Did you know  that the melody of “The Star Spangled Banner” –  the National Anthem of the United States of America – that melody was once an old British drinking song?  But then, during the War of 1812, Francis Scott Key penned those stirring lyrics so familiar to us all, merged them with that old, ale-stained, taproom tune, and gave it a brand new beginning – a total makeover – new birth  as our National Anthem.  Now, how’s that as an example of redemption?

 

American-Flag-and-Eagle

My own, very first, personal, “taste” of redemption came when I was perhaps 4 or 5 years old.  Now, I say “my first taste” because … Does anyone remember S & H Green Stamps?  those stamps you received when you made a purchase of gasoline or some merchandise?  Well, my mom used to recruit me to help her lick (yukk!) entire sheets of S & H Green Stamps. And then we would carefully mount them onto countless, blank pages in her endless supply of premium redemption books.  I sure loved my mom … but I can still taste it!  

 

 

Then, once she had accumulated a humongous stack of books, all warped and bulging, she would gather them together and we’d take them to the S & H redemption store, where she would exchange them – she would redeem    those books of stamps – for various household items that we needed.  It was here that I acquired my fundamental, ground-floor understanding of redemption!

 

Perhaps a more accurate and thorough grasp of the principle of redemption can be found in the old pawn shop.  Have you ever had the experience of pawning or redeeming something?

 

Financial constraints sometimes will prompt an individual to pawn an item, perhaps one of great monetary or sentimental value, in exchange for much-needed cash, or relief from a difficult situation.  There is a specified window of time during which the individual may return and repurchase his possession – may but back – he may redeem that which was originally his own

But we’ll find the origin of the concept of redemption in the Old Testament.  Remember?  Jesus said, “The Scriptures testify of Me?”  GOD’s principle of redemption reveals one of the many facets of His character and nature, while it perfectly testifies of the mission and purpose of His Son, Jesus, our Redeemer.

The Statute establishing the principle and practice of redemption is found in Leviticus 25:23-34, and was intended by GOD to plainly flesh-out  in high-definition  one of the primary ministries of the coming Messiah, Who was to become the fulfillment of GOD’s promise of the coming Redeemer.

Here’s the redemption statute as it pertained to land and property: Lev. 25:23 The land, moreover, shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are but aliens and sojourners with Me. V.24 Thus for every piece of your property, you are to provide for the redemption of the land.  V.25 If a fellow countryman of yours becomes so poor he has to sell part of his property, then his nearest kinsman is to come and buy back what his relative has sold …

The redemption statute also applied to people: Lev 25:47 “Now if a sojourner or stranger close to you   becomes rich, and one of your brethren who dwells by him becomes poor, and sells himself to the stranger or sojourner close to you, or to a member of the stranger’s family, V.48 after he is sold he may be redeemed again. One of his brothers may redeem him; V.49 or his uncle or his uncle’s son may redeem him; or anyone who is near of kin to him in his family may redeem him … V.54 And if he is not redeemed in these years, then he shall be released in the Year of Jubilee – he and his children with him.

We’ll  take a closer look at “the Year of Jubilee”  in a moment;  but  did you notice the qualifications of the redeemer?  The redeemer had to be  a next-of-kin family-member, a close blood relative to the redeemed –  or as Scripture calls this individual, a “near-kinsman”. The redeemer was to step forward on behalf of the debtor, and personally pay the full price of his debt, thus setting him free from the judgment against him.  But how does all this pertain to me?

 

Now, take a peek at this:  John 8:34,  Jesus is speaking:  “Whosoever committeth sin is the slave of sin.” And Romans 3:23 tells us “… all have sinned and fallen short …”  Then, the prophet Ezekiel 18:4 and 18:20 testifies: “The soul that sinneth, it shall die”.

Humanity has sold itself into bondage, indebtedness to sin, slavery since the fall of our first parents in Eden. This is Judgment language. “The wages of sin is death”; and “without shedding of blood, there is no remission” of that sin-debt.  Sin is a capital offense, a blood debt that must be paid. Further, eternal life in GOD’s Kingdom requires righteousness; but Scripture testifies, “There is none righteous, not one!”  Moreover, at the time of the Fall in Eden,  the earth, and the entirety of nature itself, had also come under sin’s curse, as we see in Genesis 3:17-19.  God told Adam, “By the sweat of thy brow, thou shalt labor to earn thy bread.”

In the Biblical application, the redeemer was to step forward on behalf of the debtor, and personally pay the full price of his debt, thus setting him free from the judgment debt against him.  Now, take a peek at this:

 

John 8:34, Jesus is speaking:  “Whosoever committeth sin is the slave of sin.” And Romans 3:23 tells us “… all have sinned and fallen short …”  Then, the prophet Ezekiel 18:4 and 18:20 testifies: “The soul that sinneth, it shall die”.

 

Humanity has sold itself into bondage, indebtedness to sin, slavery since the fall of our first parents in Eden. This is Judgment language. “The wages of sin is death”; and “without shedding of blood, there is no remission” of that sin-debt.  Sin is a capital offense, a blood debt that must be paid. Further, eternal life in GOD’s Kingdom requires righteousness; but Scripture testifies, “There is none righteous, not one!”  Moreover, at the time of the Fall in Eden,  the earth, and the entirety of nature itself, had also come under sin’s curse, as we see in Genesis 3:17-19.  God told Adam, “By the sweat of thy brow, thou shalt labor to earn thy bread.”

So the Old Testament Church was perpetually reminded, thru the on-going practice of redemption, of the liberation that the True Redeemer would bring, thru His vicarious life and death, and resurrection to new life, for Adam’s fallen race.  The Redeemer would come to purchase back His Creation, pay the debtor’s price – shedding His own blood, laying down His own life, buying our freedom, and with His own righteousness, redeeming for us our citizenship in His Eternal Kingdom. The righteousness of Jesus, our Redeemer, is our fitness, our ticket, our boarding pass to heaven and to the Earth-Made-New!

Note that God made provision for the liberation of both property and people under His redemption statute, which was prophetic of the complete, ultimate redemption He would accomplish in the Person of Christ, our Redeemer.  

Where would  we  be,  had He not done so?  Here’s the indictment against humankind:  Romans 3:23 “… for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” That’s the bad news, but the good news is in verse 24: we have been “justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” 

Now, the Year of Jubilee  was a time of corporate redemption:  Leviticus 25:23, 24    28    40.   There were seven cycles of seven years; every seventh year was a Rest for the land.  They were to plant and harvest six years, but the seventh was a Sabbath, a respite for the land. And, at the conclusion of the seventh cycle of seven years, on that 50th Year of Jubilee, all property was to revert to its original owner; all items that had been purchased over the course of the previous 50 years were returned to the first owners; and every bond-servant was set free. The Jubilee was itself a prophecy, to be fulfilled in the New Earth!

Through the Jubilee cycles, the promised full redemption of all of creation was constantly kept before them, as all debts, indemnities, and indentured servitude were reckoned according to the number of years remaining until the reversion, at the Jubilee … right down to the calculation of the selling price of property.

Now, the crucial requirement of the Redeemer – that he must be a close blood relative – is one of several compelling pieces of evidence which substantiate the fact that Jesus was, and is verily, our Close Blood Relative, our Near Kinsman.  How so?  Because He partook of our very same flesh and blood, Adam’s flesh, becoming in actuality, as the Apostle Paul testifies, the “Second Adam”, thus assuming Adam’s position as the Representative of the corporate human family. Therefore, as our Near Kinsman and Elder Brother, Jesus legally and rightfully eligible, and most qualified at this moment,  to redeem us from our blood-debt under God’s Law.  Have you claimed it yet?  

If Jesus were not flesh-of-our-flesh, bone-of-our-bone, He could not possibly –  by any stretch of logic – be our Redeemer!  According to the Statute, the redeemer had to be a close blood relative!  Reconciliation with Our Heavenly Father would therefore never have been attained, and you and I – the entire human race – everyone who has ever drawn a breath – we’re in one      stone-cold-serious   pickle – a monumental dilemma   of “forever” proportion!  

But Inspired Scripture testifies beyond question that Jesus Christ was incarnate in Adam’s fallen flesh, in our flesh,  for the express purpose of redeeming fallen Creation.  And herein lies the beauty and consistency of  Scripture, because that is precisely what God accomplished in and thru Jesus at Calvary!

In the Beginning, GOD created man “in His image”, although thru 4000 years of degeneration,  from Creation   to the Savior, we had fallen far from that image, by the time Jesus put sandals on the ground.  Consider, as well, the depth to which the Redeemer `willingly descended to begin His work of reclaiming,  restoring  purchasing back,   redeeming Adam’s fallen race.  Now, a newborn child is the sum-total of his mother and father.  He is the uniting, the joining together, the reconciling of DNA, cells, tissue, substance of his parents.

According to God’s Word,  in the womb of the mother of Jesus, divinity and humanity were reunited – were reconciled in One, in “Immanuel”, in the One called by heaven “God-with-us” – or more literally, “God-inus”, Jesus Christ;  and the unity of GOD’s Creation was forever restored  in and thru The Son of Man, Who,  more than 80 times in Scripture, referred to Himself as “The Son of Man”;  so thoroughly did He identify with  humanity – with you and with me!

If He were not born of a flesh-and-blood woman, Adam’s flesh, our flesh, the flesh that so desperately needed to be redeemed, then He would have no justification to refer to Himself as “The Son of Man”, which would have rendered the One Who is “The Truth” a fraud and a liar!  But the author of the Book of Hebrews testifies under inspiration that Jesus was flesh of our flesh.

In this light, the dire need for redemption becomes a stark reality, illuminating a fuller understanding of the exact nature of the human-ness that our Savior “put on” – His mother’s flesh, carnal, human flesh – yours and my flesh – Adam’s very substance – the flesh that so desperately needed    to be redeemed!

God has a purpose in everything He does, and in everything He asks of us.  We may not always have a thorough grasp of what that purpose might be,  which is all the more reason that we must be seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Whom He’s sent to lead the earnest seeker into all understanding.  Are  you    an earnest seeker?

Our redemption lies not in coupons or gift certificates;    nor in licking and sticking  S&H Green Stamps,  and trading-in wrinkled books for footstools and table lamps!  Our ransom was not paid – as it is in the movies – in stacks of unmarked bills,  stuffed into a duffel bag.  I Peter 1:18 says: “We’ve been redeemed, not by corruptible things, such as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ,  as of a Lamb without blemish  and without spot”

 

“But of Him  (God)  are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God, is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.”          I Corinthians 1:30.  Paul testifies that not only is Christ our Redeem-ER; but HE is our redemption. He’s not only the One who laid down the payment; but He became – He is  the Payment itself.  He paid our sin debt, and He is the price of our ransom.  He became the embodiment, sum and substance, the currency of our redemption! 

Ephesians 1:7 says, speaking of Jesus, “In Whom we have redemption thru His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” A blood debt owed;  a blood debt paid at the Cross of Calvary!

I John 2:2 “And He IS the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but for the sins of the whole world.”  His blood, His life.  Jesus is,  now,  forever united with us in His glorified human flesh.  He “was made our Redemption.”

Our redemption is from our bondage, from our debt of sin – the penalty for which is, per Romans 6:23, eternal separation.  And so, we hear the cry of Our Redeemer,  Who stood in our judgment, endured our  judgment execution, experiencing fully the eternal separation that we’ve rightly earned.  Hear His voice.  Listen: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me!”

Here it is!  II Corinthians 5:19 “God was in Christ, reconciling (redeeming) the world unto Himself”  God was in Christ!  Remember Jesus’ words: “I am in My Father and My Father is in Me”; then He told Philip, “If you’ve seen Me, you’ve seen the Father”,   “I  and My Father are One.

Quoting from the book If the Foundations Be Destroyed, by Chick Silliby: “By the life-giving power of Christ’s blood alone, were we snatched from that landslide of humanity, plunging to hell, and made to sit in heavenly places.  If we could fully comprehend, this side of eternity, the infinite difference between heaven and hell, we would fall on our faces and thank God after reading every reference to redemption in Scripture.”

His desire, His purpose now, is to abide in each of us thru His indwelling Spirit.  Galatians 4:4, 5  “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son … to redeem those who were under the law   (the law of sin and death), that we might receive the adoption as sons.”  NKJV   Is not adoption the ultimate redemption?  The wild branch is grafted into the living vine.  Is that not the redemption of that branch?  The Apostle Paul states that we, the wild branches, the Children of Adoption, have been grafted into Jesus Christ, Who is “the True Vine.”

God’s redemption of mankind, in and thru Jesus, includes the complete removal of the curse on the earth and all of nature, which we found earlier in Genesis 3:17-19.  Jesus not only took all  flesh-and-blood humanity to redemption at the Cross, but He also redeemed the earth, and all nature, which was symbolized by his wearing of   the  crown  of thorns  on the Cross of Calvary.

 

Moreover, Romans 8:23 speaks of “the redemption of the body”.  We were redeemed at Calvary, when Jesus was the human race (the Second Adam 1 Cor 15:45-49), standing in our judgment on the Cross; and that Redemption becomes ours when we choose to be one with Jesus – no turning back.  However we will come into full possession of His completed Redemption at His Coming when, whether we are resurrected from the grave or we’re alive and translated to meet Him, as Paul, under inspiration,  writes: “this corruptible will put on incorruption, and this mortal will put on immortality.  Death is swallowed up in victory!”

Now, when something is sealed, that transaction is completed – it’s a done deal.  Listen to what Paul wrote  to the church at Ephesus: “In Him we were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, Who (the Spirit) is given  as a pledge  of our inheritance and redemption”.   We all want a guarantee, don’t we?  There it is!  There’s your “lock”;  there’s God’s promise, sealed   by the gift of His Spirit.  And Jesus cried out, “It is finished!”

Jesus On the Mount

Finally, we ourselves are to be  redeemers!  Yes, us!   Paul warns, “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:15  And again in Colossians 4:5, we are counseled to be busy “redeeming the time”  – making the most of, or maximizing, all available opportunities, with the remaining time entrusted to us, before the closing of probation. “Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.” 

Why? Because, as Peter tells us, the adversary is on a tear;  he’s gone ballistic!  He’s like a rip-roaring lion “… seeking whom he may devour, knowing that his time is short.”  Time is running out, for him … and for us!   Our time also is short.

Perhaps we can effectively illustrate Satan’s stealth and cunning by likening his sinister intent and purpose to that of the bird of prey, below, silently stalking his  unsuspecting, next victim …

vulture & prey

Should we not be as diligent and persevering  as our adversary in finishing the Gospel work that’s been entrusted to us  by Our Redeemer?  (The Feast of Trumpets clearly illustrates, as does Ezekiel. 9, that Judgment on the Church will close before the final, 11th hour work of ingathering commences for the world.)

“Oh, the mystery of redemption!  the love of God  for a world that did not love Him!”  {AG 42.3}  

 

Revelation 5:9  “And they sang a new song, saying: ‘You are worthy … for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood.’”  NKJV

 

Will you be among that number … among the Redeemed … robed in the White Linen Robe of the Righteousness of Jesus Christ, standing on “the Sea of Glass mingled with fire”?  Have you claimed your redemption in Jesus Christ?  Let’s begin the process right now …

 

Let’s bow our heads in prayer: 

Our Heavenly Father –  How we earnestly pray that we all will be among that number – among the Redeeme- standing on “the Sea of Glass mingled with fire”.   May every soul in this place have claimed redemption in Our Redeemer, Whom  you’ve sent,  Jesus Christ.  

And may this illustration of Christ, Our Redeemer, be indelibly-impressed in our minds and hearts as we leave here today, that we will share the good news of Your great mercy and grace, of reconciliation and redemption in The Son of Man.

In the holy name of Jesus, the Christ, Yahusha HaMeshiach we pray, 

Amen!