Jesus Christ Redeemer of His Bride,
and His Earth
Jesus Christ as Redeemer is normally thought of as redeeming those who are saved, those who have accepted Him as their Saviour. But He is also redeeming the land - the whole earth - to restore it to its original owner.
This page is part 3 of a 3-part study on the topic of the
kinsman redeemer (back to part 1)
and how it is related to Revelation chapter 5.
Why would there even be a question about ownership of or rights to this world? There is scriptural evidence that Satan is laying claim to this earth. Jesus Himself seems to have recognized that:
"Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out." (John 12:31)
Jesus came as the nearest kinsman - the kinsman redeemer to redeem this land (the world) that had been sold into slavery. Jesus redeemed the land; He paid the price while it was yet in possession of the enemy.
The opening of the scroll that begins in Revelation 6 reveals the evidence including the testimony of witnesses to support His claim as next of kin to be able to redeem this earth and restore it to Adam and his family who were originally given dominion over it. Then the saved, whose names are in the book as co-inheritors with him will take possession of their inheritance.
"Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth." (Matt 5:5)
While the examples brought up (Jeremiah and Boaz) illustrate how the kinsman-redeemer functioned, the wording in the Biblical account brings up some questions about who was actually selling the land.
The kinsman-redeemer was to buy the land to return it to the original family. A land owner could sell his land to anyone willing to buy it and the role of the next of kin was to buy it back so that it was restored to the family - the original owner or his descendents. Let's look again at each situation.
If Hanameel just wanted to sell his land (because of the Babylonian invasion he might have wanted to liquidate his assets), he could have sold it to anyone but quite likely, in light of the circumstances, it would be very hard to find a buyer. If Jeremiah was functioning as the kinsman-redeemer it would make sense that he was buying it back from someone else who had previously acquired it from Hanameel.
"... Buy thee my field that is in Anathoth: for the right of redemption is thine to buy it. ..." (Jer 32:8)
He didn't say "buy it from me" because, at the time, it was still under lease to the leasee. Yet, he could say "buy my field" because he was the original owner.
Note that there would be a year of Jubilee within that 70 years of captivity - so it would have reverted to Hanameel or his estate anyway. Hanameel may not have understood or appreciated the predicted return after 70 years or he felt the responsibility to have the land back in the family. In any event, it seems God may have directed him to approach Jeremiah about redeeming it and primarily this transaction was for a lesson and encouragement to Israel. If Jeremiah was redeeming it, restoring it to his family who had the original ownership of the land, then it would still be his or his families after the 70 years.
Three verses in the story of Ruth suggest that the purchase is being made from Naomi the wife of Elimelech who owned the land before the family left for Moab.
"And he said unto the kinsman, Naomi, that is come again out of the country of Moab, selleth a parcel of land, which was our brother Elimelech's:" (Ruth 4:3)
"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." (Ruth 4:5)
"And Boaz said unto the elders, and unto all the people, Ye are witnesses this day, that I have bought all that was Elimelech's, and all that was Chilion's and Mahlon's, of the hand of Naomi." (Ruth 4:9)
Yet if, at that point in the story, the land was in the possession of Naomi she could sell it to whomever would buy it and would not require a kinsman-redeemer to do so. If it had previously been sold - perhaps before the family moved to Moab - then she, not being able to buy it back again, would require a kinsman-redeemer to purchase it on her behalf. There are some translations that indicate this is the case:
"And he saith to the redeemer, 'A portion of the field which is to our brother, to Elimelech, hath Naomi sold, who hath come back from the fields of Moab;" (Ruth 4:3, Young's Literal Translation)
"Then he said to the near kinsman, Naomi, who has come back from the country of Moab, sold the piece of land which belonged to our brother Elimelech." (Ruth 4:3, New King James Version)
Those versions put Naomi's sale of the land in the past. It makes sense, considering the circumstances, that Elimelech would have sold the land before moving to Moab. Perhaps the phrase in Ruth 4:5 "buyest the field of the hand of Naomi" is a way of saying that Boaz was buying the field (from whoever had possession/use of it at that time) that was, ultimately, the land of Naomi, by inheritance, before she moved to Moab.
Verse 9 refers to the land as "that was Chilion's and Mahlon's" and they never possessed the land - they only had rights of inheritance to it. Verse 5 even says "buy it also of Ruth the Moabitess" who had never even seen the land while it was in the possession of Elimelech and Naomi. So it is quite possible that to buy the field "of the hand of Naomi" is a way of saying "buy it from the one who has rights of inheritance."
With the Land Came a Bride
In the case of Ruth, there was another matter in addition to the land ownership. Not only did the land need to be redeemed but Ruth, the wife of the one (Mahlon) with rights of inheritance to the land, needed to be redeemed after the manner of levirate marriage as specified in Deuteronomy:
"If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband's brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband's brother unto her. And it shall be, that the firstborn which she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel." (Deut 25:5-6)
Jesus referred to this practice as well:
"Saying, Master, Moses wrote unto us, If any man's brother die, having a wife, and he die without children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother." (Luke 20:28)
So, in the case of Ruth, not only was there the matter of the land but there was an obligation on the part of the near kinsmen to marry the widow so that she could be provided for.
In the situation John is thinking of, he understood that both the land and the bride were in need of redemption. This bride, of course, included himself. John would have been familiar with both the stories of Jeremiah and Ruth and, understanding that the book included details of who was the eligible kinsmen-redeemer, was anxious to have the contents revealed so that the situation with the land (the whole earth) and the bride (the Christian church) could be resolved.
What he witnessed showed that when the seals are finally removed, Jesus will be declared as the kinsmen redeemer. So John was weeping not about future events which hadn't yet been revealed to him but about the status of the land - this earth - and who would inherit it. He would have been greatly relieved at the pronouncement:
"... Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof." (Rev 5:5)
Jesus Christ, the Redeemer, will finally be able to redeem the land for those who have rights of inheritance and redeem the bride who will finally be able to enjoy this land and make it their home forever. Praise God!