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The Bible In A Year: Day 55

Numbers 10
Job 18-19
Psalm 52
Mark 12:13-27

Here we read about the Israelites’ departure from Sinai. They arrived at the mountain around 6 weeks after the events of Passover in Egypt. Now when they are setting out it is one month after the second Passover, making their time at Mount Sinai around one year.

As they are gathering up to leave, Moses speaks to his brother-in-law (who is not an Israelite) and asks him to come with them, but he declines and says he’s returning to his homeland. So Moses begs him to go with them, he says it’s because his wife’s family are experts in desert survival and would be an asset to the people.

Job 18-19

Chapter 18 sees Bildad taking another crack at convincing Job that he deserves what he’s getting, no matter how unfair it seems. He is also kind of upset with him for calling his friends stupid, when they’re only trying to help him.

Bildad gives a speech about what rewards the wicked will receive and he goes as far as to say they’ll die and their name will be forgotten because they have no offspring to remember them. In the ancient world the idea of an afterlife wasn’t very common and the divine revelation of a life after death hadn’t been revealed yet, so their concept of living beyond the grave was wrapped up in the idea of remembering. If you were remembered and spoke about after your death, then at least a part of you lived on. But Bildad says this isn’t so of the wicked, and especially so because they die without offspring. This would’ve stung even worse for Job as he’s just lost all ten of his children.

In chapter 19 Job responds and he is hurt by his friends continuing to insist he’s at fault, and probably even more hurt by Bildad’s insensitivity towards his childless state. Job seems to be offended by his friends hammering away at him and he asks them if they ever plan to stop. I can’t imagine having a friend in this position and then delivering speeches at him in an effort to convince him it’s all his fault. Even if it evidently was, these guys have no idea that this is neither the time nor the place to say these things.

Job cries for pity from his friends and claims he’s been abandoned by everyone else in his life. Even his own brothers and his wife have distanced themselves from him. He just needs these three friends to be with him and quit blaming him.

In verses 25 and 26 Job seems to turn a corner and declares his belief that God will vindicate him after death, and seemingly that he will even receive a bodily resurrection. This is how Saint Clement of Rome read this passage, as an extremely early example of faith in the resurrection of the dead.

Do we then deem it any great and wonderful thing for the Maker of all things to raise up again those that have piously served Him in the assurance of a good faith, when even by a bird He shows us the mightiness of His power to fulfil His promise? For [the Scripture] says in a certain place, You shall raise me up, and I shall confess unto You; and again, I laid me down, and slept; I awoke, because You are with me; and again, Job says, You shall raise up this flesh of mine, which has suffered all these things. (Job 19:25-26)

1 Clement, chapter 26

Mark 12:13-27

The Pharisees and Herodians come together here and try to trap Jesus. Considering how far apart they are on the political spectrum, this is kind of an amazing pairing. But they are United in their desire to see this man, who has the potential to topple their order of things, utterly destroyed.

Jesus asks them who’s “likeness” is on the coin. This play on words means that Caesar’s likeness may be on the coin, thus it’s belonging to him, but the likeness of God is stamped on every human being, and so we all have a duty to give ourselves over to God. They were amazed because of how badly their trap had failed.

Next up we’re the Sadducees. This group didn’t believe in the resurrection and only put faith in the first five Books of Moses.

The Pharisees and many of the Lord’s contemporaries hoped for the resurrection. Jesus teaches it firmly. To the Sadducees who deny it he answers, “Is not this why you are wrong, that you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God?” Faith in the resurrection rests on faith in God who “is not God of the dead, but of the living.”

CCC 993

This group poses a hypothetical scenario where a woman married seven brothers, each one after the previous one dies. They try to show how ridiculous the resurrection of the dead is because this woman would now have seven resurrected husbands. But Jesus once again flips the script and shows them the error in their logic.

First of all, there will be no marriage in heaven. We will be like the angels he says, and this scenario wouldn’t actually be a problem. He then turns to their rejection of the resurrection and shows from one of the only books they believe to be scripture that God raises the just to new life.

The “dead” as we see with Moses and Elijah during the transfiguration, are not truly dead. This is especially true of those who died in Christ and are alive with him even now after the events of Holy Saturday when he broke the bonds of death and the grave and opens the doors of heaven. This is why we can ask those who’ve gone before us to pray for us here on earth. See The Communion Of Saints

Tomorrow’s Readings:
Numbers 11-12
Job 20-21
Psalm 53
Mark 12:28-44

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