Even So, My Redeemer Lives
Key Verse: “I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.”
IN THE OLD TESTAMENT, the words “redeem,” “redeemed,” “redeemer,” and “redemption,” are often translated from the Hebrew word gaal. This is also true of the word “redeemer” in our Key Verse. According to Young’s Concordance, gaal means to set free by avenging or repaying. In addition to our Key Verse, other references that use this Hebrew word read as follows: “They remembered … the high God their redeemer.” “The Redeemer shall come to Zion.” (Ps. 78:35; Isa. 59:20) Man’s need for a redeemer is cited when, speaking of God and his plan for man’s salvation, the psalmist says, “Who redeemeth thy life from destruction.”—Ps. 103:4
Redemption along the lines of temporal matters was also possible in certain circumstances under Israel’s Law Covenant arrangement. For example, concerning one who became impoverished, the Scriptures state, “One of his brethren may redeem him: Either his uncle, or his uncle’s son, may redeem him, … or if he be able, he may redeem himself.” (Lev. 25:48,49) Although such redemption under the Law was accomplished by means of monetary payment of one kind or another, this is not the case with man’s ultimate redemption from sin and death.
This important truth about God’s plan for man’s redemption is noted in these words: “Ye have sold yourselves for nought; and ye shall be redeemed without money.” (Isa. 52:3) Peter confirms this thought in the New Testament, saying, “Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” (I Pet. 1:18,19) To this Paul adds, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”—Rom. 3:23,24
One reason for citing these scriptural references, from both the Old and New Testaments, is to guard against the false teachings of some. Many today, as in times past, misunderstand the subject of redemption and its basis, the ransom—that the world was purchased by our Lord’s death. Some cite various passages in the New Testament where the word “redemption” is translated from the Greek word which actually means “deliverance.” The inference is then made that the only meaning attached to redemption is that of deliverance. As students of the Bible, in cases such as this, where so much depends on the correct meaning of certain terms, it is necessary to understand the original Greek words and their meaning.
It is also important to look at the use of certain words by the context in which they appear. In certain instances, New Testament writers expressed the thought of redemption by specifically identifying it with the purchase of the human race, and of the corresponding price provided for that purchase. (I Cor. 15:22; Rom. 5:18) In other cases, the context has to do with man’s deliverance—the end result of the purchase, or redemption. (Eph. 1:14) When properly understood, however, there is really no conflict in the usage of these words. Indeed, man’s ultimate deliverance is secured by means of the ransom, or redemptive price, already provided. Both aspects are important and necessary to the accomplishment of God’s plan.