Some of the deepest and most agonizing yearnings of the human soul find expression in the book of Job. The soil for Job’s intense heartache stems from the loss of children, supportive relationships (wife and friends), possessions, and physical health. How do I keep following Jesus in the face of opposition from those closest to me? When suffering is great within and without me, what is my hope as a follower of Jesus Christ? When my faith in God undergoes intense squeezing, what motivates me to keep moving forward in him? These questions and many many more bubble up to the surface as one reads the book of Job.
In the midst of Job’s agony and suffering, he declares the following truths about the Lord: “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth” (Job 19:25, ESV). Job recognizes two things about the Lord: first, he is the redeemer, and second, he will stand upon the earth at the end of the age. What those two points suggest very strongly is that Job catches a glimpse of the Messiah, King Jesus, returning at the end of the age to vindicate his people. When one examines the original Hebrew, the word translated as redeemer means vindicator, one who metes out justice. Job rests upon the objective truth that his God will set things right in the end. He sees an ultimate victory coming, which overturns the sufferings and the evil of this present age.
Did Job fully understand that his words allude to the Messiah’s second coming? I would venture to say no, but I do think that he saw and understood vital truths about the Messiah. Listen to verses 26 and 27 of the nineteenth chapter in Job: “And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me” (Job 19:26-27, ESV)! These are hopeful and blessed words from a man overwhelmed by physical and emotional suffering. Job’s hope rests with the Messiah, the redeemer, who lives forever and restores his people and the world.
Charles Spurgeon states the following about Job 19:25-27 in the introductory comments to one of his sermons: “If it had been Job’s desire to foretell the advent of Christ and his own sure resurrection, I cannot see what better words he could have used; and if those truths are not here taught, then language must have lost its original object, and must have been employed to mystify and not to explain; to conceal and not to reveal” (Spurgeon, “I Know that My Redeemer Liveth,” April 12, 1863). I side with the late Spurgeon. Job catches a glimpse of the Messiah and his resurrection power restoring the lives of the redeemed at the end of the age.
Job’s hope is a living hope because his redeemer lives. His tomb has been empty for approximately 2000 years. There is a wonderful hymn sung during Easter services. Here is the chorus: “Because he lives, I can face tomorrow. Because he lives, all fear is gone. Because I know he holds the future, life is worth the living just because he lives.”
Job may have lived in Old Testament times, but he could have written that hymn. He had the strength and faith to face tomorrow. Job knew that one day the Lord would vindicate him, would raise him from the dead with a glorified body, and would see him face to face.