1 Peter 1:17–19
1 Peter Lesson #049
April 19, 2016
“Father, we’re thankful for the many ways in which You provide for us. You have given us everything we need for life and godliness and we have the potential to excel in our spiritual lives that even few generations have our ability to comprehend Your Word, to know it, to apply it, and to understand it in greater depth than ever before. It’s not because we have certain special skills but because we’re building on the studies and the work of generations that have gone before.
Father, we’re thankful that we have Your Word to rely on and to inform us of who You are. May we not take it lightly but realize that it is through Your Word that we are sanctified as our Lord prayed, “Sanctify them by means of truth, Thy Word is truth.” So it is through the study of Your Word that we are changed and transformed.
Father, I pray that You would strengthen us tonight as we continue in our study of Your Word. We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.”
We’re studying redemption and we started this last time because our passage in 1 Peter 1:18 talks about the fact that we know we were not redeemed with corruptible things such as silver or gold.
Redemption is the focal point of 1 Peter 1:18–19.
We began to look at it last time but there have been three intervening weeks between, so I’m going to review a little bit briefly to bring our thinking back to where we were three weeks ago when we started this.
I went back to my notes and did some searching on the website and I haven’t done an in-depth study on redemption since I taught a series on soteriology or our great salvation at Preston City Bible Church about fifteen years ago. This is an expansion of what I taught then.
I’ve taught this at other times but they are more basic and streamlined. What I want to do in this little subseries of about probably three or no more than four classes is to really drill down on what the Bible teaches about redemption. This is such an important concept.
Tonight we’re primarily going to be looking at the Old Testament and the primary word used in the Old Testament for redemption is related to the verb ga’al and the noun form go’el, which refers to a kinsman-redeemer. We’ll look at that. That’s the backdrop.
1 Peter 1:18, “Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct [your empty manner of life] received by tradition from your fathers.” Remember he’s writing to a Jewish audience. When you see Paul talking about the traditions of the fathers he is talking about rabbinical theology. He’s talking about what is at this point still oral law. It wasn’t written down and codified until the end of the 2nd century when Judah Hanasi, Judah the Prince, codified and wrote down what has become known as the Mishnah.
This is the tradition of the fathers. It primarily had the idea of that which was taught by the Pharisees. It would have been the main idea there but it’s more than that. In the tradition of the fathers, “the fathers” refers to those who spoke authoritatively on the meaning of the Old Testament text.
In the Old Testament you have the written Law but in rabbinical theology there was the view that an independent oral revelation had been given to Moses on Mount Sinai and that there was an independent oral tradition that interpreted the written tradition. This was passed down from generation to generation.
It’s not unlike some of the views in Eastern Orthodoxy, that the written revealed Word of God is to be interpreted in light of an oral tradition. If you know someone that’s involved in the Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Syrian Orthodox, or any of the Eastern Orthodox churches that’s what they believe in, that there’s a dual authority, the oral tradition and the written tradition.
In Judaism the oral tradition was called the Halakha which means the way to walk from the verb meaning to walk or how to live. This is a direct refutation of the kind of thinking that was present in rabbinic Judaism.
Redemption was not based on the righteousness, the tzedakah, that a person performed or a person did but it’s based upon what Messiah did on the Cross, which is what’s taught in Old Testament and Hebrew Scriptures like Isaiah 53. What we’ll see tonight before we finish is that this is all the way through Isaiah.
The primary title that we see related to Yahweh, to the Lord, in Hosea, is the Lord, our Redeemer—again and again and again. We’ll emphasize that when we get there.
The idea of redemption here, as I pointed out last time, is one of the two main root words for redemption, LUTROO which means to ransom, redeem, to purchase, or to buy. All of these words are economic words and indicate the purchase of something out of the marketplace. The other word that’s used is AGARAZO or AGORA meaning the marketplace.
The idea of purchasing a slave in the market place is certainly one of the images. So in the Old Testament, in Genesis 1–3 we have the picture of the barrier. Man is on one side of the barrier. God is on the other side of the barrier. Man is separated from God due to sin, but only God can solve the problem.
This sin barrier is composed of different bricks or different elements. This is not an exhaustive list but is a good summary of the different aspects of the problem. The sin problem itself is unacceptable to a righteous, holy God.
Then there’s the penalty of sin, which is spiritual death, judicial separation from God and an inability to have a relationship with God.
Then the problem of God’s character, that because He is righteous He cannot have a relationship with creatures that are unrighteous.
Next is the idea of spiritual death and that as a result of the penalty we are all born spiritually dead so something has to happen to us personally to become spiritually alive.
The problem of our own lack of righteousness and our position in Adam.
It is the Cross that wipes out the barrier, and each problem in the barrier is resolved by a facet related to the work of Christ on the Cross.
So 1 Timothy 2:6 says, “Who gave Himself as a ransom for all.” That’s another word. The word we looked at a moment ago was LUTROO. This is a form of that word, ANTILUTRON. You see the root there, LUTRON. It means to be ransomed for all. HUPER is the Greek preposition which indicates a substitution.
This goes back to that first aspect of sin, which is that God takes care of all sin for all people. It is unlimited atonement. It is for all. That is the extent of God’s payment on the cross.
In 1 Timothy 4:10 we are told that “we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.” “All men” includes two classifications: believers and unbelievers. He’s the Savior of all, but especially of believers because those are the ones who have accepted it and are regenerate and are justified.
2 Peter 2:1 talks about false prophets who deny “the Master who bought them,” That’s AGORAZO, another redemption word. So He paid the penalty for those who are unbelievers.
1 John 2:2, “And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.” This is another preposition in the Greek which talks about substitution; that He died in our place. The ultimate picture of that is the picture in the Old Testament of the sacrificial lamb. When a person puts their hand on the head of the lamb and recites their sins, those sins are transferred ritually to that animal and the animal is then killed in place of the person.
If you are interested, and you should be, watch a video by going to sourceflix.com, Joel Kramer’s website. He has an excellent video called The Sacrifice. It really hits you because we’re so divorced from the death of animals and the birth of animals, life and death even in the home, that to see an animal that is totally innocent, without guilt and has done nothing wrong, that is taken to the altar and has his throat cut just because we sinned. There is a distinctive impact that has, especially as we understand and apply that to what the Savior did on the Cross.
The penalty of sin is covered by two doctrines: redemption, which is what we’re studying, and expiation. They have to do with the cancelling of the debt. It is a true payment, a true substitutionary payment for all. That doesn’t mean all go to Heaven.
As I pointed out last time there are two basic words used in the Old Testament in relationship to understanding redemption. The first is the word padah, used 59 times in the Old Testament in 49 verses. This is not the primary word.
The focal point of this word is the payment of a price. If you just understand redemption means paying a price, you’ve captured the doctrine of redemption. A payment is made so that’s the first word.
The second word is the word ga’al. The noun form is the word go’el. This is the primary word that’s used in the Old Testament. It’s used 103 times in 83 verses. This is the primary focus. It’s the idea of a kinsman-redeemer. We’re going to look at that in more detail this evening.
The key idea in kinsman-redeemer is providing protection and security. The go’el emphasizes the responsibility of blood relatives to provide for and protect blood relatives. What’s hidden in this word, and I didn’t really catch this until tonight, is that there is the hint, the foreshadowing, when we read the title so many times in Isaiah, “The Lord, our redeemer.” This foreshadows that the Redeemer must become human. He’s a Kinsman-Redeemer.
Embedded within this idea, even though it’s not unpacked per se in the Old Testament, there are certainly passages which we’ve studied before that predicted the Messiah is going to be human as well as divine. It’s hinted at in this word. For the Lord to be our Redeemer He must become our Kinsman.
This is why we believe the Messiah had to become incarnate, had to become a human being and enter into human history in order to die as our substitute. For that substitution to be real and effective, it couldn’t be a lamb. It couldn’t be an angel. It has to be a human being. Like must substitute for like.
In the Old Testament there are two basic pictures that help us understand redemption. The first is the Exodus event and the second is the episode related to the book of Ruth and her redemption by the go’el, the kinsman-redeemer, Boaz. We’ll look at that later.
We have two words and we’ll see how they’re both used to describe the Exodus event. It’s interesting because if we think in terms of these words they each have a slightly different focus but they are synonymous in about 70% of their meaning. It tells us that both words are used to refer to what God does in delivering Israel from slavery in Egypt.
It’s called a go’el, a redemption and padah, redemption. We’ll see that as we go through.
We need to think about the Exodus event. That means that Israel for over 400 years has been in slavery in Egypt. They have been held in slavery and there’s been no hope of any hope or deliverance even though they have prayed for it.
Then God sent a deliverer, who is Moses who is a picture of the ultimate Deliverer who will come to redeem us from the slavery of sin. Moses was sent to Pharaoh. He goes to Pharaoh to have him release the Israelites, which is the concept of redemption to release the people from slavery.
Pharaoh refuses to do that. He refuses to do that nine times. The tenth time he finally relents because that is the greatest and most significant punishment, which was the death of the firstborn male in every household and the first born male of all the animals.
This is what is remembered in the Passover. The Hebrew word for Passover is pesach, which focuses on the fact that every male firstborn in Egypt was taken. The Bible teaches that the firstborn belongs to the Lord. The exception was when a redemption price was paid. That redemption price was the death of a lamb. If a lamb was sacrificed and the blood was applied to the doorpost and the cross piece, the lintel of the door, then the Lord would pass over the house and the first born would not die.
Every Jew, every Israelite, applied the blood to the doorpost of their house and no Israelite lost their life and none of their livestock. But in the house of Egypt and the house of Pharaoh the firstborn was taken.
That’s the backdrop. So we read this from the very beginning as God prepares Moses for what he will do in Exodus 6:6, “Say therefore to the sons of Israel, ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage. I will also redeem …” The word is ga’al, the word for kinsman-redeemer. It has to do not only with deliverance but providing security at the same time. “I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.’” Notice the word for deliver [natzal] means to tear or to pull out. It’s a violent term so this is a foreshadowing what will take place through the ten plagues.
The basis for that redemption is described then in Exodus 15:13, “In Thy lovingkindness …” This is the Hebrew word chesed. “Thou hast led the people whom Thou hast redeemed; In Thy strength Thou hast guided them to Thy holy habitation.”
So the basis for this redemption is God’s faithful love. The word chesed often goes back to covenant loyalty. Of course, the Sinaitic covenant had not been given yet in Exodus 15. It is going to be given in Exodus 20, which is the beginning, but it hasn’t been given yet.
To which covenant would this refer? It refers to the Abrahamic covenant. Because of God’s loyalty to the covenant that He has made with Abraham, the fact that He is going to give him a seed or descendants that are without number. It is on the basis of His loyal love, His faithful love to that covenant, His faithfulness to that covenant that He redeems the people. Then He leads them forward (Exodus 15:13).
Then in Deuteronomy we get a number of interesting passages that fill out this understanding of redemption. In Deuteronomy 7:8 it says, “But because the Lord loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers …” Who are the forefathers? Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
“He swore to your forefathers, the Lord brought you out by a mighty hand, and redeemed you …” Padah. This is the idea of paying the purchase price. “Redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh King of Egypt.”
Deuteronomy 9:26b, “… Thou has redeemed through Thy greatness …” Again it goes back to Egypt. That’s the point I’m illustrating here. The redemption from Egypt is the picture in the Old Testament that foreshadows or is a type of the redemption that Christ pays on the Cross.
Deuteronomy 13:5b, “… The Lord your God who brought you from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery.”
Deuteronomy 15:15b, “… You were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God redeemed you.”
Deuteronomy 21:8 is a prayer to God, “Forgive Thy people Israel whom Thou hast redeemed [padah].”
Deuteronomy 24:18b, “That the Lord your God redeemed you from there.” See, again and again and again the primary word in Deuteronomy is padah.
Deuteronomy is close in time to the Exodus event. It’s forty years later because of the time that God took the disobedient generation through the wilderness. This is for the new generation who would go into the land.
We see it repeated later in Nehemiah 1:10. It’s a reminder in Nehemiah’s prayer to God. He goes back and says, “You have redeemed them by Your great power.” What Nehemiah is praying is that he will be able to go back to Jerusalem and complete the building of the walls around Jerusalem.
Psalm 77:15, “You have with Your arm redeemed Your people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph.”
In these two verses you have both padah and ga’al used referring back to the Exodus. That is the foundational event for the New Testament.
What was the redemption price? It’s the lamb. The lamb pays and is the substitute for the firstborn.
Who does the lamb depict? 1 Corinthians 5:7, “Therefore purge out the old leaven …” Remember Pesach is just one day. On the Jewish calendar it was the 14th of Nissan. The 15th is the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, a feast that lasts for one week.
That Feast of Unleavened Bread begins the second day but as the Scripture usage is, the first day of Passover often became referred to as the First Day of Unleavened Bread, although technically it was the second day that was the beginning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
I told you on Sunday that just before we went to Israel I had an e-mail from our travel agent that we use a lot. She’s always very, very helpful in taking care of us whenever we go over there even if we don’t have a group. She came to the airport to pick us up and then to take us to lunch before we were going to go into the Old City.
She said something strange in the e-mail and I just hadn’t connected because I’d actually thought that all this feast stuff would be over by the time we got there. My original plan had been to go a week early and come back as soon as it was over and then someone told me it was Passover.
I counted up the days but I didn’t count right. Because the last day of Unleavened Bread was on Friday, it automatically extended through Shabbat on Saturday. We arrived on a Saturday morning. So she said, “If you want any bread, you’re going to have to go to an Arab restaurant.”
So we had to go to an Arab restaurant, which we did. That’s the idea. The picture of leaven in the Old Testament is that picture of sin. Paul uses that imagery and tells the Corinthians that they need to be cleansed spiritually in 1 Corinthians 5:7. He uses the phrase, purge out the old leaven. That is just an idiom for confessing your sin, dealing with the sin in your life.
“Purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened.” That’s our position. We are sinless positionally. We have perfect righteousness but experientially we still sin. And then he says, “For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.”
There’s that word again. Here the word Passover refers to the lamb. The word can refer to the day. It can refer to the event. It can refer to the pascal lamb, itself.
So that’s the first illustration.
The second illustration we see is in the book of Ruth. I want you to turn with me in the Old Testament to the book of Ruth. Ruth is a small book of four chapters that is sandwiched between Judges and 1 Samuel. Since we’ve been studying 1 Samuel on Tuesday nights you ought to be able to find your way there. Just go to the beginning and we’ll come to the book of Ruth.
Now I gave a quick flyover of Ruth in the previous lesson. Ruth is really the story of how God provides out of His grace and how God transforms lives.
It starts off with the story of Naomi and Elimelech who were married. They have two sons, Mahlon and Chilion and they leave Bethlehem, their home, and they head across to Moab.
There the two sons marry Moabitesses as their wives. Elimelech then dies and ten years later both of the sons die. Naomi, the mother, becomes very bitter. She wants people to refer to her, not as Naomi, but as Mara, which means bitter. I’ve known people named Mara. There’s even a news correspondent on Fox News by the name of Mara. I don’t know why some people use biblical names to name their children, because if they read the text, they wouldn’t want to use those names. Why would you want to name your child “bitter”? It never has made sense to me.
I’ve known people who just like the sound of the words and they don’t pay attention to the text.
Here we’re going see how Naomi is transformed, how God has taken everything and then He restores it many fold. Naomi goes back to Bethlehem with one daughter-in-law, Ruth. The other daughter-in-law left. Ruth is the one who sticks with her mother-in-law and makes the famous statement, “Where you go, I will go. Where you live, I will live and your God will be my God.” This shows that Ruth is definitely a believer in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
We see the word kinsman-redeemer, the word go’el, the noun form used several places in Ruth. What happens is when they go home, Naomi tells Ruth that there’s one way out of their predicament. They’re starving. They have no way to support themselves. This was a problem with widows in the Old Testament. They were dependent upon the family.
If they didn’t have any family, then they were just dependent upon the community. They could become very impoverished very quickly. So the solution that God built into the Law to provide for widows and families was this concept of a kinsman-redeemer.
The first use of the word is in Ruth 2:20 where Naomi says to Ruth, “Blessed be he of Lord [Boaz] who has not forsaken his kindness to the living and the dead.” Ruth has already made Boaz’s acquaintance and tells Naomi about all Boaz has done. Naomi tells her, “This man is a relation of ours, one of our close relatives [go’el]. It should be translated one of our kinsman-redeemers.
A kinsman-redeemer could be any blood relation, anyone in the family or extended clan who is a relation to Elimelech. In Ruth 3:9 Boaz is talking to Ruth and says, “Who are you?” She answered, “I am Ruth, your maidservant. Take your maidservant under your wing for you are a go’el.”
This is where she makes her request that he fulfill his responsibility as a kinsman-redeemer.
Turn now to Ruth 4:1. We’re just going to look at these initial verses to see how this is used in Scripture to depict the role of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ.
In Ruth 4:1 we read, “Now Boaz went up to the gate.” The gate is where the power was. This is where the city council would meet. This is where the city leaders would gather together. This is often where municipal court would be held, where business transactions take place, where title deeds were exchanged. This is the city hall of the town.
So Boaz goes up to the gate, sits down there, and “Behold, the close relative [another go’el]. This is another go’el, another cousin, distant cousin, we’re not told but he’s a closer relation than Boaz. That means he has prior claim, prior opportunity to redeem Naomi and Ruth.
It says, “Behold, the close relative of whom Boaz spoken came by. So Boaz said, ‘Come aside friend, sit down here.’ So he came aside and sat down. And he took ten men of the elders of the city.” There’s a precedent in the law, and that’s what they’re fulfilling, that ten men of the city should witness this.
Actually this is on the basis of statements like this that in Judaism you have the concept of a minion, that in order to even have a synagogue you have to have ten men coming together as the core. If you have eight or nine you can’t have a synagogue. You have to have ten. They would go to passages like this to show that ten was the smallest group you could have in order to be able to make decisions and to establish something.
Ruth 4:2, “And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, ‘Sit down here.’ So they sat down.” Boaz said to the close relative that Naomi who has come back from the country of Moab sold the piece of land “which belonged to our brother, Elimelech.” Notice the focus here isn’t on marriage but on the property that belonged to Elimelech.
He said she’d come back and Elimelech had sold his property. “And I thought to inform you, saying, ‘Buy it back in the presence of the elders and of my people.”
In the Law in the Old Testament, God wanted to preserve the wealth of the families in the clans. So that when the land was divided up among the tribes and further sub-divided among the clans and then sub-divided among the families, that land was to stay in those families and it was not to be lost. Even when it was sold to get out of debt, it would revert back to its original owner in the year of Jubilee, every fifty years.
God is preserving their wealth and the property they own so they couldn’t lose it. That’s the idea here, that this property was sold to get out of debt and now it needs to be redeemed or bought back so that it is part of the family’s wealth again. Elimelech has sold the land. It needs to be bought back and the first responsibility or opportunity goes to the nearest relative. So Boaz says if this cousin “will redeem it, if you buy it, purchase it back, redeem it: but if you will not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know: for there is no one but you to redeem it and I’m next to you.” And the man said he’d redeem it.
But, see, there’s a string attached to this deal. The string that’s attached to the deal has to do with taking care of the family, the two widows, as well. That’s where the levirate marriage thing comes in. I’ll talk about that again in just a minute.
So in Ruth 4:5 Boaz says, “On the day that you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you must also buy it from Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead and perpetuate the dead through his inheritance.” That implies that he has to marry Ruth and raise up descendants in the name of the dead husband.
The close relative says, “I cannot redeem it for myself lest I ruin my own inheritance. You redeem my right of redemption for myself for I cannot redeem it.” So he’s going to pass on this opportunity.
Then there’s an interesting little exchange that takes place. We would sign court documents and we would have a notary or officer of the court seal the document and then it would be placed on record. That’s not how they did it. In order to signify that the deal was done they would take off their sandal. Now the image that came to my mind as I read that is that we know the Arab practice that if you don’t like what someone is saying, you take your shoe off and you throw it at them.
We’ve seen that in the news. Someone threw a shoe at President George W. Bush one time. That’s the idea.
This is not that practice. You take off your sandal and this would show that you have accepted and finalized the deal. It would be equivalent to the way things used to be in this country, giving a handshake. So this is a sign of acceptance of the deal.
What we learn from these passages is that first of all the go’el was a close male relative of the same clan in the same tribe. A clan is a subset of a tribe. The closer the relation, the greater the responsibility to act on behalf of the relation.
If you’re a first cousin or a second cousin you have a greater responsibility than a 20th cousin twice removed or whatever.
In Leviticus 25:25–26 we read, “If one of your brethren becomes poor, and has sold some of his possession, and if his redeeming relative comes to redeem it, [go’el] then he may redeem what his brother sold. Or if the man has no one to redeem it, but he himself becomes able to redeem it” [buy the property back] then he would be able to do it which is what the Law goes on to say.
The point of this is that it provides an economic security. So if you go into debt, you have an opportunity to purchase what you sold. You’re not going to lose it; it’s not going to go outside the clan. It can stay within the family. It’s a way of providing financial security even in times of financial difficulty.
Later on we read in Leviticus 25:47–49, “Now if a sojourner or stranger close to you becomes rich, and one of your brethren who dwells by him becomes poor …” The sojourner or stranger would be the documented immigrant. Is that politically correct enough? It’s not an illegal alien. It used to be translated alien, someone who is not part of Israel.
“So if a sojourner or stranger (aside about French calling them strange—I wonder if the French have become politically correct in recent years) close to you become rich and one of your brethren who dwells by him becomes poor, and sells himself to the stranger or sojourner close to you [becoming an indentured servant] …”
Leviticus 25:48–49, “After he is sold he may be redeemed again [purchased]. One of his brothers may redeem him; or his uncle or his uncle’s son may redeem him; or anyone who is near of kin to him in his family may redeem him; or if he is able he may redeem himself.”
I don’t know how much this is still practiced today, but I am familiar with this practice still being in effect after World War II. I know of a couple, some of your know them. She was a German Jew who went to Shanghai and met her husband who was Scottish and was a member of the British constabulary in Shanghai. After the war they got married. They were dirt poor. They went back to Scotland but there was no work there.
They hired out on a farm in Red Deer. If you know where Red Deer is there isn’t much north of it except maybe the Arctic Circle up in Canada. It was absolutely miserable. It wasn’t long, maybe a year or so, and her family who had been able to get out of Shanghai after the war and get to New York was able to collect money from the Jewish community in New York in order to pay off the couple’s debt.
They were redeemed from that indentured servitude. Then they came to Houston, Texas, which led to their salvation and the rest of the story goes on from there.
That’s the idea so this idea of indentured servitude still goes on and is still practiced.
So the first thing is that the male relative is the one. The closer they are the greater the responsibility.
Second, the redemption basically focused on land, the inheritance which belonged to the family clan so that it would not become lost to the family.
Land, we’re told in Scripture, is the inheritance from God. God is the one who owned the land of Israel and all Israelites were given their inheritance and they were basically tenant farmers on God’s land according to Leviticus 23, 24, 25, the passages which just precede the ones I’ve just been referencing.
The Law prevented Israelites from permanently selling the land outside of the family so that it could always revert back during the year of Jubilee. If they needed to sell the land for a time to get out of debt, they could do so. The focus here is not on marriage. The focus of the kinsman-redeemer is always related in all the passages to property. That’s important to emphasize about what goes on in Ruth.
Third, the go’el had the responsibility to redeem relatives sold into slavery who had given up their land. This is partially what’s going on with Ruth and Naomi.
Fourth, the focus was on inheritance, the land, not on levirate marriage.
We see this illustrated and connected in a passage in Deuteronomy 25:5–9. You can turn with me there and make cross-reference notes if you wish so you can find your way back the next time you’re reading in Ruth, chapter 4.
Deuteronomy 25:5. These are various other laws and this one is related to the law for levirate marriage. The law for levirate marriage was a way to preserve the inheritance within a family. Let’s say you’re parents and you have a son. The son grows up and gets married and he is the sole heir. If he dies, then what happens to the property?
If you have another son who is able to marry the first son’s widow then his responsibility is to marry the widow and their offspring would be raised to the name of the dead husband so that his inheritance gets passed on. It’s all about protecting inheritance. You don’t have inheritance taxes. You don’t have property taxes in the Mosaic Law because they are unfair. That is unjust. There’s no such concept in biblical law.
The idea is to preserve family wealth, not to take family wealth for the use of the government.
Deuteronomy 25:5–6 says, “If brothers dwell together, and one of them dies and has no son, the widow of the dead man shall not be married to a stranger outside the family; her husband’s brother shall go in to her, take her as his wife, and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her. And it shall be that the firstborn son which she bears will succeed to the name of his dead brother, that his name may not be blotted out of Israel.” It’s all about family. This is divine institution #3, protecting the family.
We have totally lost the family in this nation. It’s gone. I doubt it will ever come back. It’s been destroyed through the tax system. It’s been destroyed through legislation. It’s been destroyed through the educational system. It’s over with. Don’t get an idealistic role thinking we can recover it. I don’t think we ever will unless there’s an act of God where this country turns back to Scripture. That’s the only exception.
No politician is going to change this. We have brought so many people into this country who do not have a framework of the Divine institutions. They don’t understand government responsibility. They want the government to take care of them. They don’t understand marriage. They don’t understand family. They pervert all of them.
Unless there is an internal change in the souls of Americans, we’re not going to recover. No nation in history, apart from a mighty shift back to the gospel, has ever reversed course. It happened in England several times. It may happen here. I’m not saying it won’t. But apart from a move of the Spirit of God and the gospel, it won’t happen.
It’s not the result of elections. It’s the result of a spiritual transformation.
That was the idea to preserve family wealth, not to destroy it.
Deuteronomy 25:7–9, “But if the man does not want to take his brother’s wife, then let his brother’s wife go up to the gate to the elders [the ten men at the gate in Ruth 4] and say, ‘My husband’s brother refuses to raise up a name to his brother in Israel; he will not perform the duty of my husband’s brother. Then the elders of his city shall call him and speak to him. [There’s going to be a hearing.] But if he stands firm and says, ‘I do not want to take her,’ [the case of this other go’el related to Boaz] then his brother’s wife shall come to him in the presence of the elders, remove his sandal from his foot [that’s where this comes from], spit in his face and answer and say, ‘So shall it be done to the man who will not build up his brother’s house.’ ”
Since there is an alternate Ruth doesn’t spit in the cousin’s face because she’s going to be taken by Boaz as the kinsman-redeemer. That’s the picture so the emphasis in the kinsman-redeemer is that the redeemer is a close relation.
When that’s applied to the Messiah we understand that the one who redeems us must also be a human being. Secondly it provides security and protection. Those are the two ideas in go’el.
Let’s look at five basic characteristics of the go’el Redeemer that are applied to the Lord Jesus Christ.
First of all, the Redeemer was a blood relative of the one he was to redeem. This is seen in Lev. 25:48ff, Deuteronomy 25:5, and Ruth 3:9. The Messiah must be a kinsman-redeemer, a blood relative. He must be a human being. Only a human being can stand as a substitute for another human being.
Second characteristic. The Redeemer must be willing to redeem. It’s not forced upon them. They must make a free-will decision. It must be a desire that they have to fulfill that responsibility. This is seen in Deuteronomy 25:7–10 and Ruth 3:11. It’s fulfilled when Christ voluntarily left Heaven to pay the price for our sin according to Philippians 2:5–8. He willingly took on the limitations of humanity in order to submit Himself, obey the Father, and go to the Cross.
Third characteristic of the Redeemer that’s applied to the Lord Jesus Christ is that the Redeemer must be able to redeem, i.e., he must be able to pay the redemption price. Jesus Christ is able to pay the redemption price for our sin because He was without sin. He was perfect. He was impeccable. “He who knew no sin was made sin for us that the righteousness of God might be found in us.”
Christ could pay the price of our redemption according to Acts 20:28 and 1 Peter 1:18–19, which is our passage.
Fourth characteristic of the go’el applied to the Lord Jesus Christ. The Redeemer must be free Himself from the calamity. He can’t Himself be in debt. You see, every believer is born in debt. We have a certificate of debt over us, a condemnation that did not apply to Jesus because of the virgin birth. This is why it was necessary to have a virgin birth, so that the sin nature would not be inherited from Adam through the male.
The Redeemer must be free Himself from the calamity from which He must free the object of redemption. This is Leviticus 25:49. Christ Himself was free from sin. 2 Corinthians 5:21 and Hebrews 4:15 say He was completely free from sin.
Fifth, He must act to pay the redemption price. He must make the decision, accept the responsibility, and then carry through.
Those are five characteristics of the kinsman-redeemer that are applied to Jesus Christ.
Now let’s look at some other aspects of this payment of the price. We have threef verses on that last point to pay the redemption price. We have three verses.
Genesis 48:16, “The Angel (Jacob praying) who has redeemed me from all evil …” Who is the Angel? That should be a capital A. It’s the Angel of the Lord, which usually refers to the 2nd Person of the Trinity in the Old Testament. In the New Testament it’s an Angel of the Lord, not THE Angel of the Lord but in the Old Testament it’s the pre-incarnate Messiah.
“The Angel who has redeemed me from all evil …” Jacob is saying that He has acted. That’s the point that the Redeemer must act.
In Exodus 6:6 God acts to redeem Israel from slavery in Egypt.
In Exodus 15:13 God acted and redeemed Israel from Egypt.
The first point had to do with the language. The second point had to do with the two different illustrations, the slavery in Egypt and the go’el.
The third point was five characteristics of the Redeemer apply to Christ and this is the fourth point. Isaiah 40 to 66 is often called “the Suffering Servant narrative”. The “Suffering Servant” refers to Messiah, not to Israel. We did a study several years ago in Isaiah 53 where we worked through those issues.
Yahweh is the go’el here, the Kinsman-Redeemer par excellence. We see this in a number of passages. For example in Isaiah 41:14, “Do not fear, you worm Jacob …” God just isn’t concerned with being non-offensive, is He? Calling Jacob a worm, because they are not able to save themselves, because they are disobedient.
There’s one of Isaac Watt’s hymn, Alas! And did my Savior Bleed, where it talks about “Christ dying for such a worm as I”. If you look in most modern hymnals it says, “Such a one as I”. I’ve heard people wax eloquently in their arrogance saying, “We don’t believe in worm theology. We are human beings and we need to have a good self-image.”
It’s psychobabble claptrap applied to the Christian life. The Bible says we are on the level of a worm in relationship to God. We are incapable of being able to save ourselves. We are corrupt. We are rebellious. We are useless because we have rebelled against God, and we are not functioning as we should in terms of the “imageness” of God that we all bear.
So God says, “Do not fear, you worm Jacob [they’ve been disobedient] you men of Israel; I will help you,’ declares the Lord …” That’s grace. Grace is that God does everything for us and we don’t do anything to help Him. He does it all.
“I will help you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.’ ”
We’re going to see this title again and again and again in Isaiah. He is the Holy One, the unique one of Israel.
Isaiah 43:14 is talking about how God is going to deliver them from Babylon. That is another illustration of redemption in the Old Testament. “Thus says the Lord your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, [your go’el] ‘For your sake I have sent to Babylon …”
Let’s just go on and hit these again.
Isaiah 48:17, “Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, and the Holy One of Israel; ‘I am the Lord your God who teaches you to profit …” God’s identity as a Redeemer indicates He is the compassionate, Kinsman-Redeemer. All of these titles we see in Isaiah foreshadow that the Messiah who will come will be related to us. He will be fully human.
Isaiah 59:19–21 focuses on the future redemption of the nation. This is an application because Christ redeemed or paid the price objectively on the Cross. It is then applied in the future to Israel. Redemption is used talking about the result of what was accomplished on the Cross. It’s not always seen as the object of paying the price for sin but the result of having that price paid.
Isaiah 59:19–20, “So they will fear the name of the Lord from the west and His glory from the rising of the sun [the east], for He will come like a rushing stream, which the wind of the Lord drives. ‘And a Redeemer [a go’el] will come to Zion, and to those who turn from transgression in Jacob,’ declares the Lord.” This is referring to the Second Coming when Jesus Christ returns for Israel.
Isaiah 59:21, “And as for Me, this is My covenant with them,’ says the Lord.” Notice how this is connected, this coming of the go’el redeemer is connected with His establishing of this covenant. “My Spirit which is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your offspring, nor from the mouth of your offspring’s offspring,” says the Lord, ‘from now and forever.’ ” This is talking about the New Covenant when it is initiated and instituted at the Second Coming of the Messiah.
Slides 58, 59
Isaiah 43:1, “But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel, ‘Do not fear for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine!”
This is connecting the dots. The One who redeems is the Creator God. The One who is the go’el, the Kinsman-Redeemer is the Creator God of Israel and they have been called by His name.
Again, this is in the context of not worrying, not being afraid, so the go’el provides security and comfort for the one redeemed.
Isaiah 43:14 is, again, talking about their deliverance.
Isaiah 44:6 says, “Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: ‘I am the first and I am the last, and there is no God besides Me.’ ”
How many persons are there? Two. Wait a minute I thought … “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, is one.” But the 1986 Tanakh gets it right. It says, “The Lord alone …” It’s not talking about a unitarian monotheism. It’s talking about in the context that Yahweh, alone, is the God of Israel, in contrast to the idols of the nations. So you have two Persons in the unity of the Godhead. Yahweh, the King of Israel, and the go’el, the Yahweh Sabaoth, the Lord of the Armies [hosts].
Then it identifies Him. “I am the first and I am the last …” Where do we see that language? In numerous passages in Revelation, beginning with Revelation 1:17 when the Lord Jesus Christ appears to the Apostle John on the Isle of Patmos and says, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last.”
He didn’t just come up with this in Revelation 1:17. It has a foundation. The Old Testament is the foundation for the New Testament. If you don’t understand the Old Testament, it’s hard to understand a lot of what is going on in the New Testament.
There’s a heresy going on today that I need to warn you about, especially in Reform churches and Reform theology. We say the New Testament fulfills the Old Testament so you have to understand the Old because it sets the framework and the foundation to understand the New Testament.
In Reformed theology they say that the New Testament interprets the Old Testament. That may sound good to people but the problem is that if the Old Testament is interpreted by the New, then no one knew what in the world the Old Testament was talking about until you got the New Testament.
The New Testament would be the hermeneutical key to the Old. When you do it that way, you distort everything in the Old Testament and you end up in some kind of Replacement Theology where you think that God is now permanently disaffected from Israel and there’s no longer a plan or purpose for Israel which legitimized anti-Semitism.
Another passage: Isaiah 44:22, God says, “I’ve wiped out your transgressions like a thick cloud, and your sins like a heavy mist. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.”
Redemption there in the Old Testament relates to the payment for sin.
Slides 63, 64
Isaiah 44:23–24 goes on, “Shout for joy, O heavens, for the Lord has done it! Shout joyfully, you lower parts of the earth; Break forth into a shout of joy, you mountains …” See, creation is engaged in praising God. This is echoed in Romans 8, which talks about the creation presently groans looking forward to its what? It is the Day of Redemption, which comes at the Second Coming.
“For the Lord has redeemed Jacob and in Israel He shows forth His glory. Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer.” Again connecting Him in this passage with His creation.
Isaiah 47:4, “Our go’el, the Lord of hosts is His name, the Holy One of Israel.”
Isaiah 48:17, “… The Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel …”
Jeremiah 31:11, “For the Lord has ransomed Jacob, and redeemed him from the hand of him who was stronger than he.” Again, emphasizing the role of God as the One who purchases Israel and protects Israel. That’s that role of the go’el.
That was all the fourth point related to the protection of the go’el and related to God’s provision and protection for Israel. That was all related primarily to Isaiah chapters 40–66.
Then the fifth point and this will be where I stop tonight. The Old Testament gives many promises regarding the protection of the Lord, our Redeemer. You can just jot down some of these. Some may be passages you’ve learned before.
Psalm 19:14, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.” Notice the juxtaposition of those two metaphors: Rock is security and protection. And again, go’el is protection.
Psalm 69:18, “Oh draw near to my soul and redeem it; Ransom me [the idea of payment] because of my enemies!”
Psalm 72:14, “He will rescue their life from oppression and violence; and their blood will be precious in His sight;” Yes, rescuing their life.
Psalm 74:2, “Remember Thy congregation, which Thou hast purchased of old, which Thou hast redeemed to be the tribe of Thine inheritance; and this Mount Zion, where Thou hast dwelt.” Again the idea of purchase.
Psalm 77:15, “Thou hast by Thy power redeemed Thy people.”
Psalm 78:35, “… God was their rock and the Most High God their Redeemer.” Again juxtaposing the imagery of that protection from the rock.
Two more verses: Psalm 103:4, “Who redeemed your life from the pit; Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;” Redemption is moved by the compassion and the love of God.
Psalm 106:10, “So He saved them from the hand of the one who hated them, and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy.”
We have been redeemed. It’s not a purchase payment to Satan. It’s a payment to justice. A payment that justice is satisfied by paying the penalty on the Cross so that God, then, is free to save us and to bring us to Himself.
“Father, thank You for this opportunity to study these things this evening, to understand that redemption is the payment of a price, a provision of security from One who is our kinsman. All of these images point to the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ and His work on the Cross.
Help us to gain a greater appreciation for all that we have in Christ. We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.”