The Book of Ruth is the narrative of God’s redemption plan played out through the story of Boaz and Ruth. The story of the Bible should always be understood from the perspective of the Hebrew people. We need to understand the culture, traditions and customs of the stories of the Bible.
Ruth, being a widow of a Jew, lost her place in the landscape of Israel. In the Jewish context, widows were the poorest of the poor ‘cause whatever property the husband may have while alive could not be transferred or inherited by his widow. Widows needed to be redeemed by the next of kin of the deceased husband. In essence, the widow was good as death having no ownership.
Boaz, being the second closest kin of Ruth’s deceased husband, needed to earn the right to redeem Ruth. So Boaz went out his way to do whatever was required by Jewish traditions to be the rightful redeemer of Ruth.
Boaz actually foreshadowed Jesus Christ, who went out to do the requirements of the Mosaic Law. Having lived a sinless life, He became the suitable sacrifice as a ransom for sin.
Ruth, on the other hand, is like us – we formerly were good as dead. Having no access to God and the New and Heavenly Jerusalem – the eternal home of everyone who believes in Jesus Christ – we were lost in the landscape of God’s presence.
One important transition in the story: Naomi, the mother-in-law of Ruth, not wanting to burden them, released them to find someone and remarry. Naomi no longer had any son to give as a husband for Ruth. Yet, Ruth chose to remain with Naomi. Though not an Israelites, she was willing to embrace the Jew as her people, and YHWH as her God. Ruth’s decision paved the way as it unfolded in the story for her to be redeemed restoring her rights to God’s Promised Land.
Jesus Christ came to fulfill the requirements of the Mosaic Law. So He died, resurrected back to life, ascended to the right hand throne of God the Father, and returned with the destruction of the Jewish Temple, fulfilling then the three offices of the Messiah, the Anointed One – the Prophet, the Priest and the King.
Jesus Christ came to fulfill the Law; see Matthew 5:17-18, Jesus Christ said:
Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.
Jesus Christ died and was resurrected back to life fulfilling the Law and the Prophets; see Luke 24:44-46.
Then He [Jesus] said to them, “These are My words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He [Jesus] opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead …”
Jesus Christ ascended to the right hand throne of God the Father, as the High Priest and mediator of the New Covenant; see the following passages:
But now Christ has come as the High Priest of the good things to come. He passed through the greater and more perfect tent not made with hands, that is, not of this creation, and He enter once for all into the Most Holy Place not by the blood of goats and calves but by His own blood, and so He Himself secured eternal redemption. (Hebrew 9:11-12)
And so He [Jesus] is the mediator of a New Covenant, so that those who are called may receive the eternal inheritance He has promised, since He died to set them free from the violations committed under the First Covenant. (Hebrews 9:15)
For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with hands – the representation of the true sanctuary – but into heaven itself, and He appears now in God’s presence for us. (Hebrews 9:24)
Jesus Christ returned as the King with the destruction of the Jewish Temple; see Hebrew 9:28 & Matthew 24:1-3.
So also, after Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many, to those who eagerly await Him He will appear a second time, not to bear sin but to bring salvation. (Hebrew 9:28)
Jesus left the temple and was going away, when His disciples came to point out to Him the buildings of the temple. But He answered them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” As He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:1-3)
The disciples of Jesus understood it well that with the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple was fulfillment of the Return of Christ, which Hebrews 9:28 explained – salvation was no longer a promise but a fulfillment.
Now to our discussion – just as Ruth was fully redeemed becoming the wife of Boaz, the Bible teaches that the redemption of the Church came at the Wedding of the Bride and Jesus Christ (Matthew 22:1-14; Revelation 19:6-9; Revelation 21:2-3,5-7,9-10 and etc.). The doctrine of resurrection within the Bible would become a reality only at the Wedding Banquet of Christ Jesus and the Church.
Ruth then, perfectly outlined the big picture of God’s salvation plan. Our understanding of salvation and resurrection should rightly fit that big picture. Ruth was not a simple love story. Rather, it was the love story of God for His people.
God truly is amazing; by His sovereignty, He worked out His redemption plan through the lives of Ruth and Boaz. All the more then we should trust God’s sovereign will and divine providence in every aspect of our lives.
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