Introduction: The true nature of the resurrection has come under attack down through history
Down through history cults, false religions, agnostics, and atheists have constantly sought to discredit the Bible and to attack the most important doctrines of Christianity. You might wonder why they would even care what Christians believe. But they do. And I think part of the explanation is that demons that are constantly moving these men to undermine, undermine, undermine. And one of the core doctrines of Christianity that has come under relentless attack is the true doctrine of Christ's resurrection as well as of our own (the two are connected). Demons know how critically important this doctrine is. If they can overthrow this doctrine or at least put doubt into people's minds over this doctrine, they know that they can eventually hollow out the core of Christianity. Sadly, many sincere hyperpreterists don't have a clue that they are messing around with fire when they reinterpret our resurrection and/or Christ's resurrection. But let me give you Paul's inspired take on what is at stake and why this is such an important doctrine. I am reading from 1 Corinthians 15 (the first reference in your outlines), beginning at verse 12. Paul says,
1Cor. 15:12 Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
So this doctrine came under attack even when the apostles were alive. There has been a long history of attack, and the church has always steadfastly defended this doctrine. The view I am going to be sharing with you today has been the view of the historic church. Verse 13:
13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen.
I won't get into the logic of why that is the case, but I think you can trust Paul when he says that any change you make to our resurrection (in other words, redefining what our resurrection should look like) you have to logically apply to Christ's resurrection, and vice versa. Christ's resurrection is the pattern for our own. Verse 14:
14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.
The Greek word for "empty" is κενὴ, and has been translated as bankrupt, without purpose, in vain, or worthless. Now, you might wonder how on earth a denial of the resurrection could make our faith empty, worthless, or bankrupt. I can't get into it this morning, but you should take Paul at his word that any messing around with the doctrine of the resurrection strikes at the heart of Christianity. Paul also said that his apostolic authority would be discredited, his preaching would be worthless, and the Corinthians' faith would become worthless. Elsewhere I have proved that when you tip the dominoe of the resurrection over, it hits other theological dominoes, and if you are consistent, almost every doctrine is negatively impacted. I won't get into it today - just trust Paul that you don't want to monkey around with the doctrine of the resurrection or you will find the heart of Christianity being undermined. What I am going to be teaching on today is critical stuff. Verse 15:
15 Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise.
He is saying that if you deny that our bodies will be raised in the future, then ipso facto you have to logically deny that Jesus rose from the grave, and in the process you also make Paul out to be a liar. I'm not going to go into the reasons why this is logically necessary, but it is yet another example of how Christ's resurrection and our resurrection are both inextricably bound up together. If you misinterpret one it is going to force you to misinterpret the other. He repeats this idea in verse 16:
16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. 17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! 18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.
The word for futile there is μάταιος, which means of no use, fruitless, or powerless.
Now, I want to clarify that the modern controversy over the resurrection that has been stirring around Gary DeMar doesn't deny that we go to heaven and at least some of them claim to believe in a resurrection into bodies, though many of them reinterpret every passage on resurrection as a corporate resurrection of the church - raised with Christ and currently sitting with Christ in the heavenlies. But even the ones who claim to believe we get resurrection bodies, insist that we get a resurrection body the moment we die and that there is no connection between our current body and that body, and that the resurrection body does not have flesh and bones. But that is a complete misuse of the word "resurrection." That would not be a resurrected body; that would be a new - something else.
The true doctrine of the resurrection says that the very same body that Jesus lived in on earth for three decades was the body that was resurrected and transformed. Not replaced, but resurrected and transformed. There are cults like Jehovah's Witnesses and there are professing Christians today like Hyperpreterists who absolutely deny that. I still don't know for sure where Gary DeMar stands in his own beliefs, but I do know that he has been utterly unwilling to confront the heretics who have been twisting the doctrine of the resurrection and who have denied the three essential questions we posed to him. Why, I don't know. It is a serious thing when heretics say that the body Jesus showed to the disciples in Luke 24 was later discarded and replaced with a spiritual body - by which they mean a body without flesh and bones. Why do they think that His body got discarded? Because they know that the Scriptures are crystal clear that Christ's resurrection body is the pattern for what our resurrection bodies will be like. If his body had flesh and bones, then our bodies will have flesh and bones. Well, they deny that our body has flesh and bones. If His resurrection body could eat fish and honey in Luke 24, then ours will be able to enjoy food. If Christ's body was a body that people could touch and feel, then so will ours. Jesus told them,
“Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.” (Luke 24:38-39)
But these heretics absolutely deny that our resurrection bodies will have flesh and bones like this Luke-24-body had. So the more consistent ones are forced to say that Christ at some point replaced that body with a fleshless and boneless body - what they call a spiritual body. But they mean something quite different than Paul meant by that term. They mean a body composed of spirit - an incorporeal body that has no bones. In contrast, when Scripture uses the term "spiritual" it refers to things governed by the Holy Spirit. It doesn’t mean immaterial. To say otherwise would be like saying that a "steam engine" is not an engine mate of metal; if it is a "steam" engine, then it must be an engine entirely made of steam. No. We realize that a steam engine is powered by steam, characterized by steam, made useful by steam. In the same way, our resurrection spiritual bodies will still be bodies (albeit glorified), but they will be bodies 100% governed by the Holy Spirit. And I've put a handful of other Scriptures that are critical in today's debate into your outlines. And I'm going to quickly go through each one.
Philippians 3:21 says that God will "transform" our lowly bodies and conform them to Christ's glorious body. In some way they will be transformed bodies, not replaced bodies. And again, it indicates that our bodies will be just like Christ's resurrected body.
1 Corinthians 15:54 says that the very body that decays and rots in the ground is the body that will be raised. It says, “So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown into decay (the Greek word is φθορᾷ), it is raised in incorruption.” Note that the very body that decays in the ground is the body that is raised. These people will say, "That’s ridiculous! What about bodies that have been burned, with the ashes scattered in the ocean, eaten by fish, which are eaten by whales? How could those bodies be raised? They are gone." Well, it would take a miracle, wouldn't it? But all resurrections are a miracle. Our God is a God of miracles. If He says he can do it, he can do it. And by the way, the tactics heretics initially tend to use to undermine doctrine is not to dogmatically say it is wrong, but to introduce questions, and sow doubts, and question the proof texts you use. And if you challenge them, they say that they are just asking questions and studying all of this. But they are trying to bring other people into their doubts while they are studying. It's an undermining and influencing process. So don’t buy their defense that they are just asking questions. Scripture outlines all kinds of sinful questions that sow trouble.
The next verse is Isaiah 26:19. It spoke about people whose bodies were in the dust of the ground, and he said, “Your dead shall live; together with my dead body they shall arise. Awake and sing, you who dwell in dust; for your dew is like the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. " Notice that it doesn’t say, “together with my live soul they shall arise.” No, it says, “together with my dead body they shall arise.” The word for “body” is nivelah (נְבֵלָה), which the dictionary defines as a corpse or carcass. It's decayed carcases that will arise and be transformed into glorious bodies. Also notice that even though his body was dead, the body still belonged to him. It's not discarded or unconnected to the real him.
And there are so many Scriptures that contradict the hyperpreterists of today that it astonishes me that they could be so blind. Please, don't be fooled by Gary DeMar and those who are with him who put doubts into people's minds about a future coming of Christ, a future end to sin and world history, and a future resurrection. Anyone who denies those doctrines is a heretic by definition.
John 5:29 says that people will be raised from the tombs. Well, that doesn't sound like their kind of resurrection that they claim we get the moment we die. We are not in the tombs the moment we die. Jesus said, “Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment." Note the location of where this resurrection occurs - “all who are in the tombs.” And if someone tries to get around that by making it a metaphor of national restoration or the church's restoration, they still need to deal with the metaphor being used. If the basis for the metaphor is false (in other words, if there is no such thing as the resurrection of a corpse), then how can it point to anything as a metaphor? Of course, I don't think it is a metaphore. It's talking about a literal resurrection. But either way, they can't have their cake and eat it too.
In Romans 8:23 Paul said that our bodies would be redeemed, not replaced. There is a big difference between redemption of something and replacement of something. He said, “Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, [that is] the redemption of our body.” Redemption is a pretty central doctrine and if you deny that our dead bodies will be resurrected, you have automatically struck at the doctrine of redemption.
Before we dive into Job, I will give one more Scripture. Everyone (including Full Preterists) acknowledge that the Pharisees believed in a literal resurrection of literal corpses out of the ground. That's why it is so significant that Paul sided with the Pharisees and took a stand against the Saducees on the doctrine of the resurrection in Acts 23:6. I won't take the time to read it, but if Paul's doctrine of the resurrection is the same as the Pharisees, then by definition the view of the resurrection espoused by modern Hyperpretists is false.
And there are many other Old Testament and New Testament Scriptures that say the same thing. Today we are going to look at Job 19:25-27 - one of the earliest testimonies to the resurrection. It's probably one of the most controversial ones too. But I've picked this verse because Gary DeMar recently posted an article mocking the idea that this passage says anything about a resurrection or anything about Jesus. But I hope you will find sweet comfort in this passage that has comforted the souls of millions of Christians over the past thousands of years.
Confidence in our Savior (v. 25 – “For I know”)
And I love the first three words. Job says, “For I know.” He was not confused. The resurrection was something that Job was absolutely confident about. In fact, the Hebrew word order makes it very strong. There is an emphatic placement of the “I” leading one commentary to translate the Hebrew this way: “I have a firm and full persuasion.” There is no question in Job’s mind about what he is saying. And I believe the reason there was no question was because God had already given inspired revelation to Job long before the time of Moses. Job was a prophet. Hebrews 1 says that they had inspired revelation long before our Scriptural canon came into existence. This is why it is ridiculous when Hyperpreterists claim that back in Job's day there is no way that he could have known about Jesus since there were not yet any Scriptures that he could lay claim to. There are brands of Biblical theology that do the same thing. They think that people knew next to nothing prior to Moses - simply because we have limited data that we have in the first few chapters of Genesis which barely covers a couple thousand years of history. But Jesus said, "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad." How did Jesus know that? What verse did He get that from? Well, He knew it because He was inspired. And there are several other New Testament references that indicate that the Old Testament saints knew a lot because long before there was a canon God gave different forms of revelation by inspiriation - Hebrews 1:1.
This Redeemer has to be in some way connected to humanity (Gaal = Kinsman Redeemer) - Proofs that this was an unusual Kinsman
But let's move on. In the Hebrew, the first thing that Job says he knows is that he has a Redeemer. The Hebrew word is gaal, which means a Kinsman Redeemer. By definition you can't be a kinsman redeemer unless you are a human who is related in some way to the person being redeemed. The word makes no sense if it is not about a person who is a human in some way related.
And of course, Gary DeMar's article emphasizes this fact. The critics who say this isn't about Jesus say that this was simply one of Job's relatives who would come to his rescue. In a bit I will explain why that is absolutely impossible, but I think it is useful to dig into the normal meaning of the term like they do because, once we apply the literal meaning to Jesus, you will see that it is beautiful. It opens up the Person and Work of Christ so wonderfully.
The Hebrew word is “gaal” (גָּאַל) - in some contexts pronounced go-el. And again, depending on the context, it is sometimes translated as "kinsman redeemer" and sometimes as "avenger of blood." So what these hyperpreterists point out is that this term points to the most powerful relative of a clan who had responsibilities to act as a civil magistrate to avenge blood, but who was also wealthy enough to purchase a person out of debt. I agree. If you were a slave, he could buy your freedom. He was able to protect you, and if you were a widow without children he could marry you and care for you. In the book of Ruth, Boaz was a kinsman redeemer. He bought back the land that Naomi had lost and gave it as an inheritance to Ruth’s son.
If I can prove that Job is referring to Jesus as the Kinsman Redeemer, then the word gaal is a rich concept to show all that Jesus does for us. He purchases us out of slavery. Are you enslaved to drugs, or porn, or anything else? He can liberate you from that bondage. He purchases an inheritance for us, marries the church, protects us from our enemies, is an avenger of blood to whom we can appeal for vengeance, and He cares for us when we are going through the kinds of troubles that Job went through, and He even redeems land. And that last function is interesting, because, unlike Hyperpreterism, which only applies redemption to the invisible soul and not to the body, or to the land, or to the cosmos, a true kinsman redeemer cared for the physical, including the land, and redeems the physical, including the land. Everything in this universe will eventually be redeemed. The miraculous healings God gives us in answer to prayer are downpayments of our future resurrection - which Paul calls the redemption of our bodies. As Abraham Kuyper worded it, there is no square inch of this cosmos that will not be redeemed and declared to be His.
So, the question is, does this indeed refer to Jesus? Or was it simply a lesser kinsman redeemer whom he was hoping would get him out of his fix? Let me give you three reasons why the human side of this kinsman redeemer cannot be referring to a currently living relative, and then I will give four reasons why this Kinsman Redeemer is clearly identified as a divine being. But first, the human side. Why can this kinsman redeemer not be one of Job's immediate relatives?
First, the book of Job earlier identifies Job as the kinsman redeemer for his people since he was the most powerful man in the land. The gaal was the most powerful man in the tribe, and that man didn't have his own kinsman redeemer. He didn’t need one because by definition he didn't since there was no one higher than him. Well, we saw in my sermon on the book of Job that Job was the king of Edom. The Kinsman Redeemer was the most powerful person in the clan, tribe, or nation. Well, Job was that most powerful man. He didn't have a literal kinsman redeemer. He was it. Indeed, chapter 1 verse 3 says that he was "the greatest of all the people of the East." By definition, he could not have had any Kinsman Redeemer over him as a merely human relative. So whatever redeemer this was, he was unusual redeemer. It was someone more powerful than Job - get that - more powerful than Job.
Secondly, Job states that whoever this Redeemer was, He was already his current Redeemer. He's not hoping one will come along; He is already Job's redeemer. That too makes no sense of his situation if it was just one of Job's relatives. He calls him "my redeemer" and says that he was living. In other words, this cannot refer to a person who would become a Redeemer when he found out about Job's situation. He was already acting as a redeemer.
Third, chapter 42:11 makes clear that there was no one person who redeemed Job out of his poverty by giving a boatload of money. Instead, since he didn't have a kinsman redeemer, it says that each and every relative came by and gave him a piece of silver or a ring of gold. That clearly proves that no one person acted as a kinsman redeemer. Instead, all of the relatives kind of helped out.
This Redeemer was divine - four proofs
But there are an additional four proofs that destroy Barnes' thesis in Gary DeMar's article. And maybe I should have mentioned it earlier, but Gary DeMar’s article mocking our position extensively quotes from Albert Barnes to prove that this passage is not talking about a resurrection at all, and is certainly not talking about the resurrection of Jesus. I don’t understand why he would rely on Barnes. Barnes was a substandard theologian who was twice convicted of heresy by a Presbyterian synod because he denied original sin, and he denied the imputation of our sin to Christ, and the imputation of Christ's righteousness to us, and other doctrines that Charles Hodge opposed - including German critical theory. But hey, bad theologians can have good exegesis of passages, so I won't discount the arguments that he and Clines, and other commentators have provided to prove that this Redeemer could not be divine. Because they give somewhat credible arguments, I will give four counter-arguments that this Redeemer was indeed divine. If you want more proofs, John Hartley gives six proofs in the New International Commentary (five of which I'm not even going to mention this morning). So altogether, I believe there are about nine proofs that this Redeemer had to be divine.
First, contrary to commentators like Clines or Barnes who say Job's dispute was with God and therefore God could not also be His defense or his gaal, more conservative commentators point out that Job has already identified this same Redeemer as being in heaven and from heaven acting as Job's witness, advocate, intercessor, and friend. He has already been identified. For example, commenting on Job 16:18-22, Robert Alden in the New American Commentary says,
In vv. 19–20 are four terms describing the one Job hoped would come to his defense: “witness,” “advocate,” “intercessor,” and “friend.” All these terms can and do apply to human beings elsewhere in the Old Testament, but the prepositional phrases “in heaven” and “on high” push the interpreter to think in terms of a divine redeemer... [There is the word for] “Advocate”... As Hartley explains, the best candidate for this witness/advocate within Job’s limited knowledge was God himself... [The word] “Intercessor” is one who passes messages between those who cannot meet or understand each other... [Verse 21] defines what the “intercessor/advocate” does. He argues the case of his friend before the bar of divine justice. His task is similar to that of the Messiah in Isa 2:4; 11:4, where the same verb appears (cf. Rom 8:34; Heb 7:25).1
The point is that Job had earlier identified his gaal as God Himself using those four synonyms. And he does so elsewhere. In chapter 17:3 he uses language clearly associated with a kinsman redeemer and says that it is God who would "put down a pledge for me" and "strike hands with me" - a reference to the work of a gaal. Elihu (the good counselor) speaks of God redeeming a man's soul from going down to the Pit so that his soul sees the light. The point is, this verse needs to be interpeted in light of the book as a whole. And chapter 16 especially says that Job's redeemer is in heaven. So that's proof number one.
Second, the grammar of verses 25-27 strongly indicates that this Redeemer is divine. Barnes, Clines, Gary DeMar and others say that it is Hebrew that is hard to understand. Well it is hard to understand if you don't think that Job could possibly have believed in a divine redeemer. But it's straightforward if you do. The Tyndale Commentary says, “verses 25–27 are so tightly knit that there should be no doubt that the Redeemer is God.” The New International Commentary and many other commentaries say that they are forced by the grammar to the same conclusion. That’s why the New King James Bible capitalizes the “He.” Whoever, Messiah is, the Hebrew grammar itself shows that He is clearly divine. That's my second proof.
Third, several commentaries point out that the word gaal is frequently used throughout the Old Testament as one of the names of God, and it is most natural to take it that way here. It is simply false that they did not have an understanding of the coming Messiah. Luke (Acts 17:11) and Paul (Acts 26:22) both said that Paul was teaching nothing else than what the Law and the Prophets said would come, and that's why the Bereans were able to check out every one of Paul's teachings against the Old Testament Scriptures. And Paul praised them for that. Well, that means that every New Testament doctrine is in the Old Testament in seed form. Gary DeMar's article claims that they wouldn't have known anything about the resurrection until the New Testament revealed it.2 Well, that completely contradicts Paul who said, "to this day I stand, witnessing both to small and great, saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come." They did know that God was a Kinsman Redeemer in the Old Testament. That was one of his names. And it's crazy that people try to put doubts into people's minds about that.
Fourth, though Albert Barnes tries valiantly to change the meaning of all the terms in the rest of the passage so that he can explain away a divine Redeemer, the New American Commentary points out that we should use these terms the same way Job used those exact same terms the rest of the book, which is the straightforward meaning of the terms.3 You really have to have an agenda to translate these verses in unusual ways.
John Hartley gives five additional reasons that I won't get into of why this Redeemer has to be a reference to God Himself. I just wanted to introduce you to enough so that you could see that the traditional view on these verses is very well-grounded.
Now, obviously liberal commentators (and conservatives who have been unduly influenced by liberals) have balked at this conclusion and have said that no one prior to the New Testament could possibly have had an idea of the resurrection or that the Messiah could be both God and man. They think that is ridiculous. But there are many other Old Testament passages that clearly identify the Messiah as both man and God. The New American Commentary says, “For Job and for every believer before and after him there is a divine Redeemer. We know his name is Jesus.”
So this is really a remarkable text. Job knew beyond any shadow of a doubt that this coming Messiah would be a kinsman redeemer (and thus human) and a divine redeemer (and thus God). And I think it beautifully illustrates that though the Bible was written by about forty humans over a span of 1500 years and from different countries, it has a unified story of redemption. And it is shown to be the revelation of God Himself. Job couldn’t have come up with that concept on his own. And we too have a revelation from God that gives us this certain and absolute knowledge. If God says it, we can believe it. We can even believe something as incredible as the fact that Jesus was both God and man.
A Personal Savior (“my redeemer”)
But the third thing that Job knew beyond any shadow of a doubt was that God was his own personal Savior. He calls Him “my redeemer.” Jesus is not just a redeemer of a corporate entity in which we as individuals are lost. He is a redeemer of each of us individually and knows us each individually. It’s an amazing thing to read about Boaz redeeming Ruth and Naomi. It shows such a selfless love. But when God saves you and sends His Holy Spirit into your heart and unites you to Jesus, you are not only able to say to Jesus, “You are mine,” but you are able to say to the Father, “Abba, Father.” Can you say what Job said, that Jesus is my Kinsman Redeemer? Saving faith is not simply a historical faith that believes some facts about His Saviorhood. It is a personal trust in Jesus.
A Preexistent Savior (“lives”)
And this was not just a future Redeemer who did not yet exist. If Jesus was only human, then his existence would have started a couple of thousand years later than Job. But Job says, “I know that my Redeemer lives.” The text means that He is alive right then when Job was living. This coming Messiah is a living being that Job had had intimate communion with in chapters 1 and 2. In Job 12:9 he knows Him by name – Yehowah. And in chapter 29 he remembers the sweet fellowship that He had with God. Let me read Job 29:2-5.
“Oh, that I were as in months past, as in the days when God watched over me; when His lamp shone upon my head, and when by His light I walked through darkness; just as I was in the days of my prime, when the friendly counsel of God was over my tent; when the Almighty was yet with me.
I love that phrase in verse 4: “when the friendly counsel of God was over my tent.” Two versions translate that, “When God’s intimate friendship blessed my tent.” Another says, “when God was my home’s familiar guest.” This is not some theoretical Redeemer. It is true that Job didn’t understand why God was allowing all of this pain and suffering. He was tempted to complain. But he was never tempted to doubt that God existed, or that God was his friend, or that God was and would always continue to be His Redeemer. He trusted the Word of a God who cannot lie. Can we do any less?
A Resurrected Savior (“He shall rise …on the earth”)
But then comes a remarkable phrase that he could have only known from divine revelation. He says, “And He shall stand at last upon the earth.” Though “to stand” is a possible translation, for centuries commentators have translated it literally as “shall rise up from (or above) the earth,” but either translation (rise up from the earth or rise up above the earth) implies that he was in the earth. They have taken this as a reference to the resurrection of Jesus at long last. In the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, John Sawyer points out that the word in this verse (yakum - יָקֽוּם) is one of the Hebrew words to refer to a resurrection from the dead. So Jamiesson, Faucett, and Brown’s commentary says,
Above that very dust wherewith was mingled man’s decaying body shall man’s Vindicator arise. “Arise above the dust,” strikingly expresses that fact that Jesus Christ arose first Himself above the dust, and then is to raise His people above it (1 Corinthians 15:20, 23).
The rest of the passage clearly shows that Job believed that his own body would be raised. But this verse shows that Job knew beyond any shadow of a doubt that this divine/human Kinsman Redeemer would Himself be resurrected. That implies that the Kinsman Redeemer would die, though it is not said. And of course His death is needed for our redemption. But the death and resurrection of the future Messiah had always been believed by Old Testament saints. All the way back in Genesis 3:15 they knew that the coming Messiah would have to suffer on their behalf as a substitute. They had been waiting for a long time. All of the sacrifices of animals from Genesis 3 on pointed to that.
A Long Awaited Savior (“at last”)
And that is what is implied by “at last.” There were people looking forward to this resurrection long before Job. The Messiah's victory over Satan through suffering was prophesied in Genesis 3:15 - and that victory implies that death would not hold him. Saints of old knew that at long last the coming Messiah would finally defeat death and provide the way to resurrection life for all of His people.
If Job was certain of those six things 4000 years ago, which was 2000 years before the events transpired, then we have no excuse for doubting that we have a divine/human Redeemer who loves us as a Kinsman Redeemer and who can provide for our every need. We have no excuse for doubting that His death and resurrection provides for us all things that pertain to life and godliness. If God says it, that settles it. Be confident that if Your Kinsman Redeemer is for you, who can be against you? Amen?
Confidence in our Salvation (vv. 26-27 – “I know”)
A confidence that transcends our sufferings (v. 26a)
And that’s what verses 26-27 go on to say. Job didn’t just have confidence in a Savior. He had confidence that this Savior would indeed provide for his salvation. And it was a confidence that first of all transcended his sufferings. Verse 26 says, “And after my skin is destroyed, this I know.” His skin was a mess. He had oozing, blistering boils from head to toe. He was in pain and misery. It is one thing to believe in Jesus when things are going well. But when God puts a saving faith into His people, that faith sustains them through the darkest of times. In chapter 13:15 Job had already said, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.” He was saying that even if God does worse to me than what has happened thus far, I will never give up my faith in Him. This faith in His Redeemer enabled Job to believe that God was for him even when it sure looked like everything was against him. Job had lost his money, his house, his children, his health, his reputation, his friends, and his relatives. Look at verses 13-20
Job 19:13 “He has removed my brothers far from me, and my acquaintances are completely estranged from me. Job 19:14 My relatives have failed, and my close friends have forgotten me. Job 19:15 Those who dwell in my house, and my maidservants, count me as a stranger; I am an alien in their sight. Job 19:16 I call my servant, but he gives no answer; I beg him with my mouth. Job 19:17 My breath is offensive to my wife, and I am repulsive to the children of my own body. Job 19:18 Even young children despise me; I arise, and they speak against me. Job 19:19 All my close friends abhor me, and those whom I love have turned against me. Job 19:20 My bone clings to my skin and to my flesh, And I have escaped by the skin of my teeth.
Romans 8:28 was not yet written, but if it had been, it might have appeared to be a mockery of Job’s position. And yet despite these confusing circumstances that Job did not understand, Job knew and had a full assurance that God was still His Kinsman Redeemer who cared for him and who would indeed eventually vindicate him.
A confidence in our bodily resurrection (vv. 26b-27a) “in my flesh I shall see God… my eyes shall behold, and not another”
And the future resurrection victory of this Kinsman Redeemer would guarantee his own bodily resurrection. Verses 26-27:
Job 19:26 And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God, Job 19:27 Whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!
There are two key phrases that point to his own resurrection. The first is, “in my flesh I shall see God.” Hyperpreterists cannot get around the clear meaning of the word "flesh." They know what flesh means, but they don't like to connect the idea of flesh with the resurrection. So they are motivated to deny that this passage deals with resurrection. That's why they try to put doubts into your mind about this passage. Job says, “in my flesh I shall see God… my eyes shall behold, and not another.” He is confident that this won’t just be a resurrection of other people. It will be his own resurrection. And it won’t simply be his spirit going to heaven. It will be his whole being: body and soul. His flesh and his eyes will stand face to face with God. This is a remarkable confidence for 4000 years ago. So his resurrection will be the same as Christ's. Christ told His disciples,
Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.”
Both Job and Christ identify a true resurrection as a resurrection of corpses. A resurrection into flesh-and-bones-bodies.
So what did Paul mean when he said in 1 Corinthians 15, "Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption"? Hyperpreterists love to quote that verse to contradict a literal resurrection. They say, "See? Whatever resurrection we have can't be a resurrection into flesh because flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. Period." OK - sounds on the surface like a somewhat credible argument. So what does that clause in 1 Corinthians 15 mean?
Well, Paul clearly defines exactly what he means in context. And over and over his clarifications contradict hyperpreterism. In verse 39 he says, "All flesh is not the same flesh..." He is not denying that our resurrection bodies will have flesh. He is just saying that it will be glorified flesh. Our unresurrected corruptible flesh cannot inherit the kingdom of God, but glorified flesh can. In the next verse Paul explains what he means by different kinds of flesh by saying that the celestial body will be more glorious than this terrestrial body. But it will still be a body. But in verse 41 he clarifies that the celestial body won't be a totally unrelated to this earthly body. It is the very body that dies that will be raised into incorruption. In verse 43 he says that the same body that will be sown into the ground in weakness will be raised in power. The same body that is sown as a natural body will be raised as a spiritual body. And then in verse 49 (and actually throughout the passage) he insists that our bodies will be like Christ's resurrection body. In verse 52 he says our bodies will be changed - not discarded or replaced, but changed. Heretics love to take verses out of context, but the context clearly defines what Paul meant. Verse 53 - "this mortal must put on immortality.." Paul was also quite clear that our bodies will be just like Christ's - a glorified body composed of flesh and bones that can eat food and be touched and handled. As Paul said in Philippians 3:21, the Lord Jesus Christ "will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself."
A confidence that we will be forever with God (“v. 26b – “shall see God… my eyes shall behold”)
But back to Job 19:26, Job's confidence affirms that he won’t be annihilated when he sees God. He will be forever with God. So what kind of vision of God is this? Is it a beatific vision on earth in his mortal flesh? That’s what some people claim. And there is some plausibility to that argument. As long as there has been time, people have spoken of the beatific vision of God on earth. I have experienced that on more than one occasion, where God becomes so close to us that we are almost undone with the joy of being in His presence. We have already read verses that show that Job had experienced this joyous closeness Himself. He talks about the memories of those beatific visions in chapter 29. But all of those wonderful experiences pale into insignificance when we consider that in our glorified flesh we will see God literally (not in a vision, but literally) and our eyes will behold God. God told Moses in Exodus 33:20 that our mortal bodies would die if that were to happen now. God said, "no man shall see Me, and live." That's why He hid Moses as His glory passed by. So Job isn't talking about seeing God in his mortal body. Yet Job knew that in his flesh he would see God. What a wonderful picture of full redemption that will usher us into such happiness and joy in heaven! David expresses his own resurrection in similar language. He says,
As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.
...in your likeness! It’s Scriptures like these that make me look forward to heaven, and even more so to the resurrection at the end of history when we will be forever glorified and every memory of our sins, troubles, and tears will be wiped away. Hallelujah! Glory be to God!
A confidence that makes us yearn for God (v. 27b – “How my heart yearns within me!”)
And I believe that is why Job ends these verses with the words, “How my heart yearns within me!” Those words show to me that Job’s confidence was not simply an academic confidence. It was a confidence so deeply impressed into his soul that it made him yearn for that day when he would be in his resurrection body with all sin forever done away with and all sorrow forever done away with. He says, “How my heart yearns within me!”
I hope our having even gone over these verses has made your own heart yearn to know your Kinsman Redeemer better. Paul said that this yearning had never ceased in his life. His aim that he pressed forward towards every single day (even on the days that he was miserable) was to know Jesus and the power of His resurrection. And the reason I know that he yearned for God in that way even on his miserable days of suffering was because he said that he yearned to know Jesus’ fellowship in his sufferings. Here’s how he worded it.
…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death… (Phil. 3:10)
He didn’t even want his death to be experienced apart from union with Jesus. Paul could say in the midst of his sufferings, “I know that my Redeemer lives.” In the midst of his sufferings, Job could say, “I know that my Redeemer lives.” And I want you with a loud, united voice to say with me right now the same thing - out loud: “I know that my Redeemer lives.” Let’s say it again: “I know that my Redeemer lives.”
What do you say when Satan tries to get you down? “I know that my Redeemer lives.”
What do you say when you are feeling sick and miserable? “I know that my Redeemer lives.”
What do you say when all around you things seem to be contradicting Romans 8:28? “I know that my Redeemer lives.”
What do you say to yourself when you start doubting your salvation? “I know that my Redeemer lives.” Amen. And let’s never forget it.
We have a Kinsman Redeemer who is so closely connected to us that He cares about every problem that we face. He is a Kinsman Redeemer who is also divine and so powerful that He can meet all your needs according to His riches in glory. He is a Kinsman Redeemer who was raised from the dead, and who triumphed over Satan and He triumphed over the very demons who were afflicting Job in this book. And if this Kinsman Redeemer is for you, no one can be against you. No one. Let’s go to this awesome God in prayer and praise Him.
Father God, Lord Jesus, Holy Spirit, we love you and worship You and thank You for Your great Redemption. Father, we know that you planned it from eternity past, and we worship you and adore You. Lord Jesus, we know that you came from heaven to fulfill Your Father’s plan, and we are so grateful that no one can pluck us out of Your Father’s hand. Thank you for being our Kinsman Redeemer. Holy Spirit, we thank you that you always fully apply the Father’s plan and the Son’s redemption, and we worship You for having applied that redemption in our lives. Please empower us to live above our circumstances in the resurrection power of Jesus. Help us to always have hearts like Job displayed in chapters 1 and 2. And with Paul we say that we want to know Jesus and the power of His resurrection, not just this day, but every day of the rest of our lives. Fulfill your plan in us. And we on our part commit ourselves to being your grateful servants for all of eternity. May all glory, honor, blessing, and praise go to You, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In the name of Jesus we pray these things. Amen.
Robert L. Alden, Job, vol. 11, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1993), 186–187. ↩
Barnes says, "A fifth consideration is, that on the supposition that it refers to the resurrection, it would be inconsistent with the views which prevailed in the age when Job is supposed to have lived. It is wholly in advance of that age. It makes little difference in regard to this whether we suppose him to have lived in the time of Abraham, Jacob, or Moses, or even at a later period — such a supposition would be equally at variance with the revelations which had then been given. The clear doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, is one of the unique doctrines of Christianity — one of the last truths of revelation, and is one of the glorious truths which seem to have been reserved for the Redeemer himself to make known to man. There are, indeed, obscure traces of it in the Old Testament. Occasionally we meet with a hint on the subject that was sufficient to excite the hopes of the ancient saints, and to lead them to suppose that more glorious truths were in reserve to be communicated by the Messiah. But those hints occur at distant intervals; are obscure in their character, and perhaps if all in the Old Testament were collected, they would not be sufficient to convey any very intelligible view of the resurrection of the dead." ↩
"One can offer substitute synonyms for the words in the second half that might alter the meaning, but all the words are well known and used in Job. “In the end,” for example, might be “latter/last/afterwards.” “Earth” might be “dust” (but it is “earth” in 28:2; 30:6; 41:33 ).104 “Stand” might be “arise/be established.” Each of these alternatives raises new possibilities about the meaning of the verse, but as usual the straightforward sense is best." Robert L. Alden, Job, vol. 11, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1993), 207. ↩