Skin and Flesh?

TODAY’S READING: JOB 17-20

Unlike in yesterday’s post, today we see Job make a real statement of faith. “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God.” (Job 19:25-26)

Certainly verse 25 is one of the more famous passages of scripture. However, I have never heard anyone say anything about verse 26. But, there could be an interesting insight lurking in the words skin and flesh. It’s not something I am positive of, but it is something I am pondering.

Job certainly uses different words for skin and flesh. The Hebrew word for skin is or. It means a skin, hide, leather. The Hebrew word for flesh is basar, which means flesh, body, meat.

The use of the word skin caught my eye because I think most Christians think of the flesh, the earthly body as being destroyed. The word skin also caught my eye because of Genesis 3:21, which says, “And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.” This clothing with “skins” was just after the consequence of Adam and Eve’s sin of eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Therefore, I have always heard it said that these skins were the result of the first death since an animal had to be killed to make the skins. And, therefore, this was the first picture of a sacrifice for sin in the Bible. I have been told that this shows that God requires, even demands, the shedding of blood for sin.

But, in order for all of this to be true, then God would have had to kill an animal. God would have had to bring death to part of his creation.

But, based on all of Jesus’ teaching in the gospels, his full revelation of the Father, we know that God does not kill. In John 10:10, Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill ¬†and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Also, 1 John 5, we read that God is life. Therefore, God death is not in God and consequently he cannot kill or bring death to anyone or anything. Life is God’s character and nature. God cannot go against his character and nature.

So, what do we do with this statement from Genesis 3:21 that God made “garments of skins” for Adam and Eve and “clothed them”?

Well, Job says his skin would be destroyed, but God did not make a garment of skin for Job. God did not sacrifice an animal for Job to have a skin.

Where am I going with this? What thought came into my mind reading Job’s statement about skin and flesh?

Well, perhaps Adam and were beings of light with an altogether different body, like the one Jesus revealed to Peter, James and John on the Mount of Transfiguration and the one he had after his resurrection. Speaking of the Mount of Transfiguration, Matthew 17:2 says, “And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light.” Also, remember that when Jesus was resurrected – in a body, in the flesh – no one could recognize him. Jesus most certainly had a body, but it was an altogether different type of body.

Perhaps when Adam and Eve sinned, God made for them skins – tents as Peter and Paul would say – that were a covering for the light beings. Maybe they weren’t animal skins at all.

Job had a skin. And, when he expressed faith in his redeemer, he believe that skin, that garment covering his light being, would be destroyed.

Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 5:5, “For you are all children of light.”

In Luke 16:8, Jesus said, “For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light.”

In John 12:36, Jesus said, “While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”

Paul said in Ephesians 5:8, “For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.”

In Genesis 1, on the first day of creation, God said, “Let there be light.” Well, not exactly. The Hebrew really just says, “Be light.” And, if anyone is in Christ, behold all things are new. If you are in Christ you are a new creation. “Be light.”

So, perhaps it is our “skin” – our earthly tent, covering, or tabernacle – that will be destroyed. Then, we will have a new body that manifests at the return of Jesus, when we are finally resurrected.

Perhaps we will still have a body of flesh – remember Jesus after his resurrection. It will just be a different type of flesh. Look at what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:35-41.

“But someone will ask, ‘How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?’ You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And what you sow is not the body that that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. For not all flesh it the same, but there one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.”

So was Job right? Will our skin, the covering of our light being, be destroyed yet we will see God in our flesh?

Paul says there is a flesh of the earth and a flesh of heaven.

It’s just a theory for me. Nothing I would hang my hat on. But, in addition to having a quite intriguing aspect to it, the difference between skin and flesh makes better sense of Genesis 3:21 for me since God does not kill or bring death.

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