The Resurrection Hope in Job

The sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments contain a wealth of truth about the progress of redemption throughout history. In fact, Genesis to Revelation is one grand story about the Triune God redeeming creation in Christ by the person and work of the Holy Spirit. On some level, one could remove the New Testament from the bible and the gospel would not be adversely impacted. There may be greater pains taken to draw out the gospel message from the Old Testament, but it does exist in embryonic form. The bodily resurrection of Christ’s redeemed is one major teaching of the New Testament, which finds expression in seed form in the Old.

During the course of Job’s interactions with three of his four friends, the following passage occurs with subtle or suggestive words: 10 “But a man dies and is laid low; man breathes his last, and where is he? 11 As waters fail from a lake and a river wastes away and dries up, 12 so a man lies down and rises not again; till the heavens are no more he will not awake or be roused out of his sleep” 13 Oh that you would hide me in Sheol, that you would conceal me until your wrath be past, that you would appoint me a set time, and remember me! 14 If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my service I would wait, till my renewal should come” (Job 14:10-14, ESV).

I have placed in bold type verses twelve and fourteen, which seem to allude to the bodily resurrection. Let me state for the record that I have read through Job quite a few times. The above quoted passage escaped my notice until earlier this year. In many ways, I see this as evidence of the Holy Spirit illuminating this truth in his word. It is a discovery that feels new and fresh even if the objective truth of the resurrection is ancient. More to the point, Job’s sure hope in rising from the grave predates my own confidence in the same truth. The fact of the believer’s resurrection (also called the resurrection of the just [Luke 14:14] and the first resurrection
[Rev. 20:4] in the New Testament) appears to give Job genuine hope as he expresses it as renewal (Job 14:14b, ESV). He rests in the truth that his current body of festering wounds, weakness, and sin will someday be completely renewed and made whole. Job yearns for the future hope of restoration in life after death.

When Job expresses his hope in the renewal, he seems to allude that the present order of creation will pass away just like his body. Let me explain what I mean. The twelfth verse reads as follows: “…so a man lies down and rises not again; till the heavens are no more he will not awake or be roused out of his sleep…” (Job 14:12, ESV). The text in bold is the key part of this verse. Job seems to possess the knowledge that the present order of creation in his day will come to an end. He appears to be suggesting that the believer’s resurrection occurs around the same time that creation undergoes a renewal, too. This is amazing stuff to turn over in one’s mind. Job may not use the same exact words as the apostle Paul in 1 Cor. 15:51-53 and 1 Thess. 4:14,16-17 or John in Rev 20:4-6 about the first resurrection and translation of believers, but he would agree with them.

What this means is that the New Testament teaching of the resurrection of the just or the first resurrection has its roots in the Old. It is not a doctrine fabricated by the apostles and disciples of the early church. The believer’s hope in the resurrection is an objective fact based upon Christ’s resurrection (2 Cor. 4:14, ESV). In this present age, our bodies waste away due to sin and death. The redeemed will undergo physical death except for those who remain alive at Christ’s return; however, life is not over for the redeemed at death. Once absent from the body, our souls enter into the presence of the Lord in heaven. This is the disembodied state or the intermediate state, but it is not the believer’s ultimate hope. The apostle Paul states that the believer’s ultimate and blessed hope is the second coming of Christ, which is when our renewal takes place along with the earth’s (Matt. 19:28, Rom. 8:19-21, Titus 2:13-14, ESV). At that time we can truly say that death will have been swallowed up in victory.

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