According to the Book of Job, what place does Satan have in the heavenly counsels?
In order to understand the role of Satan in the heavenly counsel, one must first understand the history of covenant relationships and mortals consequentially breaking these covenants. God’s first covenant with humankind took place in Genesis, during the dominion mandate (1:26-28). After humankind broke their covenant with God, they relinquished the authority God had given them over the earth to Satan. Satan’s authority on the earth is undisputed throughout scripture, see Luke 4:6-7, 2 Corinthians 4:4, 1 John 5:9, and John 8:44. While the authorship of Job is contested, it is extremely likely Job’s life took place either before or during the Patriarchal Period. Reasons for this include his Gentile ethnicity, the similarity in his social status to Abraham, and how Job keeps his portion of the covenant, “Job offers sacrifices (1:5), an act unthinkable after the formal priesthood was established at Sinai.”(FN 1)
Due to the historical/cultural events of Job, his covenant with God and status as “servant” existed for him and his family in relationship with God. Job’s special status in covenant with God places him in the precarious proverbial crosshairs of Satan, who manipulated Adam and Eve to break the first covenant between God and humankind. Satan, postures himself as the accusers of humankind, purposing in his heart and actions to prove them incapable of a relationship with Yahweh. Satan desires to compromise the relationship between God and His people by proving the people of God unfaithful, just as he did in the Garden. Essentially, “Satan, the adversarial prosecutor against mortals… represents the opposite of a covenant relationship between God and mortals…” (FN2) While Satan does stand as the accuser of humankind, he primarily stands as a lawbreaker and a deceiver. Satan seeks to adopt mortals under his own dominion as covenant breakers and workers of lawlessness.
In contrast to the perverse and disgusting distortion of lordship and covenant that Satan represents, God displays both His faithfulness and the commitment of His servant Job, “God’s challenge to Satan to prove Job’s faith in him despite counterevidence shows… the inviolability and the genuineness of the covenant relationship between him and Job…” (FN3) Satan establishes himself as the lord of all evil in humanity but also the accuser of God’s covenant people. God is faithful and His faithfulness is perfected even in His people’s lack thereof. The suffering and stalwartness of Job come not from his own strength but from the eternal faithfulness and covenant relationship established through His Lord, in spite of the broken covenant he was born into