By Rev SEIK PITOI
LAST week, we looked at the Book of Ruth and saw how this gentile Moabite widow was grafted into the family of God.
Through her marriage to the kinsman-redeemer, Boaz, Ruth eventually become an ancestor of the Lord Jesus Christ. From a painful beginning with great tragedy, we saw how God brought the story through to a happy ending, demonstrating that everyone – Jew and Gentile alike – are objects of His love and grace!
In this article, we will look at prophetic pictures from the story that show us the relationship of the end time church and Israel.
Israel in the Diaspora (the dispersion)
Naomi’s husband, Elimelech (My God is King), is dead. Her two sons Mahlon (sickness) and Chilion (pining/destruction) are dead. Naomi (pleasant woman) is not feeling pleasant anymore. She insists on being called Marah (bitter – 1:20). She feels that the Lord has abandoned her, condemned her and has caused her trouble (1:21)
We see this as a picture of Israel in the diaspora. Having been expelled from the land of Israel after the destruction of the temple and city of Jerusalem in 70AD, they were a people scattered to foreign lands, suffering hate, rejection and persecution, with millions being murdered. After 6 million of their people were killed in Nazi gas chambers, many began to ask – where is God? Where is the One who called Himself God of Israel? What was He doing when we were being annihilated? Is He still alive or is He dead? For two thousand years, the Jews were out of the land, seemingly without a God who cared.
But suddenly, the rain started to fall again. The desolate and fallow land that laid waste as one foreign nation after another tried to make something out of it but failed – suddenly came back to life. As the original land owners came trickling back from the diaspora at the turn of the century, the land started to bloom again.
Naomi had returned (Ezekiel 36: 34-36). But she was not walking back alone. We see her leaning on a younger woman, a gentile; one joined to her through a marriage covenant to her son.
Ruth (Beloved friend – the end time Church that stands with Israel) is holding Naomi’s hand as she helps her back. She is joined to Israel in a covenant of marriage with the Son that came out of her – Yeshua/Jesus! We see this action of Ruth in Christians around the world who support Israel in many quarters.
‘Ruth’ is seen assisting with the Aliya (return of the Jews from the nations – Jeremiah 16: 16; Isaiah 43: 5-6), interceding for the land and people (Psalm 122: 6), and giving moral support on many levels. This ‘Ruth Bride’ is found in countries all around the world in people who believe Israel’s return to her covenant land is a fulfilment of Biblical prophecy.
Christian groups like International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ), Bridges for Peace, Christian Friends of Israel (CFI), and Christians United for Israel, among many others, stand as Ruth to Naomi today. They are often maligned and severely criticised by the ‘Orpah bride’ of the Church for agreeing that Israel has the right to live safely in her biblical covenant-given homeland!
Orpah (back of the neck) cried for Naomi then turned her neck and walked away, back to the gods of her ancestors (1:14-15). Tradition tells us it was from her lineage that Goliath, the giant from Philistine, emerged! This pictures the church that at times sympathises for what Israel has gone through, but turns away from her, believing that God has finished with her. This is the section of the church that throws her support behind Arab Moslem nations and terrorist groups whose agenda is the total annihilation of Israel. Scripture is twisted and theology is perverted in order to support such a position.
A picture of worship
Moving on to chapter 3, we see a beautiful picture of worship that we can learn from. At Naomi’s instruction, Ruth prepares herself well and goes in to lie at the feet of Boaz, the kinsman redeemer. She extends the border of his mantle or cloak to cover herself. That means she voluntarily places herself under his protection, care and lordship.
This is a beautiful picture of worship. We as saints are to prepare ourselves spiritually and then lie or sit at His feet in worship (Luke 10: 39). As we do that, we allow His mantle to cover and protect us. We thus place ourselves under His sovereign Lordship! Down at His feet is the most high place, a place of worship and surrender, as well as a place of power! Indeed, it is in the rich Hebraic understanding of worship that the Church can learn so much from Israel.
A church that rejects the Hebraic background and understanding of the bible will always end up in error.
God’s favour upon Ruth
Note the favour of God upon the Ruth bride. For while Ruth gleaned in the fields, Boaz took note. He said, “All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told to me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. The LORD repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!” (Ruth 2: 11-12). A special blessing was proclaimed upon Ruth by Boaz!
As Boaz took note of what Ruth did for old Namoi, I believe the Lord Jesus watches with concern how the Church treats His ancient covenant people, Israel. Just as certain Church leaders in the 1930s embraced Adolf Hitler as he began to systematically wipe out 6 million Jews, bringing pain to the heart of God, many church leaders and theologians today are embracing terrorists bent on annihilating Israel. They also condemn Israel for defending her right to live in their God-given homeland. The Lord is taking careful note!
Ruth the gentile bride connected herself with Naomi and as Naomi walked back into her prophetic destiny, Ruth also walked into hers.
The blessings of Ha Shem, the God of Israel, fell upon this gentile woman because of her love and compassion for her mother-in-law, and for her recognition of God’s heart for His people. In the same way, as the end time Church (Ruth Bride) prays for and stands with God’s purposes for Israel, the blessings of the Lord will fall mightily upon her.
Boaz (the Lord Jesus) has already declared a special blessing over Ruth (church standing with Israel). Therefore, as we are told in the Book of Romans (chapter 11: 12, 15), Israel’s revival and awakening to her prophetic destiny in Messiah will mean an overflow of powerful blessing upon the end-time church!
Today, we thank God that there are many Christians in PNG who stand with Israel in prayer. But remember, as we pray for Israel in the current conflict, let us not forget to uphold the Palestinian Arab people. They too are descendants of Abraham, but through Ishmael. They have also been apportioned blessing by God (Gen 17: 20), but they will walk into their inheritance only when they will learn to live in peace with their brothers!
The Bible says true peace will only come when both families – Jews and Arabs – recognise that Yeshua Sar Shalom (Jesus the Prince of Peace) is the only solution. To that end, the end time church – the Ruth Bride – is commissioned to pray. Hence, let us keep watch over Israel, over the nations, and our own nation of PNG as well.
- Rev Seik Pitoi is a freelance writer.