In my recent debate with Joel McDurmon of American Vision (July 19-21, 2012, Ardmore, Ok) he appealed to Job 19:25 for one of his key affirmative arguments in support of a future physical resurrection.
It is somewhat surprising that anyone today would continue to appeal to this text to support a future physical resurrection. This is true for a variety of different, and powerful, reasons. I will mention only a few of the problems with an appeal to Job 19.
Job 19 and Translational Issues
In Joel’s presentation he acknowledged the translational issues related to Job 19. However, he then tried to mitigate the severity of the issue by claiming that the translational issues are in fact “a piece of cake” compared to the issues in Daniel 9 for instance.
I must admit that I was somewhat taken back to hear Joel claim that the translational issues are “a piece of cake.” To suggest that the translational issues in Job are “a piece of cake” is to basically discount the entire history of the interpretation of Job. It likewise discounts what some of the greatest Hebrew scholars who have ever lived have had to say about those translational difficulties. In short, McDurmon attempted to run a bluff on this entire issue.
Time constraints prevented me from discussing the translational issues on Job 19. I did present an argument however, twice over, that Joel ignored. I will give that argument below. For the moment, let me present some material on the translational issues on Job, and let the reader decide if Joel’s claim that the problems are “a piece of cake” is valid.
Keil and Delitszch are recognized as some of the finest Hebrew scholars in church history. Here is what they had to say about Job, after discussing the translational difficulty: “We cannot find in this speech that the hope of a bodily recovery is expressed.” (Keil And Delitzsch, Vol. 4, 356f). They take note, by the way, that Chrysostom (fourth century AD) was the first Christian commentator to take Job as a prediction of a bodily resurrection.
So, while McDurmon claims that the Hebrew translation is “a piece of cake” Keil and Delitszch disagreed. By the way, Joel gave no documentation for his claim that the translation of Job is “piece of cake.” He simply asserted it. That hardly comprises any kind of proof.
Jewish Translation– Masoretic text (1917) – “When after my skin this is destroyed, then without my flesh I shall see God.”
So, the Jewish translation, based on the Masoretic text, does not accept Joel’s claim that the translation supporting a physical resurrection is a “piece of cake.” They reject that translation.
Albert Barnes is likewise recognized as a great Hebrew scholar. Commenting on Job 19 he said: “The literal meaning is ‘from, or out of, my flesh shall I see God. It does not mean in his flesh, but there is the notion that from, or out of his flesh he would see him; that is clearly, as Rosenmuller has expressed it, though my body is consumed, and I have no flesh, I shall see him….without a body…” (Barnes, Vol. 1, 327f).
So, once again, one of the most highly regarded Hebrew linguists rejects Joel’s “piece of cake” translational rendering, and says Job “clearly” was not predicting a fleshly, physical resurrection.
In modern times, N. T. Wright, commenting on Job 19 says– “few scholars today” see Job as a reference to “bodily life after death.” (The Resurrection of the Son of Man, 98).
So, N. T. Wright says that there are few scholars today that would accept Joel’s rendering of Job, as predictive of a physical, bodily resurrection. Yet, Joel says Job is “a piece of cake”and proves just that!
I could multiply these kind of quotes many times over. The indisputable fact is that the translational issues surrounding Job are, according to the top Hebrew linguistics, extremely difficult, to say the least. When some of the church’s greatest Hebrew linguistics, men who actually believed in a physical bodily resurrection, nonetheless admit that Job cannot be used to support such a doctrine, then it is patently clear that Joel McDurmon was attempting to somehow “run a bluff” to convince the audience otherwise. This is disingenuous to say the least.
Joel McDurmon on the Time Issue of Job 19
Job posits the fulfillment of its “prophecy” at the time of the end; “at the last.” (Note, there is contextual reason to believe that Job was anticipating his imminent vindication by the Lord, which he did receive. We will not discuss that possibility here. Instead, we will accept “for argument sake” the idea that Job was anticipating the last days resurrection).
So, Job anticipated his vindication at the time of the end, i.e. in the last days. With that in mind, take note of the following:
The resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15 is the resurrection foretold by Job 19. (McDurmon agrees with this, at least ostensibly).
The Resurrection Of Job Would Be In The Last Days (Job 19:25). The resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15 would be at “the end.”
Now, take note of this: The Last Days Were The Last Days Of Israel – Ending In AD 70– Joel McDurmon! In his (excellent) book, Jesus -V- Jerusalem, Joel says the “last days” were Israel’s last days, ending in AD 70 (p. 47).
Therefore, The Resurrection Of Job / 1 Corinthians 15 Was No Later Than AD 70.
There is not another “last days” resurrection!
Of course, Joel, like all Dominionists, seeks to dichotomize between the last days and the last day. Joel was insistent that Jesus’ prediction of the last day in John 6 must refer to the end of time. But, what proof do they offer? Nothing but presuppositions.
Did the last days (of Israel) not have a “last day”? Of course. McDurmon affirms this. Commenting on Hebrews 8, he says: “As he wrote, in his time, the Old was becoming obsolete and was ready to vanish away. It has not yet been completely wiped out, but was certainly in its dying moments. It died in AD 70, when the symbol and ceremonies of that Old System– the Temple and the sacrifices– were completely destroyed by the Roman armies. This was the definitive moment when “this age’ of Jesus and Paul ended and completely gave way to their ‘age to come.’ This, of course, is exactly why Jesus tied ‘the end of the age’ to His prophecy of the destruction of the Temple.” (P. 47- My emphasis).
So, the Old Covenant age of Israel had “last days.” It had a “last day”- in fact, a “definitive” last “moment!” Could that definitive last moment of the Mosaic Age not be “the last hour” that John said had arrived (1 John 2:18)? Joel was asked this very question in the Q & A session and had major difficulty giving a satisfactory answer.
Not only did the Mosaic Age have “last days” a definitive last moment, but, it had resurrection to eternal life, at that last definitive moment!
Job 19 and Daniel 12
You Must Catch the Power of the following:
Joel, like Gary DeMar, Kenneth Gentry and a growing number of other postmillennialists agree that Daniel 12:2 predicted the AD 70 resurrection to eternal life. With that in mind, consider the following:
Dominionists agree that Daniel 12:2 foretold the AD 70 resurrection.
Dominionists agree that Daniel 12 foretold the resurrection to eternal life / condemnation.
Dominionists agree that Daniel 12 was fulfilled at the time of the end.
Dominionists agree that Daniel 12 was fulfilled in the last days.
Dominionists agree that the resurrection of Daniel 12 occurred at the “definitive moment,” i.e. a last day– in AD 70.
So, the real question is, what is the difference between the Daniel 12, AD 70 resurrection to eternal life, in the last days, at the last “definitive moment” of that age, and the proposed resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15?
During the debate, I asked Joel this very question. I put up a chart comparing Daniel 12 with 1 Corinthians 15 and challenged Joel to demonstrate exegetically what the differences are. I took note of the perfect correspondence between the Daniel 12 resurrection when Israel’s power (Torah) would be shattered, and 1 Corinthians 15 that posits resurrection at the end of “the law” which was the “strength of sin.” That is Torah, without dispute.
I received no answer to my question and my challenge. Joel did say, as James Jordan did in my debate with him, that he could admit / agree that 1 Corinthians 15 and Revelation 20 had a fulfillment in AD 70, but, that there is another, consummative fulfillment in the future. When I asked for exegetical proof, Joel simply said that his belief system allows this. His “belief system” may allow it, but scripture doesn’t. There is not a Dominionist alive that can demonstrate the difference.
The Response I Gave to Joel
In direct response to Joel’s argument on Job 19 I offered the following argument from 1 Peter.
Job 19 and 1 Peter
Peter was writing about the imminent revelation of the eternal inheritance (1 Peter 1:3-5).
That eternal inheritance was promised by the OT prophets (1:10f).
The OT prophets knew that fulfillment was not for their days, but, Peter affirms it was for his day, and was being revealed through the Spirit (1:10-12).
Job’s “resurrection prophecy” was for the last time. Peter said he was in the last time when Christ was about to be revealed (1:5-6; 20).
Peter said Christ was “ready” (from hetoimos) to judge “the living and the dead” (1 Peter 4:5).
Peter said “the end of all things has drawn near” (4:7).
Peter said that the appointed time for “the judgment” had arrived (4:17).
I took note of Peter’s use of the anaphoric article in 4:17 when he spoke of “the judgment.”
The anaphoric article is the preponderant use of the definite article in the Greek. What this means is that a speaker or writer would mention a subject. Later, when discussing that subject, they would use the definite article to point back to that earlier introduced subject. What this means is that “the judgment” of v. 17– the judgment which had arrived– was the judgment of v. 5!
Simply stated, this means that Peter was affirming, in unequivocal manner, that the time for the judgment, the judgment of the living and the dead of v. 5, had arrived.
I made this argument at least twice during the debate. I took note that the judgment of the living and the dead is, undeniably, the time of the resurrection (cf. Matthew 25:31f; 2 Timothy 4:1). I also took note of Revelation 11 and the prediction of the judgment of the nations and the living and the dead, pointing out that Joel applies that prophecy to AD 70.
Joel never responded, in any way, to the connection between Job and 1 Peter and Revelation 11. He never commented on Peter’s affirmations of the nearness of “the end of all things.” He ignored Peter’s use of the anaphoric article and his undeniable statement that the time for the judgment of the living and the dead had arrived. He ignored my arguments on Revelation 11.
Now, what all of this means is that while Joel tried to run a bluff on the translational issues of Job, we have divine commentary on the timing of fulfillment. Unless a person can substantively delineate between the time of the end in Job and Peter, then Peter establishes the time for the resurrection foretold in Job as the first century.
Unless someone can prove that the resurrection to the eternal inheritance ascribed to the resurrection of Job 19, and the eternal inheritance that was about to be revealed in Peter’s day, then Peter settles the issue of Job 19.
Unless someone can prove that Peter had a different judgment of the living and the dead, at the end of all things, from the supposed resurrection and judgment of the living and the dead, at the end of all things in Job, then Peter settles the issue of Job. The time for that resurrection had arrived.
Really, then, while Joel sought to present the daunting translational issue of Job 19 as a “piece of cake”, it is far from that. On the other hand, Peter’s unequivocal, unambiguous declaration that the time had arrived for the resurrection foretold by the prophets, at the time of the end, truly is a “piece of cake.”
Be sure to read my book Seventy Weeks Are Determined… For the Resurrection, for a definitive study on the resurrection.