THE DIVINE REVELATION IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
UNVEILING WHAT WAS ON GOD’S HEART
WHEN HE APPEARED TO JOB
To understand God’s intention in His appearing to Job, we need the entire Bible, especially the New Testament. For God to give Himself to Job was not a simple matter. This involved a long process beginning with Christ’s incarnation and including His human living, His all-inclusive death on the cross, His resurrection, and His ascension. Because Job was in the primitive stage of the divine revelation, God could not have spoken to him about all these things. It would have been impossible for Job to understand them. All these matters were clearly defined and recorded in the New Testament two thousand years later. Even today, many believers do not have the proper understanding of these things.
As an illustration of our difficulty in understanding the divine things, let us consider the case of Nicodemus in John 3. The Lord Jesus said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (v. 3). Not understanding this, Nicodemus replied, "How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?" (v. 4). What a terrible misunderstanding! The Lord Jesus went on to speak to Nicodemus about being born of water and the Spirit, telling him that "that which is born of the Spirit is spirit" (v. 6). Nicodemus then asked, "How can these things be?" (v. 9). Eventually, the Lord Jesus said to him, "If I told you of the things on earth and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you of the things in heaven?" (v. 12). Regeneration, being born anew, concerns the divine life, yet it takes place on earth. If Nicodemus could not understand something that takes place on earth, how could he understand the things that take place in heaven?
Chapter three of John speaks not only about regeneration but also about the increase of Christ (v. 30). All the regenerated people will become the increase of Christ, and the increase of Christ is His bride (v. 29). In John 3 two crucial words are "bride" and "increase." We need to see that as Christians we are Christ’s increase. However, many of today’s believers have no understanding concerning this.
In John 14 the Lord Jesus, on the night He was to be betrayed, took the opportunity to speak to His disciples certain matters concerning the Divine Trinity, who would produce the bride as the increase of Christ. In John 16 the Lord told His disciples that although He had yet many things to say to them, at that time they could not bear them (v. 12). Later, after Christ had passed through death and had entered into resurrection to become the firstborn Son of God and the life-giving Spirit, the Spirit of reality would come to guide the disciples into all the reality (v. 13). On the evening of the day of His resurrection, the Lord Jesus appeared to them, and "He breathed into them and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit" (20:22). However, not even at that time was the divine revelation given in full. There was still the need for Christ to ascend and to pour out Himself as the Spirit upon His disciples to make them the church, as recorded in the first part of Acts. But not even then was the complete revelation given. Later, Paul was raised up by God, and to him was given the full revelation concerning the mystery of God, which is Christ (Col. 2:2b), and the mystery of Christ, which is the church (Eph. 3:4). The church is the issue of the Triune God to be the organism of the Triune God. This organism is the Body of Christ, and the Body of Christ is the new man. Eventually, all this will consummate in the New Jerusalem, the corporate expression of the Triune God for eternity in the new heaven and new earth. All these things—beginning with the incarnation of the Triune God and consummating with the New Jerusalem—were on God’s heart when He appeared to Job.
(Life-Study of Job, Chapter 33, by Witness Lee)