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© 2008 John D. Brey


"Lishmah" is a term used to describe the Jewish doctrine that a thing must be done "for its [own] sake" . . . rather than through a motive based on results. ---- Since nothing in the universe produces result like Torah study . . . Torah study requires that the motivation that causes Torah study have none of the leaven that is a desire for results. --- The Talmud teaches that bad things happen (broken necks, etc. . . ) if the doctrine of lishmah is not the underlying principal of all righteous deeds.

When the Accuser came to God concerning Job, lishmah was the issue at stake between God and Job's Accuser. Was Job really a wholly righteous man . . . or was there some false motivation (some leaven) causing the incomparable rise in Job's righteousness? ---- The Accuser's entire approach to Job and God concerned the fact that if "positive results" were not at least a part of Job's motivation toward righteous acts, then the removal of all "positive results" could have no effect on Job's righteousness.

The Accuser --- point blank – asks God to allow him to show that Job has leaven affecting at least some of the rise in his righteousness. Remove the "positive results" of walking in righteousness, and Job would begin to question the very Righteousness of God; Job would use his own righteousness to accuse God:

As surely as God lives, who has denied me justice, the Almighty, who has made me taste of bitterness of soul . . . (27:2) . . . I sign now my defense – let the Almighty answer me; let my accuser put his indictment in writing. Surely I would wear it on my shoulder, I would put it on like a crown. I would give him account of my every step; like a prince I would approach him (31:35-37).

Falling prey to the Accuser’s allegation against him, Job here suggests that his personal blamelessness is a defense against the Accuser’s indictment. Job reckons he could wear the Accuser’s indictment against him as something like a thorny crown! By his own blameless life Job thinks to approach God’s Presence as a messianic prince; he would stand in the Presence of God based on the strong arm of his own righteousness.

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When God approaches (reproaches) Job, “Who is this who darkens my counsel” . . . He goes through no small number of examples of His Power and Righteousness. He establishes that He is omnipotent, and that His omnipotence has never been set aside, so that every act in human history is watched over by His omnipotence regardless of whether it concerns Job's personal holocaust . . . or something on a grander scale. God’s cross-examination of Job has the affect of making Job aware that nothing which has befallen him is contrary to God’s Righteousness or His Plan in Creation.

Still . . . on the surface of things . . . the Job narrative appears to be a complete repudiation of the Torah’s normative explanation for human suffering? If God’s Righteousness can suffer a blameless man the same evils that befall a criminal or a morally questionable individual . . . then there can be no sound motivation toward a blameless life based on the rewards promised in the letter of the Torah. The reading of the Torah which suggests that a morally blameless life leads to all the goods that Job has just had taken away from him, can no longer stand up to the new reality revealed by God’s cross-examination of Job’s blamelessness. The characters of the Torah which were sound prior to the Accuser’s examination now look as rickety and worm-ridden as the character Job.

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Job's response to God is the jewel of the whole story: “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. You asked, `Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. . . My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in the dust and ashes” (42:2-6).

This response is either disingenuous genuflecting in the Presence of a force that cannot be withstood, i.e., Job knows that God has just said "I do whatever I want and no one need know why I do what I do!" --- Or else Job has genuinely had a berit milah type theophany. He’s seen God's Plan in the revelation of His Presence . . . "now my eyes have seen you." ---- This statement solves the conundrum inherent in the whole narrative. It's the solution to the whole troubled history of those persons seeking God through the character of righteousness presented in the written characters of the Torah. Job’s statement concedes that the leaven of "results" was part and parcel of his motivation. He admits that he took the characters of the Torah literally, rather than seeing the spiritual intent that crucifies the central Character of the Torah.

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The great Rabbis of mystical Judaism play on the seeing of God's Presence with ones own eyes. They teach that the seeing of the Presence of God's Sign/Name occurs simultaneous to the seeing that occurs at berit milah. At berit milah, Abraham saw the organ representative of the Tsaddik, The Righteous One of God (Yesod), cut off from the results of his righteous life. Job saw that – per Abraham’s circumcision --- the Tsaddik would receive the death-blow of a criminal in response to a blameless life. . . But, unlike Job . . . The Righteous One of God would endure the holocaust without confusing the mere characters of the Law with the true Spirit of the Law. ----- In the true Spirit of the Law, the Tsaddik could slough off the mere characters that veiled the Spirit beneath.

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The Tsaddik would endure infinitely more than Job when he triumphed over Satan by allowing Satan to take away what was given him in the characters of the Torah. The Tsaddik endures the loss of what is characteristically his without flinching as Job had done. He’s unmoved by his personal holocaust since he is the Character loosely represented by the characters portrayed by and in the Torah. As the Redeemer of all mankind the Tsaddik needn’t flinch when the spirit of the characters betray the Spirit of the Torah, since, unlike postlapsarian creation, the Redeemer understands the difference between the character of a good deed and the Spirit of a good deed.

As a member in good standing of postlapsarian creation, Job was in fact not forsaken by God; and Satan triumphed over Job by reason of Job’s equating the righteousness of a lapsed creature with the eternal Righteousness of God. Emblematic of those persons seeking relationship with God through human righteousness, Job fancied the character of his blameless life evidence of his personal relationship with God. Job imagined that his blameless character could stand up well in the Presence of the Spirit of the Torah. . . Only after Job was put in the Presence of the Redeemer did he see that his personal character . . . irregardless of its manifest blamelessness . . . was as filthy rags in the Presence of the blood of God’s Lamb.

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Satan triumphed over Job by showing that any postlapsarian righteousness that rises in the Presence of God is seasoned with leaven. When Job came to his senses he felt like a loaf . . . so that when the leaven was removed his whole life fell flat.

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Job saw that God's Righteous One would triumph over Satan by reaching the end of a blameless life only to have God Himself forsake the Righteous One for that Plan that can never be thwarted.

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As the throne angel protecting the Righteousness of God, Satan’s authority rises in proportion to the unrighteousness of man. Therefore a postlapsarian Law with the power to increase man’s unrighteousness (in the name of righteousness) would act to amplify Satan’s authority. ---- But viewed from the Spirit of the New Testament Scripture, Ezekiel 28:15 implies that God found leaven in the motivation of the very creature stationed to judge the motivation of all other creatures! --- God’s dilemma becomes how He can deal with creature unrighteousness in the creature created to deal with unrighteousness in creatures?

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If God needs a “creature” to protect His Righteousness (i.e. He does nothing in Creation without creature mediation), then He would seem to be at the mercy of that creature who mediates between Him and all Creation? --- In other words, if God addresses creature unrighteousness Himself, then He needn’t appoint the highest creature in creation as the authority protecting what He could otherwise protect Himself. Since God does nothing arbitrarily, the appointment of the angel of the Presence (to protect God’s Righteousness from unrighteousness) cannot be arbitrary: it must be a necessary predicate of the act of Creation.

Consequently, if it’s a necessary predicate of the act of Creation that God must subject Himself to creation (ergo the need to appoint a creature as His protector) . . . then there is some sense in which God’s Righteousness will be threatened by the very act of Creation. Accordingly . . . if the act of creation can threaten God’s very Righteousness (and thus God Himself), then by appointing a creature as His protector, God is wholly subjecting Himself to the act of Creation: He is saying that the end result of Creation is in fact Righteous despite any element that might rise and fall and Rise Again in the duration of Creation.

The implication of this truism is that there is no consequent difference between God subjecting His Righteousness to creatures (not withstanding the stationing of a creature to guard His Righteousness) and God in fact becoming a creature (with all the danger that such a thing could entail for His Righteousness).

The Plan that can never be thwarted is that Plan whereby God veils the fact that He will become a creature. He covers His creature-hood with a manhood of manifestly good character, in that it’s thought to protect the organ of divine seminality from the ravages of postlapsarian contamination. --- Abraham revealed that the manhood covering the Throne of God must be cut off to reveal the Man covered by a veil manifestly good and blameless but not in fact rising to the level of the Righteousness beneath.

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Ironically, God tells Moses that His Name is in the angel of His Presence. The creature-hood of God is protected by the covering aspect of the throne angel. Cut off the veil protecting the throne of God and despite the pain and the blood and such . . . apparently . . . the Man beneath the manhood will be revealed.

As for those who think to protect their own righteousness in like manner to Job’s pre-theophany bravado . . . it should be reiterated that their opposition to incarnation negates the need for an angel of the Presence. Those who fancy their protective services as righteousness toward God should understand that the very thought of “protecting” God from anything . . . even the profanity of incarnation, supposes that God needs, or can use, the services of creatures. But this use of the services of creatures --- particularly to protect His Righteousness --- makes opposition to incarnation superfluous! --- If God is willing to subject His Righteousness to the protection of a creature (and He would not if it were not a necessary predicate of His Plan), then that creature might as well be God Himself since God incurs absolutely no more danger through incarnation than He does through handing His Righteousness over to the protection of a creature.

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In point of fact, God gains through incarnation, so long as He carefully veils the Plan of His incarnation! If all creatures think that the angel of the Presence is the closest thing to incarnate power that God will ever allow . . . then God can test the true motivation of creatures in their relationship to God by placing in the position of greatest power a creature with leaven in his own heart.

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If the angel of the Presence is more careful about reasoning out the Plan of God than those human beings at his service, then he knows that God would not need his protection unless His Righteousness was subject to the Creation. The angel of the Presence would understand that if his appointment as protector of the Throne of Righteousness in fact takes place, it takes place as a necessary predicate of Creation itself.

The throne angel understands that his appointment both elevates him to the highest place in all Creation, and that it also indemnifies him against anything the Righteousness of God might imposes against Creation since his appointment as the protector of the Throne makes his indemnification (against unrighteousness) a necessary predicate of his very appointment. His appointment literally makes him the incarnate Righteousness of God: he is in every way characteristic of God’s very Righteousness.

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God stakes His existence in this plan. ---- Not only must He veil His incarnation from Creation (keeping the Plan hidden in a Secret formulated before the foundations of the world), but He must also incriminate the angel of the Presence who has been given the sole power of incrimination over Creation. God’s Plan must contain a means to incriminate the Incriminator! God’s Plan must somehow accuse the Accuser without the accusation being blasphemous like Job’s blasphemous desire to wear the crown of righteousness as a prince in the Presence of God.

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Job saw that the one who would wear the crown of righteousness in the presence of God’s angel of Presence --- without blaspheming the angel of God’s Presence --- would of necessity possess a righteousness superior to the righteousness of the angel of the Presence. But since the angel of the Presence is the very measure of God’s Righteousness the task appears impossible!

Job’s genuflection in the Presence of the Redeemer reflects the fact that Job saw that his own blameless life was not only “not” Righteous (by reason of his postlapsarian existence under the very author of the lapse), but that his blameless life and his holocaust would play an important role in the ouster of the author of the lapse which led to his condemnation.

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Since Job suffered near death, before showing the leaven in his life, it’s probable that a man more righteous than Job might come right up against the veil of the morgue before leaven would show in his motives. Consequently, for God’s Plan to function, God would need to allow Satan to go further than he went with Job. But this would require God to negotiate a gambit that would stake His own Righteousness should death occur to a wholly righteous man!

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The only way that God could allow the Tsaddik's Righteousness to triumph over Satan would be to get Satan to push the Tsaddik through the veil of the morgue! ---- The problem is . . . this Plan would require that God transfer His own Righteousness to the Tsaddik (since God's own Righteousness would be compromised by allowing Satan to test the Tsaddik even to the point of death)! Whereas Satan thought he’d triumphed over God in the case of an extremely righteous man (Job) . . . by showing that he had leaven in his life . . . God had deceitfully set the stage for the Tsaddik to bring out the murderous motivation of the protector of God’s Throne.

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Satan was aware of the conundrum facing God in relationship to Satan's own existence. Only a completely Righteous man could possibly triumph over the angel of righteousness (and even that would require that unrighteousness be found in the angel of righteousness). But . . . to know if a man was completely Righteous would require that he endure even more than Job! ------ Job was brought to the brink of death before his leaven was shown! ---- So then a truly Righteous man would perhaps be capable of going to his death without any leaven appearing in his motivation. . . And . . .consequently . . . (and Satan knew this) . . . only the death of a Righteous man could show for a certainty that the man had no leaven in his motivation!

Satan's authority is secured by the fact that only the death of a perfectly Righteous man would establish a Righteousness capable of withstanding the prosecution of the Accuser. ---- And . . . since it's impossible for a Righteous God to subject a Righteous man to death (since the wage of “sin” is death, death is admissible for sinners, but not for a non-sinner) . . . Satan knows that if God allows him to subject a Righteous man to death . . . then that man cannot be Righteous or else God is staking His own Righteousness in a Gambit of hyper-biblical proportions!

Should God ever allow Satan to go further than he did with Job . . . then Satan is secure in his own mind that God is trying to trick him. Satan imagines that God would only allow him to torture a Job-like righteous man in the hope that when that Job-like righteous man got almost to the point of death without failing, Satan will flinch. But Satan thinks he holds the ace card in his knowledge that God could not allow him to put a righteous man to death without impugning His own righteousness.

Should God allow Satan to put an innocent man to death, then either that man, like Job, is really really righteous . . . but not Righteous through and through . . . or else . . . if in fact the man is Righteous (The Righteous One: Tsaddik) . . . then Satan knows that God would forfeit His own Righteousness by allowing Satan to put him to death.

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How could God stake His own Righteousness? ----- By allowing a Righteous man to be put to death God is staking His own Righteousness!

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But then how could God's Righteousness be kept intact after being made sin by allowing a Righteous man to be put to death? ---- Only by subjecting His own Righteousness to the Grace and Mercy of the man He put to death (Matt. 28:18). Therein, God allows the Righteousness of the Righteous One to trump the righteousness of the throne angel who conspired with God to put the Tsaddik to death. By trumping the righteousness of the angel of God’s Presence, the Righteous One of God becomes the new creature Righteousness of God. The Tsaddik, possesses a Righteousness tried by fire. Through his tribulation the Righteous One of God manifested the Spirit of Righteousness which was only an outward covering of the covering angel. The Righteous One of God becomes the only creature from the hand of God to have lived completely in the Spirit of Righteousness rather than acting out the mere letter of the Law. The Righteous One of God knows that the Spirit of Righteousness is revealed in the Plan of God which condemns any creature who worships the character of righteousness who was formerly the letteral covering of the Spirit of the Law.