About Jesus Steve Sweetman
Links The Church To Israel's Restoration
The story line to the
book of Ruth is as follows. An
Israeli man named Elimelech, his wife Naomi, and two sons, fled their
famine ravaged town of
Upon their return to Bethlehem, Naomi was concerned not only for Ruth's future but for the future of
her own family lineage.
She had lost her husband and her sons and had no male to carry on
her family line. She had
also lost the land her family possessed when they fled to Moab. Naomi's future was one big
Israeli tradition made it
possible for a close male relative to marry a widow like Naomi.
Once married, the male relative could buy back any land that the
widow's deceased husband once possessed.
Also, the first son born to this marriage was considered the son
of the dead husband. This
would guarantee a future for the dead husband's family line to exist on
their own land.
Naomi and Ruth discovered
such a close relative named Boaz, but there was one problem.
Naomi was too old to marry Boaz and give birth to a son.
To solve this problem Boaz would marry Naomi's Gentile
daughter-in-law Ruth instead of Naomi.
Boaz and Ruth would have a son who would be considered the son of
Naomi and her dead husband, thus keeping Naomi's family line in tact. Once
Boaz married Ruth, he would purchase the land for Naomi that was lost
when her and Elimelech fled to Moab. Naomi would have
descendents on land that would belong to them, all of which was facilitated
through a Gentile woman named Ruth.
Many conservative Bible
teachers believe these events in the book of Ruth have a
"Biblical typology" states that an historical event
like what we see in the book of Ruth, is symbolic of, or, represents
something, beyond the historical event.
In this particular case, Boaz represents Jesus, Naomi represents
Israelis, and Ruth represents Gentiles.
Among those who accept the legitimacy of Biblical typology, there
is little disagreement with these representations.
significance of the book of Ruth is as follows.
Like Elimelech and Naomi, Israelis fled their homeland in 70 A.
D. when the Roman army drove most Jews out of
In the book of Ruth there
was a closer relative to Naomi than Boaz.
He took precedent over Boaz when it came to marrying a widow and
the purchase of lost land. This
unnamed closer relative was willing to buy the land for Naomi but was
unwilling to marry Ruth. This
unnamed man represents the Law of Moses.
is guaranteed a certain portion of land according to the Law of Moses.
Therefore, the Law of Moses was capable of dealing with the land
issue. However, since the
Law of Moses was specifically given to Israelis and not to Gentiles, it
could not unite itself to a Gentile in marriage.
Without the marriage, there could be no purchase of lost land for
a widow. Since the purchasing of land and the marriage go hand in hand,
the Law had to decline both.
The inability of the Law
of Moses to unite itself with Gentiles afforded Jesus the opportunity to
do what the Law couldn't do. Since
God through Jesus spoke all of humanity into existence in the first
place, including Gentiles, Jesus could unite Himself with Gentiles.
Here is the typological
conclusion we see from the book of Ruth.
In order for the Israeli Naomi to get her land back, and in order
for her to have a son to carry on her Jewish lineage, Boaz had to marry
a Gentile woman named Ruth. In
other words, in order for Israelis today
to have their land restored to them, continue their eternal
lineage, and return to their God, Jesus had to unite Himself to
Gentiles. The salvation of Israel, in all of its varying aspects, is facilitated through the marriage of
Jesus to a predominantly Gentile church.
The apostle Paul teaches
this in Romans 11. He says
such things as, "did God reject the Israelites?
By no means". (verse 1)
If you study Romans 11,
you will see that Paul confirms the typological significance of the book
of Ruth. God scattered
Israelis around the world because of their sin.
He gave Himself to the Gentile world, which was meant to result
in Israel's salvation, which includes the restoration of their land, their
eternal lineage, and their reunion with Yahweh.
How should Christians
respond to this? First of
all, we must acknowledge that Christian anti-Semitism, Replacement
Theology, and other such movements, that have been popular for
centuries, is unbiblical. As
Gentile Ruth devoted herself to the care of Naomi the Jew, so Gentile
Christians should dedicate themselves to the care of Israelis, even
while they are in their present apostasy.
Along with praying for and evangelizing
Israelis, we should support them any way possible.
We should understand the Biblical principle; "to the Jew
first and then to the Gentile". (Romans 1:16, 2:10)
Christians are indebted to the Jews and to their God.
Worship of the Lord Jesus Christ is the worship of Yahweh. We
should understand that as Gentile believers, we have an active part to
play in the future salvation of
It is also important to
remember that Boaz married a Gentile.
Jesus loves Gentiles, including Arabs and Persians, and so should
we. However, we do need to
draw a red line in the sand based on Biblical prophecy.
When issues concerning Arabs and Persians conflict with the
prophetic significance of Israelis, we have no other Biblical choice
than to stand on the side of Israel.