabernacle of the congregation: and all the congregation drew near and stood before the LORD. Leviticus 9:5 KJV
The censers of these sinners against their own souls, let them make them broad plates for a covering of the altar: for they offered them before the LORD, therefore they are hallowed: and they shall be a sign unto the children of Israel. Numbers 16:38 KJV
Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty: Deuteronomy 16:16 KJV
Then all the children of Israel, and all the people, went up, and came unto the house of God, and wept, and sat there before the LORD, and fasted that day until even, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD. Judges 20:26 KJV
And Solomon went up thither to the brasen altar before the LORD, which was at the tabernacle of the congregation, and offered a thousand burnt offerings upon it. 2Chronicles 1:6 KJV
Clearly in the above examples “before the Lord” means to be in the Temple, the place where He has placed His name. This phrase spoke of one person or many persons attending at the Temple to pray, worship, sacrifice or petition Yahweh. We know from history that the physical Holy Temple, which was constructed on earth, was not immune to entry by human adversaries. A cosmic Satan might not be given the privilege of presenting himself in the pure environment of heaven but an adversarial human was not prevented access to a temple environment because of his desire to be adverse. It is true that the Temple environment was frequently visited by people who intended to be less then sincere in their worship of the Creator. There were indeed many non-believing Pharisees and Sadducees, who performed functions in the Temple during the time of the Messiah’s earth walk. Looking at both possibilities for understanding the phrase “Satan also came among them to present himself before the Lord,” it is most probable that the one whom is called Satan and is the supposed embodiment of sin, did not come into the Heavenly court after being cast down by Yahweh. It is acceptable that there was a human person who was an adversary, as the word meant to Job and questioned Job’s relationship with Yahweh. Job 1 verse 6 can be seen to tell it thusly;
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and the adversary (A man) came also among them.
A man who opposed Job came along with the men who arrived at the area that is considered the Temple, at the time of Job’s story. This human adversary was bent on seeing Job taken down a few notches, probably because of his jealousy towards job. For goodness sakes, even today I have been involved in conversations that circle around a certain individual and their prosperity. It has happened more than once that the equivalent of Job’s adversary’s statements have been made by someone who was jealous of another’s prosperity and apparent favor.
One example of what was heard might be seen in the following statement; “Dan sure is doing well, I wonder what he did to get so blessed… I heard he cheats on his taxes every year.” The accusation may or may not be true but the “Satan” making that statement (the one opposing he who is prosperous), who has been talking with the “sons of God,” really is speaking against the legitimacy of the prosperity of someone within their circle of acquaintances and friends. The accuser in a situation such as this is having difficulty dealing with the fact that he himself is not as prosperous as the person he is accusing. At times, it is a part of present day conversations that we will hear the adversary trying to malign the prosperous one’s commitment to the Creator by suggesting something like this: “So-and-so probably wouldn’t even care about God if God hadn’t made him rich.”
The accuser or the “Satan,” is truly being an adversary to Job, he is not being an archenemy to Yahweh. It may be that Yahweh wants to reveal through the prosperous one’s suffering how loyal this one is to the Creator regardless of his situation. There is more than one purpose to be seen in Job’s suffering. A dual purpose of the suffering of Job would be to glorify Yahweh in proving that He is worthy of Job’s loyalty even when He is the cause of Job’s tribulation while another purpose may be to reveal the wickedness in the heart of the accuser. This accuser would witness the resolve of the one who is the target of his attacks, to not turn from serving the Creator amidst the terrible “injustices” brought upon him. When we ponder the thought that the accuser is a man that is used to test a seeming undeserving victim, we see how any one of us can be in the role of the accuser. Admittedly I myself have spoken judgmental words in the past about a person I have been jealous or envious of in some way. The accuser is the same as the adversary, which is the same as being called by the familiar term “Satan.”
Thus far, in Job, we can see the sons of God as men and the “adversary” (Satan) is another man who is envious of Job. These men came to the Temple or its equivalent in the days of this story, and are either talking amongst themselves, or the adversary announces his view of Job’s supposedly insincere relationship with Yahweh, to the presiding priest. The priest would have been a man of authority and may be the one speaking on behalf of Yahweh in this account as the priests of God did often when acting in their appointed role. This priest, as a true servant of their God, is acting in the authority of God and is able to send the accuser/adversary away to afflict Job. This human affirmation of Job spoken to the adversary is as if Yahweh Himself had spoken and it is an affirmation that asserts that Job will not turn from Yahweh no matter what happens to him. Yahweh is in the practice of using the hands of men to enact His will. This is seen in situations such as is found in the Book of Jeremiah when Yahweh tells a king of a pagan nation that he will be His battle-axe to bring judgment and destruction on Babylon and Chaldea.
Thou art my battle axe and weapons of war: for with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms; Jeremiah 51:20
The adversary is allowed to afflict Job in ways that men opposing one another in that day might do. The fact that it is men doing harm to Job is revealed in how Job himself sees “wicked men” as the ones whose hands it was whereby his troubles were brought to pass. Job states this in chapter 16:
God hath delivered me to the ungodly, and turned me over into the hands of the wicked. Job 16:11
The Story of Job is Wisdom Writing, Writing Not Intended to be Interpreted Literally
For the scenario to have played out with evil intentioned men being the adversary of Job, complements the truth being taught by this wisdom book. This story is likened to the style found in many of the wisdom writings, writings designed to teach us a deeper philosophical concept often using images that are not to be literally applied. Much is written about wisdom literature and the forms and styles it displays in how it is distinct from other Hebrew writings and in contrast to Greek thought. Beside the book of Job, we are informed that Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, the Song of Songs (also known as the Song of Solomon), The Wisdom of Solomon, and Sirach (also known as Ecclesiastics) are also wisdom writings from Hebrew literature. Wikipedia teaches us the following about this genre of writings;
Wisdom literature is the genre of literature common in the Ancient Near East. This genre is characterized by praise of God, often in poetic form, and by sayings of wisdom intended to teach about God and about virtue...
…The key principle of wisdom literature is that whilst techniques of traditional story-telling are used, books also offer wisdom, insight and 'truths' about the nature of life and our reality. The interest of the material is in the ethical training of the individual, which is pleasing to God, on earth. Nationalistic overtones, state, or even governmental recommendations are deemphasized in favor of instructing the average man and woman.
That a temple environment is being indicated in Job is buoyed up by the opinion of scholars who understand the term “before the Lord” as a term that is not intended to speak of celestial courtroom activities. This opinion is found in an article titled; Garden Of Eden: A Prototype Sanctuary. We are told therethat the term “before the Lord” means to be in a temple environment or place where a sacrificial altar is known to be. The following quote from the article references Donald Parry’s book and a book by Menahem Haran, a commentary that is highly recommended as a model presentation of biblical scholarship to an educated lay audience.
This term is referring to a convening of men at the Temple or its parallel. Menahem Haran (of the Hebrew University in Israel) has argued that the phrase "before the Lord" (lipnê Yahweh) indicates a temple setting. He writes that "in general, any cultic activity to which the biblical text applies the formula ‘before the Lord' can be considered an indication of the existence of a temple at the site, since this expression stems from the basic conception of the temple as a divine dwelling-place and actually belongs to the temple's technical terminology.
Many examples of the term “before the Lord” are shown in Haran's work to be references to a temple or altar environment, such examples are;
…, it was quite usual for people to visit the temple and prostrate themselves before the Lord there on all the holy days all the year around (Isa.I:12-15 ; Ezek. 36:38 ; Lam.I:4; 2: 7 et al), including the New Moons and Sabbaths ( Isa. 66:23 ; Ezek. 46: 1-3); as we shall see further on, whole families would even assemble at local sanctuaries at special times specifically appointed for them.
A Levite who lives in the provinces and wishes ‘with all the desire of his soul’ to come to the chosen place may do so and become in every respect a priest, ‘like all his brethren the Levites who stand there before the Lord’ (Deut. 18: 6-7).
Only in the case of Josiah’s reform was the covenant first made with Yahweh by the king and the people, in the temple court, ‘before the Lord’.
It is simple to perform a survey of the Scriptures to find how the term “before the Lord” refers to the area of a temple or altar environment. Haran has done so, wonderfully in the book quoted from above. We are however, given other clues in the context of the book of Job that the sons of God and the adversary in Job had access to a Temple or altar environment. The tale reveals in chapter 1 verse 5 that Job is one who sacrifices to Yahweh when Job is said to be making sacrifice on behalf of his children. This lends credence to the idea that the men had access to and were at the temple when the accuser voiced his concerns and was engaged in a dialogue with the priest or perhaps at the very least engaged in an internal dialogue with the Creator. We must consider the possibility that the dialogue we are privileged to hear in the book of Job is a dialogue that takes place in the mind and heart of a man. It is possible that we are reading a conversation that is in the form of an internal dialogue with the Creator. Internal dialoguing happens often by people who are grappling with a difficult situation or issue and need to communicate their grapplings with the God they believe in. There are many who have had internal dialogues with Yahweh when they are working through a difficult choice that is before them and it is entirely possible that through the message contained in this form of wisdom writing we are let in on how the accuser’s internal dialogue played out. A dialogue that contained thoughts and responses from the still small voice of the Almighty.
Should Satan be Walking up and Down if He was Cursed to Go on His Belly Forever?
Looking at verse 7 in chapter 1, we find another subtle clue to lead us to the understanding that this “adversary” in Job is not the cosmic Satan of common lore. The text has the accuser answering to Yahweh, upon being asked where he has been, that he has been walking up and down in the earth.
….Then Satan answered the LORD, and said From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
This is a valuable statement to aid in dispelling the lie that the serpent in the garden was “Satan.” (I know I have yet to discourse at length on the serpent in the garden so please look ahead to chapter 12 if you must, to the chapter titled, Understanding the Serpent in the Garden.)
The presumptions about the serpent in the garden being either a real serpent or a manifestation of Satan, forces us to consider that the serpent was cursed to go about on his belly forever. If the serpent was a manifestation of Satan in Genesis 3 then we should realistically expect that Satan was cursed to go on his belly; yet in this situation in Job it appears that Satan is not on his belly at all rather he is walking upright in the earth. Why is Satan not crawling on his belly as the curse of Yahweh consigned him to in the story of the fall of man? According to the view that says the serpent is Satan, we see in Job chapter one that “Satan,” is not on his belly. Other instances occur where this supposed curse on “Satan” is ignored. One such occurrence would be when the “Devil” takes Yeshua up to the pinnacle of the Temple.
Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, Matthew 4:5
If this devil in the above verse is Satan the serpent as some purport, then he should not be walking to and fro or up and down in the earth in abject contrast to Yahweh’s curse on him. Neither should he be taking the Messiah to the pinnacle of the Temple in what must only be perceived as a situation where Satan the serpent is ambulatory, definitely not crawling or slithering on his belly. This serpent, who is Satan, should be depicted as slithering along the ground. On another vein, what if the serpent was only inhabited by “Satan” as some claim? Is it not heinously unjust of Yahweh to curse a poor serpent who undoubtedly had no choice in the matter of being possessed by “satan?” Does it not seem odd to anyone that “satan,” arbitrarily inhabited this upright, walking creature, and now this innocent creature is cursed forever to no longer be able to walk upright? Did a snake choose to submit to the supernatural power of a cosmic rebel and embrace an opportunity to serve the anti-God force that had no input into the creation of the serpent? A simple creature who was under the dominion of man and God would not be found to be worthy of an eternal curse if it was used as a pawn for Satan. Why curse a snake when the bad guy is Satan? This concept too is implausible. I know Yahweh is sovereign and can do anything He wants, but He cursed Adam, then Eve, then the serpent. Why didn’t God curse Satan, if it was “Satan” who entered the serpent? Should the serpent really be held responsible for how he was taken over and used by Satan?
This story has been misunderstood and misrepresented to depict that a supposed fallen angel who is trying with great fervor to thwart Yahweh’s plans, abuses his power and possesses a snake in order to destroy humanity but does not get a curse himself. That just is not right. Neither Satan being the serpent nor Satan inhabiting the serpent fits with Yahweh’s truth. We will discuss this topic on the serpent, Satan and the behavior in the Garden of Eden in depth in chapters 12 and 13.
Continuing on in Job, we are told in chapter 2 verse 10 that the evil as well as the good comes from God and is to be received by Job. This is told to Job’s wife by the suffering man himself. Self-testimony ought to be heeded if Job was truly an upright man.
But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.
Job 2:10 KJV
Although recognizing that bad things coming from God may seem like a logical conclusion to some, there are many who say that this statement is no more than indicating that God allowed the evil to come on Job because “God is in control of everything even the actions of Satan.” Indeed Yahweh is in control of everything but the “satan” He is in control of is not a cosmic archenemy, rather it is nations, leaders and other persons who have been chosen to be the adversarial force Yahweh requires at any particular moment to see that His will is done.
Receiving good and evil at the hand of God, refers to the fact of there being only one supernatural entity who administers evil and good. Job is clear on the fact that there is no being other than Yahweh and the dialoguing he does with his friends and wife shows that no one in the story considers Job is being attacked by an anti-God, evil entity. The way Job makes a statement about receiving good and evil, informs his wife and us the present day hearers, that everything good and evil that happens to man originates from the hand of the Father. Job is not claiming the evil he has received was from a cosmic being opposed to God, who conceived of this evil towards Job and convinced the Creator to allow it. Job knows implicitly that Yahweh conceived of the evil that befell Job. Job also knows that Yahweh has a very good reason for applying evil to Job but that God may not be telling what the reason is at this time. The axiom remains that when this type of evil and calamity occur, it is God who has done it. Remember in Amos 3:6 we are told that evil happens in a city because Yahweh has done it not just allowed it.
Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it? Amos 3:6
Interesting dialogue ensues all throughout the book, including the words from Job and all the speeches and unwanted counsel from Job and his friends. In all this dialogue about Job’s difficult situation, not one of them blames a cosmic “satan” for Job’s trouble. In fact, in Chapter 6 verse 4, Job states the poison, arrows, and terrors are from the Almighty. Job knows how Yahweh is capable of pouring out calamity and destruction on any person in the world. Job is unwilling to deny that his anguish comes from the Most High stating that these painful arrows are coming from God.
For the arrows of the Almighty are within me, the poison whereof drinketh up my spirit: the terrors of God do set themselves in array against me. Job 6:4 KJV
The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary, understands Job’s words as recognizing from whom his horrible situation had come.
Job 6:4 - arrows . . . within me--have pierced me. A poetic image representing the avenging Almighty armed with bow and arrows (Psa_38:2-3). Here the arrows are poisoned. Peculiarly appropriate, in reference to the burning pains which penetrated, like poison, into the inmost parts--("spirit"; as contrasted with mere surface flesh wounds) of Job's body.
set themselves in array--a military image (Jdg_20:33). All the terrors which the divine wrath can muster are set in array against me (Isa_42:13).
In Chapter ten Job indicates that it is Elohim who is contending with him and that it is Yahweh who is hunting Job but God shows Himself to be marvelous upon Job.
For it increaseth. Thou huntest me as a fierce lion: and again thou shewest thyself marvellous upon me.
Job 10:16 KJV
It seems even though Yahweh is the one who has done these terrible things to Job, he still has an element of marvel in verse 16, at the fact that everything comes from this work of Yahweh. The method and manner of the afflicting performed on Job by Yahweh, although calamitous, was a thing to marvel at. Job knowing it was coming from his God was not reticent to recognize the marvelousness of the Creator even in the way the Creator afflicted. John Gill notes this well, in his commentary on this portion of Job’s dialogue.
and again thou showest thyself marvellous upon me; or, "thou returnest (f) and showest,” &c. after he had afflicted him in one way, he returned and afflicted him in another; and he not only repeated his afflictions, but devised new ways of afflicting him, uncommon ones, such as raised admiration in all beholders, as things rare and uncommon do: Job's afflictions were surprising ones; to be stripped at once of his substance, servants, children, and health; and it might be more wonderful to some, that God, so gracious and merciful as he is, should afflict in such a severe and rigorous manner; and especially that he should afflict so good a man, one so just and upright as Job was, in such a way: and it was even marvellous to Job himself, who was at a loss to account for it, not being conscious to himself of any gross enormity he had committed, or of a sinful course of life, or of any one sin he had indulged to, wherefore God should come forth "against" (g) him as an enemy, in so terrible a manner: so some render the particle.
The above quote adds clarity to the point that God is even marvelous in how he dismantles a person’s material life for purposes that are far greater than those which can be comprehended by the recipient.
For it increaseth. Thou huntest me as a fierce lion: and again thou shewest thyself marvellous upon me. Job 10:16
You may notice that Job uses the imagery of a Lion to tell of Yahweh hunting Job.
Not just any lion, but a “fierce lion.” A connection can be seen in Scripture to the metaphor of a lion and how personification of sin and evil is done by referring to it in terms representative of a hunting lion. Looking way back in Genesis when Cain kills able Yahweh confronts Cain and tells Cain that if he will not do well and overcome sin, then sin couches at the door waiting to overtake Cain.
If thou doest well, shall it not be lifted up? and if thou doest not well, sin coucheth at the door; and unto thee is its desire, but thou mayest rule over it.' Genesis 4:7 Jewish Publication Society
The word used in the Hebrew to describe sin waiting to overcome Cain is a Hebrew word that carries with it the nuance and meaning of a lion waiting to pounce on its prey. The verse shown above is from the Jewish Publication Society translation and better aids in displaying the use of the word “couches” than what is found in the King James Version. This translation may be a more accurate translation of the original Hebrew word as it is able to guide the reader to more closely recognize the association of this wording with a lion who is after its prey. It is entirely possible the imagery used by Job would be seen as Job understanding God better than most at the time. Job understood that it is the God of the Universe who tests man, and the imagery used, likens Him to a powerful, decisive, and intense Lion. It is apparent that we cannot take the words of Job literally here as Yahweh is not actually hunting Job in the same way a Lion in the African jungle would hunt a gazelle and then pounce at just the right moment sinking his teeth into the gazelle’s back. Job’s statement is again, more poetic imagery, used to express how he believes the Creator is actually the one bringing all this trouble on him.
Job was called a perfect and upright man who resists evil in chapter one. To be called such by the Creator it makes sense that Job would therefore have had a profound relational knowledge of who Yahweh is and how God operated. Job knew the Sovereign God of the Universe was putting all these calamities upon him and realized that this God tests his children at times and often doesn’t give a concise reason as to why. If man fails then, it is entirely possible Yahweh will continue to allow sin to perform its destructive process, much like the manner in which sin is personified in the statement made to Cain
saying that it will desire him and overcome him if he does not overcome it. We have then the star of the story of Job saying in these verses that God is the contender and the hunter, not Satan:
I will say unto God, Do not condemn me; shew me wherefore thou contendest with me. Job 10:2 KJV
For it increaseth. Thou[God] huntest me as a fierce lion: and again thou shewest thyself marvellous upon me. Job 10:16 KJV
So far, there is not a literal cosmic Satan to be found if we are to understand the affliction of Job the same way Job understood it. Job said his afflictions came from God. The text of Job’s story continues to reveal whom and what, is the originator and vehicle of his unparalleled trials. Another small but observable clue is in chapter 12 verse 16. In verse 16, we are told that the deceived and the deceiver both belong to God.
With him is strength and wisdom: the deceived and the deceiver are his. Job 12:16 KJV
If the Deceiver Is Satan, then Why is the Deceiver Yahweh’s?
We also must consider who it was that was responsible for deceiving Job. Wasn’t “Satan” called the deceiver in the “Bible?” Here for some reason Job tells us that the deceiver belongs to Yahweh. If the deceiver is Yahweh’s that means that the deceiver is doing Yahweh’s will. How could a deceiver be Yahweh’s and continue acting like a rogue force, determined to defeat God? Here again the negative aspects of this universe, which some would claim are evil that comes from Satan are said to be God’s. And being as that they are God’s, these unsavory aspects alluded to here as coming from the deceived and the deceiver, ought not to be attributed to any one else. Of course, as was discussed earlier, we humans have the capacity to rebel and be an active force of wickedness in this world. Often times even our choices to rebel are enhanced, shall we say, by God, because we have chosen to not “do well” initially. In the same way “God” caused David to number the tribes of Israel back in 2nd Samuel 24 because He was planning a way to administer a judgment on David and his Kingdom, so too does Yahweh stir up the heart and mind of man to have His purposes performed. God influences those He has created to move in a way that leads one to make a choice by placing an opportunity to choose in front of that created man or woman. As was done in the Garden of Eden when God caused the tree of the knowledge of good and evil to grow. Many times the option chosen by man is a choice for evil.
Job’s speech continues by declaring a number of the things Yahweh is responsible for as it pertains to humanity. The speech discloses knowledge about judges, princes, kings, the mighty nation and the heart of the chief of the people of the earth. There is no one that Yahweh does not have rule and reign over. We also get the sense here that Job knows there is not one entity that is not being used for the plan of the almighty, even to the point of God being the reason for the person who is groping in darkness without light as Job declares in chapter 12.
They grope in the dark without light, and he maketh them to stagger like a drunken man. Job 12:25 KJV
There is no indication of another supernatural being that is responsible for causing the confusion of those who Job speaks of as staggering like a drunken man. If we are to think like Job then when we see a brother or sister of the human race not following Yahweh and doing works of unrighteousness then we are to understand that they are in their staggering position because the Most High had orchestrated their life. The situations that brought that person to the point of “groping in darkness without light” were all brought to pass by Yahweh not Satan. Job knows well enough to give credit where credit is due, that is in part why he was called “perfect and upright” by God, therefore Job recognizes who is running the show.
Job is not just stating bad things happen because God allows them to as some who believe there is a Satan claim. Job is 100% clear on the fact that all things happen as if they directly flowed from the Father’s hand and Job knew the Father utilizes everything to bring about His plans. That would include the “adversarial” characters that are human beings. Also included are the “adversarial” celestial manifestations that have been mistaken as being an archfiend of the Creator, are sometimes Yahweh Himself. This mistaken identity has caused Yahweh’s delegates to be thought of as demons that are bent on thwarting God’s plans and destroying humanity to prevent them from returning to the Creator. Oh but there’s more!
Look in the following verse at whom Job believes would kill him if in fact there were any slaying performed on Job. Once again, it is not some “satan” character but the One and Only Creator of the Universe is to be the force doing the slaying as far as Job knows.
Hold your peace, let me alone, that I may speak, and let come on me what will. Wherefore do I take my flesh in my teeth, and put my life in mine hand?
Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him. Job 13:13-15 KJV
In the above verse, Job is defending his integrity to his so-called friends who have become counselors with little insight into the facts of Job’s affliction and why it is occurring. Job’s friends are trying to find a reason in the suffering Job is going through, by claiming Job’s actions and sins as the reason. Many of us who have suffered various and extended maladies have received similar misplaced counsel from friends and family from time to time. Counsel that suggests our suffering is the result of our sins. Neither Job nor his friends attribute Job’s trials to a cosmic archenemy of Yahweh and although this is correct, they errantly blame Job as the one who brought all these trials upon himself. This is unwarranted counsel according to Job and in defense of his integrity; he says even if the God of the universe kills me I will still trust in Him. Job unequivocally states that God might decide to kill him but because Job knows any killing that is to be done is the Creator’s prerogative, Job faithfully proclaims that he will still trust in the God of the Universe. He then persists in explicating his understanding of where these trials came from, in chapter 16.
He teareth me in his wrath, who hateth me: he gnasheth upon me with his teeth; mine enemy sharpeneth his eyes upon me. Job 16:9 KJV
Here we are told that Yahweh has made Job weary, that it is God who is tearing Job in His wrath. At this point Job tells us that he believes God hates him. What a horrible shock it would be to believe the God of the Universe hates you. Job seemingly “takes it like a man,” which is a colloquialism that has long held the meaning most know it to have today. In fact, it appears that phrase comes from the story of Job when Yahweh decides to speak to the afflicted man and says to “gird yourself like a man and I will answer you” in Chapter 38 verse 3.
How Could God Hate Job?
The Hebrew word for “hate” conveys the meaning of describing the activity of one lurking for or persecuting Job. Looking at the word Job uses which is translated as “hateth” in the English, we see it is very similar to the word for “adversary,” number 7853 and 7854. This related word, which we see translated as “hateth,” is Strong’s number 7852 and is the Hebrew word “saw-tawm.” This word does not mean “hate” in the present English sense of the word but speaks of one lurking after or persecuting another. Perhaps this simple chart below of the three words I am talking about as defined in the Briggs, Driver, Brown Lexicon, will be helpful to see the way God hates Job is not a seething, reviling type of hatred but is an adversarial persecuting manner of treatment rendered to Job by Yahweh.
As seen in the above chart, the Briggs Driver Brown Lexical work conforms to most major lexicons that choose to concretely define the word sawtawnas Satan and call it a proper noun. This is an error in translation however, it is not possible to alter all lexical works from time past that say they properly depict the Hebrew word sawtawn, which is simply not intended to be translated as a proper noun. Alternatively, we can take the information we have before us today and work around the error of major linguists and translators who have conformed to the revisionists’ interpretation and adopted the word sawtawn as the name of Satan. It is commonly understood that the word did not become a popular name until the New Testament period. Monstropedia provides this etymological insight to the word Satan and its synonym “Devil”;
The nominative satan (meaning "adversary" or "accuser"), and the Arabic shaitan, derives from a Northwest Semitic root šṭn, meaning "to be hostile,” "to accuse.” In the New Testament, Satan is a proper name, and is used to refer to a supernatural entity that appears in several passages.
The most common synonym for Satan, "the Devil,” entered Modern English from Middle English devel, from Old English dēofol, from Latin diabolus, from Late Greek diabolos, from Greek, "slanderer,” from diaballein, "to slander" : dia-, dia- + ballein, "to hurl"; which ultimately derives from PIE gwel-(meaning "to throw"). In Greek, the term diabolos (Διάβολος), carries more negative connotations, meaning "slanderer,” or "one who falsely accuses.”
Human Enemies Deliver the Affliction
In verse nine of chapter 16, Job recognizes the fact that Yahweh has placed this blight upon him and now God’s plan has Job’s enemies causing grief for Job. Job says, “Mine enemy sharpeneth his eyes upon me.” Grief from human enemies is part of the meaning of the words in the King James Version, which say Job’s enemies are sharpening their eyes on him. Job understood very well that Yahweh was the one responsible for the horrible situations he is subjected to but in that understanding, Job is realizing that God is working through Job’s enemies as a vessel for the tragedy he has encountered. We are given a clear statement from Job that it is humans who are called his enemies that are presenting Job with the distress in his life. We can see below that verse 11 identifies these men as ungodly and wicked.
God hath delivered me to the ungodly, and turned me over into the hands of the wicked. Job 16:11 KJV
Who does Job say it was that delivered him to the ungodly? Is Job aware of whom it was who handed him over to the wicked? Yes, Job is aware. He states it was God who passed Job off to the ungodly and handed him over to the wicked men. Unless the context of this passage is ignored, one cannot conclude that the terms “ungodly” and “wicked,” in this text refer to Satan and his alleged “demons.” The context of these few verses clearly places men as the enemies who actually have become the physical afflicters of Job.
He teareth me in his wrath, who hateth me: he gnasheth upon me with his teeth; mine enemy sharpeneth his eyes upon me. They have gaped upon me with their mouth; they have smitten me upon the cheek reproachfully; they have gathered themselves together against me. God hath delivered me to the ungodly, and turned me over into the hands of the wicked.
Job 16:9-11 KJV
Ignoring the context of the above verses is easy to do for those who are already convinced that Satan exists and want that statement by Job to fit a firmly cemented idea that it is a cosmic, archenemy of man and God who is employed as the afflicter of Job. Even though setting a preconceived understanding on the shelf while exploring the context of a verse will perhaps cause a little discomfort for the searcher, it will ultimately cause us to come to the truth. Then we will be equipped to decide if we need to change our concept or if we can continue to force the words of Scripture to change and therefore suggest God has changed. Again, in verse 13 of this chapter Job speaks the truth of who is responsible for his journey of strife. Using the imagery of a military leader employing the skilled archers to inflict damage upon the target with their masterful stealth and accuracy, Job testifies to the Almighty being the employer of the inflictors.
I was at ease, but he hath broken me asunder: he hath also taken me by my neck, and shaken me to pieces, and set me up for his mark.
His archers compass me round about, he cleaveth my reins asunder, and doth not spare; he poureth out my gall upon the ground.
He breaketh me with breach upon breach, he runneth upon me like a giant.
Job 16:12-14 KJV
Who are the “He” and “His “in these verses talking about? The “He” and “His” in these verses is not referring to an imaginary being called “satan.” The “He” and “His” are talking about Yahweh who is the only responsible party for Job’s affliction. There were human forces and potentially even divine forces used in the affliction of Job, however, there is not a cosmic, Satanic force used, and Job is completely aware of that. I wonder if Job ever thought that the hearers of Job’s tale would pin Job’s afflictions on a being that was constructed in the minds of confused men? The fact that a Satan has been constructed is a testimony to theologians of this age who so readily accept interpretations handed down by men who have simply adopted a Greco-Roman style of adding mystic meaning to text they do not comprehend. Their form of mystical interpretation postulates a cosmic dualism that is unacceptable to Yahweh.
When Yahweh brought the Israelites out of Egypt and took them to the Mount Sinai to give them His Torah, He wanted them to clearly understand that He was the One who rescued them from their polytheistic stupor. You see, in Egypt, most of the Israelites had learned to accept the false idea of other deities who had control over aspects of creation. The manner in which the Hebrew people learned false doctrine and worship practices in their Egyptian exile was similar to the learning process through assimilation, which occurred in the Babylonian/Persian exile. Eventually the Israelites’ belief system moved away from the practice of equitable, monotheistic worship. Although they had their own national deity known as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the time, they all too readily accepted the idea of the Egyptian hierarchy of “gods.” Therefore, once they arrived at the mountain and the God of the Universe told them who He was in a fiery, thundering, smoking introduction, He emphasized that He was the One who brought them out of Egypt. Yahweh had literally destroyed all the Gods of Egypt, which “were no Gods,” as we spoke about earlier in chapter five. Just as Yahweh did not want His actions of the destruction He placed on Egypt, including His actions as the “angel of death” credited to the false gods of Egypt, so too neither did Job nor Yahweh want anyone today to pin Job’s catastrophes on anything or anyone other than the God of the Universe. Job knew this and if we look closely at Job’s understanding then we can see how simple it was to the perfect, upright Job who shunned evil. Reread the last few verses above that we looked at in chapter 16 and you will see how difficult it is to convince yourself that Job believes it is any one else, other than Yahweh, who is doing this to him. I have heard a lot of good arguments but not many have taken Job’s own belief system into account, which is an absolute must if we desire to see what Job understood about his sufferings and who he attributed them to.
Chapter 19 of this story is equally explicit in sharing the truth of who is dismantling Job’s life. We may have been thrown off the trail of the reality of who is the source in Job’s tragedy by the use of the word “Satan” in the start of his story, but the amount of proof contained within the text of the story reveals who the real minister of destruction is. This should be proof enough to see that most of Christianity has misunderstood the idea of a “Satan” coming after Job as a process that was simply allowed by God but acted out by another cosmic entity. This misunderstanding keeps people believing a lie, and will and has, ultimately diminished their understanding of the true God. To have a diminished understanding of the Only God is to be missing out on knowing Him in the way He wants to be known. There will come a time when all who are willing and have an open and humble heart, will see and hear that there is only One God, only one way to that God and only one life in which to accept Him on His terms. Those terms include giving Him credit for the good and the evil in the lives of man. Remember Job’s own words to his wife about accepting good and evil at the hand of Elohim.
Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die. But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.
Job 2:9-10 KJV
It’s All God And Only God
Job does not falter halfway through the story when he once again states who it is that is working at doing him in. There are at least 8 verses in chapter 19 that tell us in Job’s own words, that it is none other than the Creator who is administering what we might call “evil” to Job. The highlighted portions in the verses below clearly identify God as the one applying pressure and strife to Job.
Job 19:6-12 KJV
6 Know now that God hath overthrown me, and hath compassed me with his net.
7 Behold, I cry out of wrong, but I am not heard: I cry aloud, but there is no judgment.
8 He hath fenced up my way that I cannot pass, and he hath set darkness in my paths.
9 He hath stripped me of my glory, and taken the crown from my head.
10 He hath destroyed me on every side, and I am gone: and mine hope hath he removed like a tree.
11 He hath also kindled his wrath against me, and he counteth me unto him as one of his enemies.
12 His troops come together, and raise up their way against me, and encamp round about my tabernacle.
13 He hath put my brethren far from me, and mine acquaintance are verily estranged from me.
Job 19:21 KJV
21 Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, O ye my friends; for the hand of God hath touched me.
How can anyone conclude that it is Satan who is doing the afflicting on Job? Understandably, one might be a little mislead due to the conversation we are presented with at the outset of the story of Job. This opening conversation seems quite conclusive that there is in fact a Satan chatting with the Almighty about the righteous Job. However, when we accept the idea of a lesson being taught through this conversation, as opposed to a literal occurrence being recounted, then we can see things differently. We are then able to reconcile all the other evidence in Job that lucidly points to Yahweh as the one performing the afflicting of Job. Seeing Job as the wisdom writing it is, one can understand the God of the Universe is not simply allowing some “Satan” being to have his way with Job. The evidence is overwhelmingly supporting of the fact that Job is experiencing his tribulation through the King of the Universe who is utilizing the men in Job’s life.
If any one of us were to sit down and really think through who or what has been our adversary along the path of life we would likely see it has been other humans who have foisted adversity upon us. If not other humans, then it has been ourselves who has invited adversity into our lives through the choices we have made. Too many of us who have walked this earth have not taken responsibility for being the reason for adversity which ultimately came through the actions of some human agent. Perhaps it was a testing or perhaps it was a judgment, no matter what reason it happened, we must take responsibility for how we have brought it upon ourselves and if we have not brought it upon ourselves we ought to be diligent to respond appropriately. An appropriate response would be to trust that God has a reason for the adversity and to ask the question, “What is it I am to learn from this move of God in my life?”
Believe this, that Yahweh does move in the lives of His people, he may be moving in your life right now and it may not be pleasant. When God moves in a life, it may be a move that brings us to our knees in humble submission to the King of the Universe. Just because it sometimes causes pain and hurt doesn’t mean God is not doing it. The result of the affliction that comes from God is often that the recipient becomes willing to acknowledge all God’s ways and seek to do His will steadfastly. The verses we just looked at from Job are unequivocally stating that God is the one performing the entire calamity that has and is coming upon Job. Amos 3 has told us if there is calamity in a city or by extension in a man’s life, then God is the one who caused it. Verse 21 of this chapter in Job really puts it straight. This poor persecuted and broken man is asking that his friends or “counselors,” would have pity on him instead of railing against him. His friends implying that he is some kind of a stubborn, arrogant, fool who has brought this upon himself, did not comfort Job. Job tells his “counselors” to pity him because “it is the hand of Elohim who has touched him.” It is not some radical and virtually uncontrollable, nefarious, fallen angel, but the only One with power to afflict is the one touching and afflicting Job.
Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, O ye my friends; for the hand of God hath touched me. Job 19:21 KJV
Wouldn’t it be easier to exist through a trial if once we had searched our hearts and asked Yahweh to search our hearts and find any wicked way within us we could rest on a belief which recognizes we control only our own choices and responses to life, but Yahweh controls life?
It is guaranteed, if you begin to adopt a philosophy similar to this then anything that comes upon you can be walked through with a measure of peace that is elusive for many during trials. A Simple application of this philosophy might look like this. If bad stuff is happening, look inside to see if your heart is right with God. Then, humble yourself and ask for his forgiveness and forgive yourself. Once that is accomplished, acknowledge God may be the source and orchestrator of your affliction and ask for the strength and wisdom to journey through it. Next, accept that what you are going through is because the Creator wants you to be going through it. His ways are not our ways and He does nothing without a purpose. The long and short of this process is, one must submit to the fact that whatever is happening is probably supposed to happen. Knowing that allows us to accept, learn, grow, and move on.
In Job’s questioning he also makes mention of how the wicked are prospering. This is somewhat confusing to Job who is a child of Yahweh. Job is a pretty clean living guy by all accounts and even by the accounts of the Creator, as seen in chapter one of this book where Job is said to be blameless. In verses 8 and 9 of chapter 21, Job makes mention of how the wicked are having children who are not being decimated and in fact are being “established,” as Job puts it. As well, Job makes note of the fact that the houses of the wicked are safe and the inference that follows is that the rod of Elohim that has brought calamity upon Job is not even touching the wicked. To Job, as it would seem to many, it doesn’t make sense. The good guy is being smacked and the bad guy keeps living it up unscathed and no one is raining on the wicked guy’s parade. Here is how Job puts it:
Wherefore do the wicked live, become old, yea, are mighty in power?
Their seed is established in their sight with them, and their offspring before their eyes.
Their houses are safe from fear, neither is the rod of God upon them.
Job 21:7-9 KJV
Job in essence is posing a question asking; why do I get the “rod of God” ripping apart my life when the wicked are not even tickled by it let alone beaten into submission? Now these are not the exact words of Job but the concept is abundantly represented when we consider Job’s line of questioning and the information he supplies in his heart-rending discourse. Going into all the feeling and thoughts of Job at this time is unnecessary and is a task that can better be undertaken by someone else. As mentioned earlier, there has been a multitude of commentaries and books written that have covered the subtleties of Job’s thoughts and feelings. However, for our purposes we only need take note that once again we are shown Job knows his rotten hand in the great poker game of life, was dealt by the Creator. Job also knows that the Creator can stack His deck any way He wants to because the House always ends up on top. In the wisdom of King Solomon, said to be the wisest man to walk the earth outside of the Messiah, we are told how this “good to the wicked and bad to the righteous” plays out sometimes;
There is a vanity which is done upon the earth; that there be just men, unto whom it happeneth according to the work of the wicked; again, there be wicked men, to whom it happeneth according to the work of the righteous: I said that this also is vanity. Ecclesiastes 8:14 KJV
Solomon knew how it worked. He knew that sometimes what one would expect to be the earthly justice upon a wicked man actually happens to a just man. Conversely, Solomon figured out that often stuff that would be thought to happen to a just man here on earth is happening to a wicked man. As it goes, sometimes bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people. I don’t like it any more than Job did, but it just is.
Yahweh Vexes Job’s Soul
As we move through the book of Job looking for major clues to who it is that is afflicting Job, we hear Job say that Yahweh is vexing his soul.
Moreover Job continued his parable, and said, As God liveth, who hath taken away my judgment; and the Almighty, who hath vexed my soul;
Job 27:1-2 KJV
Even after all the prodding and bemoaning by Job’s friends who attempt to make Job see that he himself is responsible for the wicked that he has suffered, Job continues to faithfully expound about the character of Yahweh to his friends by saying “God liveth.” In declaring that “God liveth,” Job is proclaiming the sovereign attribute of the Almighty. In this statement, we are able to recognize that Job is delivering more truth about his situation and that it is God who is inflicting the damage. Job knows that to declare to his friends that “God liveth” is to let them know that Job himself is not furious with the Creator, nor is Job diminishing Yahweh’s absolute right to do whatever He desires with His creation, including Job himself who is pretty high ranking in the weekly top forty of righteous servants of the Almighty. Job was called blameless and righteous by God. The possibility for all men to be deceived exists but even considering that fact, we do not see Job taking a big moral or theological backslide in this story. All we know for now is that Job has the approval of the Creator and could be considered to be somewhat of a saint.
In considering the testimony of the key player in this unfolding drama,we must take seriously the claim heard from Job stating that the God of the Universe has “vexed his soul.”
TWO POSSIBILITIES FOR UNDERSTANDING THE STORY OF JOB
Although in the first two chapters of Job we see the word “Satan” in the English, which is really “adversary” in Hebrew, we must try to remember that the type of literature that is represented by Job, is writing known as Aggadic or wisdom writing. Because this story is designed to teach us a concept and not to espouse facts and specifics, a seemingly literal conversation may not necessarily be literal but simply may be a literary method of depicting either of two possibilities. The first is that this conversation represents an internal conversation between a human adversary present at the temple environment and Yahweh. Or the second which would be; a literal conversation between a human adversary who came to the temple environment with other human “sons of God” and is railing against Job to the Priestly representative of the Most High. The adversary here is likely doing this out of jealousy and envy of Job and Job’s prosperous life. Either way we decide to view this initial conversation in the text of Job’s story, our perspective must be reconcilable with the rest of Job and the statements in Job that clearly say the evil comes from God.
Somehow, in all this, most people considering the story of Job often slip back into the idea that contends; “Well God allowed it to happen to Job.” Or, “God allowed Satan to afflict Job.” Let’s be sensible about the whole matter; is it really the manner of the Creator to be convinced by a fallen angel who was cast out of Heaven forever because of his pride and rebellion, to allow him to hammer Job with destruction of family, finances, and health? Why is it so simple for common Christianity to accept this distorted view of the Creator? Is the need to believe their God could not do bad to people so strong for so many, that they have to blame the uncomfortable and trying portions of their life on a cosmic Satan? Do we believe Yahweh is so weak that He cannot be held responsible for the unpalatable afflictions that may come upon us? What kind of control then does the God of the Universe have if He can be convinced by a fallen angel to allow that “angel” to rip apart the life of a servant of the Most High? How in the world do we then expect that this fallen Angel is not continually trying to convince the Creator to let him “test” any person who is diligently serving God? Moreover, how can we expect that God will not be convinced by Satan repeatedly to allow him the delight of attacking any one of us or our family members?
The idea of an angel who is the epitome of sin and rebellion and who once was the crowning creation of Yahweh, being kicked out of Heaven because of pride, and then is allowed to enter into heaven again whenever he feels like “coming before the Lord,” is absolutely absurd. If this is the case, then Yahweh doesn’t really place much value on the fact that sin cannot be in his presence as Habakkuk 1:13 says: Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity:
Is this the God that says, “I make peace and create evil” or is it the God that only makes peace? Isaiah 45:7 declares the former. If the thoughts and statements in Job are all to be believed to be true, then we have to view the conversation with “the adversary” at the start of the story differently than the traditional understanding. Otherwise, we have to view all the statements which acknowledge God as the one responsible for the activity which virtually destroyed the life of Job, as meaningless words and lies. By looking at the sum of all the parts and setting another possible understanding of this story in front of us, we then should be able to comfortably dismiss the afflicting of Job as being the act of a cosmic, archenemy of God. We should be able to realize the potency of this tale as a teaching aid. A story delivered through the medium of writing that incorporates common literary tools and styles, as they would be used in the distant past. To ponder for a moment that if society were to continue to advance and then exist in 3 or 4 hundred years from now those present at that time might very well be confused by some of the language, images and cultural practices which are readily understandable to us who are engaged in them today.
The long and short of it is that one cannot understand an ancient writing or work without working to understand much of the culture and styles of writing or presentation that were understood in the age they are exploring.
All that said, there is still more in this book of Job to attest to the fact that there is no other cosmic entity but the Creator who performed these unsavory acts on poor Job.
Nearing the end of Job’s story, we are confronted with the words of yet one more man to give counsel to Job. Elihu is the name of this final human counselor. I say “human counselor” because Job is yet to receive counsel from the Creator, who is not a human. If you look at the last chapter of Job, this counselor is not lumped in with the three friends of Job who dispensed counsel that was not acceptable nor glorifying to God. Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar are said to have not spoken right of Yahweh. In Verse 7 of chapter 42, we hear this;
And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath.
Job 42:7 KJV
Job’s counselors are accused by the Creator of not speaking right of Yahweh. God on the other hand affirms Job as speaking correctly. This would be such a powerful vindication for the deeply afflicted Job. If these words of the Creator are true then we can rule out Job’s persecution from God as being the result of speaking ill about Him. Looking carefully at the story and then weighing Yahweh’s words spoken to Job, there is some indication that even though Job had been called perfect, he still was being dealt with by the Father for certain aspects of his attitude. Some of these aspects of Job’s appear to have been aspects that may have been arrogant or aspects that seemed to show Job presumed he had figured out God’s workings.
It is in Elihu’s words that we see a defense of Yahweh’s actions against Job. This can be understood in it’s simplest form by Elihu saying, don’t think you fully understand the ways of God because the Creator is far to profound and perfect in his judgments and justice for a human to really make complete sense of it. This is the reason Elihu says to Job, Elohim thundereth things that we cannot comprehend in chapter 37.
God thundereth marvellously with his voice; great things doeth he, which we cannot comprehend. Job 37:5 KJV
In verse 7 of this chapter, we are told God controls the hand of all men and we are given the reason God does so. The reason is to enhance the potential for all men to know His works.
He sealeth up the hand of every man; that all men may know his work.
Job 37:7 KJVA
What we are hearing is that even a situation of evil coming upon a man by the actions of another man, is controlled, “or sealed up” as it is put in this chapter, by the Almighty. It is interesting timing that the statement from Elihu in this wisdom book is immediately followed by the words of Yahweh. Perhaps Yahweh finally heard some counsel from a friend of Job that had value and then God decided to punctuate the wisdom with His statement to Job.
I am not in a position today to dogmatically say that when Yahweh spoke to Job He was speaking audibly in a comprehensive language with detectable sound that was heard by the ears of Job. It may be that we are in fact given the script of a literal conversation. Conversely, I am not in a position today to dogmatically say this conversation, which we are let in on between Job and the Master, is an inner conversation that went on inside of Job. It is difficult to be dogmatic in stating either this conversation was an external conversation or that it took place deep in Job’s heart and mind. We all are capable of understanding there is not really a potential for a human to have a conversation in his or her literal heart. However, no matter whether we use physiological terminology or ethereal concepts to explain the manner and location of this conversation, it is entirely possible that the conversation between Job and Yahweh had been an “internal” dialogue. We all have the ability to comprehend euphemism and metaphor such as this in language today, so why is it so difficult to comprehend these kinds of poetical words found in ancient writings? As I said, I am not intending to be dogmatic on this issue but please consider the possibility based on the following reasoning.
We are given the words of Elihu, which are a powerful testimony to Job that the Creator is about His business, and we humans are only able to faithfully accept the Creator’s dealings with limited understanding. The type of arrogance that comes with believing one understands implicitly the workings of the God of the Universe is definitely not seen as humility before Yahweh. Elihu expresses this sentiment so eloquently that the following words of God we are presented with could very likely have been serious and deep introspection on behalf of Job, similar to the silent prayer of a person who is connecting to Yahweh. I know through experiential knowledge that when I have been challenged by my wife or a brother or sister or a friend on an action, attitude or behavioral pattern which displays a less than honorable and “godly” attribute, I often will reflect on the words of the “counselor.” I often will sit before the Father to try to hear His mind on the matter. I am quite certain that I have not heard an audible, detectable voice from Yahweh but I am certain that because He has used one of His children to speak words that prick my heart, He then ministers or “speaks” if you will, to my heart. I believe what may be happening in those moments is that the Spirit of the Creator is drawing out of my innermost being, words or understanding, which have been deposited in me simply by walking through life trying to serve Him. The Father has used an obedient servant to deliver a message to me in a timely and effective manner. After the delivery of the message, presuming my heart is softened to receive a prompting that directs me towards self-assessment, I am able to productively reflect on the situation. If I am being honest with myself and consequently being honest with my God, I will likely begin changing my attitude to exhibit a demeanor or behavior which is more in line with the Father’s will for my life. It may sound a little complicated, but there are few who can deny that they have worked through some type of an inner dialogue in their life. There are many who at least say they have listened to that still, small voice deep within. An almost undetectable reasoning and prompting that caused them at some point in their life to change one aspect or another of who they are and how they may be functioning as a human being, a unique creation designed to relate to the Creator, to other humans and to serve the Master out of love for Him.
In a great many of movies or stories where the character in the story is at a crossroads of sorts in making a significant decision the story uses a soliloquy to let us in on the self-talk or inner conversation this character is having with themselves. The listener or reader is then fully apprised of the character's process to come to a conclusion on a decision or difficult situation. Perhaps this is the type of concept found in the wisdom book of Job. Perhaps knowing of the possibility of this type of an inner dialogue in Job’s life may help you accept the possibility that the dialogues in this story between Job and God are not literal, physical conversations. One way or another, Job did receive some rebuke from Yahweh and Job’s reply was appropriate in that he recognized the need to maintain a humble acceptance of whom God is and how He operates.
When All is Good Again the Evil is Said to Have Come from God
We are getting near the end of looking at Job and the “satan/adversary” found in this book. Overall, like any good wisdom writing of the period, this book of Job is no exception in that it concisely concludes the tale with a final dissertation from the Creator and a response from Job, which shows Job’s heart. Job ends up a changed man by his experience and from those things that he has heard in his spirit from and about the Creator. Our main character speaks humble words that claim he now knows Yahweh does things that Job and therefore we today if we are learning from this wisdom book, are too wonderful and full of meaning for us to understand. We are humans and He is not. The Creator holds too much knowledge, power, wisdom, justice, and truth for a created being such as a human to understand. Upon admitting this, Job repents in dust and ashes. This is an act of serious humility and contrition. This act displayed Job’s heart of repentance. Many who engage in a discussion around the story of Job, miss the fact that Job repents. It is a common theme in the judgments of Yahweh that they are designed to bring humans to repentance and to reveal to the human being, their true heart. If Job had nothing to repent of, as some may conclude based on the early description of Job as being perfect and upright, then he would not have repented in dust and ashes. However, through the actions of Job we can conclude that repentance was required and if we understand repentance was required then we may be able to conclude that Job had some sin in his heart that needed to be revealed and dealt with. Be it a sin of pride or arrogance matters little for our purposes. The fact is that God gave Job suffering in place of a life and position of comfort. He was given a position of strife and anguish. Job was given a judgment that included suffering. This evil was at the hand of Elohim as Job had told his wife in chapter two. This evil or judgment brought the desired response. It changed Job’s heart, and even though he was in the “weekly top forty” in the eyes of Yahweh, he still needed to tweak certain aspects of his life, heart, and understanding of the Creator. Said simply in biblical shoot from the hip style, Job is tested and judged, Job repents and Yahweh restores Job….mission accomplished… the plan worked.
The closing chapter and more specifically in the final 10 verses, we see how Job had spoken words of repentance from his heart and Yahweh receives sacrifices and prayers from Job on behalf of Job’s erring “counselors.” Then we are told how many of Job’s friends came to Job to bemoan what had happened to him. In the closing of this story we are once again told where the “evil” that happened to Job came from. The friends of Job come together with Job’s family to comfort him for all the evil that the Lord had brought upon Job;
Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him: every man also gave him a piece of money, and every one an earring of gold.
Job 42:11 KJV
The above verse is irrefutably saying all the evil Job suffered was brought upon him by Yahweh. It would be irresponsible after seeing all the reference and testimony in the book of Job that explicitly blames the evil Job received on Yahweh, for us to continue to attribute the evil to Satan. It is simply incorrect to adhere to the mainstream view of Satanology, which translates the Hebrew word for adversary into the name for Satan when a human sent by God is generally the adversary that is being spoken about. By mistranslating and misunderstanding the term for a human adversary, we risk ascribing what God has done, to some fabricated, nonexistent, and therefore powerless cosmic being. It is abject denial, of the full counsel of the Scripture’s perspective on a Satan, to continue to impose a contemporary understanding of Satan on the terms we are seeing in Job. Particularly in light of Job himself, testifying his woes had come from the hand of Yahweh. This sure agrees with the thinking and statement of Isaiah 45:7 that told us Yahweh makes peace and creates evil.
Either these acts of evil upon Job were direct actions from Yahweh or they possibly were administered through the hands of Job’s human adversary and his agents that had questioned Job’s uprightness at the outset of the Job saga. Seeing that the wicked done to Job does not have to be seen as coming from a mythological being invented by man, called “Satan,” gives us the opportunity at least to explore the potential of these acts being the work of men’s hands. In the first chapter, just prior to Job’s family being killed by a combo of invaders and natural disasters we are told;
And the LORD said unto the adversary, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD. Job 1:12
If some wish to believe that Yahweh actually said to a cosmic Satan, “Here, take everything of Job’s and go ahead and kill his family,” then why would one trust that Yahweh is not continually relinquishing his rule over their life and giving His beloved children over to an evil supernatural being? Particularly because Job was blameless and upright and certainly was less deserving of being destroyed by Satan than many of us. This kind of a story line, which has a Sovereign Creator literally giving the heads of the innocent to an evil force or being, is intended to express in graphic imagery the point that it is Yahweh doing the acts to the innocent. It appears possible that this story is in fact a parable of the most potent form. We have a story with some very powerful actions occurring to destroy the life of a good man but the details of the acts are not plentiful. In the absence of detail, we can start to lean in the direction of understanding the story as a parable intended to teach Israel about their God. Job’s story educates the people of Israel to the fact that they are supposed to continue seeing Yahweh as the only God in control of everything, even though calamity has struck. After Job loses all his children, he worships God and we are then told that God was the one who has taken away from Job;
Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,
And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.
In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.
Job 1:20-22 KJV
What are we supposed to learn from seeing Job worshipping the Creator after the tragedy he has just been subjected too? Among many things that are worthwhile to take from Job’s story, I would submit that we are to learn how no matter what befalls man - it is because Yahweh has perpetrated it. King Solomon was no stranger to this principle when he wrote in the book of Ecclesiastes that evil stuff falls on good men at times.
There is a vanity which is done upon the earth; that there be just men, unto whom it happeneth according to the work of the wicked; again, there be wicked men, to whom it happeneth according to the work of the righteous: I said that this also is vanity.
Ecclesiastes 8:14 KJV
Perhaps seeing the anguish of Job due to the loss of his family is understandable. Perhaps it is understandable that this man was so extraordinarily righteous, that he just took what Yahweh did to him and didn’t think anything of it. Perhaps we can justify Job’s exceptional response to his tragedies by thinking he believes the cause of his pain is Satan. It is possible though, to understand the tragedies of how Job’s children died can be attributed to natural disasters and to human men who came as invaders. This seems possible and if Job truly had an enemy or a human adversary of influence and power out to get him, then the attacks on his family may well have been orchestrated in a similar fashion to John Gotti taking out a hit on another mob family by contracting the services of a street gang. The fact is, we are given very little detail of the actual outworking of Job’s sufferings as they pertain to other men being the perpetrators of said suffering. Therefore, it is plausible when we are honest with recognizing just how little detail is given us in the story of Job’s tragedies, that God may have employed more than one method against the righteous Job and the men that God used as ministers of pain.
Job Received Boils
Perhaps it is true that men are responsible for the actual physical hands behind the inflicting of Job but you might ask, what about the boils the English versions say were afflicting Job? These boils surely must have been an attack of Satan like the English text says.
And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.
So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.
Job 2:6-7 KJV
There we have it, according to the English translation of this verse, Satan gave Job boils. Some might contend that it is not possible for man to give another man boils. Aside from transmitting an infectious disease or launching an ancient version of biological warfare, I generally agree that it is unlikely for one man to have the ability to place boils upon another. I sincerely doubt there would have been biological warfare used on Job by his adversary. What then could the boils have resulted from? Some may claim that “Satan” had the power to place boils on Job but the Hebrew doesn’t claim the boils came from a cosmic Satan just that the adversary was responsible for the boils. In the absence of a cosmic Satan as is taught by the Scriptures, there has to be another explanation for the boils Job received. Let us consider a different possibility.
Let me ask you, if you saw a friend with a rash all over their neck and arms and they were asked what happened, would you understand their answer if they replied, “My laundry detergent gave me a rash.”?
Of course, there is no question that there is nothing spiritual about that rash but it is purely a physical reaction to the soap the clothes were washed in. Alternatively, how about if they answered when asked how they acquired the festering rash; “I got this rash thanks to Johnson and Johnson!” Simple enough, we know Johnson and Johnson did not come to their house and somehow infect your friend’s skin so that they would break out in a rash. Let me ask another one, have you ever been so burdened with stress that you break out in a rash or boil-like sores? Do you realize that it is possible to break out in boils or a rash when you are under a stress overload? I have seen it happen with stressed out men and with small children as well as others and it is very uncomfortable. How about a parent who is stressed out and say, “My kids give me a headache!” In the instance of Job’s boils, what we are seeing poetically blamed on “Satan,” is likely no different from a stress response manifesting itself physically on Job as boils. Neither Job nor his wife blamed Satan, but Mrs. Job wanted Job to curse God and die to which Job had a ready response;
Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.
But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips. Job 2:9-10 KJV
Job said, “Hey woman, the evil is coming from God, watch what you’re asking me to do.”
Of course, I am paraphrasing, but the boils that many say are from a cosmic Satan based on the English rendering of the word for adversary, are actually from Yahweh. I would say even at that, they are not a direct act from Yahweh but just the process of stress taking its toll on Job’s body. It is a creative conclusion to decide that a physical illness, condition, or malady is from a supernatural Satan who possesses the power to make a person sick. If in fact there is no Satan then the reader must come to another conclusion or at least be open to there being another possibility for what caused Job’s boils. Some proposed options for the cause of Job’s boils are; Satan who doesn’t exist sent boils; or wicked adversarial opponents of Job enlisted some manner of biological or chemical warfare against Job; or the boils were the physical manifestation of the stress and negative state Job was in for possibly quite some time. Remaining in a negative or stressful state for a period of time might manifest in physical ailments such as headaches, insomnia, intestinal difficulties, skin rash, boils, or other conditions. Due to the lack of specifics in the story, one can be creative in postulating how exactly Job ended up with boils from his experiences. I think the important point to make here is that as long as one sees a non-existent cosmic Satan had nothing to do with Job’s boils, then a sensible pursuit of another possible answer will bode well for the seeker.
If it were so that a Satan existed who could impart disease to a human, then why do the Scriptures repeatedly acknowledge Yahweh as the source of physical illnesses and such? I have myself at times in the past blamed illnesses and conditions of physical malady on “Satan,” when I used to believe what I was wrongly taught about the “evil one.” I soon learned that the things that others and I were experiencing could be attributed to the result of other physical stimuli in my or our life at the time. I will share more later on this part of my journey but as a former “intercessory prayer warrior,” I at one point in my life was praying against Satan because of the difficulty I was having with achieving quality sleep. Much to my chagrin, as I reduced my stress and busyness in my life, I was able to reclaim valuable sleep and realized I needed to look at the physical reasons for my dilemma, not try to attach some spiritual reason to it. I will say that in the years I practiced “intercessory prayer,” blaming a satanic force for things such as a cold or a backache became the norm. I am still somewhat embarrassed to explicate the depths of this deception in my life at that time but I will mention certain aspects about that leg of my journey from time to time in this work.
As for Job and his tragedies, including the boils, I would suggest strongly that all that happened to Job, besides the natural disasters which some erroneously say are also controlled by “Satan,” could very easily be attributed to human hands and are a natural response to stress from the intensities of life that Job was experiencing.
I am not postulating a new idea, just one or should I say one more, that has been veiled in centuries of mixed and confused theology. Confused theology that has been propagated by the false religious system of our time. The belief in a cosmic Satan and the associated belief that claims Satan causes sickness is error compounded upon error that started thousands of years ago. When I am reminded that the Messiah was not a Christian according to the common understanding of what it means to be a Christian and how Christianity is generally practiced, I find it easy to question the teachings of Christianity. Especially in light of the fact that so much of what Christianity professes as accurate biblical teaching and doctrine, cannot be proven by the Scriptures that Christ used. If the Messiah were to stroll through our towns and cities today, he likely wouldn’t recognize Christianity today as a product and outcome of the way His apostles walked out their faith and worshiped the Creator. Christianity today is the outcome of edicts by the Roman Empire from the second to fifth centuries.
For us to stand back and accept the idea of a cosmic, supernatural Satan, being the active cause of the affliction of Job would be to reject the real power that stands behind Job’s afflictions. If we are careful to assess the story apart from our predetermined perspective on the issue of Satan, we can clearly see that the source of affliction is simply an “adversary” in the form of a human man and the power behind that “evil” is not a “satanic” force in opposition to the God of the Universe. The force behind the affliction of Job is the God of the Universe.
To accept the truth of the words of Job and understand the use of the Hebrew word for “adversary” as a word to represent that which is an oppositional force to Job, is to effectively reduce “Satan” to what he truly is in relation to Job. Satan, or should I say satan, is a human adversary. The wisdom writing of Job is in line with the rest of the Hebrew Scriptures in that it supports the concept that there is only one God and that an evil cosmic force said to oppose man and God does not exist.
 Teffillin are the ceremonious, religious armband and head band with attached box, which are wrapped in a symbolically prescribed order upon the head and arm of the observant Jew. The attached box on the headband contained select Scripture passages. The concept of these amulets is derived from Exodus 13(and elsewhere) where a passage about keeping the feast of unleavened bread ends with saying; “And it shall be for a sign unto thee upon thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes, that the LORD'S law may be in thy mouth: for with a strong hand hath the LORD brought thee out of Egypt.” Exodus 13:9 KJV
 The Origins of the Synagogue and The Church. By the Late Kaufmann Kohler; Published by New York, The Macmillan Company 1929
 Teffilin are the adornments worn by observant Jews during prayer. Also called phylacteries, these adornments include a headpiece with a leather box containing passages of Scripture on small parchment, and an armband of kosher leather that is wrapped around the left arm in a specific and ceremonious fashion.
 The Implausibility of Satan; Paul Doland http://www.secweb.org/index.aspx?action=viewAsset&id=310
 The Satan, Bill Long, May 29,2005; http://www.drbilllong.com/MoreJobEssays/TheSatan.html
 Excerpt from Article titled Satan in Monstropedia; http://www.monstropedia.org/index.php?title=Satan
 Excerpt from article; Bible Teaching about the Devil – 2, found at http://www.keylessons.com/reader.py?l=19
 From pg 39 of “The Devil,” Amelia Wilson; 2002 PRC Publishing Ltd.
 Halakhah is the Hebrew word meaning to walk and is most often a reference to the rules and commands that an observant Jew lives his faith by, or the way a religious Jew walks out his or her faith.
 From article titled Succubus on Monstropedia, http://www.monstropedia.org/index.php?title=Succubus.
 From article Incubus on Monstropedia, http://www.monstropedia.org/index.php?title=Incubus
 Excerpt taken from article titled Wisdom Literature at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wisdom_literature
 Garden of Eden: Prototype Sanctuary
Donald W. Parry, in Temples of the Ancient World. Donald W. Parry and Stephen D. Ricks eds., (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1994.): 126-152. Mr. Parry quotes from Menahem Haran's workTemples and Temple Services in Ancient Israel. The above quote used by Mr.Perry can be found on page 26 of Manahems work.
 Temples and Temple-Services in Ancient Israel, Menahem Haran; pg 292 originally published Oxford[Oxfordshire]; Clarendon Press
 ibid. page 61
 ibid page 136
 Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible
 John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible;
Dr. John Gill (1690-1771)
 The original Hebrew word is #7257 in Strong's Exhaustive Concordance :râbats -raw-bats'
A primitive root; to crouch (on all four legs folded, like a recumbent animal); by implication to recline, repose, brood, lurk, imbed: - crouch (down), fall down, make a fold, lay (cause to, make to) lie (down), make to rest, sit.
 Excerpted from, "http://www.monstropedia.org/index.php?title=Satan"
Now for a sneak peek at . . .
CHAPTER 11 - Zechariah’s Vision, What Was the Satan He Saw?
Have you ever had a dream? I don’t mean a dream to take your family to Disneyland or a dream you could some day whisk your spouse off in a private jet to Paris for a romantic dinner. I’m not talking about the type of dream a person has that is made up in their mind and is intended to help them escape from reality for a moment or two but in actual fact will probably never come to pass. For instance, the other day the lottery was promising a prize of 35 million dollars. I have to be honest with you I did take a few seconds out of my busy day to dream what I would do with 35 million dollars. The dream did not last long and wasn’t the kind of dream that has the characteristic epiphany qualities to redirect one’s life toward a focus of pursuing the dream. My few seconds of dreaming about having 35 million dollars did not consume my thoughts, nor did it at all lend me to believe that winning 35 million dollars might actually happen to me. So, after a few ideas popped into my head of what I would do with all that money, they then left my focus of attention and I went on with my day and my life. This is definitely one type of dream many are familiar with or have experienced. However, when I asked you if you have ever had a dream, I was referring to the more ethereal concept of the dream. The type of dream you have when you’re sleeping and according to sleep-researchers, the kind of dream that occurs during the stage of sleep that occurs just before you begin to wake up and enter a conscious level of activity.
Think about a dream you’ve had. In this dream, did you perhaps see a tree or a bridge? Maybe this dream contained images of an animal or a coworker or perhaps it was the kind of pizza dream many people have and in it, the co-worker is an animal. How about a dream that had images of a bird or a park with a child playing? Did your dream contain any of those images? There’s a chance your dream contained images of you or someone in the dream being chased. It may be that you have a had a dream where you are late for work or showed up at an exam in university and you not only are un-studied for the test but there are only minutes remaining to complete the exam which was to have been a three hour test. Do some of us have dreams of our children going missing or getting hurt? Have you ever had a dream that you were trying to run but you could barely move your feet and legs because they were either so heavy or seemingly stuck to the ground? How about a dream where you are falling? Many people have those types of dreams periodically throughout life but are in reality not literally falling from a high precipice.
If you take all the dreams you have had in your lifetime, analyze the content and characters in the dreams, then sit down, and make a list of all the literal components of your dreams, how big would the list be? I remember when I was about 10 or eleven years old, I had a dream where I was sitting on the curb at the edge of the sidewalk one day and shuffling my feet through the leaves that had collected in the gutter. I looked down and there was a twenty-dollar bill in the dirt. In my dream, I remember the feeling I had when I found the twenty-dollar bill. I was so excited. Twenty dollars was a sizable amount of . . .
(To read more of this chapter, request your copy of Satan: Christianity's Other God)
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