Saturday, November 22, 2008

Job 4:3 Test the spirit

Job 4:12 Now a thing was secretly brought to me, and mine ear received a little thereof. 
13 In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth on men, 
14 Fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake. 
15 Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up: 

Its interesting to me how many abrupt, unexpected events and people walk through the scripture, and often times what is happening or who is there remains a mystery. Was it really Samuel who appeared at the summoning of the witch of Endor? Was it really God who wrestled with Jacob, and whether it was God or one of his angels, how could he lose? 

  So when I looked at this passage, it intrigued me. In fact I can’t ever remember reading this part before. And what do I make of it now that I’ve read it? Is this a vision from God? From the Adversary? Perhaps it was made up entirely?

  I take it as having been an actual vision. Firstly, there’s a thing about godly men like Job. They attract other godly men and repel ungodly men. Think about the truly godly men and women you have met in your life, what kind of people congregate around them? Certainly there are different levels of maturity, understanding, and wisdom, but usually I don’t think you’ll find people who are contrary to them around them? There are exceptions, but generally… I don’t think these men are the exception because they’re not just listed as just any people, these are Job’s friends; the same ones who set time and energy aside to come and mourn with him for seven days without speaking a word! 

  And if we fast forward to the end:

Job 42:7 And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite: 'My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends; for ye have not spoken of Me the thing that is right, as My servant Job hath. 
8 Now therefore, take unto you seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to My servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt- offering; and My servant Job shall pray for you; for him will I accept, that I do not unto you aught unseemly; for ye have not spoken of Me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath.'

When God finds fault with the three friends, it is for not saying the right things not for being hypocrites, fools, uncaring, etc…These are not villains. These are seemingly otherwise Godly men who came to see their friend through a hard time, even though they kind of bungled it.

  So if these are not evil men, and have some kindred spirit with Job, then it would seem that if Eliphaz says that he had a vision, presumably he did have a vision. And his emotional reaction to the vision adds authenticity to that supposition. As you will recall, the fear of God is not some ‘God is awesome, amen’ kind, but more akin to the fear of fire. The fear is real fear, but it is not displacing of everything else. So then as Eliphaz says it makes him tremble, this would seem to be a legitimate reaction to a vision he sincerely has. 

  But who is the vision from? We would suppose that a vision that a godly man has is in fact from God, but is this true? 

2Co 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 
5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 
6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled. 

1Th 5:21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good

1Jn 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 
2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 
3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. 

The source of a vision can only be one of three; God, a spirit, or oneself. If we are to test every spirit, then we will determine if it is of God or of the Enemy, and if it is of ourselves then it is a thought or an imagination and must be brought captive into obedience to Messiah. Either way, a vision can come from three different sources or there would be no need to take it captive or prove it—why would you need to prove a vision if it could only come from God? Hence the enemy or at least a will not obedient to God can produce a vision.

  So then what is the source of Eliphaz’s vision? In 4:12 the word ‘secretly’ is the sense of thieving or stealing. When you steal, you are moving in such a way as not to be seen by a greater power or authority. Rachel stole false gods from her father; Jacob stole away from Laban; the prophets steal God’s word from the people; soldiers stealing into a city as if ashamed. 

  However, God does send his angels to individuals or speak to them individually so that others do not hear. 1 Samuel 3, tells of God calling to Samuel, but no one else. Angels have appeared to women without their husbands, as did Messiah; arch angels to Daniel; Gabriel to Mary; Yeshua even appeared and spoke to Paul without those standing by being able to make out the words or see the speaker. However, if you read those accounts you get the impression that God is not hiding, rather that his message is firstly to one person or another. 

1Sa 3:8 And the LORD called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And Eli perceived that the LORD had called the child. 
9 Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, LORD; for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place. 

Samuel doesn’t recognize the voice of the Lord yet God speaks to him knowing this. Samuel goes to Eli three times before Eli realizes God is speaking to the child and instructs him to answer the Lord. Why didn’t God speak to Eli first and tell him to get Samuel’s attention? Why didn’t God introduce himself as he did to Moses? God has a message specifically for Samuel, but he is not hiding that he has a message from anyone else.

Jdg 6:18 Depart not hence, I pray thee, until I come unto thee, and bring forth my present, and set it before thee. And he said, I will tarry until thou come again. 
19 And Gideon went in, and made ready a kid, and unleavened cakes of an ephah of flour: the flesh he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot, and brought it out unto him under the oak, and presented it. 
20 And the angel of God said unto him, Take the flesh and the unleavened cakes, and lay them upon this rock, and pour out the broth. And he did so. 
21 Then the angel of the LORD put forth the end of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and there rose up fire out of the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes. Then the angel of the LORD departed out of his sight. 

An Angel appears from God and when asked to stay for a moment he does. He’s not scurrying off to hide.

Jdg 13:3 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not: but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son. 

The angel appeared to the woman, not to her husband. I’m fascinated when people say the bible has a degrading view of women. Certainly, men have failed all through scripture to treat women as they deserve, however God and those being lead of the Spirit of God are always showing women esteem as much as men. 

Jdg 13:6 Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, A man of God came unto me, and his countenance was like the countenance of an angel of God, very terrible: but I asked him not whence he was, neither told he me his name: 

The woman goes and tells her husband about the conversation, obviously God knew this was going to happen and what would follow, yet he still chose to send his Angel to the woman.

Jdg 13:8 Then Manoah intreated the LORD, and said, O my Lord, let the man of God which thou didst send come again unto us, and teach us what we shall do unto the child that shall be born. 
9 And God hearkened to the voice of Manoah; and the angel of God came again unto the woman as she sat in the field: but Manoah her husband was not with her. 
10 And the woman made haste, and ran, and shewed her husband, and said unto him, Behold, the man hath appeared unto me, that came unto me the other day. 
11 And Manoah arose, and went after his wife, and came to the man, and said unto him, Art thou the man that spakest unto the woman? And he said, I am. 

The husband than asks for the Angel to come back and God ‘listens’ to him, but sends the angel again to the woman. So who does it seem this message is most for? The woman, yet the Angel is sent because of the man’s prayer, and the angel stays while the woman goes to get her husband! We see clearly that God has messages for individual people, but he does not sneak around.

Gen 32:1 And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. 
2 And when Jacob saw them, he said, This is God's host: and he called the name of that place Mahanaim. 

Jacob has left Laban and is heading to see Esau and along the way, for no explicit reason Angels meet him. He says this is God’s army and calls the place ‘double camp.’ Apparently there’s a lot of angels, and scripture makes no implication that Jacob is the only one who sees them, yet no message is reported from them. While at this place he sends his messengers to Esau and in fear for his life and the lives of his wives and children he divides the camp several times and sends gifts to meet Esau. 

 At the end he has sent them all away.

Gen 32:24 And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. 
25 And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. 
26 And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. 
27 And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. 
28 And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. 
29 And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there. 
30 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved. 

This is odd because he’s wrestling with a man after he was ‘left alone.’ The word alone comes from a word meaning ‘divide.’ In other words a part divided from its whole. He’s alone from his family, his company; not necessarily the only person present; remember he is at the ‘double camp.’ Then a ‘man’ wrestles with him and somehow Jacob knows this man is greater than him. I say greater, because blessings flow from the greater to the lesser.

Heb 7:4 Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils. 
5 And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham: 
6 But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises. 
7 And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better. 

The proofs of the superiority of the priesthood of Melchisedec are that he received tithes from Abraham (and Levi was in Abraham) and Melchisedec blessed Abraham and therefore Levi in Abraham. Verse seven explains that the greater blesses the lesser. 

  Thusly, Jacob has sent away his people and is assaulted by some man, but he automatically assumes the man is greater than he. Why? Because he’s in the double camp. He wins the match even though the man miraculously loosens his hip from it’s socket; the man prophesies Jacob’s name change; and when asked for his own name does not answer but blesses him, yet Jacob (now Israel) recognizes that this was God. “I have seen God face to face…” 

  The point of this is that though God does come individually without allowing for other witnesses, he makes himself known. When he appears to someone, they eventually know that it’s him. But why then do we have to test every Spirit if God makes himself known? Well first we must understand that God expects us to test. This may seem foreign, when we are told so often to “just have faith” and are pretty much told if we test we’re in sin. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Reason it out, if God tells us to test prophets and spirits, and then sends prophets and spirits then he certainly knows that his prophets and his spirits will be tested by his own commandment. But where then do we get this idea of not testing?

Deu 6:16 Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God, as ye tempted him in Massah.

Mat 4:7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

The commandment is to not test God, but a prophet or a spirit is not God even if he is from God. And even if it was God we may have to test to determine that it is God (think of how many times someone suddenly falls on their face because only after a miraculous exit did they realize they were dealing with God). 

  We are not to test the one true God, we are to test whether the person or spirit speaking to us is from God. And it is in the test that God will make himself known. 

  Think of Eli and Samuel again. 

1Sa 3:9 Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, LORD; for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place. 
10 And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth. 
11 And the LORD said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle. 

Eli didn’t hear the voice, but ‘perceived’ that it was the Lord. Eli can’t test the spirit, but he believes its God. He doesn’t tell Samuel this but what he does say is that when called again he is to respond “Speak, LORD…” He tells him to reply to this Spirit by addressing him by God’s name. What happens when Samuel does this? God speaks to him. If this was an enemy of God, why would he wait to be addressed by God’s name? And if it wasn’t God than why would Eli tell Samuel to call on His name if any spirit could be speaking? 

Psa 83:18 That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth. 

There is only one carrying the name of YHVH. And we know from countless scriptures that God’s name is to be reverenced, such that many have gone so far as to simply never say his name (an error for another time). If then I was Satan, I would certainly masquerade by that name all the time to discredit him and profane his name.

But he doesn’t.

2Co 11:12 But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we. 
13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 
14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 
15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. 

We know that Satan can speak to people, we know he can even transform into an angel of light just as his servants can masquerade as God’s servants. But I would put to you that no spirit can answer to God’s name. If you go back to Eve’s encounter with Satan in the Garden of Eden, you will notice something interesting.

Gen 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 

Gen 3:4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 
5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. 

The scripture refers to God by the combination of one of his titles “Eloheim” and by his name YHVH, but the serpent never refers to God by his name. If you remember also in Job when Satan spoke with God he said that Job would “bless God.” Euphemistically we understand it is not blessing, but notice again he would not use God’s name. 

Mar 1:23 And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, 
24 Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God. 

Mat 8:28 And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way. 
29 And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time? 

Again notice the spirits address in more ‘distant terms,’ never calling him by God’s name though obviously they knew better than his disciples that he was God himself. I would challenge you to search the scripture for any exception where a spirit masquerades by God’s name.

Impersonating a servant perhaps, but never as God himself. But from the evidence we have only shown a lack of a contradicting evidence, is there any positive?

1Co 12:1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. 
2 Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led. 
3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

No man calls Yeshua cursed if they are speaking by the Spirit of God, that makes sense, God won’t lead anyone to say such a thing. But the next is a restriction. “…and no man say that Yeshua is THE Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.” The Lord is “kurios” meaning supreme authority, it is the same word used by Yeshua when quoting the shema “Hear O Israel, the LORD…” So we see a curious thing that Man in God’s image is able to misuse God’s name (though not blamelessly), but it seems that at least in some scenario’s the enemy’s spirits may not even speak his name. And if they can, there is no evidence that they can. Men cannot attribute his name to Yeshua unless God’s Spirit leads them to do so, it would seem then that no other spirit can put the thought into man or at least if they can they cannot bring them to speak the thought.

  Not airtight, but our salvation isn’t based on it. There is certainly a strong case to be made that the enemies of God cannot masquerade as him. If this is so, than it makes sense that Eli tells Samuel to address him by name because only God could respond to his own name. 

  To bring us back to where we were, the question is how to know one spirit from another? Well for Eli, if you call to God by his name, than only he will respond. Again this makes sense. Study how many times God does not answer a person, and then ask the question, why does Satan not answer for him? I read an account once of C.S. Lewis' broadcasts of Mere Christianity. The producers were constantly concerned with length because any lengthy gap in transmission could be used by the enemy to broadcast over the gap to masquerade as the voice of England. If Satan could pretend to actually be God, then why is there ever a time that God appears not to answer or not to speak into our lives? Satan would be chomping at the bit to speak in God's name if he could.

  We also know from the torah that a man speaking by God’s Word cannot be wrong. 

Deu 18:20 But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. 
21 And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? 
22 When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.

If God is speaking by a someone than what they say must come to pass…the one exception of in scripture that I know of is Jonah who prophecied destruction which did not happen. However, from scripture we know that God says it would have happened except for their repentance. So the Word was true, but the repentance of man changed God’s actions

  However, this is one instance, yet I am constantly seeing people who say they have a Word from the Lord, and they prophesy something and it does not come to pass. And yet people keep listening! If we tolerate people speaking presumptuously then what does that say about our view of the God in whose name they speak? What audacity, a person must have to speak in a manner that even the enemy will not?

  So following along with Eli and Samuel we should expect that if this voice that responded to God’s name, is truly God then what he says should come to pass.

1Sa 3:15 And Samuel lay until the morning, and opened the doors of the house of the LORD. And Samuel feared to shew Eli the vision. 
16 Then Eli called Samuel, and said, Samuel, my son. And he answered, Here am I. 
17 And he said, What is the thing that the LORD hath said unto thee? I pray thee hide it not from me: God do so to thee, and more also, if thou hide any thing from me of all the things that he said unto thee. 
18 And Samuel told him every whit, and hid nothing from him. And he said, It is the LORD: let him do what seemeth him good. 
19 And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground. 
20 And all Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the LORD. 

Firstly, Eli confirms afterwards that the Word is from the LORD. It’s interesting that he rightly discerns God’s Word even though it is the destruction of his own family. Do you see the contrast with Eliphaz in Job? Eliphaz sees no sin and pronounces Job guilty and judged. Eli knows his family has great sin (v13) and he didn’t restrain it, and God tells him (and also told him) that because of that iniquity his family was going to be destroyed. 

  Then we see the clencher, “…the LORD was with him, and did let NONE OF HIS WORDS FALL TO THE GROUND.” Samuel was a prophet and when he spoke, things happened because God spoke to him. Not because he was great, not because he felt he had some insight or ‘felt’ like God was telling him something. God spoke, he listened and relayed, and all Israel knew it because his word came to pass. 

  So what have we learned? Among spirits, God and only God responds to his name YHVH. God is never described as ‘stealing’ to tell someone something; though he does appear privately he doesn’t try to conceal his visit. God’s Words are always true, though he may change the future and thus give another word. 

  Back to Job, what are the characteristics of Eliphaz’s vision?

Job 4:12 Now a thing was secretly brought to me, and mine ear received a little thereof. 
13 In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth on men, 
14 Fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake. 
15 Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up: 

The vision comes in secret, God is never described as coming secretly. 

  The man’s ear ‘received a little thereof.’ Can you think of anywhere in scripture, where God speaks to someone and the person then says “I’m sorry, I didn’t get all that. Could you repeat it?” Even when he appears to Elijah in the still small voice, his every word is heard and recorded. God doesn’t get static on his radio.

  Yes, fear comes on the man and trembling, but it doesn’t really sound like what we hear of elsewhere. Abraham experienced a dread fright or horror at the beginning of the covenant and many people fall on their faces and fear for their lives, but this fear sounds more akin to what I feel watching a supernatural horror flick. This is just my thought from the sounds of the words, but I get a sense of creepiness rather than of holy fear. Judge for yourself.

  Finally though…

Job 4:16 It stood still, but I could not discern the form thereof: an image was before mine eyes, there was silence, and I heard a voice, saying, 
17 Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker? 

Again, there is no static on God’s radio, nor on his television set. “I could not discern the form…” is a phrase unique to this vision. Certainly, kings had visions and couldn’t remember them or couldn’t understand them, but a prophet was given discernment. You never heard Ezekiel say “And there was some kind of glowing thing…maybe it looked like a bird…or a maybe a clown.” 

  It seems clear that however generally a just man that Job’s friend might be, he received into himself a messenger that was not of God. We must learn from this. We live in age, where there is a great deal of ignorance about what God’s scriptures say…and yet there are many people presuming to speak on his behalf. Pastors taking scriptures out of their contexts to support a tradition of the church…well meaning, spiritual men and women who act as cheerleaders to tell their congregations things and then parenthetically note it as a ‘Word from Lord’ only to find that what they said came from the Holy One, fell flat on it’s face.

  This is not to say that there aren’t modern day prophets. I have no doubt there are. God foretold through prophets long ago that he would pour out his spirit on people that they would dream dreams and have visions. And his apostle Paul said not to quench the spirit and not to despise prophesying. Such things do happen. And it’s even possible that a prophet could speak something one minute and then presumptuously speak something another. I’m glad I’m not one because I’d be constantly afraid of speaking from myself. But there’s one simple fact.  

  A prophet speaking from God is never wrong. The moment we accept a prophet who prophesies something false, we are saying that it doesn’t matter if God’s Word is false or not. Would we take our hope of salvation as hit or miss? “Oh we might spend eternity with God on a redeemed Earth…or maybe we’re all going to the lake of fire? It depends on how close John and the other apostles were.”
  We must be zealous for God’s Word. If Man does not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceedeth from the mouth of God, how then can we suffer poison on our tables? 

1Th 5:21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 

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