Sunday, February 24, 2013

Job 2-3 and Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians 7-9

Job 2 – Again the Sons of God [and Satan] assemble, and again God praises Job. This time Satan asks to be given power to afflict Job’s “person,” or his personal “health” (2:4). Job is smitten with boils from head to foot. His wife seems annoyed at his patience with God. “’Are you still trying to maintain your integrity? Curse God and die.’ (2:9)

Job responds to her with these words: “’You talk like a foolish woman. Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?’” (2:10)

Three “friends” of Job learn of his trouble and come to “give him sympathy and comfort” (2:11). They sit with him seven days and nights in silence. “No one said a word to Job, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words” (2:13).

Job 3 – Then Job speaks. He curses the day of his birth:

“May the day perish when I was born
and the night that told of a boy conceived.
May that day be darkness
may God on high have no thought for it,
may no light shine on it (3:3-4).
. . .
Yes, let the dark lay hold of it,
to the days of the year let it not be joined,
into the reckoning of months not find its way” (3:6).

He sees death as a place of peace. All the unbearables of life are absent from Shoal –the torments life brings, the inequalities of human society:
“Oh, why give light to those in misery, and life to those who are bitter? They long for death, and it won’t come. They search for death more eagerly than for hidden treasure” (3:20-21).

The Epistles of Ignatius [Letter to the Magnesians]
7 – Just as Jesus acted in accord with his Father, so you “must never act independently of your bishop and clergy. On no account persuade yourselves that it is right and proper to follow your own private judgment; have a single service of prayer which everybody attends; one united supplication, one mind, one hope, in love and innocent joyfulness, which is Jesus Christ, than who nothing is better” (72).

8 – “Never allow yourselves to be led astray by false teachings and antiquated and useless fables” (72). Footnote here indicates the reference is the “heretical forms of Christianity which combined Judaistic with docetic elements” (74-75).

“If we are still living in the practice of Judaism, it is an admission that we have failed to receive the gift of grace” (72). The prophets did not simply accept Jewish rites. The reason they were “persecuted is because they were inspired by His grace, so that they might convince future unbelievers of the existence of the one sole God, who has revealed Himself in His Son Jesus Christ, Word of His own from silence proceeding, who in all that He was and did gladdened the heart of the One who sent Him” (73).

This reference to Christ’s “own silence” is very interesting and apparently a common reference in Ignatius’ writings. LOOK INTO.

9 – “We have seen how former adherents of the ancient customs have since attained to a new hope; so that they have given up keeping the sabbath, and now order their lives by the Lord’s Day instead (the Day when life first dawned for us, thanks to Him and His death. That death, though some deny it, is the very mystery which has moved us to become believers, and endure tribulation to prove ourselves pupils of Jesus Christ, our sole Teacher)” (73). Docetists denied the “outward” (material) aspects of Christ’s nature. The term dokein means “to seem”. Docetists encouraged believers to dismiss the material realities of Christ’s life and the Judaists encouraged continued reliance on traditional “forms and rules.”

But “even the prophets of old were themselves pupils of His in spirit, and looked forward to Him as their Teacher” (73). It is for this reason that Christ descended into Hell to raise them to life. This is apparently referred to also in 1 Peter 3:19.

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