FIVE OLD TESTAMENT PICTURES OF REDEMPTION
"For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect." -- Hebrews 10:1
The only hope for fallen, guilty, depraved sinners is redemption, a redemption which includes atonement for sin, satisfaction for justice, and effectual deliverance from the guilt, power, dominion, and consequences of sin. Such redemption could be accomplished by only one Person, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, our Savior. Not only could he alone do it, he has done it; and he has done it alone (Isa. 63:5).
When we consider the doctrine of redemption, we have come to the most important of all gospel truths. In our day, men more quickly attack the doctrine of the cross than any other. They more vehemently deny the glorious efficacy of Christ’s sin-atoning blood than to any other doctrine. Multitudes who sing with Cowper…
“Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood
Shall never lose its power,
‘Til all the ransomed Church of God
Be saved to sin no more,”
assert with absolute dogmatism that there is no real saving power and efficacy in Christ’s blood; for they declare that multitudes are in hell today for whom Christ died.
In Hebrews 10:1, the Holy Spirit declares that the law given in the Old Testament Scriptures had a shadow of good things to come. That is to say, God, in the Old Testament, under the types and shadows of the law, gave many pictures and prophecies of what he would do for and give to his people through his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Among those many “good things to come” by Christ, none is more excellent and blessed than redemption.
I have often heard Bro. Henry Mahan say, “Any man who cannot preach the gospel from the Old Testament, simply does not know the gospel.” He is exactly right. The sacrifices offered to God in the Old Testament could never take away one sin. However, the law did have many instructive pictures, types , and shadows of our redemption by the blood of Christ.
Three Words Used For Redemption
Our English word, “redemption,’ comes from the Latin and means “to buy again.” If we are to grasp the meaning of the word “redemption”, it will be needful for me to refer to some Greek words. In the Greek New Testament three words are commonly used in reference to our redemption by Christ.
1. AGORADZO -- The basic meaning of agoradzo is “to buy”. You and I who believe have been bought unto God from among men by the blood of Christ (Rev. 5:9), bought from the earth, from among the fallen sons of Adam (Rev. 14:3-4), and bought with the price of Christ’s blood (1 Cor. 6:19). The church of God has been bought, purchased with his own blood (Acts 20:28). “Agoradzo” is the word you would use to describe the purchase of a house. If you buy a house, you take ownership of it as a piece of property; but you do not move it. You simply own it.
2. EKAGORADZO -- This is a compound word. “Ek’ means “out of”, and “agoradzo” means “bought”. “Ekagoradzo” means “bought out of.” God’s elect have been bought out of the hands of God’s offended justice by the blood of Christ, which satisfied the justice of God for us (Gal. 3:13; 4:5). This is the word we would use if we were talking about redeeming an item from the pawn shop, or buying groceries, or purchasing a car, or any other item that is both purchased and delivered from the possession of one into the possession of another. “Ekagoradzo” has the idea of deliverance by the payment of a price. As it is used in the Word of God, it refers to the deliverance of God’s elect from the hands of his offended justice and the curse of his holy law by the price paid by Christ at Calvary, the price of his precious blood.
3. LUTROO -- “Lutroo” means “to set free,” or “to loose.” It is the word that would be used to describe the deliverance of a slave, or a prisoner from bondage and captivity by paying a ransom price for him. So Peter tells us that we have been redeemed, not with silver or gold, the usual price of ransom, but with the precious blood of Christ (1 Pet. 1:18). Our Lord Jesus declares that he came into the world to give his life a ransom price for many (Matt. 20:28).
We should keep these three words in mind whenever we think about the redemptive work of Christ: “Agoradzo” - to buy; “ekagoradzo” - to buy out of; and “lutroo” - to deliver by ransom. The Lord Jesus Christ bought his people from among the fallen sons of Adam, out of the hands of God’s offended justice, and delivered us from our sins by the shedding of his precious blood. That is what redemption is. Anything less than that is not redemption. This is the work of redemption pictured for us in the Old Testament Scriptures.
The Redemption Of Israel Out Of Egypt
The deliverance of the people of Israel out of Egypt was a very special and remarkable type of our redemption by Christ out of a far worse state of bondage than that of Egypt (Ps. 106:6-12). Israel was brought into Egyptian bondage by an act of sin, when Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery. Israel was redeemed by the hand of a man God raised up, Moses the deliverer prophet who typified Christ (Acts 7:35). The price of redemption was the blood of the paschal lamb (Ex. 12:13). The power of their redemption was the omnipotent hand of God, a picture of regeneration and conversion by God’s omnipotent grace (Ex. 14:13-14; 15:1-2, 16). This was a blood redemption, the redemption of a particular people, and an effectual redemption.
The Atonement Money Paid By Israel
Exodus 30:11-16 describes redemption by atonement money. This numbering of the children of Israel and the atonement money they paid so that no plague come upon them, was typical of our ransom by Christ. None but Israelites were ransomed. A specific, numbered people were ransomed. The ransom price was the same for all. Those who were ransomed were preserved from any plague (Pro. 12:21; Ps. 91:10).
The Kinsman Redeemer
The buying again of an Israelite who, by reason of great poverty had sold himself to another, by one of his near kinsman is another good, beautiful picture of our redemption by Christ (Lev. 25:47-49). We have sold ourselves into bondage. We cannot redeem ourselves. No friend is able, or has the right, to redeem us. But there is a near Kinsman who is both able and willing to redeem , the Lord Jesus Christ (Heb. 7:25). Like Boaz, Ruth’s kinsman redeemer, our Lord Jesus Christ as a man is our Near Kinsman. He is able to pay our debt. He willingly laid down his life to ransom us!
The Deliverance Of A Debtor From Prison
In ancient times a man in debt was liable to be arrested and cast into prison. There he would have to remain in bondage until his debt was paid, either by himself or another. That is what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for God’s elect (Isa. 49:8-10; 61:1-3; Phile. 1:18). Our sins are debts. They are debts which we can never pay. We are all, therefore, shut up in debtor’s prison by nature. But Christ has paid our debt and set us free!
John Gill wrote, “Christ, as he has engaged to pay the debts of his people, has paid them, cleared the whole score, and blotted out the hand writing that was against them; in consequence of which is proclaimed, in the gospel, liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; and in the effectual calling Christ says "to the prisoners", "Go forth", opening the prison doors for them; and to them that sit in darkness, in the gloomy cells of the prison, "show yourselves"; all which is done in virtue of the redemption price paid by Christ for his people.”
The Ransom Of A Slave
In the days of the Old Testament, godless men often took their slaves and threw them into deep pits at night. They would take them out of their pits only to perform slavish labor, or if a ransom price was paid for their deliverance. Christ has ransomed us and delivered us from the pit of slavery and corruption (Job 33:24; Zech. 9:11).
We are all slaves to sin and Satan by nature. Our old master, the devil, kept us ever in the deep, dark pit of darkness and night, until Christ came to deliver us. The Lord Jesus Christ delivered us from the slavery of Satan and the pit of darkness, corruption, and sin by the power of his omnipotent grace. The price he paid for the deliverance of our souls was his own precious blood.
These five pictures of redemption, drawn for us by the pen of inspiration, teach us these three things about redemption.
1. Sinners need a Redeemer. As we have seen, sin as it is set forth in the Scriptures is a pit of bondage, slavery, and condemnation from which no man can deliver himself (Ps. 130:1; 69:1-2).
2. Redemption is deliverance from sin by the blood of Christ. It is deliverance from the penalty of sin at the cross, from the dominion of sin in regeneration, from the being of sin in the death of these bodies, and from all the evil consequences of sin in resurrection glory.
3. Redemption is the unaided, unassisted, effectual work of Christ alone. -- “Christ hath redeemed us!” Redemption is always spoken of as the effectual redemption of a particular people. It is never, not even once, portrayed as a failed effort.