Is Elihu a Christ figure to Job?

Job Sees The Light - Thirty-fourth in a series

Hover over the Scripture references to read the verses under discussion

Job 33:1-6 NIV In Chapter 33 Elihu begins to address Job. His opening statement to the friends has been made: Time now to express what is in his heart, which he believes will set Job straight.

Job has cried out for God to show him his faults (Job 19:7; 23:3-7; 30:20; 31:35). “Behold” Elihu believes he has come instead of God to explain his trial to him. (vs 2)

This is generally not the way of the Lord. Though a man or woman may be as the voice of God to another human, there is nevertheless a difference between hearing the voice of the Lord and hearing it through a friend or teacher. In the end when God directly speaks to Job, Job is humbled and sees God in a new way.

But do Elihu’s words help to prepare the way for Job to receive the instruction of God? Is Elihu to Job as John the Baptist was to Israel?

Let us begin to consider this possibility by looking at verse 5, “If thou canst answer me, set thy words in order before me, stand up.”
John the Baptist was confrontational with the Pharisees. Does Elihu likewise see Job as an hypocrite? Though he insists that he, too, is only a man “formed out of clay,” does his challenge to Job belie a superior attitude? If so, he would not be like John, a man appointed by God to prepare the way of the Lord.

Job 33:7-11 NIV Job never said that he was “clean without transgression” nor that he was innocent. In fact, he said, “If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me: if I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse.” (Job 9:20 NIV) However, he has defended himself from the false accusations of his friends; he has refused to agree with their aspersions. Also, he does not feel his punishment fits his crimes.

Job 33:12-13 NIV Job would not argue that man is greater than God, but he is seeking an audience with him.

Is it true that God will give no account of any of his matters? What about when Paul entreated the Lord three times that the thorn in his flesh be removed? (2 Cor 12:7-9) The Lord did answer him, explaining his rationale in this matter. There are times when God shares with man his purposes.

Job 33:14-18 NIV Elihu explains that God may at times turn a wayward man from his missteps through speaking to him in a dream or night vision.

Job 33:19-22 NIV Another way God prevents man from pride or perishing by the sword is through physical pain and illness.

Job 33:23-24 NIV Also, a stubborn man may be turned from folly by a messenger to whom God says: Deliver him from going down to the pit. God perceives he has found a man who by his service can rescue the perishing. The messenger saves the sinner from destruction. Thus does the messenger serve as a ransom, as a valuable prize or sum to purchase the sinner's heart and life, to retrieve and rescue it from delusion and evildoing.

Elihu sees himself in this role. Now we have advanced from asking if he is like John the Baptist to wondering if he is a Christ figure to Job!

Job 33:25-28 NIV The outcome of the messenger's service shall be that the vain man will be completely refreshed in his spirit. His desire will be to restore what he may have stolen. His repentance earned by the messenger will deliver him from evil to light.

Job 33:29-33 NIV Elihu promises he will be that special messenger to Job.

Some commentators write that since these verses are prophetic with respect to the role of Jesus Christ, we need to carefully consider Elihu's words. (one reference)

Of course, it is not the message or words of Jesus that save sinners, but rather the blood of Jesus. However in the context of this analogy, it is the messenger himself who serves as a ransom, and this evokes New Testament passages that speak of Christ as our ransom. (Mat 20:28; Mark 10:45; 1 Tim 2:6). Thus, we will consider Elihu's statements and insights thoughtfully. He will speak for four more chapters.

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