Job’s Friends: The Mental, Astral, and Physical Bodies, and the Root of Suffering

by Joshua Tilghman on January 15, 2013

Why we sufferIn the last post we began a series on Job. We discussed who Satan was, how Job’s children represented qualities within himself, and the fact that Job was doing everything he could (religiously) to make atonement for his natural shortcomings. And although Job was perfect according to the religious rites and customs of his day, these acts, while noble, are never good enough to reach the divine because they come from the lower nature.

Today we are going to address the concept of suffering further. Why do the seemingly innocent suffer? How could God even allow such a thing? As we’ll soon see, the answer is provided through an esoteric understanding of the roles of Job’s friends.

At this point in our story (the end of chapter 2), Job has lost everything. You probably remember what happens next from Sunday school; God gives Satan permission to harm Job physically. Satan inflicts an incredible amount of misery and pain on Job, but before Job’s 3 friends arrive, his wife steps in and tells him:

“…Doest thou still retain thy integrity? Curse God and die” (Job 2:9).

Can you believe this downer? Some wife, huh? Imagine if you were sick with cancer and your wife (or husband) said, “Hey, why don’t you just curse God and then die?”

I always found it odd that after Job completes his spiritual evolution and is restored (with wealth, health, and new children), his wife is still there. Are we really to believe this literally happened? No. Job’s wife simply represents the lower nature that we must remain married to as long as we are manifested in a physical body. The lower nature doesn’t understand the spirit or the purpose of suffering, and it never will. That’s why it’s important to bring the lower nature into subjugation to the spirit.

We learn more about this process through the friends of Job. Let’s begin with this scripture:

“Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came everyone from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite; for they had made an appointment together to come mourn with him and to comfort him” (Job 2:11).

These three men represent the lower bodies that serve a purpose in the grand scheme of the spiritual evolution of man. They are:

1)      The mental body

2)      The astral body

3)      The Physical body

The mental body makes it possible for us to experience thoughts and the intellect. Its form is abstract and is probably geometrical in nature. It is more subtle than the other two.

The astral body allows us to experience emotions. This includes desires and instincts. People who claim to perceive the astral body say it resembles the physical body but is much more subtle.

The physical body is composed of two parts: the atoms, molecules and cells which you can see and touch, and the ethereal body, which serves as a template for atoms and molecules to arrange themselves by. As a side note, perhaps this explains one of the biggest medical mysteries of all time: Phantom limb pain. Sometimes patients who have a limb amputated still feel pain. It is said that the trauma caused by the amputation never quite resolves, still residing in the ethereal limb.

Now let’s look at the 2nd part of the scripture we discussed above again:

“…for they had made an appointment together to come mourn with him and to comfort him” (Job 2:11).

This is symbolic of these three bodies—mental, astral, and physical—that must come together into a coherent whole to give the human experience on the physical plane. We must go through many rounds of birth and rebirth (See my post about reincarnation taught in the Bible) before these bodies can express the self-awareness and moral conscience needed to begin a spiritual evolution, invoking an awakening into the higher mental planes and beyond. Self-awareness is developed through the experiences gained through these bodies in each incarnation.

Our next scripture points out that these bodies start out as primitive vehicles that do not posses self-awareness. This is implied in the next Bible verse before Job’s friends reach him:

“And when they lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him [Job] not…” (Job 2:12).

Now who is the “him” that Job’s friends knew not? It is Job himself, who represents the spirit or divine spark in man. As we’ll see, the self-awareness and moral conscience needed for Job’s spiritual evolution will be developed and expressed through these bodies near the end of Job’s narrative.

Continuing with the story of Job we read:

“So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and spoke not a word to him… (Job 2:13).

Again, “they spoke not a word to him” represents these bodies’ unconscious nature. But notice how long the period of silence lasted: seven days. Are we to take this literally, that Job’s friends sat seven days and nights with him and no one spoke a word? Of course not! We have yet another example of numerology: the number seven represents the beginning and ending of a cycle, a completion. This completion is expressed as the “alpha and the omega,” just like the Christ.  What comes next in the scriptures is the beginning of Job’s awakening to the Christ nature within. This awakening will begin to be expressed in the lower mind, but it cannot come to completion there.

Now let’s look at the last half of Job 2:13. “…for they saw that his grief was very great.”


Job (and all the rest of us as well) suffers because as an incarnated spirit—that which is perfect—is being expressed through the very limited mental, astral, and physical bodies; these bodies by their very nature incur suffering through the karma they produce. Thus the perfect is subject to the imperfect.

In chapter three, Job, the divine spark limited in the incarnation, begins to plead this condition of suffering. He states:

“Let the day perish wherein I was born…Let that day be darkness; let God not regard it from above…Because it shut up not the doors of my mother’s womb, nor hid the sorrow from mine eyes” (Job 3:4-10).

Job, through the developing faculties of the lower self, realizes how much suffering life on the physical plane can produce. In fact, it seems to be full of suffering. King Solomon echoes these same sentiments in Ecclesiastes.

“…vanity of vanities; all is vanity. What profit hath a man of all his labor which he taketh under the sun? One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh…” (Ecc. 1: 2-4).

This is also what is meant by the concept of being born into sin. Sin is ignorance. This ignorance induces karma. Sin in and of itself is not necessarily something evil, unless you see ignorance itself as that which is evil.

But suffering also plays its part in the grand scheme of the divine plan, for Paul states:

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God…” (Romans 8:28).

So the end result of spirit being crucified on the plan of matter is meant to be glorious.

So how can we, like Job, avert being trapped by the ego and have our awareness remain in the lower mind? It’s no secret that the physical body and the mind, with its all its thoughts and the subsequent emotions, are very hard to tame and master. However, with the taming and mastering of the body, mind, and emotions, comes great reward.

This is why daily meditation is so important. By this very holy act, you are bringing the mind, emotions, and body under the subjugation of spirit and this process helps the self evolve to the perfected man, or the Christ within.

Salvation is a process that takes place by entering the kingdom within you. It is not the byproduct of belief (habitual thought) and subsequent obedience to this thought. Consider that God told Adam he would die the day he ate of the fruit of the tree. This really isn’t speaking of perishing physically. It is talking of a spiritual death. Every incarnation that goes by where do not seek to resurrect the Christ within us means we must go through another round of death and rebirth in limited, lower self awareness, with endless amounts of pain and suffering in a myriad of forms.

In our next post in this series, we’ll see how the entire discourse between Job and his friends relate to the entire process of Job’s, and therefore our, spiritual evolution. Just for fun, I might do a post on the Behemoth and Leviathan mentioned in Job since it may also help us to understand our spiritual evolution.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica January 16, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Thanks for this thoughtful post. I am wondering though, in the grand scheme of things, what is the purpose of the “perfect” being subjected to the “imperfect”? If our inner being is already perfect, why do we continue to incarnate and why must we suffer through the process of spiritual evolution? I guess I’m still trying to sort out the “grand plan”. Thanks again!


Joshua Tilghman January 18, 2013 at 9:47 am


Nothing wrong with sorting out the “grand plan.” In fact, it is the greatest question your could ever ask. I hope my response encourages you look into this answer with a greater yearning for self-discovery. Remember, although I am going to give you my thoughts, I (nor anyone else) will be able to give you the answer that completely satisfies your curiosity. But it’s still fun going there 🙂

You asked, “If our inner being is already perfect, why do we continue to incarnate and why must we suffer through the process of spiritual evolution?”

Yes, our inner being is already perfect. It is perfect because it needs nothing to sustain it. It is eternal. It is at peace. It is who we truly are. However, without some sort of manifestation, that which is perfect can never be expressed. Even though that which is perfect if infinite, eternal, and powerful beyond imagination, it is still only a potential until it is manifested in a vehicle (body of matter). Expression is the natural order of existence. Since there is no such thing as “nothingness,” there will always be creation, and therefore, expression. We incarnate because it is the natural unfolding of consciousness as it interacts with itself. But the good news is that through incarnating, consciousness is able to play in the playground of the universe which is but an extension of itself. Consciousness is ever discovering, learning, and continuing to unfold. When we, as limited expressions within this eternal game realize the truth of who we are, we begin to release the ego (our fears and limitations) and begin to play in this playground with greater joy, peace, and love. The beautiful thing about consciousness is this: even though it is all there is, it contains the potential to always become more than what it already is. Does this make sense?

This is a very short answer to a complicated and vast subject. But I hope its enough to get you started.


Jessica January 19, 2013 at 3:12 pm

Yes, that does make sense. I look forward to embracing that realization more every day. So, in a sense, I guess that the “ego” is just the thinking part of matter, but it is not “the Big Me”. Hmmmmm…more for me to contemplate. Thanks again!


Joshua Tilghman January 21, 2013 at 9:39 am


Thought is only one aspect of intelligence, and thoughts are not the eternal us. “You are not your thoughts,” is what you will read from a lot of spiritual gurus. Essentially, they are correct. We are the observer behind the thought. I will address this more in future posts.


Evelyn Smith January 17, 2013 at 5:44 am

Periodically I found myself reading the book of JOB. Especially when attempting to accept particular life challenges, of which ther has been many. I often interpreted “my reading” at any given time as “Things happen to the human for a higher reason, which is ONLY accessible to
the spirit”. Over many years, and in the course of bringing up my children to adulthood, I now say “in the here and NOW”…. “There are no accidents, only opportunities for knowledge of self”
I want to thank you so much, and I congratulate you on the wonderful work you do. Just love to read the diversity and expression of your gift to enlighten those with ears to hear, and eyes to see.
Evelyn Smith…….. Blessings to you and all followers.


Joshua Tilghman January 18, 2013 at 10:30 am

Thanks, Evelyn. Blessings to you as well.


Debbie January 20, 2013 at 12:04 pm

Dear Josh,
You are truly bringing more Light into this world.
Great job!!!
Thanks, Debbie


Joshua Tilghman January 21, 2013 at 9:39 am

I appreciate your encouragement, Debbie! And it’s my pleasure doing so.


Christine Hoeflich February 16, 2013 at 11:20 pm

Hi Josh,

Consciousness may be “perfect,” but when consciousness manifested or “descended” into physical form, there was so much to learn, and learning / spiritual growth can be accomplished much faster when consciousness puts itself through lessons, hardships, and challenges (the “dark”). However, we were not meant to go through this “dark” part of existence ad infinitum, and we are on the upswing now (the shifts in our consciousness, including what you teach, are helping manifest the “new age”). And compared to our infinite existence, this dark period is a mere “blip” on the radar, one that we will be grateful for having experienced…for the learning that we accomplished, for the compassion that is now possible within us, for the appreciation for life that is now possible.

So…I would suggest to anyone out there: be open to learning, because that’s what’s demanded of us right now!



Joshua Tilghman February 18, 2013 at 9:43 am

Good points, Christine!


Shawn March 5, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Hi Joshua,
I stumbled upon your website about a week ago and have been gulping down the info on here. It’s intriguing! I too have a Christian background and as of late having a sense of “something is unquestionably wrong”. I don’t believe in coincidences so I know I was “led” to your site. I have a question about something you wrote in this particular article……
You wrote “Every incarnation that goes by where do not seek to resurrect the Christ within us means we must go through another round of death and rebirth in limited, lower self awareness, with endless amounts of pain and suffering in a myriad of forms.” Can you elaborate a bit on this, please? And, thank you for sharing!!!


Joshua Tilghman March 5, 2013 at 7:18 pm


I appreciate you taking the time to comment and let me know you were here. By that quote I simply met that spirit won’t automatically reincarnate in the flesh on this earth if someone experiences true Christ consciousness / Enlightenment. Many people believe we had the choice on whether to come to earth or not. I believe reincarnation is involuntary until one graduates from this plane of existence.


Shawn March 6, 2013 at 1:59 pm

So, let me make sure I understand you….. If a person reaches Christ consciousness while on this earth they won’t necessarily have to be reincarnated. However, if they don’t reach Christ consciousness before death they will be reincarnated, possibly again and again, until they do? Does this relate in any way to the phenomenon of Deja Vu that we/people experience??


Joshua Tilghman March 6, 2013 at 11:37 pm


I think I have answered this question better for you in the next post. If you decide to view it and still have questions, shoot me an e-mail and we can discuss it.


anny April 17, 2013 at 8:03 am

Hi Joshua,

You write: ignorance is not necessarily evil. When you read the word evil you get live. Evil is living turned backwards = ignorance. In Hebrew evil is called ‘ra’; when you read that backwards it becomes ‘er’, which means awake. As such evil means being deeply asleep. So evil people should not be judged, condemned and punished but be assisted in awakening by unconditional love. Here we see that evil and awake are just polar opposites (or the beginning and end phases) of the same thing, just as serpent and messiah.



Joshua Tilghman April 20, 2013 at 12:02 pm

Anny, you really do have an extensive knowledge of Hebrew. Thanks for pointing this out to my readers. Many blessings.


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