The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed?
Though Jesus is not mentioned by name in the Old Testament, we can find Him on every single page, though much of the time, He is concealed!
Let’s begin our study on redemption. Redemption is one of the most important concepts to understand. It is closely related to salvation, forgiveness, reconciliation, and other biblical terms and themes. Because the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed, we will begin this study in the Old Testament. Though Jesus is not mentioned by name in the Old Testament, we can find Him on every single page, though much of the time, He is concealed!
When reading the Bible, we begin to learn about forgiveness and redemption in Genesis, just before God banished Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden:
The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.
Genesis 3:21 (NASB)
What do you suppose those coverings were made of? I am not a betting man, but I would wager a guess that they came from a male, unblemished ram! And it is highly doubtful that the animal lived after its skin was removed! Adam and Eve brought death into the world with their sin, but this was the first example of physical death.
The Law teaches us:
‘For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.’
Leviticus 17:11 (NASB)
The New Testament hammers this point home:
And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
Hebrews 9:22 (NASB)
The pastor of the church I am attending used to work as a meat cutter. He reminded me that blood is a cleansing agent. In fact, if a man works on the engine of his car and his hands are caked with oil and grease, if he places his hands in a bucket of blood and pulls those hands out 10 minutes later, there will not even be dirt under the fingernails! Physically, that blood is a cleansing agent, but spiritually, it is even more important.
This symbolism of the spilling of innocent blood to cover sin continues with the story of Abraham and Isaac. Remember what miraculously appeared just before Abraham sacrificed his son:
Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son.
Genesis 22:13 (NASB)
Another example occurred on that first Passover night, commemorated in numerous Passover nights afterward.
5 ‘Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. 6‘You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight. 7‘Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. 8‘They shall eat the flesh that same night, roasted with fire, and they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 9‘Do not eat any of it raw or boiled at all with water, but rather roasted with fire, both its head and its legs along with its entrails. 10‘And you shall not leave any of it over until morning, but whatever is left of it until morning, you shall burn with fire. 11‘Now you shall eat it in this manner: with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste—it is the LORD’S Passover. 12‘For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments—I am the LORD. 13‘The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.
Exodus 12:5-13 (NASB)
That spilling of innocent blood to cover sin then continued in the sacrificial system. God gave the Jews a rigid and difficult system to obtain forgiveness. As we have studied, this was the Law. It was not imperfect, but it revealed sin more than it covered sin.
Again, this all pointed forward to the a statement made by John the Baptist:
The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.
John 1:29 (NASB)
The Law of Redemption dates back to the Old Testament. The first time I ever heard the term “redeem,” it had to do with S & H green stamps. (Anyone remember those? They came from a company called Sperry and Hutchinson, founded in 1889. These stamps started in the 1930’s. When purchasing groceries, gasoline or something at certain department stores, people would get these stamps, paste them in a book, and trade them in for goods.
Jesus used His own precious blood instead of green stamps to purchase our sinful lives. Let’s read the first passage about this Law of Redemption. While reading it, think of how difficult it must have been to adhere to the Law:
The Law of Redemption
23 ‘The land, moreover, shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are but aliens and sojourners with Me.
24 ‘Thus for every piece of your property, you are to provide for the redemption of the land.
25 ‘If a fellow countryman of yours becomes so poor he has to sell part of his property, then his nearest kinsman is to come and buy back what his relative has sold.
26 ‘Or in case a man has no kinsman, but so recovers his means as to find sufficient for its redemption,
27 then he shall calculate the years since its sale and refund the balance to the man to whom he sold it, and so return to his property.
28 ‘But if he has not found sufficient means to get it back for himself, then what he has sold shall remain in the hands of its purchaser until the year of jubilee; but at the jubilee it shall revert, that he may return to his property.
29 ‘Likewise, if a man sells a dwelling house in a walled city, then his redemption right remains valid until a full year from its sale; his right of redemption lasts a full year.
30 ‘But if it is not bought back for him within the space of a full year, then the house that is in the walled city passes permanently to its purchaser throughout his generations; it does not revert in the jubilee.
31‘The houses of the villages, however, which have no surrounding wall shall be considered as open fields; they have redemption rights and revert in the jubilee.
32‘As for cities of the Levites, the Levites have a permanent right of redemption for the houses of the cities which are their possession.
33 ‘What, therefore, belongs to the Levites may be redeemed and a house sale in the city of this possession reverts in the jubilee, for the houses of the cities of the Levites are their possession among the sons of Israel.
34 ‘But pasture fields of their cities shall not be sold, for that is their perpetual possession.
Of Poor Countrymen
35 ‘Now in case a countryman of yours becomes poor and his means with regard to you falter, then you are to sustain him, like a stranger or a sojourner, that he may live with you.
36 ‘Do not take usurious interest from him, but revere your God, that your countryman may live with you.
37 ‘You shall not give him your silver at interest, nor your food for gain.
38 ‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God.
39 ‘If a countryman of yours becomes so poor with regard to you that he sells himself to you, you shall not subject him to a slave’s service.
40 ‘He shall be with you as a hired man, as if he were a sojourner; he shall serve with you until the year of jubilee.
41 ‘He shall then go out from you, he and his sons with him, and shall go back to his family, that he may return to the property of his forefathers.
42 ‘For they are My servants whom I brought out from the land of Egypt; they are not to be sold in a slave sale.
43 ‘You shall not rule over him with severity, but are to revere your God.
44 ‘As for your male and female slaves whom you may have—you may acquire male and female slaves from the pagan nations that are around you.
45 ‘Then, too, it is out of the sons of the sojourners who live as aliens among you that you may gain acquisition, and out of their families who are with you, whom they will have produced in your land; they also may become your possession.
46 ‘You may even bequeath them to your sons after you, to receive as a possession; you can use them as permanent slaves. But in respect to your countrymen, the sons of Israel, you shall not rule with severity over one another.
Of Redeeming a Poor Man
47 ‘Now if the means of a stranger or of a sojourner with you becomes sufficient, and a countryman of yours becomes so poor with regard to him as to sell himself to a stranger who is sojourning with you, or to the descendants of a stranger’s family,
48 then he shall have redemption right after he has been sold. One of his brothers may redeem him,
49 or his uncle, or his uncle’s son, may redeem him, or one of his blood relatives from his family may redeem him; or aif he prospers, he may redeem himself.
50 ‘He then with his purchaser shall calculate from the year when he sold himself to him up to the year of jubilee; and the price of his sale shall correspond to the number of years. It is like the days of a hired man that he shall be with him.
51 ‘If there are still many years, he shall refund part of his purchase price in proportion to them for his own redemption;
52 and if few years remain until the year of jubilee, he shall so calculate with him. In proportion to his years he is to refund the amount for his redemption.
53 ‘Like a man hired year by year he shall be with him; he shall not rule over him with severity in your sight.
54 ‘Even if he is not redeemed by these means, he shall still go out in the year of jubilee, he and his sons with him.
55 ‘For the sons of Israel are My servants; they are My servants whom I brought out from the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.
Leviticus 25:23-55 (NASB)
In Hebrew, the word for redemption is ge˒ullah גְּאֻלָּה
Interestingly, redemption has to do with:
When the children of Israel reached the Promised Land, Joshua gave the land of Israel to the various tribes and families. But we need to understand the difference between LAND OWNERSHIP and LAND USAGE.
Let’s say a father gives a new car to his 16-year-old son, with the stipulation that if the son gets a ticket, the son will not be able to drive the car. It will have to sit in the garage for a specified time period. The title will remain in the son’s name, but he will lose the right to use the car. That is similar to what God did with the Jews in Israel. Because of idol worship and not honoring the Law and the land Sabbath, the children of Israel lost usage of the land. Whose land is it, anyway? God’s! He loves that land so much that the Bible tells us He cannot take His eyes off of it.
For thus says the Lord of hosts, “After glory He has sent me against the nations which plunder you, for he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye.
Zechariah 2:8 (NASB)
God redeems land and He redeems people. The word redemption, specifically means “to buy out,” and was used specifically in the purchase of a slave’s freedom. We were slaves to sin, so this points directly to each of us!
and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.
Romans 6:18 (NASB)
God created two different ways to obtain redemption. The first was the year of Jubilee and the second was redemption via the kinsman redeemer that only would occur in years other than the Jubilee. The Jubilee occurred every 50 years, and in that year, all debts were forgiven. Remember the Biblical significance of the number 7. It stood for divine completeness. Think of the seventh day during creation, seven churches in Revelation, seven Feasts of Moses, or seven “I AM” statements in John. Sometimes, though, multiplication creates a more emphatic statement. We are called to forgive how many times? 70 TIMES 7. Here we see that the 50th year, the Jubilee, occurs after 7 periods of 7 years!
It was a long time from one year of Jubilee to the next. If a man lost his property shortly after a Jubilee, there was the possibility he would not be alive to enjoy that property the next time a year of Jubilee came around. So God made another provision for the recovery of the land. If there was a rich relative, that kinsman was able to redeem the property if he was willing and able to do so, and then the land could be restored to the original owner. Again, this depended on the willingness of the kinsman. This is the law of the Kinsman–Redeemer, which we will see in operation in the Book of Ruth.
Here is a synopsis:
Elimelech, Naomi and two sons, Mahlon and Chilion, departed Bethlehem, Judah for the land of Moab. The sons both married women of Moab, Orpah and Ruth. While in Moab, Elimelech died, and then both Mahlon and Chilion died, too. In this agrarian economy of farming, Naomi was left with only her daughters-in-law. She encouraged them to both return to their people, the Moabites, but they both chose to go with Naomi. On Ruth’s second attempt to convince them, Orpah decided to return to her people, (possibly to become a talk show hostess) but Ruth chose journey with Naomi back to Bethlehem.
Both hungry upon their arrival, Naomi encouraged Ruth to glean the fields. The Law of Gleaning was one of the systems God designed to feed the poor. A wealthy farmer would not harvest the corners of his field. Those corners remained for the poor. This gave the poor people food along with the ability to work for that food!
Ruth began working in the field of Boaz, a wealthy farmer, and immediately, he instructed his unnamed foreman to look after Ruth. Then the night came at the end of the harvest. All the workers slept with their crops and had a celebration. By that time, Naomi had figured out that Boaz was a close relative of her deceased husband, and could possibly redeem them. Naomi encouraged Ruth to let Boaz know that fact, and Ruth did so by “uncovering his feet,” while Boaz was sleeping.
But Boaz needed to be more than a close relative. By Law, he had to be:
- The closest relative (the request to be a kinsman redeemer went to the closest relative first, the next closest second, etc.)
- Willing (Maybe he had his eyes on another woman?)
- Able (Was he single? Did he have the financial resources?)
In the case of Boaz, he was not the closest relative, but Boaz knew the closest relative. By God’s Law, Ruth was supposed to approach the closest relative, but instead, Boaz made the request. The closest relative was not willing! So the duty passed to Boaz, and he married Ruth. They had a child together, Obed. Obed was the father of Jesse, who was the father of King David! Lest we forget, Jesus came from that lineage. Naomi remained in their house as the nurse of Obed.
But this is not just a quaint little story. Each of the people in our story are significant — prophetically.
- Naomi is symbolic of the nation of Israel, under the Law. She needed redemption, but the covering of her husband was gone.
- On the other hand, Ruth is symbolic of the Gentile bride. She had learned of the Law from Naomi, and chose to follow the God of the Jews. Ruth was redeemed by the grace of the Kinsman Redeemer, Boaz.
- Boaz is symbolic of the Kinsman Redeemer, and for us, that is Jesus. He paid all of our debts and bought our freedom from our slavery to sin! Yes, that means our past sins, our present sins and our future sins. All we need to do is to ask Him to redeem us. He paid with His blood!
- The closest relative who could not redeem Ruth is the Law, which cannot redeem us. The Law reveals sin, but only Jesus can cover that sin.
- Even Orpah, the daughter-in-law who returned home, is represented, by anyone who hears the message and does not heed that message, like when the Word is sown on rocky ground. Orpah returned to her people and their gods.
- Finally, the unnamed servant, the foreman of the fields of Boaz, points to the Holy Spirit. Just as the foreman was instructed to protect Ruth, Jesus has instructed the Holy Spirit to protect us as believers.
Salvation and redemption may be free, but never forget that they came at the greatest cost!
To tie this little story together, it is interesting to look at the meaning of their names in Hebrew:
Elimelech husband of Naomi My God is King
Naomi wife of Elimelech Pleasure
Mahlon Son of Elimelech/Naomi Sickly
Chilion Son of Elimelech/Naomi Wasting away
Ruth Daughter in law of Naomi Beauty
Boaz Husband of Ruth, Kinsman Strength
Obed Son of Ruth and Boaz Worship
When beauty is married to strength, the house is filled with worship!
But the story doesn’t end there! Now we need to move forward to the New Testament to see it revealed in Jesus! His last words on the cross were, “It is finished.” In Greek, that is tetelestai. According to some historical records of the day, when prisoners of biblical times had served their sentences, they were given a parchment to prove their sentence had been completed. It said,
“Tetelestai,” and one interpretation of that phrase is “paid in full.” When Jesus redeemed us, He paid for all of our sins! It is finished! There is nothing we can add to that equation, not our works or our lives will add to His redemption. We can, however, demonstrate our love for Him with our lives and works!
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”—
Galatians 3:13 (NASB)
When Jesus died on the cross, He was punished for our sins.
“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
2 Corinthians 5:21 (NKJV)
Jesus didn’t just bear our sin. He became our sin. And took our places. Now, the Father looks at us and sees the righteousness of Jesus. Now, that’s just amazing! Jesus became our redemption:
30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,
31 so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
1 Corinthians 5:30-31 (NASB)
The Father rescued us:
13 For He rescued us from the adomain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of bHis beloved Son,
14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,
12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,
13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,
14 who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.
15 These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.
Titus 2:11-15 (NASB)
It doesn’t really matter how much we read and study the Bible if these verses do not change our lives. Remember, it is the Living, breathing Word of God. “Breath” is the same Greek word as the word for the Holy Spirit, pneuma!
How can we apply this lesson of redemption to our lives?
Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,
Ephesians 4:1 (NASB)
We are not worthy by our lives, worthy by our actions or certainly worthy by our hearts to be called by His name! But by His grace, we are His. How can we walk in a more worthy manner of His gracious calling? We need to understand the enormity of the cross on our behalves. Though we never can earn what Jesus did for us, we can work for our lives to reflect His love.
One example would be to see others as God sees them. Look at others through spiritual eyes, not through physical eyes. If we see an addict struggling in their sin, we should see ourselves before we met the LORD. Regardless of what addiction we had, we know that all of us have a sin addiction.
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;
Philippians 2:3 (NASB)
We often speak of our rights. We have no rights! Jesus purchased us with His blood, and now, we are His bondservants. God is not telling us to place ourselves lower on the list of importance. He is telling us to take ourselves off the list. We don’t need to worry about our rights, because He is going to take care of those rights for us! That frees us up to focus on how we can glorify God, and love others!
27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong,
28 and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are,
29 so that no man may boast before God.
1 Corinthians 1:27-29
Everyone is redeemable! It is more likely for God to redeem an imbecile than a genius, a weakling than a body builder, an anonymous person walking down the street than a Hollywood superstar, a poor person than a rich person. Why? It points to God’s grace and God’s power, rather than the power of man. And think of people who could be described as “the despised.” They are typically alone. And often, they know exactly what brokenness means. In that brokenness, so many come to know the God they desperately need.
Corrie Ten Boom, who endured the Nazi concentration camps and lost her sister there, said,
“You can never learn that Christ is all you need, until Christ is all you have!”
Search for the broken and lost, and love them the way Jesus does!