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The Kinsman Redeemer
Boaz fulfilled the full role of kinsman-redeemer, both in Levirate and as "Goel,"15 the latter used to describe the redemption of property and derived from the active particle of the Hebrew verb, gaal, (Leviticus 25:25) meaning "close relative". The right of redemption was rather complicated for, when a parcel of land was lost because of bankruptcy, there were certain conditions attached to the redemption of the land and these were often written on the inside and outside of a scroll. The scroll was sealed with seven seals and placed within the temple, or tabernacle, or within another legal depository. When someone decided to redeem the land, he went to the priest, and asked to read the outside of the scroll to determine the conditions for redemption that were duplicated on the inside of the scroll. We are reminded of this condition when we read Revelation 5:1-10 and learn that the Lord Jesus Christ has redeemed Christians completely, for He alone is worthy to break the seven seals of the scroll in heaven.
The picture of the kinsman-redeemer is found in such verses as Isaiah 63:4, "for the day of vengeance was in my heart, and the year of my revenge came," where we find that vengeance is a prominent theme and the word "gaal", translated "my revenge," ylwag is sometimes translated "my redemption," for the verbal root lag often means "deliver, buy back", and it is probably this function of the family protector ("kinsman-redeemer") that is in view. The Lord pictures himself as a blood avenger who waits for the day of vengeance to arrive and then springs into action and we see the returning Lord Jesus Christ fulfilling this perfectly when He returns as the All-Conquering Messiah in his Second Coming. Thus a "kinsman-redeemer" (gaal, la@Go,) was not just responsible for protecting the extended family's interests by redeeming property that had been sold outside the family, for his responsibilities extended beyond financial concerns. He was also responsible for avenging the shed blood of a family member (see Numbers 35:19-27; Deuteronomy 19:6-12) and we see our Lord, the Kinsman-Redeemer, promising (Isaiah 63:8-93):
". . . "Surely, they are My people, Sons who will not deal falsely." So He became their Saviour. In all their affliction He was afflicted, And the angel of His presence saved them; In His love and in His mercy He redeemed (Hebrew: gaal) them; And He lifted them and carried them all the days of old."
The biblical idea of redemption means to redeem a thing that is rightfully one's own, but for a time is in the possession of another whose price must be legally met. Like every phase of the great doctrine of salvation, redemption is entirely the work of God Himself. When any man is redeemed, God Himself does it. The biblical idea of redemption is not confined to the teaching of the New Testament but is found throughout the whole Word of God so that the whole Bible is redempto-centric. We come to trace the doctrine of redemption in the Bible from the passages beginning in Leviticus and come across the idea that the terms ransom and redemption are practically the same in meaning. We see that the Kinsman-Redeemer teaches us that wherever you have redemption it is implied that a ransom price has been paid.
The Old Testament doctrine taught from Leviticus 25 shows that redemption expresses the thought of setting free by payment of a ransom price. The thing redeemed might be a person or an inheritance and, if a man became burdened with debt and, even after mortgaging his entire property, still could not satisfy the claims of his creditors, he might mortgage himself (his own strength and ability) and become a kind of slave to his creditor. But, says God, "After that he is sold he may be redeemed again; one of his brethren may redeem him" (Leviticus 25:48). But redemption is more than merely paying the price. After our Kinsman-Redeemer paid for us in the market, then He took us out of the market. He has taken us out of the market so that we shall never again be for sale or exposed to the lot of a slave. But, of course, He takes out of the market only those who will go with Him, and when the sinner is willing to trust his Redeemer who paid the ransom price, he is assured of deliverance from the hopelessly enslaved condition of bondage to sin. And yet redemption does include a new kind of slavery, for the believer is redeemed, not only "out of" the market of sin, but "unto" God. Our redemption song is also taken from Revelation (5:94): ". . . Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us unto God by Thy Blood . . ."
We are redeemed "unto God" and this means the future redemption of the body and its ascension into God's presence, but also to the believer's present separation "unto the Lord." We are now, in a voluntary sense, bond slaves of Jesus Christ which is why the Apostle Paul referred to himself as "a servant (bondman) of Jesus Christ . . . separated unto the gospel of God" (Romans 1:14). Paul was redeemed, not only from his former manner of life, a slave unto sin, but he was redeemed unto God, voluntarily becoming Jesus Christ's bondman. This truth is also found in the book of Exodus in the Old Testament. The seventh year in Israel's national life was a year of release for the poor and of the Hebrew servant (Exodus 21:1-6; Deuteronomy 15:16-17). If a slave served his master for six years God said that "in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing" (Exodus 21:2). But he was not forced to go. If the slave loved his new master, he could voluntarily remain as a slave. The voluntary relationship was sealed by the master piercing the slave's ear through with an aul. Now the Christian has been set free by the Redeemer, but he has the choice to yield himself to the One who has redeemed him. Our Lord Jesus is the perfect example of a voluntary servant (Psalm 40:6-84):
"Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened . . . Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God ; Thy Law is within my heart."
This Old Testament portion is quoted in Hebrews 10:7, and it speaks of our Lord as the yielded Servant who is in every respect the perfect fulfilment of the type. As the yielded Servant, "He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross" (Philippians 2:8), that He might redeem us from sin's awful slavery and death and now His desire is that we voluntarily yield ourselves to Him.
We see in the typology of Boaz a kinsman-redeemer who was graciously willing to step in to redeem Naomi and Ruth, both in the recovery of their land and inheritance, but also becoming the bridegroom as Christ is our Bridegroom. Thus through Boaz' marriage to Ruth we have the lineage that led to the birth of Christ, first through the birth of their son Obed ("worshipper"), and on through the line of Jesse, David, until the Messiah was born in Bethlehem (Matthew 1:1-174):
17So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.
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