William Kelly Major Works Commentary
Then Job answered and said,Job Chapter 19
"Then Job answered and said (Job 19), How long will ye vex my soul, and break me in pieces with words? These ten times have ye reproached me: ye are not ashamed that ye make yourselves strange to me." And now he takes this ground - Be it that I have sinned without knowing; be it that I have done something displeasing to God! - "mine error," he says, "remaineth with myself. If indeed ye will magnify yourselves against me, and plead against me my reproach; know now that God hath overthrown me" - that was his faith. He takes it all as from God, without knowing what had taken place in heaven. He was to be made to pass through the deepest trouble; but the man that was to be proverbial for patience broke out in a total impatience. There came about the total failure of even a pious man; not merely of a man; not merely of Adam - for Adam fell; he was not born after Job, but Job was born after Adam; and yet after all, that a man so noted for his patience should fail when he was tried! Ah! in Christ there is the contrast. That is where people are so wrong to make this one the type of Christ. No, it is a specimen failing, and a man born of God failing. We want Christ, and cannot do without Christ. That is the true moral of the Book of Job.
"Know now that God hath overthrown me" - it is perfectly true it must have been God allowing all this." Behold, I cry out of wrong, but I am not heard; I cry aloud, but there is no judgment. He hath fenced up my way that I cannot pass, and he hath set darkness in my paths. He hath stripped me of my glory, and taken the crown from my head." All this he felt very deeply. What right has any believer to a crown now? What right has any believer to glory now? Has he not an evil nature to be judged constantly, every day? Does this deserve a crown? Or a man that has that nature to contend with; does that deserve a crown? The day when we shall be crowned is when we have nothing but what is of Christ, every bit of the old man completely passed away. There is where Job had much to learn. "He hath destroyed me on every side, and I am gone; and mine hope hath he removed like a tree. He hath also kindled his wrath against me -" - there he was wrong - "and he counteth me unto him as one of his enemies. His troops come together and raise up their way against me, and encamp round about my tabernacle. He hath put my brethren far from me, and mine acquaintance are verily estranged from me." You know what that is to the heart if you have ever tasted it. "My kinsfolk have failed, and my familiar friends" - he now gets closer - "have forgotten me. They that dwell in mine house, and my maids, count me for a stranger: I am an alien in their sight. "I called my servant" - his man, as we call it, or in modern language, his 'valet' - "and he gave me no answer" (vers. 1-20).
How pitiable! He had come down very low to call upon his dear friends to have pity, and they had nothing but bad suspicion which wounded him to the quick. "Why do ye persecute me as God, and are not satisfied with my flesh?" Have not I suffered enough to satisfy you? "Oh that my words were," etc., not exactly, printed in a book - but that they were impressed upon stone, or whatever might be the way in which writing was accomplished in those days. He refers to a very permanent form - "That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever! For I know that my Redeemer liveth; and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth." This is a most wonderful expression of faith, and the more so when we compare it with what we had last Wednesday evening in the 14th chapter - the resurrection of "man" - not the resurrection of "the righteous," but the resurrection of man. Job, you remember, begins, "Man that is born of a woman" - not a word of any one born of God. Man without God, man without Christ, and what is the end of all that? A tree cut down to the very root may sprout, but not man; and so long will that sleep be that man will not awake - and the resurrection of man will not be - "till the heavens be no more."
Is that the case with the resurrection of the righteous? No. That is what he says here. He says, "I know that my [Kinsman or] Redeemer" - the One that will avenge the wrongs of God's people on their enemies; the One that will care for them in the face of every difficulty and every enemy - "I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter" - He "the last" is probably the meaning of it, not "at the latter day." He is the One that when all has failed will appear. The First will be the Last, as it were, to take up not "man," but the saint, the believer. "I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter [or, last] day" - as "last" is the word - "upon the earth." This last word is a little stronger too. It is the "dust" - quite a different thing from the heavens being no more. There will be no dust to stand upon then. The heavens and the earth will all be dissolved, and it will be a question of fire destroying everything, as we are told in more scriptures than one, particularly by Peter. Everything will be dissolved - the very elements. There will be no dust at all. But here He will stand upon it; His power may reach it; and it may for aught I know refer to the dust of his people. He is going to raise them. But at any rate the word is rather vague; and we must not expect more than just a little gleam of light made known in those days. It is reserved for Christ to bring out the life of the resurrection.
"And though after my skin worms destroy this [body]" - i.e., after the skin is destroyed - meaning all the frame of the body. It is better to omit than supply the word "body." "Yet in my flesh shall I see God." That is, it will be a real resurrection - not indeed "flesh and blood" - but you recollect it was really Himself when Christ rose. He asked them to feel and know that there were flesh and bones, but not "flesh and blood," which is the natural life of man now. When the resurrection comes there will be still the flesh in a glorious way, and there will be bone in a glorious way; and instead of it being blood as the source of life, it will be spirit; a divine character of existence will then be. While there is life, blood can be shed, and the man dies. The shedding of blood is the great figure of death by violence, and the blessed Lord knew all that, and passed through it all. But risen from the dead, the body possessed is a tangible body and can be felt; and although that need not always be, there is a power of change in this form; and I have no doubt the same thing will be true of every power. But there is the power. Now we are all limited; so limited that even a powerful man can be stopped by an oak board of only an inch, or two, thick. It stops him. And certainly a granite wall could stop anybody. But when that day is come we shall pass through everything just as our Lord did. Our Lord purposely came in when the doors were shut. You may tell me the stone was removed from the sepulchre; but it was not to let the Lord out; it was to let the disciples in to see that He was gone. What is all the thickness of the earth to Him? The glorified body has a power of its own. and can pass through anything.
This is not the case with man now. He is very limited and feeble; a little thing stops or even kills him. But not so when the body is raised in power and incorruption and glory; and here then the Lord comes to claim, and stand upon, the dust as it were. That is the figure, of course, of dealing with the lower state. The body is destroyed; not merely the skin, but everything belonging to man in the natural state. But what then? "Yet in my flesh shall I see God?" Job was to be raised and live again, and to live in a glorious way, and in the way of power and incorruption. "Whom I shall see for myself." Ah, he was not in the least afraid of the Lord. He loved to think of Him, and looked for His intervention with certainty. "And mine eyes shall behold, and not another." What a contrast with Balaam! Balaam could not see except prophetically, but not for himself. He had no part nor lot. But Job, with every part and lot, knew it perfectly. "Though my reins be consumed within me." That will not hinder it at all.
So then you see this was a resurrection of the righteous; it is before the heavens are no more. And though the earth subsists, it will, when it is in a state of ruin, give place to a complete change - not only one affecting the condition of the bodies of the millennial saints, but also the earth itself. All creation meanwhile awaits its deliverance from the bondage of corruption from which it now suffers. And Christ will accomplish it, for this will be His work. No one need wonder, therefore, that when that day comes, there will be righteous government on the earth. No one need wonder that then Satan will be allowed no power. He will be shut up, and not be allowed to deceive another moment until the end of the thousand years, and then it will be to act as a kind of sieve, to separate those that are not born of God from those that are. He will be allowed to do that, and then will be cast into the lake of fire for ever. But the righteous will have been reigning for a thousand years before, while the earth still goes on. You see the great force of it there, and of the Lord coming upon that earth in a state as low as it can possibly be reduced to under the power of Satan, just before He comes and delivers it. Oh, may our hearts rest upon Him entirely, beloved brethren. Let us cleave to the Lord now! and let us remember that the Lord is served and magnified by simple faith day by day, having to do with Himself about each thing, and with implicit trust in Him, and judgment of ourselves! Amen.
How long will ye vex my soul, and break me in pieces with words?
These ten times have ye reproached me: ye are not ashamed that ye make yourselves strange to me.
And be it indeed that I have erred, mine error remaineth with myself.
If indeed ye will magnify yourselves against me, and plead against me my reproach:
Know now that God hath overthrown me, and hath compassed me with his net.
Behold, I cry out of wrong, but I am not heard: I cry aloud, but there is no judgment.
He hath fenced up my way that I cannot pass, and he hath set darkness in my paths.
He hath stripped me of my glory, and taken the crown from my head.
He hath destroyed me on every side, and I am gone: and mine hope hath he removed like a tree.
He hath also kindled his wrath against me, and he counteth me unto him as one of his enemies.
His troops come together, and raise up their way against me, and encamp round about my tabernacle.
He hath put my brethren far from me, and mine acquaintance are verily estranged from me.
My kinsfolk have failed, and my familiar friends have forgotten me.
They that dwell in mine house, and my maids, count me for a stranger: I am an alien in their sight.
I called my servant, and he gave me no answer; I intreated him with my mouth.
My breath is strange to my wife, though I intreated for the children's sake of mine own body.
Yea, young children despised me; I arose, and they spake against me.
All my inward friends abhorred me: and they whom I loved are turned against me.
My bone cleaveth to my skin and to my flesh, and I am escaped with the skin of my teeth.
Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, O ye my friends; for the hand of God hath touched me.
Why do ye persecute me as God, and are not satisfied with my flesh?
Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book!
That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever!
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.
But ye should say, Why persecute we him, seeing the root of the matter is found in me?
Be ye afraid of the sword: for wrath bringeth the punishments of the sword, that ye may know there is a judgment.