Theme: Job’s Belief in His Own Bodily Resurrection
In this week’s lessons, we look at the amazing trust that Job had in his coming Redeemer.
Scripture: Job 19:25-27
Job’s confession is expressed so that each part is more surprising and remarkable than the last. We have already noted, first, Job’s strong belief in a personal, vindicating God; and second, Job’s faith in the coming incarnation of his divine Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ. Here, in the third place and amazingly, we see Job’s faith in his own bodily resurrection:
“And after my skin has been destroyed,yet in my flesh I will see God;I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another.”
This is so remarkable a statement that we need to think through what it means very carefully. It means, first, that he believed in an afterlife, contrary to what the critical scholars say about this early Old Testament history. They say that these early believers did not hold to immortality. But Job instructs us differently, since this was to happen “after [his] skin has been destroyed.” That is, he was going to continue his existence beyond the grave.
Second, the words mean that Job believed he would experience a future bodily resurrection, because it would be “in my flesh” that he would see God. Job believed that his Redeemer would appear in the flesh, actually standing upon the earth. Then, he believed that he would be raised in the flesh to see him with his own eyes—his own eyes, and not the eyes of another.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the great Baptist preacher of the nineteenth century, loved this point and wrote quaintly, as he often did,
“There shall not be found in heaven one imperfect saint. There shall not be a saint without an eye, much less a saint without a body. No member of the body shall have perished; nor shall the body have lost any of its natural beauty. All the saints shall be there, and all of all; the same persons precisely, only that they shall have risen from a state of grace to a state of glory. They shall be ripened; they shall be no more the green blades, but the full corn in the ear, no more buds but flowers; not babes but men.”1
The last of Job’s points is one we have already noticed, namely, that in the day of judgment Job would be vindicated by the One who would stand upon the earth and whom he himself would see. This is implied in the very nature of the story, for it is about why good people suffer and how, if they suffer, it is not necessarily because they have “brought it on themselves,” as we say. God’s purposes are greater than our understanding of them. And though they are good, God’s ways are not our ways nor are his thoughts our thoughts (cf. Isa. 55:8).
The same point is made directly in the two verses that close out chapter nineteen. They are a response to Job’s well-meaning but worldly counselors, who were saying that “the root of the trouble lies in [Job].” Job warns them to fear God’s judgment themselves, because in the day of judgment, Job knows that he will be vindicated, and because he will be, their words will be exposed for the foolish words they are and the counselors will be put to shame.
So it will be for all who look forward to that final judgment by the Lord Jesus Christ, who stood upon this earth once, having come to die for sin, who rose again and who will come again at the end of time “to judge both the living and the dead.” In that day, everyone will have to give account for every word that he or she has spoken and for every deed that he or she has done. Every slander will be exposed. Every hurtful act will be punished. Every evil deed, all hate, pride and harmful self-seeking will be repaid by the upright God who always does all things justly.
But also, every kind word, every cup of cold water given in the name of Jesus Christ, every small act of charity, above all every testimony of quiet praise to God, especially by those who have been suffering, will be noted by God and rewarded. And Satan, who slanders us, saying, “Skin for skin! A man will give all he has for his own life” (Job 2:4, 5)—he will depart into everlasting torment utterly confused and confounded, while the saints sing,
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lambbe praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever” (Rev. 5:13)!
1Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Twelve Sermons on the Resurrection (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1968), p. 16.
Read verses 26-27. What do they reveal about what Job believed concerning an afterlife?
How does Job’s confession refute what liberal scholars claim about early Old Testament history?
Prayer: Present your troubles, suffering and enemies to God. Express your trust in the Lord to make things right and to vindicate you. Ask God to make your faith in him more like Job’s.