At the request of Mrs. Elizabeth King, only daughter of the late Mrs. Ruth Hoyt, whose obituary was published in the preceding number of this paper, we publish our views on the following portion of the scriptures. We had failed to learn that the deceased had expressed a desire that it should be preached from until after her funeral. The deceased had been very much exercised in her mind some years ago, and it was believed by those who conversed with her that she had passed from death unto life. The interest manifested by her in this text strengthens the hope that she felt in her declining hours the blissful assurance of hope in the living Redeemer.
“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; though my reins be consumed within me (Job 19:25-27).”
The book of Job is supposed to have been written by Moses, and is regarded as a most sublime and sacred poem, parabolically presenting the church of God in the person of Job, in all her various phases in which her patience and integrity are subjected to the severest tests, and the end of the Lord, or design and purpose of God, in suffering Satan to afflict his chosen ones, is made to appear. “Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy (James 5:11).” Like all other parts of the holy scriptures, this book of Job was written by inspiration of God; for as the inspired truth of God, it is referred to and recognized by prophets and apostles. That there was a man that dwelt in the land of Uz, whose name was Job, is beyond all contradiction, true; for God himself declares it; and that all that is written of him in this book is strictly true we have no doubt. But while such are our firm convictions, we still believe that like David and others, what was written of Job was designed to allegorically apply to the church and the people of God. As his name signifies patience, it is applicable not only to him as an individual, but is applicable to the patience of all the people of God. As Job’s patience was sorely tried by afflictions, bereavements, temptations, physical and mental sufferings; by disappointment in those whom he had once regarded as his friends and confidential advisers, and by cruel persecutions, so also have all the people of God been tried in all ages. “A poor and afflicted people, who trust in the name of the Lord.” “For if any man will live godly in Christ Jesus, he shall suffer persecution.”
Satan thought, and many of his ministers have fallen into the same error, that Job was what in modem times is called an Arminian; that he served God for pay, and from selfish motives, and not from the power and vitality of the love of God implanted in his heart; and hence his challenge, “Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face (Job 1:9-11).”
How many such dialogues as are described in this connection have transpired in the experience of the children of God, by the Spirit of the Lord in the saints, and the spirit of Satan in the flesh. How keenly do the saints of God from time to time writhe with pain from the envenomed suggestions of the Devil, suggesting to them that their religion is only natural and selfish, and that their devotion and obedience to God springs not from the power of an endless life, but from the law of a carnal commandment. Now the end of the Lord, that is, the purpose of God in all the trials and afflictions of his people is to prove the power of his sustaining grace, by the trial of their faith, and patience, and to show beyond all controversy that their righteousness is of the Lord; and that their faith, patience, submission, and hope are fruits, not of their carnal nature reformed, but of his own Spirit implanted in them.
Now carefully review the whole experience of Job, and see if we do not find in it portrayed the general experience of all the children of God. Plunged in deep distress, stripped of his worldly subsistence, bereaved of his children, tortured with distressing loathsome biles; surrounded with miserable comforters who instead of condoling sympathy and words of comfort, reproach and taunt him; while he vainly appeals to them for pity; and to make his misery complete, the presence of his God is withdrawn, and in bitterness of spirit, he cries out, “O that I knew where I might find him.” Under all this weight of sorrow and distress, his faith in God shines out from his darkness like the bow of divine assurance painted in living colors on the lowering cloud; or as the rising sun in his radiant strength dissipating the lowering shades of unbelief. Faith, triumphant over fear, shouts the victory; “I know that my Redeemer liveth.” Although a sinner needing redemption; and without the least power of my own to make myself just with God, (see Job 9:1) God has graciously provided for me a “Days Man,” one who can lay his hand on both, who can secure all the honor of the throne of God; magnify and honor the divine law which I have transgressed; meet and cancel every demand of God’s eternal justice, and yet deliver me from death; save me from hell; clothe me with the righteousness of God; and freely, effectually and forever justify me through the redemption that is in him. Such a Redeemer was seen clearly by the faith of the Son of God as exemplified in Job, fifteen hundred and twenty years before the advent of our Lord Jesus Christ to our guilty world. This is the cheering language of faith; living faith, tried faith, and faith that overcometh the world. Dark gloomy clouds may gather thickly around; tempests may spread their mightiest storms, and bellowing thunders shake the arched skies; but the undaunted faith of God’s elect will surely reassert its conquering power, and bear its humble possessor safely through the final “wreck of matter and the crash of worlds.” Esteemed friends, as in the case of Job, may withhold their tender sympathy in the time of our severest trials, and even load us with their cruel reproach; but as the lightning’s brilliant flash upon surrounding darkness, our faith will disclose to us the cheering knowledge that “Our Redeemer liveth.” Through the dim vista of more than fifteen centuries intervening between the day of Job and the incarnation of the Son of God, like Abraham at a still more distant standpoint, he saw the day, rejoiced in it and was glad. “He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.” This testimony of Christ was, and is, the Spirit of prophecy. It was the Spirit of Christ in Job, and in the prophets that in them did testify of his coming, of his sufferings, and of the glory that should follow. So far as the first advent of the Redeemer is expressed in our text, it was fulfilled when the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us; from the assurance expressed by Job, that he should see him, and his eyes should behold him in the latter day; we understand him to be speaking of the second coming of the Son of God, as it is testified by Paul, “And unto them that look for him, shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” When he shall come to raise the dead and judge the world at the last day.
This application of the prediction seems in harmony with the assurance of the faith of Job, that he should personally see him, and his eyes behold him, and in his flesh; even after his flesh should be destroyed by worms, and his reins consumed within him. This seems to be in substance what Paul expressed in Philippians 3:10, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings,” etc.
As the faith of all the saints looks for a blessed resurrection, and happy immortality, so Job, after conceding the weakness and mortality of his flesh, and all his fleshly powers, admitting that, my property may perish, my children die, my earthly joys may all be blasted, and my skin and my body become food for greedy worms, and my reins, or all my vital fleshly powers, possessions, affections and interests must fail, and decompose in the grave; this, even this, shall not disturb the purpose of God, or hinder the fulfillment of his promises. “I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another.” This faith was the same in the psalmist, “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness. I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness (Psalm 17:15).” The deep afflictions through which Job was passing were breaking down his mortal powers and consuming his life, and wearisome nights were appointed to him; still, like the psalmist, he could say, “My flesh and my heart faileth, but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever.” Although to the grave I bow down my head, and yield my flesh and say unto corruption, Thou art my father; to the worm, Thou art my mother, and my sister; yet with the perfect assurance that I have a living Redeemer who shall deliver me from death and bring me forth at last in triumph from the grave.
January 15, 1867.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 6
Pages 433 - 437