Prophecy in Type
Dr. Joe Temple

Introduction

Open your Bibles, please, to the book of Ruth. When we began our study in the book of Ruth quite some time ago, we suggested to you that we were going to study it from a threefold standpoint: analogy, soteriology, and eschatology. When we studied it from the standpoint of analogy, we looked at the various truths that were found in the book of Ruth and found spiritual applications for the Christian living in the twentieth century. That is, we drew an analogy between the life of Ruth, for example, and the average Christian today or the life of Boaz and the Lord Jesus Christ. Then we began a study from the standpoint of soteriology, which is the study of redemption. “Soteriology” comes from the Greek word soteria , which means “salvation.” We discovered that there is a suggestion about redemption in the book of Ruth that is found in no other portion of the Word of God, and that is redemption by means of a kinsman-redeemer.

The third approach we said we were going to use in our study of the book of Ruth was eschatology. “Eschatology” simply means “the study of last things.” It comes from the Greek word eschatos , which means “last things.” The study of last things would indicate to those of you who are even slightly familiar with the term that we are going to have a study of the book of Ruth from the prophetic standpoint.

Elimelech's Exile

It might be wise for us, by way of introduction, to notice all of the things related to eschatology that we are going to find within the book of Ruth itself. What we will be doing is pointing out the various things in the book of Ruth that suggest these prophetic thoughts, and then in other studies we will be looking at them in more detail.

We suggest to you that we are going to look at the typology to be understood. Of course, that is a familiar word to us because we have found in each of our studies–analogy, soteriology, and now in eschatology–that the study of types is a very important thing. The first type that should be understood is the relationship between Elimelech's exile because of famine and Israel's dispersion because of judgment. Keep in mind that all we are going to do today is to point out to you the skeleton of our study, and then in successive studies we are going to go into detail so that you will understand exactly what we are talking about.

Notice, please, in the first chapter of the book of Ruth, verse 1:

Ruth 1

1Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehemjudah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons.

Famine in the Old Testament is always a sign of judgment. When a famine comes, that means that judgment has fallen. We will be looking at that more in detail, as I suggested to you. Keep in mind that the little family of Elimelech went into the land of Moab, a foreign location, because of the judgment of God.

The Dispersion of Israel

Keep a marker here in the book of Ruth and turn to the Gospel of Luke. Chapter 21 of the Gospel of Luke and chapter 24 of the Gospel of Matthew are very much alike in that they are dealing with the end of the age. They are related to what is commonly referred to as “the Olivet Discourse,” when the Lord Jesus Christ mentioned that the end of the age would come. The question asked then, as is asked now, is, “When shall these things be and what shall be the sign of Thy coming?” Matthew approaches it from one standpoint. Luke approaches it from another. The approach which Luke states gives us the initial dispersion of the children of Israel as far as New Testament age is concerned. Will you notice what I am saying, the initial dispersion of the nation of Israel as far as this New Testament age is concerned. Actually the first dispersion came when they were carried away captive by Nebuchadnezzar into the land of Babylon. They never had been fully and completely in possession of their land from that time forth, but all of them were not taken out at that particular time. Some of them did return and, though they were subject to the Roman empire at this particular time, they were still in their own land.

Notice Luke, chapter 21, verse 20:

Luke 21

20And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.
21Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.
22For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.
23But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.
24And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

Reference will be made to this paragraph in other typical suggestions in our study, so for the moment let me call to your attention what is written in verse 22: “For these be the days of vengeance,…” That is, “these be the days of judgment.” Now what happened when famine came as the judgment of God upon Israel in Elimelech's day? Elimelech and his little family were driven out of their own land. What happens when vengeance falls as described in Luke, chapter 21? Look at verse 24: “…and shall be led away captive into all nations…” Just as Elimelech and his family were sent away to the land of Moab because of the judgment of God, represented by the famine, the nation of Israel, as far as this New Testament age is concerned, was sent away into all the nations of the world as the judgment of God. You can see the parallel, I trust. As you think about it in successive weeks, you will be able to see why this little book of Ruth is a veritable seed plot of prophetic truths with which a great many people are not familiar.

We suggest to you that in the land of Moab, Elimelech's family suffered untold tribulation, which is but a type of the persecution of Israel in the land of the Gentiles. As Israel is scattered about through the entire world, she suffers the persecution typified by the persecution of Elimelech and his family.

Naomi's Return

Turn back to the book of Ruth, please, where you might recognize the passage of Scripture within the book itself that brings that to our attention. We read in verse 3 of chapter 1:

Ruth 1

3And Elimelech Naomi's husband died; and she was left, and her two sons.

She suffered tribulation in the land of Moab in that she was bereft of her husband, finally left with her only two boys. Then down in verse 5:

Ruth 1

5And Mahlon and Chilion died also both of them; and the woman was left of her two sons and her husband.

The extent of her tribulation, you will recall, is expressed in her own words when she returned to the land, when she came back home to Israel after her sojourn in Moab, as is described in the last part of the first chapter, verse 21:

Ruth 1

21I went out full and the LORD hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the LORD hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?

Turn, please, to the book of Romans. Keep in mind as we ask you to turn to these passages of Scripture that each represents but one among many passages of Scripture which declare the truth that we are emphasizing to you today. Just as Naomi went away full and came back empty, so the nation of Israel will suffer persecution during her sojourn among the Gentile nations so that when she returns to her land, she too will return empty. Were it not for the mercy of God, there would be none at all to return.

Israel's Return to Her Land

In chapter 9 of the book of Romans, notice the paragraph which begins with verse 27, where we read:

Romans 9

27Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved:

You recognize that this is the promise that God made to Abraham that his descendants would be numbered as the sand of the sea. Isaiah said, and Paul quotes him, that even though this is true, when the final restitution of all things comes about, then only a remnant shall be saved.

Romans 9

28For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth.

That refers to a period of time which we will be noticing later called “the Tribulation.”

Romans 9

29And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha.

Paul, quoting Isaiah, mentions that the persecution of Israel, so well illustrated by the sufferings of Naomi, was such that only a small portion of all of Israel will be able to return to the land.

God's Appointed Time for Israel

Another interesting comparison that we will find in our study of the book of Ruth is in relation to the sojourn of this little family. Go back to our basic study, please, to the book of Ruth, and recognize that this little family of Elimelech sojourned in the land of Moab but ten years. That is typical of the sojourn of Israel for something like 1800 years among the nations of the world. Notice, please, Ruth, chapter 1, verse 4:

Ruth 1

4And they took them wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth: and they dwelled there about ten years.

The number ten is a significant number. It is the number of government. It is the number of order in the sense of orderly rule and government. The suggestion, I believe, to be found in this ten-year sojourn is that they were there under the governing hand of God and could not return until God ordered the return just as Israel, dispersed among the nations, could not return until God's appointed time.

Go back now to Luke, chapter 21, and notice the time of God's appointment for the return of Israel. The reason we say to you that as Elimelech's little family was dispersed for ten years, the nation of Israel was dispersed for 1800 years approximately. In Luke, chapter 21, verse 24:

Luke 21

24And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

As you look at this passage of Scripture, you say, “I don't see anything about dates here. Where does the 1800 years come from?” Look up at verse 20:

Luke 21

20And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.

When was it that the city of Jerusalem was compassed with armies and the nation of Israel was scattered among the nations of the world as a result? Students of history know that that even occurred in 70 A.D., when Titus, the Roman emperor, surrounded the city of Jerusalem, laid it waste; and the Jews were scattered to the four corners of the world. Then you will remember that in 1948, the second date to which reference is made in this paragraph begins, because you will notice in the last part of verse 24:

Luke 21

24…and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

You will notice the phrase, “until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” That's a reference to the fact that Jerusalem would be under Gentile dominion. When Jerusalem was no longer under Gentile dominion, then the times of the Gentiles would come to an end. You are aware that in 1948, for the first time in 1800 years, the flag of a nation was flown over this little land that was so important to the world's history. I am well aware of all of the controversy related to the fact that all of the Jews are not yet back. I am well aware of all of the discussion related to whether the Jews are there in belief or unbelief at the present time. Those things we will take up when we look at these suggestions in detail, but suffice to say that the typology of eschatology has found itself complete in this particular study up to this point because it represents the fact that the little family of Elimelech eventually returned to the land of Israel, and so the nation of Israel likewise.

God's Invitation to Israel

Continuing the typology, we recognize, as we go back to the book of Ruth, that Naomi's return to her land was related to the fact that she heard that God had visited her land. When word came to Naomi that there was bread in the house of bread, then she and her daughters-in-law prepared for their return. This is but an illustration of the fact that Israel has returned to her land after God's visitation and will return in even greater numbers after she becomes more conscious of God's visitation than the accomplishments of brilliant men. Notice, please, in Ruth, chapter 1, verse 6:

Ruth 1

6Then she [Naomi] arose with her daughters in law, that she might return from the country of Moab: for she had heard in the country of Moab how that the LORD had visited his people in giving them bread.

It would seem that the hand of God against this little nation had been lifted. Things began to prosper and Naomi said, “Let's go home.”

You who are interested in this subject should know without even referring to the Bible that God has visited His land. Periodicals such as National Geographic give you picture after picture of how God has visited His land and how the Jews are returning by the millions because God has visited His land. Periodicals of a secular nature such as that to which I have referred do not take into account the real reason for it. We are studying God's Word, and so I ask you to turn in your Bibles with me, please, to the book of Hosea, chapter 5, and notice verse 15 and then the first verse of chapter 6:

Hosea 5

15I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early.

Hosea 6

1Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.
2After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.
3Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.

You will notice the invitation: “Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us.” These words will be the invitation that will be extended to all Jewry after the affliction which will culminate in what is known as the Tribulation Period. It is an invitation that is being extended now on the basis of a gradual acknowledgment of Christ, the Messiah. You will notice in verse 3: “Then shall we know if we follow on to know the Lord.” We shall know if we follow on. Israel is in the land today, and the invitation is going out: “Come, let us return.” They are studying Old Testament Scriptures as they have never studied them before. Some of them, we recognize, are among the atheistic portion of our world population; but many of them are studying the Old Testament Scriptures as they never have before seeking to follow on and seeking to know.

The Offense of Israel

All of this is but a step in the direction of the ultimate victory, which is represented by the last statement of verse 3: “He shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.” That is a reference to the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, which is in fulfillment of His promise described in verse 15 of chapter 5, where we read:

Hosea 5

15I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early.

This is the Savior Who is speaking. He said when He left this earth, “I am going away and I am going to stay away until they acknowledge their offense.” Not offenses, plural, but offense, singular. What was their offense? Contrary to all of the suggestions made by liberal ecumenical leaders, their offense was the rejection of Jesus Christ and the Crucifixion. These days when we are afraid to hurt anyone's feelings and we dare not speak out against the minority, church leaders are suggesting that it was not the Jews who crucified Christ; it was Pilate. The Bible says it was the Jews, and the Bible says that the Jews are going to have to acknowledge that offense before ever He will return. Of course, in the last part of verse 15, you are told that they will acknowledge that offense after a time of affliction. Naomi didn't think about coming back home until she heard there was bread in the land; and when she came back home, she came back home empty. When Israel returns in her entirety to the land of Israel, she will be returning empty.

A Gentile Bride for Christ

Go back to the book of Ruth and notice another suggestion. That is that Naomi's sons' marriages to Gentiles in Moab is an illustration of God's selecting a Gentile bride for Christ. In Ruth, chapter 1, verse 4, we read:

Ruth 1

4And they took them wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth: and they dwelled there about ten years.

What happened while the little family of Elimelech was in Moab? They married Gentile brides. A Gentile bride was prepared. What is to happen in this New Testament age when Israel is scattered among the nations? Well, here it is expressed. God is selecting a Gentile bride for the Savior while the Jews are scattered among the nations of the earth.

Turn with me, please, to Acts, chapter 15, and notice the paragraph which begins with verse 13. You will recall that they had a church council at Jerusalem. There is quite a bit of discussion as to what should happen in relation to the Gentiles being included in what they considered to be a Jewish church. The emphasis was placed upon the fact that there was no such thing as a Jewish church. The message going to the Gentiles was part of God's ultimate purpose.

Acts 15

13And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me:
14Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.
15And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,
16After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:
17That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.

This is a tremendous passage of Scripture. First, it declares God's purpose in this age in which we live. What is it? To pack care packages to send to beleaguered peoples in other parts of the world? Oh, no! What is the purpose of the Church today? To endow various minority groups to speak their rights and their privileges as they think of them? No! What is God's purpose with the Church today? We could go on and mention all of the confused ideas that people have with which you are familiar, and after each one of them answer in the negative. There is but one purpose that God has for the Church today, and it is declared in verse 14: God is visiting the Gentiles to take out of them a people for his name. The Jews are on the side track right now; and in this New Testament age, God is visiting the Gentiles, saving one here, one there, one yonder. That certainly ought to indicate to you, Beloved, that the world is not Christian, that God did not intend for it to be Christian. It never will be Christian. God is taking out of the world individuals, placing them in the Body of Christ that there might be a Bride for His Son. All of this is according to the prophecy, because in verse 16, you read:

Acts 15

16After this [After what? After the bride is complete] I [the Lord Jesus Christ] will return [will return where? Well, where was He? He was on the earth, so He is coming back] , and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:

Now, the tabernacle of David here is not an exclusive reference to a place of worship. It means the house of David is going to be re-established. A king is going to sit on David's throne and then, according to verse 17:

Acts 15

17That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.

If it had not been for a Jewish family sent into exile, a Gentile bride would never have been found for Boaz. If it had not been for the dispersion of the Jews on their rejection of their Messiah, there would not be in this day and in this hour the formation of a Church, the Body of Christ, which is the Bride of Christ. We rejoice in the opportunity which is ours to be part of that Bride.

The Time for Gleaning

Another suggestion that we would bring to your attention is Naomi and Ruth's return at the end of the barley harvest is an illustration of the Jews' return to their homeland at the end of this Age of Grace.

Go back, please, to the book of Ruth and notice chapter 1, verse 22, when we are told that these folk returned:

Ruth 1

22So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter in law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest.

When was it that they came back? When they were beginning to reap the barley; and before they were through with the reaping, the gleaning time had come. This reaping in the barley harvest is representative of the reaping to which we referred a moment ago when Gentiles were saved and became the Bride of Christ. Did you notice when we studied the book of Ruth from the twofold standpoint to which we have already mentioned, analogy and soteriology, that Ruth was a gleaner in this harvest? The time of gleaning had come. That is the reason that we suggest to you that the Jews' return to the land of Palestine is an indication that this Age of Grace is just about over.

Turn, please, to Romans, chapter 11, and notice the paragraph which begins with verse 25, where we read:

Romans 11

25For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits [what is the mystery?] ; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.

The nation of Israel, by and large, is blind to the Gospel of truth. They are not accepting it. Individually they are, but as a nation they are not because the fullness of the Gentiles has not yet occurred; but when it does occur, in verse 26:

Romans 11

26And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:

As concerning the Gospel, they are enemies for your sake; but as touching election they are, Beloved, for the Father's sake, for the gift and the callings of God are without repentance. The fact that some of Israel has returned to the land of Palestine is an indication that the Age of Grace is coming to an end. The fact that this is a gleaning time in relation to the people who are being saved is an indication that the Age of Grace is coming to an end.

Individual Efforts to Glean

What am I talking about, a gleaning time? I'm talking about individuals being saved, not through great revivals, but through individual effort. God has raised up in these last days in an amazing fashion individual efforts to glean the harvest field. When I am speaking of individual efforts, I'm not speaking of one person. I am speaking of ministries that have never been heard of twenty-five to thirty years ago. For example, the tape ministry. I refer not only to the one that goes out from here, but tape ministries from a great many places are being used to glean. Churches are not getting the job done, but the tape ministries are reaching multitudes of people everywhere. The printed page, radio, television–God is using this to reach into the corners of the harvest field. You remember in another lesson in the book of Ruth, we learned that the gleaners went into the corners of the harvest field, because the individuals who were reaping the barley harvest were in a hurry and they reaped out the middle but they left the corners. We are getting the corners now. People are not being saved in great numbers, but individuals are being reached for Christ.

I am going to say a word of explanation here, because I think that I will leave some of you confused if you are not familiar as you should be with spiritual things. Some of you are probably thinking as I say that God is not working in great numbers today, but what about the great mass evangelistic campaigns about which we hear? Probably the best-known individual, and we mention his name because he is a well-known individual, is Billy Graham. Some of them will say, “You mean to tell me with sometimes 60,000 or 80,000 people coming to one meeting that we are not having a revival and that we are still winning them one by one?” I want you to think very carefully about what I am saying. I challenge anyone to dispute this statement of fact. You study Billy Graham's ministry, and you will find that it is the best promoted ministry that this earth has ever seen. I don't say that critically. An advance man goes into a city, sometimes as much as three years before Billy Graham ever comes there. He organizes prayer meetings. He organizes all kinds of groups, and Billy Graham's crowds are for the most part due to delegations which are brought by buses from outlying areas, all planned very carefully by the efforts of man. Again I do not say that critically; I am saying this by way of explanation. In the days of revivals of years ago, the revivals of Finney, the revivals of Chapman, the revivals of Jonathan Edwards, there was no evangelistic committee. No one hired a bus or whatever means of conveyance to get people in. The Spirit of God moved so upon the people that they flocked to these places without any human instrumentality whatsoever.

Let me suggest another thought. If you number the converts in a Billy Graham meeting, making allowances for the chaff–in any kind of public movement there are chaff; you might as well recognize that–and then count the number of converts in proportion to the attendance, you will discover that it is still a gleaning process. You have a little group of people, say two to three hundred people and you have one or two converts. No one is particularly moved, but you multiply that by a great number and have that two converts multiplied by a hundred or by a thousand and everyone is moved about the great moving of the Spirit. I beg to suggest to you, Beloved, that the Spirit of God is not moving in these great mass evangelistic campaigns any more than He is moving anywhere in this end of the age. This is the time of gleaning. What I am suggesting to you is not to say that these things shouldn't be done. Their methods, and none of men's methods, are perfect. If they don't work, cast them aside. Cast them aside and get another method. What I am emphasizing, and I must do this for you to get the point, is that this is the time of gleaning.

I am going to suggest these other comparisons by way of typology without looking at the passages of Scripture involved, but you might want to jot them down and study them for yourself.

The Church Resting At Jesus' Feet

I noticed that after the return of Naomi to the land of Bethlehem there was a night of threshing with Ruth resting at the feet of Boaz, and the description is given in the third chapter of the book of Ruth, verses 1-4. That illustrates very plainly that there is going to come upon this earth a night of tribulation when the wheat is going to be separated from the chaff; but the Church, represented by Ruth, will be resting at the feet of Christ, represented by Boaz, because the Rapture of the Church will have already occurred.

You will recall what is written in Revelation, chapter 3, verse 10, where Christ has promised, “I will save you from the hour of trial which is coming to try the world.” Yes, Beloved, the Jew has suffered untold persecution for nearly 2,000 years, but that is going to be child's play in comparison to that dark night of Tribulation which is going to come to try the world. Fortunately for the Church, she will not go through that hour of Tribulation. She will be resting at the Master's feet, for the Rapture will have occurred.

Will you notice another suggestion. After Naomi's return, she waited for the marriage of Ruth to Boaz. The description is given in Ruth, chapter 3, verse 18. Naomi, you will remember, is representative here of the Jews. Ruth is representative of the Church, the Gentiles. After the Jews have returned to the land, as they will finally as a nation, they will be waiting for the marriage supper of the Lamb described in Revelation, chapter 19, verses 6-9; because after Israel's return to the land, the Church is married to Christ. God's prophetic program will not be complete until that is a reality. Christ presents the Church to Himself as a Bride without spot and blemish.

Israel's Golden Age to Come

Two other things we should call to your attention. One of them is related to the fact that after Ruth's marriage, Naomi is blessed beyond measure. You read the account in Ruth, chapter 4, verses 13-16. Perhaps you will remember our reading of that story. You would have thought that it was Naomi who had the baby. You would have thought that Ruth was not even on the scene because all of the congratulations were given to Naomi. All the emphasis was placed upon the fact that Naomi was blessed as God had promised He would bless her. That is an illustration of the fact that after the marriage supper of the Lamb, Israel's Golden Age is ushered in. The millennial reign of Christ begins as is described in Revelation, chapter 20, verses 1-5.

We have given you the skeleton-outline of Ruth studied from the standpoint of eschatology. You probably have a number of questions, and we will answer the questions you have before we are through with this study, because we are going to take up in detail each one of these characteristics of eschatology that you have seen in the book of Ruth. Perhaps you will be more enlightened about the most important truth that I think is possible for men to know today. That is that the times of the Gentiles is just about over. The second coming of Christ has been a truth that has been emphasized by many, but never has there been a generation that could talk about it with the realization that Israel is back in the land and the times of the Gentiles are fast coming to an end. A privileged people we are, and I hope that this will become as exciting to you as it is to me.


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