What Job Knew
It is possible to fall into the trap of assuming that Old Testament saints knew very little compared to us. This is especially true of some of the early saints, such as Abraham, Moses and Job. However, we must bear in mind what the scriptures say about such individuals; the Lord Jesus told the Jews that ‘Abraham rejoiced to see My day; and he saw it, and was glad’ (Jn. 8:56, KJV). What degree of revelation Abraham had is the matter of debate, but one thing is certain; he believed in a coming Messiah. Of Moses, the Hebrew writer states; ‘He regarded abuse suffered for Christ to be greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for his eyes were fixed on the reward’ (Heb. 10:26, NET). He didn’t know Christ in the way we do, but again, he believed in a coming Messiah, and considered Him worthy of his suffering. Far from being unenlightened, disadvantaged saints, these were individuals who had received revelation from God directly.
Job tells us himself exactly what he knew, and as we will see, he knew a lot; ‘I know that My redeemer liveth, And that He shall stand at the latter day, upon the earth…Whom I shall see for myself’ (Job 19:25, 27, KJV). Job outlines three truths that at a time and in a manner unknown to us, God had revealed directly; 1) Redemption; 2) Manifestation; 3) Personal resurrection. Let’s consider these for a moment in light of our remembrance of our Saviour again this Lord’s Day.
Job thought that he was going to die. Imagine the scene; he is sitting in the worst of health–we sometimes think that Job escaped with just a few boils, but God told Satan that he could do what he liked with him, apart from taking his life–with three ‘friends’ who he refers to as ‘miserable comforters’ and ‘worthless physicians.’ The trials continue to come in the form of their relentless speeches, which struck just one note–‘God blesses the just and punishes the unjust; you are being punished; thus, you are unjust’–and culminate at the end of chapter 18 with Bildad declaring, ‘Job, you don’t know God!’ (18:21, my paraphrase). This prompts Job to respond with a speech which culminates with what he actually knows. ‘Bildad, you might think that I don’t know God, but here is what I know…I know that my redeemer lives!’
What a declaration! At a time when the specific revelation of the Redeemer was just a fragment, Job knows that He lives! It is not that he suspects that He lives, or that he has heard a rumour–He knows! To know is to have certainty and confidence. We look back through the lens of the completed revelation of the scriptures. We know about the resurrection, and so we can join Job in his confidence, but how great to be able to have the confidence to say ‘I know He lives’ without the scriptures and in the midst of extreme suffering.
But Job does not end there. In a further remarkable statement he declares; ‘I know…that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.’ How are we to understand this? Some might point out that the phrase ‘latter day’ doesn’t necessarily mean the ‘last day’ and might translate it as ‘in the end’ (NIV), or ‘eventually’, suggesting that Job was merely predicting the incarnation. But this does not make sense, for Job claims ‘I will see (Him) for myself.’ If Job was expecting to die He could not be just predicting the incarnation, for in dying he would miss it.
Rather, Job knows that His Redeemer will stand, but more, he knows when–‘at the last day’–and where–‘upon the earth.’ In addition to redemption, Job knew about the public manifestation and vindication of Christ, and in a stunning denouement, he tells us that despite the fact that he fully expects to die, he will see Him for himself. So, add personal resurrection, and by inference Christ’s incarnation and resurrection to the list of what Job knew. Job had a panoramic view of the blueprint for the ages and fully expected to be part of it (cp. Dan. 12:1-2).
As you prepare to remember Him again today, make use of your New Testament to fill in the gaps. Revel in the profundity of His incarnation, the passion of His crucifixion, the power of His resurrection, the priority of His coming for His saints, and the publicity of His manifestation.