By John W. White

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When you read passages that deal with redemption in the Old Testament it is very clear that redemption has to do with those in the family. The Old Testament reveals that God redeems those in his family, the children of Israel, from the bondage of others so that they could serve Him.  Exodus 4:22-23  "And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn: And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me." In Leviticus we see that only the next of kin can redeem a man that has sold himself because of debt. Leviticus 25:47-49 "And if a sojourner or stranger wax rich by thee, and thy brother that dwelleth by him wax poor, and sell himself unto the stranger or sojourner by thee, or to the stock of the stranger's family: After that he is sold he may be redeemed again; one of his brethren may redeem him: Either his uncle, or his uncle's son, may redeem him, or any that is nigh of kin unto him of his family may redeem him; or if he be able, he may redeem himself."


Basically there are two Hebrew words that deal with the doctrine of redemption. The first word is "6299. PADAH, paw-daw'; a prim. root; to sever, i.e. ransom; gener. to release, preserve:-- X at all, deliver, X by any means, ransom, (that are to be, let be) redeem (-ed), rescue, X surely." Strong's Concordance. There are other words that are derivatives of PADAH:  6302, 6304, and 6306. (The word numbers are from Strong's Concordance). The Second word is "1350. GA'AL, gaw-al'; a prim. root, to redeem (according to the Oriental law of kinship), i.e. to be the next of kin (and as such to buy back a relative's property, marry his widow, etc.):-- X in any wise, X at all, avenger, deliver, (do, perform the part of near, next) kinsfolk (-man), purchase, ransom, redeem (-er), revenger." 1353 is a feminine passive participle of 1350." Strong's


The first occurrence of the word PADAH is found in Exodus 13:13-15  "...All the firstborn of man among thy children shalt thou redeem. And it shall be when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What is this? that thou shalt say unto him, By strength of hand the LORD brought us out from Egypt, from the house of bondage: And it came to pass, when Pharaoh would hardly let us go, that the LORD slew all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man, and the firstborn of beast: therefore I sacrifice to the LORD all that openeth the matrix, being males; but all the firstborn of my children I redeem."  The Lord instituted this practice to stimulate a man's son to ask the question "What is this?" It was then that a father could tell the exodus story of how God redeemed them from the bondage of Egypt. This passage shows that it is only the first born male child that was to be redeemed and none of the other children. The blood on the door was there only for the protection of the first born, but the lamb was to be food for all that were in the house.


The first and only occurrence of redemption in the book of Genesis is found in Genesis 48:16  "The Angel which redeemed (Hebrew, GA'AL) me from all evil (Hebrew, RA' translated adversity, affliction, calamity, distress, misery, sorrow, trouble.).." This was Jacob's testimony to his grandsons, Ephraim and Manasseh, that the Lord had been faithful to redeem him from the bondage of evil. The next occurrence of the Hebrew word GA'AL is found in Exodus 6:6  "Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments:" When God's people, the children of Israel, heard that the Lord was going to deliver them from the bondage of Egypt  Exodus 4:31c "...they bowed their heads and worshipped." Not only was the Lord going to deliver them from bondage, but He was going to bring them into their inheritance. Exodus 3:8 "And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey...."


Leviticus 25:10 "And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty (a]qesiv remission, LXX) throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee (a]fesiv, remission, LXX) unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family." Two things were to take place every fifty years.  First, every man that had sold his land, which was part of his family's inheritance, was to have it returned to him and his family. Second, every man that had sold himself to another was to be released back to his family. In Leviticus 25:23-25 "The land shall not be sold for ever: for the land is mine; for ye are strangers and sojourners with me. And in all the land of your possession ye shall grant a redemption  for the land. If thy brother be waxen poor, and hath sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem it, then shall he redeem that which his brother sold." We can see that only those who were in the family could redeem their brother and his possessions. This was to ensure that each family in the nation of Israel would have an inheritance in the land. Leviticus 25:28 "But if he be not able to restore it to him, then that which is sold shall remain in the hand of him that hath bought it until the year of jubilee: and in the jubilee it shall go out, and he shall return unto his possession." Redemption is a family matter. Only those who were next of kin could redeem a brother or his possessions, the land of his inheritance.


In the book of Ruth we have the story of the kinsman redeemer. Because  Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, and their two sons had died in Moab without having children, therefore there was no children insure that the family would have an inheritance in the land. Boaz, brother of Elimelech, was a near kinsman and willing to redeem Naomi and Ruth. Boaz was very careful to make sure that the nearest kinsman had the first chance to redeem Naomi and Ruth because the right of redemption belonged to him. Ruth 4:1-6 "Then went Boaz up to the gate, and sat him down there: and, behold, the kinsman (GA'AL) of whom Boaz spake came by; unto whom he said, Ho, such a one! turn aside, sit down here. And he turned aside, and sat down. ...And he said unto the kinsman, Naomi, ..selleth a parcel of land, which was our brother Elimelech's:... Buy it before the inhabitants, and before the elders of my people. If thou wilt redeem (GA'AL) 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. Then said Boaz, What day thou buyest the field of the hand of Naomi, thou must buy it also of Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance. And 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." The nearest kinsman was willing to redeem only the land. This would give his children a larger inheritance. When he found out that he would have to bear children with Ruth then he refused to redeem Naomi and Ruth. Having more children with Ruth would mar, spill, lose, or perish his own inheritance. Boaz is a type of the Lord Jesus Christ. Naomi is a type of the nation of Israel, and Ruth is a type of the church both of which are in the family. When  we are part of the family then we have a kinsman redeemer, Jesus Christ, so that we will not lose our inheritance.


There is not a single reference in the Old Testament of the dead being redeemed, only those who were alive. We are first given life by being born from above into the family of God. As a child of God we are to please Him by serving Him. As a child of God we can choose whom we serve. Romans 6:16  "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey...?" When we disobey the Lord, we sell ourselves to another master. Isaiah 50:1 "... Behold, for your iniquities have ye sold yourselves..." Matthew 6:24 "No man can serve two masters.." We can not serve the Lord and sin. God that has made it possible for us to be redeemed from any master we may chose to serve other than the Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 6:12 "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof."


In the New Testament there are five Greek words that are translated redeem, redeemer, or redemption and they are agora>zw (59), apolu>trosiv (629), ejxagora>zw (1805), lutro>w (3084), and lu>trosiv (3085). The words apolu>trosiv, lutro>w, and lu>trosiv all have the same root word. That word is lu>w (3089) which means to loosen, unbind, and unfasten as found in the The Analytical Greek Lexicon. The word apolu>trosiv is also translated deliverance in Hebrews 11:35. The word lu>tron (3083) is part of the family of words related to redemption and is used twice, and is translated ransom. The word agora>zw means to purchase but is translated redeemed in the book of Revelation. When agora>zw has the prefix ejk then the word could be translated to purchase out from because the preposition ejk means out from. (The word numbers are from Strong's Concordance.)


The first occurrence of the word redeem in the New Testament is in Luke 1:68 "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed (Greek, lu>trosiv) his people (those in the family),"  This first use of the word redeem carries the meaning of redemption from the Old Testament into the New Testament. The Lord redeeming His people from their enemies and those who hated them as shown in Luke 1:71 "That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us;" Luke 1:74 "That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear," In both the Old and New Testament we see the purpose of redemption is to deliver us from the bondage of our enemies and those who hate us so that we can serve and honor the Lord Jesus Christ.


Ephesians 1:7  "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness (a]fesiv = remission, liberty, deliverance) of sins, according to the riches of his grace;" Colossians 1:14 "In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:" The phrase "In whom" helps us to determine where we have redemption and remission. "In whom" is a reference to "in Christ Jesus" in Ephesians 1:1 and "in Christ" in Colossians 1:2. If we are not born from above, we are not in the family of God, neither are we in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." The parsing of the verb "We have" in both verses is 3rd person, plural, present, active, indicative. The present tense expresses action as continuous and the active voice tells us that the subject "We" is doing the action of the verb "Have." To whom does the word "We" refer to in both Ephesians and Colossians?  The "We" of Ephesians 1:7 is a reference to the "Saints" and "Faithful" of verse 1. The "We" of Colossians 1:14 is a reference to the "saints and faithful brethren" in verse 2. The action of the present tense can be stopped any time. When we become unfaithful to the Lord, then we have chosen another master and we need to be redeemed. As a child of God we can either accept or refuse to be delivered. Redemption and remission have to be continuously available to us, otherwise we would never be able to be free to serve the Lord. If we refuse to appropriate the shed blood of Jesus Christ and confess our sins, we will continue to be in bondage to our new master until we accept our redemption and remission. 1 John 1:7 "But if we walk (present, active, subjunctive, "we may walk") in the light, as he is (present, active, indicative) in the light, we have (present, active, indicative) fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth (present, active, indicative) us from all sin." We may or may not walk in the light. Either we are faithful or we are unfaithful. If we continue to walk in the light we will continue to have fellowship with Him, and we can be sure that our sins are continually being cleansed. 1 John 1:9 "If we confess (present active subjunctive, "we may confess") our sins, he is (present, active, indicative) faithful and just to forgive (aorist, active, subjunctive, "He may forgive") us our sins, and to cleanse (aorist, active, subjunctive, "He may cleanse") us from all unrighteousness." The phrases "He may forgive" and "He may cleanse" is dependent upon whether we confess our sins or not. If we confess our sins He is faithful to forgive and cleanse, but if we will not confess, He is faithful not to forgive and cleanse.


Titus 2:14 "Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity (ajnomi>a, lawlessness), and purify unto himself a peculiar (periou>sion, being above) people, zealous of good works." The sin of lawlessness is known as the presumptuous sin. Numbers 15:30-31 "But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Because he hath despised the word of the LORD, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him." To be cut off was to die prematurely. In type, when one perished, one lost his inheritance and not his salvation. 


Hebrews 9:12  "Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained (euJri>skw = to find) eternal (aijw>niov = age, an adjective describing redemption) redemption (Greek, lu>trosiv) for us." Only in this age do we need redemption. When we enter into our inheritance in the heavenlies, we will no longer need to be redeemed. We will be subject to only one master, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.


Romans 3:24  "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption (Greek, apolu>trosiv) that is in Christ Jesus:" Notice again that redemption takes place "In Christ." Redemption delivers us from the hand of our enemies that we might serve the Lord without fear. We are exhorted to have grace so that our service will be well pleasing to God. Hebrews 12:28 "..let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:" To have His grace is to have the power of Christ resting upon us. 2 Corinthians 12:9  "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." If we are not redeemed, God is not going to give us grace to serve another master. Abraham was obedient and faithful to the Lord when he offered up Isaac. Hebrews 11:17  "By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac." Hebrews 11:6 "But without faith it is impossible to please him." James 2:21  "Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?" Romans 8:33  "Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth." (See the tract Election Check It Out) Works done by grace through faith please God and they are works of gold, silver and precious stones. Works done apart from grace and faith will be burned. 1 Corinthians 3:13-15 "Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire." The charge against those works that burned is that they did not please God. 2 Corinthians 5:10-11  "For we (the saved) must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror (fear) of the Lord, we persuade (saved) men..." Colossians 3:23-24  "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ."


Matthew 6:24 "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." Romans 6:16  "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?" Luke 1:74  "That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear," Joshua 24:15 "And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, ....: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."


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