Updated: Feb 10, 2022
And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God, Job 19:26.
Sometime, approximately in 2000BC there was a transition period. It was about that time that God called Abraham out to himself. It is also the approximate time for Job's life. When we review statements about Abraham and his relationship to God, we are looking forward to what God would do with Israel. When we look at what Job had to say, we are looking back on how God dealt with mankind from the time of Adam.
Evangelist Timothy McVey has noted that the common theme in every age of the bible is a belief in the resurrection. When Elisha sent his servant Gehazi to the great woman of Shunem to ask how she and her family fared, even though her son was dead, the scripture says, And she answered, It is well, 2nd Kings 4:26. From Adam, and throughout the length and breadth of the bible, the belief that death was not final and that God would resurrect and judge the dead is a constant.
What is not a constant is what happens upon salvation and what works God requires upon salvation. I will share the same heaven and resurrected afterlife with Jewish farmers who faithfully served God in any given age of the Kingdoms of Judah or Israel. Their faith required them to diligently tithe, bring sacrifices, circumcise their sons, and to gather three times a year with the faithful. My faith requires those good works outlined in the New Testament Epistles.
To have done those things by rote without faith towards God would have been worthless. The Pharisees attempted that. They perfected the minutia of the law but failed in the weightier things of the law. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him, Hebrews 11:6. There never has been a time when men could please God without faith and there never will be. What has changed are the works that faith requires.
Works cannot bring faith. Faith brings works. So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God, Romans 10:17. In every age in which men have had the word of God whether orally or written, the word of God produced faith. It also instructed those men in the works that that faith required. We will look at the changes wrought by faith in the various times that God has given to men.
A distinguishing feature of the lives of men in Genesis is the extremely long lifespans doled out to them. That is usually explained away by the climate and environment of the time.
Genesis 2:5 And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.
Genesis 2:6 But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.
Too many men are still smoking the ground up leaves of Darby and Scofield's writings, or the musings of Henry Morris. Is there really anyone so ignorant as to believe that we could build a greenhouse world in which the soil was hydrated by a mist from the ground and in which sun rays are specially filtered and have our children live 600 years? If you placed children in such an environment and fed them all organic foods loaded with the best nutrients known to God and man, they aren't going to live for 600 years.
Your bible clearly tells you how men lived such long lives. Before we look at that, consider this; no unrighteous person is ever listed as living a long life. It is in the lineage of righteous men that we find lifespans lasting up to nine centuries. The Book of Job explains why.
There can be no doubt that Elihu wrote the Book of Job. In Chapter 32 of Job we can read the dialog that Elihu spoke to Job and his friends. In the midst of it he breaks in with an observation of what the men are doing and in doing so he speaks of himself in the first person.
Job 32:15 They were amazed, they answered no more: they left off speaking.
Job 32:16 When I had waited, (for they spake not, but stood still, and answered no more;)
Elihu just showed us that he is the author. That is not part of what he said to Job and his friends. It is what he says to you, the reader. Elihu then goes on to preach the first full sermon ever recorded in the bible. Naturally, scholars feel obligated to ignore it or belittle it. I hope that my readers will do better.
Job 33:14 For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not.
Job 33:15 In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed;
Job 33:16 Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction,
Job 33:17 That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man.
We know that today God speaks to men by his Son Jesus Christ. We also know by the Book of Hebrews that in times past he used many ways to do so. God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hebrews 1:1. Elihu acknowledged that. He also gave us a key to how God deals with men. He hides pride from them. Nothing blinds a man to God more than his pride.
Job 33:19 He is chastened also with pain upon his bed, and the multitude of his bones with strong pain:
Job 33:20 So that his life abhorreth bread, and his soul dainty meat.
Job 33:21 His flesh is consumed away, that it cannot be seen; and his bones that were not seen stick out.
Job 33:22 Yea, his soul draweth near unto the grave, and his life to the destroyers.
Elihu just described an old person on his death bed. Think of any old person you have ever seen lying in a bed. His flesh hangs loose on his bones and his appetite is gone. He is close to death. In our times, we can expect such a state anywhere from 65 to 115 years of age. In Job's time, God did something different. He revived their bodies. His flesh shall be fresher than a child's: he shall return to the days of his youth, Job 33:25.
There you have it. Righteous men lived hundreds of years because God regenerated their bodies. He did this when they repented and turned to him by faith.
Job 33:27 He looketh upon men, and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not;
Job 33:28 He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light.
Job 33:29 Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes with man,
Job 33:30 To bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living.
In the times in which we live, God regenerates a man on the inward parts and promises him a new body in heaven. In Job's time, men were given a renewed body upon their repentance. Like most things that God does, that work of God did not just vanish instantly. It is obvious that Abraham and Sarah experienced it at least once. Abraham is a pivot point in the times that God gave men.
Sarah was a very old woman in whom the way of women had ceased. She had already gone through menopause. In one of the next chapters (Genesis 20) men lusted after Sarah. Men, especially kings who can have a large harem don't usually lust after old menopausal women. Sarah had been transformed. Abraham himself had been transformed. The Apostle Paul described Abraham as dead (in a sexual sense).
And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara's womb, Romans 4:19. Sarah herself expressed the same thing. Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?, Genesis 18:12. It took a transformation from God to revive their bodies so much that Abraham would beget children by concubines for years to come and Sarah would become an appealing temptation to younger men.
The Apostle Paul says that Abraham gave glory to God. I'll bet he did the very first time he lifted that tent flap and saw Sarah looking like she did at 16. With a camp meeting shout he probably cried out "Glory to God" and went on in with his own body now younger and fit.
There is also a spiritual lesson in the Roman verses. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara's womb, Romans 4:19. Think of Jesus Christ on the cross. He considered not the deadness that was to come to his own body. Neither did he consider the deadness of our faith. He knew that God would give both him and us life.
Let us not think that the great work of God in reviving men's lives in Genesis came through their works. It came by faith. The works that God required were different than ours today in some respects. All men at all times have had a common requirement. He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?, Micah 6:8. It has always taken intervention from God wrought by faith to bring men to that point wherein they could comply, but there are times in the bible wherein men have been assigned different works to show their faith. In any time, Faith without works is dead.