Reading through Job is extremely insightful for a number of reasons. What is very stark is the fact that Job’s three friends were wrong on just about everything, yet were convinced that they were correct. Admittedly, while they offered a mix of truth and falsehoods, we must conclude that truth mixed with lies is not really truth and it is one of Satan’s favorite methods to deceive all people; Christians and non. The general idea from Job’s friends is that he must have been guilty of some huge sin and was unrepentant. This is their only explanation for the reason God had sent misery on top of misery Job’s way.
Overall, we learn that God was not at all pleased with the three men and their words to Job. In fact, God required that Job himself would need to pray that God would forgive his three friends before He would do so. Job does and all is forgiven, hopefully with the new knowledge that the three had been very quick to judge and they judged wrongly.
But what I find very interesting is what the Bible records for us in Job 4. Here, Eliphaz speaks and attempts to instruct Job. I find it fascinating that the dialogue here is much like what I experienced when I was involved in the Charismatic Movement in the 1970’s. Eliphaz doesn’t simply just offer advice or what he would’ve termed “wisdom.” He supports his words by saying he actually heard from a “spirit” whom, he says, imparted specific knowledge to him about God and how God works. This he says starting in verse 12 of Job 4.
12 “Now a word was brought to mestealthily; my ear received the whisper of it. 13 Amid thoughts from visions of the night, when deep sleep falls on men, 14 dread came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones shake. 15 A spirit glided past my face; the hair of my flesh stood up. 16 It stood still, but I could not discern its appearance. A form was before my eyes; there was silence, then I heard a voice: (ESV; emphasis added)
Fascinating, isn’t it? Eliphaz says a “word” was given to him “stealthily.” It was a whisper to his ears. He experienced “dread” in the middle of the night, then he began “trembling,” because he clearly became afraid. His hair stood on end and even though this “spirit” stood still, Eliphaz says he could not make out its appearance. He says a “form” was before his eyes, followed by silence, then a voice speaks to him.
What a build-up! My goodness, with this sort of introduction, who would dare say that Eliphaz wasn’t speaking on “good” authority. Before we get into what Eliphaz claims to have seen and heard, let’s look at this for a moment. Eliphaz is either 1) lying or 2) telling the truth of an experience he had. Nowhere does Eliphaz actually claim that this vision was from God, though I think it’s safe to assume that he wanted Job and the other two men to think that this was from God. Without saying it directly, Eliphaz was implying God spoke.
When God normally provided a vision or a word of knowledge to prophets of old, He usually identified Himself either directly, or through the messenger He sent who was to relay His message. This is not the case here. However, that does not mean that if Eliphaz had said the vision was from God, that it automatically would’ve been either.
When I was involved in the Charismatic Movement, this was normal as an experience professed by many. It still is today even though much of the Charismatic Movement has morphed into its latest and more extreme version as the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). Everything within the Charismatic Movement to the NAR movement of today is bolstered and undergirded...
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