Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Intermediate State

If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. Job. 14:14

How totally lovely is the 14th chapter of Job! Like the book of Job, it is the ending that pulls it all together. Dead trees, dead people--who wants to think of them? But we have no choice, deny them if we try. We buy into pagan fables to aid in our attempts at denial, but like Scrooge looking at a vision of his tombstone, eventually the reality hits home. We do die.

My best friend and I were discussing how grass must be the toughest plant in the world. It gets mowed, frozen, and baked in the heat of the summer sun. Yet rain brings it back, good as new. Is it not wonderful how God uses nature, trees, to show us death and then the return of life?

For it can be argued that the book of Job is not about suffering at all. There is great suffering in it, but the lesson Job learns is not how to grit his teeth and take it, but about restoration. Job loses people, wealth, and respect. Then he thinks of his death, even longs for it. In the end it is not a manual on "successful living" but on successful dying in faith and hope.

So what of the intermediate state? Do the dead go to heaven or hell? Do they dream? No, they wait, to be waked up to life eternal. This book even speaks of Job sleeping until God's wrath is passed.

"What was the Great Tribulation like, Job?"

"I don't know, I slept through it."

Soon I'll have my time of waiting, in the same hope that Job was given. I will be waiting for His call.

Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands. Job 14:15

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