A Beautiful Plan: Our Kinsman-Redeemer
In our world, symbolism is everywhere and used to communicate evil plans. But as with everything, our enemy is a master imitator who creates nothing, but corrupts everything. It is God who is the originator of symbolism and its purpose has always been to communicate His glorious plan to His people.
In the Bible, God sometimes uses people as symbols. When a person is used as a symbol, it’s called a type.
Types in the Bible
Let’s look at what the word “type” (Strong’s G5179) means. In Greek, this word is typo and means: example, warning. The usage includes: (a) a figure; a copy, image, (b) a pattern, model, (c) a type, prefiguring something or somebody.
God uses the accounts of biblical figures to provide an example, model, or pattern to prefigure something or someone in the future. It’s important to remember that this doesn’t mean that the people or events in their lives did not literally happen. They did. Types, or typology, occurs when the story of real people and events are used to correspond and anticipate future stories and fulfillment within the lives of different people and events.
One of the most beautiful typologies in the Bible is found in the Book of Ruth. There are 3 main people in the account of Ruth—Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz. Each of these people literally experienced the events as told to us in the Bible and each of these people are “types” to show us a beautiful picture of God’s plan.
The 3 Main Types in the Book of Ruth
- Naomi was an Israelite and married a man from Bethlehem of the tribe of Judah. Naomi is a type for the nation of Israel.
- Ruth was a Gentile woman from the land of Moab. Ruth is a type for the Gentile Bride, the Church, the Bride of Christ.
- Boaz was an Israelite from Bethlehem of the tribe of Judah and he was a man of great wealth. Boaz is a type for Jesus, our Kinsman-Redeemer.
It’s important to remember who each of these people represents as we move forward, so we can uncover the most beautiful picture! We’re going to go through the story of the lives of Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz and as we look at certain sections of Scripture, we’ll stop to see what God was doing in their lives at that time, and the incredible symbolism that God tucked away for us to find.
During the days when the judges ruled in Israel, there was a famine in the land. To escape the famine, Naomi, along with her husband and two sons, left Israel and lived in the country of Moab. While in Moab, the two sons married Moabite women. The family lived in Moab for about ten years, then Naomi’s husband and two sons died.
Naomi heard the famine had ended in Israel so she decided to return. One of her daughters-in-law, Ruth, refused to be parted from her.
“But Ruth said: “Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God.” Ruth 1:16
Ruth was willing to forsake her previous life, country, and everything she knew and instead, declared that she would view Naomi’s people, Israel, as her own people and Naomi’s God as her God.
The Gentile Bride, the Church, also leaves behind the old life and country and looks to the heavenly life and country God is preparing for us.
“And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.” Hebrews 11:15-16
Once Naomi and Ruth arrived in the land of Israel, the people in Bethlehem were excited to see Naomi again. Naomi’s response was less so.
“But she said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, and the Lord has brought me home again empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the Lord has testified against me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?”” Ruth 1:20-21
For some background on this verse, the name Naomi (Strong’s H5281) means “my delight” while the name Mara (Strong’s H4755) means “bitterness”. There is a pattern throughout the Bible where God righteously dealt with the nation of Israel bitterly as a result of their disobedience. As a type for the nation of Israel, Naomi felt that God had dealt bitterly with her. But she did not know the rest of His plans for her yet.
In Bethlehem, there was a wealthy relative of Naomi’s husband named Boaz. Boaz owned a field with workers who were reaping the harvest. Boaz is a type for Jesus who, in the New Testament, often spoke about His harvest.
“He answered and said to them: “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels.” Matthew 13:37-39
“Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” Luke 10:2
Gleaning, Rewards, and Wings
Naomi and Ruth were widows without means to support themselves. Thankfully, God had long before instituted the law of gleaning to provide food for the poor (Lev. 19:9-10, 23:22, Deut. 24:19-21). The law of gleaning stated when fields were harvested, the edges were to be left and anything that was dropped was not to be picked up to allow the poor to gather these gleanings for their own food. Ruth went out to glean in order to obtain food for herself and Naomi.
Upon learning that Ruth was gleaning in his field, Boaz showed kindness and mercy to her.
“And Boaz answered and said to her, “It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know before. The Lord repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.”” Ruth 2:11-12
In other places in Scripture, similar wording of “reward” and “wings” is used in reference to Jesus and believers, a.k.a. the Bride of Christ.
And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23-24
But to you who fear My name the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings. Malachi 4:2a
The Bride of Christ will receive a reward from Jesus and all who fear Him will find healing in His wings.
Boaz told Ruth to only glean in his field because he could offer her protection and provision. He then instructed his servants to purposely drop extra grain for her to gather. He also invited her to eat along with his servants at the mealtime. The Bible tells us that Ruth continued to glean in Boaz’s field until the end of the barley and wheat harvests.
God had provided for the vulnerable among His people with the law of gleaning but He had instituted another law for provision—the law of Levirate marriage (Deut. 25:5-10). This law stated that when a husband died, the widow would marry the husband’s brother or next closest relative so that she was provided for. In addition, the firstborn son of the woman with her new husband would carry on the name of the dead husband. The close relative who fulfilled this law of Levirate marriage was called the goel (Strong’s H1350) or kinsman-redeemer. To redeem means to recover, ransom or buy back.
Naomi knew about this law and she instructed Ruth to go to Boaz to ask him to fulfill this duty as a close relative.
“So she went down to the threshing floor and did according to all that her mother-in-law instructed her. And after Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was cheerful, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain; and she came softly, uncovered his feet, and lay down. Now it happened at midnight that the man was startled, and turned himself; and there, a woman was lying at his feet. And he said, “Who are you?” So she answered, “I am Ruth, your maidservant. Take your maidservant under your wing, for you are a close relative.”” Ruth 3:6-9
In the passage above, the words “close relative” is the translation of the Hebrew word goel. Ruth asked Boaz to redeem her by taking her under his wing. Earlier, Boaz himself had talked about Ruth being under the wings of the Lord. Boaz agreed to become her kinsman-redeemer but he knew there was a closer relative who had to be given the opportunity first. Boaz told Ruth that he would look into the matter in the morning. When morning came, Ruth returned to Naomi and told her what had happened.
“Then she said, “Sit still, my daughter, until you know how the matter will turn out; for the man will not rest until he has concluded the matter this day.”” Ruth 3:18
In this verse, the word “concluded” is the Hebrew word kalah (Strong’s H3615) meaning to be complete, at an end, finished, accomplished, or spent. Boaz was going to bring the matter involving Ruth to completion on a specific day. Ruth simply had to be still and let Boaz take care of things.
In the New Testament, the Bride of Christ is given a similar promise.
“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work among you will complete it by the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6
Jesus will bring the matter involving His Bride to completion on a specific day. He will complete the good work that He began in us.
Boaz met with the elders at the gate of the city and approached the closer relative to see if he wanted to be the goel, the kinsman-redeemer. The man who was the closer relative is a “type” as well. He is a type for the Law or salvation by works.
“And the close relative said, “I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I ruin my own inheritance. You redeem my right of redemption for yourself, for I cannot redeem it.” Therefore the close relative said to Boaz, “Buy it for yourself.”” Ruth 4:6,8a
The Law or our own works cannot save or redeem us. The Bride of Christ was purchased by our Kinsman-Redeemer, Jesus. Our salvation is through Jesus alone.
…the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. Acts 20:28b
Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us. Galatians 3:13a
Boaz then performed the role of kinsman-redeemer for both Ruth and Naomi. He married Ruth and purchased the land of Naomi’s family.
“And Boaz said to the elders and all the people, “You are witnesses this day that I have bought all that was Elimelech’s, and all that was Chilion’s and Mahlon’s, from the hand of Naomi. Moreover, Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of Mahlon, I have acquired as my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead through his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brethren and from his position at the gate. You are witnesses this day.” So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife; and when he went in to her, the Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son.” Ruth 4:9-10, 13
The women of Bethlehem were excited and happy for Naomi once again. Naomi had previously said that the Lord had dealt bitterly with her but she hadn’t known the wonderful plans He had in store for her.
“Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a close relative; and may his name be famous in Israel!” Ruth 4:14
God’s Beautiful Plan
God’s beautiful plan for Naomi, Ruth and Boaz represents His beautiful plan for both Israel and the Church through Jesus.
The nation of Israel had left their land and now has returned. They have been dealt with bitterly throughout history. God has good plans for them. Their redemption will come through one of their own (Jesus, born a Jew) but not until the marriage of the Kinsman-Redeemer and His bride.
The Church, the Gentile Bride, the Bride of Christ, has forsaken the world to worship God, the same God of Israel. The Church could not save themselves but needed a Bridegroom willing to purchase their redemption.
Jesus, the Bridegroom, the Kinsman-Redeemer, has been merciful to both Israel and the Church. He has purchased His bride through His death on the cross, redeeming us from sin.
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” Ephesians 5:25-27
Jesus is the true Restorer of Life (Ruth 4:14). One day, He will come for His bride and also redeem the nation of Israel.
“For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.”” Romans 11:25-27
We all await our Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
Exclusive resources available in The Rooted Collective app:
Podcast series - Basics of Symbolism Part 1 with Amy, Symbolism Part 2, All About Colors - Symbolism Part 3