My Redeemer Liveth

Penang Assemblies Combined Easter Conference 2017: Session 4 (final).

Speaker: Dr Peter Wong

Job 19:23-27 (ESV)

23 Oh that my words were written! Oh that they were inscribed in a book!

24 Oh that with an iron pen and lead they were engraved in the rock forever!

25 For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will stand upon the earth.

26 And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God,

27 whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another…

Job lived long before the time of Christ. Most Bible scholars think he lived close to the time of Abraham; it is not possible to date the Book of Job precisely, whether from internal or external evidence.

Job did not have “the scriptures” – neither in the sense of the word as we use it today to refer to the whole Bible, or even in the sense of 1 Corinthians 15:3,4, where “the scriptures” refers to the Old Testament, which foretold and foreshadowed the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.

When Job lived, Moses had not yet written down the Book of Genesis, even!

But we know from the Book of Job that he was an upright man, who feared God. Satan was not happy about that. So Satan said bad things about Job to God, claiming that Job only honoured God because God had protected Job and blessed Job.

Take away Your protection and blessings from Job, taunted Satan, and Job will curse You to Your face!

God then allowed Satan to afflict Job. Job lost his possessions, his children, his health.

We know Job’s famous response:

“The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD!” (Job 1:21)

In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong (Job 1:22).

And when even Job’s wife in her despair and anger asked Job to curse God and die, Job’s answer was, “Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:10).

In all this Job did not sin with his lips (Job 2:10).

 

Not that Job was a sinless man. There is none righteous, no not one. But Job feared God. And, as we shall learn as we consider Job 19:25-27, he put his trust in God as his Redeemer. Job was a sinner, but Job was redeemed!

Because Job was redeemed, Satan had no winning case against him in the courtroom of heaven. God permitted Satan to accuse and attack Job, but Job’s eternal security was never in question. Though Job might lose his wealth, his family, his friends, Job could never lose what he chose to place in God’s hands – his soul.

Job was far from faultless, but because he was redeemed, God would deal with Job’s faults privately, as a father disciplines his son (chapters 38 to 41), leading to Job’s repentance and restoration (chapter 42).

 

Even in this brief review of Job’s life, can we not see the similarities between Job and us, who have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ in the dispensation of grace?

Yes, there are key differences – as I mentioned just now, Job did not have the scriptures; and as we considered last night, there are differences between Old Testament saints and New Testament saints as to how we come to salvation – although ultimately their salvation and ours alike hinge on the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

But again I say, Job did not have the scriptures! How then did he know to turn to the one Redeemer who could save him?

I must emphasise, today we DO have the scriptures – we have the Bible, the Word of God. And it is the Good News of Jesus Christ found in the Word of God which must be preached to the lost. We must preach Christ crucified – we must tell those who are not yet in Christ that there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12).

But Job lived under a different dispensation – a different stage in God’s revelation of His one plan of salvation.

Job had a lot less revelation than we did. Yet Job knew certain things that amaze us that he knew.

The last 3 of the verses we read from Job 19 tell us some surprising things that Job knew, that Job believed.

The words of Job testifying to these glorious truths, coming in the midst of Job’s cries of despair, shine all the brighter because of the darkness of their setting.

Let’s look at these verses again carefully!

 

Job 19:25-27 (ESV)

25 For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will stand upon the earth.

26 And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God,

27 whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another…

 

First, let’s make sure we understand the “big word” in this passage, the most difficult word if you haven’t come across it before: Redeemer.

Who or what is a redeemer?

A redeemer is someone who redeems, or claims back, or buys back, something that was taken away or lost.

The word redeem means “to buy out”. It’s a word that was used to refer to purchasing a slave’s freedom.

The Bible says that Jesus Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law (Gal. 3:13), meaning, when we were sinners under the curse of the law, the Lord Jesus paid a price to free us from the curse of the law.

We had become slaves to sin, but the Lord Jesus bought us out of slavery to sin; He paid the price to secure our freedom.

That’s why Christians call the Lord Jesus Christ our Redeemer.

 

Now that we understand what “Redeemer” means, let’s scrutinise Job’s words in verses 25 to 27.

 

Let’s observe that in verse 25, Job said “I know”.

I know that my Redeemer lives”!

He did not say, “I think that my Redeemer lives”.

Nor “I hope that my Redeemer lives”.

How could he know? How could he be sure of the divine truths in these 3 verses?

Surely God had revealed this to Job. Without revelation, there can be no faith. Faith is a response to revelation. Faith is believing what God has told us.

Job had no written Word of God, but he must have heard word from God.

God may not have sent his prophets yet, but we do know from Job chapters 38 to 41 that it is not beneath God for Him to communicate directly with a man, even a sinner.

God had clearly revealed wonderful things to Job. Whether through the quiet working of the Holy Spirit in Job’s heart, or through dreams, or through forceful words as in Job 38 to 41, we don’t know, but God spoke to Job.

We pause here for a devotional application to us. Hebrews 1:2 says that in these last days, God has spoken to us by His Son. What a privilege, that Job did not have! To have the Lord Jesus Christ as God’s communication to us. To have encountered the Word.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1). God Himself said, “This is My beloved Son: hear Him!” (Luke 9:35).

Have we sat at the Lord Jesus’ feet today (as Mary of Bethany did), and listened to Him? Have we met Him in the pages of the Bible? How often do we go to meet Him there?

 

Coming back to Job 19, next please notice with me that Job said, “I know that my Redeemer lives”!

He did not say “the Redeemer”.

He did not say “a Redeemer”.

He said “my Redeemer”!

Job knew that he needed, and that he had, a personal Saviour.

We all need a personal Saviour. I too have one – the Lord Jesus Christ. Do you?

 

Job says that His Redeemer lives. He had a living Saviour.

I too have one – the Lord Jesus Christ. Do you?

 

And although in this darkest time in Job’s life, when all seemed lost and he was in excruciating pain, Job could not yet see His Redeemer, He believed that he would one day see Him! So sure was Job, that he repeatedly said this – “in my flesh I shall see”; “I shall see for myself”; “my eyes shall behold”.

 

What did Job know about this Redeemer, whom He knew he would one day see?

  • That He was not then on the earth, but would one day be.
  • That He was God.
  • That He was not a stranger.

 

Let’s take these 3 points about Job’s Redeemer one by one.

 

  • That He was not then on the earth, but would one day be! Job’s Redeemer was not one of his friends, who had come to sit with him; it was not any man, for until man travelled to outer space in the 20th century, the only place that man inhabited was the earth! So who could this Redeemer who was not on the earth, but would come to the earth, be? Either a celestial being, or God Himself!

 

  • Job then asserts that He was God! Indeed I believe that is what Job means in verse 26 when He says “I shall see God”. He had just been taking about meeting his Redeemer in verse 25, and then in the same breath mentions God. Notice the flow from verse 25 to verse 26: “My Redeemer… God”. Instead of pairing rhyming words, Hebrew poetry pairs matching ideas. “My Redeemer” in verse 25 pairs with “God” in verse 26. I believe that Job knew that his Redeemer is God.

 

  • That He was not a stranger. That’s the meaning I gather from the phrase “not another” in Job 19:27. The ASV translates this verse like this:

“Whom I, even I, shall see, on my side. And mine eyes shall behold, and not as a stranger…”

Job’s Redeemer is someone who knows Him – someone close to Him; and not a stranger.

The Hebrew word for Redeemer here in Job 19:27 is goel, which refers to a relative who buys back for someone a possession that had been lost. Indeed, Job’s Redeemer is a Kinsman-Redeemer, a goel. He is God, took the form of a Man, in order to be our Kinsman-Redeemer.

 

So, wondrously, Job knew that he had a Redeemer; a living Redeemer; not an impersonal and distant one, but his Redeemer, a kinsman; who would stand one day on earth; who is God; and whom he would meet face-to-face one day, seeing Him with his own eyes.

All so true of our Lord Jesus Christ to us!

I wonder if, when Christ opened the scriptures to the disciples on the road to Emmaus, beginning at Moses and all the prophets expounding the things about Himself, He pointed them to the faith of His servant Job.

 

Is there something else that we have missed in these 3 verses? Perhaps there is! Look again at verse 26.

“And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God.”

Maybe Job simply meant that even though he was covered in boils, even though he looked and felt so aweful, even though his flesh was destroyed, it was no obstacle to meeting God face-to-face.

Or maybe not. Maybe, even tough Job was not under Mosaic law or nor did he know the teachings of Leviticus yet, Job might yet have had a sense that in his state, he was “unclean” and unable to meet a holy God.

Maybe Job believed that the way he would see God in the last day would be to be given a new body! A resurrection body!

Had God give Job a revelation concerning resurrection?

Was Job a believer in resurrection, as Abraham was according to Hebrews 11:19 (which we studied at Island Glades this morning)?

I don’t know for sure.

Job may not have been very clear about that himself.

But Job was not ashamed to declare what he knew, what he believed, to others.

Regardless of his own sorry condition, Job wanted others to know about his Redeemer!

He wanted his friends to know! He wanted the world to know! My, he even wanted future generations to know!

The first 2 verses we read from Job 19 just now tells us so! Job 19:23,24.

Job said, “Oh that my words were written! Oh that they were inscribed in a book!

Oh that with an iron pen and lead they were engraved in the rock forever!”

Job desired to testify about his Redeemer.

 

Brothers and sisters in Christ, are we in half as sorry a state as Job? Maybe not even 10% as sorry a state. Last I checked, I hadn’t lost any livestock, my children are still alive and I have no boils on my skin.

Yet, are we half as enthusiastic as Job was about proclaiming his Redeemer?

 

Tonight we witnessed the baptism of Choo Ean, Tracy, Xiao Hui, Siew Hin, Weiking and Chun Kean.

Do you know why they went through the waters of baptism?

They did it as a public testimony of their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ!

Like Job, they wanted others to know that their Redeemer lives!

Romans 6:4 – “we were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”

Tonight, when these 6 brothers and sisters went into the water, they were identifying with Christ in His death – Christ our Passover; and when they emerged from the water, they were testifying of the power of God to both raise Christ the Firstfruits from the dead, and if they should “fall asleep” before the rapture, also raise them from the dead as the promised harvest after the firstfruits! And to meanwhile wait for His Son from heaven, whilst enabling them to lead new, holy lives!

 

Brothers and sisters in Christ, are we continually testifying for the Lord Jesus? We must ask ourselves this question tonight, whether we’re new believers, or saved and baptised years or decades ago. Even if you’re like me baptised in the last century. Have we forgotten why we went through the waters of baptism? Are we still telling others about Him? Are we walking in newness of life, walking with our risen Lord?

 

Dear friends who have not yet trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ – it is no coincidence that you are here tonight. Maybe you are a seeker who has been searching for answers for many years. Maybe you came just to support your friend or family member being baptised. Or maybe you came here to meet people, and are not looking to meet the Saviour. It doesn’t matter why you came: tonight you have heard that we all need a Saviour. A personal Saviour. A living Saviour.

Jesus Christ died for our sins on the cross, and rose again from the dead on the third day. Christians remember this not just at Easter, but week after week when we meet the first day of the week to break bread. Dear friend, come speak to me, or to one of your Christian friends tonight after this meeting, and ask why that is so precious to us.

It is our desire that you too come to know our Redeemer, that you may like us have life eternal and joy everlasting!

Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved!

 

IGGC as the organizers extend our thanks to all the combined Penang assemblies for their love, support, and selfless contributions joyously serving together to make the Penang Assemblies Easter Conference 2017 a rich and rewarding experience of God.