Job Chapter 14: Job Feels Death Near, He Desires the ResurrectionMar 17th, 2010 | By admin | Category: 1 & 2 Kings, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)
Job Chapter 14: Job Feels Death Near, He Desires the Resurrection
Job 14:1 Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.
Comment: The brevity and turmoil of life are expressed here.
Reply: Yes. To the Lord, a thousand years are as one day, and a day is as a thousand years. Moreover, we have no idea how long the angels have been living. Therefore, the life span of man is even less than a drop in the bucket, as it were.
Job 14:2 He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not.
In discussing the brevity of life, Job noted that a babe comes forth like a flower. To a certain extent, the axiom is true that all babies are beautiful; that is, they are beautiful until they grow up. It is almost as though God, in nature, has made babies attractive so that the parents care for and cuddle them, but as time goes on, the genetic makeup, disease, and/or an accident causes the individual to become less attractive. The older one gets, the more certain it is that infirmities and blemishes will come forth.
Job 14:3 And dost thou open thine eyes upon such an one, and bringest me into judgment with thee?
Job 14:4 Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.
Job considered himself a member of a fallen race. His profound question, “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?” is often used to show that a ransom to redeem man cannot come from the fallen human race. Therefore, some being from outside the human race had to provide the Ransom for Adam. To think of someone lifting this sin-benighted, diseased earth out of the quagmire of sin would be hopeless if the matter were viewed from the natural standpoint, for the human race is beyond human repair. Only Divinity can provide a solution.
We are very blessed to know about and understand the philosophy of the Ransom as part of the Harvest message. With the limited knowledge man had from the time the apostles went off the scene until the Harvest, Christians were justified by simply believing what God said but without understanding. A somewhat analogous example is that the Ancient Worthies performed sacrifices that God ordained, even though they did not understand the philosophy behind the sacrifices, because they trusted He had a reason. Their faith and trust in an unseen, intelligent, pure Creator were rewarded.
Job 14:5 Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass;
A decree was put on the human race: “in the day that thou [Adam] eatest thereof dying thou shalt die” (Gen. 2:17; see KJV margin). Therefore, all things being equal, no one has lived more than a thousand years. Methuselah, the oldest human being, lived to age 969. However, while all are under the penalty of death from a legalistic standpoint, the execution of that penalty is another matter.
Job 14:6 Turn from him, that he may rest, till he shall accomplish, as an hireling, his day.
“Turn from him [man], that he may rest.” Behind this philosophical bent of mind and the comments, Job was referring to himself. He was saying to God, “Turn from me, that I may rest, till I shall accomplish, as an hireling, my day.”
Comment: Feeling his time of death was near, Job wanted to be left alone and relieved of his pain. Following verses show that a tree stump has the hope of coming back, but he did not.
Reply: Yes, Job wanted to be left alone. Of course he believed in a resurrection but not anytime soon. Job saw there was hope of a future life but only in the very long term.
Q: What is the thought of a “hireling” in this context? In the KJV margin, the Hebrew word translated “accomplish” is given an alternate of “cease.”
A: A hireling who works all day is entitled to some rest from his labor. Accordingly, Job was asking God for cessation from the travail so that he could die in peace.
Job 14:7 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.
We have all observed that if a tree is cut down, a shoot will come up and, if left alone, grow into a tree again. Resurrection is frequently seen in the botanical realm. For instance, if a potato, a fruit of the ground, is cut into pieces and buried, it will grow into a plant and bear fruit the next season. Following a short cessation of life, there is a coming forth. “Truth, though crushed to earth, will rise again” is a slogan. In a generation or so, something beneficial may come out of a temporary repression, but while the repression is happening, it seems to be an unendurable experience of an interminable length of time. Job saw the reality of a resurrection as being long-term down the road.
Job 14:8 Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground;
We are reminded of Jesus’ and the Apostle Paul’s reasoning on the resurrection using the illustration of a seed. Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit” (John 12:24).
Paul’s words were, “But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body” (1 Cor. 15:35-38 ). In other words, a seed has to die in the ground in order to come forth as a plant or tree or whatever.
In Fort Masada in Israel, because of the manner in which the Jews committed suicide, their corpses, with one or two exceptions, were never found. However, about a thousand years later, seeds of grain were found, and those seeds, if put in the ground, grew and produced edible crops. Thus the seed, while dry and alive in the bin, has to die in the ground and be given water in order to come forth as fruitage.
In mentioning the root waxing old in the earth and the stock dying in the ground, Job’s thought was, “What I am saying now is sort of a contradiction. I am old and withered. If I die, I do not expect to come forth right away, but in nature, fruit comes forth within a short time cycle, usually seasonal.” Job was comparing long-term and short-term revival.
It so happened that while Job was now noting the short-term revival in nature, that same thing happened to him later, when he was restored to favor. But Job’s experience was the exception, not the norm. It is a rarity indeed for anyone to be brought forth from the tomb. How many “Lazaruses” have been awakened from death?
Job 14:9 Yet through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant.
Job 14:10 But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he?
In verse 10, Job was again speaking of man (himself) as short-term. Man dies and is gone.
Comment: One cannot pour water on a dead man and have him spring back to life.
Job 14:11 As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up:
What is the allusion here? What kind of waters? Wadis overflow with water for a brief time, but for most of the year, they are dry, barren valleys. Rivers also dry up, and so do “seas.”
Incidentally, a large inland sea in Russia, the Aral, which is located at the foot of the Ural Mountains, has been radically drying up.
Job 14:12 So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.
“So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the [earthly figurative] heavens be no more.” However, Job did expect a resurrection.
Job 14:13 O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me!
Verse 13 is self-explanatory, proving that Job believed in a resurrection in the far-off future. Of course “grave” is the Hebrew sheol here.
Job 14:14 If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.
Job asked a question: “If a man die, shall he live again?” Then he answered the question in the affirmative. “All the days of my appointed time will I wait [asleep in the tomb], till my change come.” In verse 12, Job likened death to a sleep. Thus he had knowledge of the sleep of death, but the awakening was way, way down the road.
Job 14:15 Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands.
Q: How did Job know there would be a resurrection?
A: Based on verses 12-14, Job obviously expected to die and knew that he would remain in the tomb state until an “appointed time” when his Redeemer would call and awaken him from the sleep of death. Job’s knowledge was quite different from what we might normally expect in light of present truth. We are spoiled, as it were, with our much knowledge yet not having the horrific experiences commensurate with what we have received. Job 19:25-27 reads, “For 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 [a pretender—see KJV margin]; though my reins be consumed within me.” Of course Job did not understand the distinction of natures and the limitations that man has down here in the flesh, for God’s divine nature in glory is so powerful that no man can see Him and live. But that was not Job’s understanding, so we will have a brief review now.
“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive …went out, not knowing whither he went…. For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God…. These [the Ancient Worthies] all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off … and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country…. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city” (Heb. 11:8,10,13,14,16).
Two points especially stand out in this citation: (1) The Ancient Worthies saw “them [the promises] afar off.” Even though the Ancient Worthies looked for a future Kingdom and a reward for their faithfulness to God, they saw that the Redeemer was way down the stream of time—that many, many years would elapse before they would realize their expectation and hope. (2) They desired a “heavenly” country.
Now we again quote Job 19:25, “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.” Job’s expectation with regard to the resurrection was very much like that of Christians for 1,500 years down through the Gospel Age. There was a dearth of knowledge with both the Ancient Worthies and the Christian Church on the permission of evil and the doctrine of restitution. The Pastor gave an unusual explanation of the Parable of the Lost Coin, saying that the lost coin was the doctrine of restitution, which was clearly understood by the Apostle Paul but not subsequently until the Harvest period. Restitution, with two major salvations, one spiritual and one earthly, is one of the lost doctrines that the Lord brought to light through the ministry of Pastor Russell.
Let us imagine that we were living at the time of Job. Moses had not yet come on the scene, so the Law, with all of its pictures and explanations, was not available. Therefore, Job was thinking on these future topics from his perspective. When Jesus came at his First Advent, he brought to light life and immortality (2 Tim. 1:10). In other words, the distinction between life and immortality was not clearly understood until the gospel came, and the Apostle Paul was permitted to elucidate the two subjects in much greater detail.
What made the Ancient Worthies think their reward would, in reality, be heavenly? Hebrews chapter 11 mentions that Abraham looked for a city whose builder and maker was God, and the context shows the Ancient Worthies were expecting a heavenly change. Little information was given prior to Job’s day but just enough for us to see how the Ancient Worthies came to this conclusion. A major factor was the translation of Enoch. Later, by means of translation, Elijah was visibly taken up into heaven and disappeared, and Philip was translated in the Gospel Age from the riverside, where he baptized the Ethiopian eunuch, to a city at least 20 miles away called Azotus. But Job was only familiar with the translation of Enoch. “And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him” (Gen. 5:21-24). We believe that this translation (or disappearance) of Enoch—his being snatched away with a rapture—was known to those who lived before the Flood. During Enoch’s 365-year residence in that locale, there came a remarkable change. The Pastor surmised that Enoch was translated to another planet, the point being that Enoch did not die. Two Reprint articles state that Enoch has never died, even though he was under the death sentence. Enoch could live longer than the thousand-year day because the death penalty was specifically on Adam, who had to die within that time period. In other words, the prohibition placed on Adam did not necessarily apply to Adam’s progeny.
Hebrews 11:5 also tells of Enoch’s translation: “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” “Translation” in the context used here means that Enoch was bodily taken from one place and borne away to another place.
Let us consider this Scripture again: “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death [that is, not experience death]; and was not found [why?], because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” Surely the people who lived before the Flood realized what had happened to Enoch, and that information would have been carried over into the time period of Job, even though he lived 700 or 800 years after the Deluge. Certainly Job knew about Enoch because Noah and Shem lived after the Flood, let alone Ham and Japheth, so a lot of information of what had occurred before the Flood was made available to Adam’s children after the Flood.
When angels appeared to men, they appeared in bodily form, generally speaking. Sometimes they appeared as a stranger with no special glory attached to them and, consequently, did not overawe humans with their presence, but in other cases, they stunned people when they materialized in their mission from God to impart information. The point is that if we were Job and only this limited information was available to us, we would think the difference between angels and men was that the former could materialize and disappear (dematerialize) and that they were from some unknown region in heaven where God abides. If we were in Job’s place, we would have little knowledge of the spirit nature itself, and this is one reason why Job pictures the thinking of the Christian Church down through the Gospel Age. It is also the reason why the concept of a visible physical rapture is so prevalent among a number of Christians today. This limited information was the common understanding of true Christians during much of the Gospel Age but not at the beginning of or in the Harvest period. When God’s true people did not have the whole Bible, just fragments, their faithfulness to Christ as their Savior and the persecution they received for their faithfulness were sufficient for them to make their calling and election sure.
Genesis 6:2 is another condition Job would have known about. The angels of God, beholding that the daughters of men were fair, “took … wives of all which they chose.” To do so, those angels had to materialize, and not only were they in a bodily form but they married women down here. This information opens up another panoramic vision. The angels are called “sons of God”; that is, they are all males. We never hear of a “daughter” of God, yet the angels were created with the ability to procreate. In other words, God instituted a procreative ability in their frame, but they were never tempted because there were no females. However, when Eve was created and the angels saw her beauty, latent sexual desires came forth—desires that had not surfaced up to that time because they lived in a pure atmosphere such as we will attain if faithful. Because of the atmosphere and purity of the Kingdom change, there will be no more evil thoughts and no more inordinate desires.
The point is that angels had a procreative ability; they were created in the image of God as spirit beings yet were like Adam, an earthly creature, with regard to procreation. Therefore, when the angels materialized, they had the ability to procreate, and now that there were women who could bring forth children, disobedient angels with inordinate sexual desires produced children who became “giants in the earth” (Gen. 6:4). Angels could never have had children at all unless God, the Creator, had given them that capability. Thus only God possesses the privilege of giving to other individuals the ability of creation of any kind; that is, others get the ability to procreate in a secondary sense from the Creator.
And so, based on the accounts of Enoch and the angels before the Flood, Job would think the difference between a perfect earthly being and a spirit being was the ability to materialize and dematerialize. Furthermore, with his limited understanding, he would think that when the fallen angels dematerialized, they returned to a physical condition in another realm in heaven.
With the institution of the Mosaic Law and the coming of the prophets, the understanding got increasingly clearer little by little, and then later, when Jesus Christ came with his new gospel, an abundance of information was provided to give a startlingly clearer understanding. Of course Jesus could not expound on these subjects because the Holy Spirit was not given until Pentecost, so the Apostle Paul was used for further revelation. Today we have a tremendous understanding of these principles and doctrines—and a correspondingly greater responsibility for the knowledge we possess. An experience yet future along this line will come on the Church to test each of the consecrated as to true worthiness or unworthiness.
When all of Job’s statements are considered, we see that he did not expect, when awakened from the tomb, to come back to the locale of the land of Uz. He did not expect to see the land of Uz anymore, for that condition was fading and ephemeral—it was past history, and there would be a completely new situation. With these thoughts in mind, we can understand a little more clearly what he was thinking when he uttered some of the statements in subsequent chapters. Otherwise, to think of just earthly restitution for Job, we would be puzzled by certain statements. The Ancient Worthies had a spiritual hope, but they did not have much knowledge of the work they would be doing down here during the Kingdom Age. Likewise, they did not understand the philosophy of the permission of evil, the Ransom, etc.; they simply took God’s word that He would send a Redeemer.
Incidentally, when Hebrews 11:13 says, “These all died in faith, not having received the promises,” we know Enoch was an exception to the general rule because verse 5 said he was translated so that he would not see death.
Job 14:16 For now thou numberest my steps: dost thou not watch over my sin?
Job was comparing his former state—his previous life before the calamitous events of losing prestige, family, goods, and health—with his current situation. He was honest in his intent to please God and had made several vows to bolster his intention to serve faithfully, but now he could not understand what was happening to him. He felt that God was examining him too closely, that He was being too particular in regard to what faults Job might have. He said, “God is numbering my steps. I am being held accountable for something I cannot comprehend.” Job knew he was not perfect, but his heart intention was perfect.
Job 14:17 My transgression is sealed up in a bag, and thou sewest up mine iniquity.
Comment: Verse 16 is a statement, not a question, in the NIV: “Surely then you will count my steps but not keep track of my sin.” And verse 17 is also a little different from the King James: “My offenses will be sealed up in a bag; you will cover over my sin.”
Reply: The grammar in the Hebrew allows for either a question or a statement in verse 16 and for either translation according to context in verse 17. Sometimes, such as here, it is helpful to view both applications, since both are permissible. The NIV is superior to most translations for the Book of Job.
Job 14:18 And surely the mountain falling cometh to nought, and the rock is removed out of his place.
The context in verses 18-21 indicates a rather pessimistic viewpoint. Christians sometimes sing, “Change and decay all around I see.” When viewing or contrasting their consecration, Christians see that everything around them is eroding and in a state of degradation. Even in nature, mountains of stone are eroding. Water comes down, taking soil with it and washing away rocks. Perhaps in a million or a billion years, the mountains will be a plain. This erosion phenomenon seems to indicate, as do certain Scriptures, that some day in the far distant future, earth’s inhabitants will be translated to planets in other parts of the universe. Ecclesiastes 1:4 states that the earth abides forever, but that text does not necessarily mean that the surface of the earth will abide for eternity. The erosion process in nature can be beautiful, but a time feature is involved. The long-term picture of the planet is one thing, and the short term is another. The short term is obvious with man going into the tomb. Little babies are so beautiful when they are born that it is no wonder people love them. A baby has not yet experienced deterioration, and a young child is just filled with energy. Running around with excitement, the child finally, with sheer loss of energy, falls asleep like a babe. But a child grows to be a teenager, a young man or woman, a mature person, and then an old man or woman—until the Grim Reaper causes the individual to go into the tomb. And so when one looks at the short term and then at the long term, the picture would be rather pessimistic if there were no God.
How thankful we can be for the existence of a wise, benevolent, and intelligent Creator!
Q: On a much smaller scale, the shoes of the Israelites were miraculously sustained so that they did not wear out during the 40 years of the wilderness wanderings. Could not the earth also be miraculously preserved?
A: The wearing out of earth is not a dogmatic view, but it seems reasonable because in all of the other galaxies, there would thus be a testimonial of people who had lived on earth; that is, their testimony would be taken out into the created realm of Jehovah. Certainly in the short term, the washing of the rock that Job observed is a fact of nature, but nature could be renewed just as the leather soles of the Israelites were renewed, if such were God’s will.
“Surely the mountain falling cometh to nought [a mountain becomes a plain], and the rock is removed out of his place [both the loose rock and the eroding rock—see the next verse].”
Job 14:19 The waters wear the stones: thou washest away the things which grow out of the dust of the earth; and thou destroyest the hope of man.
Even diamonds wash into the riverbeds in some areas of earth. In looking around, Job could see change and decay. He was a tremendous philosopher and observer. The three comforters and Elihu were not to be compared to Job, whose superiority becomes very evident as we meditate upon his comments.
Comment: “Thou destroyest the hope of man.” The greatness of God is shown in waters that wear out stones and in mountains that crumble. In comparison, man’s hope in himself is utterly destroyed.
Job 14:20 Thou prevailest for ever against him, and he passeth: thou changest his countenance, and sendest him away.
Job 14:21 His sons come to honour, and he knoweth it not; and they are brought low, but he perceiveth it not of them.
What does verse 21 remind us of?
Comment: King Solomon talked about nature in the Book of Ecclesiastes.
Reply: Although Solomon made similar observations in Ecclesiastes, that is a more negative book. In contrast, the Song of Solomon is a positive book, and the Proverbs are up and down.
Ecclesiastes is a gloomier book because Solomon wrote it in the latter part of his life when he was disappointed with his previous choices and the wrong course he had taken. We could describe Ecclesiastes as penance from the pen of Solomon. He felt that with all the glory he had attained, what had it really amounted to?
In answer to the question, we were thinking more about David. In several of the Psalms, he spoke about nature, going into detail about vegetation, animals, the earth, and the habits of man. His outlook was quite different from that of Solomon. Generally speaking, as far as nature is concerned, David’s outlook was rather optimistic, although of course he did observe the sin of man.
Comment: “His sons come to honour, and he knoweth it not.” The Pastor used this verse to show that there is no knowledge in the grave.
Reply: Yes, this verse is cited, as well as some of David’s words in the Psalms, Solomon’s thoughts in Ecclesiastes, and other comments of Job. In using those statements, we excerpt from Scripture certain verses to prove a point, but when the verses were originally written in their context, that was not the major point being enunciated. For example, when the Ancient Worthies, being perfect, speak on a subject in the Kingdom Age, their doctrinal teaching will be perfect. Since they will be speaking a “thus saith the LORD,” comments could be extrapolated and applied in other areas not specifically intended for emphasis at the time of original utterance. Similarly, the Apostle Paul quoted frequently from the Old Testament and gave a Gospel Age application. This happens so often that many who believe we are now under the New Covenant do not realize that when Paul was excerpting principles and lessons from the Old Testament, he did not mean they were having a full fulfillment at that time. Along the same line, when Jesus cast out the money changers, he said, “It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves” (Matt. 21:13). He was quoting from Isaiah 56:7, but that verse has a Kingdom Age application. By going back to the Old Testament, we often find that the context shows, without question, a Kingdom Age application, but the principle can be used for a Gospel Age application. Thus excerpted statements can be used to prove other points.
Job 14:22 But his flesh upon him shall have pain, and his soul within him shall mourn.
In verse 21, Job said, “When man is in the tomb, there is no knowledge whatsoever in the death state.” Now he was returning to his own experience and discussing the state of the living dead—those who are dead in trespasses and sins but are not in the grave. While man is still living, his days are full of trouble. In fact, man seems to be born for trouble. “His flesh … shall have pain, and his soul … shall mourn.” Young people may feel immortal, but as life goes on, there is deterioration. Even those who are very happy during their lifetime usually have sorrowful experiences, and this is true of both the consecrated and the unconsecrated. The aches and pains of life are a common complaint.