First of all, let me state that all typologies break down at some point. Even the greatest of types is still a type and not the real thing. With that understood, it is very important that types are studied out in the Bible to give us a clearer picture of the desired character depicted in typology. For instance, King David is a great type of Jesus Christ (a man after God’s heart, defeating Goliath in one-on-one battle, and ruling from Jerusalem as the rightful king), but obviously, his actions with Bathsheba and having Uriah purposely put into a position to die in battle were not characteristics worthy to be compared to our Lord Jesus Christ!! Nevertheless David, alongside Joseph, goes down as the two best types of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament. So while types only represent the real thing, they do shed additional insights.
After reading the Book of Job many times (like it was my job, LOL!), I discovered a few salient points to help me understand and explain the book to my congregation. For starters, I realized that most of the book is dialogue between Job and his three “friends” which, in the long run, doesn’t change anyone’s position or opinion until God shows up at the end of the book and settles all disputes and metes out punishment with rewards, accordingly. So much of the book is like our lives–expending much verbiage and strutting our own opinions like they are written revelations. Ultimately, people believe what they want about a myriad of subjects and none more evident when it comes to why things happen to you. Everybody will be an expert on diagnosing your problems but not take the same effort regarding introspection! We all have “friends” like that, right?
The Book of Job has 42 chapters, and the Tribulation period has 42 months (as outlined in the Book of Revelation). Job means “one persecuted” as Israel has been and will be persecuted. He loses all he has and suffers a multitude of trials ranging from personal, to financial, to emotional, and then needlessly suffers recriminations at the hands of his so called “friends.” Just the same, Israel will suffer untold tragedies and judgments, during this period, to ultimately purge out a nation of believers who will continue on for God. Job gets restored and doubly blessed at the end of the trial period, just like a complete restoration of Israel will occur when the Time of Jacob’s Trouble is over (Romans 11 explains this mystery of the restored Israel so the church doesn’t get too puffed up with pride and forget from whence we came!), thus showing how strong a typology Job bears with Israel during this critical time period.
So, as we can see, the strong connection between Job and his representation of Israel during the Tribulation period, it would stand to reason that there would also be a typology for the Antichrist, as he will be a prominent figure during these days. There have been many identified antichrists revealed in the scriptures: Haman, Absalom, Judas, Goliath, Nebuchadnezzar, and King Saul, to name a few.
Just like the types of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament all fall short of a complete and perfect type, so too is the case for the types of Antichrists. For instance, Judas is the best type for showing how closely associated he will be with the real work of the Lord while having his own agenda to accomplish and with the wrong motives. Haman shows his utter detestation for Mordecai and his people and tries to commit genocide, as will the Antichrist try also. Goliath, the giant, gets smote in the head with a rock (Gen. 3:15; Rom. 16:20; Rev. 19:15). Add to that picture and reinforce the type. Now Absalom, on the other hand, wonderfully depicts how the Antichrist will gain the kingdom (albeit only for a “cup of coffee”) by using flatteries (Dan. 8:25, 11:21; Rev. 6:1, 2) and King Saul’s demonic jealous spirit wanting to kill David (the rightful heir to God’s throne due to his obedience and faith in God and, as stated previously, a great type of Jesus Christ). Notice how Saul reigns first, then David reigns? The Antichrist comes first, then Jesus comes! (John 5:43). With enough study, you can see other similarities between the types and the real thing to enforce the truth about the person’s characteristics.
Now what about Elihu? Well, consider the following: Elihu shows up after Job and his friends have concluded their discussion. He says he is coming in God’s stead (Job 33:6), but God never says that does he? Well, of course he will say he’s coming in God’s stead; that’s the Antichrist’s whole purpose–to get people to follow and ultimately worship him as God (2 Thes. 2:3, 4)! While Elihu seems to be a “good guy” to most Bible readers (myself included… until recently when I saw it from a different perspective!) and continues to blast away at Job without any seeming ramifications from the Lord, notice that after he straightens out Job in six chapters (32-37), Job never says a word to him. He takes it just like Israel will in the future, that is, until God shows up! Notice also, Elihu is younger than the other three friends. Jesus was 30 years old when he started his ministry, and David started ruling when he was thirty. It is very possible that the Antichrist will also be around 30 years old, or at least younger than his political peers, when he takes the reins!! Notice also, the connection with the word “wrath” (Elihu uses this at least five times in his discourse) which is, of course, representative of the wrath of God poured out upon Israel during this awful period.
The most glaring similarity that both Elihu and the Antichrist share is their anonymous nature. No one will at first recognize who the real person is who claims to be the Messiah or Savior of humanity…especially in Israel! The same can be said of Elihu. Anyone I ever personally spoke with all felt the same… that he was a “good guy” but nobody ever specifically identified him (as I am doing now) as a great type of the Antichrist in the particular of his covert identity. He is so disguised, that many a Bible scholar/teacher has read this account, like myself, for years and yet his true identity has slipped by…just like the real one’s identity will slip by countless multitudes before being exposed by God. To be perfectly honest, in my analysis, God doesn’t rebuke Elihu like he does Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, nor does he commend him. He is ignored by God just as the Antichrist will be ignored when the King of Kings shows up and steps on him and his army at the Battle of Armageddon (Rev. 16 & 19). There will be no discussion, no vote, and no polls taken– just decisive action taken by our Lord at His return.
Finally, one last but very powerful note that was brought to my attention (by one of my church members/Sunday School teacher/ excellent student of the word): What Job says in his last chapter and at the end of his discourse is alarming and yet very insightful. “Oh that one would hear me! behold, my desire is, that the Almighty would answer me, and that mine adversary had written a book.” (Job 31:35) Who is Job’s adversary? Isn’t it Satan? Well, of course we know that God used the Devil, but make no mistake, he is the adversary! First Peter 5:8 clearly tells us that: “… because your adversary the devil… walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”
One more question: Who wrote the book of Job? Isn’t it Elihu? (Job 32:2-6; 15, 16) Bingo!! Even Job acknowledges Elihu as the adversary although, at that moment, he may not have been aware of the implications of that statement.
So while many Christians will continue to read the Book of Job and believe (like I have for so many years) that Elihu is helping out God or comes in God’s stead, he may, in fact, be one of the most hidden types of the Antichrist in the entire Bible! Again, each type of either Christ or antichrist is so because their lives and actions bear out certain similarities to the real person. In conclusion, I believe Elihu could be considered a great type of the subtle, covert, and anonymous actions of the Antichrist. So subtle, in fact, that no one I studied under or conversed with ever saw this type either.
The Bible is still loaded with many unrevealed truths that may be unlocked and made known to others. Just keep looking, studying, and praying!
May the Lord bless your efforts as you continue to “…grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” (2 Pet. 3:18).
Written by: Dr. Joseph Costa, Pastor