The Kinsman Redeemer - Part II
Dr. Joe Temple


Open your Bibles, please, to the book of Ruth. We will not be reading portions of the book of Ruth in detail as we have in previous studies because we have been completely through the book of Ruth in one approach–the approach of analogy, finding practical lessons within the book of Ruth that have to do with our spiritual lives. The second manner of our approach, as we have suggested to you, has been from the standpoint of soteriology; and in this particular standpoint which we are discussing with you we have referred to the doctrine of salvation or redemption. As we study the book of Ruth from the standpoint of soteriology, we would quite naturally expect to find in the book of Ruth all of those indications of truths related to the basic doctrine of our Christian life–the doctrine of redemption.

Perhaps you will recall that I said to you that the book of Ruth presents a phase of this truth that is not found anywhere else in the Bible, except as it is borne out in detail. The basic phase is presented concerning the kinsman-redeemer type of redemption in the book of Ruth. As we studied the book of Ruth and the various laws related to that upon which the book of Ruth is based, we suggested to you that there are five requirements of the kinsman-redeemer. These five requirements have to be fulfilled before one could become the redeemer. We said that we would be considering, for the most part, individual requirements each time. To refresh your mind, the redeemer must be a near kinsman; the redeemer must be willing; the redeemer must possess the ability to redeem; and, very much akin to that and perhaps considered together, the redeemer must be free himself to redeem. You see, it is possible that a brother could be in slavery. Another brother could be in slavery. Either brother would have the right to redeem, but one would not be free to redeem the other. Then the fifth requirement is that the redeemer must have the price of redemption.

Boaz Identified as Near Kinsman

We looked at the book of Ruth and we identified Boaz, you will recall, as a near kinsman of Ruth and of Naomi. As a matter of fact, we told you that the words “near kinsman” or “kinsman” are mentioned some twelve times in the book of Ruth. The English word “kinsman” is translated by the Hebrew word gawal , which is translated by the word “ransom” in Jeremiah, chapter 31, verse 11, and translated several times by the word “redeem” in Ruth, chapter 4, verse 4.

You are probably familiar with the tremendous testimony that Job gave in chapter 19 of the book which bears his name, verse 25, when he said:

Job 19

25For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:

The word “redeemer” that Job used there is the very word that is translated “kinsman” in the book of Ruth.

Boaz being identified as the near kinsman of Ruth and Naomi, we suggested to you represented a perfect type of the Lord Jesus Christ. Unless we establish in our thinking that this is true that Boaz is a type of the Lord Jesus Christ, then this typical study in soteriology will not mean a great deal to you.

Having suggested to you before, and we verified it from the Scripture, that Boaz is a type of the Lord Jesus Christ, we want to consider with you today the first requirement of the five that we looked at a moment ago, and that is the redeemer must be a near kinsman. If Boaz is a type of the Lord Jesus Christ, Boaz was a kinsman of Ruth and Naomi. The question immediately arises in our minds as to how Christ, the Creator, and man, the creature, could ever get together. For example, if Christ had the obligation of redeeming–and I speak hypothetically–a creator, there would be no problem because Christ is a creator. There is a relationship, but Christ and man are not the same. There is a great gulf fixed between the two.

Christ, the Creator

How can Christ, the Creator, become the Kinsman-Redeemer of man, the creature? We have to know that, and in order to know that, we have to understand a basic doctrine in the Scriptures, which theologians refer to as “the incarnation.” There are many passages of Scripture at which we might look to help us to understand how it is that Christ, the Creator, could become related to man, the creature. But we are suggesting that we look at the passages found in the Gospel of John. Keep in mind there are many passages of Scripture at which we might look, but these two in the Gospel of John are especially appealing to me. You will find the portions at which we are going to look in John, chapter 1, verses 1-3:

John 1

1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2The same was in the beginning with God.
3All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

We pause there. We do not have time to go into a discussion of Christ, the logos , which of course is the Greek word for the word “Word” there. But the King James translators have endeavored to convey to you that this logos , which John is using here, is a reference to the Creator by capitalizing the word “Word.” We read, then, that the “Word,” the Lord Jesus Christ, was with God. He was God, and He was in the beginning with God.

You will notice in the passage of Scripture two beginnings. In the first verse there is the beginning of eternity, and in the second verse there is the beginning of creation. That's the reason that in verse 3 you read: “All things were made by him.” That is a reference to the word logos , or “Christ.” “Without him [Christ] was not anything made that was made.” The chapter goes on to describe who the Word is and identifies Him as the Lord Jesus Christ so that there can be no question in anyone's mind as to the identification of the Word. You will notice the first three verses of our chapter identify Christ as the Creator, but we are not any better off at the moment because somehow the Creator must become related to the creature because of the first requirement of the kinsman-redeemer. We are repeating that which is necessary–for the redeemer to be a kinsman.

Christ the Near Kinsman

We call to your attention verse 1 of John, chapter 14, where we read:

John 1

14And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
15John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.
16And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.
17For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

That last statement identifies the Word of the first three verses with the Son of God and the Word of verse 14 with the Son of God.

We might say to you that the requirement that the redeemer be a near kinsman was fulfilled when Christ, the Creator, took upon Himself the form of a creature, expressed in John, chapter 1, verse 14, as becoming flesh. We will be looking more in detail about the incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ in successive lessons as we continue our discussion of the need for the Lord Jesus Christ being kin to the fallen human race.

I hardly ever deal with the subject that we are dealing with here without being asked the question, “Could not this have been done some other way? Could there not have been a redemption provided for the human race some other way than by Christ becoming flesh?” Before we answer that question, we remind you of the laws upon which the book of Ruth is based. In the law of redemption, related to property and people, found in Leviticus, chapter 25, verses 23-28 and verses 47-49, we are told that the kinsman-redeemer may redeem the property and he may redeem the people related to the property. The emphasis is placed upon the fact that he is a near kinsman. As long as this law is on God's books, there is no way for man to be redeemed except by the Son of God becoming flesh. That is the reason it is so very, very important for us to insist that people believe in the virgin birth of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We need to be very careful in our discussions with people in this hour of confusion because oftentimes they will use the same phraseology which we use, but they do not mean the same thing we mean. Oftentimes they will say that they believe that Christ is the Son of God, but if you press them, they will not confess that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God. They will talk about the goodness of the Savior and the marvelous kindness of Jesus Christ, but not the fact that He was God made flesh. The law of marriage in Deuteronomy, chapter 25, upon which the book of Ruth is based, insisted that the kinsman-redeemer might redeem by marriage that which had been lost through the frailty of man, but only a kinsman-redeemer.

The Incarnation Necessary for Redemption

Now we answer the question, “Could this not have been done some other way based upon the law upon which the book of Ruth is based?” We have to answer with an emphatic negative. We are making a typical study, noticing the doctrine of redemption in relation to the type and the antitype. Boaz is the type and the antitype is the Lord Jesus Christ. When we think together about the antitype, we say that there was no other way that man could be redeemed than that the Lord Jesus Christ become flesh. When we think of the antitype in this regard, we call to your attention, first of all, the book of Hebrews, chapter 2, verse 10:

Hebrews 2

10For it became him [Christ] , for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain [Christ] of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

You could insert the word “God” for the first pronoun “him.” We have purposely inserted the word “Christ” for reasons that will be revealed later on in relation to the discussion of the willingness of the redeemer.

Hebrews 2

11For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,

Notice the word “brethren” here. “He that is sanctified”–that is, he that is set apart for the special plan of redemption–is the Lord Jesus Christ. They that are set apart by the plan of redemption are the believers, and for this reason he is not ashamed to call them “brethren.” He is not ashamed to call them “kinsman.” So the Lord Jesus Christ became kin to the human race. Notice verse 12:

Hebrews 2

12Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.

Christ is speaking concerning declaring the name and the glory of God among those to whom He had become kin–to the Church, if you please, which is His Body. Again, these are quotations from the Old Testament.

Hebrews 2

13And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.

Here a different approach is made to the relationship–brethren in one verse, children in another.

Hebrews 2

14Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
15And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

Notice, please, in verse 14: We who are children are partakers of flesh and blood. He became partaker of flesh and blood. You cannot deny the fact that the Son of God came to earth in human form and be saved. No way in the world can it be done. There are individuals who say, “It doesn't make any difference whether you believe in the virgin birth or not. You can still be saved.” You cannot. The only way that Christ could save the human race is for Christ to become the near kinsman to be made flesh and blood for the purpose of deliverance at which we also look.

Christ Clothed With Human Flesh

We are answering the question according to the antitype: “Is there any way that man could have been saved other than through Christ becoming flesh?” Further emphasis is placed upon the truth in verse 16, where we read:

Hebrews 2

16For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.

It is impossible for angels to be redeemed. It is not consistent with the eternal plan of God for angels to be redeemed from their fallen state. So Christ did not take upon Himself the form of an angel. Angels cannot redeem. That is the reason in the first chapter of the book of Hebrews the emphasis upon angels is clearly explained, and it is emphasized that angels cannot redeem. It was necessary for Him to take upon, in the last part of verse 16, “the seed of Abraham.”

Hebrews 2

17Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.

Emphasis is placed again on the fact that He was made “like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest.” There is no need for men to spend a great deal of time talking about whether the flesh with which the Lord Jesus Christ was clothed was the same kind of flesh as ours. This passage of Scripture says that it was. There is no need to talk about whether the blood that flowed in His veins was any different from the blood of ours other than its redemptive quality. He was as human as human could be because He took upon Himself the form of flesh.

So that I won't be misunderstood, because you all may not be able to follow through in every series, let me say that when I am placing this emphasis upon the flesh of the Lord Jesus Christ, I am not suggesting to you that He was not God. He was God in human flesh, but there was no difference in His flesh than there is in ours. If you stuck a pin in it, it would hurt just like it would hurt us. If you wounded Him, He would bleed just as if you would wound one of us, we would bleed. It is important for us to remember that because all too often what is referred to as “the mystical Christ” is presented to men, and He is robbed of the very important phase of redemption that is emphasized in the book of Ruth, that of being a near kinsman.

Redemption Through Christ Foreordained

We would like for you to notice for further emphasis another passage of Scripture, the first epistle of Peter. Peter is emphasizing the fact that it would be impossible for me to be redeemed other than through Christ becoming flesh because of the law related to the kinsman-redeemer. You will recall that we told you that it would be impossible for anyone but Boaz to redeem Ruth and Naomi because of the law of the kinsman-redeemer and the law of Leverite marriage. The same thing is true when the application is made to the Lord Jesus Christ.

In I Peter you will notice chapter 1, verse 18:

I Peter 1

18Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
19But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
20Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,

We read this passage of Scripture to emphasize verse 20: “Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.” Now, endeavor to get the picture if you can: Before ever the world was created, before ever there was a man created to live upon the earth, God foreordained–He established the law–that Christ should be the Redeemer of fallen men. Now, that is difficult for our minds to comprehend. We would be inclined to say, “Wait a minute. Before He ever created the world, before He ever created man upon it, before every man sinned, you mean to say that God set down the law that redemption would be through Christ and through Christ alone?” That is exactly what we mean because that is exactly what the Word of God says. So even in relation to the antitype, it would have been impossible for man to be redeemed other than through a near kinsman. The only way that a near kinsman could be provided would be for sovereign God in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ to take upon Himself the form of human flesh and thus to become like His brethren and become related to the human race by virtue of the incarnation. The Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled, then, the first requirement that the redeemer must be a near kinsman.

The Role of the Nearer Kinsman

There is something that I would like to consider with you that is not often considered in the study of the book of Ruth but which I think has a tremendous lesson for all of us emphasizing the necessity of the kinsman-redeemer, the redeemer being kinsman. I refer to what is said in the book of Ruth concerning the nearer kinsman. Do you remember when Ruth was first brought to the attention of Boaz? Go back to the book of Ruth with me. The subject of redemption was considered and it was brought to Ruth's attention in chapter 3, verse 12, that there was a nearer kinsman than Boaz. Notice:

Ruth 3

12And now it is true that I am thy near kinsman: howbeit there is a kinsman nearer than I.
13Tarry this night, and it shall be in the morning, that if he will perform unto thee the part of a kinsman, well; let him do the kinsman's part: but if he will not do the part of a kinsman to thee, then will I do the part of a kinsman to thee, as the LORD liveth: lie down until the morning.

I think, personally, that there is too much emphasis placed in the book of Ruth on the nearer kinsman to neglect any typical reference to him. For that reason, I think we ought to consider this nearer kinsman, noticing what we have suggested to you, that there was such, and noticing the effort of the nearer kinsman to do the redeeming.

In Ruth, chapter 4, verse 4, Boaz said to the nearer kinsman who is not named here:

Ruth 4

4And I thought to advertise thee [that is, whisper in your ear] , saying, Buy it before the inhabitants, and before the elders of my people. If thou wilt redeem it, redeem it: but if thou wilt not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know: for there is none to redeem it beside thee; and I am after thee. And he said, I will redeem it.

Here the effort is expressed on the part of the nearer kinsman to attempt to redeem. Certainly there was a willingness or else he would not have said, “I will redeem it.” But as you know, in verse 5, Boaz advised him that when it came time to buy the field, it would be necessary for him to marry Ruth, the Moabitess. In verse 6 of this chapter, you will find the failure of the nearer kinsman described:

Ruth 4

6And the kinsman said, I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I mar mine own inheritance: redeem thou my right to thyself; for I cannot redeem it.

First he said, “I will.” Then, after due consideration, he said, “I cannot.” For the purposes of our discussion, that is all that we need to read about that verse. We will discuss the marring of his own inheritance at another time.

The nearer kinsman, I say, occupies our attention in the book of Ruth, and I do not believe ought to be disregarded in a typical study.

Representative of the Law

That brings up the question: Who does the nearer kinsman represent? Who was nearer to the human race than Christ before Christ became the nearer kinsman? Who was nearer to the human race and was willing to redeem the human race, but failed to redeem the human race before Christ came? I am going to suggest to you the two most common suggestions that are made as to what this nearer kinsman is a type of.

The first suggestion, which you recognize immediately, is the law. The law was nearer to man than Christ was before Christ became flesh. Turn with me, please, to the book of Galatians. Notice verification of that fact in chapter 4, verses 4 and 5:

Galatians 4

4But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
5To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

The kinship of man and the law is expressed in the phrase, “them that were under the law.” The nearer kinsman in the book of Ruth is not named. Let us, for the sake of discussion, call him at the moment, “Mr. Law.” Boaz said to Mr. Law, “Mr. Law, there is need for redemption. Will you accept the responsibility?” Mr. Law immediately said, “I will.” And today Mr. Law is accepting the responsibility for the redemption of the human race in the minds of many individuals. But we learned in the conversation between Boaz and Mr. Law that there came a time when Mr. Law said, “I cannot.” There comes a time in the life of every believer who is familiar with the Word, when he realizes that there is no redemption under the law.

The best expression of the matter, I think, is found in Romans, chapter 8, verse 1:

Romans 8

1There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
3For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
4That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

You are aware that the last statement of the first verse is not in the original text. It is in the original text as the last statement of verse 4 and that is where it belongs. You will notice in verse 3 what the law could not do. The law could not redeem the human race in that it was weak because of human flesh. There is nothing wrong with the law. The law is perfect and just and good. There are no errors in the Ten Commandments. Mr. Law had to declare, “I cannot redeem,” because for the law to redeem meant that flesh had to keep the law. The flesh is too weak to keep the law, so there is no redemption. Some folk suggest that the nearer kinsman is Mr. Law.

Representative of Human Effort

There is another suggestion that I think we should take into consideration, and that is human effort, because who is more closely related to man than Christ but man himself before Christ became flesh? Who is more closely related to man than man himself before the law was given? As a matter of fact, to emphasize the truth, if you will turn back to Psalm 14, hypothetically speaking, God looked the earth over for a redeemer. There is no contradiction here to what I have said and to the reference I have made to the Lamb's slaying before the foundation of the world. Oftentimes to drive home a lesson the Spirit of God will present a hypothetical situation and this is what He did here.

Psalm 14

2The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.
3They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

God looked, hypothetically, for a redeemer among the human race and there was not one. The children of men all were filthy and unclean. So human effort was a failure. That human effort is indeed a failure. It is more definitely emphasized in Psalm 49. Notice the paragraph which begins with verse 6:

Psalm 49

6They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches;
7None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him:
8(For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:)

You will notice, in verse 6, human effort in relation to human wealth. There is not a man alive who can redeem his brother, who can give God a ransom for him. In verse 8:

Psalm 49

8(For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:)

That last statement of that verse is not a happy translation because it is misleading. Because of brevity of time, we suggest that you look at the rendering of the Amplified Bible which says, “For the ransom of their life is costly and the price they can pay can never suffice.” The price that human beings can pay for redemption, whatever it might be, would never suffice for the redemption of humankind.

The Failure of Human Effort

Thinking back over our story, Boaz says to Mr. Human Effort, “Will you redeem?” Immediately he responds, “I will redeem.” Perhaps you know from the experiences in your own life how much human effort has been put forth at redemption, but there came a time when human effort said, “I cannot redeem.” In the terms of our story, Mr. Boaz would say to Mr. Human Effort, “What are you waiting for?” He would have to say, “I cannot redeem.” Blessed indeed is the man who reaches the place where he realizes he cannot redeem. There is one certain way that that can be done, and I would have you notice it with me in the terms of our study in the book of Ruth that we have referred to as “the removal of the shoe.”

You will recall that when Mr. So-and-so, as we referred to him in another lesson because his name is not given, was not able to redeem Ruth, his shoe was removed and he was then known as “Mr. Barefoot.” His shoe was removed to indicate that he was unable to do what the law demanded to be done.

I have referred oftentimes to the “law of first mention” which gives you the way that any truth will afterward be considered in the Bible. The removal of the shoe, as far as the law of first mention is concerned, is described in chapter 3 of the book of Exodus. We will not take the time to turn there. You read it when you have time and bring back to memory what you already know. You will recall that Moses stood before the burning bush, and when he approached closely to see what it was that caused the bush to burn and not be consumed, the voice from the midst of the burning bush said, “Take off thy shoes for the ground upon which thou standest is holy ground.” That is the first time that any reference is made in the Bible to the removal of shoes. In what connection was it made? In the connection of the unworthiness of the individual involved. “Moses, you are not good enough to stand in the presence of God. Take off your shoes.”

I would like to say, Beloved, figuratively speaking, blessed is the man who has learned to take off his shoes. Blessed is the man who has learned that he must take off his shoes if he stands in the presence of God.

Accepted In the Beloved

If I were to stop right there, we would be left a group of unworthy people–miserable, sorry, and worthless. But I call to your attention one other passage of Scripture–Ephesians, chapter 1, verses 3-6. We will read that in the closing moments of our meditation because it brings a great deal of courage and comfort to my own heart. No one is any more conscious of his unworthiness in relation to the things of God than I am. This passage, I say, comforts my heart.

Ephesians 1

3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

It is wonderful to know that you have been blessed with every spiritual blessing you will ever need.

Ephesians 1

4According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

We have something to look forward to. Someday we will be holy. Someday we will be without blame.

Ephesians 1

5Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

This is the privilege that we enjoy now–the full rights of sonship. But verse 6 is the one I enjoy more than all the rest. Oh, I couldn't begin to tell you what all of these things mean in detail. It would be an impossibility, but it comforts my heart to know, in verse 6:

Ephesians 1

6To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

That last statement is the one that thrills my heart. He has made us accepted in the Beloved. We have an expression that we use concerning individuals. We say about them, whether it is right or wrong, “They are not accepted in polite society.” Well, Joe Temple could never be accepted in Heaven's society. He is not worthy. But how glad I am that through the finished work of Jesus Christ, I have been made accepted in the Beloved. You notice, not by Him but in Him; and what that means to me is that every time God looks at me, He looks at me through Christ.

Long before color television became a reality, they used to sell you a sheet of plastic of some kind that you could tape on the glass of the television screen, and it would give you the semblance of color television. Some folk did that. You would look down through that screen and the things did look colored–all the same color, but they were in color. That is the picture, Dear One. When God looks at Joe Temple, He looks through Christ, and I am glad He does. The same can be said of you.


Father, we are grateful our Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled the first requirement to become the Redeemer. He became kin to us. We are so glad that He did not command that we lift by our bootstraps our own souls to Heaven, that He came from Heaven to earth and became like unto His brethren. We are glad that through His finished work upon the Cross, we are made accepted in Him. Grant that we may rejoice in that fact. We pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

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