Redemption Through Christ

Redemption is a process. By changing one letter, Ga’al/redeem, is related to other words that also describe a coming to fulfillment: gadal/grow; gamal/overcome. [Psalms 131, “I am quiet like a gamul (a weaned child, i.e. who has overcome in that process) clinging to its mother.”]

The biblical story of ge’ulah (redemption) began/begins with setting God’s people free from slavery at Passover. The next stage comes seven weeks later with the holiday of Shavuot (Weeks/Pentecost) as we celebrate the gift of His Word and Spirit. On this holiday it is traditional to read the book of Ruth that also took place during the spring. Mishpat HaGeula, an ancient biblical practice, plays an interesting part in this story. “When a man dies without leaving a son... her husband’s brother should take her in marriage... the first son she bears will   perpetuate the dead brother’s name so that it may not be blotted out...” Deut. 25:5 Even though a brother is dead, this ge’ulah brings to fulfillment the purpose of his marriage.

The annual celebrations of redemption culminate with Succot (Tabernacles) when we dwell in safety in temporary booths, though we are left, year after year, in the wilderness. But Succot does promise final redemption. During Succot the messianic passage of Zechariah 14 is read in synagogues. This passage not only tells of the judgement at the “end of days” but how complete ge’ulah will be when all nations come to Jerusalem to worship the King and celebrate Succot - associated in later Jewish literature with the Messianic Banquet (Midrash Ruth) and the Wedding Supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19).

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