Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Apologetical Significance of Typology [Pt. II]

by Hiram R. Diaz III

Ruth: The Extraordinary Concealed in the Ordinary
The book of Ruth conceals the extraordinary within the mundane, everyday events it relays. It book begins with a famine in which the providers of Ruth and her female companions are not spared death. It moves on to tell of how one of Naomi’s daughters-in-law leaves Naomi to fend for herself. Finally, it goes on to detail how Ruth, Naomi’s other daughter-in-law, remains with Naomi, who has nothing to offer Ruth.

Whereas the Israelites hungered in the wilderness and received manna from the hand of God, bread which literally fell from heaven, these women experience hunger, watch their husbands die, fight bitterness, and grapple with sorrow and anxiety about the future. If the author were attempting to construct a mythology of divine intervention, as some unbelievers claim, then why is this book given over to the mundane from its very onset? Why would a supernatural book, whose content centers around the person and work of a to-be-crucified Divine Rabbi, not be given over wholly to the explicitly miraculous and the explicitly prophetic?

In a word, it is because God is not a pagan deity. Contrary to the misreadings of unbelievers, God does not intervene in our world: He does all things according to the counsel of his own will.[1] The mundanity of the book of Ruth underscores the Sovereign hand of God over history and all of its ongoings. For although it was written in the time of the Judges, a time of political anarchy and spiritual apostasy, the book of Ruth demonstrates that God has preserved for himself a people, those who would worship him according to his dictates, and walk in faith concerning the coming Seed of the Woman/the Messiah.

God’s Sovereign orchestration of the most mundane of affairs (e.g. gathering grain, asking a man’s hand in marriage, complaining about one’s bad lot in life) is clearly displayed in the book of Ruth, showing us that God’s control over all things is not interventionist, observable only in the miraculous events of, for instance, the Exodus or the resurrection of Christ. The mundane events in Ruth are an immediate corrective to the unbeliever who identifies the whole of Scripture as teeming to the brim with explicitly miraculous acts of God which parallel those of the ancient and modern pagan deities.

Yet once we have reverently underscored the mundanity of the events recorded in the book Ruth, and once we have shown that the events’ mundanity strongly demonstrate that God’s Sovereign control is over all of history, even its minutest of details, we can go one step further and show that the book, despite its mundanity, is itself evidence of its supernatural origin. For the main characters and events constituting the book of Ruth typologically foreshadow the non-mundane characters and events constituting the reality of the Gospel we find clearly articulated in the New Testament. Naomi and Ruth, Jew and Gentile, are redeemed at their most desperate moment by a righteous, strong, wealthy, and self-sacrificing son of Abraham named Boaz. The book’s central events are (1.)a famine of bread, (2.)redemption, (3.)marriage, and (4.)the establishment of a restored Israel comprised of Jews and Gentiles.

In what follows, it will shown that Boaz is a type of Christ is many significant ways. This demonstration will further reveal the unity of the Scriptures in their emphasis on the person and work of Christ.