Job is in the midst of a verbal sparing session with his friends. He is not interested in spiritual debate. He is not seeking to be religiously contentious. This not fun or cute, and frankly, all he really needs is for his brothers to comfort him in his agony, but this is not transpiring. Continuously, Job’s friends pick apart his thoughts and language. Relentlessly, they remind him of his depravity. Wrongly, they proclaim his iniquity to be the cause of his calamity, and arrogantly, they are sure God will immediately relent with Job repents. They mean well, but they do not have all the facts, and they are horrible ministers. Consequently, Job is thoroughly frustrated. He knows that, despite his ongoing sin nature, he is declared righteous and blameless in the sight of God. He knows his particular sin is not the direct cause of his woes. Job knows his soul; he is not an incorrigible, hard-hearted rebel. He loves God. He loves his neighbor, and he loves righteousness. However, Job’s counselors are cock-sure and persistent, and the eighteenth chapter ends with a stinging rebuke from Bildad:
Indeed, the light of the wicked is put out, and the flame of his fire does not shine. The light is dark in his tent, and his lamp above him is put out. His strong steps are shortened, and his own schemes throw him down. For he is cast into a net by his own feet, and he walks on its mesh. A trap seizes him by the heel; a snare lays hold of him. A rope is hidden for him in the ground, a trap for him in the path. Terrors frighten him on every side, and chase him at his heels. His strength is famished, and calamity is ready for his stumbling. It consumes the parts of his skin; the firstborn of death consumes his limbs. He is torn from the tent in which he trusted and is brought to the king of terrors. In his tent dwells that which is none of his; sulfur is scattered over his habitation. His roots dry up beneath, and his branches wither above. His memory perishes from the earth, and he has no name in the street. He is thrust from light into darkness, and driven out of the world. He has no posterity or progeny among his people, and no survivor where he used to live. They of the west are appalled at his day, and horror seizes them of the east. Surely such are the dwellings of the unrighteous, such is the place of him who knows not God.” (Job 18:5-21)
Therefore, by the time we reach chapter nineteen, we can feel Job’s passion. With great seriousness he begs for relief from his pain and from his counselors. He is a miserable and heartbroken man; he cannot take much more. But it is in this heart heart-wrenching chapter that Job utters forth one of his most famous cries. It is here that Job preaches the Gospel to himself and his friends. All hope is not lost:
Then Job answered and said: “How long will you torment me and break me in pieces with words? … He has put my brothers far from me, and those who knew me are wholly estranged from me. My relatives have failed me, my close friends have forgotten me … Have mercy on me, have mercy on me, O you my friends, for the hand of God has touched me! Why do you, like God, pursue me? Why are you not satisfied with my flesh? “Oh that my words were written! Oh that they were inscribed in a book! Oh that with an iron pen and lead they were engraved in the rock forever! For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another …. (Job 19:1-29)
In an earlier statement, Job briefly alluded to life after the grave. (Chapter 14) He waited for the day when he would be roused, remembered and renewed by God. He understood a time of judgment was coming, but he was not fretful. He was confident God was going to take his transgressions, seal them in a bag, and cover them. Job did not explain how a holy and righteous God would cover his unrighteousness, but he did proclaim his expectation of God’s covering and renewing grace.
However here, in chapter nineteen, Job shares more of his Gospel-theology. He knows his body will ultimately fail. He knows his flesh will be destroyed; from dust man was made and to dust man would return. However, he also understands that following his death, burial, and bodily decomposition … in renewed flesh … and with renewed eyes, he will one day see God. And how will this happen? Who will be the Change-Maker who causes this to occur? Job understands that his personal Redeemer was already living, and one day would stand upon the earth, and one day they would gaze into one another’s eyes.
Friends, I would have you consider how old is God’s Gospel. It was proclaimed 10,000 years or so to Adam and Eve. They walked, talked and were clothed by God. Then, after their exit from the Garden of Eden, someone, somewhere, taught them how to acceptably worship by means of animal sacrifice. I believe many underestimate how much theology the first family knew. They knew their sins were covered by the sacrifice of the Coming Offspring who was the Lamb of God.
In addition, Seth talked with Gods and Enoch walked with him. God communicated to his patriarchs in that ancient day. Prophets heard the voice of God and proclaimed it to the people. Noah understood the distinction between unclean and clean animals. He also understood the importance of keeping covenant with God and worshiping him according to his prescribed sacrificial system. It is true, with veiled eyes and partial understanding, they knew the Gospel of God.
Next in the historical timeline, we see the Gospel understanding of Job. He had learned how to offer sacrifices to God. And now, in clear language, he proclaimed his hope in the already living Redeemer who would one day come into the world to purchase his salvation. Job understood that following his life, divine resurrection and renewal would take place. God would judge, but grace was available.
And soon in our historical study, we will learn of the Gospel-theology of Abraham, Melchizedek and Moses.
Friends, there is no doubt about it — just like Prosperity Theology is a quack, Dispensational Theology is equally “quacky.” God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and so too is his Gospel. Sure, the Gospel is more concealed in the Old Testament, and it is more revealed in the New Testament. Sure, the mystery is greater in the Old Testament and lesser in the New. Yes, the required ceremonies were greater, harder, and bloodier in the Old Testament and simpler and sweeter in the New. And yes, God primarily dealt with one nation in the Old and overtly deals with all nations in the New. But, that being said, the Gospel is the same.
- All men are created to worship God.
- All men are self-worshiping sinners who glorify not God as they ought.
- All men deserve nothing but God’s just wrath.
- All men have only one hope.
- The Redeemer was alive in the days of Job.
- The Redeemer came to earth in the days of Joseph.
- The Redeemer lived a perfect, blameless, spotless, lawful, and God-glorifying life.
- The Redeemer died a willing, sacrificial, and substitutionary death.
- The Redeemer rose again from the grave.
- The Redeemer sits enthroned.
- The Redeemer sees the effects of Satan, sin, and the world-wide curse.
- The Redeemer sees the hard hearts of men.
- The Redeemer sends his Holy Spirit to breath new life into reprobate hearts.
- The Redeemer encourages men to have faith and repentance.
- The Redeemer, instantaneously and progressively, makes the redeemed righteous.
- The Redeemer gives present help and eternal hope to all who trust in him.
- The Redeemer secures the adoption of his bride into the Father’s household.
- The Redeemer betrothed himself to his redeemed; they are his bride.
- The Redeemer watches and intercedes for his bride.
- The Redeemer awaits the day when he will see his bride face to face.
Friends, this is the Gospel, and it is being preached to you right now.
Those not-yet-believing, cease your lunacy. Trouble comes to one and all; death is over the horizon for everyone; but eternal death is not necessary. Why would you endure the suffering of this world without Christ? Why would you enter into eternal life without a Redeemer? Why would you pay for your own sins? Stop it! Come to Christ, he is so near. Perhaps he is even whispering in your soul right now. Call upon him and be saved, and then make sure you let your Gospel-loving friends know of your communion with the Redeemer.
And believing friends, talk to your Redeemer in the midst of your woes, and look forward to the day when tears, pain, death, and the effects of sin are to be no more. What a glorious day it will be when our Jesus we will see. The Gospel is the same — yesterday, today, and forever — and because of this, all hope is not lost.