Wednesday, August 30, 2023


No 18  Job―An Ordinary Guy

What I have never believed about Job
That Job was
        a person specially constructed by God for the trial
        an angel (in disguise)
        Jesus Christ Himself (incognito)

What I used to believe about Job
That Job was
        the strongest-of-the-strong
        God’s best pick from among all His people of faith in that period of time

What I now believe about Job
That Job was
        just a rather ordinary guy
        different―but ordinary 

The Descriptors of Job
In Job 1:1, four qualities are given describing Job: 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.
        (1) perfect
        (2) upright
        (3) feared God
        (4) eschewed (shunned) evil

In Job 1:8, two additional qualities are added: And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?
        (5) servant
        (6) none like him in the earth

None Like Him in the Earth
Job was an ordinary guy who had made extraordinary decisions. He actually made the very decisions God asks each of His followers to make. Every day kind of decisions. The “rubber-meets-the-road” kind of decisions. Job took God at His word and lived the kind of life God expected him to live. For example, he had made the decision to shun evil. He no longer wanted to do evil. His relationship with God and with people precluded him acting in any evil capacity toward them. 

But his decisioning goes further. The decision to shun evil was
His decisions were made in a way that could not be changed, reversed, or removed. This is what God wished for him (and every believer). This is what Job wanted to do―and he made the decisions necessary to accomplish that goal.

The kind of decisioning made by Job has been made by untold millions through God’s history. Thus did Enoch. And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him (Gen 5:24). Likewise, Job walked with God. Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself (Dan 1:8). Likewise, Job purposed in his heart. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image (Dan 3:12). Likewise, Job did not regard Satan or follow him in any way (which is why Satan was so vehemently angry with Job).

Believers may actually do what God has asked them to do. Taking God at His word and in His strength, we know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not (1 John 5:18).
        Enoch kept himself. That wicked one toucheth him not.
        Daniel kept himself. That wicked one toucheth him not.
        They kept themselves. That wicked one toucheth them not.
        The persecuted Christians in early Rome kept themselves. 
        That wicked one toucheth them not.
        The Waldenses.
        The Wycliffites.
        The Lollards.
        The Huguenots.
        Untold numbers kept themselves through the Dark Ages of persecution. 
        The wicked one cannot touch any believer in God’s hand.
        No power can snatch that believer from God’s hand.

The Decisioning Required
In such a manner, God’s people living in the very last days of the time of the end, will have gone through such decisioning themselves. What has been expected of everyone through all time will be realized in these people. They will be
        fearing God
        shunning (eschewing) evil.
Anyone not making such decisions will be in the other class:
        the un-perfect (opposite of perfect)
        the down-wrong (opposite of upright)
        the ones who do not fear God
        the one who do not shun (eschew) evil.

Revelation is clear in the description of the two classes of people living on earth when the time at hand (Rev 22:10) arrives. Upon the arrival of the time at hand. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still (Rev 22:10,11).

And just like Enoch, Job, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, and millions since, the decisioning of these people in the last generation is
Their decisions were made in such a way that could not be changed, reversed, or removed. This is what God wished for them and they took God at Hid word and did it! They made the decisions necessary to accomplish the goal. These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God (Rev 14:4,5). [These descriptors, by the way, describe Job very well― not defiled, follow the Lamb, redeemed from among men, in their mouth was found no guile, and without fault before the throne of God. The descriptors from Rev 7 may be added as well―Job was a servant of God sealed in his forehead (Rev 7:3). Job had washed his robe, and made it white in the blood of the Lamb (Rev 7:14). Isn’t it interesting that the Lord Himself described Job twice as My servant (Job 1:8 and 2:3)?

Job was without fault before the throne of God―which was why he was before the throne of God. Satan tried to bring him down and could not. The Lord said to Satan directly, still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause (Job 2:3).

Job―An Ordinary Guy Making Extraordinary Decisions
How did Job attain such a character? But such a character is not the result of accident; it is not due to special favors or endowments of Providence. A noble character is the result of self-discipline, of the subjection of the lower to the higher nature—the surrender of self for the service of love to God and man (Ellen G. White, Education, page 57). Any person may choose such as Job chose. The Lord Jesus is making experiments on human hearts through the exhibition of His mercy and abundant grace. He is effecting transformations so amazing that Satan, with all his triumphant boasting, with all his confederacy of evil united against God and the laws of His government, stands viewing them as a fortress impregnable to his sophistries and delusions. They are to him an incomprehensible mystery (Ellen G. White, Testimonies to Ministers, page 18).

What made Job different? How could he be different―but ordinary? Job was settled. This a term rich with meaning and depth.
        Settled means unmovable
        Settled means cannot be changed
        Settled means cannot be drawn away
        Settled means cannot be enticed.

When the Lord described His servant Job as being perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil (Job 1:1), it means Job was
        settled perfect
        irrevocably upright
        undeniably God-fearing
        and unchangeably a shunner of evil.
If Job had been any less that this, he would not have been a candidate for such a trial as he should face. But Job was settled. This is why the Lord could set him forth before Satan as an example of a person who could not be made to become unsettled.

The Last Generation
Settled describes the people who live through the trying times of the very last of time. They are ordinary people of faith who are settled. (I will allow that) such settled people are anything but ordinary―but being ordinary was the beginning of their faith. Their faith made them exceptional. All of us have that prospect before us. Such faith (as all faith) is a gift from God. All start on level ground. Becoming settled is a gift from God. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure (Phil 2:13).

A Quality Beyond
It will be ordinary people with extraordinary faith going through the Time of Jacob’s Trouble. I plan to be going through that time if I am alive. And I am ordinary. At no time do I expect God to miraculously turn me into something extraordinary or super-ordinary. I just want God to illustrate in my life His principles of faith and sanctification. Like Job, I want my life to be a life that cannot be moved. Those who would follow Christ must be grounded upon the principles of truth. They need to understand what the Bible teaches in regard to faith, and sanctification through the truth. They must be so established in this knowledge that they cannot be moved to take false positions on the doctrine of holiness, but will be able to illustrate in their lives the practical workings of this heaven-given principle (Ellen G. White, Evangelism, page 596).

I Want My Life to be a Full and Final Display
By His grace I want to participate in His full and final display. The church is the repository of the riches of the grace of Christ; and through the church will eventually be made manifest, even to the principalities and powers in heavenly places (Eph 3:10), the final and full display of the love of God (Ellen G. White, Reflecting Christ, page 196). The greatest want of the world is the want of men—men who will not be bought or sold, men who in their inmost souls are true and honest, men who do not fear to call sin by its right name, men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole, men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall (Ellen G. White, Education, page 57). 

While the people of the last days of time will not be able to buy or sell (Rev 13:17). I want to be a man who will not be bought or sold. I want to live a life resulting from that kind of decisioning with Jesus. Don’t you?

Please send questions or comments to Will Hardin at P O Box 24 Owenton KY 40359.


Tuesday, August 29, 2023


No 17 "God, Please Take the Witness Stand" 

God On Trial (Part 2 of 2)

Carefully Crafted Challenges (Chapter One)
Satan thought he had backed God into a corner with his carefully crafted challenges.

8 [The Lord speaking] Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?
9 [Satan speaking] Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? 10 Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. 11 But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.
12 [The Lord speaking] And the Lord said unto Satan, 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 1:9-12).

Satan's crafty challenges may be stated in various ways:
            Doesn’t Job have good reason to fear You?
            You pay him so well.
            You bless (literally, burst forth) everything he does.
            Prosperity had never failed him.
            Nothing goes wrong in his life.
            You bribe him to be loyal to You.
            You bribe him with protection (the hedge).
            You provide special protection for Job.
            You are sheltering him because he is one of Your favorites.
            You only want to make Job look good.
            You pay Job to follow You.
            You have purchased his loyalty.
In the presence of the assembled sons of God, Satan charges God with political corruption. If this was an election, Satan would be charging God with buying votes.

Satan Said that Job Could Only Be Selfish
            Satan is assured that Job is is utterly and always selfish.
            He claims Job’s goodness is selfishness under the guise of religion.
            Job is pious because he is prosperous, says Satan.
            He truly believes everyone is just like himself―selfish to the core.
            And he sets out to prove this.
            Therefore, God is partly responsible for Job’s selfishness―God nurtured it.

Satan Questions Job’s Motives
            Satan knew Job well.
            Satan could not deny that Job was a good and honest and devout man.
            He could not deny Job’s godliness.
            What he questions was Job’s motives for serving God.
            Satan attempts to discredit Job’s motives.
            What if Job was actually asked to serve God for nothing?
            Would he still be willing to do so?
            Would Job worship if he got nothing out of it?
            Satan’s challenges pose the central issue of the book.
            Does anyone love God because He is God?
            Does anyone love God for God’s sake?
            Satan says “No”
            God says “Yes”

Satan Questions God’s Character
            What Satan is saying to God is this: I know what You don’t know.
            I see what You don’t see.
            Does Job serve You for nothing?
            You think he is serving You because he loves You.
            I tell You that he is serving You because of what he gets out of serving You.         
            You are making him rich.
            Why would he not serve You?
            You have a protecting hedge around him so that
                        nothing hurts him
                        nothing troubles him
                        nothing harms him.
            And You can’t see it, God.
            You’re not as smart a God as You tell everybody You are, said Satan
            You think You know everything―You claim omniscience.
            Yet You cannot see when people are using You for their own good.
            He worships You only for what he can get out of You.

            Satan is throwing rocks at God.
            He is casting aspersions against God.
            Satan’s challenge goes way beyond the existence of a righteous man.
            Satan’s challenge denies the existence of a righteous God.
            Who is the scoundrel?
            The one who accepts the bribe?
            Or the one who pays the bribe?
            Satan is accusing God of acting underhandedly―of covering up a deal.

Satan is Working the Jury
Satan is working like a shrewd lawyer trying to get into the minds of the jurors, as it were.

What Could Only Be Job’s Response?
            The only response that Job could make is acceptance.
            Not even a “Uhmm.”
            To say anything more would give credence to Satan’s accusation.
            Satan's charge was that Job loved things more than he loved God.
            "And You, God," said Satan,"are only the One Who gives him things."

Job’s Response
20 Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,
21 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.
22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly (Job 1:20-22).


Carefully Crafted Challenges (Chapter Two)
Nonplussed by his own miscalculations, but never admitting defeat, Satan comes back with a second round of challenges. God does, however, acknowledge His victory―and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.

3 [The Lord speaking] Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.
4 [Satan speaking] And Satan answered the Lord, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. 5 But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.
6 [The Lord speaking] And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life (Job 2:3-6).

Was Satan More Certain of His Second Challenge?
            Job will do anything to save his life.
            Give him pain and he will curse You to Your face.

What Could Only Be Job’s Response?

Job’s Response
9 Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and
10 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).


God Does Not Bring Calamity
But notice, God did not bring the calamity into Job’s life.
God never does the devil’s work for him.
Blessing is God’s work.
Satan even admitted that, when he said, Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land (Job 1:10).
The devil took no credit to himself for Job’s prosperity.
He acknowledged that it was from God.  
Still Satan pressed home his challenge.
Put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face (Job 1:11). Boldly the Lord answered, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand (Job 1:12). 

And so the devil got to doing his work. Disaster, sorrow and calamity were the result.

God refused to do Satan’s work.
Satan had asked God to put forth His hand.
God replied, “No that is your job.
The touch of My hand results in blessing.
Trouble, when it comes, comes from you---not Me.”
What comfort this should be to God’s children.

I like God's ways of doing things, don't you?

Please send questions or comments to Will Hardin at P O Box 24 Owenton KY 40359.

Image of the judge's gavel at the top by ARUN S from Pixabay

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

  No 16 "God, Please Take the Witness Stand" 

God On Trial (Part 1 of 2)
The Great Controversy began in heaven between a disgruntled angel and God. That angel’s dissatisfaction led to open rebellion and war. That angel―Lucifer―lost the contest and was made to leave heaven. And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven (Rev 12:7,8). 

God permitted the dragon―Lucifer―Satan to come to planet earth. There must have been reasons why God thus permitted. Likewise, there must have been reasons why God so permitted Satan to afflict Job as disastrously as he did. And the Lord said unto Satan, 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). Satan was not able to accomplish his objectives with Job, on the first attempt; so Satan returned to heaven to ask permission from God to try again. The issues must have been serious because God permitted Satan to have a second round on Job. And Satan answered the Lord, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life (Job 2:4-6).

What were these issues? Why did God have it in His best interests to permit Satan to do what he did to Job? And, by extension, why does God permit Satan to do what he does to us in our lives today? Let’s begin to define the issues by looking at the beginning of the Great War.

For some undefined period of time from the creation of all things, all was in harmony and peace in heaven. There were no disgruntled angels. It all began with a single angel who began to change his views about God. With changed views came changed attitudes. With changed attitudes came changed relationships. This much is given in the Bible: 12 Thus saith the Lord God; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. 13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. 14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. 15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee (Ezekiel 28:12-15).

From these Scriptures pertaining to Lucifer, we conclude:
1) He was wise and perfect (verses 12 and 15)
2) He was a created being (verses 13 and 15)
3) He was the highest-ranking angel or anointed cherub that covered (verse 14)
4) He was at the top of God’s government or upon God’s holy mountain (verse 14)
5) He was perfect before the Law of God or walked amid the stones of fire (verse 14)
6) He was perfect from the day he was created till iniquity was found in him (verse 15)

Our understanding broadens when we add Isaiah’s testimony regarding Lucifer: 12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. 15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit (Isaiah 14:12-15).

We can add these thoughts to his profile:
1) He fell from heaven to earth (verse 12)
2) He weakened the nations or ruined the peoples of earth (verse 12)
3) His motives included wanting a throne for himself (verse 13)
4) His motives included wanting to be like God or worshipped as God (verse 14)
5) He will be sent to hell for his rebellion (verse 15)

Add to the testimony given by Ezekiel and Isaiah, the words of Jesus:
Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it (John 8:44).
1) The devil tries to get us to do what he did so that we can suffer his fate with him
2) The devil does not like truth and broke away from truth
3) The devil is a liar―he created the art and science of lying
4) The devil was a murderer from the beginning

Lucifer in heaven―Satan on earth―attempted to murder the reputation of God. (He knew he would never be able to hurt God directly for God is life.) But to murder one’s reputation may nearly be equal to murdering that person anyway. In his quest to become “like God” Satan depended upon the lies he created about God. Satan’s goal was to cause all created beings (in heaven and on earth) to dislike God and, thus, come to accept him as god. And has Satan not done well in accomplishing his goal?
1) Most of the world does not even know Who God is
2) Most of the world wants to continue the rebellion Satan started
3) Most of the world does not like the God they do know

While other insights (beside Ezekiel, Isaiah and Jesus) are given here and there throughout Scripture, the most extensive treatment of the issues is given in the Book of Job. There we see―
1) that Satan seeks to cast God in a bad light causing beings to reject Him
2) that Satan accomplished this task through his craft of lying
3) that Satan will murder whomever he can

Many people reading Job harbor ill feelings toward God for what He permitted Satan to do to the man Job (and us by extension). Why did God allow incriminating evidence (generated by a shallow reading of Job) to be written and added to our Bible? Wouldn’t it have been to His advantage to “leave it out” or “act like it never happened?” 

God has nothing to hide. All His works are a REVELATION―not a deception. And no created being knows the Scriptures better―every dotting of an “i” and the crossing of a “t”―than Satan. And relying upon his craft as a liar, Satan will throw bad light upon a text here and an errant interpretation upon a verse there, if it might accomplish his overall purpose of confusion. Confusion just may cause a person to ultimately make the decision to accept the same fate as declared upon Satan. In that case, Satan wins. 

But the Word of God is not confusing. The truth of the Plan of Salvation comes through even to a child reading the Bible. Even an illiterate person can grab the truths of the Scripture (when the words are read to him) if wrong interpretations have not been placed upon the words being read to him. And if there were no words given other than the life and teachings of Jesus, the Plan of Salvation could still be seen by all. Jesus is the clearest picture of the love of God spelled out as a Word to be read.

The Terms of the Controversy
It was the character of God which sets the terms of the controversy with Satan.
1) God's character is truthHe cannot lie
2) God's character is loveHe will always act in a loving capacity to all His created
    beings. This includes Satan
3) God's character is lifeHe offers life to all

Satan's character is revealed in the controversy:
1) Satan created lying, and does so skillfully
2) Satan could care less about love―all he wants is blind obedience
3) Satan only wants our eternal death

Every other characteristic and quality of God (just, trustworthy, patient, kind, honest, longsuffering, etc.) has its counterpart in a hateful, mean and cruel Satan. Satan doesn’t care about his own reputation. God does care about His.

This is one reason why the Controversy has continued these long 6000 years or so. Every question must be answered. Every issue must be resolved. God has been working out these issues since the beginning of this world. The Bible assures us that God will triumph. But He must win the war in a manner that demonstrates His righteousness―in a manner that is consistent with His character. He must win in a manner that settles all the issues involved, and that prevents another rebellion in the future. The Bible assures us that He will not (and we will not) have to go through this again. Affliction shall not rise up the second time (Nahum 1:9). To make the universe secure through all eternity, all issues must be settled now. The plan of salvation involves issues larger than we usually consider.

This is How the Controversy Ends
God permitted Satan to test his theories. After Satan has done all he can do to deceive the universe (and when he can do no more), there is a mighty voice in heaven crying, “It is done!”
6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. 7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. 8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death (Rev 21:6-8). And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: For true and righteous are his judgments (Rev 19:1,2). This is how the conflict ends! God triumphs!

Every Knee Shall Bow and Every Tongue Shall Confess
Three times the Bible assures that a time will come when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Every being ever created. You and me. And this includes Satan and his angels.

I have sworn by myself,
the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return,
That unto me every knee shall bow,
every tongue shall swear (Isa 45:23).

For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord,
every knee shall bow to me,
and every tongue shall confess to God (Rom 14:23).

That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father (Phil 2:10,11).

The Philippians account is that these confessions will be to the glory of God. The Great Controversy is over. God did triumph! The questions have been answered and all the issues resolved― to the glory of God the Father (Phil 2:11). The universe is secure. God has shown Himself to be loving, trustworthy, fair, honest, pure, and holy toward all beings. Satan has shown himself to be everything opposite of God in character. Satan will, at the last, bow to his knee and acknowledge that God is right and that he is wrong. Satan will acknowledge that God was just and fair toward him, and that it was his own rebellion that turned him away from God. He acknowledges that he would be miserable if he had to continue in the presence of God, He asks God to―and gives God permission to―end his existence. Satan, his angels, and all those who chose to follow the arch-rebel, will declare God to be merciful and just to end their existence for ever and ever. God sadly acknowledges their request, and with their permission, brings down the fires of hell to accomplish their eternal separation.

For true and righteous are his judgments (Rev 19:1,2)
The wise hear in this affirmation clues as to what the Great Controversy was all about. Satan had tried to convince the universe that God was unfair, severe, and arbitrary. The Controversy ends when God’s creation is convinced that He is worth love and deserving of trust. God has been on trial. He has defended Himself. He has settled the questions and doubts Satan has raised. Satan has tried to subvert the government of God while God has patiently been telling His side of the story.

In this sense, the Bible is God’s self-communication about His side of the controversy. The Bible is the theater wherein we observe its play and counter play.

Basic to this plan was Jesus who would come to this earth to demonstrate what God is really like. He would come to represent God. He would tell the truth about God. This is why Jesus spent so much time telling us what God is like. He knew that our salvation would depend on our having a true picture of God. Why is this so crucial? Because knowing God is the strongest motivation for us to
            a. turn from sin
            b. reject the rebel who started sin
            c. trust God above every earthly consideration or attraction
Seeing God in Jesus provides a powerful incentive to love God in return.

Jesus came to show us that God is not angry at us
Jesus came to show us that God is not mean
Jesus came to show us that God wants to us come back to Him because He loves us
Jesus came to show us that God wants to restore us to eternal life
Jesus came to show us that God freely offers forgiveness to everyone
Jesus came to show us that Satan is a liar and a deceiver
Jesus came to show us that sin is the result of Satan’s rebellion
Jesus came to show us that our choice determines our destiny
Jesus came to chow us that choosing Satan means we choose Satan's fate
Jesus came to show us that in choosing God we choose life

And Jesus did this at an awful cost to Himself―He gave His life. But the question remains: How did all this solve the Great Controversy? Is God asking too much of us? Can we truly love Him for love’s sake, or do we serve Him because of what we get out of it? Do we serve Him to avoid the disastrous results of not serving Him?

Now we are at the Book of Job!

Next week--God On Trial (Part 2 of 2).


Please send questions or comments to Will Hardin at P O Box 24 Owenton KY 40359.

Gavel Image in the Introduction is by ARUN S from Pixabay


Tuesday, August 15, 2023


 No 15  How Could This Be?

How Could This Have Happened?
One of the most frequent questions I am asked about the Book of Job relates to the presence of Satan in heaven. How could this have happened? How could Satan be in heaven? Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them (Job 1:6).

When Lucifer (Satan) was cast out of heaven to this earth, was he not quarantined to this planet? Doesn't he have a ball and chain, as it were, that keeps him positioned and locked on this planet? Wouldn't he have "burned up" in the presence of the Lord? Wouldn't it have meant instant annihilation just for him to go there?

Here Begins the Answer 
The Lord Jesus has the ability to veil His divinity―to keep it from shining through. It was a provision and a prerogative He must exercise. Without this, there would be no safety for sinners in His presence. This is in itself a facet of His overarching love for His creatures―in this case, errant creatures.

Look at the Times Christ Veiled His Divinity
When the Lord walked in the Garden in the cool of the day, it was the Son of God walking in veiled divinity. And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden (Gen 3:8).

It was in veiled divinity that the Son of God came from heaven down to check out the Tower of Babel. And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded (Gen 11:5). Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech (Gen 11:7). 

The Lord Himself in His veiled divinity took the hand of Lot and his family and drug them out of Sodom. And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the Lord being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city (Gen 19:16).

The Lord in His veiled divinity appeared to Abraham. And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect (Gen 17:1).

In the tent in the cool of the evening, it was God in veiled divinity who talked with Abraham and Sarah. And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him (Gen 17:19).

The Being that fought all night with Jacob at Peniel was the Son of God in veiled divinity. And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day (Gen 32:24). And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved (Gen 32:29,30).

The cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night shielded the Israelites from the full revelation of the divinity of the Son of God. 
Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ (1 Cor 10:1-4). Enshrouded in the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, He led the children of Israel through the wilderness (Ellen G. White, Upward Look, page 236).

The 4th personage in the fiery furnace with Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego was the Son of God in veiled divinity. Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God (Dan 3:24,25).

The Son of God as Michael the Archangel came in veiled divinity and shut the lions’ mouths when Daniel was thrown into their den. My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me (Dan 6:22).

And when Satan came before the Lord in the heavenly councils (Job 1 and 2), it was the Son of God in veiled divinity, in Whose presence Satan stood.

Humanity Could Not have Endured the Sight
Had Christ come in His divine form, humanity could not have endured the sight. The contrast would have been too painful, the glory too overwhelming. Humanity could not have endured the presence of one of the pure, bright angels from glory; therefore Christ took not on Him the nature of angels; He came in the likeness of men.

Looking upon Him, we behold the invisible God, who clothed His divinity with humanity in order that through humanity He might shed forth a subdued and softened glory, so that our eyes might be enabled to rest upon Him, and our souls not be extinguished by His undimmed splendor. We behold God through Christ, our Creator and Redeemer. It is our privilege to contemplate Jesus by faith, and see Him standing between humanity and the eternal throne. He is our Advocate, presenting our prayers and offerings as spiritual sacrifices to God. Jesus is the great sinless propitiation, and through His merit God and man may hold converse together (Ellen G. White, That I May Know Him, page 25).

He Veiled the Dazzling Splendor 
Christ, the Light of the world, veiled the dazzling splendor of His divinity and came to live as a man among men, that they might, without being consumed, become acquainted with their Creator. Since sin brought separation between man and his Maker, no man has seen God at any time, except as He is manifested through Christ (Ellen G. White, Reflecting Christ, page 39).

There Were Moments of Splendor
Here was a moment when His inner splendor what hinted and suggested: Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye? 5 They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them. 6 As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground (John 18:4-6).

Here was another instance:
And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, 2 And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light (Matt 17:1,2).

How Could Satan Be in Heaven
The Scriptures make clear that Satan had access to the throne room of God at least for a time. Clearly, Job shows Satan visiting the throne room in heaven at times when the entire assembly of the sons of God (i.e., the angels) are present (see Job 2:1). Until his final judgment, Satan has restricted access to the heavenly courts. Since God is holy and absolutely without sin (Isaiah 6:3), and since He will not even look on evil (Habakkuk 1:13), how can Satan be in heaven? The answer involves God’s sovereign act―He will veil His glory for the outworking of the Plan of Salvation. He will restrain and shield His glory as needed. In Job Chapters 1 and 2, Satan stood before God to give an account of himself. God
            a. initiated the meeting
            b. led the proceedings
            c. and remained in absolute control. 

Satan’s presence in heaven
            a. was by the direct summons of God
            b. and not because of open and unlimited access
            c. was temporary
            d. strictly limited to God's “business” at hand.

In no way was the purity of heaven tainted by the brief, God-ordained presence of a sinful being, Satan’s access was granted prior to the final judgment only. After the judgment, God creates a new heaven and new earth (Revelation 21:1), wipes away all tears from our eyes (verse 4), reveals the New Jerusalem (verse 10), and promises the complete absence of sin (verse 27).

When we say, "God cannot allow sin into heaven," we simply mean that God cannot allow human beings who are still in their sin to live in His presence. But it is possible for God to command a sinful being to stand (temporarily) in His presence in order to commission him (Isa 6), to exact an account from him (Job Chapter 1 and 2), or to judge him (Rev 20:11-15). This is done without compromising His holiness.

How Could Satan Be in Heaven―Still More Can Be Said 
Satan is summonsed to appear in the presence of the Lord. He stands in the spot where Adam would have stood had he not given up the spot. The things done and said by Lucifer in heaven before his Fall are too great and too important to be lost. His questions must be answered. His insinuations must be met and resolved.

The Book of Job brings the issues Satan raised (and the questions he dared ask) from the courts of heaven down to this earth. The insinuations cast against God in heaven before the Fall of Lucifer are again insinuated in the days of Job (as they will again be insinuated against God’s people in the times before the Second Coming of Christ).

None of us were there in heaven. But we all are present before the Lord in the Book of Job.
            a. The Lord stands in His spot.
            b. Satan stands in Adam’s spot.
            c. We stand in our spot (as an observer reading the Book of Job).

We listen. We watch. We observe. We apply our understanding. Then we make our own decisions about the character of God. As startling as the things of the Book of Job is to us, so were the things Lucifer said to the assembly of the angels as he was preparing his rebellion.

            a. Those who heard then were shocked.
            b. We who listen now are amazed.
            c. Those who heard then had to make decisions.
            d. We who listen now must give an account.

Lucifer tried to get the host of angels to not like God any longer. He tries to turn the universe against God by the atrocities happening in the Book of Job (which he will, of course, blame on God).
            a. We will make our conclusions.
            b. Is God fair?
            c.  Is His character trustworthy?
            d. Is He truly a God of love?
            e. Or will we say, “No good. Unfair.”

God is on trial in the Book of Job. God chose to place Himself there for our scrutiny and security. God did not shun the challenges proffered by Satan. In fact, He invited them. More than that, He instigated them. 

God is more sure of where He stands with His children, than Satan will ever be sure of loyalty from his subjects. Yes, Satan draws some away from God’s side of the controversy. But Satan cannot stop God from drawing away subjects from his (Satan's) kingdom. Satan does not expect his subjects to love him--only follow him. God expects His subjects to follow Him--and to love Him in the doing of it.

Satan’s war is against God. We are the collateral damage of his intentions. God is out to settle the contest against Satan. In so doing, we become the heirs of a wonderful and bright eternity--sons of God--all His wonderful intentions.

When we read the Book of Job we have a ringside seat in the goings on of the Great Controversy. We lay the book down and get up and become a participant in the battle. We must know upon whose side we stand. We must know for whom it is we fight.

Do you know upon whose side you fight? I do.


Please send questions or comments to Will Hardin at P O Box 24 Owenton KY 40359.

No 48 Job's Ladder Satan's Lies  One of Satan’s many lies (installed in the Garden of Eden) is that God blesses you when you are goo...