Jobs Plea for Preservation
July 14, 2004
Pastor Doug Sherrill
This paper is presented as a work of faith and encouragement. We unashamedly proclaim the underlying premise of this work to be:
We are forever indebted to those "scrupulous brethren" who have come before us and pleaded the cause of preservation in our vulgar tongue. They stood for the unadulterated truth and sought to possess it in their language.
In this mosaic generation, a cry must be made for the continued Preservation of the Holy Scriptures. The lack of faith in a firm foundation has caused the breakdown of our nation and the entire world. Arthur Cleveland Coxe asked these questions in 1857 in his work An apology for the common English Bible; and a review of the extraordinary changes made in it by managers of the American Bible Society,'
Coxe raised these questions during the years of debate within the prominently Baptist American Bible Society concerning revising the old Bible' known as the Authorized King James. It is the unfortunate obligation of our generation to answer Coxe's questions. A few recent statistics will sufficiently answer the questions posed 150 years ago to a so-called' Bible Society:
These statistics paint the picture of a society that has left the firm foundation to the fluid interpretation and belief of the modern textual critic. The Neologists of our day assert themselves as the all-wise Final Authority. As Coxe aptly wrote,
It is in these last days that the trumpet must sound. Those proclaiming inspiration must also proclaim preservation, else their sound is uncertain'. The plea for preservation must be clearly, distinctly, and unashamedly presented in both pulpits and literature. The plea for preservation is the charge committed to the church from those who have come before us. And may all who come behind us, find us faithful!
Lies permeate our post-modern society. OS Guiness in his book Time For Truth wrote concerning the modern commitment to lies,
"Defined as an attempt to deceive without the other's consent,' a lie is a fundamental breach of the human contract to speak the truth. Thus to treat lying, falsehood, evasiveness, mendacity, and carelessness with words as only minor problems - whimsies with words - hands a dangerous alibi to the powerful and creates a postmodern sanctuary that the unscrupulous have already exploited (witness the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal) and are certain to take advantage of even further. As Walter Lippmann wrote, There can be no liberty for a community that lacks the means by which to detect lies."
This quote from a secular book speaks volumes with regard to the church community today. Can the last days church detect a lie when they read one? Do we have the mechanisms to do so? The textual debate, if poised on the wrong side, can cost multitudes true liberty. The scholar is bolstered as the all-wise and all-knowing, while the average church goer is compelled to simply trust' his opinion. If all we have to defend the sacred text are degrees and the unscrupulous, we are certain to fail. I am thankful, however that we have an unflinching God who has given us His Words and we have the liberty to search the scriptures, remaining true to the God of the Bible.
The average church goer chooses a new version because he cannot handle the truth contained in the REAL Word of God. Notice what Nietzsche wrote in his book, Beyond Good and Evil,
Thus, when applied to the church, the average church goer does not need all that truth that the modern scholar needs. Just give him what he thinks he needs and move on. What an absurdity to believe that we should curtail the Words of God to fit the fancies of man! Nietzsche was a God denying anti-christ, yet he sounds like many in the pulpits of America today. His relativism can be summed up thusly,
This is the response of the church today...
The thesis of this paper is: Job's plea for the preservation of his words is typologically the plea of Jesus Christ to preserve His Words. The typological approach to scripture is often neglected or discredited, especially by the liberal theologian. Any serious student of the Bible has encountered the marvelous design of scripture and has noticed the fingerprint of God throughout its pages. Though typology does not determine doctrine, it does support doctrine. We believe typology may be used to substantiate and validate the message from God, for it is His fingerprint.
"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)
The book of Job is considered by most commentators to be the earliest writing in scripture. If God has preserved His words, it stands to reason that the first inspired writing should show forth a claim for its preservation. If the ancient writing of scripture was inspired at the times of their writing, but are not available to us today through Providential Preservation, why fight for an inspired Bible? We will show that the book of Job, as an inspired text of scripture, has found within its pages the plea for its own preservation. Afford us the time to share an introduction to the setting and characters of the book of Job. This is necessary in order to convey the full force of Job's Plea for Preservation in chapter 19. Also, we have inserted lengthy, but important comments from Alfred Edershiem's Old Testament Bible History, Volume I.
Background for the Book of Job
The book begins with the location of Job in the land of Uz. The land Uz, which is named after a man, is mentioned seven times in scripture. [Genesis 10:23; 36:28; 1 Chronicles 1:17, 42; Job 1:1; Jeremiah 25:20; Lamentations 4:21] We are uncertain exactly where this land was located. Some have said Uz is in the Arabian Desert. Others have postulated in the Euphrates Area. The position of the believer is to accept the land of Uz as a real place and not fall prey to the allegorical approach to the book of Job.
The date for the book of Job is, almost without question, to be around the time of the Patriarchs. The following is a brief list of some reasons to date the book during this time period.
Those who seek to discredit the book, place its time after Moses, during Solomon's reign for example.
There are several passages found within the book of Job that shed light upon the early stories of Genesis. They declare to us that God has never been without a witness and He has, from the beginning, communicated with man.
The question is then raised, "If Job lived before the Mosaic law, how could he speak of the commandments of God?" Do you not realize, as did Job, that God has always manifested His Words to man? His Words have always been expected to be the authority in the lives of humanity. How He revealed Himself in various dispensations has certainly changed, but His Words have always been that which man is to submit. In Job's day, they learned of the accounts of Adam and others before them, through either direct revelation as demonstrated in these verses:
It was then, as it was in the days of Jesus Christ, and is in our own day. Men trusted in their tradition and the elders, and forsook the Words of the Almighty.
So who was Job? Many liberal and unbelieving theologians would claim he is a figment of the imagination. Let us gaze into the scriptures for a witness.
We will let the reader decide whether to believe the critics of scripture or the LORD GOD and James the Apostle! Of course, if Job were not real, then neither were Noah and Daniel.
Another witness for the existence of Job are the multiple Job-like' stories found in ancient memorials. Barnes comments,
Although we do not intend to rest our case upon myth or extra-biblical stories, we often find the pure and true stories of scripture used and corrupted in various cultures. The Flood is a good example of this, showing that many cultures have a story of a family saved during a global flood in an ark. The specifics have been corrupted and lost, but the tradition gives evidence of the genuine. So it appears the same concept applies to the life of Job.
We now come to the persecutions Job encountered. They were numerous, and from his friends.' You recall the story well. In one day Job lost his livestock, servants, camels, and children. He would go on to experience a wife who turned against him and his body become diseased. Many claim the book is written to answer the meaning of suffering. If this is the case, I am disheartened when I find no answer given in the book. I believe there is something far greater to be seen from the pages of Job.
Job has one enemy, namely Satan, who uses several individuals to attempt to discredit the perfection (uprightness) and faithfulness of Job, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. In using these three men, Satan sends a barrage of arrows against Job.
Job responds to their persecution with great clarity and distinction:
His enemies, they think, are sure to have the victory in this battle of words. He is suffering and, according to their reasoning, Job must be in error. When we come to chapter 19 we encounter the desire of Job concerning his words. If those who oppose him will relay the story, surely Job deserves the story be told as it happened. He fears bias, error, and neglect.
As we come to the text concerning preservation, we will discuss three important points:
First, we see the Pen of Preservation. Job is accustom to officials using iron pens to inscribe words into rock. Contrary to popular evolutionary thinking concerning language, Job and his contemporaries could write. Ancient alphabetic writing, known as paleography, when judged by the secular and liberal community, originated by a process of time and learning. Their papers ooze with evolutionary terms. Dr. Thomas M. Strouse noted well the errors of the modern linguists in his 2003 DBS paper, "Scholarly Text of the OT." He stated,
Fortunately, Job did not attend a public school system where God was not to be found, thus he knew and had the abilities to write and preserve words. The fact that we are discussing and reading the book of Job, is testimony to the power of the iron pen. This pen was a stylus of sorts which some say was in a wedge shape. It was used to inscribe wedge-like lettering and pictures known as cuneiform. Cuneiform comes from the Latin word cuneus, meaning wedge.' There were three types of stylus' generally used. The first was a reed that was carved into a wedge shape at the end. Then there was a triangular reed with a sharp pointed end. Finally, a reed with a blunt round end was used to make the deep round impressions. Job prays that an iron stylus be used to carve his words into stone. The pen used was sufficient to give us his book today. The iron pen was to embed the letters into the stone and speaks of Job's intent that subsequent generations have access to his words.
The pen not only speaks of Job's intentions concerning preservation, but it also speaks of his understanding of the method of preservation. The pen must be held by an able scribe. Job certainly did not mean for just anyone to pen' his story. The writer of the book was given the ability to write inspired words. He would be an individual who would be faithful to the true and give the correct story of Job's experience. Job did not intend for any of his enemies to write his story. The scribe had a responsibility to preserve the writing to be read. I ask the question again, Why write a text that will not be preserved for others to read? The person holding the pen is given a grave responsibility to write in such a way as to preserve the text, thus Job's "Iron Pen." [Job 19:24]
God would take care of choosing the individual Job prayed for to write the inspired words we have preserved into our care today. The pen of preservation has been faithfully used down through the centuries to copy the original text. We can be sure we have pure and preserved copies of the Words of the Living God today. May we, the priesthood of believers, utilize our pens and continue to publish and print the Word of the Living God.
We will briefly note the tablet Job desired his words to be written on and lead into its significance with our second point.
God's first Words recorded for man were in rock.
Notice what type of stylus God used,
Now that's an Iron Pen! The two times we find the Lord writing, He always used His finger.
The Lord used providential preservation rather than miraculous preservation as the means by which the Lord has transmitted the original inspired writings to man down through the corridors of time. Various pens of scribes have been used by the traditional family of true believers, but all with the same weight and diligence to preserve purity. Job desired his words to be penned in such a way that subsequent generations might know and understand his story.
This second point of interest concerning Job's Plea is the Place of Preservation. It is to be found in the Rock. Job desired to have his story written with its preservation in mind. The very reason to inscripturate words is to preserve them to the next generation. The Words of God have been preserved by the Rock. One will notice in studying various ancient writings in stone that most stone writings found today are contractual in their content. This gives us a glimpse into the possible reason Job desired his words to be written in stone. The stone speaks of the incredible importance of the writing, not ape-men ignorance.' When the LORD gave Moses the tablets, various forms of writing material were already available. Historians will readily admit the advancement of the Egyptian writing materials of this time period and before. The various material available suggests a specific reason for using the stone. The stone speaks of permanency; it is unchangeable, unmoveable. One cannot erase' or modify what is written in stone. Therefore, Job sought to have his words written in a legal and binding way and so that none could alter nor change them. Remember, Job was a great leader of his day and was accustomed to having his legal documents written in stone for posterity.
The stone not only speaks of the importance of the document, but also is a type of a Greater and Most Important Rock, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is The Word.
Just as Jesus Christ is the Rock, so His Words are a Rock. Jesus relates the story of the wise man who built his house upon the rock.
What is the rock that had a house built upon it? Is the rock not the Words of the Lord Jesus? In studying a comparison between Jesus Christ, the Living Word and the Written Word, one reaches some startling insights. In fact, their attributes are identical! Thus, not only is Jesus Christ the very Word of God, but the very Place (rock or stone) of the Word of God. In other words, the words speak of the rock and the rock speaks of the word!
As we trace the place of preservation, first we notice the nation of Israel. Israel was given the responsibility to keep, guard and protect God's Holy Words. Dr. Moorman writes,
Thus the law was placed in the charge of the priests to be kept by them alongside of the most Sacred Vessel of the sanctuary, and in its innermost and holiest apartment."
He goes on to say,
Thus, the Old Testament place of preservation was the Israel of God. They were a part of the Rock.
How about the New Testament and its place of preservation? The New Testament has been preserved by the local churches for the past 2000 years. Dr. Thomas Strouse writes,
Since the place of preservation is the rock, and we are counted one with Him, we are the place of preservation. Just as Israel was given the duty to preserve His Words, even so must the church take the responsibility of preserving the Words of the NT.
God has placed His Word within the NT believers,
This promise to Israel is given in earnest to the church. What true born again Christian would lack a recognition of God's Words? Are they/Him not in their hearts? The primary task of the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of truth is to guide us into all truth.
He has no standard for preaching,
The critics are educated with purely evolutionary training, believing the Bible finally arrived' in 1881. I have yet to meet an Alexandrian who rests upon the very words and letters of his scripture:
No stable methods to determine the preserved text,
The critics are educated with purely evolutionary training, believing the Bible finally arrived' in 1881. I have yet to meet an Alexandrian who rests upon the very words and letters of his scripture:
No desire to accept the truth of the jots and tittles.
John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
He is all about profit.
They have their pseudo-bibles' like Samuel Clemens [Mark Twain] had his pseudo-events.'
Their bibles' promise much, but simply cannot deliver. They are, "like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead [men's] bones, and of all uncleanness."(Matthew 23:27) Is your Bible all it claims to be? We implore you with Coxe's quote from a Romish publication,
If Rome can recognize the power of the King James Bible, why should we not see its effectiveness and power?
The Final point we wish to discuss is that concerning the Prophecy of Preservation. We must begin this discussion by answering what we believe to be the purpose of the book of Job. The Scripture cannot merely be looked upon superficially. Dean Burgon stated in his book Inspiration and Interpretation,
It is this less obvious meaning that we see in the Book of Job. We see at least a two-fold meaning for the book.
1. It was written to describe the horrible suffering the Jewish people would undergo in Egypt and their experience down through history. Job's name means persecuted. He is a type of the nation of Israel. As we read the book Job we see him persecuted and suffering. He is rejected by all in his world, including his wife. God, at the end of the book restores him and doubles his possessions. Job's friends are rebuked by God for not representing Him rightly.' The following is a chart comparing some characteristics of Job to Israel.
2. Job is not only a type of Israel and her sufferings, but is also a type of our Lord Jesus Christ. Notice the following comparison chart that tells of some o Job's suffering and those of Christ.
The thesis of this paper restated is, Job's Plea for the Preservation of his words is typologically the Plea of Jesus Christ to Preserve His Words. Since we believe the deeper purpose of the book of Job to shed liht upon the sufferings of Christ, it therefore would expose some of the heart cries of the Suffering Saviour while on this earth. As our Lord was despised, rejected and crucified by His own people, it follows that He too desired His Words to be preserved that His story' might be read. Would our Lord desire His enemies to write of His plight? Certainly He would seek only those qualified and those who would transmit, with purity His inspired Words. I hear the Saviour's Plea, "Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book! That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever!" This is the Prayer of Preservation.
Preservation is a prophecy. It is to be considered such in light of the typology previous discussed. Typology is the greatest prophetic design in scripture, for who could know the future and properly fulfill a type? It is only seen in hindsight, however, but used to validate that which is already evident. What a wonderful Book we have been entrusted.
On the heels of this passage is the most often quoted passage in the book of Job.
What a way to conclude his plea for the preservation his words. Preservation is only possible with an eternal and ever Living God! Though Job would pass off the scene, his hope was in the One that could keep HIS inspired Words to the end of time. Our hope is certainly not in man or institution, but in the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.
We close with a final plea from one of the greatest advocates of the Received Text, Dean John William Burgon:
"O let it be our great concern,-yours and mine,-to preserve with undiminished lustre the whole deposit of Heaven-descended teaching which is the Church's treasure!...Like runners in a certain ancient race of which we all have read, let it be our pride and joy,- yours and mine, - to grasp the torch of Truth with a strong unwavering hand; to run joyously with it as long as the days of this earthly race shall last; and dying, to hand it on to another, who, with strength renewed like the eagle's, may again, - swiftly, steadily, exultingly, - run with it, till he fails! ... So, when the Judge of quick and dead appeareth, - so let Him find you occupied, - O young men, (many of you my friends,) who are already the hope of half the English Church! So faithfully may we, Brethren and Fathers, one and all, be found employed, when He cometh, - whose answer to the Tempter is emphatically the text of the present solemn season, as well as a mighty voucher for the Divine origin, and sustaining efficacy of that Book concerning which I have been detaining you so long, -
"It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone; but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of GOD!"