Job Spends the Latter Half of His Life Amid God’s Blessings
Although His blessings of that time were only limited to sheep, cattle, camels, material assets, and so on, the blessings that God wished to bestow upon Job in His heart were far more than this. At the time were there recorded what kind of eternal promises God wished to give Job? In His blessings of Job, God did not mention or touch upon his end, and regardless of what importance or position Job held within God’s heart, in sum God was discerning in His blessings. God did not announce Job’s end. What does this mean? At that time, when God’s plan had yet to reach the point of the proclamation of man’s end, the plan had yet to enter the final stage of His work, God made no mention of the end, merely bestowing material blessings upon man. What this means is that the latter half of Job’s life was passed amid God’s blessings, which was what made him different to other people—but like them he aged, and like any normal person the day came when he said goodbye to the world. Thus is it recorded that “So Job died, being old and full of days” (Job 42:17). What is the meaning of “died … full of days” here? In the era before God proclaimed the end, God set a life expectancy for Job, and when that age had been reached He allowed Job to naturally depart from this world. From Job’s second blessing until his death, God did not add any more hardship. To God, Job’s death was natural, and also necessary, it was something very normal, and neither a judgment nor a condemnation. While he was alive, Job worshiped and feared God; with regard to what sort of end he had following his death, God said nothing, nor made any comment about it. God is judicious in what He says and does, and the content and principles of His words and actions are according to the stage of His work and the period in which He is working. What kind of end did someone such as Job have in God’s heart? Had God reached any kind of decision in His heart? Of course He had! It’s just that this was unknown by man; God did not want to tell man, nor did He have any intention of telling man. And thus, superficially speaking, Job died full of days, and such was the life of Job.
Did Job live a life of value? Where was the value? Why is it said that he lived a life of value? To man, what was his value? From the viewpoint of man, he represented the mankind whom God wishes to save, in bearing a resounding testimony to God before Satan and the people of the world. He fulfilled the duty that ought to be fulfilled by a creature of God, and set an exemplar, and acted as a model, for all those whom God wishes to save, allowing people to see that it is entirely possible to triumph over Satan by relying on God. And what was his value to God? To God, the value of Job’s life lay in his ability to fear God, worship God, testify to the deeds of God, and praise the deeds of God, bringing God comfort and something to enjoy; to God, the value of Job’s life was also in how, before his death, Job experienced trials and triumphed over Satan, and bore resounding testimony to God before Satan and the people of the world, glorifying God among mankind, comforting God’s heart, and allowing God’s eager heart to behold an outcome, and see hope. His testimony set a precedent for the ability to stand firm in one’s testimony to God, and for being able to shame Satan in behalf of God, in God’s work of managing mankind. Is this not the value of Job’s life? Job brought comfort to God’s heart, he gave God a foretaste of the delight of being glorified, and provided a wonderful beginning for God’s management plan. And from this point onward the name of Job became a symbol for the glorification of God, and a sign of mankind’s triumph over Satan. What Job lived out during his lifetime and his remarkable triumph over Satan will forever be cherished by God, and his perfection, uprightness, and fear of God will be venerated and emulated by generations to come. He will forever be cherished by God like a flawless, luminous pearl, and so too is he worth treasuring by man!
Next, let us look at God’s work during the Age of Law.
D. The Regulations of the Age of Law
1. The Ten Commandments
2. The Principles for Building Altars
3. Regulations for the Treatment of Servants
4. Regulations for Theft and Compensation
5. Keeping the Sabbath Year and the Three Feasts
6. Regulations for the Sabbath Day
7. Regulations for Offerings
a. Burnt Offerings
b. Meat Offerings
c. Peace Offerings
d. Sin Offerings
e. Trespass Offerings
f. Regulations for Offerings by Priests (Aaron and His Sons Are Ordered to Comply)
1) Burnt Offerings by Priests
2) Meat Offerings by Priests
3) Sin Offerings by Priests
4) Trespass Offerings by Priests
5) Peace Offerings by Priests
8. Regulations for the Eating of Offerings by Priests
9. Clean and Unclean Animals (Those Which Can and Cannot Be Eaten)
10. Regulations for the Purification of Women Following Childbirth
11. Standards for the Examination of Leprosy
12. Regulations for Those Who Have Been Healed of Leprosy
13. Regulations for Cleansing Infected Houses
14. Regulations for Those Suffering From Abnormal Discharges
15. The Day of Atonement That Must Be Observed Once a Year
16. Rules for the Slaughtering of Cattle and Sheep
17. The Prohibition of Following Detestable Practices of Gentiles (Not Committing Incest, and So On)
18. Regulations That Must Be Followed by the People (“You shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy.”)
19. The Execution of Those Who Sacrifice Their Children to Molech
20. Regulations for the Punishment of the Crime of Adultery
21. Rules That Should Be Observed by Priests (Rules for Their Everyday Behavior, Rules for the Consumption of Holy Things, Rules for Making Offerings, and So On)
22. Feasts That Should Be Observed (the Sabbath Day, Passover, Pentecost, the Day of Atonement, and So On)
23. Other Regulations (Burning the Lamps, the Year of Jubilee, the Redemption of the Land, Making Vows, the Offering of Tithes, and So On)
So, you’ve read these regulations and principles of the Age of Law, yes? Do the regulations encompass a broad range? First, they cover the Ten Commandments, after which are the regulations for how to build altars, and so on. These are followed by regulations for keeping the Sabbath and observing the three feasts, after which are the regulations for offerings. Did you see how many types of offerings there are? There are burnt offerings, meat offerings, peace offerings, sin offerings, and so on, which are followed by regulations for priests’ offerings, including burnt offerings and meat offerings by priests, and other kinds of offerings. The eighth regulations are for the eating of offerings by priests, and then there are regulations for what should be observed during people’s lives. There are stipulations for many aspects of people’s lives, such as the regulations for what they may or may not eat, for the purification of women following childbirth, and for those who have been healed of leprosy. In these regulations, God goes so far as to speak about disease, and there are even rules for the slaughter of sheep and cattle, and so on. Sheep and cattle were created by God, and you should slaughter them however God tells you to; there is, without doubt, reason to God’s words, it is undoubtedly right to act as decreed by God, and surely of benefit to people! There are also feasts and rules to be observed, such as the Sabbath day, Passover, and more—God spoke of all of these. Let us look at the final ones: other regulations—burning the lamps, the Year of Jubilee, the redemption of the land, making vows, the offering of tithes, and so on. Do these encompass a broad range? The first thing to be talked of is the issue of people’s offerings, then there are regulations for theft and compensation, and the observation of the Sabbath day…; every one of life’s details is involved. Which is to say, when God began the official work of His management plan, He set down many regulations that were to be followed by man. These regulations were in order to allow man to lead the normal life of man on earth, a normal life of man that is inseparable from God and His guidance. God first told man how to make altars, how to set up the altars. After that, He told man how to make offerings, and established how man was to live—what he was to pay attention to in life, what he was to abide by, what he should and should not do. What God set out for man was all-embracing, and with these customs, regulations, and principles He standardized people’s behavior, guided their lives, guided their initiation to the laws of God, guided them to come before the altar of God, guided them in having a life among all the things God had made for man that was possessed of order, regularity, and moderation. God first used these simple regulations and principles to set limits for man, so that on earth man would have a normal life of worshiping God, would have the normal life of man; such is the specific content of the beginning of His six-thousand-year management plan. The regulations and rules cover a very broad content, they are the specifics of God’s guidance of mankind during the Age of Law, they had to be accepted and honored by the people who came before the Age of Law, they are a record of the work done by God during the Age of Law, and they are real proof of God’s leadership and guidance of all mankind.
In these regulations we see that God’s attitude toward His work, toward His management, and toward mankind is serious, sincere, rigorous, and responsible. He does the work He must do among mankind according to His steps, without the slightest discrepancy, speaking the words that He must speak to mankind without the slightest error or omission, allowing man to see that he is inseparable from God’s leadership, and showing him just how important all that God does and says is to mankind. Regardless of what man is like in the next age, in short, at the very beginning—during the Age of Law—God did these simple things. To God, people’s concepts of God, the world, and mankind in that age were abstract and opaque, and even though they had some conscious ideas and intentions, all of them were unclear and incorrect, and thus mankind was inseparable from God’s teachings and provisions for them. Earliest mankind knew nothing, and so God had to begin teaching man from the most superficial and basic principles for survival and regulations necessary for living, imbuing these things in the heart of man bit by bit, and giving man a gradual understanding of God, a gradual appreciation and understanding of God’s leadership, and a basic concept of the relationship between man and God, through these regulations, and through these rules, which were of words. After achieving this effect, only then was God able to, little by little, do the work that He would do later, and thus these regulations and the work done by God during the Age of Law are the bedrock of His work of saving mankind, and the first stage of work in God’s management plan. Although, prior to the work of the Age of Law, God had spoken to Adam, Eve, and their descendants, those commands and teachings were not so systematic or specific as to be issued one by one to man, and they were not written down, nor did they become regulations. That is because, at that time, God’s plan had not gone that far; only when God had led man to this step could He begin speaking these regulations of the Age of Law, and begin making man carry them out. It was a necessary process, and the outcome was inevitable. These simple customs and regulations show man the steps of God’s management work and the wisdom of God revealed in His management plan. God knows what content and means to use to begin, what means to use to continue, and what means to use to end in order that He could gain a group of people who bear testimony to Him, could gain a group of people that are of the same mind as Him. He knows what is within man, and knows what is lacking in man, He knows what He has to provide, and how He should lead man, and so too does He know what man should and should not do. Man is like a puppet: Even though he had no understanding of God’s will, he couldn’t help but be led by God’s work of management, step by step, up to today. There was no haziness in God’s heart about what He was to do; in His heart there was a very clear and vivid plan, and He carried out the work that He Himself wished to do according to His steps and His plan, progressing from the superficial to the profound. Even though He had not indicated the work that He was to do later, His subsequent work still continued to be carried out and progress in strict accordance with His plan, which is a manifestation of what God has and is, and is also the authority of God. Regardless of which stage of His management plan He is doing, His disposition and His substance represent Himself—and there is no error in this. Regardless of the age, or the stage of work, what kind of people God loves, what kind of people He loathes, His disposition and all that He has and is will never change. Even though these regulations and principles that God established during the work of the Age of Law seem very simple and superficial to people today, and even though they are easy to understand and achieve, in them there is still the wisdom of God, and there is still the disposition of God and what He has and is. For within these apparently simple regulations are expressed God’s responsibility and care toward mankind, and the exquisite substance of His thoughts, allowing man to truly realize the fact that God rules over all things and all things are controlled by His hand. No matter how much knowledge mankind masters, or how many theories or mysteries he understands, to God none of these is capable of replacing His provision to, and leadership of mankind; mankind will forever be inseparable from God’s guidance and the personal work of God. Such is the inseparable relationship between man and God. Regardless of whether God gives you a commandment, or regulation, or provides truth for you to understand His will, no matter what He does, God’s aim is to guide man to a beautiful tomorrow. The words uttered by God and the work He does are both the revelation of one aspect of His substance, and are the revelation of one aspect of His disposition and His wisdom, they are an indispensable step of His management plan. This must not be overlooked! God’s will is in whatever He does; God does not fear misplaced remarks, nor is He afraid of any of man’s conceptions or thoughts about Him. He merely does His work, and continues His management, in accordance with His management plan, unconstrained by any person, matter, or object.
OK, that’s all for today. See you next time!
June 13, 2014
From God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II
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Now, disasters are occurring frequently everywhere. In the Philippines, the pandemic and the famine have not passed yet and powerful Typhoon Molave, Goni and Tropical Storm Atsani have landed. Biblical prophecies of the coming of the Lord have been fulfilled. It stands to reason that the Lord has returned—so why have we yet to welcome His arrival? Will we not be plunged into the great tribulation if this carries on? And just what should we do to welcome the Lord’s coming?