Thomas Carlyle made this
observation on the book of Job: "There is nothing
written, I think, in the Bible or out of it, of
equal literary merit."
Some of the probing words
that flash through our minds when we reflect on this
book has to do with suffering, innocent,
righteousness, judgment, reward, etc. Questions come
to mind like, Why do the righteous suffer, and the
sinful go free? Doesn't God care for His people?
Does suffering and adversity prove that the one
suffering is wicked? Does God really care and can He
show mercy? Can there be any goodness without
In his conflict and pain
Job answered Bildad and said in Job 9:32-33 that he
needed an umpire between he and God.
"He is not a man as I am
that I may answer Him,
That we may go to court
There is no umpire
Who may lay his hand upon
With bold faith Job takes
up his plea in 16:18-21,
"O earth, do not cover my
And let there be no
resting place for my cry.
Even now, behold, my
witness is in heaven,
And my advocate is on
high. My friends are my scoffers;
My eye weeps to God.
O that a man might plead
As a man with his
The need for one to
intercede is heard again in 31:35.
"Oh that I had one to
Behold, here is my
Let the Almighty answer
Clearly, Job needs an
umpire, a mediator. An "Umpire" is one able to act
as an arbitrator at an appointed day. The original
word means "to act as umpire," or "mediator." The
term implies one who hears two parties in a dispute
and decides the merits of the case.
Job continues with his
plea for one to stand before God on his behalf. In
19:23-27 he makes a bold statement of faith
regarding his Goel. His nearest of kin can be
"Oh that my words were
Oh that they were
inscribed in a book!
That with an iron stylus
They were engraved in the
And as for me, I know
that my redeemer lives,
And at last He will take
His stand on the earth.
Even after my skin is
Yet without my flesh I
shall see God;
Whom I myself shall
And whom my eyes shall
see and not another.
My heart faints within
"I know that my Redeemer
lives" (v. 25). He is speaking of his Goel,
who is his nearest of kin. The kinsman had the
responsibility of redeeming his kinsman's lost
opportunities. It is as if Job is saying everyone
else has a kinsman. The person who is forced to
become a slave because of financial disaster has a
kinsman. When debts overwhelm him, a redeemer buys
his homestead for him so that his family can live.
When a family member dies without an heir the
kinsman redeems his name by marrying his widow and
rearing a son in his name. If another man kills a
man, the redeemer has the responsibility to avenge
the blood of the victim by pursuing the killer. Why,
Job had lost everything! (Job 1-2). Job's complaint
is that no one has come to redeem him. However,
Job's faith launches out and declares that Yahweh
will provide his Goel!
He speaks of his kinsman
saying, "at last He will take His stand on the
earth" (v. 25b). His kinsman redeemer will come to
the earth. After his death, "Even after my skin is
flayed, Yet without my flesh I shall see God" (v.
26). After his body is destroyed in death, in the
future life he will see the One he worships and
adores. He will see Eloah, "the Adorable One, the
Worshipful One." "Whom my eyes shall see and not
another" (v. 27b). Job expects to see God in the
future life. It is simple faith from a sincere
Job's Kinsman told the
apostle John on the island of Patmos, "I am the
first and the last, and the living One; and I was
dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have
the keys to death and Hades" (Revelation 1:17-18).
Jesus answered Job's cry.
He has ideally fulfilled this need of an umpire. The
perfect mediator is Emmanuel. The "daysman" (KJV) is
the one who sets the date for the arbitration. There
can be only two options: Either God became man, or a
third party must mediate. God became man to bring
about our reconciliation with God. "God was in
Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not
counting their trespasses against them, and He has
committed to us the word of reconciliation" (2
Corinthians 5:18). The umpire got one hand on man
and one on God and brought them together.
Because of our depravity
in sin, we are estranged from God. Our Savior and
mediator Jesus Christ stepped in and made us one
with God (2 Corinthians 5:21).
The Old Testament did not
have an intercessor as we know Him in Christ. The
writer of Hebrews wrote, "For Christ did not enter a
holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true
one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the
presence of God for us . . . (9:24).
In the New Testament,
Christ is the one true mediator between man and God.
"For there is one God, and one mediator also between
God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself
as a ransom for all, the testimony borne at the
proper time" (1 Timothy 2:5-6).
The "mediator" (mesites)
is "a go-between" (from "middle," and "to go"), "in
the middle," "middleman." He is the person who
stands in the middle and brings the two estranged
parties together. He is one who mediates between two
parties to bring peace or fellowship. He must
equally represent both parties.
In His incarnation Jesus
Christ perfectly represented both parties. He is the
perfect God–man. He perfectly represents God to man,
and is man's representative to God. In order to
bring salvation he had to possess the attributes of
God and the nature of man.
Through His incarnation
the gulf between God and man has been decisively and
finally crossed. Christ bridged the gulf and united
God and man by becoming the God-man. The Word of God
mediates God's mind, message and righteousness. No
man had seen God at anytime, but Jesus. He is the
exegesis of God. Those who see Jesus see and hear
the Father. Moreover, as man Jesus became what God
expected of every man in perfect obedience. He was
obedient to the point of death by giving His life as
an unblemished sacrifice for our sin. Jesus mediated
the new covenant which brigs about a perfect
relationship with God. As the "one mediator" Jesus
gave Himself as a ransom for all.
The writer of Hebrews saw
Christ as the One who "is able to save forever those
who draw near to God through Him, since He always
lives to make intercession for them" (7:25). Cf.
The writer of the book of
Hebrews stresses that Christ was superior in every
way to the old covenant. He surpasses all
mediators––angels, Moses, Aaronic priesthood, etc.
Christ our mediator is
clearly seen in John 14:6 and Acts 4:12. Neither is
salvation found in anyone else, nor can anyone come
to the Father but through Him.
Title: Job 9:31-32;
19:23-27 Job's Umpire
in the Old Testament