We’re exploring the question, “What are we saved from?” I want to go through the Bible with you, examining the concept of salvation and how it is applied.
I’m going to start our examination in Job, as it is most likely the oldest book in the Bible.
Multiple different words are used that all relate to salvation. I’ll try to avoid describing all the Hebrew in detail, but suffice it to say that I am primarily interested in words that relate to the Greek word soteria (from which we get soteriology—the doctrine of salvation).
To help determine which words are relevant, I’m using the Septuagint (Greek Old Testament) to see which Hebrew words have been translated as soteria or a related form of the word.
The first reference to salvation is translated “escape.” Four times in Job 1:15–19, we read the phrase “I alone have escaped.” This escape was the messengers’ salvation from death.
The next references are spoken by Eliphaz the Temanite. We must remember to take his words with a grain of salt, as God rebuked him for them (Job 42:7–8). Nevertheless, they are still helpful in understanding what is meant by salvation.
He spoke of the foolish man having no deliverer to save him and his children from death (Job 5:2–4). He spoke of God saving the lowly from the sword of the mouth of the wise and saving the poor from the hand of the mighty (Job 5:11–15). He spoke of God’s salvation from troubles and from death (Job 5:19–20).
Eliphaz later spoke of God saving the humble and innocent from their afflictions (Job 22:29–30).
In Job’s response to Eliphaz, he said that he didn’t ask to be saved from his enemies (Job 6:23).
He later spoke about salvation from the hand of God regarding the physical afflictions he was suffering (Job 10:7). He continued speaking about salvation from his afflictions (Job 13:16). He said that he was barely saved, “by the skin of my teeth,” presumably from death (Job 19:20).
Job affirmed his belief in a bodily resurrection—the ultimate salvation from death (Job 19:25).
Job spoke of being delivered from God, as he believed God was judging him (Job 23:7). He sarcastically commented on what his friends had done to save him from his weakness (Job 26:2). Job also said that he had saved the poor and the orphan from their poverty (Job 29:12).
After Job’s three friends finished speaking, Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite spoke. Unlike the first three, God did not rebuke him for what he said.
Elihu spoke of salvation from going into the pit, meaning death (Job 33:24, 28). He later spoke of salvation from affliction (Job 36:15).
Finally, God spoke to Job. God spoke of Job’s inability to save himself by his own right hand. This salvation probably referred to his afflictions, though it may have referred to death.
Within the book of Job, we see three general categories of salvation.
- Salvation from afflictions here on earth.
- Salvation from death by preservation.
- Salvation from death by resurrection.
While the book of Job comes first based on the time of its writing, it is not first in the chronological history of mankind. For the next post in this series, I will go back and examine the origin of death and afflictions from which salvation is needed.