3 Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived.
The Book of Job
The Book of Job could not be "an illustration of childlike patience under severe affliction and humiliation," unless Job and his friends were actual personages. An illustration is an illustration. A fiction can never be an illustration. Job is no sketch of the fancy.
The conclusion of the book would show this without other evidence, but the matter is made certain by God's recognition of Job's personal reality, thus:
"Though these three men, Noah Daniel, and Job were in the land, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness."—(Ezek. 14:14, 20.)
James also refers to it in the same practical sense:
"Ye have heard of the patience of Job."—(James 5:11.)
As to the speeches, no doubt they have a common ring about them; but this does not prove them the production of one person. It only illustrates the fact that friends, for many years united in the same faith and worship of God, come to have a common language, in the main, in their description of God and his doings.
The book of course was written by one pen (authorship not certainly known), and, doubtless, the speeches would suffer modification in the writing, as in almost any modern case where one man reports the sayings of others from memory. Such a man inevitably impresses his own style on the report. But the substance would be faithfully represented, as regarded the sentiments expressed by the several speakers.
As to the light in which we are to regard the speeches of Job's friends, after the divine condemnation recorded in the last chapter, they are, doubtless, to be taken with some limitation, but we must not make the limitation narrower than the condemnation requires.
The three friends had not spoken concerning God that which was right, in contending that present adversity was a token of His displeasure, or present prosperity, of his favour; but their general principles, thus misapplied, with regard to time were correct enough; God will bless the righteous, and God will curse the wicked.
But they misapplied the true principle in the case of Job. Their words, in the general, are a correct expression of divine truth. Hence you find Paul quoting Eliphaz.—(1 Cor. 3:19.)
If Paul did so, "Dr. Thomas and others" cannot be wrong in doing so also.
The Christadelphian, Aug 1873
19 The small and great are there; and the servant is free from his master.
"There is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest."-Eccles. 9:10.
Such is the nature of things with respect to the captives of death, good and bad, great and small, while in his custody-prisoners asleep and chained to the sides of the pit, who cannot leave their prison-house, till He who hath the Keys of the Invisible and of Death (Rev. 1:18), comes and unlocks the gates of the unseen.
It is part of the mission of Jesus to do this. Thus in prophecy, the Spirit saith to Christ,
"I, Yahweh, have called Thee, and will give Thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison-house."-Isa. 42:6, 7.
And in Zech. 9:10, 11, the Spirit saith of the King who was to ride into Jerusalem upon the foal of an ass, "He shall speak peace unto the nations;" and then addressing him as if present, saith,
"As for these also, by the blood of thy covenant I have released thy prisoners out of the pit, in which is no water."
Paul is one of these prisoners. He is in a pit, in which there is no water of life; and, if ever he get out of it, as he certainly will, it will be by virtue of the blood of the Abrahamic Covenant, which was anti-typically dedicated, and made sanctifying to all the children thereof, by the blood of sprinkling, shed from the side of Jesus; and with which he was sprinkled in obeying the truth. Even when alive, and in the custody of the Roman Dragon, he styles himself
"the prisoner of the Lord;"
for he got into the Satan's clutches in the Lord's service; and as the Lord could have released him, but did not, he was more the Lord's prisoner, than the Roman Devil and Satan's (Rev. 12:9.)
Such, then, is Paul's present condition, "like to a man waiting for his lord," or, as he has it, "waiting for a deliverer-the Lord Jesus"-to come and change the body, of his humiliation, into a like form with the body of his glory. This will be his synthesis-the putting of him together again; the rebuilding of his dust and ashes into the human form-an incorruptible, deathless, and glorious body-with the spiritual, or mental and moral, characteristics of "Paul the aged" incorporated therein.
From this exposition, it will be seen, that we have nothing to reconcile between Paul's words and Psal. 100: 46:3, 4. We do not undertake the impossible task of harmonizing mistranslations, and clerical opinions, with the teaching of the Spirit. The supposed difficulty must be removed by those who fabricate it.
If men say, "the dead are conscious and intelligent in a spirit-world;" and the Spirit say by Solomon, "the dead know not anything"-they create a contradiction by their stupid nonsense; let them, therefore, reconcile it if they can. The fact is, it is irreconcilable; and they place themselves in a strait betwixt two, which imposes upon them the necessity of abandoning their dogma or the Bible. They cannot, before God, believe in both.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Mar 1857