Whom I shall see for myself - Have a personal interest in the resurrection, as I shall have in the Redeemer.
And mine eyes shall behold - That very person who shall be the resurrection, as he is the life.
And not another - זר ולא velo zar, and not a stranger, one who has no relation to human nature; but גאלי goali, my redeeming Kinsman.
Though my reins be consumed within me - Though I am now apparently on the brink of death, the thread of life being spun out to extreme tenuity. This, on the mode of interpretation which I have assumed, appears to be the meaning of this passage. The words may have a somewhat different colouring put on them; but the basis of the interpretation will be the same. I shall conclude with the version of Coverdale: -
For I am sure that my Redeemer liveth;
And that I shal ryse out of the earth in the latter daye;
That I shal be clothed againe with this skynne
And se God in my flesh.
Yee, I myself shal beholde him,
Not with other, but with these same eyes.
My reins are consumed within me, when ye saye,
Why do not we persecute him?
We have founde an occasion against him.
Whom I shall see for myself - It will not come to be by mere report. I shall not merely hear of the decision of God in my favor, but I shall myself behold him. He will at length come forth, and I shall be permitted to see him, and shall have the delightful assurance that he settles this controversy in my favor, and declares that I am his friend. Job was thus permitted to see God Job 42:5, and hear his voice in his favor. He spake to him from the whirlwind Job 38:1, and pronounced the sentence in his favor which he had desired.
And not another - Margin, a stranger. So in the Hebrew. The meaning is, that his own eyes would be permitted to see him. He would have the satisfaction of seeing God himself, and of hearing the sentence in his favor. That expectation he deemed worthy of a permanent record, and wished it transmitted to future times, that in his darkest days and severest trials - when God overwhelmed him, and man forsook him, he still firmly maintained his confidence in God, and his belief that he would come forth to vindicate his cause.
Though my reins - The margin renders this, “my reins within me are consumed with earnest desire for that day.” Noyes translates it, “For this my soul panteth within me.” Herder,
I shall see him as my deliverer,
Mine eyes shall behold him, as mine,
For whom my heart so long fainted.
So Wemyss, “My reins faint with desire of his arrival.” Jerome renders it (Vulgate), reposita est hoec spes mea in sinu meo - “this, my hope, is laid up in my bosom.” The Septuagint, “All which things have been done - συντετέλεσται suntetelestai - in my bosom,” but what they understood by this it is difficult to say. The word rendered “reins” כליה kı̂lyâh - or in the plural כליות kı̂lyôth - in which form only it is found), means properly the reins, or the kidneys Job 16:13. and then comes to denote the inward parts, and then the seat of the desires and affections, because in strong emotions the inward parts are affected. We speak of the heart as the seat of the affections, but with no more propriety than the Hebrews did of the upper viscera in general, or of the reins. In the Scriptures the heart and the reins are united as the seat of the affections. Thus, Jeremiah 11:20, God “trieth the reins and the heart;” Jeremiah 17:10; Jeremiah 20:12; Psalm 7:10. I see no reason why the word here may not be used to denote the viscera in general, and that the idea may be, that he felt that his disease was invading the seat of life, and his body, in all its parts, was wasting away. Our word vitals, perhaps, expresses the idea.
Be consumed - Gesenius renders this, “Pine away.” So Noyes, Wemyss, and some others. But the proper meaning of the word is, to consume, to be wasted, to be destroyed. The word כלה kâlâh strictly means to finish, complete, render entire; and thence has the notion of completion or finishing - whether by making a thing perfect, or by destroying it. It is used with reference to the eyes that fail or waste away with weeping, Lamentations 2:11, or to the spirit or heart. as fainting with grief and sorrow. Psalm 84:3; Psalm 143:7; Psalm 69:4. It is used often in the sense of destroying. Jeremiah 16:4; Ezra 5:13; Psalm 39:11; Isaiah 27:10; Isaiah 49:4; Genesis 41:30; Jeremiah 14:12; et soepe al. This, I think, is the meaning here. Job affirms that his whole frame, external and internal, was wasting away, yet he had confidence that he would see God.
Within me - Margin, in my bosom. So the Hebrew. The word bosom is used here as we use the word chest - and is not improperly rendered “within me.” In view of this exposition of the words, I would translate the whole passage as follows:
For I know that my Avenger liveth,
And that hereafter he shall stand upon the earth;
And though after my skin this (flesh) shall be destroyed,
Yet even without my flesh shall I see God:
Whom I shall see for myself,
And mine eyes shall behold, and not another,
Though my vitals are wasting away within me.
It has already been observed, that very various views have been entertained of this important passage of Scripture. The great question has been, whether it refers to the Messiah, and to the resurrection of the dead, or to an expectation which Job had that God would come forth as his vindicator in some such way as he is declared afterward to have done. It may be proper, therefore. to give a summary of the arguments by which these opinions would be defended. I have not found many arguments stated for the former opinion, though the belief is held by many, but they would be probably such as the following: -
I. Arguments which would be adduced to show that the passage refers to the Messiah and to the future resurrection of the dead.
(1) The language which is used is such as would appropriately describe such events. This is undoubted, though more so in our translation than in the original; but the original would appropriately express such an expectation.
(2) The impression which it would make on the mass of readers, and particularly those of plain, sober sense, who had no theory to defend. It is probably a fact, that the great body of the readers of the Bible suppose that it has such a reference. It is usually a very strong presumptive proof of the correctness of an interpretation of Scripture when this can be alleged in its favor, though it is not an infallible guide.
(3) The probability that some knowledge of the Messiah would prevail in Arabia in the time of Job. This must be admitted, though it cannot be certainly demonstrated; compare Numbers 24:17. The amount of this is, that it could not be regarded as so improbable that any such knowledge would prevail as to demonstrate certainly that this could not be referred to the Messiah.
(4) The probability that there would be found in this book some allusion to the Redeemer - the great hope of the ancient saints, and the burden of the Old Testament But this is not conclusive or very weighty, for there are several of the books of the Old Testament which contain no distinct allusion to him.
(5) The pertinency of such a view to the case, and its adaptedness to give to Job the kind of consolation which he needed. There can be no doubt of the truth of this; but the question is, not what would have imparted consolation, but what knowledge he actually had. There are many of the doctrines of the Christian religion which would have been eminently fitted to give comfort in such circumstances to a man in affliction, which it would be exceedingly unreasonable to expect to find in the book of Job, and which it is certain were wholly unknown to him and his friends.
(6) The importance which he himself attached to his declaration, and the solemnity of the manner in which he introduced it. His profession of faith on the subject he wished to have engraved in the eternal rocks. he wished it transmitted to future times. He wished a permanent record to be made, that succeeding ages might read it, and see the ground of his confidence and his hope. This, to my mind, is the strongest argument which has occurred in favor of the opinion that the passage refers to the Redeemer and to the resurrection. These are all the considerations which have occurred to me, or which I have found stated, which would go to sustain the position that the passage referred to the resurrection. Some of them have weight; but the prevailing opinion, that the passage has such a reference. will be found to be sustained, probably, more by the feelings of piety than by solid argument and sound exegesis. It is favored, doubtless, by our common version, and there can be no doubt that the translators supposed that it had such a reference.
II. On the other hand, weighty considerations are urged to show that the passage does not refer to the Messiah, and to the resurrection of the dead. They are such as the following:
(1) The language, fairly interpreted and translated, does not necessarily imply this. It is admitted that our translators had this belief, and without doing intentional or actual violence to the passage, or designing to make a forced translation, they have allowed their feelings to give a complexion to their language which the original does not necessarily convey. Hence, the word “Redeemer,” which is now used technically to denote the Messiah, is employed, though the original “may,” and commonly “does,” have a much more general signification; and hence, the phrase “at the latter day,” also a technical phrase, occurs, though the original means no more than “afterward” or “after this;” and hence, they have employed the phrase “in my flesh,” though the original means no more than “though my flesh be all wasted away.” The following I believe to express fairly the meaning of the Hebrew:” I know that my deliverer, or avenger, lives, and that he will yet appear in some public manner on the earth; and though after the destruction of my skin, the process of corruption shall go on until “all” my flesh shall be destroyed, yet when my flesh is entirely wasted away, I shall see God; I shall have the happiness of seeing him for myself, and beholding him with my own eyes, even though my very vitals shall be consumed. He will come and vindicate me and my cause. I have such confidence in his justice, that I do not doubt that he will yet show himself to be the friend of him who puts his trust in him.”
(2) It is inconsistent with the argument, and the whole scope and connection of the book, to suppose that this refers to the Messiah and to the resurrection of the body after death. The book of Job is strictly an “argument” - a train of clear, consecutive reasoning. It discusses a great inquiry about the doctrines of divine Providence and the divine dealings with people. The three friends of Job maintained that God deals with men strictly according to their character in this life - that eminent wickedness is attended with eminent suffering; and that when people experience any great calamity, it is proof of eminent wickedness. All this they meant to apply to Job, and all this Job denied. Yet he was perplexed and confounded. He did not know what to do with the “facts” in the case; but still he felt embarrassed. All that he could say was, that God would “yet” come forth and show himself to be the friend of those who loved him and that though they suffered now, yet he had confidence that be would appear for their relief.
Now, had they possessed the knowledge of the doctrine of the “resurrection of the dead,” it would have ended the whole debate. it would not only have met all the difficulties of Job, but we should have found him perpetually recurring to it - placing it in every variety of form - appealing to it as relieving his embarrassments, and as demanding an answer from his friends. But, on the supposition that this refers to the resurrection, it is remarkable that the passage here stands alone. Job never adverted to it before, but allowed himself to be greatly embarrassed for the lack of just such an argument, and he never refers to it again. He goes on to argue again “as if” he believed no such doctrine. He does not ask his friends to notice this: he expresses no surprise that they should pass by, in entire neglect, an argument which “must have been seen” to be decisive of the controversy. It is equally unaccountable that his friends should not have noticed it.
If the doctrine of the resurrection was true, it settled the case. It rendered all their arguments worthless, and would have met the case just as we meet similar cases now. It was incumbent on them to show that there was no evidence of the truth of any such doctrine as the resurrection, and that this could not be urged to meet their arguments. Yet they never allude to so important and unanswerable an argument, and evidently did not suppose that Job referred to any such event. It is equally remarkable that neither Elihu nor God himself, in the close of the book, make any such allusion, or refer to the doctrine of the resurrection at all, as meeting the difficulties of the case. In the argument with which the Almighty is represented as closing the book, the whole thing is resolved into a matter of “sovereignty,” and people are required to submit because God is great, and is inscrutable in his ways - not because the dead will be raised, and the inequalities of the present life will be recompensed in a future state. The doctrine of a “resurrection” - a great and glorious doctrine, such as, if once suggested, could not have escaped the profound attention of these sages - would have solved the whole difficulty; and yet, confessedly, it is never alluded to by them - never introduced - never examined - never admitted or rejected - never becomes a matter of inquiry, and is never referred to by God himself as settling the matter - never occurs in the book in any form, unless it be in this. This is wholly unaccountable on the supposition that this refers to the resurrection.
(3) The interpretation which refers this to the resurrection of the dead, is inconsistent with numerous passages where Job expresses a contrary belief. Of this nature are the following: Job 7:9,” As the cloud is consumed, and vanisheth away, so he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more;” Job 7:21, “I shall sleep in the dust thou shalt seek me in the morning, but I shall not be;” see Job 10:21-22, “I go whence I shall not return - to the land of darkness, and the shadow of death; a land of darkness as darkness itself;” Job 14:7, Job 14:9, Job 14:11-12,” For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease. But man dieth, and wasteth away; yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he? As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up, so man lieth down and riseth not; until the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.”
Job 16:22, “when a few years are come, then I shall go the way whence I shall not return.” These passages all imply that when he should die, he would not appear again on the earth. This is not such language as one would use who believed in the resurrection of the dead. It is true, that in the discourses of Job, various and sometimes apparently contradictory feelings are expressed. He was a severe sufferer; and under strong conflicting emotions he sometimes expressed himself in a manner which he at other times regrets, and gives vent to feelings which, on mature reflection, he confesses to have been wrong. But how is it “possible” to believe that a man, in his circumstances, would ever deny the doctrine of the resurrection if he held it? How could he forget it? How could he throw out a remark that “seemed” to imply a doubt of it? If he had known of this, it would have been a sheet-anchor to his soul in all the storms of adversity - an unanswerable argument to all that his friends advanced - atopic of consolation which he could never have lost sight of, much less denied. He would have clung to that hope as the refuge of his soul, and not for one moment would he have denied it, or expressed a doubt of its truth.
(4) I may urge as a distinct argument what has before been hinted at, that this is not referred to as a topic of consolation by either of the friends of Job, by Elihu, or by God himself. Had it been a doctrine of those times, his friends would have understood it, and it would have reversed all their theology. Had it been understood by Elihu, he would have urged it as a reason for resignation in affliction. Had God designed that it should be known in that age, no more favorable opportunity could be conceived for the purpose than at the end of the arguments in this book. What a flood of light would it have thrown on the design of afflictions! How effectually would it have rebuked the arguments of the friends of Job! And how clear is it, therefore, that God did not “intend” that it should then be revealed to man, but meant that it should be reserved for a more advanced state of the world, and particularly that it should be reserved as the grand doctrine of the Christian revelation.
(5) 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.
But on the supposition that the passage before us refers to that doctrine, we have here one of the most clear and full revelations on the subject, laid far back in the early ages of the world, originating in Arabia, and entirely in advance of the prevailing views of the age, and of all that had been communicated by the Spirit of inspiration to the generations then living. It is admitted, indeed, that it was “possible” for the Holy Spirit to communicate that truth in its fulness and completeness to an Arabian sage; but it is not the way in which revelation, in other respects, has been imparted. It has been done “gradually.” Obscure intimations are given at first - they are increased from time to time - the light becomes clearer, until some prophet discloses the whole truth, and the doctrine stands complete before us. Such a course we should expect to find in regard to the doctrine of the resurrection, and such is exactly the course pursued, unless “this” passage teaches what was in fact the highest revelation made by the Messiah.
(6) All which the words and phrases fairly convey, and all which the argument demands, is fully met by the supposition that it refers to some such event as is recorded in the close of the book. God appeared in a manner corresponding to the meaning of the words here upon the earth. He came as the Vindicator, the Redeemer, the גאל gō'el of Job. He vindicated his cause, rebuked his friends, expressed his approbation of the sentiments of Job, and blessed him again with returning prosperity and plenty. The disease of the patriarch may have advanced, as he supposed it would. His flesh may have wasted away, but his confidence in God was not misplaced, and he came forth as his vindicator and friend. It was a noble expression of faith on the part of Job; it showed that he “had” confidence in God, and that in the midst of his trials he truly relied on him; and it was a sentiment worthy to be engraved in the eternal rock, and to be transmitted to future times.
It was an invaluable lesson to sufferers, showing them that confidence could, and should be placed in God in the severest trials. So far as I can see, all that is fairly implied in the passage, when properly interpreted, is fully met by the events recorded in the close of the book. Such an interpretation meets the exigency of the case, accords with the strain of the argument and with the result, and is the most simple and natural that has been proposed. These considerations are so weighty in my mind that they have conducted me to a conclusion, contrary I confess to what I had “hoped” to have reached, that this passage has no reference to the Messiah and the doctrine of the resurrection. We do not “need” it - for all the truths respecting the Messiah and the resurrection which we need, are fully revealed elsewhere; and though this is an exquisitely beautiful passage, and piety would love to retain the belief that it refers to the resurrection of the dead, yet “truth” is to be preferred to indulgence of the wishes and desires of the heart, however amiable or pious, and the “desire” to find certain doctrines in the Bible should yield to what we are constrained to believe the Spirit of inspiration actually taught.
I confess that I have never been so pained at any conclusion to which I have come in the interpretation of the Bible, as in the case before us. I would like to have found a distinct prophecy of the Messiah in this ancient and venerable book. I would like to have found the faith of this eminent saint sustained by such a faith in his future advent and incarnation. I would like to have found evidence that this expectation had become incorporated in the piety of the early nations, and was found in Arabia. I would like to have found traces of the early belief of the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead sustaining the souls of the patriarchs then, as it does ours now, in trial. But I cannot. Yet I can regard it as a most beautiful and triumphant expression of confidence in God, and as wholly worthy to be engraved, as Job desired it might be, in the solid rock forever, that the passing traveler might see and read it; or as worthy of that more permanent record which it has received by being “printed in a book” - by an art unknown then, and sent down to the end of the world to be read and admired in all generations.
The opinion which has now been expressed, it is not necessary to say, has been held by a large number of the most distinguished critics. Grotius says that the Jews never applied it to the Messiah and the resurrection. The same opinion is held by Grotius himself, by Warburton, Rosenmuller, Le Clerc, Patrick, Kennicott, Dalthe, and Jahn. Calvin seems to be doubtful - sometimes giving it an interpretation similar to that suggested above, and then pursuing his remarks as if it referred to the Messiah. Most of the fathers, and a large portion of modern critics, it is to be admitted, suppose that it refers to the Messiah, and to the future resurrection.
With uplifted heads, with the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness shining upon them, with rejoicing that their redemption draweth nigh, they go forth to meet the Bridegroom, saying, “Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us.” Isaiah 25:9. COL 421.1
“And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia; for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him; for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready.... And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.” “He is Lord of lords, and King of kings; and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful.” Revelation 19:6-9; 17:14. COL 421.2Read in context »
One of the most solemn and yet most glorious truths revealed in the Bible is that of Christ's second coming to complete the great work of redemption. To God's pilgrim people, so long left to sojourn in “the region and shadow of death,” a precious, joy-inspiring hope is given in the promise of His appearing, who is “the resurrection and the life,” to “bring home again His banished.” The doctrine of the second advent is the very keynote of the Sacred Scriptures. From the day when the first pair turned their sorrowing steps from Eden, the children of faith have waited the coming of the Promised One to break the destroyer's power and bring them again to the lost Paradise. Holy men of old looked forward to the advent of the Messiah in glory, as the consummation of their hope. Enoch, only the seventh in descent from them that dwelt in Eden, he who for three centuries on earth walked with his God, was permitted to behold from afar the coming of the Deliverer. “Behold,” he declared, “the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment upon all.” Jude 14, 15. The patriarch Job in the night of his affliction exclaimed with unshaken trust: “I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: ... in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another.” Job 19:25-27. GC 299.1Read in context »
“Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him: ...
He also shall be my salvation.”
“I know that my Redeemer liveth,
And that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
And though after my skin worms destroy this body,
Yet in my flesh shall I see God:
Whom I shall see for myself,
And mine eyes shall behold, and not another.” PK 164.1
“The Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind” (Job 38:1), and revealed to His servant the might of His power. When Job caught a glimpse of his Creator, he abhorred himself and repented in dust and ashes. Then the Lord was able to bless him abundantly and to make his last years the best of his life. PK 164.2Read in context »
Cease all contention, and try to be a peacemaker. Love not in word, but in deed and in truth. Your works are to bear the inspection of the judgment. Will you deal truly with your own soul? Do not deceive yourself. Oh, remember that God is not mocked! Those who possess everlasting life will have all they can do to set their houses in order. They must commence at their own hearts and follow up the work until victories, earnest victories, are gained. Self must die, and Christ must live in you and be in you a well of water springing up into everlasting life. You now have precious hours of probation granted you to form a right character even at your advanced age. You now have a period allotted you in which to redeem the time. You cannot in your own strength put away your errors and wrongs; they have been increasing upon you for years, because you have not seen them in their hideousness and in the strength of God resolutely put them away. By living faith you must lay hold on an arm that is mighty to save. Humble your poor, proud, self-righteous heart before God; get low, very low, all broken in your sinfulness at His feet. Devote yourself to the work of preparation. Rest not until you can truly say: My Redeemer liveth, and, because He lives, I shall live also. 2T 88.1
If you lose heaven, you lose everything; if you gain heaven, you gain everything. Do not make a mistake in this matter, I implore you. Eternal interests are here involved. Be thorough. May the God of all grace so enlighten your understanding that you may discern eternal things, that by the light of truth your own errors, which are many, may be discovered to you just as they are, that you may make the necessary effort to put them away, and in the place of this evil, bitter fruit may bring forth fruit which is precious unto eternal life. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” Every tree is known by its fruit. What kind of fruit shall henceforth be found upon this tree? The fruit you bear will determine whether you are a good tree, or one of which Christ shall say to his angel: “Cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?” 2T 88.2
*****Read in context »