Friday, February 22, 2013
“And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried…” (Ruth 1:16,17a KJV).
Ruth did not know it, and (sadly) neither do many church members today, but she was actually uttering what believing Gentiles will say in Christ’s earthly kingdom!
The book of Ruth is usually known for its theme of the “kinsman-redeemer” (a wealthy next-of-kin who willingly redeems [“repurchases”] family property that was lost). It actually pictures what Jesus Christ, Israel and humanity’s “wealthy next-of-kin,” would do over 1,000 years later when He shed His perfect blood on Calvary’s cross in order to redeem them from sin’s penalty, hell. However, today’s Scripture identifies a second type (shadow/prophecy) in the book of Ruth, one often overlooked.
Ruth is a Moabitess (Gentile); her mother-in-law, Naomi, is a Jewess. Naomi, now bereaved of her husband and her two sons (one of whom was Ruth’s husband), wants to leave Moab (east of the Dead Sea) and return to Judah (the area of Jerusalem, northwest of the Dead Sea), now that Judah’s famine is over. Naomi says she will go back to Canaan and instructs Ruth to return to her (pagan) relatives in Moab. Ruth refuses: in today’s Scripture, she renounces her heathen (Gentile) religion and she wants Israel’s God to be her God! Eventually, she accompanies Naomi back to Judah.
Zechariah 8:22,23 describes believing Gentiles in the millennial reign of Christ: “Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.” Amazingly, this is basically what Ruth had said 3,000 years earlier!