September 17, 2023 | Dr. Randy White
The ancient book of Job provides a fascinating glimpse into God’s future plans for the nation of Israel. In the closing chapter, we find Job’s friends repenting before him in response to God’s wrath over their faulty theology. The friends bring their own burnt offerings, and Job prays for them, facilitating their restoration before the Lord. This beautiful picture foreshadows a coming day when unrighteous Israel, represented by Job’s friends, will repent and turn to God in response to the prayers of a righteous Jewish remnant, represented by Job. Just as Job’s friends acknowledged their foolishness and personally presented sacrifices, Scripture promises that one day all Israel will recognize Jesus as their long-awaited Messiah and experience national salvation. The unlikely restoration between Job and his misguided friends offers a ray of hope that no matter how far they have strayed, God still loves His chosen people and desires has a plan for their future salvation.
Israel’s Restoration Foreshadowed | Job 42:7-8
As interpreters today, we must rightly divide the text of Job. God affirms Job’s righteousness in chapter 1, then rebukes the friends in chapter 42. Without recognizing God’s true assessment of Job and his friends’ faulty theology, we risk misinterpretation. The friends typify unrighteous Israel, relying on human wisdom while rejecting God’s revelation. Rightly dividing these details allows us to discern the friends as representatives of Israel’s unrighteousness, contrasted with righteous Job as a picture of the remnant. God’s words in 1:8 and 42:7 provide vital boundaries for understanding these characters’ roles.
Job’s three critical friends—Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar—serve as literary representatives of the unrighteous nation of Israel. Despite believing in the one true God, they embrace faulty theological reasoning throughout their dialogues with Job. This began with their rejection of God’s declaration about Job’s righteousness (Job 1:8). Job’s friends rely on their own limited human wisdom rather than submitting to God’s revelation. Though they were genuinely concerned for Job, God confronts them in the end, declaring that “you have not spoken of me what is right.” Their literary role as representatives of Israel continues with their restoration, foreshadowing the future redemption of the nation.
In Job 42:8, God requires Job’s friends to make burnt offerings along with Job’s intercession for them. This foreshadows a coming day when animal sacrifices will again be offered to atone for Israel’s national sin. Just as Job’s friends must bring seven bulls and seven rams to sacrifice, in the future Tribulation, after the rebuilding of the Temple, we can expect a return to Old Testament rituals like burnt offerings. Though the Antichrist will remove the sacrifices for a time (Dan. 9:27, 12:11), there will ultimately be a restoration (as in the days of Hanukkah), and Israel will bring her sacrifices to God, who will accept them.
Job, The Righteous Remnant
The character of Job serves as a picture of the righteous Jewish remnant that will emerge during the coming Tribulation period. As an upright man blameless before God, Job models the Jews who remain faithful to God amid intense persecution during the Tribulation, despite the bad theology of their Jewish friends. While most of the nation will persist in unbelief, this remnant will focus on the redemption promised by the prophets. The broader narrative arc of Job, from blessing to tribulation to eventual redemption, parallels the coming experience of the Jewish remnant during the Tribulation. Typologically, Job represents those who will be righteous before God and prepared to intercede for Israel’s ultimate salvation.
Though initially reluctant like the older brother in the prodigal son parable, Job obeys God’s command to pray for his friends (v. 8, 10), enabling the Lord to accept their sacrifices and restore them. In the same way, the coming righteous Jewish remnant will resist interceding for their persecutors at first but will ultimately pray for the nation’s salvation in obedience to God. Just as Job overcame his hesitation and prayed for the friends who reviled him, so the faithful remnant will persist in intercession, allowing the sacrifices required for Israel’s redemption to be made acceptable before the Lord. Job’s prayers illustrate how the righteous minority will serve as priestly mediators, despite understandable resistance, to enable the prophesied restoration of the nation.
Why might Job (and the remnant) be reluctant to pray for their fellow Jews?
- They wrongly accused Job of sin and hypocrisy (Job 4:7-8, 11:1-6)
- They provided little comfort and instead rebuked him (Job 16:2)
- They asserted Job was facing just punishment from God (Job 8:1-6, 11:13-20)
- They diminished Job’s pleas of innocence (Job 6:24-30)
- Job felt they were “worthless physicians” and “miserable comforters” (Job 13:4, 16:2)
Will the righteous remnant, as seen in the person of Job, serve as “priestly mediators” between unrighteous Israel and God during the Tribulation?
- Isaiah 53:12 – The servant will “make intercession for the transgressors”
- Ezekiel 9:4 – The marked ones will intercede for the wicked of Jerusalem
- 1 Peter 2:5 – The remnant is being built up as a holy priesthood
- Revelation 1:6 – The remnant will be “kings and priests to His God and Father”
Israel’s Salvation through National Repentance (42:9)
The Old Testament prophets reveal that animal sacrifices will one day be reinstituted for Israel. Daniel 9:27 refers to sacrifices being halted midway through the coming 7-year Tribulation. Ezekiel 40-48 describes sacrifices in the millennial temple. These prophetic passages make clear that after the church age, sacrifices will again be required for Israel’s atonement and sanctification. It is in light of these explicit prophecies that we can understand the Job 42 account of offerings as foreshadowing Israel’s future sacrificial restoration. Just as God specified burnt offerings to seal the restoration between Job and his friends, He will mandate animal sacrifices to facilitate national redemption for Israel.
Job 42:9 models how the future repentant nation will similarly bring sacrifices to the Lord, which He will accept. The seven bulls and seven rams in verse 8 represent the completeness and fullness of the future atonement.
Some are surprised to learn that the full gamut of sacrifices are brought forth in the time of the millennium (Israel’s Kingdom), but the teaching is clear in Scripture.
- Burnt offerings – For atonement and consecration to God (Leviticus 1, Ezekiel 43:18-27)
- Grain offerings – As tribute offerings to God (Leviticus 2, Ezekiel 45:15)
- Peace offerings – To show thanksgiving and fellowship with God (Leviticus 3, Ezekiel 46:2-15)
- Sin offerings – For atonement and cleansing from sin (Leviticus 4, Ezekiel 43:19-21)
- Guilt offerings – For restitution and cleansing from sin (Leviticus 5, Ezekiel 40:39)
The “seven bulls and seven rams” of Job 42:8-9 are going to bring Kingdom salvation to the nation, both the unfaithful portion (the three friends) and the remnant (Job). And thus “all Israel will be saved” as in Romans 11:26.
In closing, the account of Job provides a profound typological template for Israel’s coming restoration. Just as righteous Job underwent tribulation, Israel’s remnant will pass through fiery trials prior to redemption. As Job interceded in priestly fashion for his wayward friends, so the Jewish remnant will passionately mediate before God on behalf of the nation. The sacrificial offerings brought by Job’s friends foreshadow the return of ceremonial sacrifices required for Israel’s sanctification. And finally, the restoration of Job’s fortunes points ahead to the ultimate salvation of national Israel, when all of God’s promises are fulfilled and her exiled people worship Him united once more. What amazing grace from an unchanging covenant God who relentlessly pursues the people He has chosen for Himself.