Jesus, the Seed of the woman, is the greater Job who endured the temptations of the evil one and who wrestled with God in the Garden. He is the ultimate Servant of the Lord (Isaiah 42:1) who would suffer in order to justify His people (Isaiah 53:11). Like Job, Jesus cried out to God in helplessness.
Many have struggled to understand the book of Job. What is this mysterious book teaching about this righteous sufferer who was afflicted by the devil, discouraged by his wife, and falsely accused by his friends? Why did God sovereignly arrange the circumstances of his being tested and tried? These are questions that have led Christians to embrace the wide array of biblical teaching on the justice and goodness of our sovereign God; as well as to the example of how to perserve under affliction and suffering at the hands of Satan and men. However, other questions need to be answered when approaching the book of Job–namely, what place does this book hold in redemptive history? How does it relate to the fulfillment of all things in Christ?
In his essay “Trial by Ordeal,’ Meredith Kline tied the teaching of the book of Job directly to Genersis 3:14–15. Concerning God’s approach to Satan in setting the stage for what would tanspire, he wrote,
“It was the Lord who initiated the battle with a self-glorifying, challenging claim: ‘Have you considered my servant Job…an upright man and one that fears God’ (Job 1:8). In effect, God was telling Satan that the ancient curse pronounced against him in Eden (Gen. 3:14, 15) was in process of inexorable fulfillment: out of mankind in its covenant of death with the Devil, God was reconciling to himself a new mankind, called to engage in holy war against the Serpent and promised in that warfare an ultimate absolute triumph.”
This is a profound observation. We cannot understand the book of Job unless we tie it to the original proclamation of the gospel. God had promised to send the seed of the woman to crush the head of the serpent (Gen. 3:15). By this promise of redemption in Christ, God would redeem a people to himself from the fallen mass of humanity–the human race that had been led into rebellion against God by means of Satan’s temptations. Now, in the temptation, deliverance, and restoration of John, God prefigured what he would do throughout the remainder of redemptive history in vidicating His own righteous, just, and gracious character.
Everything in the narrative of the book of Job is thrown against the background of the divine lawcourt. God, who needs no vidication, will nevertheless vindicate Himself and His servant Job, Kline went on to explain this when he wrote,
“Since Satan had in reality directed charges against the Lord as well as Job, the Lord was one of the litigants in the case. Because of this dual role of the Lord as Judge and litigant, for Satan to struggle to prevail over the ordeal power of the divine Judge, the God of the ordeal, was at the same time to enter into personal combat against the one who was his legal adversary. In this lawsuit, then, Satan was engaged in a judicial ordeal by duel with the Lord God.”