Is Job a Type of Jesus?

The Bible contains pictures of Jesus on every page. Indeed, one of the reasons why I enjoy reading the scriptures, is they reveal much about the character of Christ.

But what about the story of Job? Where is Jesus in that?

A couple of readers suggested that Job represents Christ in this story. I have to confess, I had never heard this before, but it turns out to be a common teaching. Like Christ, Job was a righteous guy who suffered but was ultimately exalted. Indeed, there are some parallels in the sufferings of Job and Jesus.

But it’s a step too far to say Job was like Jesus.

With the intent of getting our eyes off Job and back on the Lord, I want to consider the ways Job was unlike Jesus. We’ll do this by unpacking four of the popular comparisons that sound true but aren’t:

Myth 1: Job, like Jesus, lost everything

Jesus did not lose anything, but he gave his life willingly. Jesus said, “No one takes my life from me, but I lay it down of my own accord” (John 10:18).

Job lost everything, but Jesus gave everything. Job was afflicted by the devil (Job 2:7), but the devil never laid a finger on the Lord. Job was a victim; Jesus was a victor. Big difference.

Myth 2: Job, like Jesus, was tempted by Satan

Jesus had a famous conversation with the Tempter, but Job never knew him. Satan appears more times in the Book of Job than any other book, but Job had no idea he existed. He was so oblivious to the Tempter’s schemes that Job blamed God for the devil’s afflictions (Job 1:21, 27:2).

Myth 3: Job, like Jesus, was falsely accused of being a sinner

Job was far from sin-free. He was bitter, suicidal and self-righteous. His confidence was not in the Lord but his own moral behavior. “How many wrongs and sins have I committed? Show me my offense and my sin” (Job 13:23). Job’s self-righteousness was so odious that it even silenced the self-righteous men who came to counsel him (Job 32:1).

Myth 4: Job, like Jesus, remained faithful to God

In his suffering, Job accused God of being unjust and hostile (Job 13:34, 27:2). Job believed God had fired arrows of outrageous fortune at him and bound him like a prisoner (Job 6:4, 13:27). Job actually thought God was trying to kill him (Job 30:21, 23).

I’m certainly not condemning Job for having these evil thoughts – the man was in pain. But we can’t deny that Job bore false witness. He was a bad advertisement for God. In contrast, Jesus is the true and faithful witness, the exact representation of God’s character. “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).

So who was Job like?

I hope you can see that Job had very little in common with Jesus. Job was a flawed and frightened man who fell short of the glorious life that Jesus lived. In this regard, Job was very much like us. As long as he was rich and healthy, he was a nice guy, but when the poo hit the fan the mask came off and his flaws were revealed.

In a sense, Job was a type of Adam. Consider these comparisons:

  • Fact 1: Job, like Adam, had everything and lost it all
  • Fact 2: Job, like Adam, fell to the devil’s schemes and sinned
  • Fact 3: Job, like Adam, tried to make things right… and failed
  • Fact 4: Job, like Adam, was redeemed by God and given a new identity

And there are many more similarities…

Did I miss some parallels? Let me know in the comments below.

Why does this matter?

If you imagine Job to be a type of Jesus, you’ll be tempted to hold him up as a role model. When you go through hard times, you may think, as Job did, that God is the author of your suffering. When you experience loss you may say regrettable things like, “God gives and takes away.”

Many people think Job was a natural-born superstar because God said he was an upright and blameless man (Job 1:8). But Job was righteous in the same way that Gideon was a mighty man of valor. Cowardly Gideon became mighty, and superstitious Job became righteous on account of God’s grace. The God “who calls those things which are not, as though they were” calls out our eternal identity and then empowers us to walk in that identity.

Job was no Jesus, but the Gospel of Jesus is clearly revealed in the story of Job, as I will explain in my next article.

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22 Comments on Is Job a Type of Jesus?

  1. Nick Ellerby // October 25, 2018 at 1:09 am // Reply

    Looking forward to the next article on the gospel revealed in Job’s story. I still can’t get my head around Job 1:22, when clearly saying God caused his suffering was a big mistake on Job’s part…?

  2. “As long as he was rich and healthy, he was a nice guy, but when the poo hit the fan the mask came off and his flaws were revealed.” I got a lot from that and at the right time. Always excited to read your stuff, and your work is producing fruits all over!
    Thanks, KG Norway

  3. I never did understand the idea that Job was not a sinner. You make some great points. Thanks!

  4. So the Bible contains pictures of Jesus on every page?

    Think about what you just wrote… 😉

    Mind you, so does ‘Stuff Jesus Never Said’ lol 😉

  5. Yes,Job is the embodiment and representation of my own journey,walk and relationship with the Lord,the flipping highs and lows and seesaw struggle with depending on the Lords righteousness and my man made righteousness (unrighteousness) Thinking that I am ok and progressing nicely and getting somewhere with God and then feeling puffed up only to come crashing back down to reality when yet again Holy Spirit reveals to me that I have not really been relying on His righteousness but my own and that the reason I feel so wretched,rejected,abandoned,defeated,nothing and being”punished” is not because God is doing this to me because He hates me but because yet again I have played into the fleshes and satans deceptive hands,relying on my own righteousness which results in dead works and is as filthy rags to Him and that He is stripping away all of my fakeness,worldliness,self reliance in order tobe able to truly bless me and to get me to understand that I can only rely on Him,that He is my source,however like Job it does not feel like that at the time,it feels horrific like everyone/thing is against you,out to destroy you,things just seem to get worse no matter what you do.I know as I am in that place right now.Thanks to Jobs story all I can do is trust and hold on and that all will be well,that there is Gods rhyme and reason to all this as I have been here before with the Lord and He brought through it onto higher ground better than before He took me through it.

    • Thank you for that, Sally. It was very helpful for me.

      • No, thanks Michelle for your honesty as is not easy for us believers to admit to God,ourselves/others that this journey with the Lord can be painful,messy,confusing/the most befuddling,silent screaming experience ever a lot of the time,but I believe the Lord knows this and that is also why His grace is involved because it is the hardest journey we will ever have to go on and through I think it would almost be like the experience of being born if we could remember it!!! That is why the Lord has been teaching me that at such painful,bewildering,nothing makes sense moments to not be tempted as much to compare self to others walks and assume others are doing better than me/l’m doing something wrong or God loves them more or I must deserve this or that I am a “worse sinner” than others etc and that it is a growth process in the Lord with growing pains though not physical but spiritual but just as painful or more so.God loves us all the same even if our growing pains are less/more intense than others.Growing/maturing in/believing/receiving Gods love hurts but like Job the results/end results are more than worth it-to trust God knows what He is doing-getting us to a place of complete childlike trust/reliance/dependence on Him-to let Him do the work for/in us that needs doing.

  6. Paul, I love your posts on Job. I often think of this book as the bible before there was the bible (many say it was the first book written). If that is the case, it would stand to reason that Job’s story is humanity’s story. So indeed, we should expect to see the gospel of Jesus on display – a Redeemer who steps in.

  7. Oh dear,have overwritten my comment again so will not show,am so passionate about Job as is my and guess our own plight,experience,walk,relationship with the Lord when growing with Him,times of ignorance,growth,love,joy maturity ,immaturity,misconceptions,confidence,revelation,surety then not,reliance on God,pride then reliance on self,resting in God and His righteousness then “getting cocky/complacent” and relying on own works/self righteousness,misunderstanding Gods heart/work in us and our dire need for His saving grace because of own “bankrupt/fallen state thus blaming Him,satan,self,others feeling lost,abandoned,forsaken,crucified and not understanding yet that this is Gods growth process in us,we are works in progress continually.All He is trying to do is deliver/heal us from self righteousness,dependence reliance,focus which is harmful damaging,deadly- to know Him/ rely on His righteousness which is the safest place to be,that He has our best interests at heart ,knows we need a Saviour ,to be rescued and why,knows what he is doing and when we don’ t we are vulnerable,exposed,prey to “evil”so also yes representation of the horrible place/state we were in when Christ came to our rescue.

  8. Hi, Paul. (We are on the same reading plan; your articles always post when I’m also in Job.) I agree with many of your observations. Satan is conspicuously absent from the main characters’ monologues, for example, though he is an active agent.

    But you just can’t ignore and leave addressed the scriptures that plainly defy your big picture interpretation. Framing the book of Job, for example, on both ends: “In all this, Job did sin by charging God with wrongdoing” (1:22), and (the Lord to Eliphaz): “You [and your two friends] have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.” (42:7) And what of James 5:11 – “…we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about”?

    • I usually limit one article to the unpacking of one scripture. I have not ignored any of the scriptures you mentioned but have written numerous articles about all of them. You can find them in the Archives>Scripture Index.

  9. Munondowashe // October 26, 2018 at 5:45 am // Reply

    Thank you brother Paul. The way you rightly divide the word of truth is so amazing.

    If l am not mistaken you said you were working on the book of Revelation. Is it out or you are still working on it.??? eagerly waiting.

    • Not Revelation, but Christ’s letters to the Revelation Churches. It is finished and you can expect an announcement here in a few weeks. (Patrons have already seen excepts.)

  10. Oh my gosh we are sooo! Uptight and are all experts! Underlined tongue in cheek!!! Of course we all want to be “p.c” biblical after the revelation from Holy Spirit about Our Jeaus and that He died to save us and that we have a Father God who created us all and loved us with His Son so much that they agreed to let Jesus take our place on that wretched,horrific cross for us and yes we all struggle like Job before and even after we have the revelation that He took our place before/during/after the cross at Calvary and yes now we are saved and it is now up to His righteousness and that it is sometimes hard for us still to comprehend this no matter how “mature” we think we are or not – does it really matter??! yes sometimes it does,sometimes it does not,I suppose I am just at that place right now that I have had enough of just learning and I just want to have the experience of just spending time getting to know my Creator and Saviour,end of.

    • Sally, You’re right, God loves when we rest in His arms; close to His heart, and stop trying to out-think Him. Peace and joy! Michelle

      • Michelle,EXACTLY!!!,but can take us a long while to get to that point and realise this can’t it!!! usually after a long struggle with trying to understand the Lord,His heart,love and free gift of His salvation,righteousness,forgiveness in our own might,power,strength,knowledge,understanding and then crying out in frustration,desperation that all of our human trying has not got us any closer to but further away from Him and asking WHY? and then Holy Spirit who has been standing patiently by watching us steps lovingly in and impresses on us good,finished now,had enough,sure?!! and reminds us that our Creator/Saviour can only be taught/revealed to us
        supernaturally by Him I mean we would not go to a Russian teacher to learn Russian then try and learn it by ourselves without the teacher,madness right?! but that is what we do to Holy Spirit,yes I love You but I’ve got this now and can understand it all by myself thanks anyway,You can just stand there and watch me ,ok.God bless.

  11. Excellent article Paul! Looking forward to next one.

  12. Stewart Patrick // November 3, 2018 at 10:32 am // Reply

    I do resonate with the Christ-centred focus of these articles on Job, but I cannot agree entirely with how you portray Job, as the discussion leaves out these other vital scriptures that reveal how God views Job’s heart and righteousness, in that time; (Ezekiel 14:12-14 NRSV) “The word of the LORD came to me: (13) Mortal, when a land sins against me by acting faithlessly, and I stretch out my hand against it, and break its staff of bread and send famine upon it, and cut off from it human beings and animals, (14) even if Noah, Daniel, and Job, these three, were in it, they would save only their own lives by their righteousness, says the Lord GOD….
    (Ezekiel 14:20 NRSV) “even if Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, as I live, says the Lord GOD, they would save neither son nor daughter; they would save only their own lives by their righteousness.” (James 5:10-11 NRSV) “As an example of suffering and patience, beloved, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. (11) Indeed we call blessed those who showed endurance. You have heard of the endurance of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.”

    • I hope you understand that in a short article, I cannot do more than make one point and the point of this article is that Job was a man like us, a good man who cared for his family, and to some extent a God-fearing man. But he was no Christ-figure. By looking at Job we learn more about ourselves than Jesus.

      When God identifies three righteous men in Ezekiel 14:13-20 (Noah, Daniel and Job), he mentions them as exemplars of good or moral behavior in an age when bad behavior brought severe consequences. Ezekiel was an old covenant prophet speaking to an old covenant audience. He was not saying that Job was so righteous that he did not need the righteousness that comes from Christ.

      We might make a similar point about “righteous Lot” (2 Pet 2:7). Lot was spared the judgment that came to Sodom because he was a good man. But that is all his righteousness accomplished.

      The proof is in the omission. Where is Abraham in Ezekiel’s list? Why is he not listed among the righteous giants of the Old Testament? He’s not there because his righteousness was based on faith rather than performance (Rom. 4:9-16). We could make a similar case for Abel (Mt, 23:35, Heb 11:4, 1 Jn 3:12).

      So in the Old Testament we see two kinds of righteousness; the kind that comes by faith in Christ, and the manmade kind. Job had the latter. He was a moral man, a good man, but he was also a fearful and superstitious man in need of grace. Happily, he recognized his need and repented.

      For other mentions of Job, including the one in James, please check out the Archives > Scripture Index.

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