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In the Old Testament, “[w]hen an Israelite was obliged to sell his inheritance because of poverty it was the duty of the nearest relative to redeem it for him”. [1] (The verb “redeem” in Hebrew “conveys the idea of buying back or purchasing something lost by paying a price.” [2]) If he became a slave, his close relative must redeem him. When a man dies without an heir, his nearest of kin not only has the duty to redeem his property, he even has to marry his widow also to “provide a male heir who in turn could care for the parents in their old age and prevent the alienation of family property.” [3] (Leviticus 25:25-28; Deuteronomy 25:5-10). 

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That close relative is called a go’el (“one who redeems”) or a “kinsman-redeemer.” It is a picture of our Lord Jesus Christ as our Redeemer.
If a person were to buy back or redeem something or someone as a kinsman-redeemer (go’el), he had to meet five qualifications. First, he must be a blood relative of the one he redeems (Deut. 25:5; Ruth 3:9). This is the requirement that brought the Son of God from heaven to earth to become man (John 1:14; Phil. 2:5-8). Second, the go’el must be able to redeem (Ruth 2:1). Christ alone could pay the price of our redemption (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 1:18-19). Third, the go’el must be willing to redeem (Ruth 3:11). Christ voluntarily left heaven (Phil. 2:5-6) to provide  ransom for us (Matt. 20:28). Fourth, the go’el must be free from the calamity that had happened to the one to be redeemed. Christ had no sin nature for He is God and He never sinned (2 Cor. 5:21). Fifth, the go’el must act to redeem by paying the price. Jesus did this in His death on the cross. [4]
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Jesus perfectly met all the qualifications to be our go’el. Sin has spiritually impoverished us and has made us slaves (John 8:34; Ephesians 2:1-3). But He redeemed us by His death on the cross. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9) He willingly and ably paid the full price to set us free! He is indeed our Kinsman-Redeemer!

Significant Step

Reflect on this portion of “My Redeemer,” Philip Bliss’ classic hymn: “I will sing of my Redeemer / And His wondrous love to me;  / On the cruel cross He suffered / From the curse to set me free. / Sing, oh sing of my Redeemer, / With His blood He purchased me; / On the cross He sealed my pardon, / Paid the debt and made me free.” 

NOTE: This is Day One of the devotional guide (Volume 1, Issue 3) of our church, Filinvest Community Christian Fellowship, for the message last Sunday, March 15, on Know How Much You Are Worth Part 2” (“Significance” series, a verse-by-verse study of the book of Ephesians).

[1] James M. Freeman, The New Manners & Customs of the Bible (FL: Bridge-Logos Publishers, 1998). Electronic edition. 

[2] Earl D. Radmacher, Salvation (TN: Word Publishing, 2000), 55.

[3] Jack S. Deere, “Deuteronomy” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Old Testament ed. John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck (Wheaton, IL: Victor, 1983), 306.

[4] Radmacher, 56. Italics his. 


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