About Jesus Steve Sweetman
Ruth - Typology
Typology of Ruth
I'm always a bit hesitant
in talking about what theologians have called "types and
and shadows" are people and events in the Old Testament that have a
spiritual reality to them. The
problem with trying to figure out what the spiritual reality to an
historic event is, is that sometimes we can make the historic event to
mean anything we want it to mean. Sometimes
there is a wide range of meaning that people apply and you wonder who is
Another thing to
understand about typology is that the types shouldn't not be used to
prove a point, because many people see many meanings to the types.
Types are meant to enhance, help understand, or, elaborate on
something the text makes clear. It
doesn't prove the text. It
only helps clarify the text. In
another sense of the word, types are prophetic imageries.
If you want to understand
the typological imagery of the book of
Ruth, it is important to know the history of
When it comes to the book
of Ruth, those who feel there is more to the book than pure history, are
pretty much in agreement to the typology of the book.
Boaz represents Jesus. Naomi
First of all, lets look
at the meaning of names. Again,
I caution you about the meaning of names.
Sometimes there is a pool of meanings designated to Hebrew names,
and sometimes there is a discrepancy between scholars in what these
deceased husband means "royalty or God is king".
Naomi means "pleasant".
Elimelech and Naomi represent Israel. God set the nation of
Elimelech and Naomi had
two sons. One named Mahlon,
which means "sickly", and Kilion, which means "puny or
two sons are the children of Naomi and Elimelech, the children of
All three males in this
household died while in Moab. We don't know how
Elimelech died, but we do know the two sons were never in good health if
their names reflect their physical condition.
throughout her history has been sickly, so sickly that in 70 A. D.
Israelis were conquered by the Romans and scattered throughout the world
as prophecy predicts and as history confirms.
As we see in chapter 1,
the family of Elimelech left Bethlehem, left the land the Lord had given them because of a great famine.
In 70 A. D. Israelis
were driven out of the land the Lord had given them, even though they
hadn't possessed the land for years.
While the family was in Moab, the sons married Moabite women. The
same happened when Israelis were forced out of their homeland after 70
A.D. by the Romans. They
were scattered abroad and married gentiles.
In chapter 1 we also see
that after ten years Naomi and the two Moabite girls, Orphah and Ruth
The reason why Naomi and
Ruth return to Bethlehem
as seen in verse 6 is because "the Lord began to bless that
area" once again. It's
my thinking, even though Israel
as a nation is not walking with their Lord, He is now beginning to bless
her. You see this in their
economy, and the recent find of natural gas off their coast.
You also see it in their military conquests, among many other
If Ruth represents
Gentile believers, we then see the commitment that Gentile believers
should have to Israelis. What
Ruth says to Naomi in chapter 1, verses 16 and 17 should be the
sentiment of all Christian believers.
In other words "our relationship with Israelis and her God
should be inseparatable". That
being said, like Orphah, some believers don't hold to this position.
They feel that Israelis have no part now in the prophetic history
of the Lord. They've turned away from
The commitment Ruth
displays towards Naomi should be the commitment Christians should
In chapter 1, verse 18,
both Naomi and Ruth head for
The reason why Naomi
returned to her homeland was because she heard things were now
prospering. This might well
be the type of the Jews returning to their homeland in the last number
of decades. Ruth going with
Naomi shows the Gentile believers support for the return of the Jews to
their homeland. Many
Christians today have immigrated to Israel
along with the Jews just to support the Jews.
The holy land began to
take on new meaning when Jews began to return to the land in the last
half of the 1800's. They
began to transform the land as Bible prophecy predicts.
As a result of people beginning to prosper in the land, more
Israelis, and Arabs as well, relocated to the land, just as Naomi and
Ruth moved back to the land.
In verse 21 of chapter 1,
Naomi says that she is returning to her homeland poor and afflicted by
the Lord. Many Jews have
returned to Israel
in the same fashion. Whether
they accept it or not, over the last two thousand years, they have been
afflicted by the Lord as the prophets spoke.
In chapter 2, verse 1 we
see Naomi returning to her homeland, like many Israeli's have been doing
for a number of decades now. We
also see Ruth returning with Naomi, and actually supported her return by
gleaning. As Israelis have
been returning to their homeland, Gentile Christians have been
supporting them in their return, not only with moral support, but with
financial support. As a
matter of fact, there has been a good number of Gentile Christians
migrate to Israel as well to further this support, both in preaching the
gospel of Jesus and in day to day moral, financial, and whatever other
support that can be provided.
We see the introduction
of Boaz in chapter 2. He is
a Jew. He is a relative of
Naomi. Like Boaz, Jesus was
a Jew, a relative to all Jews. The
first chapter of the gospel of John tells us that Jesus came unto His
own people. Jesus came to
save the lost sheep of Israel. Jesus, in one real sense
of the word is the kinsman redeemer for Israel.
There is no mention that
Boaz and Naomi had actually met up with each other prior to chapter to,
and after her return to Bethlehem. It doesn't mean that they
didn't meat, but the text doesn't say they met.
However, Boaz did meet Ruth, the Gentile, and blessed her, as
verse 4 states.
Boaz from Bethlehem, like
Jesus who was born in Bethlehem, has greatly blessed the Gentiles with
salvation, and as Paul states in Romans 11, part of the purpose of this
blessing of the Gentiles was to bring the Jews back to their land and to
If you read Ezekiel 32
through 38 you will note that when it comes to the restoration of Israel, first their land is restored to them, and after that, their
relationship with their God is restored.
The same pattern holds true here in Ruth.
Naomi, the Jew, is now back in her land, like Israel
now is, even though it's heavily disputed.
There will come a time when Jesus, like Boaz, secures the land
and then restores them unto their God.
Ruth gleans Boaz's field
as a poor widow. Once Boaz
finds out who she is, he elevated her to the status of one of his
harvesters. This is how it
has been with gentiles. In
Old Testament times Gentiles were, what you could say, second class
citizens. If they wanted to
become first class citizens, they did have the right and the privilege
to become Jews. But, in New
Testament times, as Boaz elevated Ruth, so Jesus elevated Gentiles to
the same status as the Jews, As
a matter of fact, as Ruth work alongside the harvesters, so do Gentiles
work in the fields of God as harvesters of souls for Jesus.
Note in verse 8 that Boaz
calls Ruth his daughter. So
God, through Jesus, calls Gentile believers His daughters, or, in New
Testament terms, His sons.
In verses 11 and 12 Boaz
commends Ruth for the way she has supported and blessed Naomi.
Boaz pronounces a blessing on Ruth for her love, concern and
support for Naomi. Jesus
will do the same for those Gentile Christians who love and support Israel
today, even in her lost and husbandless situation.
It's all about the Abrahamic Covenant.
He that blesses Israel
will be blessed. This is an
important duty of the church at the end of this age.
In verse 13 of chapter 2
Ruth is appreciative of Boaz and all he has done for her, especially
because she is a Gentile. Christians
should be just as appreciative. We
have been elevated into being first class citizens in the
In verse 20, after
hearing that it was Boaz's field Ruth had gleaned from, she praised God
who blesses "both the dead and the living".
Although there is a good number of Christians who don't feel the
need to bless Israel
because the believe the church has replaced Israel, what Naomi says here is important.
God still blesses the dead and the living, and Israel
has been dead for a long time now. Even
Verse 21 speaks of Ruth
being harmed if she gleaned in someone else's fields.
The sad fact of the matter is that there is a move among
Christians today to glean in other fields.
The attempt to unite Christianity with other religions is this
gleaning in other fields. In
the end, that will harm the church, harm those who disobey the Lord by
uniting themselves with other religions.
Verse 23 speaks of both
the barley and wheat harvest. This
is significant because by the time the wheat harvest came along, this
was around the time of the feast of Pentecost, which we see the
fulfillment of in Acts2 where the Holy Spirit was given first to the
Jewish believers, but very soon after to the Gentile believers.
Chapter 3 is all about
Ruth's encounter with Boaz in the evening on the threshing floor.
Some Bible teachers suggest that the threshing floor represents
the day of judgment when Jesus separates the sheep from the goats.
Boaz asks Ruth who she was. He
recognized her, unlike the time that will come when Jesus will say
"depart from me, you who work iniquity.
I never knew you". (Matthew 25:41)
In verse 1 of chapter 3
Naomi is concerned about finding a home for Ruth.
All along Ruth has been concerned about looking after Naomi.
This is how it should be between the church and
It's clear to me from the
New Testament, and especially from Romans 11, that Gentile Christians
help bring Israel
back into the fold and once back in the fold, Israel
will end up supporting and caring for the rest of the redeemed on the
You see in chapter 3,
verses 1 and 2 that Naomi has a concern for Ruth the gentile.
The early Christian believers, especially because of the apostle
Paul, began to reach out to gentiles, just as Naomi reached out to Ruth,
and now as the end of the age comes, gentile Christians are now reaching
out to Jews. It's all in
In verse 3 Ruth is to
wash herself and get herself ready to meet Boaz, just as the church is
to prepare herself to meet the Lord.
The church is to be without spot or wrinkle.
The use of the words "without spot or wrinkle" speak of
the good clothes that both Ruth and the church need to wear when meeting
The rest of chapter 3
concerns Ruth's petition for Boaz to be her kinsman redeemer.
She wants Boaz to cover her with his garment.
We know this is a request by Ruth to come under the lordship of
Boaz. Gentile believers
request the same of Jesus when they come to Him in salvation.
This will be fully realized at the end of the age.
The final aspect of the authority of Jesus, the fullness of
In chapter 4 Boaz finds
the other kinsman redeemer who is closer to Naomi than he.
Boaz offers him to be the kinsman redeemer.
He says yes until he finds out that he has to marry Ruth, or, in
other words, redeem Ruth as well as the land.
We have to view this
other kinsman redeemer as the Law of Moses.
The Law was given to
The Law of Moses provided
that Gentiles could become part of God's people, if they became Israelis
and followed the Law. But
here we see the Law can't marry the gentile, but Boaz, or, Jesus can.
This tells me something
that I believe the New Testament teaches. When Paul, in Romans 10:4 says
that "Christ is the end of the Law", I believe that Jesus has
now replaced the Law, and Jesus has offered His life for all mankind.
Simply put, Jesus did what the Law could not do, and that was,
Gentile believers could be redeemed without becoming Jews.
I know this is not popular among some today, but I believe this
is what the New Testament teaches.
Notice in the first
couple of verses of chapter 4 that the transaction to marry Ruth and
redeem the land takes place in the presence of the elders of
What we need to
understand here is that the whole transaction Boaz makes here is more
than a marriage to Ruth. The
marriage to Ruth is connected with Naomi getting her land back and
restoring the family line that was lost when Elimelech died.
The same is true with Jesus, the church, and Israel. Bringing gentiles
into the family of God is not simply to save gentiles.
It is part and parcel of God restoring the land to
Note in verse 6 that the
first kinsmen redeemer said he could not marry Ruth.
He could redeem the land, but he couldn't marry Ruth.
As a result, he backed out of the transaction.
This unnamed kinsman redeemer, as I've stated, is the Law of
Moses. It could not bring
salvation to gentiles or to
After the first in line
kinsman redeemer backed down, Boaz, in front of all the elders, with the
elders blessings, promised to marry Ruth and redeem the land and lineage
for Naomi. Again, the
marriage is not the whole matter here.
Salvation as seen in Jesus, is more than gentiles being saved,
and more than Jews being saved. It
is both the lineage and the
Chapter 4 ends with the
genealogy of King David, who we do know is also a type of Jesus.
Boaz was a type of Jesus, the Christ.
That is, the Messiah that saves.
King David is a type of Jesus the Lord, the King of all things.
It is King Jesus who will return to earth at the end of this age
and set up His kingdom. Thus
the book of Ruth ends with the kingship of David who represents the real
King of all things.
I believe that in the
days ahead, we will see more and more of the prophetic imagery of the
book of Ruth come to pass. In
the meantime, Christians should be serious about their relationship with
Israelis and with