Gnostic Doctrine

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

The Satan was Composed of Jobs 3 friends

1. We have seen that coming “before the Lord” may describe coming before a representative of God, such as a priest or an angel. The “sons of God” - the believers at that time - presented themselves before a priest or angel, perhaps at a religious feast.

Someone there, maybe one of the worshippers, reflected that it was not surprising that Job was such a strong believer, seeing that God had so richly blessed him. God gave that person the power to afflict Job, to demonstrate that Job’s love of God was not proportionate to the blessings God had given him.

2. Maybe the Satan was composed of Job’s three “friends” - they are reproved at the end of the book (notice that “satan” is not reproved by name). Their discussions with Job indicate that they had their doubts as to his integrity and suspected that his faith was now weak because God had taken away the blessings from him - “But now it is come upon thee, and thou faintest: it toucheth thee, and thou art troubled...who ever perished (which it looked as though Job was going to), being innocent?” Eliphaz pointed out (Job 4:5 & 7).

The use of "the satan" would therefore not be referring to any cosmic being, but rather to a role. It has been observed: “In biblical sources the Hebrew term the satan describes an adversarial role. It is not the name of a particular character” . And again: "[ha-satan] is not the personal name Satan but a role  meaning “the accuser/adversary/doubter”" . The 'satan' or adversary was not therefore necessarily sinful: “As he first appears in the Hebrew Bible, Satan is not necessarily evil, much less opposed to God. On the contrary, he appears in the book of Numbers and in Job as one of God’s obedient servants" . He is “subject to God’s control and was used by God to accomplish his purposes... [there is] a pronounced emphasis on his subordination” to God .

4. The friends insist that "the destroyer" [by which they surely meant an early equivalent to 'the devil' of popular belief today] had touched Job- whereas Job insists that it is God who had destroyed him (Job 15:21 cp. 19:10; 13:21). In some ways the book of Job is a deconstruction of the popular Persian and Canaanite myths about a 'satan' figure.

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