YHWH Shua: Kinsman Redeemer and Avenger of Blood

YHWH Shua: Kinsman Redeemer and Avenger of Blood

Last week we began our look at the God who saves with a look at the doctrine of sin and salvation. This week we are expanding our study of the God who saves by looking at YHWH Shua as goel, the Kinsman Redeemer and the Blood Avenger.

 

Kinsman-Redeemer

The kinsman-redeemer is a male relative who, according to various laws of the Pentateuch, had the privilege or responsibility to act on behalf of a relative who was in trouble, danger, or need. The Hebrew term (go el) for kinsman-redeemer designates one who delivers or rescues (Genesis 48:16Exodus 6:6) or redeems property or person (Leviticus 27:9–2525:47–55). The kinsman who redeems or vindicates a relative is illustrated most clearly in the book of Ruth, where the kinsman-redeemer is Boaz.
Avenger of blood

(Heb. goel, from verb gaal, “to be near of kin,” “to redeem”), the nearest relative of a murdered person. It was his right and duty to slay the murderer ( 2 Samuel 14:7  2 Samuel 14:11 ) if he found him outside of a city of refuge. In order that this law might be guarded against abuse, Moses appointed six cities of refuge ( Exodus 21:13 ;  Numbers 35:13 ;  Deuteronomy 19:1  Deuteronomy 19:9 ). These were in different parts of the country, and every facility was afforded the manslayer that he might flee to the city that lay nearest him for safety. Into the city of refuge the avenger durst not follow him. This arrangement applied only to cases where the death was not premeditated. The case had to be investigated by the authorities of the city, and the wilful murderer was on no account to be spared. He was regarded as an impure and polluted person, and was delivered up to the goel ( Deuteronomy 19:11-13 ). If the offence was merely manslaughter, then the fugitive must remain within the city till the death of the high priest ( Numbers 35:25 ).

 

Jesus as the Believer’s Refuge

 

The New Testament reveals there is still today a place of refuge, one unique way, and but one and only one plan of salvation, enter into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord and experience as a result, regeneration, spiritual rebirth, (John 3).

 

By faith, as a result of trusting in Jesus, the believer then experiences the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, and of Christ, and of God the Father. By means of spiritual baptism the individual is then taken out of the world-system (and his or her identification with the fallen-world) and is placed into the Body of Christ. The true church, the Body of Christ is a living organism. (Romans 6)

 

Jesus has been raised from the dead and has ascended into heaven. Joined to Christ, the believer has positionally been taken to heaven also, (Ephesians 2).

 

 

What is Jesus our refuge from? To a certain degree, Jesus is our refuge from Himself. As Christians, we love to talk about Jesus as the one who saves us from our sins, which we call redemption. On the other side of that coin is a fact that we generally attempt to avoid discussing: In His second coming, Jesus is coming to kill all of His enemies. He is coming as Goel, the Avenger of Blood.

 

The Avenger of Blood, in ancient Israel, was the nearest male relative, was responsible for protecting the property, liberty, and posterity of his next of kin, in addition to protecting their lives through the “avenging of blood.” This Old Testament Type of the Avenger of Blood is also fulfilled, as might be expected, by Jesus Christ the Lord.

…God deems it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant rest with us to you who are afflicted, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance upon those who do not know God and upon those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They shall suffer the punishment of eternal destruction and exclusion from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at in all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. (2 Thessalonians 2:6-10)

As might be expected for a “next of kin,” the coming Judge, the Jew named Jesus, will be especially zealous for the maltreatment of His own people, the Jews, down through history,

I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat, and I will enter into judgment with them there, on account of my people and my heritage Israel, because they have scattered them among the nations, and have divided up my land, and have cast lots for my people, and have given a boy for a harlot, and have sold a girl for wine, and have drunk it.

 

“What are you to me, O Tyre and Sidon, and all the regions of Philistia? Are you paying me back for something? If you are paying me back, I will requite your deed upon your own head swiftly and speedily. For you have taken my silver and my gold, and have carried my rich treasures into your temples. You have sold the people of Judah and Jerusalem to the Greeks, removing them far from their own border. But now I will stir them up from the place to which you have sold them, and I will requite your deed upon your own head. I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the sons of Judah, and they will sell them to the Sabeans, to a nation far off; for the LORD has spoken.”

 

Proclaim this among the nations: Prepare war, stir up the mighty men. Let all the men of war draw near, let them come up. Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears; let the weak say, “I am a warrior.” Hasten and come, all you nations round about, gather yourselves there.

 

Bring down thy warriors, O LORD.

 

Let the nations bestir themselves, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat; for there I will sit to judge all the nations round about. Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Go in, tread, for the wine press is full. The vats overflow, for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes, in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining. And the LORD roars from Zion, and utters his voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth shake.

 

But the LORD is a refuge to his people, a stronghold to the people of Israel. (Joel 3:3-16)

 

If Jesus is the Avenger of Blood on behalf of millions of Jews who have suffered at the hands of Gentile oppressors and anti-semites, He is also the Judge of all the world.

The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. “Truly, truly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself, and has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of man. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment. (John 5:22-29)

 

A final question remains in considering Jesus as the Avenger of Blood for all mankind. Who avenges the innocent blood shed by the Savior of the World Himself? Who is Jesus’ next-of-kin responsible for Jesus’ own vindication and for just retribution against the guilty on His behalf? Surely it must be the heavenly Father of Jesus, the God of heaven and earth who gave His only-begotten, dearly-beloved son to make it possible for any one, or all, of us to be saved?

 

In the book of the Revelation both Jesus and God the Father are characterized as turning loose their great wrath against an unbelieving world,

When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale; the sky vanished like a scroll that is rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the generals and the rich and the strong, and every one, slave and free, hid in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand before it?” (Revelation 6:12-17)

 

We have already seen in the typology of the Cities of Refuge and the Kinsman-Redeemer that all sinners, Jew or Gentile, who seek the forgiveness of God, based on the substitutionary death of Jesus, our Great High Priest—all these persons are released forever from all guilt for all their sins. So the final issue is, who among the unforgiven sinners of the world must face the final Avenger of Blood who will personally deal with the enormous problem of the bloodguilt of the shed blood of the innocent Lamb of God?

 

Responsibility for the death of Christ is clearly distributed throughout the world. All of us are guilty—all of us are responsible. But when Jesus stood in trial before Pilate…

…the chief priests and the elders persuaded the people to ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus. The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.” Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Let him be crucified.” And he said, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified.” So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.” And all the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!” (Matthew 27:20-25)

Accountability for sin in the eyes of God is measured in proportion to light received and the amount of revelation given. Deliberate sin is more serious than inadvertent transgression.

 

Furthermore Israel was instructed by Moses about the defilement of the land which shed blood would bring, especially innocent blood.

You shall not thus pollute the land in which you live; for blood pollutes the land, and no expiation can be made for the land, for the blood that is shed in it, except by the blood of him who shed it. You shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell; for I the LORD dwell in the midst of the people of Israel.” (Numbers 35:33-34)

God’s judgment on the whole world is inevitable and soon to fall on everyone. The Bible describes the final conflagration as including the most terrible of all world wars as being centered in the land of Israel. For the Jews it will be “The Time of Jacob’s Trouble” spoken of by their prophets. Believing Jews will find salvation, safety and refuge (see The Coming Exile of Israel in Edom). The majority of Jews, the Bible predicts, will be destroyed in a terrible blood bath described in Revelation Chapter 14. (Most of the rest of mankind will not survive World War III either).

 

I looked, and there before me was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one

“like a son of man” with a crown of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his

hand. Then another angel came out of the temple and called in a loud voice to him

who was sitting on the cloud, “Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap

has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” So he that was seated on the cloud

swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested.

Ray C. Stedman gives a vivid exposition and commentary on these terrible time,

We have to ask, who is this one seated on the cloud “like a son of man,” wearing a victor’s crown and holding a sickle in his hand? There can hardly be any doubt, can there? It is the Lord Jesus. He himself had told his disciples in Matthew 13, in the parable of the wheat and the weeds, when the disciples in the parable asked the Lord, “Shall we pull up these weeds?” He said to them, “No, let both grow together until the harvest, and then I will tell the harvester, ‘First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned, and then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.'” Then he

interpreted that parable to the disciples, saying, “The harvest is the end of the age (the seven-year period to which we have come in this book), and the harvesters are the angels.” This agrees exactly with what we have here. The angels announce that the time of harvest has come, and the words of Jesus then in Matthew 13 will be literally fulfilled. Let me read them to you:

“The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.”

These are very clear words from the lips of Jesus himself. Now there is still another scene of harvest. Verse 17:

Another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. Still another angel, who had charge of the fire, came from the altar and called in a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, “Take your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of grapes from the earth’s vine, because its grapes are ripe.” The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great

winepress of God’s wrath. They were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses’ bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia [which is about180 miles].

Is this the same story of harvest twice-told? No. You will notice the first harvest is a harvest of wheat. It is cut with a sickle, and it is a separation of the true wheat from the false-looking wheat, the “darnel” is literally the word, the tares of the field. It looks like wheat, but it is not. The angels will separate the two. But this is clearly a grape harvest, a vintage harvest, and the vine in Scripture is always a symbol of Israel. ** The prophet Isaiah uses this symbol of Israel being brought as a vine out of Egypt and planted in a beautifully cared-for land by God himself. Psalm 80 refers to the same thing–Israel is described as a vine. At the Last Supper the Lord himself said, “I am the true vine and you are the branches,” speaking of his Jewish disciples.

 

This is the symbol of Israel, and it is referring to the judgment of apostate Israel. Strangely enough, most of the nation of the Jews today do not believe their own Scriptures. Many of them are atheists. Many of them have denied the Word of God and the Old Testament, or that it applies to them as a special people at all. This therefore is the judgment of apostate Israel. It is called in Jeremiah 30, “the time of Jacob’s trouble.” Many scriptures describe it. It will be a time of warfare once again against Israel, the time of the invasion of the nation by great armies from the north.

Palestine is overrun. This is when the woman (who is true Israel) that we saw in chapter 12 flees and hides in the desert. But apostate Israel is destroyed, and Jerusalem is sacked and partially destroyed. You can read that in Zechariah 12 through 14.

 

The prophet Joel describes it in vivid language. Let me give you these words from his third chapter:

Let the nations be roused; let them advance into the Valley of Jehoshaphat [which means “God judges”], for there will I sit to judge all the nations on every side. Swing the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, trample the grapes, for the winepress is full and the vats overflow–so great is their wickedness.”

Obviously this is the same scene as we have here.

 

Notice, by the way, in verse 20, the change from a symbol to the literal meaning. Grapes are thrown into the winepress (that is a symbol), but blood pours out–that is the literal meaning of wine; that is when wine symbolizes. When we take the Lord’s Supper, wine symbolizes the blood of Christ for us. Blood covers the land for 180 miles, the length of Israel, in a terrible scene of judgment…

 

The Go-el, or Kinsman Redeemer

 

The Book of Ruth (see Ruth: The Romance of Redemption) is a beautiful love story found in the Old Testament in which a foreign, (gentile) woman of Moab finds a home, an inheritance, a husband—and a place in the ancestral lineage leading to Jesus the Messiah. It also tells us in practical language the role of the Kinsman Redeemer in ancient Israel. The role of this relative was to redeem lost land and property and to protect the person and inheritance of the party in need of help. (For details see also the Reference Notes)

 

The Hebrew go-el gives us another magnificent type of Christ as our Redeemer, for He saves us totally, whether we are Jew or Gentile.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace which he lavished upon us. For he has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him, according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to the counsel of his will, we who first hoped in Christ have been destined and appointed to live for the praise of his glory. In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, which is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:8-14)

 

Peter the Apostle reminds us,

You know that you were ransomed (redeemed) from the futile ways inherited from your fathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was destined before the foundation of the world but was made manifest at the end of the times for your sake. Through him you have confidence in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. (I Peter 1:18-21)

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