Posted tagged ‘Jesus Christ’

A Spiritual Understanding of The Book of Ruth

September 21, 2011

The Gleaners by Jean Francois Millet

Mat 1:5

An Exposition of the Book of Ruth: God’s Mercy to”Widows”,”Strangers” (and “Poor”)

Another Book of Prophesy that Reveals God’s Magnificent Plan of Salvation Through the Person and Work of The Lord Jesus Christ, The Messiah: Like Boaz to Ruth, Jesus Is the Believer’s Kinsman Redeemer!


The Book of Ruth is read every year to the assembled congregations of the Jewish people in their synagogues to the present day.  It is read as part of the celebration of the Feast of Weeks (Shavuot…The Feast of Weeks is the second of the three pilgrim festivals ordained in the Old Testament after Passover and before the end of the year Feast of Tabernacles). The Feast of Weeks is known by Christians as the Feast of Pentecost.  The Feast is celebrated at the end of the barley harvest (or time of the “first fruits”) and it is the time of year when the most critical period in the Book of Ruth takes place, when Ruth meets Boaz, Ruth’s and Naomi’s kinsman-redeemer.  And just like the Book of Esther, the Book of Ruth has both an earthly (historical) and a Heavenly (spiritual) meaning, and hence it is also an historical “parable.” While the Book of Ruth does provide an account of an actual period in history, it was nonetheless written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and it has been incorporated into God’s Holy Word, the Bible.  It is a vignette orchestrated by God in the first instance (historically), and written down as precisely crafted in the Bible in the second instance (spiritually), to fulfill God’s own purposes.

Why Did God Include the Book of Ruth in the Bible?

The Book of Ruth Is About the Love and Mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ

Perhaps the most important of God’s purposes for providing us with the Book of Ruth was to convey, in one short, four chapter, literal historical account, some critical elements of God’s magnificent salvation plan (albeit by typological, allegorical, and otherwise veiled means).

Moreover, that message as found in the Book of Ruth is the same Gospel message that can be found everywhere else in the Bible, as it focuses on the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah that the Jews did not recognize.  The only difference is that, each time Jesus is intricately interwoven and having otherwise been hidden in the Bible, once Jesus Christ is subsequently revealed by the Holy Spirit according to John 16:13, and John 14:26 we can learn more about Jesus and God’s Gospel plan through Him (which glorifies God in the process as we know from Pro 25:2).  However, to truly “see” Jesus (to believe with our hearts and not just our minds), we must have our spiritual eyes “opened” by God.  Given that this can indeed be the case, then another purpose for God having provided us with the Book of Ruth is that it will edify, comfort, and strengthen the faith of the saints (the believers).

The Book of Ruth, Like the Book of Esther, Illustrates God’s Providence

The Book of Ruth also provides the believer with additional insights into God’s providence, as well as His mercy and grace to “the widows and strangers and poor”…even to an otherwise cursed “Moabitess”… representing all of the humbled sinful outcasts descended from Adam whom Jesus saves from the just penalty for their sins who would otherwise be consigned to Hell.  It expands on Jesus’s role as the Kinsman Redeemer of His saints, who are taken from all of humankind, made up from both a remnant of national Israel and the Gentile nations in the whole world.

The Book of Ruth Illustrates God’s Restoration of Our Lost Estate in Adam

The Book of Ruth tells us of the man Elimelech and his lost estate.  Elimelech left the House of Bread (Bethlehem) and went to Moab and died there along with his two sons, his only heirs.  His name should have been blotted out forever, but, by the grace of God through Boaz (a clear “Type” of Jesus Christ) who voluntarily served as his kinsman redeemer, Boaz restored Elimelech’s lost estate and raised up a son, Obed, in the name of Elimelech (who ultimately became an ancestor of Jesus via Jesus’s mother Mary). Adam was driven from the Garden of Eden for his sin against God and sentenced to death.  Adam lost his (and our) first estate, but Jesus, as our Kinsman Redeemer, restored Adam’s (and our) lost estate forever through His voluntary sacrifice. 1Corinthians 15:22For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.Matthew 1:21And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

The Book of Ruth Shows Us How Jesus Is Intimately Identified with Sinful Mankind

The book of Ruth also provides us with insights on Jesus’s genealogy, and, therefore, how Jesus is intimately linked to sinful mankind through a variety of quite sordid events, showing us, as we read in 2 Corthinians 5:21, “For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.


As an introduction, let’s first briefly look at the ten key persons in the order of their appearance, and then the historical narrative plot line:

1) Elimelech: The Jewish husband of Naomi, who’s name means, “my God is King” who led his family away from Bethlehem-Judah on a sojourn to Moab during the time of the Judges and who suffers an untimely death in Moab.

2) Naomi: The wife of Elimelech, and the mother of his two sons, who becomes a “widow indeed” in Moab. A Jewish woman whose name means, “my God is Sweet(ness)”.

3) Mahlon: The first named son of Elimelech and Naomi, whose name means “sickness” who married Ruth, a Moabitess woman after his father died, and then himself suffers an untimely death.

4) Chilion: The second named son of Elimelech and Naomi, whose name means “consumption.” who married, Orpah, a Moabitess woman after his father died, and then himself also suffers an untimely death.

5) Orpah: The Moabitess wife (soon widowed) of Chilion, whose name is unclear meaning either “mane” or “her neck(?)” or “gazelle“?

6) Ruth: The Moabitess wife (soon widowed) of Mahlon, whose name means variously, “Satisfied” or “Friendship”. (Ruth is also a “stranger” in Israel). Boaz calls her “daughter” and a “virtuous woman.”

7) Boaz: The rich and “mighty” kinsman redeemer of Elimelech’s Jewish family born in Bethlehem, (the “House of Bread”), whose name, “Boaz”, means “in him is strength” (after whom, it would appear, is named one of the two pillars in the porch of Solomon’s temple per 1Kings 7:21), and who married Ruth (the then Moabitess widow), and who ultimately became the progenitor (great-grandfather) of King David (and is the direct line ancestor/progenitor (from David’s son Nathan through to Mary) of the Lord Jesus Christ). Matthew 1:5 also tells us that Boaz (Booz) is descended from Salmon (also “Salma”) and Rachab (“Rahab”, the “harlot”, who received, and was spared from the destruction of Jericho by, the spies in Joshua’s time).  It is unclear why 1Chronicles  2:11-12 omits mentioning Rahab as Salmon’s wife.

NOTE: God specifically called the above last point to our attention in Matthew to show how both David and Jesus’s lineage are intimately linked to sinful mankind (via multiple sordid events alluded to earlier)…Both David, and hence Jesus, are descended through

1) the adulterous fornication of Judah with Tamar, who Judah (who at the time was a widower) thought was a harlot, but was actually was his widowed daughter-in-law who bore Pharaz (who notably is also a progenitor of Boaz); and

2) the Gentile harlot Rahab from Jericho (who was also a progenitor of Boaz); and

3) the incestuous birth of Moab via inebriated Lot with one of his two daughters after Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed (Ruth, “the Moabitess” who bore Obed to Boaz), and

4) David also evidently bore Nathan (the full brother of King Solomon, and who was the ancestor of Jesus’s mother, Mary, according to Luke 3:31 of Bathshua (Bathsheba) according to 1 Chronicles 3:5. David took Bathsheba to wife after first having defiled her, impregnated her, and then having her first husband, Uriah the Hittite, killed in battle.  God actually highlights these sinful and sordid aspects of Jesus’s lineage to make clear to us the point that Jesus is intimately identified with sinful mankind, even though He Himself “knew no sin”, for our edification and for His Glory as we read in 2 Corinthians 5:21, “For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.“. (Note that the repetitive use of “the son” in the genealogy of Luke 3:31 is in italics, as it was an assumption by the King James translators, but clearly is erroneous given that it must be the genealogy of Mary as opposed to that of Joseph (Jesus’s stepfather) in Matthew 1:6, where the genealogy deviates with King Solomon (and also note that there are no insertions of “the son”))

And regarding Rahab, we know that she was fully adopted/assimilated into national Israel, the people of God, as we read in Joshua 6:22-25, “But Joshua had said unto the two men that had spied out the country, Go into the harlot’s house, and bring out thence the woman, and all that she hath, as ye sware unto her. And the young men that were spies went in, and brought out Rahab, and her father, and her mother, and her brethren, and all that she had; and they brought out all her kindred, and left them without the camp of Israel. And they burnt the city with fire, and all that [was] therein: only the silver, and the gold, and the vessels of brass and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the Lord. And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, and her father’s household, and all that she had; and she dwelleth in Israel [even] unto this day; because she hid the messengers, which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.

We also have these two verses in the New Testament commending Rahab, Hebrews 11:31, “By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.”  and James 2:25, “Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent [them] out another way?” So then, Rahab was accepted into the nation of Israel to such an extent that she was able to marry into the royal family of Judah. She married Salmon, the son of Nahshon (“Naasson” in the Matthew 1:4). Nahshon was the leader of the tribe of Judah and commanded their army and was specifically called the “prince of the children of Judah” in 1 Chronicles 2:10. He was also a close associate of Moses and Joshua, and his sister, Elisheba, was married to Aaron, the first high priest according to Exodus 6:23. Rahab’s life is another remarkable spiritual portrait of the bride of Christ, because we know that Jesus is the “Prince of Peace” for eternal Israel though the lineage of Judah Isaiah 9:6.

And for the Jewish nation, Rahab came to serve as a successful Gentile conversion to, and assimilation into, Judaism. Her desire to seek divine mercy to spare her life and those of her family serves as a great example of conversion and salvation. God hates sin, but he saves the sinner.  He knows how to save those that love Him and desire to serve Him. 2 Timothy 1:9 tells us that Jesus, “Who hath saved us, and called [us] with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:

8) The unnamed servant of Boaz who was set over the reapers: the person who served as headmaster of the maidens and who gave the account of Ruth’s status and actions to Boaz.

9) The unnamed nearer kinsman to Naomi who refused to serve as the kinsman redeemer.  He refused the role because he did not want to take a Moabitess (Ruth) as his wife.

10) Obed: The son of Boaz and Ruth, whose name means “servant”, “worshipper”, or “follower.” Obed is representative of all of God’s children, who become saved, and are both the offspring and the bride as a result of the predetermined marriage of Jesus Christ with his church.  All believers, who are the children of God, are also servants, worshippers, and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.  It could not be any other way. Obed’s name was no accident, as we should have all learned from all the Bible studies posted here, in that all of the names of persons recorded in the Bible were never accidental or incidental.  Each name carries with it an intended meaning that is carefully woven into the tapestry of God’s Magnificent Salvation Plan.

The Historical Narrative Plot Summary:

The story of Ruth begins in the day of the Judges, likely near the earlier part of the roughly 300 year period between ~1400 BC and ~1100 BC given that Boaz was evidently born to Rahab (the “harlot” of Joshua’s day) multiple generations before the birth of David in about 1037 BC.  It was also during a time of famine in the land that included Bethlehem (which literally means “house of bread”) and likely during the time of Gideon, because it was only in his days that we read of a famine caused by the Midianites’ invasion, Judges 6:3, 4.  The famine evidently led Elimelech to choose to leave Bethlehem in Judah and move to Moab in search of sustenance for his family.  We read early in Chapter 1 that Elimelech soon died, and then, subsequently, his only two sons, Mahlon and Chilion, each took wives from the women from Moab (Ruth and Orpah respectively), which was another grievous sin in contradiction to God’s edict as stated in Deuteronomy 23:3, “An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the LORD forever:”  The next thing we read is that within a period in which they dwelled of about “ten years” (the number ten symbolizes a time period of “completeness”) both of the two sons soon die, and they each also leave behind no children (no heirs).  As a result, Naomi had become a widow, and Naomi’s two daughters-in-law were also now both young widows without having borne any children.

Naomi fully realized her state of destitution (and according to the Bible, see: 1 Timothy 5:5, Naomi was a “widow indeed”, having been made bereft of both her husband and her children, and therefore of any hope of either financial support or livelihood) and so Naomi decided to return to Bethlehem, because she had heard that, by the grace of God, there was again bread available there.  But to Ruth and Orpah she said, “Go, return each to her mother’s house: the LORD deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me. The LORD grant you that ye may find rest, each [of you] in the house of her husband. Then she kissed them; and they lifted up their voice, and wept.

The immediate reaction from her daughters-in-law, was that they would accompany her to Bethlehem.  Nonetheless, Naomi warned them of the hazards and hardships with respect to finding a husband, etc. (although not stated, as Moabitesses, they would likely be treated like lepers in Israel), and then she instructed her daughters-in-law to return to the homes of their mothers to find “rest”.  Orpah, sadly, went back to Moab, but, despite the recommendation of Naomi to Ruth, “Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law.” Ruth stood fast and, despite that last admonition from Naomi, made it clear that she was determined and would stay with Naomi when she said, “….thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:, and then finished with this statement, “Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, [if ought] but death part thee and me.”

The two widows went together to Bethlehem, and were greeted by the townspeople who wondered what had happened to Naomi (she was entirely alone except for Ruth “the Moabitess”, a “stranger” in the land of Israel).  Naomi made the point of saying that she had come back home out of the land of Moab entirely empty, and moreover, that they should no longer refer to her as Naomi (“sweet”) but rather Mara, meaning “bitter”, because, “the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.”

In the second chapter of Ruth, we immediately learn of Naomi’s “kinsman” by marriage, Boaz, a “mighty man of wealth.”   And Ruth suggests that she go out humbly as a beggar to glean the fields of “corn” (likely the barley) where she also describes her hope of finding “grace” in the eyes of the owner of the field.  By what appeared to be happenstance (“hap” meaning “by chance”, in Chapter 2, verse 3) she was gleaning in a part of the field belonging to that very man Boaz.

Moreover, after Ruth had been working hard in the fields after humbly asking the headmaster of the reapers for permission to glean, Boaz came from Bethlehem and took notice of her.  He asks the details from the headmaster and then goes to Ruth, and though she be a “stranger” in Israel, Boaz calls her “Daughter”, and tells her to stay close to his maiden reapers and not go to any other fields. He also tells Ruth that the men won’t harm her, and that she may have of the water that the men will bring for the reapers to drink.

Ruth responded by throwing herself to the ground and bowing before Boaz, and humbly asking him why he had shown her such grace, given that she was a “stranger”? Boaz responded with the statement that he was fully aware of the kindness she had shown to Naomi, as well as the fact that she had left behind all her family to come to live with people she had never known before. Boaz blesses her in the name of the God of Israel, under whose wings she had come to trust.

Ruth was overwhelmed and thanked Boaz and spoke of his amazing kindness in treating her as though she was one of his maiden reapers. Boaz added that at lunchtime she could sit and eat with the reapers as well. Later she did eat with the reapers and was full.  After she left to go back to gleaning, Boaz took the additional step of telling his male reapers not to hinder or prevent Ruth from gleaning in any way, and moreover to deliberately drop handfuls of harvested grain to the ground that Ruth could pick them up.  That evening, Ruth was able to have her apron filled with a large amount (an “ephah”, probably something like a basketful) of barley.

Ruth took the barley home to Naomi, who after being filled, asked Ruth in whose fields she had gleaned and who it was that had shown her such kindness.  When Ruth told Naomi it was Boaz, Naomi immediately replied, “Blessed be he of the LORD, and that Boaz had not forgotten the living and the dead,” and that Boaz was a relative and hence a “near kinsman“, translated from the original Hebrew word גָּאַל (gā’al)H1350 , which is the same word as “redeemer”.  Naomi said that it was good that Ruth obey Boaz in all as he had told her to do.  Ruth did so!

In the third chapter, we learn that Naomi has a plan by which, if Ruth properly prepares herself and then goes into the threshing floor at night when Boaz is sleeping after a harvest dinner, then she could make clear to Boaz that she is available to have as his wife by the rule of kinsmanship by laying at his feet.  Ruth followed Naomi’s instructions and, about midnight, Boaz was startled and woke up and asked who she was. She replied that she was Ruth and, in essence, asked him to do the service of a kinsman in marrying her.  Boaz immediately blessed her for her showing kindness to him (as he was evidently an old man) and that it was clear she was also interested in the duties of raising children in the name of Elimelech. He also said that everyone in Bethlehem knew that she was a virtuous woman (a requirement for a Godly wife according to Proverbs 12:4, “A virtuous woman [is] a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed [is] as rottenness in his bones.” and Proverbs 31:10, Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price [is] far above rubies.“). While Boaz stated his willingness to fulfill her request, he cautioned Ruth that there was a “nearer” kinsman who was entitled to a first right of refusal.  If that kinsman accepted Ruth, then so be it, otherwise Boaz would be happy to marry Ruth. The chapter ends with Boaz providing her with six measures of barley as a gift for Naomi.  When Ruth brings the barley in the early morning to Naomi, Naomi instructs Ruth to be patient and sit still.  It is clear to Naomi what Boaz intends to do…and that Boaz will not rest until he finishes the business before the day ends.

In the fourth and last chapter, Boaz went to the gate of the city and calls to the man who is the nearest kinsman, and also calls ten elders of the city to be witnesses to the ensuing discussion, upon which the twelve men sat down together.  When the nearest kinsman is asked by Boaz if he would be willing to serve as a kinsman redeemer for the dead relative, Elimelech, and to purchase from the hand of Naomi some land in Judah previously belonging to Elimelech, the man said yes. But then Boaz said whenever the kinsman purchases the land, he must also fulfill the duties of the near kinsman redeemer and marry the widow of the line to raise up children in the name of the deceased.  That meant the kinsman must marry Ruth, “the Moabitess.”  That was the deal breaker, and the man ceremonially refused to accept his nearest kinsman opportunity in accordance with Deuteronomy 25:5-10 “loose his shoe from off his foot”, and thereby passed the role of kinsman redeemer to Boaz.  Boaz immediately announced to all who were in hearing that this day he would serve as the kinsman redeemer for Elimelech and his two sons.  Moreover he made clear that they would all be witnesses to his intent to purchase as part of that inheritance, “Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon” to be his wife, in order to raise up children as an inheritance in the name of the dead men (Mahlon and therefore also Elimelech). The people in the city rejoiced at this, and offered many blessings pertaining to the tribe of Judah.  Subsequently, Boaz and Ruth were married and had a son, named Obed.  Naomi was able to hold the baby boy, as her redemptive grandson, in her arms.  The women proclaimed that Ruth was to Naomi better than seven sons. Obed grew up to become the father of Jesse, who became the father of King David…hence Ruth and Boaz were genealogical ancestors of the Lord Jesus Christ (through David’s son Nathan down to Mary, Luk 3:31).

So where do we “see” Jesus in the Book of Ruth, and What are the Spiritual Identities of Each Person In the Book of Ruth?:

If we compare this literal, historical account with the rest of the Bible, we can find some amazing and unequivocal spiritual parallels and correlations between the following:

1) Boaz with the Lord Jesus Christ (as the Kinsman Redeemer of all believers, who otherwise, apart from God’s intervening grace, would have remained “widows indeed”)

2) Ruth “the Moabitess” with the body of believers (the remnant from the Gentile nations; as an in-grafted Jew of the eternal Israel) and hence representative of the church, the eternal bride of Jesus Christ. (Who would have otherwise remained destitute (estranged from a husband) and under the curse of God as a stranger in Israel, as God frequently reminds us through His repetitive use of the term “Moabitess”)

3) Naomi, a Jewish widow, with the “remnant” of the Nation of Israel, who repent and come to God on His terms and who are saved by the grace of God to also have an equal inheritance in the eternal Israel, and hence who, by redemption, are also a full partaker in the eternal spiritual marriage with Jesus Christ.

4) The unnamed servant of Boaz (who was set as headmaster over the reapers) with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit provides a watch, and guidance, and intercession for the believers while they are here on Earth while they work in the fields of humankind.  The Holy Spirit Communes with Jesus and intercedes for the believers with God.  In Romans 8:26, we read, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”

5) Obed, as the first born son of Boaz by Ruth, with all believers who are the result of the marriage between Jesus and His church, hence his name means “servant” and “worshipper.”

6) Elimelech, as a type, or figure, possibly of Adam, but more likely Old Testament National Israel, which rejected the Bread of Life, Jesus Christ, and who fell into spiritual adultery and sin as typified by his leaving Bethlehem and moving to Moab, his resulting untimely death, and the his two sons, his only progeny, subsequently each going on to marry Moabitish women and then both similarly suffering untimely deaths without heirs.

It is Jesus Christ who is the believers’ Kinsman Redeemer.  Jesus, a Jew descended from Judah, was born in Bethlehem (the “House of Bread”).  Jesus specifically announced that He was the “Bread of Life” in John 6:35 and 6:48 (and moreover that Jesus made it clear to His hearers that “the manna from heaven” was an allegorical representation or “typepointing to Him!).  Jesus established the New Covenant symbols of bread and wine to represent His Body and Blood.   It is Jesus of Whom we must be partakers to have eternal life.  Jesus is also the “Mighty Man of Wealth”!  Jesus was  a Jew, born in Bethlehem in the land given to Judah (just as Boaz was) and Jesus is described as the Lion of Judah…He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords…the cattle on a thousand hills belong to Him…He is the Creator of the Universe!  Jesus shows grace to destitute sinners as typified by “widows” throughout the Bible, who humbly come as supplicants, hungering and thirsting, for that grace.  Moreover the believers are chosen from a remnant of the world, both Jew and Gentile, and are viewed by God as the only true “Jews” (the true believers in Christ (Jesus is the Messiah), please see Rom 2:28-29) and they alone will find eternal rest in Him.  We also know that the believers are referred to throughout the Bible as the Bride of Christ (and Jesus Christ is also God).  That bride is described in the Bible with the attributes ascribed to Ruth (e.g., virtuous).  Jesus Christ imputes His righteousness to sinful mankind, and therefore, in God’s sight, all believers become “virtuous” as described in detail in Proverbs 31:10-31.

Biblical Validation of the Ruth Exposition: Taking a Closer Look to See the Spiritual Implications

The preceding review was not written with any presumption that this author understands every nuance of the Book of Ruth.  No one (other than God Himself) can ever claim the ability to plumb the depths of the riches of God’s word, the Bible.  However, this writer is confident that if we humbly, faithfully, approach the Bible with no other pre-suppositions than that God is the sole author of the Bible, then we can begin to see by that faith (albeit as through a glass darkly) the truths that God has hidden within His word.  As we have already learned, there is so much more to the Bible than meets the “physical” eye, and it is NEVER just an intellectual exercise. We must have first been given the “spiritual” eyes to see by God the Holy Spirit to really see what God is saying beyond the worldly aspects.  The Bible itself uses such terms such as “mystery” and “dark sayings” to describe how it has been uniquely crafted by God in a magnificent, and yes, even a mysterious way, whereby He has deliberately veiled or hidden the true spiritual meanings of its passages from those whom He has not given the “spiritual eyes and ears.” Please see:

The following is, by God’s mercy, this writer’s best effort to explain that hidden truth.

Chapter 1

Note that the very first verse starts out with, “Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehemjudah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons.”  This introduction makes it sound like we are reading about some kind of random event in time, or something akin to “Once upon a time” as in a simple fairy tale.  Nothing could be farther from the truth!  Everything that occurs in time and space, and in this case as also written down precisely in the Bible, was and is entirely orchestrated by the hand of God according to His Will.

The events that follow occurred in this material world, within the course of both time and space, but most certainly not by happenstance.  There are 24 verses in the Bible that begin with “Now it came to pass“, and the specific phrase “it came to pass” is found 453 times in the Bible.  In each instance, when we see this phrase, we are being notified by God that He is signifying that an important event that is about to take place. Some examples include in Genesis 4:8, right after the phrase “it came to pass” that “Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.” or in Genesis 24:15, where right after Abraham’s servant prayed for a sign from God to show him who would be Isaac’s wife, “And it came to pass, before he had done speaking, that, behold, Rebekah came out, who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, with her pitcher upon her shoulder.” There are many, many, others such key events, and would be profitable for any curious Bible student to search them out with an online Bible search tool such as

These historical accounts happened as God ordained, and they were recorded precisely as God ordained. They were written “aforetime” for us, as we read in Romans 15:4, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” In 1 Corinthians 10:11 we read, “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” and in 2 Timothy 3:16&17, “All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (Note: the word “ensamples” is from the Greek word “τύπος” týpos, too’-pos; from G5180 which means a “type” or “figure” or “model” or “example” of something of greater substance.  The Bible is full of “Types” [or allegories] that are written for our edification, exhortation, and warning.)

As was stated earlier, the story of Ruth took place in the day of the Judges, possibly about the time of Gideon, during a time of famine in the land.  The famine evidently led Elimelech to choose to move to Moab in search of sustenance.  It would seem then that Elimelech had made a particularly bad decision in response to the famine that God had sent.  Elimelech had turned his back on the essence of all true sustenance, the House of Bread, and instead turned to the world as is typified by Moab.  And God uses famines as punishment for His people when they turn from Him and put His words behind them. Moreover, and more importantly, famine is used by God to represent something else “spiritually.”  We read in Amos 8:11, “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:”. When we fail to seek the Lord first, and fail to trust in Him alone, and instead look to the world for our help in times of trouble; God will send a famine of the hearing of His Word (as is found in the Bible) and we will suffer spiritually as a result.

God Cursed Moab!

Moreover Moab was a foreign territory that was inhabited by a people whom God had cursed, as we read in: “Deuteronomy 23:3-6, “An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the LORD for ever:  Because they met you not with bread and with water in the way, when ye came forth out of Egypt; and because they hired against thee Balaam the son of Beor of Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse thee. Nevertheless the LORD thy God would not hearken unto Balaam; but the LORD thy God turned the curse into a blessing unto thee, because the LORD thy God loved thee. Thou shalt not seek their peace nor their prosperity all thy days for ever.”  (Remember also that both Moab and Ammon were the sons of Lot, after his wife became a pillar of salt during the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.  Lot’s daughters assumed that they were the only people left on the earth, and so they decided to get their father drunk so they could lie with him and conceive children by him…Moab and Ammon were the result of those incestuous acts.  See Genesis 19:30-38). [SIDE NOTE: It is also interesting that if one does a careful review of the geneology from Jacob (who was the son of Isaac, and who was also the same generation as Moab, the son of Lot, and Isaac’s Cousin) down to Boaz, the number of generations can be shown to be nine (see Matthew Chapter 1: 2-5 and Luke 3:32-34).  However, Ruth was young enough to be the daughter of Boaz, so she would have been of the next generation…the tenth generation.  It would therefore seem that God was showing us that God’s curse on Moab stopped with Ruth’s generation.]

We read early in Chapter 1 that Elimelech soon died, and then his sons each took wives from the women from Moab (Ruth and Orpah respectively), which was another grievous sin in contradiction to God’s edict as stated in Deuteronomy, Chapter 23.  It is also worthwhile to review Ezra 9:1 &2, ““Now when these things were done, the princes came to me, saying, The people of Israel, and the priests, and the Levites, have not separated themselves from the people of the lands, [doing] according to their abominations, [even] of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians,and the Amorites. For they have taken of their daughters for themselves, and for their sons: so that the holy seed have mingled themselves with the people of [those] lands: yea, the hand of the princes and rulers hath been chief in this trespass.”

The next thing we read is that both of the two sons soon die and also leave behind no children (no heirs) and it is clear that God had condemned them to death as a sign for disobedience to God’s law.

Faithful Ruth Accompanies Naomi (Both “Widows”) back to Bethlehem (the “House of Bread”)

After the death of the Naomi’s husband and two sons, in verse 6, Naomi decided to return to Bethlehem because she had heard of God’s showing mercy to His people and His provision of bread to them there.  Initially, according to verse 8, the daughters-in-law both began to accompany Naomi back to her people in Bethlehem.  Naomi is recorded in verse 9 as having nonetheless instructed her daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah, to return to the homes of their husbands to find “rest”.   This is particularly significant because Naomi did not use any other word other than “rest”.  Naomi was uttering a biblical, spiritual, truism. Isn’t it to the house of Jesus that we go if we truly seek rest from both our sins and our enemies?  Absolutely!  Remember how Jesus said, Matthew 11:28, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Naomi could have used other language…but she did not.  God, the Holy Spirit, moved Naomi to say the word “rest”, so that it would harmonize with the entirety of this historical parable (and the entirety of the Bible) to convey important spiritual truths.  The rest of the verse shows the compassion and love that Naomi and her daughter’s-in- law had for each other, where Naomi “kissed them; and they lifted up their voice, and wept.and they wept together.

As was stated earlier in the Plot Summary, Naomi fully realized her state of destitution and decided to return to Bethlehem, because she “had heard in the country of Moab how that the Lord had visited his people in giving them bread.”  The immediate reaction from her daughters-in-law after Naomi’s initial advice for them to go home is as we read in verse 10, “Surely, we will return with thee unto thy people.”  Nonetheless, Naomi warned them, in verses 11-13, of the hazards and hardships with respect to finding husbands, and that she could no longer raise up sons for them to marry, etc. (and, as “Moabitesses”, they would be treated like lepers in Israel).  Naomi also made clear that hardships were likely to continue along with her, given that, “the hand of the LORD is gone out against me.”  In verse 14 we read the Orpah went back, sadly with them weeping a second time, but Ruth stood fast and “clave H1692” to Naomi, “And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her.” The word “clave” is the same word we find in Genesis 2:24, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” Such closeness can also be translated as “abide” or “keep fast” as we will see is used later in Ruth.

Ruth’s Commitment and Testimony

Then, despite one last admonition from Naomi, in verse 15, Ruth said in Verses 16 & 17,  “Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, [if ought] but death part thee and me.” Ruth unreservedly declares her allegiance to Naomi, as well as to her people, and, most importantly, to her God. This last declaration by Ruth brings to mind Jeremiah 30:22 where God makes a similar declaration to Israel, representing His eternal church, “And ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.”

But there is another important spiritual aspect of this admonition by Naomi.  In Luke 14:25-27, we read that great multitudes began to follow Jesus Christ and then Jesus turned and gave them a similar admonition, “and there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, if any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.”

Many people hear the gospel call and are intrigued, at least initially.  However, once it becomes clear that the true nature of the gospel is such that we are called upon to make a choice, to follow Jesus and abandon all else: friends, family, and self…then the number of followers dwindles quickly and most go back to the enticements of their old world. We are instructed to put God first in our lives as stated in Matthew, 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness…” We must be willing to put all cherished worldly things and sins into the trash bin. We must truly repent (turn back to God, rather than stay fixated on the enticements of the world) and not go backward.  We must be fully committed to serving God, and even after all that we can do, it is only the Grace of God that we will eternal life. “For many are called, but few are chosen.”(Matthew 22:14)

In verse 18 we read when Ruth could no longer be persuaded by Naomi to go back to Moab, “When she saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her.”  We should be aware that the Hebrew words translated as “stedfastly minded” can also be translated as “good courage or “courageous”, as we read in Jos 1:6,7,9,&18.  Ruth was fully aware of he risks that she was taking in leaving the land of her nativity and the difficulties that were likely to be faced in going ahead, but she went boldly forth faithfully with Naomi to Bethlehem. And, as we know from 2 Corinthians 5:7, “(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)“, Ruth typifies all those who recognize their destitution and desperate need of, and hope in, finding the bread of life (Jesus) by “grace”, which is the undeserved favor of God.

In verse 19 we read that the two widows, Naomi and Ruth, returned together to Bethlehem, and were greeted by the townspeople who barely recognized Naomis and who wondered what had happened to Naomi (she was entirely alone, except for “Ruth the Moabitess”).  Naomi made the point of saying that she had come back home out of the land of Moab entirely empty, and moreover, as we read in verse 20 that they should no longer refer to her as Naomi, meaning “sweet(ness)”, but rather Mara, meaning “bitter” because, “the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.”  It is no accident that Mara is the same as Mary, the mother of Jesus, in the New Testament. The nation of Israel was under Roman rule, and God had not spoken to the Nation of Israel in over four hundred years since the Prophet Malachi. Naomi said in verse 21, “I went out full, and the LORD hath brought me home again empty: why [then] call ye me Naomi, seeing the LORD hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?

Are there equivalent passages in the Bible that relate to what Naomi has just lamented?  Absolutely! When we look at the beginning of the very book entitled “Lamentations” we find where God is describing the very situation that Naomi is a type and figure of Judah (and remember that Naomi is from Judah). Lamentations 1:1-4, “How doth the city sit solitary, [that was] full of people! [how] is she become as a widow! she [that was] great among the nations, [and] princess among the provinces, [how] is she become tributary! She weepeth sore in the night, and her tears [are] on her cheeks: among all her lovers she hath none to comfort [her]: all her friends have dealt treacherously with her, they are become her enemies. Judah is gone into captivity because of affliction, and because of great servitude: she dwelleth among the heathen, she findeth no rest: all her persecutors overtook her between the straits. The ways of Zion do mourn, because none come to the solemn feasts: all her gates are desolate: her priests sigh, her virgins are afflicted, and she [is] in bitterness.”  

However, we know that Naomi turned back to Bethlehem in Judah, and she returned which is consistent with what we find at the end of the Lamentations, chapter 5:19-21, Where we see that there is still hope of redemption, “Thou, O LORD, remainest for ever; thy throne from generation to generation. Wherefore dost thou forget us for ever, [and] forsake us so long time? Turn thou us unto thee, O LORD, and we shall be turned; renew our days as of old.” Naomi represents the remnant of national Israel who God causes to return to Him.

And let us not forget, that just as Naomi is a “Type” of the remnant of National Israel whom God chooses to save, Isaiah Chapter 54 makes clear that despite all the trials and tribulations that “she” would endure, God Is her loving Husband Who Will save her.  Look in particular at Isaiah 54:3-8, “For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited. Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any moreFor thy Maker [is] thine husband; the LORD of hosts [is] his name; and thy Redeemer (גָּאַל (gā’al)H1350  the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be calledFor the LORD hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God. For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather theeIn a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer (גָּאַל (gā’al)H1350.”  Doesn’t that sound like God is describing earthly historical “Type” represented by the widows, Naomis and Ruth? And similarly, who is the earthly, historical “redeemer” “Type”?…We will soon see that it is Boaz. (Note that in Isaiah 60:16 we can also read, “Thou shalt also suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt suck the breast of kings: and thou shalt know that I the LORD [am] thy Saviour and thy Redeemer (גָּאַל (gā’al)H1350, the mighty One of Jacob.)

The final key piece of information, provided in verse 22, is that this was the time of the beginning of the barley harvest (which not coincidentally happens to also be the same time as The Feast of Weeks, or the Feast of First Fruits, which Christians remember when the New Testament church was instituted with the pouring out of the Holy Spirit in 33AD, 50 days after the Jesus Passover sacrifice).

In Deuteronomy 16:9-11 we read of the significance of the Feast of Weeks to the early ingathering (which Christians remember and regard as Pentecost, when the Christian Era began with the pouring out of the Holy Spirit see Act 2:1-4), “Seven weeks shalt thou number unto thee: begin to number the seven weeks from [such time] as thou beginnest to [put] the sickle to the cornAnd thou shalt keep the feast of weeks unto the LORD thy God with a tribute of a freewill offering of thine hand, which thou shalt give [unto the LORD thy God], according as the LORD thy God hath blessed thee: And thou shalt rejoice before the LORD [thy] God, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite that [is] within thy gates, and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that [are] among you, in the place which the LORD thy God hath chosen to place his name there.

Chapter 2 

The Feast of Weeks (Pentecost), When Naomi and Ruth arrive in Bethlehem, Where Boaz, The Near Kinsman and Mighty Man of Wealth Lives

In the second chapter of Ruth, we immediately learn of Naomi’s “kinsman” by marriage, Boaz, a “mighty man of wealth.” We read this in verse 1, “And Naomi had a kinsman (יָדַע (yāḏaʿ)w H3045) of her husband’s, a mighty man of wealth, of the family of Elimelech; and his name [was] Boaz.” The word for mighty in Hebrew is gibôr (גִּבּוֹר) H1368 and it is used by God to describe Jesus in Isaiah 9:6, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty H1368 God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”  In Isaiah 42:13, we also read that, “The LORD shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war: he shall cry, yea, roar; he shall prevail against his enemies.

Then in verse 2 Ruth suggests to Naomi receives permission that she (Ruth) go out humbly as a beggar to glean the fields of “corn” (likely the barley) in the hope of finding “grace” in the eyes of the whoever is the owner of the field.  “glean ears of corn after [him] in whose sight I shall find grace.” Note the word “grace”(חֵן (ḥēn)H2580), which can be translated from the original Hebrew as either “grace” or “favour“,  because that is what we as sinners must seek and hope for from God through Jesus Christ.

In verse 3 we read, “And she went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers: and her hap was to light on a part of the field [belonging] unto Boaz, who [was] of the kindred of Elimelech.” We know that there are no happenstances with God, so what initially appeared to be just happenstance to Ruth having been gleaning in the field belonging to Boaz (“hap” meaning “by chance”, in Chapter 2, verse 3) was in reality, all clearly ordained by God as part of God’s predetermined plan.  It was all according to God’s Divine Providence as is every other event recorded by God in the Bible. It is important to note that since Boaz “[was] of the kindred of Elimelech” he was also the kindred of Ruth’s dead husband, Mahlon (the son of Elimelech).

Next we see in verse 4 that Boaz “came from Bethlehem,” whereupon Boaz “said unto the reapers, The LORD be with you”, and the reapers respond with, “The LORD bless thee.” Boaz came from Bethlehem, just as Jesus came from Bethlehem.  Boaz was of the Tribe of Judah, just like Jesus.  Boaz said, “The LORD be with you,” to the reapers, and the reapers responded with “The LORD bless thee.”  Isn’t this exactly what God says to the believers the reapers in the world?

See for example, in Luke 10:2 “Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest,” …However we also know that in the Parable of the Sower, in Matthew 13:39, Jesus said, “the reapers are the angels.The fact is that “angels” in the original Greek text can also be interpreted as “messengers,” and both the angels of God (from Heaven) and the believers on earth are both considered as being God’s “messengers”, so therefore, the believers are the reapers!

And don’t we say with all our heart like the we read in Psalm 103:1, “[[[A Psalm] of David.]] Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, [bless] his holy name.”?  Of course we do, if we are believers and therefore among God’s reapers and messengers.Further in the same Psalm we read again in verse 2, “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:” And in verse 22, “Bless the LORD, all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the LORD, O my soul.

Jesus will bless His saints, and His saints will bless Him as we read:

2 Chronicles 20:17, “Ye shall not [need] to fight in this [battle]: set yourselves, stand ye [still], and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD [will] be with you.”

In Psalm 145:10, “All thy works shall praise thee, O LORD; and thy saints shall bless thee.”

Gleaning by “the Poor and Stranger”

Also it was made clear according to the testimony of the reapers’ overseeing servant that Ruth had not only accompanied Naomi from Moab, but that she was a diligent worker and worked in the fields all day as a gleaner (meaning she was “poor”). Gleaning was done by those who were poor (hence destitute) and/or strangers in the land. With respect to “gleaning”, God set down specific laws as found in the following Bible verses:

  1. Leviticus 19:9&10, “And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest. And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather every grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the Lord your God.”
  2.  Leviticus 23:22 “And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the Lord your God.
  3. Deuteronomy 24:17-21 we read,  “Thou shalt not pervert the judgment of the stranger, nor of the fatherless; nor take a widow’s raiment to pledge: But thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt, and the Lord thy God redeemed thee thence: therefore I command thee to do this thing. When thou cuttest down thine harvest in thy field, and hast forgot a sheaf in the field, thou shalt not go again to fetch it: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow: that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hands. When thou beatest thine olive tree, thou shalt not go over the boughs again: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow. When thou gatherest the grapes of thy vineyard, thou shalt not glean it afterward: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow.”

The above provides a picture of the fact that we (who have the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ [and the fruit of the blessings of God] because He has saved us) are to have a concern for those who are still aliens, as orphans and widows and strangers and poor, and to provide the necessary spiritual food for those who are without, but come seeking for spiritual nourishment.

Gleaning is Like Getting Crumbs from the Master’s Table

An interesting parallel can be found in Matthew Chapter 15 where we read in verses 22-28: “And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs. And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.”  There we see an unsaved person, from a Gentile nation, outside of the people of God (corporately speaking), call upon Jesus as “Lord” and admit that she is no better than a dog, but yet asks if it might be that she (like a dog) might glean some crumbs from her Master’s table. And Jesus showed her grace. Like Ruth, we see another picture of someone who humbly gleans of the spiritual bread to become born again by the “grace” of God who would have otherwise remained a stranger, orphan, or widow.

The Barley Harvest is the Harvest of First Fruits, The Final Harvest is the End of the World

Remember also that Jesus said in John 4:35-38, “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and [then] cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.”  We, as servants of the LORD Jesus Christ, are gleaners in the fields of humanity seeking to harvest souls for our Master by sharing the Gospel of Salvation through Jesus. The harvest in Ruth’s day was barley corn, the first fruits, but the final harvest is at the end of the world. Matthew 13:39 makes this unequivocally clear as Jesus explained the Parable of the Sower, “The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.” See Also:

God also describes the end of the world as being like a harvest of wheat (which usually occurred on a “threshing floor”), where the wheat and the tares are separated on the Threshing Floor of God. In Matthew 13:30, Jesus tells us, “Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn. The wheat (the saved souls, the believers from out of all mankind) will be placed into the harvest garner (they are all going to Heaven), before which the tares (the unsaved souls, the unbelievers) will be taken out and burned (they are all going to Hell).

Revelation 14:14-20 provides some more insight into this harvesting of the unsaved that will take place at the end of the world on Judgment Day by Jesus: “And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud [one] sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickleAnd another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped. And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast [it] into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand [and] six hundred furlongs.

The Feast of Weeks (Pentecost), When Naomi and Ruth Arrive in Bethlehem

Boaz came from Bethlehem just as Jesus came from Bethlehem.  Boaz was of the Tribe of Judah, just like Jesus.  Boaz said, “The LORD be with you,” to the reapers, and the reapers responded with “The LORD bless thee.”  Isn’t this exactly what God says to the believers the reapers in the world?  See for example, in Luke 10:2 “Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest,” …However we also know that in the Parable of the Sower, in Matthew 13:39, Jesus said, “the reapers are the angels.” The fact is that “angels” in the original Greek text can also be interpreted as “messengers,” and both the angels of God (from Heaven) and the believers on earth are both considered as being God’s “messengers” and God’s “labourers” and “reapers”.   And don’t we say with all our heart like the we read in Psalm 103:1, [[[A Psalm] of David.]]“Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, [bless] his holy name.”?  Of course we do, if we are believers and therefore among God’s reapers and messengers.

Further in the same Psalm we read again in verse 2, “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:” And in verse 22, “Bless the LORD, all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the LORD, O my soul.

In Romans 8:29 we read, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

Ruth was a “stranger”, but Boaz called her, “My Daughter”!

In verses 8-10, we read, “Then said Boaz unto Ruth, Hearest thou not, my daughter? Go not to glean in another field, neither go from hence, but abide here fast by my maidens: Let thine eyes be on the field that they do reap, and go thou after them: have I not charged the young men that they shall not touch thee? and when thou art athirst, go unto the vessels, and drink of that which the young men have drawn. Then she fell on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, and said unto him, Why have I found grace (חֵן (ḥēn)H2580in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger?

Imagine that! Boaz knew he was speaking to a “Moabitess”, a widow and a stranger from a nation that God had cursed, and yet he showed loving kindness to her, to the point of calling her his daughter!  Does this sound at all familiar?  It should, because that is exactly how God views His elect.  While yet “strangers” to God, through Jesus’s intercession, the elect become the children of God.

In Ephesians 2:11-13 remember what God tells us regarding “strangers”, “Wherefore remember, that ye [being] in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”  And then just a few verses later we also read in Ephesians 2:19, “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;” and we are encouraged to all know what is found in Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose.” 

“Grace” and “Knowledge”

Ruth fell on her face and bowed herself to the ground and she was amazed that Boaz had shown her “grace” and took “knowledge” of her even though she was a “stranger”!  Ruth was subservient and contrite before Boaz. This is the similar way we are to approach Jesus, our God, Who has shown His Grace, compassion, and kindness to us. And we must remember that “grace” is a gift and not something that is earned. In Ephesians 2:4-9 we are told, “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved😉 And hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Notice also the word “knowledge”, it is from the Hebrew word נָכַר (nāḵar)H5234  for to know, acknowledge, discern. Just as Boaz knew and acknowledged and discerned Ruth, so does God know His children.  God knows all about us!  Please see all of Psalms 103, but we note here in Psalms 103:11-14, “For as the heaven is high above the earth, [so] great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth [his] children, [so] the LORD pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we [are] dust.”  And in 2 Chronicles 16:9 we read,For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of [them] whose heart [is] perfect toward him. …

Not to Glean in Another Field!

Notice also that Boaz commanded her to not glean from any other fields, but to stay close to his maidens and she would be safe.  Moreover, she would be provided for when she is both hungry and thirsty.

We are reminded that God’s command is explicit in the Bible, many times over that, we are to not seek after other gods or false gospels (and hence not to glean in other fields), but also in 1 Thessalonians 5:12,  “And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. [And] be at peace among yourselves.” and in verse 21, “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”  

We also know from Galatians 1:6-8 that, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospelWhich is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

Hunger and Thirst

Moreover, in Matthew 5:6 we read, “Blessed [are] they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”

Harvesting For God

As for harvesting, we know that Jesus said in John 4:35-38, “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and [then] cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour:other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.”  And the exposition through Paul in 1 Corinthians 3:6-8, “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increaseSo then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increaseNow he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.”  All believers, as Christian servants, are merely laborers in the fields of Jesus Christ, our Master, sowing and nurturing with the water of the Word, but God determines and provides the fruit to be reaped and harvested. The ultimate harvest of souls is at the end of the world on Judgment Day!

How do we know this?  From the Parable of the Sower!  Please see: 

In Matthew 13:37-43, we read the exposition by Jesus, “He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of manThe field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked [one]; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angelsAs therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this worldThe Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Ruth Left the Land of Her Nativity

In verses 11 & 12 we read, “And Boaz answered and said unto her, It hath fully been shewed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother in law since the death of thine husband: and [how] thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou knewest not heretofore. The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings (כָּנָף (kānāp̄; H3671) thou art come to trust.

We all should be aware that nothing escapes the eyes of God, as we noted earlier, God is Omniscient and Omnipotent and He knows everything!

Psalms 34:15, “The eyes of the LORD [are] upon the righteous, and his ears [are] open unto their cry.

Proverbs 5:21, “For the ways of man [are] before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.”

Proverbs 15:3, “The eyes of the LORD [are] in every place, beholding the evil and the good.”

Boaz saw that Ruth was caring for her Mother-in-Law, Naomi, a widow, in accordance with God’s commands (1 Timothy 5:3, “Honour widows that are widows indeed“).  And what about Ruth leaving her family behind?  Luke 14:26, Jesus said, “If any [man] come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”  Also, in Luke 18:29 & 30, Jesus emphatically touched on this point again, “And he said unto them,Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake, Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.

Under the Wings of God

Psalms 17:8,  “Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings(כָּנָף (kānāp̄; H3671),”

Psalms 36:7, “How excellent [is] thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings (כָּנָף (kānāp̄; H3671).”

Psalm 63:7, “Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings(כָּנָף (kānāp̄; H3671will I rejoice.

Psalms 91:4, “:He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings (כָּנָף (kānāp̄; H3671)shalt thou trust: his truth [shall be thy] shield and buckler.

And let us not forget the words of the Lord Jesus Christ in Mathew 23:37, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, [thou] that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under [her] wings, and ye would not!

A Full Reward

Proverbs 11:18, “The wicked worketh a deceitful work: but to him that soweth righteousness [shall] be a sure reward.

Colossians 3:22-24, “Servants, obey in all things [your] masters according to the flesh; not with eye service, as men pleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing GodAnd whatsoever ye do, do [it] heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.

The Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard

And remember also that no matter how late anyone begins to work in the field of our Lord God and Master, Jesus Christ, we will all receive the same full reward.  Jesus made this clear in the parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard in Matthew 20:1-15, “For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man [that is] an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way. Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise. And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, [that] shall ye receive.¶ So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them [their] hire, beginning from the last unto the first. And when they came that [were hired] about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. And when they had received [it], they murmured against the goodman of the house, Saying, These last have wrought [but] one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day. But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? Take [that] thine [is], and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?”  Praise God that, while we have yet breath in our bodies and while it is still day, it is not too late to come in to labor in God’s vineyard or field to harvest souls for God’s Kingdom, and yet we will all receive the same full reward…Eternal Life in Heaven with God!

And remember that in John 9:4 &5, we read, “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

Also, Deuteronomy 24:14 & 15 says, “Thou shalt not oppress an hired servant [that is] poor and needy, [whether he be] of thy brethren, or of thy strangers that [are] in thy land within thy gates: At his day thou shalt give [him] his hire, neither shall the sun go down upon it; for he [is] poor, and setteth his heart upon it: lest he cry against thee unto the LORD, and it be sin unto thee.”

And finally, In Luke 9:62, we read where Jesus said, “And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”  We must maintain our commitment as believers and not go back to the world and our old worldly focused ways.

In verse 13, we read, “Then she said, Let me find favour (חֵן (ḥēn)H2580) in thy sight, my lord; for that thou hast comforted  me, and for that thou hast spoken friendly unto thine handmaid, though I be not like unto one of thine handmaidens.”  

The word “favour” can also translated as “grace” as we find in Genesis 6:8, “But Noah found grace (חֵן (ḥēn)H2580) in the eyes of the LORD.”

The word “comforted” is the key word נָחַם (nāḥam)H5162, from which is derived the name of the prophet Nahum נַחוּם (naḥûm) H5151 in the Book of Nahum, please see: God promises comfort to the believers.

The word “friendly” holds a far greater meaning than we normally attribute to the word.  In the Bible, the word translated as “friendly” is from the Hebrew word “לֵב”(“leb”)H3820, which is most often translated “heart” 508 times, suggesting that it is a deeply felt kindness/love, and much more than a superficial kindness.

In verse 14 we read, “And Boaz said unto her, At mealtime come thou hither, and eat of the bread, and dip thy morsel in the vinegar. And she sat beside the reapers: and he reached her parched [corn], and she did eat, and was sufficed, and left.”  So not only did Boaz offer to quench the thirst of Ruth, but he directed that at mealtime (lunch time) that she take partake of that same sustenance “bread” with a dressing of “vinegar” and also some “parched “corn”.  Not necessarily a feast, but most welcome for  someone who would otherwise havre nothing to eat and hungers, and as a result she was satisfied. And note that the word “sufficed” is the Hebrew word שָׂבַע (śāḇaʿ)H7646, which means to be satisfied as we read in:

Psalms 17:15, “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied,H7646 when I awake, with thy likeness.”

Psalms 22:26, The meek shall eat and be satisfied:H7646 they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever.”

Psalms 37:19, “They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.”H7646

Psalms 65:4,Blessed [is the man whom] thou choosest, and causest to approach [unto thee, that] he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfiedH7646 with the goodness of thy house, [even] of thy holy temple.” 

In verses 15 & 16 we read that Boaz extends to Ruth additional kindnesses, which Ruth may not have been initially aware. “And when she was risen up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, Let her glean even among the sheaves, and reproach her not: And let fall also [some] of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave [them], that she may glean [them], and rebuke her not.” Normally, a gleaner would have to humbly remain at some distance from the reapers who were harvesting the sheaves of barley corn or wheat.  However, Boaz instructed that she can come close to the reapers and thereby get a direct part of the harvest, and moreover, the workers were instructed to deliberately drop extra portions (“handfuls”) of the corn for Ruth to glean. At the same time, regardless of the excess that Ruth obtained thereby, she was not to be “rebuked” גָּעַר (gāʿarH1605 (reproved) or “reproached” (shamed) by Boaz’s servants.

As Christian believers, God’s kindness is unlimited towards them.  Moreover, God will not rebuke His children,  unlike those who remain cursed as we read in Psalms 9:5, “Thou hast rebukedH1605 the heathen, thou hast destroyed the wicked, thou hast put out their name for ever and ever.”

And note also that the word “risen up” is קוּם (qûm)H6965 in the Hebrew, and it is the same as that used in Psalms 113:7-9, “He raiseth upH6965 the poor out of the dust, [and] lifteth the needy out of the dunghill; That he may set [him] with princes, even with the princes of his people. He maketh the barren woman to keep house, [and] to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the LORD.” (NOTE: These verses, from Psalms 113, happen to also provide a complete and succinct summary of both the Book of Ruth and God’s Magnificent Salvation Plan through The LORD Jesus Christ!)

It is also used in Psalms 76:9, “When God aroseH6965 to judgment, to save all the meek of the earth. Selah.

Rising up also makes us think of the first resurrection, when a stranger is saved and welcomed into the family of God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and is fed by the reading and hearing of the Word and then prepared to go out into the world to bring the Gospel of Salvation to the spiritually dead and dying.

Working Until the End of the Day

In verse 17 we read, “So she gleaned in the field until even, and beat out that she had gleaned: and it was about an ephah of barley.”  She worked in the fields the entire day, but at the end of the day, at the evening, she stopped. It brings to mind that the harvest work in the fields of men for Jesus would stop at the end of the world, as Jesus said in John 9:4, “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.”

Bringing Sustenance to Others in Need

In verse 18, “And she took [it] up, and went into the city: and her mother in law saw what she had gleaned: and she brought forth, and gave to her that she had reserved after she was sufficed.”  Again we see the same Hebrew word for sufficed,  שָׂבַע (śāḇaʿ)H7646, that we saw in verse 14 that means satisfied. Ruth brought home to Naomi the Ephah of barley and provided Naomi with the extra parched corn that she had saved from lunchtime in the field that day.

It is clear that Naomi was more than surprised at such a bountiful gleaning, and immediately asked where did she glean, because in verse 19 we read, “And her mother in law said unto her, Where hast thou gleaned to day? and where wroughtest thou? blessed (בָּרַךְ (bāraḵ)H1288 ) be he that did take knowledge (נָכַר (nāḵar)H5234of thee. And she shewed her mother in law with whom she had wrought, and said, The man’s name with whom I wrought to day [is] Boaz.” Before she knew the name of the person who took knowledge of Ruth, Naomi blessed him.  Naomi was shocked and thrilled to hear that the name of the man was Boaz!

Next in verse 20 we read, “And Naomi said unto her daughter in law, Blessed(בָּרַךְ (bāraḵ)H1288 ) be he of the LORD, who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead. And Naomi said unto her, The man [is] near of kin unto us, one of our next kinsmen.” Naomi knew that the man named Boaz was  a relative of her late husband, Elimelech, and as a result was officially a kinsman per God’s pronouncement when it came to inheritances where a father dies and leaves no heirs as we read in Numbers 27:6-11, where it concludes, “And if his father have no brethren, then ye shall give his inheritance unto his kinsman that is next to him of his family, and he shall possess it: and it shall be unto the children of Israel a statute of judgment, as the LORD commanded Moses.

In verse 21, “And Ruth the Moabitess said, He said unto me also, Thou shalt keep fast by my young men, until they have ended all my harvest.” Ruth faithfully repeated the words that she had been given by Boaz, just as believers are to faithfully proclaim Jesus Christ, the Word of God, as found in the Bible.

In verse 22, “And Naomi said unto Ruth her daughter in law, [It is] good, my daughter, that thou go out with his maidens, that they meet thee not in any other field.” Naomi agreed that this admonition was a good one, and that Ruth should not be found anywhere else but in Boaz’s field.  This is not unlike how we are told not to serve any other gods, but only the True God of Creation, the God of the Bible. There are many examples, but here is one found in Joshua 21:20, “If ye forsake the LORD, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good.

In verse 23, “So she kept fast by the maidens of Boaz to glean unto the end of barley harvest and of wheat harvest; and dwelt with her mother in law.”   Ruth was obedient to the admonitions of both Boaz and Naomi and continued to live with Naomi.  Ruth continued to glean from Boaz’s field, staying close to Boaz’s maidens, the reapers, through not just the Barley harvest, but the wheat harvest as well.

Chapter 3

In verse 1, we see that Naomi is concerned for the future of Ruth. “Then Naomi her mother in law said unto her, My daughter, shall I not seek rest for thee, that it may be well with thee?” Naomi was effectively saying, is that it is appropriate that she needs to consider Ruth’s welfare and Ruth’s need to find a husband.

The Threshing Floor of Boaz

In verse 2, we read, “And now [is] not Boaz of our kindred, with whose maidens thou wast? Behold, he winnoweth barley to night in the threshingfloor.” Naomi had her ear to the ground so to speak. She knew, likely from Ruth, that the harvesting had been completed and therefore that the work of winnowing the barley was underway, which consists of winnowing “barley from the chaff” involving the use of a fan in one’s hand (that involves throwing up the mixture of the collected harvest material into the air where the wind carries away the chaff and the corn drops to the floor for collecting into heaps and then storage vessels).

Several verses speak to this and provide insights on the spiritual aspects of what it all means.  In Isaiah 41:13-17 we read, “For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. Fear not, thou worm Jacob, [and] ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the LORD, and thy redeemer, H1350, the Holy One of Israel.(Note: It is particularly significant that the word “redeemer” is found together within the same context of threshing that we find in the Book of Ruth.) Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth: thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat [them] small, and shalt make the hills as chaff. Thou shalt fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them: and thou shalt rejoice in the LORD, [and] shalt glory in the Holy One of Israel. [When] the poor and needy seek water, and [there is] none, [and] their tongue faileth for thirst, I the LORD will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them.”  In Matthew 3:12, we read where John the Baptist was proclaiming Jesus and the future, “Whose fan [is] in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.This is also in Luke 3:17, “Whose fan [is] in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.”  We are clearly being told that on Judgment Day, Jesus will separate the harvest of souls, the believers, from the chaff, the unbelievers.  The saved will go into Jesus’s garner/harvest house/barn, while the chaff, the unsaved of humanity, will be burned for an eternity in Hell. This is not an easy fact to read or to tell, but it is the truth nonetheless.

The Threshing Floor of Ornan (Araunah), The Jebusite

There is another Threshing Floor mentioned in the Bible that we need to consider within this study of Ruth, and it is located a mere 6 miles from Bethlehem.  It is known as the “threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite”.  It is where the Temple of God was built in Jersualem by Solomon as we read in 2 Chronicles 3:1, “Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem in mount Moriah, where [the LORD] appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite.” That, alone,is extremely significant!  However, there were four very significant other events in the Bible that occurred at that precise location on Mount Moriah, one approximately 1000 years earlier and one approximately 1000 years later.

  1. Mount Moriah, where the Threshing Floor of Ornan was later installed and that subsequently became the Temple Mount, was the location where Abraham went to sacrifice his only begotten son (of his wife Sarah) Isaac! In Genesis 22:2 we read where God instructs Abraham, “And he said, Take now thy son, thine only [son] Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.”  and Genesis 22:14  tells us, “And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said [to] this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.”
  2. Because of David’s sin in numbering the people of Israel, we read in 1 Chronicles 21:14 & 15, “So the LORD sent pestilence upon Israel: and there fell of Israel seventy thousand men. And God sent an angel unto Jerusalem to destroy it: and as he was destroying, the LORD beheld, and he repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed, It is enough, stay now thine hand. And the angel of the LORD stood by the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite.” (NOTE: In 2 Samuel 24:16 Ornan is called “Araunah”)
  3. King David was then told to erect an altar to God on that threshing floor in 1 Chronicles 21:18 “Then the angel of the LORD commanded Gad to say to David, that David should go up, and set up an altar unto the LORD in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite. And Ornan turned back, and saw the angel; and his four sons with him hid themselves. Now Ornan was threshing wheat. And as David came to Ornan, Ornan looked and saw David, and went out of the threshingfloor, and bowed himself to David with [his] face to the ground. Then David said to Ornan, Grant me the place of [this] threshingfloor, that I may build an altar therein unto the LORD: thou shalt grant it me for the full price: that the plague may be stayed from the people. And Ornan said unto David, Take it to thee, and let my lord the king do [that which is] good in his eyes: lo, I give [thee] the oxen [also] for burnt offerings, and the threshing instruments for wood, and the wheat for the meat offering; I give it all. And king David said to Ornan, Nay; but I will verily buy it for the full price: for I will not take that which [is] thine for the LORD, nor offer burnt offerings without cost. So David gave to Ornan for the place six hundred shekels of gold by weight. At that time when David saw that the LORD had answered him in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite, then he sacrificed there.” (NOTE: See also: 2 Samuel 24:18-25, but note that the amount of the purchase was “fifty shekels of silver” verses “six hundred shekels of gold” and while this appears initially to be discrepancy, it has been said that the fifty shekels of silver was only a downpayment.  However, it is far more likely that the price of the “threshingfloor and the oxen” was 50 shekels of silver 2 Samuel 24:24, while the price for the “place” (e.g., the surrounding mountain top of Mt. Moriah) was 600 shekels of gold 1 Chronicles 21:25.)What is most significant about 2 Samuel 24:25 is that we are also told,  “And David built there an altar unto the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the LORD was intreated for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel.”  This is telling us that spiritually, David, who is being used by God as a “Type” for the Lord Jesus Christ is the One Who built the alter of Sacrifice at this very same location, where Jesus offered Himself as a burnt offering and peace offering for the sins of mankind descended from Adam, which intreated the LORD and stayed the plague as declared in Romans 6:23

    For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” and we also know

    And as we also know from 1 Corinthians 15:22For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

  4. Jesus Christ’s Atoning Sacrifice began in the nearby Garden of Gethsemane (which lies directly across from Mount Moriah on the other side of the Brook Kidron), then within the gates of Jerusalem, and continued to suffer and ultimately die outside the gates of Jerusalem on nearby Golgotha hill. Is it not interesting that after purchasing the 1) threshing floor, 2) the sacrifice, and 3) the place, we read that, “At that time when David saw that the LORD had answered him in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusitethen he sacrificed there.” Subsequently, in 1 Chronicles 22:1, with regard to the “place”, “Then David said, This [is] the house of the LORD God, and this [is] the altar of the burnt offering for Israel.  Jesus was the Sacrificial Lamb of God for the true eternal Israel and Mount Moriah was the place of that burnt offering to God!  Moreover the imagery of a threshing floor brings to mind that it is a place of separation, or division, between the good fruit (barely or wheat) and the chaff.  A division that is similar to the division between the sheep and the goats.

Typical threshing floor, Source:

NOTE: While Ornan the Jebusite, who we read about in 1 Chronicles 21, seems to have been an honorable man in showing his willingness to give away, and subsequently, to meet David’s request to buy both the threshing floor, the sacrifice, and the threshing instruments for wood (and Ornan was even called “a king” in 2 Samuel 24:23), we also know a few other things about the Jebusites:

1) they are all descended from Canaan (Genesis 10:16),

2) in Exodus 33:2, God told Moses that, “I will send an angel before thee; and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite:

3) in 1 Chronicles 11:4-6 we read, “And David and all Israel went to Jerusalem, which [is] Jebus; where the Jebusites [were], the inhabitants of the land. And the inhabitants of Jebus said to David, Thou shalt not come hither. Nevertheless David took the castle of Zion, which is the city of David.” The implication is that David disposed of the Jebusites who rebelled against him.  However, we should also note that in 2 Samuel 5:6, we are given some additional information, “And the king and his men went to Jerusalem unto the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land: which spake unto David, saying, Except thou take away the blind and the lame, thou shalt not come in hither: thinking, David cannot come in hither. Just as David was not deterred in entering Jerusalem to conquer it, Jesus also went into Jerusalem, and Jesus also took away “the blind and the lame”…by healing them, and, more importantly by atoning for their sins. Everyone is a sinner, and by nature also “blind and lame” from a spiritual perspective, please see: Mephibosheth.

In Verse 3, we read, “Wash thyself therefore, and anoint thee, and put thy raiment upon thee, and get thee down to the floor: [but] make not thyself known unto the man, until he shall have done eating and drinking.” It is clear that Ruth was to prepare herself with washing, annointing, and raiment as fit for a bride, which is something at least similar to the preparation of a bride adorned for her husband as we read about in Revelation 21:2, “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” The Bride of Christ (as represented here by Ruth) will be adorned in the white robes of Christ’s righteousness that we read about in Revelation 7:9.

It is clear that Ruth sole purpose and mandate from Naomi was to go to the threshing floor to present and offer herself to Boaz as a potential worthy virtuous and chaste bride. Boaz directly addresses her below as a being “a virtuous woman”.  So we can in no way conclude that anything untoward, dishonorable, or immoral occurs in the subsequent recorded account.

In Verse 4, we read, “And it shall be, when he lieth down, that thou shalt mark the place where he shall lie, and thou shalt go in, and uncover his feet, and lay thee down; and he will tell thee what thou shalt do.”   The directions given by Naomi to Ruth are quite explicit, and while curious, has important spiritual ramifications as we will see below

In Verse 5, “And she said unto her, All that thou sayest unto me I will do.” Ruth was an obedient servant to her mother-in-law Ruth, as we also see in the next verse.

In Verse 6, “And she went down unto the floor, and did according to all that her mother in law bade her.” Ruth kept her promises to Naomi with her deeds.

In Verse 7, “And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of corn: and she came softly, and uncovered his feet, and laid her down.”

This passage appears fairly straightforward, but there are other relatable Bible verses that come to mind. First we know that Boaz was sufficed similar to what we had seen earlier with Ruth in the field belonging to Boaz.  Boaz’s heart was “merry” in a way that is not unlike what can be found in the Book of Esther, Chapter 1:10.  What Boaz drank is unspecified.  It could have been water, wine, or something else. However, while we may speculate that it could mean wine in the historical context, it does not necessarily imply drunkeness.  In any case, we have to be careful to see what God means spiritually by the use of such language.  If it can only mean drunkenness, then we would also have to accuse God of being a drunkard, because in Judges 9:12-13, we read, “Then said the trees unto the vine, Come thou, [and] reign over us.  And the vine said unto them, Should I leave my wine, which cheereth God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees?”  Incidentally, in this parable, “the vine” represents Jesus Christ (John 15:1+5), and as everywhere in the Bible, good wine represents the shed blood of Jesus Christ. We also know from Isaiah 53:10, “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put [him] to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see [his] seed, he shall prolong [his] days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

Also, in Psalms 104:14-15, we read how the Lord God “causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth;  And wine [that] maketh glad the heart of man, [and] oil to make [his] face to shine, and bread [which] strengtheneth man’s heart.”  We have just observed what the wine and oil represents, and every believer should know that the bread represents Jesus Christ’s body that was given for us (please see John 6:35 and John 6:31 and Matthew 26:26, Mark 14:22, and Luke 22:19 ). And God uses bread and corn often interchangeably to represent the body of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Uncovering Boaz’s Feet

When we read in verse 7, that Ruth went in softly to Boaz while he slept and “and uncovered his feet, and laid her down.” This account is a bit surprising to us in the historical context, but from a spiritual context, given that Boaz represents Jesus and Ruth represents the supplicant believer and the Bride of Christ, there is something more going on.  When Jesus was crucified on that fateful Passover day, he was first stripped of His clothes in Matthew 27:28. He was being shamed to bear our iniquities. Isaiah 53:5, “But he [was] wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace [was] upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”  It would appear therefore that when Ruth uncovered Boaz’s feet, she was effectively, symbolically, imputing the believers’ sins onto Jesus.  This might seem a bit of an extreme extension, but, given what subsequently unfolds below, is it really?

In Verse 8, “And it came to pass at midnight, that the man was afraid H2729, and turned himself: and, behold, a woman lay at his feet.”  We see the eventful words, “It came to pass“, at midnight, although the word is actually “night”, and then the key words “afraid” (actually to tremble, to be terrified, or to quake as in Exodus 19:18 when “…the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked H2729 greatly) and “turned himself” (the spiritual application  is unclear here). It is also notable that in Psalm 78:65, God appears to be likening Himself to Boaz in this instance, “Then the Lord awaked as one out of sleep, [and]  like a mighty man that shouteth by reason of wine.”  The subsequent verses in Psalm 78 relate to judgment and vengeance, but for the believers, there is only comfort because Jesus bore the judgment for their sins. And lastly, Boaz notices the presence of a woman (Ruth) at his feet.  

The Overspreading With a Skirt Is Like Covering With Wings

In Verse 9, “And he said, Who [art] thou? And she answered, I [am] Ruth thine handmaid: spread therefore thy skirt (כָּנָף (kānāp̄; H3671) over thine handmaid; for thou [art] a near kinsman.”(גָּאַל (gā’al)H1350Ruth was clearly answering to Boaz that she was Ruth, the Moabitess, the daughter in law to Naomi, the widow of Elimelech and the mother of Mahlon (Ruth’s dead husband who left no progeny). She made it clear, by her appearance and her obeisance, that she was offering herself to be Boaz’s wife, and therefore to bear children up in the name of the dead kin of Boaz, Mahlon and Elimelech.

But what about the spreading of the skirt of Boaz over Ruth, what does that signify.  God tells us in Ezekiel 16:8, “Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time [was] the time of love; and I spread my skirt (כָּנָף (kānāp̄;H3671over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord GOD, and thou becamest mine.” It is difficult for one’s eyes not to swell up with tears at the reading of these Words of God.  

It should also be noted that God was talking about how well He loved and cared for National Israel through to verse 14 of Ezekiel 16.  However, verses 17 through 59 show us God’s disdain and judgment upon Israel for her spiritual adultery, but nonetheless, in the last four verses in Isaiah 16:60-63, God says that he will remember His covenant and promises to establish a new and everlasting covenant (with the spiritual eternal Israel, the true believing Christians, out of all the world saved by grace and not by the works of the law).

NOTE: The word used for skirt (כָּנָף (kānāp̄;H3671) is most commonly translated as “wings” as we read back in Ruth 2:12, “The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings (כָּנָף (kānāp̄; H3671thou art come to trust.” But as we stated earlier, this is the desire of every believer as we read in the Book of Psalms:

Psalm 17:8,  “Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings(כָּנָף (kānāp̄; H3671),”

Psalm 36:7, “How excellent [is] thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings (כָּנָף (kānāp̄; H3671).”

Psalm 63:7, “Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings(כָּנָף (kānāp̄; H3671will I rejoice.

Psalm 91:4, “:He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings (כָּנָף (kānāp̄; H3671shalt thou trust: his truth [shall be thy] shield and buckler.

Kinsman Redeemer

Note Also that the words “Near Kinsman” is translated from the Hebrew word גָּאַל (gā’al) H1350  , which is translated 18x in the Bible as “Redeemer” as we find in the following examples which all unequivocally point to the LORD Jesus Christ:

Job 19:25, “For I know [that] my redeemer H1350 liveth, and [that] he shall stand at the latter [day] upon the earth:

Psalm 19:14, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength,and my redeemer. H1350

Psalm 78:35,And they remembered that God [was] their rock, and the high God their redeemer. H1350

Proverbs 23:11, “For their redeemer H1350 [is] mighty; he shall plead their cause with thee.”

Isaiah 44:6, “Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer H1350 the LORD of hosts; I [am] the first, and I [am] the last; and beside me [there is] no God.” (See also Revelation 2:8 and Revelation 22:13)

Isaiah 48:17, “Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, H1350 the Holy One of Israel; I [am] the LORD thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way [that] thou shouldest go.”

Isaiah 54:5, “For thy Maker [is] thine husband; the LORD of hosts [is] his name; and thy Redeemer H1350 the Holy One of Israel;The God of the whole earth shall he be called.”

In Verse 10, “And he said, Blessed [be] thou of the Lord, my daughter: [for] thou hast shewed more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, inasmuch as thou followedst not young men, whether poor or rich.”  Boaz realizes that he is old enough to be Ruth’s father and that he would not normally be appealing to a younger woman. Boaz Blessed Ruth in the Name of the Lord and again called her “daughter”! Boaz also was speaking comfortably to Ruth, similar to what we read in Isaiah 40:1 & 2, “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD’S hand double for all her sins.

In Verse 11, “And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou [art] a virtuous woman.” The meaning of a virtuous woman can be found in Proverbs 31:10-31 and Titus 2:5. For more on what it means to be a virtuous woman according to the Bible, please see: 

In Verse 12, “And now it is true that I [am thy] near kinsman: howbeit there is a kinsman nearer than I.” This is much more straightforward, because there is another closer living relative to Elimilech, who has the first right of refusal, that could serve as the kinsman redeemer.  (More on this later in Chapter 4)

In Verse 13, “Tarry this night, and it shall be in the morning, that if he will perform unto thee the part of a kinsman, well; let him do the kinsman’s part: but if he will not do the part of a kinsman to thee, then will I do the part of a kinsman to thee, as the Lord liveth: lie down until the morning.” Boaz promises Ruth of his intent to marry her if the closer relative refuses. Boaz’s instruction to Ruth is simply to lay down until morning, and therefore was telling her to go to sleep. Psalm 4:8, “I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.” Proverbs 3:24, “When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.” Ruth was safe with Boaz as the believers are with Jesus.

At His Feet…Showing Obedience and Servitude

In Verse 14, “And she lay at his feet until the morning: and she rose up before one could know another. And he said, Let it not be known that a woman came into the floor.”  Ruth remained safely laying at Boaz’s feet through the night until morning, and, as was mentioned earlier, rising up is symbolic of resurrection to life. The spiritual implications remain unclear at this time regarding not letting it be known that a woman was on the threshing floor.  Regardless, it is worth reviewing some other verses pertaining to being at the feet of Jesus:

Matthew 15:30, “And great multitudes came unto him, having with them [those that were] lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus’ feet; and he healed them:”

Mark 5:22, “And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet,

Luke 7:38-47,48, “And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe [them] with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed [them] with the ointment.

Finally we have the two complimentary verses from Isaiah 52:7 “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!”

and Romans 10:15, “And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

In Verse 15, “Also he said, Bring the vail that [thou hast] upon thee, and hold it. And when she held it, he measured six [measures] of barley, and laid [it] on her: and she went into the city.” The barley represents the Word of God, the six is linked to mankind created on the sixth day, and going into the city is where the believers are to be fed with the Word of God.

In Verse 16,And when she came to her mother in law, she said, Who [art] thou, my daughter? And she told her all that the man had done to her.”  It is likely that Naomi was really enquiring about what happened overnight, and so Ruth explained that Boaz promised to be the kinsman redeemer if the nearer kinsman forebears.

In Verse 17, “And she said, These six [measures] of barley gave he me; for he said to me, Go not empty unto thy mother in law.”  Given that Naomi is representative of the remnant saved by grace from National Israel, it is clear that Ruth is representative of the Gentiles bringing the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ (represented by the barley) to that remnant.

In Verse 18Then said she, Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall: for the man will not be in rest, until he have finished the thing this day.” “Sit still” is from the Hebrew word, יָשַׁב (yāšaḇ) H3427, which is most often as dwell (437x), inhabitant (221x), sit (172x), abide (70x), inhabit (39x), etc. Clearly Naomi is instructing Ruth to abide with her until the day’s events have fully unfolded. Interestingly, it is the same word that we find in the 23rd Psalm, verse 6, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell H3427 in the house of the LORD for ever.” Naomi knew Boaz was fully committed to his mission to fulfill his promise to Ruth.

Chapter 4

In Verse 1 we read, “Then went Boaz up to the gate, and sat him down there: and, behold, the kinsman of whom Boaz spake came by; unto whom he said, Ho, such a one! turn aside, sit down here. And he turned aside, and sat down.” Boaz went and sat down at the entrance gate, presumably of the village of Bethlehem, to hold a conference with the unnamed nearer kinsman of Naomi’s deceased husband Elimelech.

In verse 2, we read that in keeping with “And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, Sit ye down here. And they sat down.” This was being done by Boaz in accordance with what we find in Deuteronomy 25:5-10.

Performing the Duty of Next of Kin, The Kinsman Redeemer and “the Loosing of the Shoe”

We read of the role of a kinsman in the event that a married brother dies leaving no offspring in Deuteronomy 25:5-10, “If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband’s brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband’s brother unto herAnd it shall be, that the firstborn which she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother [which] is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel. And if the man like not to take his brother’s wife, then let his brother’s wife go up to the gate unto the elders, and say, My husband’s brother refuseth to raise up unto his brother a name in Israel, he will not perform the duty of my husband’s brother. Then the elders of his city shall call him, and speak unto him: and [if] he stand [to it], and say, I like not to take her; Then shall his brother’s wife come unto him in the presence of the elders, and loose his shoe from off his foot, and spit in his face, and shall answer and say, So shall it be done unto that man that will not build up his brother’s house. And his name shall be called in Israel, The house of him that hath his shoe loosed.

Irony of Ironies!

It should also be noted here that there is an interesting irony to this law of the service of a kinsmanfor a dead brother, which could be easily missed without some careful study.  Boaz was descended from Pharez, who was one of twins born to Tamar via Judah when her husband had died and her husband’s brother, Onan, refused to honor his dead brother by faithfully fulfilling the duty of a kinsman (and “the thing which he diddispleased the LORD: wherefore he slew him also” (God killed Onan) as a result, see: Gen 38:8-10 ).  Judah failed in his subsequent promise to Tamar to provide a younger brother, Shelah, as a husband to her, whereupon Tamar, in desperation, was forced to devise a way (albeit a sinful way) to obtain children via her dead husband’s line directly from Judah. The point being that had Onan lovingly fulfilled his Kinsman Redeemer’s duty for his dead brother, then Pharez, hence Boaz, would have never been born.  But God foreknew and predestinated these events to fulfill His purposes for His Glory and to teach us spiritual lessons. Is it not amazing that Boaz not only took on the very role of a kinsman for Ruth, for which one of his own living relatives was unwilling to take, but also that one of his own relatives in the past was unwilling to take, which if that relative had, then Boaz would never have been born. Amazing!

Moreover, Jesus was descended from Pharez from sons following to Boaz, Obed, Jesse, David, Nathan and eventually to Mary, and Jesus took it upon Himself to be the believer’s Kinsman Redeemer…when no one else ever would, or could, perform that Perfect Atoning and Reconciling Savior’s Role.Romans 5:6-11 tells us, “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”  And we are comforted by John 15:13, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. And not only [so], but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.”

Verse 3, “And he said unto the kinsman, Naomi, that is come again out of the country of Moab, selleth a parcel of land, which [was] our brother Elimelech’s:”  This discourse tells us that Naomi sold what ever property was previously the inheritance of Elimelech’s after returning from Moab and that both Boaz and the the unnamed kinsman were considered to be “brothers” of Elimelech qualifying them in order of nearness in relationship to Elimelech to serve in the role of kinsman redeemer.”

Verse 4, “And I thought to advertise thee, saying, Buy it before the inhabitants, and before the elders of my people. If thou wilt redeem [it], redeem [it]: but if thou wilt not redeem [it, then] tell me, that I may know: for [there is] none to redeem [it] beside thee; and I [am] after thee. And he said, I will redeem [it].” This is straightforward and the result was that the unnamed nearer kinsman initially accepted the role of redeemer.

Verse 5, “Then said Boaz, What day thou buyest the field of the hand of Naomi, thou must buy [it] also of Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance.” Boaz made clear that along with redeeming the land the unnamed kinsman would have to marry Ruth “the Moabitess”. That was the deal breaker.  A Moabitess was a cursed stranger and too difficult a task for a normal person from the house of Judah to bear.  (More on this below under Redemption)

Verse 6, “And the kinsman said, I cannot redeem [it] for myself, lest I mar mine own inheritance: redeem thou my right to thyself; for I cannot redeem [it].” As was made clear, the nearer kinsman could not fulfill the role of the kinsman redeemer.

Verse 7, “Now this [was the manner] in former time in Israel concerning redeeming and concerning changing, for to confirm all things; a man plucked off his shoe, and gave [it] to his neighbour: and this was a testimony in Israel.Therefore the kinsman said unto Boaz, Buy [it] for thee. So he drew off his shoe.” This fulfilled the sign as commanded in Deuteronomy 25:9, ” Then shall his brother’s wife come unto him in the presence of the elders, and loose his shoe from off his foot, and spit in his face, and shall answer and say, So shall it be done unto that man that will not build up his brother’s house.” The historical account does not say anything about Naomi or Ruth spitting in the man’s face, and it is both unlikely and unnecessary at that point, given the stand-in offer of Boaz.

Verse 9, “And Boaz said unto the elders, and [unto] all the people, Ye [are] witnesses this day, that I have bought all that [was] Elimelech’s, and all that [was] Chilion’s and Mahlon’s, of the hand of Naomi.” Boaz publicly testified that he was fulfilling the role of kinsman redeemer for the estate of Elimelech and his sons Mahlon and Chilion on behalf of the widow Naomi.

Verse 10, “Moreover Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased to be my wife, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance, that the name of the dead be not cut off from among his brethren, and from the gate of his place: [ye are] witnesses this day.” The role of kinsman redeemer included raising up seed (children) in the name of the deceased men to leave them an heritage. Just as Boaz purchased Ruth through redemption, Jesus was willing to pay all for His Bride, Jesus was like the man in the parable of Matthew 13:44, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.

Verse 11, “And all the people that [were] in the gate, and the elders, said, [We are] witnesses. The LORD make the woman that is come into thine house like Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel: and do thou worthily in Ephratah, and be famous in Bethlehem:”   Here we are provided a lot of information.  Rachel and Leah were the wives of Jacob, from whom came eight of the tribes of Israel (Rachel had two sons, Leah had six).  This was a “Prophetic” blessing from the people, which was that Ruth (and hence Naomi) would become like Rachel and Leah, in that Ruth would be in effect the mother of the “eternal Israel” through Jesus.   And what about Ephratah?… and being famous in Bethlehem?

In 1 Chronicles 4:4 we read that, “And Penuel the father of Gedor, and Ezer the father of Hushah. These are the sons of Hur, the firstborn of Ephratah, the father of Bethlehem.

And then the famous prophesy of the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ in Bethlehem through the prophet Micah, where in Micah 5:2, “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, [though] thou be little among the thousands of Judah, [yet] out of thee shall he come forth unto me [that is] to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth [have been] from of old, from everlasting.

Verse 12,  “And let thy house be like the house of Pharez, whom Tamar bare unto Judah, of the seed which the LORD shall give thee of this young woman.” This is a reminder that the house of Judah was blessed through Pharez and Boaz was descended from Pharez and this blessing from the people was upon Ruth on behalf of Naomi.

Verse 13, “So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife: and when he went in unto her, the LORD gave her conception, and she bare a son.” Even the conception was providentially planned and ordained by God for His ultimate Glory, through Jesus Christ as a result of that conception.

Verse 14, “And the women said unto Naomi, Blessed [be] the LORD, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel.” Yes, God Provided Naomi with a valiant Kinsman Redeemer, in Boaz in the temporal realm and through Jesus Christ in the eternal spiritual realm.

Verse 15, “And he shall be unto thee a restorer of [thy] life, and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter in law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath born him.” Ruth, Naomi’s daughter-in-law, turned out to be the vehicle by which Naomi would be blessed in untold ways and even better than seven sons!

Verse 16, “Ruth And Naomi took the child, and laid it in her bosom, and became nurse unto it.” How beautiful a picture that is! Very similar to Anna the prophetess seeing baby Jesus in the temple in Jerusalem in Luke 2:36-38, “And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; And she [was] a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served [God] with fastings and prayers night and day. And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.

The Genealogy of David, Hence Jesus Christ, Our Lord God and Savior

In Ruth 17-22, “And the women her neighbours gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed: he [is] the father of Jesse, the father of David. Now these [are] the generations of Pharez: Pharez begat Hezron, And Hezron begat Ram, and Ram begat Amminadab, And Amminadab begat Nahshon, and Nahshon begat Salmon, And Salmon begat Boaz, and Boaz begat Obed, And Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David.”  This genealogy is entirely consistent with Matthew 1:2-6.  The key point here is to show that David (hence Jesus) is of the seed of Abraham through the union of Boaz and Ruth, and therefore Jesus, having a body of flesh and bones like us, is therefore qualified as a Brother to serve as a Kinsman Redeemer for the eternal Israel (all believers).    (see also Proverbs 18:24 and John 15:13)

Redemption, What Does it Spiritually Mean to Say that Jesus is the Believer’s Kinsman Redeemer?

When Adam and Eve sinned back in the Book of Genesis, they lost their (and all of mankind’s) birthright to the earth, their first estate, which was lost to the devil.  And they also lost their lives and died without a redeemer. When Jesus, as the Lamb of God, paid the price for every believer’s sins in the substitutionary Atonement that was finished at the cross, Jesus also paid the full price of redemption as the eternal Kinsman Redeemer.  The unnamed nearer kinsman, represents anyone of all humankind, going all the way back to Adam (remembering that initially Adam was also “sinless” before the fall), who both unwilling and unable to assume that role of kinsman redeemer, so Jesus willingly took it upon Himself to fulfill that role.

We should also remember that Jesus is both our “Near Kinsman” and “Redeemer” because Jesus is counted as our Brethren as we read in Hebrews 2:16-18, “For verily he took not on [him the nature of] angels; but he took on [him] the seed of AbrahamWherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto [his] brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things [pertaining] to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.” Jesus had to take upon Himself a body of flesh and bones and be descended from Abraham, hence Adam (through Judah to David to Mary).  We also know from 1 Corinthians 15:22, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” and 1 Corinthians 15:45, “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam [was] made a quickening spirit.

Exodus 6:6, “Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I [am] the LORD,and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments:

Job 19:25, “For I know [that] my redeemer liveth, and [that] he shall stand at the latter [day] upon the earth:

Romans 3:24, “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

Ephesians 1:7, “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;”

Conclusion: The LORD Jesus Christ Is The True Kinsman Redeemer in the Book of Ruth

We know that the Lord God is the Ultimate Eternal Redeemer.

In Psalm 106:10 we read how God save the nation of Israel from Egypt in Moses’s day, “And he saved them from the hand of him that hated [them], and redeemed (גָּאַל (gā’al)H1350 them from the hand of the enemy.

In Isaiah 48:17, “Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer (גָּאַל (gā’al) H1350, the Holy One of Israel; I [am] the LORD thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go.”

In Isaiah 48:17, “Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer (גָּאַל (gā’al)H1350the Holy One of Israel; I [am] the LORD thy God which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way [that] thou shouldest go.

In Isaiah 54:5, “For thy Maker [is] thine husband; the LORD of hosts [is] his name; and thy Redeemer (גָּאַל (gā’al)H1350 the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.

Redemption is also like paying a “ransom” (פָּדָה (pāḏâ)) H6299.

2 Samuel 7:23, “And what one nation in the earth is like thy people, [even] like Israel, whom God went to redeem (פָּדָה (pāḏâ))H6299  for a people to himself, and to make him a name, and to do for you great things and terrible, for thy land, before thy people, which thou redeemedst (פָּדָה (pāḏâ))H6299 to thee from Egypt, [from] the nations and their gods?”

Note the similarity with 1 Chronicles 17:21And what one nation in the earth [is] like thy people Israel, whom God went to redeem (פָּדָה (pāḏâ)) H6299 [to be] his own people, to make thee a name of greatness and terribleness, by driving out nations from before thy people, whom thou hast redeemed (פָּדָה (pāḏâ))H6299 out of Egypt?”

In Psalm 130:7 & 8, we read, “Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD [there is] mercy, and with him [is] plenteous redemption (פְּדוּת (pᵊḏûṯ) H6304). And he shall redeem (פָּדָה (pāḏâ) H6299) Israel from all his iniquities.

In Isaiah 35:9&10 we read, “No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed (גָּאַל (gā’al)H1350 shall walk there: And the ransomed (פָּדָה (pāḏâ)) H6299 of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

(There are many more verses in the Old Testament that you can search out for yourself)

And in the New Testament,

Ephesians 1:3-7, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly [places] in ChristAccording as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;”

Galatians 3:13 we read, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed [is] every one that hangeth on a tree:” (see also John 3:14 )

In 1 Corinthians 1:30, “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:

And finally, most emphatically, we read in 1 Peter 1:18-21, “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, [as] silver and gold, from your vain conversation [received] by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spotWho verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

And we see God’s hand was always working behind the scenes in the book of Ruth: God sent the famine that drove Naomi’s family to Moab, where Ruth was; God made certain that Ruth “happened” to come to the field of Boaz; God had previously instituted the law of kinsman redeemer in Deuteronomy 25. It was considered extremely important by the Israelites to continue the family line and preserving one’s divinely appointed inheritance; and God enabled Ruth to conceive. Through it all, God’s plan was to bring David into the world which would continue through to the genealogical line of Christ.

All believers must clearly see  that they destitute spiritual paupers, widows and strangers, that so desperately need Jesus, the Mighty Man of Wealth as their Kinsman Redeemer and eternally praise Him in Glory in Heaven. We all should be grateful for this profound illustration of that redemptive action as allegorically provided in the Book of Ruth.

The Book of Ruth is an amazing example of God’s providence, mercy, grace, love, and comfort!  It shows how God intervenes throughout time and space to perfectly achieve His purposes. Some have called it a love story, and indeed that it true, but it is more than just the earthly story about the love between Boaz and Ruth, it is more importantly a glorious picture of the eternal spiritual love that God has for His eternal church (The Bride of Jesus Christ) made up of believers throughout time from both the Jew and Gentile nations.

In Psalm 146:9 we read,The LORD preserveth the strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and widow: but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down.”  The account of Ruth is about a destitute “widow” and “stranger”, Ruth, who accompanied another widow, Naomi, a “widow” indeed, finding grace and blessing from God, while the account of Esther is about an orphan (“fatherless”) being blessed by God, who becomes queen of a glorious kingdom.  In both cases, they spiritually represent all of God’s elect, His Church, and how the miraculous intercession of God was necessary through them to bring about the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem at the appointed time.  At the same time, we are also provided the unequivocal proofs that God perfectly crafted the events and the recording of them to reveal His Magnificent Salvation Plan through the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ to save sinners Who God calls out of darkness and despair.  As a result we are comforted in the knowledge that, as we read in Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purposeFor whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called:and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who [can be] against us?

Postscript: Jesus is Descended from a Long Lineage of Sinners!

“…God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as [it is] this day, to save much people alive.Genesis 50:20

We also see that God has provided some interesting factual insights regarding Himself, and about Jesus’ earthly geneology in the Book of Ruth.  We can see that Jesus was descended (through Mary’s line from David via Nathan, See Matthew 1:5) via an incestuous relationship (through Ruth, hence Moab, hence Lot with Lot’s daughter).  We are also reminded of another unseemly point when we are provided this verse, Ruth 4:12, “And let thy house be like the house of Pharez, whom Tamar bare unto Judah, of the seed which the LORD shall give thee of this young woman.” Tamar was the daughter-in-law of Judah and she played the harlot (prostitute) to entice Judah in order to conceive Pharez by him, and Jesus’s earthly lineage is via Pharez (“Phares” in Matthew 1:3 and Luke 3:33). Moreover, the mother of Boaz (Booz in Matthew 1:5 and Luke 3:32) was named Rahab (also as “Rachab” in Matthew 1:5), and Rahab is the name of a harlot (prostitute) whom Joshua (meaning “Saviour”, the same as the Greek “Jesus”) saved, when the city of Jericho was destroyed, see: Joshua 6:17. Even David, with whom Jesus is linked by birth through Mary via David’s son Nathan (Luke 3:31), was both an adulterer and pre-meditated murderer (David orchestrated the death of Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah the Hittite). As was mentioned in the body of this study, these sordid historical aspects of the lineage of Jesus were all included in the Bible by God, very deliberately, to show us how God was willing to clearly and unequivocally associate Himself with sinful mankind from every possible perspective (and yet Jesus Himself knew no sin, 2 Corinthians 5:21) in order to take the believers’ places on the cross, and to pay the full price of redemption as our Kinsman Redeemer, saving us from what would have otherwise been an eternity in Hell.  Jesus came to save sinners!  Praise God from Whom all blessings flow! Hallelujah!

The Mount of Transfiguration: What Was It Really All About?

May 26, 2010

clouds-above-the-mountains-in-icelandThere is some additional corroborative evidence that Jesus Christ should be the primary focus of every Christian’s Bible study.  It has already been shown in the previous paper, “Unveiling the Mystery of the Bible“, that it is the purpose of God, working through the ministration of His Holy Spirit, that He, alone, is the One Who must remove the veil from a person’s heart to allow him to see Jesus in the Old Testament scriptures.  God explains that it is by this means (and for His glory) that God revealed the New Testament of Jesus Christ (whereby salvation is possible, to both Jew and Gentile, only through Jesus Christ’s work of perfectly keeping the law and applying His work to us by His Spirit and not through our keeping the law apart from Him).  We see this in 2 Corinthians 3:4-11: “And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward:  Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency [is] of God;  Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.  But if the ministration of death, written [and] engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which [glory] was to be done away:  How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?

God also underscores that the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ was not some last-minute addition to God’s original plan, but all along was central to it.  This is found in Romans Chapter 1.  There we read, “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called [to be] an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,  (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,)  Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;  And declared [to be] the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:”  To underscore that the term “gospel” does not just relate to the New Testament, God speaks of the Jews in Moses’ day as having heard the same gospel as we read beginning with Hebrews 3:12Hebrews 4:2: “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.  But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.  For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;  While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.  For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.  But with whom was he grieved forty years? [was it] not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness?  And to whom sware he that they (the unbelieving Jews in Moses’ day) should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?  So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.  Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left [us] of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.  For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard [it].”

Again, in Colossians 1:1-5, we read, “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus [our] brother, To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace [be] unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,  Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love [which ye have] to all the saints, For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word (they heard it before only out of the Old Testament in those days) of the truth (Jesus Is The “Truth” [John 14:6]) of the gospel (God’s covenant of grace through the person and work of Jesus Christ);”.

The Mount of Transfiguration Accounts:

The transfiguration of Jesus is a rather surprising account that we read about in Matthew, Mark, and Luke.  The following verses review that account in its entirety:

Matthew 17:1-8, “And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart,  And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.  And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.  Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.  While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.  And when the disciples heard [it], they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.  And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid.  And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.  And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.

Mark 9:1-10, “And after six days Jesus taketh [with him] Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them.  And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them.  And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus.  And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.  For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid.  And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.  And suddenly, when they had looked round about, they saw no man any more, save Jesus only with themselves.  And as they came down from the mountain, he charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead.  And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean.

Luke 9:28-36, “ And it came to pass about an eight days* after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray.  And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment [was] white [and] glistering.  And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias:  Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.  But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him.  And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said.  While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud.  And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.  And when the voice was past, Jesus was found alone. And they kept [it] close, and told no man in those days any of those things which they had seen.

*NOTE: There is one “apparent” contradiction between the Luke account and that found in Matthew and Mark (i.e. eight days versus six days).  Please note that the Luke account says “about an eight days after” while the Matthew and Mark accounts state unequivocally “after six days.”  Although God’s purpose in providing this variation in the timing description is not immediately clear, it is not inconsistent with a parallel account in Exodus 24:16, where we read, “And the glory of the LORD abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud.”  We are also reminded of the fact that on that same mount Moses was told in Exodus 34:21  “Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest: in earing time and in harvest thou shalt rest.”  It is also interesting to note that the #6 relates to “physical” creation (6 days), and the #8 points to the resurrection of the Word (on the eight day, Easter Sunday) and the new “eternal” creation.

When we review and combine (or synthesize) these three accounts of the transfiguration into one, cohesive, whole, we find that the disciples (Peter, James, and John) first saw Jesus transfigured to a glorified state, and, furthermore, Moses and Elijah (who were also in a glorified state) were speaking with Jesus (concerning Jesus’s death that would occur at Jerusalem).  Setting aside for a moment the issue of Peter’s offer to build “three tabernacles,” we next learn that a cloud overshadowed them, and God the Father speaks to the disciples concerning Jesus, “this is my beloved son:” and commands, “hear him.”  They “fell on their face, and were sore afraid.”  “Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise and be not afraid.”  Immediately afterwards, the only other person they see is Jesus (Moses and Elijah are gone).  Finally we read of Jesus’s reference to His death and resurrection, and His command to the disciples to keep secret what they had seen until after that time.

A number of questions come to mind.  What was the purpose for Jesus having been “transfigured”, and why did it happen before His death and resurrection?  Why did only Moses and Elijah appear with Jesus?  Why did they talk of Jesus’s coming death?  Why did they vanish after God the Father spoke from the cloud?  What was the significance of Jesus’s coming, His touching the disciples, and saying arise, be not afraid?  What about the three tabernacles that Peter offered to build?  Why did the disciples not understand the coming death and subsequent resurrection of Jesus Christ?

The Transfiguration: A Witness and Testimony of Jesus’s Majesty, Honor, and Glory That is Linked to His Resurrection* 

The most obviously significant aspect of the Transfiguration account is the Transfiguration of Jesus Himself.  The Bible tells us in Matthew 17:2 that Jesus “was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.“; and in Mark 9:2&3 “was transfigured before them.  And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them.“; and in Luke 9:29, “And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment [was] white [and] glistering.”  The big question we are immediately faced with is, “What is the purpose of this phenomenon?”   In seeking to answer this question, rather than just speculate, let’s look to God’s own commentary as spoken through an eyewitness to the original event.  Peter, as one of those witnesses states emphatically in 2 Peter 1:16-18, “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majestyFor he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.  And this voice which came from heaven we (Peter, James, and John) heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.

We are told that Jesus received honor and glory from God the Father in His excellent glory in Heaven.  This reaffirmation of the transfiguration account emphasizes that Jesus was indeed “glorified.”  The word translated as “majesty” that was used first by Peter is from a seldom used word, “μεγαλειότης” (megaleiotēs) G3168.  It is a reference to more than Christ’s beauty of holiness and royal splendor.  In Luke 9:43, the same word is used to refer to Jesus’ “mighty power” over physical things.  Therefore, Peter is saying in effect that the prophets (both of the Old Testament as represented by Moses and Elijah, and the New Testament represented by Peter, James, and John (because, like Moses and Elijah, they too heard God speak directly to them)) were witnesses to the glory and mighty power of Jesus in the universe.

*  Thanks to the late Thomas Schaff, for his significant contributions to this section.

Certainly Jesus performed many amazing works to which Peter was a witness, but Peter had particular work in mind, that was Jesus’s resurrection and therefore His power over death and hell.  We can conclude this because Jesus tied His transfiguration to His resurrection in Mark 9:9, “And as they came down from the mountain, he charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead.”  Jesus knew that His apostles would not fully understand the meaning of what they had seen on the mountain until He arose from the dead.  Therefore He told them to say nothing until then.  The resurrection would make the meaning of all that happened on the mountain clear to them so that they could tell it to others.

The Transfiguration was a revelation, or “preview,” of Who Jesus Is, and, in a way, the resurrection was proof that the revelation was true.  If they understood the resurrection, then they would understand the meaning of what happened on the mountain.  Also, if they understood the events on the mountain, then they would understand the meaning of the resurrection.  However, until Jesus rose from the dead, the apostles wondered about the meaning of the resurrection, as we see in Mark 9:10, “And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean.

At the time that Peter wrote the letter of II Peter, Peter had come to understand the meaning for the events on the mountain of the Transfiguration and the meaning of the resurrection.  One other thing that stood out according to Peter, was the statement by the Father repeated in 2 Peter 1:17, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”  Therefore, there is a close correlation between the resurrection and the Words of the Father.  The resurrection was proof that Jesus was indeed the “beloved Son,” the Person of whose glory Peter caught a glimpse when he was on the mountain.  (Incidentally, there is another corollary that can be found at the time of Jesus’s baptism.  We read in Matthew 3:16 &17, “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:  And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.  In that account Jesus’s coming out of the water was a another preview of the Jesus’ resurrection after having come under the judgment of God [the river Jordan is a type of Hell] at the hands of John the Baptist [a type for the law of God that demands “…the wages of sin [is] death;” [Rom 6:23].  Please refer to the paper, The Role of Baptism in the Life of the Believer)

Jesus was declared “beloved”.   He perfectly obeyed the Will of the Father in that Jesus voluntarily laid down His life.  Jesus showed that He completely paid for the sins of His sheep when He raised Himself from the dead and prove that His sacrifice was acceptable as a holy and complete payment for sin as we read in Romans 1:4, “And declared [to be] the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:” and Hebrews 5:8&9, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;“.

Moses: An Allegory for the Law of God that Spoke of Jesus Christ (In a Veiled Fashion)

But what of Moses and Elijah?  Where do they fit in?  We know that Moses is so intimately identified in the Bible with the Law of God that we often read of the “law of Moses” as we read in 1 Kings 2:2&3 where David’s last words to his son Solomon were, “I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and shew thyself a man; And keep the charge of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself:.”  We also read in John 5:45 where Jesus said to the Jews, “Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is [one] that accuseth you, [even] Moses, in whom ye trust.  For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.  But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?”  Furthermore, in 2 Corinthians 3:11, we find that the emphasis is on the fact that Jesus was concealed by God as if by a “veil” in the Old Testament (represented allegorically by Moses with “a veil over his face”), but revealed with “great plainness of speech” in the New testament as follows, “For if that which is done away [was] glorious, much more that which remaineth [is] glorious.  Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech:  And not as Moses, [which] put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished:  But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which [veil] is done away in Christ.  But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart.  Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away.

Some have misunderstood that Moses did not die, but rather that he had to have been translated into heaven bodily like Elijah to be present on the Mount of Transfiguration. The Bible, however, clearly states that Moses did in fact die, it even states it two times to underscore the fact. In Deuteronomy 34:5-8 we read, “So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD.  And he buried him in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knowest his sepulchre unto this day.  And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated.  And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days: so the days of weeping and mourning were ended.”  The language used here is almost exactly the same as when Aaron died, as we read in Numbers 20:28&29, “…and Aaron died there in the top of the mount: and Moses and Eleazar came down from the mount.  And when all the congregation saw that Aaron was dead, they mourned for Aaron thirty days,…”.  This conclusion is confirmed by Deuteronomy 32:48-52. The oldest available Hebrew texts read this way, so there is no way to say these verses were incorrectly translated.

Rather than trusting the Bible as God’s Word, the doubters seem to have placed their trust in their own wisdom and understanding.  However, back in the Bible, in Jude verse 9, we get an indication of where the solution to the apparent contradiction probably rests.  There we read, “Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.”  Evidently God had resurrected Moses’ dead body prior to Jesus’s death and resurrection so that Moses could appear on the Mount of Transfiguration with Elijah, to represent the law and the prophets witnessing and testifying to Christ’s forthcoming crucifixion.

It should also be noted that the devil did not dispute about the “body” of Elijah.  This is because the Bible makes clear that Elijah did not die, neither was a he ever buried in the earth as Moses’ body was.  We know this because we read in 2 Kings 2:11, “And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, [there appeared] a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.

Elijah: An Allegory for the Old Testament Prophets that Spoke of Jesus Christ and His Sufferings and the Glory that Should Follow

The Bible also makes it clear that the prophets of God in the Old Testament spoke of the Person and Atoning Work of Jesus Christ (i.e. His suffering and death) as we read in 1 Peter 1:7-11, “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:  Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see [him] not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:  Receiving the end of your faith, [even] the salvation of [your] souls.  Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace [that should come] unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.”  Again, in Acts 3:18, “But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.

Mark 14:21, “The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born.

The Law and the Prophets

When we look at how God uses the law (represented here by Moses) and the prophets (represented here by Elijah) we find some additional corroboration to underscore that indeed we are on the right track.  To begin, we find that God describes “the law and the prophets” as being essentially equivalent to the Old Testament as we read in Matthew 11:13, “For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John (referring to John the Baptist who we read about in the New Testament).”  We also know that God distills the essence of the whole Old Testament into just two commandments (one of which is commonly referred to as the “golden rule”, as we find both in Matthew 22:37-40, “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.“) and in Matthew 7:12, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”  In John 1:45, we also find the account where, “Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”  Furthermore, in Acts 28:23 we read about the preaching of Paul from “the law and the prophets”, “And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into [his] lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and [out of] the prophets, from morning till evening.”  Finally, in Luke 24:44, we read of Jesus speaking to the disciples after His resurrection, “And he (Jesus) said unto them, These [are] the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and [in] the prophets, and [in] the psalms, concerning me.”  The law and the prophets (as well as “the psalms”) spoke concerning the person and work of Jesus Christ! (And only Jesus was able to perfectly keep “the law and the prophets” and therefore also “the two great commandments.”)

Please note that the last quoted verse, Luke 24:44, is in perfect harmony with what can be found earlier in Luke (in verses 18:31-33) regarding what Jesus told the disciples just before his death and resurrection, “Then he (Jesus) took [unto him] the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished.  For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on:  And they shall scourge [him], and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.”  Please also note that when Jesus originally told the disciples these facts, they did not understand them because it was “hid” from them, as we read in the next verse, Luke 18:34, “And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.”  However, when Jesus appeared to the disciples after His resurrection, we then read in Luke 24:45-47 that Jesus gave them the understanding, “Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,  And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:  And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”  This is just one more example of everyone’s need for God to open his spiritual eyes to spiritual truth even when something is plainly stated in the scriptures.

Before we leave this section, we should also consider one more aspect about the Mount of transfiguration and its relationship to “the law and the prophets.”  In Matthew 5:17 Jesus says, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.”  Jesus fulfilled all that the law commanded and demanded, and prophets spoke concerning.  

One more thing…When we look at the last few verses of Luke 16 we see the parable of the rich man in Hell crying out to Abraham (while holding Lazarus) in Heaven to send messengers to his brothers who haven’t died yet so that they could be warned to repent and avoid Hell, we read the following:  “Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear themAnd he (the rich man in Hell) said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he (Abraham) said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” The one rose from the dead was not just Lazarus, it was Jesus Christ.  And then we are reminded of Matthew 17:5, “While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.”!!!

The Overshadowing Cloud Points to the Glory of God in the Presence of His Saints 

There are numerous references to a “cloud” in the Bible, but the ones that appear to best express the its biblical meaning are found as follows: Exodus 19:16, “And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that [was] in the camp trembled.Exodus 24:15, “And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount. Exodus 24:16, “And the glory of the LORD abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud.Exodus 33:21&22, “And the LORD said, Behold, [there is] a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock:  And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by:,” and a little later referring to the same account in Exodus 34:5, “And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him (Moses) there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD.Exodus 40:34, “Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.”  Numbers 14:14, “And they will tell [it] to the inhabitants of this land: [for] they have heard that thou LORD [art] among this people, that thou LORD art seen face to face, and [that] thy cloud standeth over them, and [that] thou goest before them, by day time in a pillar of a cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night.”  Deuteronomy 31:15, “And the LORD appeared in the tabernacle in a pillar of a cloud: and the pillar of the cloud stood over the door of the tabernacle.”  There are also these verses, in the Book of Hebrews that follow immediately after the recountng of the great heros of faith (The Believers/the Saints) that glorified God, we read in Hebrews 12:1&2, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Then compare with these verses: John 17:10 “And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I (Jesus Christ) am glorified in them (the saints). 2 Thessalonians 1:10  When he (Jesus Christ) shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.

The Three Tabernacles?

Notice also the numerous references to “the tabernacle”.  Remember that in John 1:14 we read, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt (tabernacled) among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”  The word translated “dwelt” is from the Greek word “skenno” which means “to tabernacle” which is the same as we find in Revelation 21:3, “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God [is] with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, [and be] their God.”  Can you see why it was erroneous for Peter to want to build “three” separate tabernacles for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah?  In the historical setting it was unnecessary because Moses’ and Elijah’s habitation was a heavenly one, and more importantly, there is only one tabernacle, or abode, for the people of God.  As Jesus states in John 14:2, “In my Father’s house (singular) are many mansions: if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”  Furthermore, in the spiritual context, the Door of the Tabernacle, and the Tabernacle Itself, is Jesus Christ.  Most importantly, it was Jesus alone, Who prepared that tabernacle, not the disciples.

The Disciples’ Fearful Falling to the Ground, and Jesus’s Touching Them and Raising Them Up

We read in Matthew 17:6 that the disciples, when they heard the voice of God, “fell on their face.”  That action is representative of what anyone will do when he hears the voice of Almighty God.  It is a sign of worship, reverence, and obeisance.  We see examples of such action in Genesis 17:3, “And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying,…”; in 2 Samuel 9:6, “Now when Mephibosheth (an allegorical type of every believer), the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, was come unto David (an allegorical type of Jesus Christ), he fell on his face, and did reverence. And David said, Mephibosheth. And he answered, Behold thy servant!“; in 2 Chronicles 20:18, “And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with [his] face to the ground: and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell before the LORD, worshipping the LORD.“; and in Luke 5:12, “And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on [his] face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.”   Please also note the similarity of the obedient nature exhibited by Joshua in Joshua 5:14, “And he said, Nay; but [as] captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant?” and the obedient nature of Jesus in Matthew 26:39And he (Jesus) went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou [wilt].

In the Matthew account of the Transfiguration, we read in Matthew 17:7, “And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid.”  Immediately, we see a number of features in this verse that pertain to the gospel message (regarding the Person and work of Jesus Christ) that are found everywhere else in the Bible.  The essence of salvation is predicated on the coming of Jesus Christ.  He, alone, is the means of that salvation.  Salvation is dependent on His Work.  That is also why we next read that He touched them, and He said to arise, and He said to be not afraid.


The word for “touched” that is used in the Mount Transfiguration account is the Greek word, ἅπτομαι (haptomai) G680. There are quite a number of verses in the Bible that pertain to Jesus’s “touching” or being “touched” by someone.  In every case the result is symbolic of what happens to someone who becomes saved.  We see this in the case of Jesus’s healing the leper in Matthew 8:3 (and Mark 1:41 and Luke 5:13), “And Jesus put forth [his] hand, and touched G680 him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.”  In the cure of the Peter’s mother-in-law from a fever in Matthew 8:15, “And he touched G680 her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them.”  In the cleansing of the woman from her issue of blood as we read in Matthew 9:20 (and Mark 5:27-34), “And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind [him], and touched G680 the hem of his garment:  For she said within herself, If I may but touch G680 his garment, I shall be whole.  But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.” and Matthew 14:35 (and Mark 6:56), “And when the men of that place had knowledge of him, they sent out into all that country round about, and brought unto him all that were diseased;  And besought him that they might only touch G680 the hem of his garment: and as many as touched G680 were made perfectly whole.”  In Matthew 9:27-30, “And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, [Thou] son of David, have mercy on us.  And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord.  Then touchedG680 he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.  And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See [that] no man know [it].”  In Mark 7:32, we read of the deaf and dumb man being healed by Jesus, “And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him.  And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched G680 his tongue;  And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened.  And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain.”  Finally, in Luke 7:12-16, “Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her.  And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not.  And he came and touched G680 the bier: and they that bare [him] stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.  And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother.  And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people.

Not only did these miracles serve as physical proofs that Jesus was the promised Messiah (according to Luke 7:22), which, in answer to John the Baptist’s query on that subject, which states, “Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.“), but in each of these miracles are found clear references to the miracle of salvation so equally and graciously given by God to whomever He wills.


The word “Arise” spoken by Jesus to the disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration is the same word spoken by Jesus to the dead young man on the funeral bier in Luke 7:14, “And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare [him] stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother.” The word that was used in both accounts is from the Greek word, ἐγείρω (egeirō)G1453.  It is also the same word used in Luke 8:49-56, “While he yet spake, there cometh one from the ruler of the synagogue’s [house], saying to him, Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master.  But when Jesus heard [it], he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole.  And when he came into the house, he suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John, and the father and the mother of the maiden.  And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth.  And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead.  And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise G1453. And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat.  And her parents were astonished: but he charged them that they should tell no man what was done.”  Again we see the beautiful portrait of God performing the miracle of salvation via a picture of the resurrection.  Note in particular, that just as was the case on the Mount of Transfiguration, we see Jesus “touching” (in this case the dead girl), Jesus”s saying both to “Arise” and “Fear not.”

It should also be noted that when God tells us of the qualities of the Virtuous Woman in Proverbs 31:10-31, we find this verse, Proverbs 31:28, “Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband [also], and he praiseth her.” The church is praised by her children and the husband, Who is Jesus Christ, praises the church (the bride) as well.

Other Pertinent Verses:

Isaiah 60:1Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.

Malachi 4:2, “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.”

Remember when Jesus addressed the scribes in Matthew 9:5, “For weather is easier, to say, [Thy] sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? 

There are many times where the word “arise” or “raised” or “risen” from the same Greek word ἐγείρω (egeirō)G1453 are found in the New Testament, but to show how clearly the word relates to the resurrection, we see in the account of the disciples finding the empty tomb in Luke 24:4-7, “And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: And as they were afraid, and bowed down [their] faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: G1453 remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” 

Fear Not:

According to the Matthew account, after the disciples heard the voice of God the Father speaking to them from the cloud, they “fell on their face, and were sore afraid.”  This fear is reminiscent of what we find was the case back in Exodus 19:16 when the ten Commandments were given.  That Exodus account closely parallels the Mount of Transfiguration account in that it involved another “Mount” (Mount Sinai), another cloud (a thick cloud), when the people heard another “voice” (of a trumpet and thunderings) and trembled.  Furthermore, in Exodus 20:18 &19, immediately after Moses had finished reading the Ten Commandments (“the Law”), we read, “And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw [it], they removed, and stood afar off.  And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.”  Then Moses also told the people to “fear not” (just as Jesus told to the disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration to “be not afraid”) as we read in the next verse, “And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.

The Bible makes it clear that the “fear” of God is the beginning of Wisdom as we read in Proverbs 9:10, “The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy [is] understanding.”  We also know, according to Hebrews 10:31, “[It is] a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”  God tells us in Matthew 10:28, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”  God is the One Who has that power, for we read in Isaiah 8:13, “Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and [let] him [be] your fear, and [let] him [be] your dread.”  However, once someone has become saved, because, in reality, Jesus “touched” that person (to cleanse each person of his or her sinfulness as typified by the various states of leprosy, uncleanness, disease, deafness, dumbness, blindness, and death) and He commanded that each “Arise” (from the dead), while that person would have rightly “feared” God with a terrifying “Fear” at the initial “hearing” of the word of God, there is no longer any reason to continue to have that kind of “fear,” but rather an ongoing reverential “Awe” of the God of his salvation.

The Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ

It is most interesting that Moses and Elijah spoke with Jesus concerning His death (“decease”). And note how after having seen the things on the Mount of Transfiguration, the disciples questioned among themselves concerning the meaning of the Jesus’s being “rising from the dead.” In Mark 9:9 we read, “And as they came down from the mountain, he (Jesus) charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead. And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean.” This was because the revelation of the meaning of it was withheld from them until the appropriate time by God as we read later in the account of the two disciples on the Road to Emmaus following (and on the very day of) Jesus’s resurrection in Luke 24:13-32.

Interestingly, in the Road to Emmaus account, there again we read of “Moses and all the prophets,” “And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem [about] threescore furlongs.  And they talked together of all these things which had happened.  And it came to pass, that, while they communed [together] and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.  But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.  And he said unto them, What manner of communications [are] these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?  And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?  And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:  And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.  But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.  Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre;  And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive.  And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found [it] even so as the women had said: but him they saw not.  Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:  Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?  And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.  And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further.  But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.  And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed [it], and brake, and gave to them.  And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.  And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?

Please also note how just a few verses later, in verse 44, Jesus reiterates to all of His disciples the key point that all the Old Testament scriptures ultimately have their fulfillment in the Person and Work of Jesus Christ, “And he said unto them, These [are] the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and [in] the prophets, and [in] the psalms, concerning me.”

Note: The Psalms were mostly written by David, whom we are told in the Bible was also a prophet.  In Acts 2:25-28 we read, “For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” This is a reference back to Psalm 16:10, “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.”

The Ethiopian Eunuch

A similar account is found in Acts 8:26-39 concerning the encounter between the Ethiopian eunuch and Philip, “And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.  And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,  Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.  Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.  And Philip ran thither to [him], and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?  And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.  The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:  In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.  And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?  Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.  And as they went on [their] way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, [here is] water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?  And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.  And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.


In all these three accounts, we find the Old Testament scriptures (typified by Moses and Elijah, and in the last account, by Isaiah) are always pointing to the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Once the scriptures are expounded upon by a guide, or preacher or teacher, of the Word (in theMount of Transfiguration account, by God the Father; then in the Road to Emmaus account, by Jesus Himself; then, in the third account of the Ethiopian eunuch, by the Holy Spirit led disciple, Philip) the elected hearers see and hear only Jesus.  They know Him.  But, perhaps most significantly, it is with their spiritual eyes and ears, not their physical ones.  In the Mount of Transfiguration account, the disciples first saw Moses and Elijah (who typified the Old Testament scriptures), but after they were told by God to “hear” Jesus, they “saw” only Jesus (Moses and Elijah had disappeared).  In the Road to Emmaus account, the two disciples didn’t see the person and work of Jesus in the Old Testament Scriptures, they only saw Moses (“the law”) and “the prophets” (including Elijah).  They didn’t recognize Jesus because it was witholden from them until Jesus “broke the bread” for them.  Lastly, the Ethiopian eunuch didn’t know if Isaiah spoke of himself or some other man.  However, once Jesus was expounded to him from the text (by a disciple commissioned and under the power of the Holy Spirit), then the Ethiopian believed Jesus to be the Son of God.*

Other Verses to Ponder:

2 Corinthians 4:5-10, “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.  For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to [give] the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.  But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.  [We are] troubled on every side, yet not distressed; [we are] perplexed, but not in despair;  Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;  Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

Hebrews 1:1&2, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,  Hath in these last days spoken unto us by [his] Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

Hebrews 12:2, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

2 Peter 3:17 &18, “Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know [these things] before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.  But grow in grace, and [in] the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him [be] glory both now and for ever. Amen.

Colossians 2:6-9, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, [so] walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

1 Corinthians 8:6, “But to us [there is but] one God, the Father, of whom [are] all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom [are] all things, and we by him.

* It is interesting to see yet another parallel with the account of Jesus and the disciples on the Road to Emmaus in the account of Joseph (who typified Jesus Christ) and his brothers (typifying the disciples/believers) in Genesis 45:1-5.  In both cases, the identities of Joseph and Jesus were hidden from the others until a later time when they were alone with them.

POSTCRIPT: Elias (Elijah) Must First Come?

There is yet another lesson to be learned from the Mount of Transfiguration account.  Immediately after the recording of that account in both Matthew and Luke, when the disciples were coming down from the Mount, we find the following statements:

Matthew 17:9&10,  “And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.  And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?

Mark 9:11, “ And they asked him, saying, Why say the scribes that Elias must first come?

Notice that it is evident that the scribes of Jesus’ day had concluded that Elijah would have to return in a physical, bodily, form before a resurrection of the dead on Judgment Day could occur.  In all likelihood, they were drawing that conclusion from what they read in Malachi 4:5&6 where we read, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD; And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to the fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

In Luke 1:13-17, we see that this should correctly be understood to mean that the children of Israel (the children of God) would be led back to God (the fathers) by John the Baptist as a prophet of God.  It reads, “But the angel said unto him, fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard: thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.  Thou shalt have great joy and gladness and many shall rejoice at his birth.  For he (John the Baptist) shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and he shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.  And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.  And he (John the Baptist) shall go before him (Jesus Christ) in the spirit and power of Elias (Greek for Elijah), to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

We see then, that the prophesy of Malachi 4:6 was already fulfilled during the life of John the Baptist!  Jesus Himself confirmed this, because when speaking of John the Baptist in Matthew 11:14+15, Jesus said, “And if ye will receive [it], this is Elias (Elijah in Greek), which was for to come.  He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.“!  To further underscore that this is the only way to interpret Malachi 4:5&6, we read in Matthew 17:10-13, “And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?  And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.  But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed.  Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them.  Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.

The disciples of Jesus “understood” that Malachi 4:5&6 had been fulfilled by John the Baptist.  They “received it.”  They “had ears to hear.”  If anyone can’t accept this, then that person is exactly like those who had John the Baptist thrown into prison and beheaded, and worse, also had Jesus Christ crucified, because “they knew him not.”  Such a person would be doing what he pleased (listed) with the word of God and would be rejecting the true Jesus of the Bible.

Let’s Look back again for a moment at Malachi 4:6, to consider the meaning of “the hearts of the fathers are being turned to the children, and the hearts of the children are being turned to the fathers.”  Again, we must compare scripture with scripture (1 Corinthians 2:13) to see what God really has in mind.  We know that while, historically, “fathers” in the Bible refer to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (i.e. see Deuteronomy 29:13, and Deuteronomy 30:20) we also know that they are allegorical representatives of God Himself.  Remember that in Malachi 1:6, we see that, “a son honoreth his father and a servant his master: if then I (God) be a father, where is mine honor?”  Even the plural form, fathers, is consistent with this idea (i.e., God in three persons, as in “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:,” from Genesis 1:26).  The “children” on the other hand (the disobedient in the land of Israel, the children of God), would be turned to the wisdom of the just (their hearts turned to God) and that this would be done so that God would prepare a people for Himself (through salvation through Jesus Christ, as John the Baptist preached).  Also note that in Titus 3:3 we read, “for we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived,… But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared.

When God warns of “smiting the earth with a curse,” from Malachi 4:6, He was teaching that if He did not prepare a people for Himself through the redemptive action of Jesus Christ (as the Lamb of God) which was required for the salvation of His people, then His justice would demand that the whole earth would remain under the curse of God, doomed to destruction on that great and dreadful day (Judgment Day), and none would be saved.

Remember that John the Baptist’s primary message was, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world,” as he declared when he saw Jesus Christ coming (see John 1:29 and John 1:36).