Redemption is between Repentance and Restoration

Redemption is absolutely a key doctrine in the Bible. Redemption is also initiated by an act of God. After genuine repentance has taken place, redemption is accomplished, which leads to restoration.

There are two major Hebrew words used in the Old Testament that define redemption. The word to be used presently is ‘Gaal.’ There are several significant synonyms that are based on ‘Gaal’ including but not limited to ransom, release, deliver, purchase, and kinsman.

The main idea of ‘Gaal’ is to buy something back. That means that redemption is not only ‘from’ something, but ‘to’ something. And like the other ‘re’ words, the ‘to’ something means a change of position or status; however, the change is back to where something was before redemption was required.

The Bible presents excellent examples describing the significance of redemption. A major premise is that everything and everyone belongs to God.

Initially for Israel, everything and everyone sold for whatever reason could be redeemed by a kinsman for a price. If not redeemed, the property or person would automatically be returned to the designated owner at the time of the year of Jubilee.

The initial example to be examined describes the redemption of physical property.

And in all the land of your possession you shall grant redemption of the land. ‘If one of your brethren becomes poor, and has sold some of his possession, and if his redeeming relative comes to redeem it, then he may redeem what his brother sold.’” Leviticus 25:24-25

The above reveals that there are basically three key ingredients in the redemption phenomena, i.e. a lost possession, a price necessary to buy the lost possession back, and a near relative (kinsman) willing to pay the price to buy the lost possession.

And remember, the lost possession could be property, an individual redeemed from slavery, or an entire nation.

While Israel was still under Egyptian bondage, God spoke to Moses.

Therefore say to the children of Israel: ‘I am the LORD; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. I will take you as My people, and I will be your God…’”

Exodus 6:6-7a

At that time God announced that He would be Israel’s Redeemer and deliver them from Egyptian bondage. Redemption for Israel would also mean judgment for their oppressors who refused to free them. Notice all the ‘I wills’ after God confirms that He is the LORD.

Then after Israel was freed from bondage, Moses acknowledged that their freedom was a gracious act of God.

You in Your mercy have led forth the people whom You have redeemed; You have guided them in Your strength to Your holy habitation.”

Exodus 15:13

Approximately 435 years later when David received the promises of God for an eternal kingdom, he acknowledged his God as the Redeemer of Israel.

And who is like Your people, like Israel, the one nation on the earth whom God went to redeem for Himself as a people, to make for Himself a name – and to do for Yourself great and awesome deeds for Your land – before Your people whom You redeemed for Yourself from Egypt, the nations, and their gods? For You have made Your people Israel Your very own people forever…” 2 Samuel 7:23-24

Throughout the Old Testament, whenever Israel would stray, God would remind them that it was He who had freed them from slavery.

The Psalmist Asaph reminded Israel of the history of disobedience of their fathers, and God’s chastisement for such.

Then they remembered that God was their rock, and the Most High God their Redeemer.” Psalm 78:35

In another Psalm David extols the greatness of God and acknowledges Him as his personal redeemer, in addition to being the redeemer of Israel.

Bless the LORD, O my soul…who forgives all your iniquities…who redeems your life from destruction…He has made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel…” Psalm 103:4

A relevant question is then, which nations will God redeem, and will there be universal redemption for individuals?

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