TYPES OF CHRIST IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough
2001 James Melough
At first glance it may seem
that Job is a most unlikely type of Christ, but more careful reading will reveal that
this OT book is more than the record of God’s dealings with one who had to learn
the lesson that human righteousness falls far short of what a Holy God requires; the
only righteousness having eternal worth being that which God Himself supplies in the
person of Christ.
In this record of the
process by which Job was brought into a right relationship with God, and enriched
beyond expectation, we have the pattern by which God enriches all men of faith. But since that same principle operates for nations as well as
individuals, we may trace also the larger picture of the process by which Israel too
will be eternally enriched, Job’s sufferings being but the adumbration of her
It is impossible, however,
to ponder the sufferings of a man or a nation without being reminded of Him Whose
anguish was transcendent. We will have
missed an important part of this ancient book if we fail to see in an afflicted Job a
type of the afflicted Christ.
The analogy begins with the
first few verses which describe Job’s perfection and uprightness, his love of God,
and abhorrence of evil, and which declare him to have been “the greatest of all the
men of the east,” Job 1:3. Job’s perfection of course is only as measured by human
standards. His state as measured by the
Divine standard, is declared by his own lips in ch.42:6, “Wherefore I abhor myself,
and repent in dust and ashes.” In the
perfection ascribed to Job we see, however, the description of Him to Whose greatness
no circumscription attaches, for the perfections of Christ are according to God’s
estimate, not man’s.
That Job’s perfection and
greatness were according to human standards is declared in his being “the greatest
of all the men of the east,” for the east is always synonymous with sin and
departure from God. It is the place
where Adam went literally after having sinned, and it is the place were every
unbeliever is spiritually. Christ’s
perfections, however, were manifest not only during His sojourn among men who were
spiritually “of the east,” they were manifest when measured by the standards of
heaven rather than earth.
God’s commendation of Job,
“And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is
none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and
escheweth evil?” surely evokes the recollection of His commendation of Christ,
“This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” Mt 3:17.
As Job was bereft of
possessions and glory, so, in fuller measure was Christ, but with one significant
difference: Job’s impoverishment was involuntary. Nor is it difficult to see in a Job, boil-covered, solitary,
unrecognizable, sitting in the ashes outside the city, a picture of Christ in regard
to Whom the prophet has written, “His visage was so marred more than any man,and
his form more than the sons of men,” Isa 52:14.
The lament of a stricken city might also have been attributed to an afflicted
Job, “Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any
sorrow like unto my sorrow wherewith the Lord hath afflicted me in the day of His
fierce anger....” Lam 1:12; but none will fail to see that the ultimate application
must be to Christ, “dying, crushed, beneath the load, of the wrath and curse of
God.” And we should never forget that
all He willingly endured was on our account, for, “Surely He hath borne our griefs,
and carried our sorrows.... He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for
our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we
are healed.... the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all,” Isa.53:4-6.
This symbolic portrait of
Christ becomes clearer as we see Job’s agony compounded by the false accusations of
those who sat surveying his misery, for we turn to Mt 27:36,39 and read, “And
sitting down they watched him there.... And they that passed by reviled him.”
Job’s sufferings, however,
came to an end, as did Christ’s.
We turn to chapter 42 to
find God’s work completed, and his servant vindicated.
So also with Christ. The cry,
“It is finished,” which signified the perfect completion of God’s work, was
followed by God’s vindication of His perfect Servant.
As Job was raised up from the ash heap, so was the Lord raised up from “the
dust of death,” Ps 22:15. “The Lord
gave Job twice as much as he had before,” Job 42:10; and so with Christ.
It was as “a (single) corn of wheat” that He fell into the ground and
died, but who can measure the extent of the vast harvest of redeemed souls that will
be with Him for ever in heaven as a result of His willing submission to the
Father’s will that brought Him “into the dust of death”?
A Job raised up from the ash
heap, stands before us as the Divinely accepted intercessor for his three friends,
“... my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept....” Job 42:8.
So is Christ, raised up from among the dead, the great Intercessor, “For
there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,” 1
exaltation, His sitting at God’s right hand, crowned with glory and honor, is
prefigured in that of Job, “The Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before,”
The book concludes by pointing
us to coming millennial glory; but not before presenting us with a beautiful little
picture of what should be the occupation of every believer on the first day of each
week. “Then came there unto him all
his brethren and all his sisters ... and did eat bread with him in his house; and
they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the Lord had brought upon
him: and every man also gave him a piece of money, and every one an earring of
gold,” Job 42:11.
Can anyone fail to see in
this a picture of the Lord’s supper? It
is those whom He deigns to call “My brethren (and sisters)” who are accorded the
privilege of assembling “in His house” (the local church assembled as a corporate
body), to eat the bread that depicts His body, and drink the cup that portrays His
“... they bemoaned him,
and comforted him....” This declares
the true nature of the Lord’s supper, and rebukes the spiritually unintelligent
levity that clamors for abandonment of the solemn hymns that focus on His sufferings
and death; and that would replace spiritual worship with gay music and the occupation
with self which finds expression in “sharing” personal experiences. These
things have no place at the Lord’s table. Our
gathering there is to “Show forth the Lord’s DEATH until He come,” 1 Co 11:36.
“Every man also gave him a
piece of money.” This also foreshadows
an activity of the Lord’s day. “Upon
the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath
prospered him....” 1 Co 16:2. The
presentation of our offering is the acknowledgment of God as the Giver of all we
possess, and the expression of our gratitude for His boundless mercy and care for our
“...and everyone (gave
him) an earring of gold.” The ring
speaks of what is eternal; and the gold, of glory.
This is symbolic of the worship presented to the Father by believers seated at
the Lord’s table on the first day of the week.
That worship which ascribes glory to the Son, as coequal and coeternal with
the Father and the Holy Spirit, will continue for ever.