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ark of God was delivered from heathen captivity. But what will it be when a multitude numerous as the dewdrops of the morning, with the holy beauty of eternal youth upon them, shall sing the song of the Lamb ? We may not enter now on this inviting theme. Another opportunity may be granted. Meantime, here is a joyous trumpet blast :-“When this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory !" This is the gospel of resurrection !
JOB'S FAITH IN A FUTURE LIFE.
HE question of the faith of Job in a future life has been lately
discussed in the pages of the RAINBOW. The conclusion arrived at by the writer of the first paper is, that Job had no faith or hope whatever in any future life of any kind, but that he contemplated, with the deepest sorrow, death as putting an end for ever to his, and every man's existence. As the question is a very important one, I am sure that the readers of the RAINBOW will not be displeased at my giving my view of it. I have long come to a conclusion opposite to that of Mr. Phillips. It is, that Job had a firm faith in a future life, to which the resurrection from the dead was to introduce him.
It strikes me that it would be a very extraordinary thing indeed, and scarcely compatible with human nature and the general teaching of Scripture, that Job could live such a life as he lived before God, not only in his prosperity but in his adversity, without a faith in a future life for himself. Job was one of the very greatest of the ancient saints. He ranked in God's mind as equal with Noah and Daniel (Ezek. xiv. 14). Both of these men were undoubtedly sustained in their life by the hope and the faith of immortality. It would seem impossible for human nature to live their godly life without such a faith. Certainly if Job lived his life of love for God, and faith in Him, and obedience to Him, all the while believing that death would terminate his existence for ever, he would present to view the specimen of a man nowhere else to be met with in or out of Scripture Biography.
But in addition to this consideration, it appears to me to be the indubitable testimony of the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews that every one of the faithful men of the Old Testament had faith in the doctrine of a future life through resurrection. I do not know how we can carefully read the 11th chapter of this book without seeing this. Let us mark that it is of a future life in connection with resurrection that the writer speaks (ver. 35). Those of whom he spoke did not, he tells us, obtain what they hoped for in death (vers. 13, 39). The better heavenly country
which they desired lay, in all their estimation, beyond, not during, death. But to this better country they, one and all of them, looked on in faith (vers. 13-16).
Now, can we believe for a moment that all those of whom this chapter speaks, had faith in a resurrection and that Job knew nothing about it, and had no faith in it whatsoever ? Those who lived before his time had faith in it, as Abel, Enoch, Noah (verses 4, 5, 7). Noah, who gave its tone to the theology of the world after the flood, was a believer in it. Those who lived at periods probably embracing, or nearly so, the lifetime of Job, had faith in it, as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses (vers. 8, 21, 22, 24). The saints who came after these all believed in resurrection (ver. 39). Those who are named in this chapter are confessedly but samples of others, too numerous to be mentioned (ver. 32); and can we suppose that all of these held the glorious faith of resurrection, and that Job alone of the ancient faithful did not ?
But we go much farther than an inference from this chapter. The 6th verse tells us that, “Without faith, it is impossible to please God." Now, what is the faith which is here declared to be essential ? It embraces two great dogmas. The first is faith in the personal existence of God; the second is faith in Him as the rewarder of all who seek Him. Now, where does this chapter tell us that the reward is given to believers ? Not in this life to so much as a single one of them. Some of them, as Abraham and Moses, had as great a share as Job had, in what is called worldly prosperity. Others of them partook largely of the most terrible calamities of life. But neither to one or other of these classes was the reward they looked for given in this present life (ver. 13). But without faith in such a reward as was promised, i.e., faith in a future life, we are told that it is impossible to please God, and we therefore conclude that Job, who pleased God, had such a faith as well as Abel, or Noah, or Abraham, or Moses. Let us now turn to Job's own testimony in his book.
There are two things which Mr. Phillips concedes to have existed in Job's mind on this question of resurrection. The first is, that Job had the idea of it in his mind; the second is, that he longed for it very much (RAINBOW, p. 522). Now, where did Job get his idea of resurrection ? Whence could he possibly get it? Resurrection is not an idea of natural conception. In Nature, that which dies does not rise again. The history of religion, as known to us, is the history of the dying out of the idea. It is possible that the Egyptians in the embalming of their dead intimated the retention of this idea from older times (Gibbon, v. 411). It is very probable that the original idea of resurrection merged into the much more accepted view of the immortality of the soul, which obliterated the idea from whence it sprung. (H. Hody, D.D., “ The Resurrection of the Body," p. 11). But certain it is that the idea of resurrection is not an idea of natural growth, that it has
a perpetual tendency to die out of human conception : that there is but one Book (I make nothing of the Koran of Mahommed, for it is but a copy of the Biblical view, where correct) of religion, the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, where this idea is brought forward, sustained, and developed to its fulness. Whence, then, I ask, did Job get this idea, which undoubtedly was a prominent one in his mind whenever he thought of death? It must have been from tradition from his fathers! And could he have thus received it without also receiving somewhat more of the original tradition, viz., that it was not merely a conception of the mind, but also a verity which should be accomplished in God's dealings with His people ?
Let us now turn to the two passages in his book where Job unquestionably speaks of resurrection, and of the aspect of his own mind to the wondrous conception. We will first turn our thoughts to what he tells us of it in chap. xix. 23-27. Following Mr. Phillips' example, I will give a translation of verses 25-27, which appears to me to be the closest to the original Hebrew.
"I know my Redeemer, Living and Last. He shall stand over the dust. And after they have destroyed my skin this shall be, namely, in my flesh I shall see God. Whom I shall see for me, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another. My reins are consumed in my bosom." I will just make a few observations upon particular words in these verses before I proceed to show what is their general sense.
I have no doubt that “Redeemer" is the best translation for the Hebrew word “gouail” in verse 25. Fürst, whose authority as a Hebrew scholar ranks in the foremost place, gives as its primary sense, “ to free, to redeem, as the life of condemned persons, to redeem captives from slavery, to claim them for freedom." With Fürst Gesenius agrees. There are no higher authorities in the Hebrew language than these. If our readers will turn to the following references, they will find examples of the senses in which this word is used in Scripture, and especially in the earlier Scriptures. It is constantly used for one who pays the price of land sold by a poor brother and gives it back to him, and which transaction is called the “redemption of the land" (Lev.xxv. 25-27). It is frequently used for God's deliverance of His people Israel from captivity (Exod xv. 13; vi. 6; Psalm cvii. 2). It is used also for God's deliverance of individual believers from evil of every kind (Gen. xlviii. 16; Psalm cxix. 154; Isa. xlvii. 4; lxiii. 16). It is also used for God's deliverance of His people from the grave by their resurrection (Hos. xiii. 7). “Redeemer" then would appear to be the very best translation for this word in Job xix. 25, where Job evidently looks to the person spoken of as the object of his hope and trust.
With Mr. Phillips, I prefer the “ Last” as the translation of the Hebrew word “akharoun" in ver. 25, and think it applied rather to the person spoken of as “Redeemer " than to the time when He should stand over the dust. The Hebrew is equally capable, I believe, of both senses.
I differ from Mr. Phillips in preferring the authorised version “in my flesh " to his proposed emendation, “ without my flesh." The Hebrew prefix mi is equally capable of both translations, and it depends altogether on the general sense of a passage which translation is to be chosen. Mr. Phillips's translation" without" is altogether inadmissible, as I will now proceed to show.
There is no doubt that in the passage before us, Job expresses his full and confident faith that he will see God at some time or other. No one, I believe, disputes this. Mr. Phillips does not dispute it, but holds it, and therefore I need say no more upon this all-important point. Job, in misery, hating life since it was now only a burden, expresses his certain faith that at some future time he himself with his own eyes should behold God, and that this sight of God should be a blessing and a benefit to him. So far as this goes, there is here no dispute.
Now, when did Job expect to see God with that clear view that he speaks of here ? Certainly not in this life. He tells us that it was after his skin was destroyed that he expected it, and therefore, he does not refer to any clearing up of his doubts which he might have in this life, such as he speaks of in ch. xlii. 4-6. He looks forward to some other state and some other life beyond this present state and life as that in which his eyes should look upon God, and he should receive blessing from the glorious sight.
Now, there are hence but two states during which he could possibly have looked for this sight of God. The one was the state of death, of which he had a clear and defined idea. The other was the state of resurrection, of which he also had a definite idea. Which of these are we to suppose was in his mind ?
Certainly not the state of death. He has described that state too often and too minutely to allow us to suppose any such idea to have been in his mind (chap. xiv. 13-22). With Job, death was, while it should last, the end of life, whether that life was one of prosperity or woe. It was a deep, quiet sleep, undisturbed by sorrow or by joy. The almost infinite varieties of this life were there brought to one common level. But as Mr. Phillips fully admits this, I need say nothing further upon it (RAINBOW, p. 521).
But when this is disposed of, there only remains the conclusion that Job looked to see God in and through resurrection; and, since he was confident that he should see God, he was equally confident of that resurrection in which he was to see Him. Of his sight of God he had no doubt. He did not look for it in this life. He did not look for it during death. He therefore looked for it in that bodily resurrection of which he certainly had the conception. And what is there incredible or improbable in such a supposition ? If Abel, Noah, Abraham, Moses believed in this resurrection, why
should not Job ? He lived a life of holy obedience and trust in God which could only be based on such a belief. Everything might go against him here. The trouble which had descended upon him with its fearful weight might continue to the close of life. A terrible death might close the life of the patient and the apright man! Yet still Job would " trust” in God (chap. xiii. 15). We may surely then, without doubt, take the passage that is so familiar to all our ears, especially when we mourn for our dead, as expressive of the old patriarchal faith of Job, that there would be a resurrection from the dead. He believed in his Redeemer, the seed of Eve, and yet the ever living, the First and the Last, who should at a coming time stand over the dust of His sleeping ones; and lo, the sleepers should hear His voice, and feel the influence of His Almighty Spirit, and wake up and look upon the God of their redemption.
We now turn to the 14th chapter of Job, to which the patriarch's utterances in chap. xix. 25-28 give us, where we require it, the key, Of the translation of this chapter, as given us in our authorised version, we do not require to make any observation except that, with Mr. Phillips, we prefer “warfare” as the translation to " appointed time” in ver. 14.
In the opening verses of this chapter Job speaks of the brevity of human life. When he comes to vers. 7-12, he compares together the cutting down of a tree by the axe of the woodman with the cutting down of human life by the scythe of death. There is hope of the growth of the tree again by a natural process; there is no hope of the continuance of life to the dead man by any or by all the processes of nature.
Let us remember that in this comparison of the tree and man, while there is an external resemblance there is an internal and essential difference. The cut down tree is, to all appearance, dead. It has no bough, no leaf. All that appears of it is the stock, and it decays and rots, and dies into the ground. But though all this happened, and though the root was old, there was yet in it a principle of life which moisture and heat would encourage and give strength to, so that it should once more send forth boughs like a plant.
But not so when man was cut down by the stroke of death. He was not more apparently dead than was the tree, but he was really more so. In him there remained no latent principle of life which might, if cherished, return to the exercises of the old existence again. No medicine could heal the deadly wound. No skill of science could restore the life. No powers of nature could draw forth a power which had gone finally away.
But was there, therefore, no hope for man in death? There was. Job looks on to a far distant time; the consummation of all things, when the heavens should be no more. It was distant; he knew not how far. It was to human thought a very, very distant thing.