The Assurance Of Eternity
March 28, 2019
It is amazing to see how the Word of God accounts for all things. The Bible deals with all subject matter and all circumstances that are important to the development of our relationship with God. When we read the Bible and see these things, it really becomes a marvel to recognize the extent of God’s wisdom. How does He know all this stuff? How does God account for issues and challenges that have not yet arrived? Consider how much prophecy exists in the Bible, and the extent of fulfillment. God spoke about future events and then those events took place exactly as God warned. This shows that God’s knowledge of the future is not so much related to “prediction.” God’s proclamations concerning the future deal with His purposes. God says things are going to happen in the future because He is going to make those things happen. There is no chance of those events being unfulfilled. The Word of God is true and right 100% of the time!
Even more amazing is when God uses His people to speak things concerning His will and purposes without them even knowing! For example, when the Jewish religious leaders were plotting against Jesus, Caiaphas the high priest, said this of Jesus in John 11:49-50:
“You know nothing at all, nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish.”
Here, Caiaphas was stating the purpose of Jesus’ death. Caiaphas plainly prophesied that it was better for Jesus to die, rather than the rest of the world. Without knowing it, Caiaphas was referring to Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world! The very next verse goes on to say that Caiaphas didn’t speak this of Jesus by his own authority, not knowing the full depth of what he was saying. Still, God used him to make this proclamation that was fulfilled soon after. The Bible shows that God did these sorts of things with Jacob, Joseph, Saul, and many times through King David in the Psalms.
Of course, God also used Job to speak in this sort of prophetic manner. The testimony of Job 19:23-29 shows that Job, without knowing, had incredible desires for God to do specific works, that God actually did later on! As Job vented about the truth of human compassion, and the weakness of it, he pleaded with God that an opportunity would arise for his pains and sorrows to be documented. Job felt that his story should be told. Job wanted others to know about, not only the truth of his suffering, but the truth of human nature. The nature of people to selfishly and fearfully abandon those in need. The nature of people to be presumptuous. The nature of people to be accusatory instead of merciful. The nature of people to be hopeless and fearful. Job hoped that his story could be told to people in the coming generations so that they could learn from his trials and hopefully navigate them with hope.
Job pleaded with God, hoping that his testimony could be written. Job desired that his story would be inscribed in a book. He went so far as to say that he wished his trials could be engraved on a rock! Talk about making blind prophetic statements! Job’s desires were fulfilled in ways he couldn’t have possibly imagined. Job’s testimony was written and inscribed in a book – the Word of God. Job’s testimony was even engraved on a rock – the Rock of Jesus Christ, who is the Word of God incarnate. Job hoped that his testimony could be everlasting, and figured if God were the One to honor his desire, his testimony would be everlasting because God is everlasting. After pleading with God for this request, he exclaimed that his Redeemer lives! Job was sure. He stated that he knew his Redeemer lived. This explains a few important truths. First, Job trusted that the suffering of this life was not the end for him. Job previously explained his hope and trusted that God would certainly bring restoration to his life in eternity. Job believed this was possible because God is eternal. Death doesn’t affect God. Death doesn’t weaken God. God transcends death to the point that He can continue to bless and provide increase even for those who have died in this world. Job knew that because God lives, he could live too. Since God lives, his testimony could be written and preserved for eternal distribution and benefit because of God’s nature.
Secondly, Job was confident in God’s ability to preserve Job’s testimony because he knew that he would exist in a new form that will never experience corruption or decay. Recall that Job lived during the days of Abraham, yet seemed to know about and trust in God’s promise to provide new bodies. Job was sure that his skin would dissolve in this life, but that he would later see God “in his flesh.” Job knew that he would be able to plead his case concerning his testimony, face-to-face with God because of the assurance he had based on what he knew of God. While he felt like an enemy in this life because of his suffering, he knew God to be merciful and powerful to save his soul from death, restore a new body to enable his worship, and then, graciously provide the opportunity to share compassion with others through his testimony. This doesn’t mean that Job felt he would be reincarnated to help future generations. It just shows that Job placed all of his trust in the eternal nature of God, knowing that He who is able to fashion a new incorruptible body for the soul in the heavens, is able to ensure the preservation of his testimony so as to help those who live in this world and suffer like Job did.
Job was so enamored with the glory and power of the eternal God, that he confessed, He was the only One he was interested in seeing in heaven. Though Job’s kids had already died, Job wanted to see God more. Though Job’s friends might have been well-intentioned believers, their treatment of him made it simple for Job to decide. Job wanted to see God more than anything, and knew that the nature of God’s everlasting power could make that happen! People had failed Job on this earth is many ways, and continued to do so. Why seek to see those who provide and promote such grief? Why not long to see He who is unchanging in perfection, glory, righteousness, and power? Job explained that his heart yearned within him. This was what Job wanted more than anything. Of course, someone who had suffered so much clearly lost hope for this life. Job didn’t see much value in this life anymore – and rightly so. Though it seems pitiful for Job to live in the condition he did, consider the sovereign hand of God that used this sort of suffering to teach Job about the value of God’s eternal nature and promises. Jesus taught that those who desire to follow Him into the kingdom must hate this life and value eternal life far more. God the Father had taught Job to do this through his suffering, and was now using Job as a tool to prophetically speak about the hope of eternal life and His future promises!
How would Job have responded if he knew what God would do with his life from the beginning? Of course, Job didn’t know that his life would be documented. Of course, Job didn’t know that his testimony would end up being canonized scripture. There’s no way Job could have known that his desires would be fulfilled to the extent that they were. Job wanted his story written down, and God went far beyond that! God documented the events of Job’s life in such a manner that, we not only learn about human depravity and weakness, but more importantly, God’s sovereign control and providential care. God made Job’s life a part of His eternal Word and revelation because in it we learn the righteousness of God, the mercy of God, the grace of God, the patience of God, the justice of God, the redemption of God, the hope of God, and the glory of God. Job didn’t know that at the time, yet still, this is what hindsight clearly displays!
In Ephesians 2:10 the Bible explains that we are God’s workmanship. The word used to describe “workmanship” is the Greek word “poiema,” which is where we get the English word for “poem.” In other words, our lives are the creative writings of God that reveal His character and nature. God has been doing the same work in every life as He did in Job’s. God does this work in different ways, but to some degree, the events of our lives are written testimonies that still explain who God is. Our lives are still prophetic pictures of Jesus as we’re conformed into His image as new creations. Our lives are still modeled after the righteousness of God as revealed in scripture. Our lives are made up of the same hope that Job longed for. Job knew who God was and valued Him more than anything. Notice that the profound proclamations of Job’s life were declared during the time he physically suffered most. Thus, the Bible shows that, when we go through trials, the revelation and value of God becomes much clearer and our appreciation of Him, much more true.
This is why Job finished his exclamation with a warning to his friends. Job had learned a lot about God through his trials. He was not so sure that his friends were learning about God. He demanded that they stop persecuting him and blaming him for the cause of his suffering. Job was confident in what God would do with Job’s life in eternity. He knew he was not condemned. He was not so sure about his friends, who continued to speak condemnation towards Job. Thus, those who seek to tear down the people of God run the risk of being torn down by God. God’s people can be assured by the hope of His eternal promises, but those who try to point out all the faults of others at the expense of their own issues, should remember that God will deal with that attitude justly in the end.