In these verses, Job speaks about some pretty heavy doctrines. He touches on the eternal nature of God (alive then and will stand at the end) and the fact of salvation through redemption (my Redeemer lives). But the one that hits me hardest this morning is the doctrine of resurrection.
In Jesus’ time, the Jews had a split amongst the hardcore. Some, Pharisees, believed in a resurrection. Others, Sadducees, did not. Job is thought to be the oldest book in The Bible with regard to the time it was written and yet there were folks in the hardcore religious community who missed Job’s statement about seeing God with his own eyes (Whom I myself shall behold … whom my eyes will see). This is one of the most straightforward statements about resurrection in scripture. And Job just tosses it off like everyone ought to know this.
Job’s statement teaches me some things. First, I will not be some disembodied spirit through all eternity. I will have a body of my own. Point of fact, Job’s statement seems to indicate that I will have this body in some fashion as he speaks of seeing God from his flesh and with his own eyes. Which leads nicely into the second thing: I will, in some fashion, have the same body I have now. This is supported by Jesus being recognized by His disciples in His resurrected body. Third, Job expects to be very much alive at the end of everything and in a body that will allow him to check things out.
While all of that is great doctrinal stuff, doctrine in itself is useless unless it informs how I live my life in the here and now. And it does. I do not know what God’s plan is with regard to resurrected bodies Will He repurpose this one into something better? Will this one serve as a template on which to base the new? Will the new simply be this one with all its imperfections purged? I just don’t know. This means that what I do in and with this body matters. This should not drive me to become some OCD health nut, but it should inspire me to take care of this body as well as time and opportunity allow. This should not lead me to the gym until I’m some ripply, beastly specimen of too much time spent working out, but it should give me a reason to stay active. It means that piercings and tattoos and any sort of modification should be considered carefully, because I do not know whether or not I will bear those marks throughout the rest of eternity. Later, Paul will write that the body of the believer is the temple of the Holy Spirit and that carries with it much the same implications as Job’s insinuation that this body will, in some form, be what I spend the rest of eternity in. Job gives the oldest example of the doctrine of the resurrection. We will stand before God and we will see Him with eyes of flesh and blood. We will be alive. For those who have placed their faith in our Redeemer — Jesus Christ — we will be much more alive than we have ever been. Let me live now with the knowledge that this body may abide in some form and let me make my decisions about what is done to this body — e.g. tattoos and piercings — with that knowledge before me.