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Job 42:7-9 • The Need for a Mediator

“It came about after the Lord had spoken these words to Job, that the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, ‘My wrath is kindled against you and against your two friends, because you have not spoken of Me what is right as My servant Job has. Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, and go to My servant Job, and offer up a burnt offering for yourselves, and My servant Job will pray for you. For I will accept him so that I may not do with you according to your folly, because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has.’ So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did as the Lord told them; and the Lord accepted Job.”
    —Job 42:7-9 (NASB)

Many hundreds of years before Moses even lived, before God provided the first five books of the Bible through Moses, the events of Job both occurred and were documented. For many hundreds of years BEFORE the existence of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy there existed and was handed down the book of Job. Through the lifetimes of the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Job was handed down and taught—among many other things—the need for a divine mediator that could transform earthly sacrifices into spiritual results.

The teaching here is very clear that sacrifices are not enough, that sacrifices don’t cover everything in and of themselves. God’s requirement was to “go to My servant Job” before they were to “offer up a burnt offering”, and that the offering would be made acceptable only through “My servant Job [who] will pray for you“. Even in the end God does not say that He would accept the sacrifices, but that “I will accept him so that I may not do with you according to your folly”. God accepted the mediator on behalf of the others.

This is the groundwork not just for the real intent of the temple and sacrifices and Old Testament Scripture to come, but of the work of the Messiah Himself. Just as Adam and Eve learned that sin required blood for atonement :”(Genesis 3:21)”:, and through Cain and Abel that blood is the only acceptable sacrifice :”(Genesis 4:3-5)”:, so from the earliest teachings God revealed the need for a mediator, himself innocent of the sins submitted for atonement.

The work of the cross is present in every book of the Bible and various aspects depicted through each of its major figures in one way or another. It’s important for us to acknowledge the shadow of the cross in the person and book of Job and make application for our life as the first and foremost doctrine from which everything else subsequently proceeds.