Posted tagged ‘Jesus Christ’

Exalting the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ: The Key of Knowledge* for Unlocking the Mystery of the Bible

December 12, 2021

key
*Jesus referred to the “Key of Knowledge” in Luke 11:52

(A Typological Interpretive Guide to Biblical Understanding)

The Purpose of this “Bible Study Help”

The Apostle Paul, in Ephesians 6:19, makes clear his intent as an evangelist for Jesus Christ: “And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,” and earlier, in Ephesians 3:1-9, Paul describes the “mystery of Christ“, which, prior to the New Testament era was “not made knownbut “is now revealed“…”That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:..to which Paul said he was given the grace by God to “preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:

The purpose of this Bible Study Help is the same for this author as it was for the Apostle Paul…to boldly proclaim the mystery of the gospel!  And that gospel to be proclaimed is that Jesus Christ is Lord, God, and Savior!…And that Jesus is the Only Way by which anyone, Jew or non-Jew, can have eternal peace with God in full payment for sins!  Moreover, rejecting Jesus (refusing to hear that gospel) leaves only one alternative…suffering for an eternity in hell for that person’s sins!

This is the same gospel which can be found and described in detail throughout the Bible, albeit more obviously in what we know as the New Testament.  But the question is, why did Paul choose to refer to that clear and unequivocal gospel message as being a “mystery”?  It is because the greater part, or the bulk, of the Bible, which we know as the Old Testament (and all that was available to Paul in his day) is where that same gospel had been hidden, as a mystery, by God Himself.

The Mystery of the Gospel: The Whole Bible Points to Jesus Christ

In Proverbs 25:2 (KJV) we find this extraordinary verse, “[It is] the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings [is] to search out a matter.” If we look carefully at the text as it reads in the original Hebrew using an Interlinear Bible or Online cross-reference like this: http://biblehub.com/text/proverbs/25-2.htm, we find that it can also read like this…”[It is] the glory of God to conceal a word” (because it is from the Hebrew דָּבָר (dāḇār)H1697, a masculine noun): but the honour of kings[is] to search out aword” (because the word that was translated into English as “matter” is also the same word found in the original Hebrew to be דָּבָר (dāḇār) H1697, which is translated more than eight hundred times in the Old Testament as “word.”)*.  It appears, therefore, that God is telling us that He is glorified by the concealing of The Word (Jesus Christ) in the Bible, and the believers are “honored” by being made able to search out The Word (Who is Jesus Christ) when reading the Bible. (NOTE: Jesus makes all believers “kings” and priests, as we read in Rev 1:5&6 “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”  This is reiterated in Revelation 5:10, where we see from the preceding verses that Jesus, as the Lamb of God, has redeemed the believers by His shed blood, “And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

And in 1 Peter 2:9, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;”

Ephesians 2:4-7, “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.“)

  • Note that this is also true in Proverbs 16:20 where the King James Version translation reads, “He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good:…” but in the original Hebrew it reads, “He who heeds wisely unto the word (דָּבָר (dāḇār))) shall find good…” 
  • And in Psalm 56:10 we read (as also translated in the King James Version), “In God will I praise his word (דָּבָ֑ר (“dabar”)): in the Lord will I praise his word (דָּבָר (dāḇār)).” 
  • And in Psalm 33:6 we read, “By the word (דָּבָר (dāḇār)of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.” 

Through the use of this Bible Study Help it is hoped that the reader will, by the grace of God, come to know The Word, the Lord Jesus Christ [Remember that we read in John, Chapter 1, Verse 1-3, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was GodThe same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” and in John Chapter 1, verse 14, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”]. In 1 John 1:1 we find, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;” And to make the connection between Jesus (the Son of God) and the Word as unmistakeable as possible, we read in 1 John 5:7, “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.”

It is also hoped that the reader might see that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the “Mystery”, and that Jesus Christ is the “Secret” and the “Hidden Wisdom” of the whole Bible that everyone, Jew or Gentile, so desperately needs for salvation from sins and eternal life with God in Heaven.

What Makes This Bible Study Help Different From Other Teachings?

This “Bible Study Help” is intended to assist the reader (particularly the student of the Bible who is seeking truth from the Bible beyond just the historical and moral lessons) to understand a different hermeneutic than that commonly being taught in the majority of seminaries, educational institutions, and churches today.  Today, the commonly taught principles of Bible study instruct us to read the Bible almost exclusively from a perspective that emphasizes: 1) the historical cultural context, 2) the meaning of  the words and verses as they meant only to the people who were living when they were recorded, 3) the specific situation and setting (including geography) of the people to whom the verses were written at the time of the writings, and 4) how the specific passage being studied might relate to either the Old or New Testament Covenants.  That methodology is generally referred to as the “Grammatical-Historical” method of Biblical interpretation.  Moreover, addtional rules have been created that stipulate that we are not to “read into” a verse any more understanding beyond that which the people at the time would have understood the verses to mean (when those verses were first written).

Other “principles” being taught today state, “Don’t look for allegories in the Old Testament Narrative” and more dogmatically, “Only two percent of the Old Testament is Messianic.”  The problem with such humanly crafted and taught rules of Biblical interpretation, and why such rules are so insidious, is that, for the most part, they actually place mental and spiritual “blinders” on the reader, by limiting the reader to see primarily the lower order historical and moral lessons of the Bible.  While the lessons thus drawn can certainly be valid and profitable (as they can be fine, proper, and useful just as we read in 2 Timothy 3:16: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”), the extra restrictions imposed by the “Grammatical-Historical” method are such that the reader might actually miss the most important key, or higher order (aka: “deeper, spiritual”), Biblical meaning and hence true understanding which shows how magnificently and perfectly the Bible was actually crafted by God to reveal the Gospel of Jesus Christ.   Humanly crafted and  taught rules effectively set limits (boundaries) to what The Infinite Creator and Supreme Omnipotent God could be saying to us in the Bible.  Such rules thus lower God to man’s earthly level, rather than exalting and glorifying God at the supernatural Heavenly/Spiritual level from which He Reigns.   Those rules prevent us from seeing that Jesus Christ is the Key of Knowledge, supernaturally interwoven through every portion of the Bible!  Anyone who tells you otherwise is like the blind lawyers of Jesus’s day that we read about in Luke 11:52. Moreover, in Matthew 15:14, we are admonished to “Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.” (and the ditch is an allegorical reference to hell).

Whether or not that misdirection is a conscious or unconscious goal of those who teach the Grammatical-Historical method of Bible interpretation does not matter, as the result will still be the same.  The reader thus taught will have become biased/prejudiced, such that it will prevent the reader (e.g., spiritually blind him or her) from ever understanding the Bible from a higher order perspective as was eternally ordained by The Author, Who perfectly crafted God’s Word, the Bible…and that Author is God Himself through the power of His Holy Spirit/Holy Ghost.  So the question is, should we read and interpret the Bible as taught by men?… or as taught by God?  Here’s what the Bible has to say on the subject…In 1 Corinthians, Chapter 2:13-14, we read “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth: comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man (everyone in the unsaved state) receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned.” Key to this passage is “comparing spiritual things with spiritual things”…and given that the Bible is Holy, and entirely inspired by the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of God, then that statement is telling us that that we should be comparing Biblical scripture with Biblical scripture to gain God’s Wisdom (which is actually coming to know the Lord Jesus Christ). 

In Revelation 19:10, we also read where John records: “the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”  

The following “Bible Study Help” will elaborate on only a portion of what God, the Author of the Bible, provides for those whom He graciously blesses with the “eyes to see”, and “the ears to hear” such that they might testify of Jesus and worship God in the spirit of prophesy. See also: https://bereansearching.com/2021/12/29/the-hearing-ear-and-the-seeing-eye/ 

The Key to Biblical Understanding: We Must See Jesus!

Anyone earnestly seeking for truth in the Bible must ultimately come to the Person and Work of Jesus Christ, for Jesus is, according to John 14:6, “the way, the truth and the life.”  In John 5:39, we read where Jesus was admonishing the Jews and said, “Search the scriptures (only the Old Testament in that day); for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”(The “me” being Jesus Christ Himself!)

It is most certainly true that many places in the New Testament speak plainly concerning the loving Gospel of Grace through Jesus Christ: about His suffering and death on the cross as the only acceptable, and therefore perfect, sacrifice/peace offering to God for sin; about His resurrection and exaltation at the Right Hand of God The Father; about His building His church by the power of God the Holy Spirit, and about His return to Judge the unsaved of the world on the Last Day to an eternity in Hell, and to create a new heaven and a new earth for His Eternal Kingdom prepared for those whom He came to seek and to save.  HOWEVER, the diligent Bible student should also be aware of the greater portion of scripture that is the Old Testament where that same message is often veiled in “a mystery” (and it is most certainly not limited to only two percent). The Bible itself uses such terms “mystery” and “parable” to explain how it has been uniquely crafted by God in a magnificent, and yes, even a mysterious supernatural way, to serve God’s purposes.  In Mark 4:11+12 we read, “And he (Jesus Christ speaking to His disciples) said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all [these] things are done in parables:  That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and [their] sins should be forgiven them.”  It is my prayer that all who God has called to read this study help, and the examples that follow, will be spiritually made alive and/or fed through the “hearing” of His Word (Romans 10:17, “So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.“) that they might all know Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord.

God commands us to both search and study the Bible (both the Old and New Testaments*) so that we might have eternal life.  In John 5:39, Jesus said, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me (Jesus Himself).”  In II Timothy 2:15, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

God provides some exemplar proofs for the validity of this typological hermeneutic,  which has been applied in the expositions found in these accompanying Bible studies in the Bereansearching Blog.  One proof can be found in the Book of Acts, chapter 8:26-35, “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.”  The focus was solely on Jesus!

This “Bible Study Help” is primarily for the purpose of providing that exact same guidance, in that its focus is only to preach unto the reader Jesus.  It might also be viewed as “strong meat” to those who desire to grow in the knowledge and understanding of the Word of God which is Jesus (See John 1:1&14).  In Hebrews 5:13+14 we read, “For every one that useth milk [is] unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.  But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, [even] those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”  Of course, in so doing, it will cover many of the more basic biblical principles as well.

Beginning with one of Jesus’s parables, this Bible Study Help will establish the criteria by which a few familiar (hopefully) passages of Biblical scripture will later be reviewed to search for the higher order or “typological” meanings of those passages.   Hopefully,  in the process, the reader’s faith might be strengthened if already a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, and, if not, that the reader might be blessed with that saving faith.

May all who read this Bible Study Help be as the Greeks in John 12:20&21 that came up to the feast to worship and say, “we would see Jesus.”

*II 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, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

Introduction: The Bible is “Holy Scripture”, Unlike Any Other Book!

Before we can begin to gain any wisdom, knowledge, understanding, or truth from the Bible, we must realize, and believe with our whole being, that the Bible, God’s Word, is as not only true, but is as Holy as God Himself is Holy.  God intimately identifies Himself with His Word as we find in John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.“, and later in John 1:14, we see, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”  To quote another Christian author, in the Holy Scriptures, the Bible, that God has given, “God reveals Himself, not merely information about Himself, but HIMSELF.”

The Bible is unique, not only because it is compiled from 66 manuscripts, scribed by over 40 different individuals, over a period spanning 1500 to 1600 years, but because the Bible was written entirely under the inspiration of the infinite Mind of God (The Infinite God Who created the Infinite Universe… as well as created you and me out of nothing) through God’s Holy Spirit, and is not derived in any way out of the intellect of any man (e.g. those individual humans who God used to write the Bible).  As a result, it should never be approached (as some teachers have advocated) as one would read “any other book or magazine.”  (No other book was ever written under Divine inspiration and no other book has been the subject of Providential preservation.)  We must, instead, try to approach the study of the Bible with the appropriate reverential awe that God HIMSELF deserves.  God describes the manner in Psalms 2:11 and Isaiah 66:2 as with “fear” and “trembling.”  Because this, in reality, is impossible for anyone to do, in and of himself (because everyone is by nature unclean, clumsy, presumptuous, and irreverent), it is only by God’s infinite grace, and longsuffering mercy, that He allows anyone to come to saving truth from the Bible.  We must, therefore, humbly, prayerfully, acknowledge our complete destitution apart from the Good Grace of the Almighty Sovereign God.  Those who are called to be the children of God, will not only do this, but will seek after the wisdom and truth of God by searching the Bible.  That is why we read in Proverbs 2:1-6, “My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee;  So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, [and] apply thine heart to understanding;  Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, [and] liftest up thy voice for understanding;  If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as [for] hid treasures;  Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.  For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth [cometh] knowledge and understanding.”  Proverbs 4:7 states, “Wisdom [is] the principal thing; [therefore] get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” and Proverbs 9:10, “The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy [is] understanding.” And finally, in Psalm 90:12 we read, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

Furthermore, the Bible is not a passive or idle entity.  The Bible is the “living” Word of God, and will bring about a reaction in the life of one who reads it, for better or worse, depending on the will of God (and no “other book” is able to read the reader!).  That is why we learn in Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God [is] quick (meaning that it is “alive“), and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Through the hearing of the word (see Romans 10:17) a man is either saved, or more greatly condemned.  This is why II Corinthians 2:15&16 declares (of those that bring, or preach the word as found in the Bible alone), “For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: To the one [we are] the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life”  Also in Luke 12:48, we read where Jesus states that while those who remain ignorant of the word of God (the Bible) are not excused (they will still be condemned for their sins), they will receive a lesser condemnation than those who are familiar with the word of God, but who, nonetheless, do not become saved, “But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few [stripes]. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.”  Bible study is not just an intellectual exercise!

It is this teacher’s most sincere hope and prayer that the words found in Ephesians, chapter one (every verse), will apply to whomever receives this Bible Study Help, particularly verse 17, “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:  The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,”  (Note also the use of the word mystery again in verse 9, “Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:“)

The Bible Was Largely Written in Typological (Allegorical) Form

Contrary to what anyone may have previously told you, the Bible is, for the most part, not an easy book to read.  Of course, it is true that the Gospel of salvation through the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ alone is plainly stated in a number of New Testament passages, such as John 3:16-18, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.   He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”  Nonetheless, to a very large degree, the rest of the Bible, particularly the Old Testament, relies heavily on the more difficult “typology” (which, to be understood, requires Holy Spirit led comparison of scripture with scripture in accordance with 1Co 2:13). 

Today, many theologians dismiss the idea that the majority of the Bible was written in typological form.  However, the fact that God uses temporal/earthly/carnal “allegory,” “figures,” “shadows, “patterns” and “similitudes” and “ensamples” (“typos” in Greek, meaning “types“) to convey eternal/heavenly/ spiritual truth (albeit many times in a veiled, mysterious, or secretive manner) is, nonetheless, plainly stated in the Bible as we find in:

Galatians 4:22-31, concerning the typology of the two sons of Abraham, Ishmael (born of the bondwoman, Hagar (Agar in Greek), typifying the result of fleshly works under the law) and Isaac (born of the freewoman, Sarah, typifying the result of Heavenly promise under grace).  “(4:24) Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.  But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.”

Romans 5:14, “Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.

Hebrews 9:8&9, “The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:  Which [was] a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;

Hebrews 9:24, “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:

Hebrews 8:5, “Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, [that] thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.

Hebrews 10:1, “For the law having a shadow of good things to come, [and] not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.

Colossians 2:16-17, “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath [days]:  Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body [is] of Christ.

Hebrews 9:23, “It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.

Hosea 12:10, “I have also spoken by the prophets, and I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes, by the ministry of the prophets.”

1 Corinthians 10:11, “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples (“typos” in Greek, meaning “types“): and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

 Understanding God’s Word, the Bible:

God’s Word is a Mystery!

            In Psalm 78:1&2, God calls upon all believers to, “Give ear, O my people, [to] my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth.  I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings* of old:” (yet immediately thereafter only a straightforward Biblical historical account is provided!)  In Proverbs 1:5&6, we read, “A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.”  And in Psalm 49:3&4 we read, “My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my heart [shall be] of understandingI will incline mine ear to a parable: I willopen my dark saying upon the harp.”

In 1 Corinthians 2 (the whole chapter) we learn more of the means of understanding God’s Holy word, the Bible:

a) in verse 2, “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”

b) in verse 5, “that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

c) in verse 7+8, “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, [even] the hidden [wisdom], which God ordained before the world unto our glory:  Which none of the princes of this world knew:…

d) in verse 10, “But God hath revealed [them] unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

e) in verse 13, “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth: comparing spiritual things withspiritual.

f) in verse 14, “But the natural man (everyone in the unsaved state) receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned.

In John 6:63 we read, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: thewords that I speak unto you, [they] are spirit, and [they] are life.

Remember, the Bible makes it clear that Jesus spoke in “parables.”  In Matt. 13:34 we read that:

All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables;  and without a parable spake he not unto them:  That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret*** from the   foundation of the world.” (and this is a reference back to the prophetic statement we find in Psalm 78:2)

Jesus explained to His disciples why He spoke in parables to the multitudes.  In Mark 4:11&12, we read:

And he said unto them, Unto you (the elect) it is given to know the mystery** of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without (the non-elect), all [these] things are done in parables:  That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and [their] sins should be  forgiven them.“(God reiterates this explanation in Isaiah 6:9&10, John 9:39&40, and Acts 28:26-28… PLEASE Read these verses to see the perfect reinforcement that they provide)

* From the Hebrew, “chiydah or ‘gheedah,” (also used as dark sentences or speech) meaning “hard question, riddle, or puzzle,”  and is synonymous with the word “proverb” or “parable”. But “parable” itself is derived from Hebrew word “mashal” which has the meaning of a “metaphorical adage requiring mental action.”

** Note that in the New Testament, “mystery” derives from a Greek word “musterion” that means something that imposes silence by shutting the mouth.

***The word “secret” here  derives from a Greek word (Strongs 2928) that means “to conceal or hide”.

The Unveiling of The Mystery is God’s Work Alone!

            In 2 Peter 1:20&21 and 2:1&2, we are told, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.  For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake [as they were] moved by the Holy Ghost.  But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.  And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.”  These verses are saying that if anyone gives forth an interpretation out of their own intellect or from the carnal minds of others that have taught them, they are false teachers and the truth is not in them.  (Even more ominous, they will receive the greater condemnation from God for that sin.)  But how are we to know which interpretation is out of a man’s mind as opposed to what God is really saying?  God provides us the answer, out of His word, the Bible, as follows:

The Bible is a spiritual book.  Referring again back to I Corinthians 2:13, we read, “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.  And we know from II Samuel 23:2, “The spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word [was] in my tongue.”  Clearly the word of God, the Bible, is spiritual, as it was written under the direction of the Holy Spirit.  So if we want to learn the true meaning of any verse, then we need to compare scripture with scripture (spiritual things with spiritual things).  Furthermore, any revelation of truth from God’s word (which can only come through the use of this methodology) is solely the work of the Holy Spirit.  That is why in I John 2:27 we read, “But the anointing (of the Holy Spirit) which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.”  This is entirely consistent with what we read in John 16:13, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” See also John 15:2627, “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.

Note that in John 14:17 that we also read, “[Even] the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” and in 1 John 4:6, “We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.”)

The Bible requires spiritual insight to understand it.  That faculty is only obtained as a gift from God, through the indwelling (or anointing) of His Holy Spirit, The “Spirit of Truth“.  That action is God’s alone, and is synonymous with the gift of salvation (Acts 5:32, “And we are his witnesses of these things; and [so is] also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.“).  Just as salvation is a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God:“) so are our spiritual eyes and ears a gift of God (because we have His Spirit in us witnessing to our spirit).  That is why we read in Proverbs 20:12, “The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them.”  We must have been given the wisdom of God, by God. (James 1:5, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all [men] liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.“)  This will come when we are truly seeking Him (because He first sought us, see John 6:44) and fear (have reverential awe of) Him.  We are told in Psalms 111:10 that, “The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of wisdom:“, and in Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of knowledge: [but] fools despise wisdom and instruction.”  The more we study God’s word, the Bible, the more, by God’s grace, our faith grows and the spiritually wiser we can become.  In Romans 10:17, we find that, “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”  Furthermore, in Isaiah 50:4, we read, “The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to [him that is] weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.” (This is also consistent with Psalms 40:5&6, “Many, O Lord my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numberedSacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.”…and immediately following in verses 7-9, the messianic verses talk about Jesus coming in the volume of the book (the Bible) and His fulfilling work and finishing sacrifice as the sole means by which only we can hope to obtain God’s Salvation.)

Side Note:  It is quite interesting to find in Exodus chapter 31, when God looked for a man of wisdom and understanding and knowledge, that God told Moses the following starting in verse 2:

See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: 3 and I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, 4 to devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, 5 and in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship.”

God called the man and and God filled the man with His Holy Spirit in order for that man to have “wisdom” and “understanding” and “knowledge” to do the service of the Lord in the building of God’s Holy Habitation (represented by the earthly tabernacle).  It is a parable that we must heed, because, just as we are told in Psalms 127, verse 1: “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it, except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.” That house (and city) represents the Church, as Jesus said in Matthew 16:18 , “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

BTW…Bezaleel (which means in the shadow of God; i.e., “under his protection”), the son of Uri (which means “my light”), the son of Hur (no known definition, but from the Bible (Exodus 17:10-12) we know that Hur was the only other person to accompany Moses and Aaron up the hill and helped Aaron in supporting Moses’ arms), of the tribe of Judah (meaning “Praised” and Jesus was from the tribe of Judah ).  We see therefore that Bezaleel ultimately represents the Lord Jesus Christ.

 The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the Mystery, Kept Secret Since the World Began

            Since Proverbs 1:20-23 (“Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets: She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying, How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.and 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:“) describe Jesus Christ as wisdom, then 1 Cor. 2:7 (“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:“) is really saying,”We speak Jesus Christ in a mystery.”  This is a repetition of 1 Cor. 1:18 (“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.“), which says that those who are perishing (the unsaved) do not truly understand Jesus is the Savior they need.  Those who are saved do know who He is, for they see Him in the Bible (John 5:39, where Jesus said, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.“). 

To confirm that this is not man’s interpretation but God’s, all we have to do is look at Romans 16:25, which reads, “Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,“.  Additional support is found in Colossians 2:2&3, where we read, “… to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God (God the Holy Spirit, Who reveals the mystery), and of the Father (God the Father), and of Christ (God the Son, Jesus);  In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”  The believers can see how God pre-figured Jesus and salvation through Him alone in all the Old Testament historical accounts (doing the Will of God the Father by the Power of the Holy Spirit).  Such examples can be found when we look at the lives of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Barak, Boaz, David, Mordecai, Nehemiah, Jonah, Job, etc.  However, for the rest (the non-elect unsaved who are spiritually blind), such wisdom is “hidden,” because God hides the truth of the Gospel of Salvation through Jesus Christ from them (God leaves them in their blindness!). This is made unmistakably clear in 2 Corinthians 4:3, “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

It should also be noted that at the very end of time the mystery of God will be finished (fulfilled) as we read in Revelation 10:7, “But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.

            It should also be noted that the Book of Revelation begins with the words, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified [it] by his angel unto his servant John:“.  A few verses later, in Revelation 1:8, Jesus declares that, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

             The Book of Revelation is God’s revealed summary testimony of the previously veiled gospel plan to glorify Himself through Jesus Christ’s victory over Satan, sin, death, and hell.  He reviews His loving, gracious gospel plan to make ready a people (His Church) to worship Him in spirit and in truth.  It emphasizes that the consummation of this already effectuated gospel plan will take place very soon in the historical time context.

Diligently Seeking and Searching for Jesus Christ

            In the Introduction to this paper it was shown how God makes it clear that we are to seek Him, and seek Him diligently.  In Proverbs 2:1, we read where God says, “My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee;  So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, [and] apply thine heart to understanding;  Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, [and] liftest up thy voice for understanding;  If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as [for] hid treasures;  Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.”  We saw in the previous section that in Jesus Christ are “hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”  Therefore, to seek out wisdom is to seek out Jesus Christ.  Furthermore, I Peter 1:10 tells us that seeking out and searching for Jesus is finding salvation and vice-versa, “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.”  In Hebrews 11:6 we read, “But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Additional verses that speak to the issue of diligently seeking for Jesus include:

Psalms 119:2, Blessed [are] they that keep his testimonies, [and that] seek him with the whole heart.

Jeremiah 29:13, “And ye shall seek me, and find [me], when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

Isaiah 55:6, “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:

In Acts 17:27, we read that on Mars’ hill, in Athens, Paul informed the Greeks that God had determined for all mankind, “That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:”  Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 7:7, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:”  But also remember that we will never truly seek Him unless He first seeks for us, as we read in John 6:44, where Jesus says, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

Hebrews 9:28, “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

Jesus Christ is The Secret

            In Amos 3:7 we read, “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.”  A few Bible students (including this author) have erroneously referred to this verse to argue that God will reveal the timing of Jesus’s return on Judgment Day to the believers because of the context of the preceding verse, “Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done [it]?,” (which clearly does relate to the warning of the Judgment to come).  However, we know that Jesus Christ is the personification of the Word of God.  He and His Gospel of Grace must, therefore, be the primary focus of this verse.  Could Jesus Christ be “the Secret” whom God reveals through His word, the Bible?  The word translated as “secret” (note that it is in the singular) is from the Hebrew word “sohd,” H5475 in Strong’s Concordance.  Let’s look at a few other verses where this same word is found:

             Job 15:8, “Hast thou heard the secret of God? and dost thou restrain wisdom to thyself?”  (Job (who is another type of Jesus Christ) did hear the “Secret” of God, the “Secret” is the word of God Who is Jesus Christ.  Please see Matt. 17:5.)

            Psalms 25:14, “The secret of the LORD [is] with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant”  Jesus is with those that fear God; He makes known to them His everlasting covenant which is His gospel of grace.

             Proverbs 3:32, “For the froward [is] abomination to the LORD: but his secret [is] with the righteous.

             Proverbs 15:22, “Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established.”  The word translated as “counsel” is the same word translated above as “secret,” and so we can see that without Jesus Christ there is only failure, much as we read in:

Psalms 127:1, “{A Song of degrees for Solomon.} Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh [but] in vain.

Ezekiel 13:9, “And mine hand shall be upon the prophets that see vanity, and that divine lies: they shall not be in the assembly of my people, neither shall they be written in the writing of the house of Israel, neither shall they enter into the land of Israel; and ye shall know that I [am] the Lord GOD.”  Again the word translated “in the assembly of” is the same word for “secret.”  Therefore, unless a prophet is in Christ, he will see only vanity (and not Jesus Christ), and he is a false prophet, and God’s hand of judgment will be upon him.

Psalms 64:2, “Hide me from the secret counsel of the wicked; from the insurrection of the workers of iniquity:” Clearly, we don’t want to fall prey to false Christs (see Matthew 24:24).

Jesus Christ is the “Wonderful” Secret

             In Judges 13:9-14, we read where the “angel” (messenger) of the Lord appeared to the mother and father of Samson.  There can be little doubt that this “angel” was actually the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, Who had at times appeared in human form to saints of Old Testament times (Gen. 14:18, Gen. 32:30, and Jud. 6:22).  Verses 18 and 22 indicate that this messenger was Jesus.  Judges 13:18, “And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it [is] secret?”  Judges 13:22, “And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God.”  The word “secret” in verse 18 is translated from the Hebrew word ‘pilee’ (Strong’s H6383) which can also be translated as “wonderful” as we find in Psalms 139:6, “[Such] knowledge [is] too wonderful (pilee) for me; it is high, I cannot [attain] unto it.”  It is also derived from the prime root word ‘pala’ (Strong’s H6381) and closely linked to the companion word ‘pele’ (Strong’s H6382) that are also both translated as “wonderful,” or “wondrous.”

In Isaiah 9:6, God declares in this well known prophesy of the first coming of Jesus Christ that, “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 (pele), Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father*, The Prince of Peace.

It is not surprising therefore that we read in:

Psalms 119:129 {PE.} “Thy testimonies [are] wonderful (pele): therefore doth my soul keep them.

Psalms 119:18, “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous (pala) things out of thy law.”  Psalms 119:27, “Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous (pala) works. (NOTE: The “angel” that appeared to Samson’s parents also did “wondrously” (pala) in Judges 13:19.)

The prayer of all mankind should be that God might deal “wonderfully” with them and grant them the eyes to see the Person of Jesus Christ in the scriptures of the Bible; to understand or know Jesus Christ (Who is “the Way”) as Savior and Lord; to talk of, or declare, the gospel of salvation effectuated by the work of Jesus Christ; and, in Christ, to keep (desire to be obedient to) His commandments.

Joel 2:26, “And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously (pala) with you: and my people shall never be ashamed.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is Hidden From the Non-Elect

   In Proverbs 25:2 we read, “[It is] the glory of God to conceal a thing (“word,” thus: Jesus Christ): but the honour of kings [is] to search out a matter (“word,” thus: Jesus Christ).”  The word translated as “conceal” is from the Hebrew word “sahtar,” H5641 in Strong’s Concordance.  It is the same word as found just above in Psalms 64:2 that is translated as “hide.”  It can also be translated as “secret,” as is found in: Deuteronomy 29:29, “The secret [things belong] unto the LORD our God: but those [things which are] revealed [belong] unto us and to our children for ever, that [we] may do all the words of this law.

             In Isaiah 45:15 we read, “Verily thou [art] a God that hidest (sahtar) thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour.”  This is why the prayer of the believer is found in Psalms 27:9, “Hide not thy face [far] from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.” and Psalms 119:18&19, “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.  I [am] a stranger in the earth: hide not thy commandments from me.” and in Psalms 143:7, “Hear me speedily, O LORD: my spirit faileth: hide not thy face from me, lest I be like unto them that go down into the pit (Hell).”

             The New Testament provides additional insight into this issue of God, and His secret things, being hidden from all those except the believers (the “elect”* of God…those whom He wills to save).  In Luke 10:21-24, we read, “In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.  All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and [he] to whom the Son will reveal [him].  And he turned him unto [his] disciples, and said privately, Blessed [are] the eyes which see the things that ye see:  For I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen [them]; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard [them].

In John 14:21 Jesus states that, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest (from the Greek meaning to “disclose,” “reveal,” or “declare plainly”) myself to him.”

For the believers, God makes His words (the Bible) “plain”, as we find in Proverbs 8:8, “All the words of my mouth [are] in righteousness; [there is] nothing froward or perverse in them.  They [are] all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge.”  For the non-elect, God’s words are “hidden”.  II Corinthians 4:3 states, “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:  In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”  Ephesians 3:9, “And to make all [men] see what [is] the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:” Colossians 1:25, “Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;  [Even] the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest (made known or revealed) to his saints:”  Colossians 2:2, “That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;  In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

*NOTE: Regarding the issue of election, remember that Jesus also prayed in John 17:9, “I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.  And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.”  While it is correct to understand that Jesus was referring specifically to His disciples at that point, we later read in the same chapter, in John 17:20, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, [art] in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.”  For more on this issue, please read Romans, chapter 9, particularly verses 11-24; and Romans, chapter 11, particularly verses 5-8.

 “The Testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophesy (as Guided by Spirit of Truth)”

            We also learn that if anyone is a true prophet (one who is declaring God’s word faithfully), then certain criteria must also be met.  All true believers, the true prophets, must have the testimony of Jesus Christ, and no one else.  That is why we read in Revelation 19:10, “And I fell at his feet to worship him.  And he said unto me, See [thou do it] not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”  You see the Bible is the word of God, and Jesus Christ is both God and the Word made flesh (See particularly John 1:1 and John 1:14).  Revelation 19:13 reiterates this point, “And he (Jesus Christ) [was] clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his (Jesus’s) name is called The Word of God.”   Note also that in John 15:26, Jesus told His disciples, “But when the Comforter (the Holy Ghost or the Holy Spirit) is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, [even] the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me (Jesus Christ):” and also John 14:16-18, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

The Whole Bible is About Jesus Christ and God’s Salvation Plan Through Him Alone!

That is the True Gospel of Grace!

God Makes This Point Clearly and Unequivocally in the New Testament:

            In John 5:39, we read where Jesus was admonishing the Jews and said, “Search the scriptures (only the Old Testament in that day); for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me (Jesus Christ). In John 5:45&46, we read, “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.”  Also in Hebrews 10:7 where God explains Psalms 40:7 (“Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book [it is] written of me“) as saying that the book (the Bible) is talking about Jesus Christ, “Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.” The “me” is all the above is unequivocally referring only to Jesus Christ!

             Remember also in Luke 24:27 where Jesus, after His resurrection, was walking on the road to Emmaus with the two companions who did not recognize Him.  There we read, “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.”  Later on, in verses 30-32, we read of Jesus braking bread and giving it to the two disciples, “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 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?.”   We see this repeated again later in verses 44 & 45: “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 meThen opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,”

This point is also reiterated 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.”   Again in Acts 10:43, we read where the Apostle Peter declared, “To him (Jesus Christ) give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.”  In John 1:45 we read 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.”  Finally, in Romans 1:1-3, 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

             We can see, therefore, that effectively the entire Bible has been precisely crafted by God, by His Holy Spirit, into one cohesive, consistent whole, from beginning to end and was written as a “parable,” in that only if God has given the reader “eyes to see” can the Bible truly be understood and applied to his heart, otherwise the Word remains hidden to that individual.  It is the only way to “hear” Him (see Matt. 17:5).  Because this is so, we can also see how it should be possible to “see” the Lord Jesus Christ (He is both the Word and Wisdom) on each and every page, whether it be in the New, or Old, Testament.  In I Corinthians 13:12, we read, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

             Remember how Jesus taught in John 14:6, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” and that John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” Colossians 4:3, “Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:” and in Matthew 7:13, Jesus also spoke these words, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide [is] the gate, and broad [is] the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:  Because strait [is] the gate, and narrow [is] the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”  Finally, in John 6:44, Jesus explicitly told us that, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” Jesus emphasized this later in John 6:65, “And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.

The New Testament Speaks Plainly of the Gospel (“Good News”) of Jesus Christ

Which Previously Had Been Veiled in the Old Testament

            In II Corinthians 3:2-18, we read how God compares the New Testament to the Old Testament.  We see a clear comparison between the glorious gospel of grace (for both Jew and Gentile!) through Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life that is openly revealed by the Spirit through “great plainness of speech” to the gospel of works by man that can only lead to condemnation and eternal death, but which was nonetheless glorious because it pointed to Jesus Christ in a veiled manner and which veil was removed by the person and completed work of Jesus Christ.  “Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men:  [Forasmuch as ye are] manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.  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?  For if the ministration of condemnation [be] glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.  For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth.  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.  Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord [is], there [is] liberty.  But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, [even] as by the Spirit of the Lord.

 Conclusion

             The conclusion of the matter is, only if (by the grace of God, alone) we have the Holy Spirit indwelling in our hearts (because we are called and chosen by God, and are therefore spiritually raised from the deadened…or “born again” by the Spirit) can our spiritual eyes and ears be opened to the hidden Truth of God (in concurrence with being given the necessary faith hope and love and the desire to be obedient to Him!).  Because that Truth is of God, and about God…then spiritual (not carnal, earthly, human) discernment is required.  In Romans 7:14 we read, “For we know that the law (the whole word of God, the Bible) is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.” Therefore, only if we are being guided by the Holy Spirit according to God’s sovereign good pleasure, using the process of searching and comparing scripture with scripture (comparing spiritual with spiritual) within the context of the whole Bible, will the veil be removed such that we can begin to see Jesus Christ and His work of salvation for His people that God has inextricably interwoven throughout all His word, the Bible.  Jesus really is the Child of Promise and The Way, The Truth, and The Life.  May all who read this be as the Greeks in John 12:20&21 that came up to the feast to worship and say, “we would see Jesus.”  

And please, dear reader, never forget that “Salvation is of the Lord” (Please see the study of Jonah: https://bereansearching.com/2009/09/19/a-christian-study-of-the-book-of-jonah/ ), and “salvation” means being saved from the just penalty for one’s sins, and that penalty would, apart from salvation, require an eternity in Hell come Judgment Day.

 Understanding Parables: A Biblical Proof-Text for Typological Interpretation

            In Mark 4:10 we read that Jesus, when He had just finished telling the parable of the Sower, was asked by His disciples what the parable meant; “And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable.”  In Mark 4:13, Jesus gave the following response, “And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?

            Why did Jesus imply that His disciples should have known what the parable meant?  Could they have known before Jesus explained it to them?  Also, He indicated that if they did know the meaning of this parable, then they would be able to know the meaning of all parables.  What did that mean?

             When we do a word study of the parable of the Sower, using a concordance such as Strong’s or Young’s, comparing scripture with scripture (comparing spiritual things with spiritual things); we find that if we search just the Old Testament (the only scriptures available at the time of Christ) we can derive essentially the same meaning of the parable as Jesus gave His disciples.  By applying the same principles to the rest of the Bible, trusting God’s Word, by faith, being led by the Holy Spirit, we ought to be able to learn the meaning of “all” parables.

            However, please remember that the information in this Bible Study Help is not to be viewed as some kind of a cookbook “recipe,” by which we can automatically come to truth.  God is Sovereign, and in complete control of the revelation of saving truth from His Word, the Bible.  Intellectual knowledge will never save anyone (it could actually add to his greater condemnation).  May we never be as those God describes in II Timothy 3:7, “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”   (Remember also that Jesus is The “Truth”)

 Word Study, Parable of the Sower

(See Matthew 13:3-23, Mark 4:3-20, and Luke 8:4-15)

The Sower and His Seed: (God and His Word)

            Isaiah 55:10&11 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper [in the thing] whereto I sent it.

We also see in Psalm 126:5&6, “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves [with him].  These verses can only be interpreted that it is only through the sowing of the precious seed is the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ, the Word of God, that can only lead to the ultimate joyful harvesting of saved souls for God.

            *II Corinthians 9:10 Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for [your] food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;

The  Wayside: (The World, that which is not in “the Way”.  Remember Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life)

            Psalms 140:5 The proud have hid a snare for me, and cords; they have spread a net by the wayside; they have set gins for me. Selah.

            *Matthew 20:30  And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, [thou] son of David.

* New Testament, only shown to reinforce illustration.

Fowls of the Air:  (Forces of Satan)

            I Samuel 17:44 And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field.

            I Samuel 17:46 This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.

            Job 28:21 Seeing it is hid from the eyes of all living, and kept close (concealed) from the fowls of the air.

Devour: (Destroy or Consume)

            II Chronicles 7:13 If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people;

            Isaiah 33:11 Ye shall conceive chaff, ye shall bring forth stubble: your breath, [as] fire, shall devour you.

            Jeremiah 51:34 Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon hath devoured me, he hath crushed me, he hath made me an empty vessel, he hath swallowed me up like a dragon, he hath filled his belly with my delicates, he hath cast me out.

            Zephaniah 3:8  Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the LORD, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination [is] to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, [even] all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.

Stony: (Hard Hearted)

            Psalms 141:6 When their judges are overthrown in stony places, they shall hear my words; for they are sweet.

            Ezekiel 36:26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

Root: (Jesus Christ, the Root of Jesse)

            II Kings 19:30 And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall yet again take root downward, and bear fruit upward.

            Isaiah 11:10  And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.

Withered: (Dried Up, Scorched, as in the Fires of Hell)

            Isaiah 27:11 When the boughs thereof are withered, they shall be broken off: the women come, [and] set them on fire: for it [is] a people of no understanding: therefore he that made them will not have mercy on them, and he that formed them will shew them no favour.

            Ezekiel 19:12 But she was plucked up in fury, she was cast down to the ground, and the east wind dried up her fruit: her strong rods were broken and withered; the fire consumed them.

            Joel 1:12 The vine is dried up, and the fig tree languisheth; the pomegranate tree, the palm tree also, and the apple tree, [even] all the trees of the field, are withered: because joy is withered away from the sons of men.

            *John 5:3 In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water.

            *John 15:6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast [them] into the fire, and they are burned.

Thorns:  (Cares of This World, and the Snare of False Gospels)

            Genesis 3:18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;

            Judges 2:3 Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be [as thorns] in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you.

            Proverbs 22:5 Thorns [and] snares [are] in the way of the froward: he that doth keep his soul shall be far from them.

            Isaiah 32:13 Upon the land of my people shall come up thorns [and] briers; yea, upon all the houses of joy [in] the joyous city:

            Isaiah 33:12 And the people shall be [as] the burnings of lime: [as] thorns cut up shall they be burned in the fire.

            Jeremiah 4:3  For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.

            Ezekiel 2:6  And thou, son of man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns [be] with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions: be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they [be] a rebellious house.

Fruit: (Good Fruit is the Evidence of True Salvation)

            Deuteronomy 11:17 And [then] the LORD’S wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and [lest] ye perish quickly from off the good land which the LORD giveth you.

            Leviticus 26:4 Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.

            Deuteronomy 22:9  Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with divers seeds: lest the fruit of thy seed which thou hast sown, and the fruit of thy vineyard, be defiled.

            Psalms 1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

            Proverbs 11:30 The fruit of the righteous [is] a tree of life; and he that winneth souls [is] wise.

            Proverbs 12:12 The wicked desireth the net of evil [men]: but the root of the righteous yieldeth [fruit].

            Isaiah 4:2 In that day shall the branch of the LORD be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth [shall be] excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel.

            Isaiah 27:6 He shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root: Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit.

            Jeremiah 17:8 For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and [that] spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.

            Ezekiel 17:8 It was planted in a good soil by great waters, that it might bring forth branches, and that it might bear fruit, that it might be a goodly vine.

            Ezekiel 34:27 And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase, and they shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I [am] the LORD, when I have broken the bands of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them.

            *Matthew 3:10 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

Other verses to ponder:

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.

I Corinthians 10:11, “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.

Psalms 19:11, “Moreover by them is thy servant warned: [and] in keeping of them [there is] great reward.” (please, if at all possible, read all of Psalms 19 and 119)

Psalms 37:30, “The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment.

Ecclesiastes 8:5, “Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing: and a wise man’s heart discerneth both time and judgment.”

Hebrews 12:25, “See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more [shall not] we [escape], if we turn away from him that [speaketh] from heaven:  Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more (Judgment Day) I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.”

Ecclesiastes 1:18, “For in much wisdom [is] much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.

Galatians 1:12, “For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught [it], but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

I Corinthians 13:1&2, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity (love, “agape” in the Greek), I am become [as] sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.  And though I have [the gift of] prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity (love, “agape” in the Greek), I am nothing.”  If we don’t have the Godly love (agape) of Jesus Christ in us (which is synonymous with true salvation), we are nothing.

POSTSCRIPT:

While this Bible Study Help may have given the reader the impression that this author dogmatically believes that there is only one method or level to Bible interpretation, that is neither the case nor the intention of this study.  It is certainly true that there are at least three levels of interpretation, i.e., the “literal/historical,” the “moral,” and the “spiritual.”  This Bible Study Help is intended to instruct the reader in the highest level, the spiritual, which points to the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

The events recorded in the Bible are not myths or legends on which the gospel message is derived.  All the events recorded (including all of the Old Testament narratives) are literal, and can be trusted as true facts.  From those historical facts we can derive moral lessons.  The Bible also contains specific laws and codes of conduct that provide the best means to govern and benefit human society.  The framers of the US Constitution wisely drew heavily on those lessons and laws. The proverbs teach us valuable moral lessons.  While such lessons will certainly benefit anyone in this life, neither a knowledge of biblical historical facts, or biblical morality through obedience to God’s laws, will bring that person to salvation.  Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of all of the historical events, moral lessons, and Levitical laws and ordinances, which are all only temporal/earthly “types” and “shadows,” and therefore have no lasting substance in themselves.  Eternal salvation is only a gift of grace by God obtainable through the hearing of, and responding repentant faith in, the Gospel of Jesus Christ; which is the true purpose and lasting substance of the Bible.

Bible Study #1                                        Isaiah, Chapter 29

With these guidelines in mind, let’s look at Isaiah 29:10-12.  There we read, Isaiah 29:10, “For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered.  And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which [men] deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it [is] sealed:  And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned.

Isaiah 29 is primarily a testimony by God against the prophets, seers, and rulers (the Priests and Pharisees, the “learned ones”) who claim to understand the word of God, the Bible, but who really have no true understanding at all.  To them this “book” is “sealed,” even though they are “learned” men.  They are blind guides and the Light of Christ is not in them.  They do not have the Holy Spirit to guide them to the truth that leads to eternal life.  They do not want, nor seek, righteousness by grace through Jesus Christ alone, but rather through their own efforts through the keeping of the Law.  As a result, they are “spiritually blind” and therefore still dead in their sins.

As for the “not learned” one, there is no implication that he can do any better.  All he can say, and rightly so, is that “I am not learned.”   Moreover, regarding the “not learned,” the Bible has only unpleasant words to say.  Turning to II Peter 3:16, for example, we’ll find that regarding the understanding of scripture by such a one, “As also in all [his] (Paul’s) epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as [they do] also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

So who then can understand this sealed book, the Bible?  The believers can.  We know this from Isaiah 8:13-16, “Sanctify the LORD of hosts (Jesus Christ) himself; and [let] him [be] your fear, and [let] him [be] your dread.  And he (Jesus Christ) shall be for a sanctuary (to the believers); but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem (those who claim to have fellowship with God, but really do not).  And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.  Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples (the true believers).”  Also in Isaiah 8:20, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, [it is] because [there is] no light in them.”  (Matthew 6:23, “But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great [is] that darkness!“)  Finally we read in Romans 11:8, “(According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.”

Now getting back to Isaiah, chapter 29; if we go to the next two verses, verses 13&14, we read, “Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near [me] with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:  Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, [even] a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise [men] shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent [men] shall be hid.”  To understand this passage we don’t go to men, we go to God through His Word the Bible.  In Matthew 15:7-9 (and Mark 7:6-9), we read where Jesus was rebuking the Pharisees and scribes (the learned ones, the prophets, rulers, seers of that day whom God had blinded referred to in Isaiah 29:10&11) and God records for us, “[Ye] hypocrites, well did Esaias (Isaiah in Greek) prophesy of you, saying,  This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with [their] lips; but their heart is far from me.  But in vain they do worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men.”  Jesus also said in Matthew 23:27, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead [men’s] bones, and of all uncleanness.

A Marvelous Work and a Wonder?

           As for the “marvelous work and a wonder,” God is declaring that despite the fact that so many “learned” men of Israel (who intellectually knew what the Bible says) are so blind to any understanding of what it is really talking about, God would save a remnant of all humankind (both Jews and Gentiles) for Himself.  We are told this in the concluding section of chapter 29, beginning with verses 18 and 19, where God capsulizes the essence of salvation, “And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book (the “sealed” book, the Bible), and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness.  The meek also shall increase [their] joy in the LORD, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel (the Lord Jesus Christ).”

God tells us that He would effectuate His salvation program first, marvelously (from the Hebrew word ‘pala’), by the redemptive action (the work) of the Lord Jesus Christ (as the Passover Lamb at the cross) and then, wondrously (from the related Hebrew word ‘pele,’ identified as a name for Jesus Christ in Isaiah 9:6), by “the opening of the blind eyes” (spiritually speaking) through the pouring out of His Holy Spirit on people from every nation (not just Jews) beginning at Pentecost.  For proof that this is the only correct interpretation, we must first turn to Isaiah 42:6&7 where we read, “I the LORD have called thee (Jesus Christ, as the servant) in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, [and] them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.”  Then in Luke 2:30-32, we read that the devout man Simeon, upon seeing the child Jesus in the temple at Jerusalem, declared to God under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, “For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,  Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;  A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

Finally, in Acts 13:38-41, we read that (after Pentecost) while Paul and Barnabas were preaching the gospel of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ in Antioch in a Jewish synagogue, they said, “Be it known unto you therefore, men [and] brethren, that through this man (Jesus Christ) is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:  And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.  Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets;  Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.”  Because many of the Jews did not believe, they were rebuked by God as we read in verses 46-48, “Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you (the Jews): but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.  For so hath the Lord commanded us, [saying], I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.  And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.”  This is the true meaning of a “marvelous work and a wonder”.

                          Summary of Isaiah Chapter 29

           In conclusion, we can see that the “sealed book” referred to in Isaiah, chapter 29, is the Word of God, the Bible.  We can see that the “learned one” is anyone who claims to have Biblical authority in his doctrinal pronouncements, but who is really preaching a false gospel because God has blinded him to the truth concerning salvation only through the Lord Jesus Christ.  As for the “marvelous work and a wonder”: it is God’s magnificent salvation program for “the elect of God” who are chosen by God from out of all mankind (not just the Jews).

That salvation program was wrought by God the Father through Jesus Christ His Son in the power of the Holy Spirit which effectively began in earnest about 2000 years ago (but was predetermined from the foundation of the world, and therefore covers the Old Testament believers as well, see Revelation 13:8).

Let us always remember that God is glorified by the Son, Jesus Christ.  It is Jesus whom we should believe in and come to know as our Saviour and Lord.  He is the One we should worship and honor, as saith the scriptures:

John 3:35&36, “The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.  He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

II Peter 1:2&3, “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,  According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that [pertain] unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

II Peter 3:18, “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.

Finally, I Peter 4:11, “If any man speak, [let him speak] as the oracles of God; if any man minister, [let him do it] as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever.


     *  Note the intimacy between Jesus and The everlasting Father that is reiterated later in: John 14:9, “Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou [then], Shew us the Father?”  John 10:30, “I and [my] Father are one.” I John 5:7, “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

A Spiritual Understanding of The Book of Ruth

September 21, 2011

Gleaners

The Gleaners by Jean Francois Millet

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: Like Boaz to Ruth, Jesus Is the Believer’s Kinsman Redeemer!

Background:

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 parabolic 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 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 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.

Introduction

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, 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: 1Timothy 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” (גָּאַל (gā’al)H1350 , 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: https://bereansearching.com/2021/12/29/the-hearing-ear-and-the-seeing-eye/.

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 https://www.blueletterbible.org

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 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.”  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, 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: https://bereansearching.com/2018/03/20/the-parable-of-the-sower-the-bibles-rosetta-stone/

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: https://bereansearching.com/2018/03/20/the-parable-of-the-sower-the-bibles-rosetta-stone/ 

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: https://bereansearching.com/2022/07/20/a-christian-perspective-on-the-book-of-nahum-comfort-and-consolation/. 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.”
  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. “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 2Samuel 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.)
  4. Jesus Christ Atoning Sacrifice began in the nearby Garden of Gethsemane (across 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 threshing floor, the sacrifice, and 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.” And subsequently, in I 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!

Typical threshing floor, Source: https://jesusway4you.com/2018/11/14/signs-symbols-of-the-bible-threshing-floor/

NOTE: While Ornan the Jebusite we read about in 1 Chronicles 21 seems to have been an honorable man in showing his willingness to meet David’s request to buy the threshing floor, we know a few 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.

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 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:

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; 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 Rev 2:8 and Rev 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:  https://bereansearching.com/2017/01/24/who-can-find-a-virtuous-woman-proverbs-3110-31/ 

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.

(It should also be noted here that there is an interesting irony to this law of the service of a kinsman for 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 did displeased 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 to obtain children directly from Judah. The point being that had Onan lovingly fulfilled his Kinsman 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…

Moreover, Jesus was descended from Pharaz, Boaz, Obed, Jesse, David, 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 LordJesus 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:

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

We know that the Lord God is the ultimate 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 them from the hand of the enemy.

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. And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.

Redemption is also like paying a ransom.

In Isaiah 35:10 we read, “And the ransomed 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.

In Isaiah 48:17, “Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, 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.”

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;”

in 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: “…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 in the Book of Ruth.  We can see that Jesus was descended (through Mary’s line from David via Nathan, See Mathew 6:5) 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 chapter 4, 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.” 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 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 he 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 II Corinthians chapter 3, verse 4: “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 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 3:12: “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 chapter 1, 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 9:2-10, “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.

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 II 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, “megaleiotes” (Strong’s #3168).  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 understood the meaning for the events on the mountain and the meaning of the resurrection.  One other thing that stood out according to Peter, was the statement by the Father repeated in II 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;” [Romans 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 I 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 II Corinthians, Chapter 3 beginning at verse 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.

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 IPeter 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, Chapter 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 Mathew 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: Joh 17:10  And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I (Jesus Christ) am glorified in them (the saints).  2Th 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 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 II 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 II 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 26:39, “And 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.

Touch:

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 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 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 the hem of his garment:  For she said within herself, If I may but touch 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 the hem of his garment: and as many as touched 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 touched 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 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 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.

Arise:

The word “Arise” spoken by Jesus to the Dead man in the funeral bier in Luke 7:14 is the same word spoken by Jesus to the disciples on the Mount of transfiguration!  The word used in both accounts is from the Greek word, “egiero” (Strong’s # 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.  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.  Note 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.”

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 chapter 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 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 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 him of his sinfulness (typified by the various states of leprosy, uncleanness, disease, deafness, dumbness, blindness, and death) and commanded that He “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

The disciples questioned among themselves concerning the meaning of the Jesus’s being risen from the dead.”  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, 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 His disciples the 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.”

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.

 

Conclusion

In all these 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, of the Word (in the first instance God the Father; secondly Jesus Himself; then, in the third account, 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 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:

II 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.

II 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.

I 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.

 

Postscript: 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 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 Cor 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 Deut 29:13, and 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 1:36).

 

                       The Holy Temple of God Must Be Built Before Jesus Can Come?

This reminds me of a similar misunderstanding of Scripture that faces most Christians in our day.  Many people believe that before Jesus Christ can return there must first be the rebuilding of a literal, physical, earthly holy temple of God in the earthly, physical, city of Jerusalem.  They fail to realize that the holy temple of God is a spiritual structure made up of true believing Christians (described as pillars in the temple) that will be made manifest coincident with the appearance of the new Jerusalem in Heaven.  This is what we read in 1 Peter 2:5-8, where God equates the true believers to “lively stones” that are part of the spiritual temple of God of which Jesus Christ is the “chief cornerstone.”  “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.  Wherefore also it is contained in scripture, (Found in Isaiah 28:16 and Psalm 118:22) behold I lay in Si-on a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.  Unto you therefore which believe he (The Lord Jesus Christ) is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.” (See also Isaiah 8:14, Matthew 21:42, Mark 12:10, Luke 20:17, Acts 4:11, and Romans 9:53)

So that there can be absolutely no doubt that the holy temple of God could never, ever, again be defined by physical stones and mortar, we read in Ephesians 2:19-22, “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God: And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone: In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

Finally, in 2 Corinthians 6:16, we read, “Ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said (see Ezekiel 37:26&27), I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

To more clearly understand why there could never again be any need for an earthly, physical temple of God following the death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross, we have only to search the scriptures to review what happened at the precise moment of His death.  We read in Matthew 27:51, Mark 15:38, and Luke 23:45 that, at that very moment, the veil of the temple was rent in twain (torn in two) from top to bottom.  The result was that the “Holiest of all,” (see Hebrews 9:3) the tabernacle altar of God (where only the high priest, alone, could venture once a year to make an atoning sacrifice of blood on the Day of Atonement) which had heretofore always been hidden from outside view by the veil, had now been fully exposed by God to show that the sign or figure that the “Holiest of all” of the temple represented had been perfectly fulfilled in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ; as He was both the sacrificial Lamb of God and the High Priest that offered the perfect atoning blood sacrifice.  God was showing that the function of the earthly temple had come to an end! (Read all of Hebrews chapter 9 to see that this is so)

Although the Jewish high priest (Caiaphas) no doubt rushed in to repair the torn veil so that he, and the other Jewish high priests that followed him, could continue the yearly atonement sacrificial rite until the physical temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D., the priestly actions would have been pure vanity and rebellion against God.  They could not have had any effect or substance so far as God’s plan of salvation was concerned.  In fact, (according to Isaiah 66:1-4) they would have only been an abomination in God’s sight (because by carrying out those rites, the Jews were continuing to deny that Jesus Christ had come to fulfill the law of sacrifice, which had all along been the sole focal point of the blood sacrifices that were carried out in the temple before Christ died).  This is the most likely reason why God finally allowed the physical temple in Jerusalem to be destroyed for the third (and last) time, and why he scattered the Jews (until our day).  Additionally, because God also subsequently allowed the Islamic Dome of the Rock to be built on the temple site in Jerusalem, the Jews have been prevented from rebuilding the temple ever again (despite the fact that the Jews have had political sovereignty over Jerusalem since 1967).

Today’s Application

When people today argue that Jesus cannot return until the Temple is first rebuilt in Jerusalem, they are in effect speaking just like the scribes in Jesus’s day who did not have the understanding that the fulfillment of the coming of Elijah would be spiritually fulfilled in John the Baptist.  They do not see that in the same way the Temple of God is a “spiritual house” (made up of the universal body of believers joined together through the witnessing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ) that must be first be completed, and not a physical building.