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Hope and Change in the Time of Job
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Wednesday, July 26, 2017
Wendy Wippel

According to current experts, the Chalcolithic Age began 5500 years ago and lasted about 2000 years, Chalcolithic Age being defined by the presence of only crude artifacts made of either stone or copper. Since visible history dates from end of the flood, our earliest written history of those times is the Book of Job. Which makes it extremely interesting that the Chalcolithic stone artifacts bear silent witness to Job’s testimony.

The Bible tells us that Job lived in the land of UZ, which was apparently part of the larger area known as Edom. (Lamentations 4:21

We’re all familiar with Job’s misfortunes. The Bible describes him as “the greatest of all men of the east, with thousands of sheep and camels, and 500 oxen, and 500 female donkeys. (Why does it matter that they are female?  I don’t know.) (Job 3)   

And a happy family, who got together regularly for family meals. (Job 4)

Job was blessed by God because he honored God.

Then Old Scratch got in the middle of it, and tried to convince God that Job’s fidelity to His maker would be short-lived if the blessings stopped.  

And God took the bet. The match was on.

Job’s afflictions intensified, made worse by his friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite, who were all quite sure they knew the cause of Job’s afflictions, despite the fact that none of them were present at that meeting God had with Satan.  

The one in which God assured Satan that no matter what Job was subjected to, Job would not abandon his faith.

God won that bet. (Shocker, right?) Although Job struggles to defend himself against Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zoplhar--who are quite sure that God is punishing Job for sin-- Job never accuses or renounces God.  The last words he speaks in the Book of Job summarize his trials: his health is destroyed, his riches are gone, his friends have abandoned him. Children mock him, and his wife now abhors him.

Job summarizes his afflictions in Job 19:18-21: My bone cleaveth to my skin and to my flesh, and I am escaped with the skin of my teeth. 19: All my inward friends abhorred me, and they whom I loved are turned against me. Have pity upon me, o my friends, for the hand of God hath touched me.

He’s a man at the end of his rope.

So his main concern, in the next verse, seems a little odd: “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 forever."

The message that he so desperately wants to record, in the context of the passage is this:

“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my flesh is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another.

Job seems to be wanting to ensure that every inhabitant of earth at that point and all residents to come to understand that he had not rejected God. He had not denounced him. He had not turned his back on the God that had been the source of so many blessings.

The passage also tells us that Job also understood a whole lot more about the afterlife then we might have assumed.  His flesh will be destroyed.  Nontheless, even after his flesh is destroyed he will have new flesh.  And in that flesh, in some new mysterious new kind of new corporeal body he would meet the living God.   

God, in his grace and mercy, gave us a prototype of the process to ponder here on earth.  The butterfly. We all studied this in school. The caterpillar, at a designated (by God) time in his caterpillar life, makes himself a resting chamber of sorts which eventually becomes a cocoon. And inside that cocoon a metamorphosis occurs. The body of that caterpillar dissolves and is turned into a completely different kind of organism. When that process is finished, the new organism—the butterfly that was formed out of caterpillar soup—splits the cocoon all down one side and crawls out in the sunlight. And stretches his wings.

No longer just a Denison of earth, the caterpillar had been fit to inhabit the heavens.

We all recognize the caterpillar to butterfly process as God’s foretaste of the promise of a new body in God’s heaven, right?

Of course right.

Remember that chalcolithic era, the one that Job would have lived his life out in?

It turns out that burial jars from the Chalcolithic Era have an eerie resemblance to the cocoon. An oval body, with a somewhat elongated end, with striations all down the long side. They appear to be intentionally fabricated to resemble cocoons.

I’m thinking not a coincidence.

The testimony of Job demonstrates that Noah and his family had faithfully passed on God’s word, and that they knew there was a resurrection coming in which, like the caterpillar, their physical body would be changed, really glorified in preparation to be a citizen of heaven. And they made cocoon-shaped burial jars to convey that blessed hope that they would likewise be changed. And be with the Lord.

So no wonder that Job’s next comment is this: "How my heart yearns within me".

About Wendy Wippel

Last week: Firm Convictions

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