GOD'S NAME - REDEEMER
GOD’S NAME AS REDEEMER
Concise Oxford English Dictionary
1 a person who redeems someone or something.
2 (the Redeemer) Christ.
The Lexham Bible Dictionary
REDEEMER (גאל, g'l). One who pays a price on behalf of an impoverished relative, in order to effect the release of the relative or his/her property (Lev 25:25–54). The New Testament uses this term in reference to Jesus, whose death comes to represent both payment for sin and freedom for the believer.
The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary
REDEEMER (Heb. gō˒ēl, the “nearest kinsman”). According to the custom of retribution, it fell to the nearest kinsman to avenge the blood of a slain relative; to protect the life and property of a relative. This obligation was called by the Israelites redeeming, and the man who was bound to fulfill it a redeemer. The law and duty of the redeemer are assumed by Moses as a matter of tradition and brought under theocratic principle. Redeemers are reckoned full brothers, next to them the father’s brothers, then full cousins, finally the other blood relatives of the clan (Lev. 25:48–49). Since the Hebrews were an agricultural people, the chief function of the redeemer (gō˒ēl) was to “redeem” the land that had been sold by a brother in distress. When the nation came into bondage it needed a redeemer through the “redemption” of the lands to be secured, and they looked to Jehovah to become their gō˒ēl. Thus the Exile gave a force and a meaning to the term more striking than it could have had before. Of thirty-three passages in the OT in which gō˒ēl is applied to God, nineteen occur in Isaiah, and in that part of the complication that deals with conditions existing in the Babylonian Exile (Isa. 48:20; 52:9; 62:12; Ps. 107:2). In spiritualizing the term gō˒ēl, Isaiah (Isa. 49:26; cf. Ps. 19:14) places it on a par with “savior.” See Kinsman; Redemption.
Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible
Redeemer, Redemption. English words derived from a Latin root meaning “to buy back,” thus meaning the liberation of any possession, object, or person, usually by payment of a ransom. In Greek the root word means “to loose” and so to free. The term is used of freeing from chains, slavery, or prison. In the theological context, the term “redemption” indicates a freeing from the slavery of sin, the ransom or price paid for freedom. This thought is indicated in the Gospels, which speak of Christ who came “to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mt 20:28; Mk 10:45).
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised
The main OT terms associated with redemption include Heb. gāʾal (“redeem,” “act as kinsman), pāḏâ (“buy [off], ransom,” “redeem”), and their cognates. Both terms occur frequently; hence, the evidence bearing upon their meaning is copious.
“Release by the payment of a price” or “Buy Back”
Although both verbs may be used in the sense of deliverance without any necessary reference to the mode (cf. for gāʾal, Gen. 48:16; for pāḏhâ, 1 K. 1:29; Isa. 29:22), yet each, pervasively, has the differentiated meaning “release by the payment of a price” or “buy back”. In Exodus and Leviticus this meaning becomes patent.
1 Kings 1:29
Redemption pertaining to the sanctifying of the firstborn males of humans and animals.
One aspect of redemption pertained to the sanctifying of the firstborn males of humans and animals (Ex. 13:2, 12; 22:29f.; cf. Lk. 2:23).
Redemption pertaining to special provisions for the redemption of land or property.
Another aspect of redemption pertained to special provisions for the redemption of land or other property.
Provisions for the redemption of a dwelling.
There were also provisions for the redemption of a dwelling.
Redemption in reference to the salvation wrought by God for his people
In the OT the concept of redemption occurs frequently in reference to the salvation wrought by God for His people.
But “redemption” is not merely deliverance; it also reflects on the mode of deliverance.
The stress frequently falls upon the power exerted by God in accomplishing deliverance and on the gratitude and devotion consequently owed by Israel (cf. Ex. 6:6f.; 10:1f.; 13:3, 14f.; 19:4–6; 20:22; Dt. 5:6).
Salvation of the Lord, when conceived of as redemption, is release from bondage by ransom
Thus the salvation of the Lord, when conceived of as redemption, is release from bondage by ransom and reflects not merely upon the result but also upon the mode by which the deliverance is wrought.
As observed above, the intermediary who secures the redemption is called the gōʾēl. This title is frequently ascribed to the Lord in the OT, especially in Isaiah (cf. Job 19:25; Ps. 19:14 [MT 15]; Isa. 41:14; 43:14; 44:6, 24; 47:4; 48:17; 49:7, 26; 54:5, 8; 60:16; 63:16; Jer. 50:34).
Messianic Prophecy - a Redeemer will come to Zion
Messianic prophecy takes the form of the promise that a Redeemer will come to Zion (Isa. 59:20; cf. Rom. 11:26); thus the coming salvation mentioned repeatedly in redemptive terms, is conjoined with the coming of One whose specific role is that of Redeemer.
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised
The NT terms related to redemption include Gk. lýtron, “price of release, ransom,” (Mt. 20:28; Mk. 10:45), lytróō, “set free, redeem,” “free by paying a ransom,” (Lk. 24:21; Tit. 2:14; 1 Pet. 1:18), lýtrōsis, “ransoming, releasing, redemption,” (Lk. 1:68; 2:38; He. 9:12), lytrōté̄s, “redeemer,” (Acts 7:35), apolýtrōsis, “release, redemption,” “state of being redeemed,” (Lk. 21:28; Rom. 3:24; 8:23; 1 Cor. 1:30; Eph. 1:7, 14; 4:30; Col. 1:14; He. 9:15; 11:35), exagorázō, “buy, buy up, redeem,” (Gal. 3:13; 4:5), agorázō, “buy, purchase,” (1 Cor. 6:20; 7:23; 2 Pet. 2:1; Rev. 5:9; 14:3f.). The central notion of ransom is apparent in lýtron and its derivatives, and that of purchase in agorázō and exagorázō.
The NT language of redemption, with few exceptions (cf. Acts 7:35; Eph. 5:16; Col. 4:5), refers to the salvific work of Christ and to its effect for humanity.
Three Facts concerning NT redemption.
The word of Our Lord places beyond question three facts: (1) the work He came to accomplish was one of ransom, (2) the giving of His life was the ransom price, and (3) the ransom was substitutionary in character.
We cannot be surprised, therefore, to find one of them, echoing His very words, describing His work as a giving of Himself as a ransom (ἀντιλύτρον) for all (1 Tim. 2:6)” (Biblical Doctrines , p. 361).
Tit. 2:14 similarly represents Christ’s self-giving as having the twofold design of ransom from all iniquity and the sanctification of the ransomed possession.
Peter, with perhaps clearer allusion to the specific character of redemption as ransom by price, writes, “You know that you were ransomed 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” (1 Pet. 1:18f.).
Redemptive Price - the Blood of Christ
The redemptive price here is plainly the blood of Christ. When Paul spoke of redemption through Jesus’ blood (Eph. 1:7), the same concept was without doubt in his mind.
Justification (Accounting the guilty just before God) through the Redemption
When he spoke of being “justified … through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:24) and then specified the propitiation in Jesus’ blood (v 25), the associations of ransom must be regarded as defining the contemplated redemption.
Propitiation (Appeasing) in Jesus Blood
Redeeming sinners is the sum and substance of the Messiah’s work, and appropriately “Redeemer” is one of His important titles. The Old Testament uses a couple of different words to refer to God’s redeeming His people, neither of which is limited to God’s activity in “salvation” redemption. One of the words (padah) often focuses directly on the Lord’s rescuing and delivering His people. It is the word David used when he praised the Lord after receiving the covenant promise: “What one nation in the earth is like thy people, even like Israel, whom God went to redeem for a people to himself … thy people, which thou redeemest to thee from Egypt …” (2 Samuel 7:23). The other word (ga’al) is what we want to define here; it is the root on which this title of Messiah is formed. In fact, the title “Redeemer” is just a participle of the verb. I have tried to avoid throwing around a lot of Hebrew words, but I think you may be familiar with this one. Though not transliterated precisely, I will use the word Goel to refer to this title.
The Goel is like the term “Messiah” itself in that it does not refer uniquely to the Lord Jesus. As there were lesser messiahs that pointed to the greater Messiah, so were there lesser goels that pointed to the Ideal. Understanding the word generally will help us understand its specific application to Christ. This is the word that frequently specifies the “kinsman redeemer,” and that is good because it highlights the distinctive and specifying component in this word’s meaning. This word assumes a relationship between the redeemer and the redeemed. The word assumes that the goel will perform the appropriate action to alleviate the need of those with whom he has a relationship. In fact, the goel is under obligation because of the relationship to do whatever is necessary to do. It is the goel that the Authorized Version translates as the “avenger” of blood (e.g., Joshua 20:9), whose obligation it was to execute the death penalty on one who had murdered a relative. Boaz, as the “near kinsman” (goel), did what was necessary to purchase property in behalf of Naomi and even went beyond the call of duty in marrying Ruth. The point is that whether paying a debt, freeing from slavery, reclaiming property for the family inheritance, or avenging a death, the goel did whatever was necessary to meet the need of his relatives.
All of this reaches its zenith when applied to the Messiah. Christ is for His people the Ideal Goel; He never fails to fulfill His obligation—we may say covenant duty—in behalf of those with whom He is related by virtue of that covenant. This is the information that you need to plug into those texts that refer to God as the Redeemer. I would suggest that the implications of goel are relevant in those texts that apply the term generally to God, and that even in those general statements the specific reference may be to the Messiah as the Agent of the Godhead who performs the necessary acts. So when David desires that the meditation of his heart be acceptable in the sight of the Lord, his Strength and Redeemer, we are warranted in seeing Christ (Psalm 19:14). He is certainly not excluded. Other passages are more explicitly messianic. When Isaiah declares that “the Redeemer shall come to Zion,” the reference is uniquely to Christ (Isaiah 59:20). Paul verifies that when he uses this verse in Romans 11:26–27 in referring to Israel’s future acceptance of Christ. Isaiah 59 describes the heinous sins that separate man from God. What man needs is someone to take care of the sin problem. In answer to man’s desperate need comes the Goel, who is the means by which men turn from transgressions. It is interesting that Paul, with his inspired theological insight, links the Deliverer’s turning away ungodliness to the covenant promise to take away sin. The apostle shows how it all fits together. Man needs to be delivered from sin; Christ delivers from sin; He does so on the basis of a covenant relationship. That is Goel work.
One final text will illustrate the beauty of this title of Christ. In the throes of his immense suffering, Job declared, “I know that my redeemer liveth” (Job 19:25). In addition to the physical and emotional torment that Job experienced, he endured the pain of a tarnished testimony and reputation. His friends assumed that he was guilty of sin and so accused him over and over again. Job himself had no clue as to why all of this misfortune had fallen his way. Although Job often and understandably despaired in his situation, he had faith that somehow, some way, some time vindication would come. In this high-water expression of that faith, he confesses that even if the vindication would not come until after his death, it would certainly come. His confidence was founded on his Goel, with whom he had a relationship and who was obligated to come to his defense. That Job knew this coming Redeemer was Christ is suggested by his earlier confession that his Witness was in heaven (Job 16:19). Although Job does not call this Advocate the Messiah, what Job expected that Advocate to do is exactly what Christ does for His people. Vindication is what Job needed; vindication is what his Goel would give him. The point I want us to see from this is that Christ’s being our Kinsman Redeemer is not limited to His redeeming us from sin. That is a wonderful part of it, but that He is our Redeemer means that He will always without fail be there for us. He does not save us to leave us. Whatever our need or crisis, the fact that we have a saving and personal relationship with Jesus Christ guarantees that He will meet our every need. “Redeemer” is a great name for our Savior.