The following was written by Bishop Garfield Thomas Haywood and published by the Christian Outlook in 1923. I found this to be an interesting perspective on the Book of Job.

Allegory In The Book of Job

That there was once a man whose name was Job there can be no doubt, from the fact that God classes him with Noah and Daniel (Ezek. 14:14), while James refers to his patience in connection with the “prophets” and “the Lord” (Jas. 5:10, 11). But in the record of his life is concealed a most wonderful allegory of the fall and rise of the human family.

Abraham, Sarah, Hagar, Ishmael and Isaac were real persons, yet in reading Galatians 4:22-31 we find that the apostle Paul in speaking of the casting out of Hagar and Ishmael says that those things “are an allegory.” (Verse 24). An allegory is “the description of one thing under the image of another.”

Job, in his prosperity, was like man “hedged” about in Eden. Satan, the accuser of the brethren, intended to make man curse God, by depriving him of his blessings in Eden. But though man was put out of the garden, yet he endeavored to worship God through sacrifices and offerings. (Gen. 4:1, etc).

To offset the spirit of worship Satan caused the world to be filled with sin and violence. There was none good, no, not one. The human family was full of “wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores”; “the whole head was sick and the whole heart was faint. From the sole of the foot even to the head, there was no soundness in it.” Isa. 1:5,6.

The three friends of Job are the conscience, the Law and the Prophets. As these three men’s council was unprofitable so far as helping Job out of his condition, even so the conscience, law and prophets were unable to deliver man from his miserable, loathsome state.

The cry of Job, in his misery, for a “days-man” (mediator) who could “lay his hand upon both” himself and God (Job 9:33), and his yearning cry, “Oh that I knew where I might find Him” most wonderfully portrays the craving of the human heart for the Savior, who could lay his hand upon man and God. The conscience accused him, (Romans 2:14, 15); the Law condemned him (2 Corinthians 3:9), and the Prophets reproved him (Isaiah 29:21; 59:1-15), but none of these three could show man the way out of his miserable, wretched condition.

The sudden appearance of Elihu upon the scene and his silencing of the arguments of Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar is like Christ coming “suddenly” to this earth (Mal. 3:1; Lu. 2:1-14; Mat. 3:13-17) as a “days-man” or Mediator between God and man. As Elihu was “in God’s stead” (Job 32”6) and “also formed out of clay” and exhorted Job to be not “afraid” (verse7), even so Christ “in God’s stead,” was made like unto sinful “flesh” in order that man be not “terrified” at his presence. His words, “neither shall my hand be heavy upon you,” conceals the words of Jesus; “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” As Elihu was the end of the arguments of Job’s three friends, even so was Christ the end of the accusation, condemnation, and reproof of the Conscience, Law and Prophets. At the transfiguration Peter, Moses, and Elias were silenced, and they saw “no man” but Jesus only.

The departure of Elihu is as mysterious as his appearance. In the closing of his remarks he exhorts Job to “stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God.” Jesus showed man (sinful man) the “wondrous works of God,” and as Elihu’s presence was swallowed up by the presence of God coming and speaking out of the “whirlwind,” so it was on the day of Pentecost, that the testimony of Christ was confirmed by the “rushing mighty wind” (Acts 2:1-4; Mat. 10:20), God speaking in the Holy Ghost. (See Job, 32nd Chapter to 37th , Elihu’s testimony. Chapter 38 to 41, God’s testimony.)

When man was deprived of the happiness of Eden, he lost all that he had. Like Job, it seemed he could say, “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord.” He was stripped of everything but yet he offered homage unto god. In the “latter end” of his life, God blessed Job more than he did at the beginning. So shall it be with man, the latter days of our human existence will be glorious and far exceed anything that mortal eye has ever beheld. For it is written, eye hath not seen nor ear heard what God has prepared for them that love Him. (1 Cor. 2:9, 10).

It was through faith and patience that Job passed through the terrible ordeal and obtained the multiplied blessing in the end. His undaunted courage and confidence sustained him. He endured as seeing Him who is invisible. The hope of a resurrection gave him strength to press his claim. Though in the beginning he reasons, “If a man dies shall he live again?” And, again, “As a cloud is consumed and vanisheth away, so he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more,” yet toward the last he caught a distant vision of his Lord and cried, “I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth. And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh I shall see God.”

Thus, we who are called unto suffering, that we might obtain a better resurrection, must not be “slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” Though our conscience has accused us, the law has condemned us, and the prophets have reproved us, thank God, that there is a “daysman” between us; one that has laid his hand on both God and man, the man Christ Jesus, our Lord.

G.T.H.

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