Before God even breathed the first breath of life into the nostrils of Adam, God had already planned for the salvation of man.
The gift of salvation by grace, through faith, wasn’t God’s afterthought. The Lord knew before He created man, that all men would sin against Him. Therefore, even before man’s first sin, God provided a sacrificial “Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world” (Rev. 13:4). This Lamb would become man’s Savoir.
Further, men of olden times were aware of God’s promised Savior and given insight to God’s provision.
In the garden of Eden, God intervened to cover man’s shame, and promised a Savior who would himself die in man’s place to satisfy the full debt of man’s sins. The Lord gave an image of Christ’s salvation when he clothed Adam and Eve with the bloody skin of a sacrificed animal.
Adam spoke to many generations after him about God’s promise of a coming Savior. Generation after generation, godly men passed on promises of God to those after them. We see that in Job, a man who lived, perhaps, as long ago as 2,000 years before Christ.
Job made a number of statements that can only be explained if he had insight into God’s promise of a Savior, a Savior who would be sent from heaven and become an intercessor on man’s behalf.
Even though Job was described by God as an upright man who shunned evil, Job was still a man. Regardless of his virtues, he was still prone to sin. Job understood that even his best days on earth weren’t sufficient to merit God’s salvation.
Job didn’t depend on his own righteousness to confront God. He looked forward to a Savior who could intercede for him to God.
“[God] is not a man like me that I might answer him, that we might confront each other in court. If only there were someone to arbitrate between us, to lay his hand upon us both, someone to remove God’s rod from me. So that his terror would frighten me no more” (Job 9:32-24).
Job knew he needed an arbitrator who was worthy enough to “lay his hand upon both” man and God. For an arbitrator to lay his hands upon another man would be a small thing. But this One must be Holy to lay his hand upon God. That would require someone who had no sin in him.
Notice, too, that someone is a singular person.
Christ Jesus is the only One worthy to arbitrate between God and man because He is both the “Son of Man,” and the “Son of God.” “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form” (Col. 2:9).
Further, Job needed this arbitrator to remove God’s rod from him because he was unable to remove it himself.
“God’s rod” speaks to the justice that Job deserved because of his sins. That justice would be death. For, “each is to die for his own sin” (Deut. 24:16). And, as good a man as Job was, he was subject to God’s justice.
Jesus took God’s rod – the cup of wrath – upon himself to save men. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21). Jesus is the only One who is worthy as an acceptable sacrifice, or atonement, for the guilt of man, because He was without sin.
Job elaborates on this arbitrator: “Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high. My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; on behalf of a man he pleads with God as a man pleads for his friend.” (Job 16:19-20).
Job said this arbitrator is also his witness who would stand up for him in his defense. Further, this witness was “even now” in heaven.
This One from heaven would be an advocate. However, this wouldn’t simply be a temporary, unfamiliar, attorney; but one who would passionately, earnestly, plead Job’s case for acquittal because this intercessor is also a friend who would plead before God out of his love for his friend.
Jesus is that advocate from heaven. He said, “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me” (John 6:38). “Jesus Christ, who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right of God and is also interceding for us” (Rom. 8:34).
Jesus said about his followers, “I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you” (John 15:15-16).
What isn’t explicitly stated, but might be inferred from the text is that Job is not seeking justice, but mercy. He describes himself as one whose “eyes pour out tears to God.” That is a picture of someone who knows his guilt, but is hoping for God’s forgiveness.
Job pleaded: “Give me, O God, the pledge you demand. Who else will put up security for me” (Job 17:3).
What security, or pledge, has God commanded to be put up for man?
The “pledge” demanded by God was the shedding of blood. Job knew that. For, “without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness” (Heb. 9:22).
Funk and Wagnalls Dictionary gives some definitions for pledge as: “to offer (one’s word, life, etc.) as a guaranty or forfeit,” and “something given as security for a debt or obligation.”
Forgiveness required the shedding of blood, and God demands that obligation be satisfied.
However, notice two things in Job’s words that speak of God’s grace. First, that pledge would be given by God. And, second, that pledge was to be put up, or ransomed, in the place of Job.
Our security has been paid by the Son of God, Jesus Christ. By the heavenly Father’s “will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Heb. 10:10).
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding” (Eph. 1:7-8). Jesus “gave his life as a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28). He shed his blood on a cross at Calvary as full payment for the sin debt of man.
Job speaks: “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes – I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! (Job 19:25-27).
The word “redeem” can be defined as; “to set free; ransom;” “to rescue from sin and its penalties,” and “to fulfill, as an oath or promise.”
Centuries, even millenniums, before Christ came into the world, Job speaks of his Redeemer as someone who is alive, and will one day stand upon the earth “in the end.”
Job also speaks of his resurrection from death. He talks about his death and the decay of his body, but that he would someday see his Redeemer with his own eyes.
How? Those who have a personal relationship with Jesus and depend on Him for their salvation will be raised to life with Christ.
Job yearned for that day when he will see His Redeemer face to face.
So, do I! “Because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day” (2 Tim. 1:12).