Chapter 14 and the Ultimate Future
By George F. Howe
In Job 14:1-2 Job himself was the speaker when he emphasized the ephemeral aspects of human life. Mankind has a fleeting and troublesome existence, which Job compared to a flower that withers and to a shadow that quickly passes. These words foreshadow similar remarks by Christ on earth.
Regarding God’s concern for people, Job asked"…doest Thou open thine eyes on such an one…?" (KJV). This means "Do You take notice of the likes of people, who are ‘here today and gone tomorrow’?" Jesus answered that question many years later when He said that God is the Originator of each colorful flower in the fields and that God has an ongoing tally of all hairs on every human head!
Job asked further "Will you [God] bring him [this evanescent person] before you in judgment?" (NIV, vs:3, brackets mine) God answered with a resounding "Yes" in many other Bible passages and lie assured us that such judgment would yield correction and righteousness in its recipients—e.g. Isaiah 26:9b.
People are not like trees that grow back again from their roots after being cut down (Job 14:12). According to the text, they do not arise or awaken from their sleep of death .... .til the heavens are no more.. ." (KJV). John made it clear (Revelation 20: l)that the old heavens and earth will pass away at the end of the millennial eon, at which time the unregenerate dead will be raised. John further quoted Christ (John 5:25) as stating that the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and that those who hear will live.
Job then makes a request that will sound strange to orthodox Christian ears (Job 14:13): "Oh that You would hide me in Sheol…" (NASB). In less than a literal vein, both the KJV and the NIV use the English word "grave" here. As Biblical Universalists have made clear, however, this was an unfortunate choice because there are other Hebrew words that refer to the grave. This word Sheol is quite similar to the Greek word Hades and both are routinely mistranslated "hell" in the KJV at other locations. If Sheol really referred to our modem concept of "a Devil’s hell", why would Job plead to go there? And if it means "hell" in one passage it needs to be translated that way in other instances too—we may not" pick and choose" based on our own eschatological presuppositions.
Concordant translators (CV) have made it clear from the Hebrew that Sheol actually designates the imperceptible domain of the dead—it has no connotation of fiery punishment. Thus, Sheol could simply be transliterated into English and need not be rendered either "grave" or "hell."
Job also exclaims (Job 14:13): "If only you would set me a time and then remember me…(NIV). God revealed to us that He will resurrect people, "…every man in his own order…" (I Corinthians 15:23). It will all be accomplished…"in the dispensation of the fullness of time"…(Ephesians 1:10). Christ’s vivification of different people will be…"testified in due time" (I Timothy 2:6). Job’s plea will be more than granted!
In Job 14:13, Job makes one more passionate request---that he might be hidden or concealed until God’s wrath is over. In making such a request, perhaps Job understood more clearly than some believers do today that God’s wrath will come to a complete end for all people: Isaiah 10: 24-25. Isaiah 25: 8-10, Isaiah 12:1, Isaiah 57:16, and Micah 7:18b. Christ indicated that at some point Be would be drawing all human beings unto himself—John 12:32. He also indicated that at some point in the future He would".. .ever be casting out judging for victory" (Matthew 12:20, CV).
Speaking of God, Job said, "You will call and I will answer you; you will long for the creature your hands have made" (Job 14:15, NIV). While this longing of God for the His creature refers here strictly to Job, it is clear from other passages that God is a Creator who is faithful to His entire creation and He is not willing that any should perish (II Peter 3:9).
As a human father, I long for a son who died at age 42. Surely God has far deeper desires to bring back every one of His created sons and daughters from the dead. God has the power to restore them all too, and to give them strength—"In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all"( I Chronicles 29:12, NIV).
Job knew that God would not keep track of his sin (14:16) so that his sins would be covered and would be sealed up in a bag. These were sweeping statements!
Although God revealed much about the ultimate reconciliation of all to Job, Job’s friend Eliphaz belittled Job’s insight—perhaps out of jealousy when he asked: "What do you know that we do not know?" (Job 15:9). The implied answer implied, "Quite a bit, Eliphaz, quite a bit!"