Arlen L. Chitwood
Then she arose with her daughters-in-law that she might return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the country of Moab that the LORD had visited His people by giving them bread.
Therefore she went out from the place where she was, and her two daughters-in-law with her; and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah.
And Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each to her mother's house. The LORD deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me.
The LORD grant that you may find rest, each in the house of her husband.” Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept.
And they said to her, “Surely we will return with you . . .
Then they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her. (Ruth 1:6-10a, 14)
The opening chapters of Genesis reveal that man was created for a purpose, to be realized at a set time. This purpose was regal, and it was to be realized following six days of work, on the seventh day. The six days of work — restoring a ruined creation — were necessary to bring the creation into a state of readiness for that which was about to occur; and man was created on the sixth day to rule the restored domain, during time associated with a seventh day of rest (Genesis 1:1-2:3; cf. Hebrews 4:1-9).
However, man was not brought into existence and immediately placed in the regal position for which he had been created. Rather, he was first tested in relation to entering into this position. And this testing occurred in a garden, with centrally two trees in view — “the tree of life,” and “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:8, 9).
Adam and Eve
Man, following his creation, was commanded to eat “of every tree of the garden,” which included “the tree of life.” But, there was one exception to this command. Fruit from “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” was not to be eaten. Life was associated with partaking of fruit from the former, and death was associated with partaking of fruit from the latter (Genesis 2:16, 17).
The account of that which happened in this respect is given in chapter three of Genesis. Satan, through a serpent, deceived the woman (Eve) into partaking of fruit from “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” After this had occurred, Adam was left without a choice other than to also partake of this forbidden fruit as well, bringing about the fall (vv. 1-7). And Adam’s act — partaking of fruit from this tree — would be with a view to redemption, followed by both he and Eve one day being able to eat of the tree of life together and realize the purpose for man’s creation (vv. 15, 21; cf. Revelation 2:7, 26-28; 3:21).
All of this can be clearly seen through studying the different things stated about Adam and Eve in the opening three chapters of Genesis, studying that which Scripture reveals about the tree of life, and comparing the type with the antitype.
Adam, in relation to regality, never held the scepter. Man had been created to rule, to hold the scepter that Satan held at the time of man’s creation. He was to replace Satan as the earth’s ruler. But, resulting from man being tested, the fall occurred. And man, because of the fall, was disqualified, allowing Satan to continue holding the scepter.
Satan brought about man’s fall in a somewhat indirect manner. He, knowing the position that Eve occupied in relation to Adam, approached Eve rather than Adam. He knew that man’s fall would occur if he could deceive the woman into eating of the forbidden fruit. Though this deception in and of itself wouldn’t result in the fall, it would place Adam in a position where he would be left without a choice other than to also eat the fruit of this tree; and Adam eating this fruit, as the federal head, would bring about the fall (Genesis 3:1-7).
Eve was created in Adam at the time of man’s creation. Then, sometime later, God put the man whom He had created to sleep, opened his side, took a rib from his opened side, and built a helpmate for the man. Eve was brought into existence in this manner as a separate entity, though still part of Adam’s very being.
Eve was bone of his bones, and flesh of his flesh (Genesis 2:23). And because of how she was brought into existence, when presented back to Adam as a helpmate, Eve completed Adam. Together, they were one complete person. Consequently, because of this position that the woman held in relation to the man, following Eve partaking of the forbidden fruit, part of Adam’s very being was in a state associated with sin and death.
Adam and Eve were to reign together — Adam as king, and Eve as consort queen, forming one complete person on the throne. This is the way God established matters in the beginning — “let them [the man and the woman together] have dominion” (Genesis 1:26-28).
This principle surrounding how man was to rule (the man and the woman together), established in the beginning, is why it was necessary for God to have a wife (Israel) within the Old Testament theocracy. And this is also why the Son will have to possess a wife during the coming theocracy. The Son, as the Father, cannot reign in the kingdom of men apart from having a consort queen to reign with Him, else He would be violating an established biblical principle, which He Himself, as God, established in the beginning (ref. the author’s book, Search for the Bride).
Thus, following Eve partaking of the forbidden fruit, Adam was in no position to eat of the tree of life (the tree that would have provided the wisdom and knowledge for man to rule and to reign, realizing the purpose for his creation [ref. the author’s book, Judgment Seat of Christ, chapter 5, “The Tree of Life”]).
Adam could reign only as a complete person — the man and the woman together. And, following Eve partaking of the forbidden fruit, this could no longer be done.
Then, another matter entered into the picture as well. Adam was to cleave to his wife, in accord with God’s previous directive given through Adam himself (Genesis 2:23, 24); and any move that Adam could have made toward ruling and reigning, following Eve partaking of the forbidden fruit, would not only have been a move contrary to the established biblical principle pertaining to the man realizing the purpose for his creation as a complete being but it would also have been a move contrary to the man cleaving to his wife.
Adam, if he was to realize the purpose for his creation — which would involve both Adam and Eve partaking of the tree of life together, and subsequently ruling and reigning together — was left without a choice other than to also partake of the forbidden fruit. And this would be done with a view to redemption, followed by his one day realizing, as a complete being (the man and the woman together), the purpose for his creation.
All of the preceding can be clearly seen in the antitype — Christ finding His bride in a fallen state and becoming sin for us, who knew no sin (2 Corinthians 5:21). As Adam partook of that which was associated with sin and death, Christ was made sin. God laid on His Son “the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). Then, that which followed for Christ was the same as that which had followed for Adam. As set forth in Genesis 2:17, death must follow sin, which is exactly what occurred in both the type and the antitype (cf. Romans 6:23; 8:13; James 1:15)
And, as in the type, God laying on His Son “the iniquity of us all” was with a view to redemption, to be followed by regality. A redeemed wife in that coming day will complete the Son [Hebrews 2:10], allowing the Son to reign as the second Man, the last Adam. Man will once again have access to the tree of life; and the Son will reign with His wife, He as King and she as consort queen (Revelation 2:7, 26-28; 3:21).
These things have forever been set forth in the opening chapters of Genesis. And the remainder of Scripture simply provides all of the necessary details, allowing man to see the complete picture and understand the things set forth in these opening chapters in all their fullness.
Scripture begins with man being tested, with regality in view; and, following God’s provided redemption for fallen man (Genesis 3:21), Scripture continues through God dealing with man in exactly this same manner. Throughout the six days (6,000 years) in which God is providing redemption (for man, and ultimately restoration for the domain over which man is to rule), man is seen continually being tested, with a view to his ultimately realizing the purpose for his creation in the beginning.
And this testing will have the same end result as seen in the opening chapters of Genesis. Overcoming will result in life and being overcome will result in death. That’s the way matters existed in Eden, and that’s the way matters have continued down through almost 6,000 years of human history since that time, with the seventh day still lying ahead (during which the one who overcomes will realize his regal calling, and the one who is overcome will be denied this regal calling [cf. Hebrews 4:4-9; Revelation 2:26-28; 3:21]).
Ruth and Orpah
The opening chapter of the book of Ruth, as any opening chapter (or chapters) of a book, introduces that which follows. This introductory material, in its broader scope, has to do with both Israel and the Church.
It has to do with Israel in relation to not only the past and present dispensations but in relation to the coming dispensation (the Messianic Era) as well. And it has to do with the Church in relation to the present dispensation, that which occurs at the end of this present dispensation (events surrounding the judgment seat), and the coming dispensation (the Messianic Era).
The center of attention throughout the book though has to do with the Church, not with Israel. Israel, of necessity, must be in the picture throughout, for God conducts His affairs with mankind through Israel (ref. chapter 1 of this book). But though Israel is seen in this capacity throughout, the center of attention is not on this nation.
In a type-antitype structure, the entirety of the present dispensation is dealt with in part of chapter one, all of chapter two, and part of chapter three. The things pertaining to Christians during the present dispensation begin with Ruth and Orpah becoming members of a Jewish family in chapter one and conclude with Ruth preparing herself for meeting Boaz on his threshing floor in chapter three.
Chapter one provides the necessary introductory material, revealing the goal out ahead (in keeping with the opening chapters of Genesis, or any other place in Scripture that this subject is dealt with). Chapter two and the first part of chapter three then cover the activity of Christians occurring throughout the dispensation; and this would be in line with that revealed in chapter one. Then the latter part of chapter three and all of chapter four move toward the goal revealed at the beginning of the book, in chapter one.
As man was created in the beginning for a revealed purpose, man is saved today for that same revealed purpose. Revealed purposes underlie all of God’s works. In this respect, nothing occurs within God’s economy apart from a revealed purpose being in view.
And so it is with Ruth’s work in Boaz’s field in chapter two, where Ruth gleaned in the field from morning until evening, from the beginning to the end of the harvest. A purpose is in view, and that purpose is introduced in chapter one and is seen realized in chapter four.
In short, a Christian is not to be placed in Christ’s field (the world) today to labor for the Lord apart from a revealed purpose. And that purpose, as clearly shown from the book of Ruth, is to be set before the Christian at the beginning of the journey, at the beginning of the Christian walk, for several reasons.
The Christian is to be told about the goal out ahead (to be realized in another land), and he is to be told about the wages for his labors (exact payment for services rendered [seen in Ruth chapter two]). Then, beyond that, he is to be given a choice surrounding all that is involved in the purpose for his salvation. And within this choice he can either turn back (as Orpah) or move forward (as Ruth). The whole of the matter is to be placed before him early in his Christian walk (which would include God’s promises, exhortations, and warnings surrounding the matter), and then the choice concerning that direction he will take is his and his alone to make.
Ruth chapter one reveals the goal in view, and chapter two and the first part of chapter three reveal the work in the field and the proper preparation necessary to reach that goal (with payment being dispensed for services rendered in the field). All three chapters together provide parts of a picture that can be seen in its fullness and completeness only through viewing all the various Old Testament types together in the light of the antitype.
If biblical guidelines are followed, an individual does not find himself laboring in the field apart from some understanding of why he is laboring and that which will occur at the end of his labors. In this respect, a major problem in Christendom today centers around these biblical guidelines, by large, being ignored and consequently not being taught. Christians are simply not being taught the things seen in Ruth chapter one (and Scripture as a whole). Their servitude in the field is being done apart from a proper knowledge of the goal out ahead. And, as well, they have little to no knowledge of the wages being extended, along with the necessary proper preparation, for both go hand in hand with the goal. As a result, a state exists in Christendom today where chaos in this whole overall realm reigns supreme.
Christians, for lack of knowledge, are laboring aimlessly, with usually no more than saved-unsaved issues involved in their labors. And that is not the biblical picture at all — drawing from the type, which doesn’t progress past the family relationship in Ruth 1:4, 5. It places an individual in the field in chapter two apart from that which is revealed in verses six through twenty-two in chapter one. And that, in short, is why conditions are as they presently exist in Christendom today — a Laodicean state of affairs in relation to the Word of the Kingdom.
Salvation by grace through faith is the beginning point in the Christian life. It is the birth from above, providing spiritual life, which allows a person to embark on that which is associated with this life (as the natural birth provides the same thing in the physical realm). And for Christians to continually be centering their attention upon and spending all their time concentrating upon (and dealing with) the birth from above is not the way matters are set forth in Scripture at all. In fact, this turns everything completely around, presenting a picture 180 degrees out of phase with the biblical picture.
In the opening two chapters of Genesis, salvation by grace through faith is seen in God’s activities on the first of six days of restorative work (1:2b-5). The activity on this first day was with a view to continued activity through five more days, with a Sabbath rest lying beyond the six days of God’s restorative work.
Or, in Exodus chapter twelve, salvation by grace through faith is seen in the death and shed blood of paschal lambs, having to do with the death of the firstborn in a substitutionary manner. And this was with a view to the Israelites being removed from Egypt (always a type of the world in Scripture) and journeying toward another land.
Salvation by grace through faith is dealt with in numerous places in Scripture. But, in reality, it occupies a minor place in Scripture compared to the place which the purpose for salvation occupies (e.g., activities during one day out of six in chapter one of Genesis, one chapter out of numerous chapters beginning in Exodus chapter twelve, or two verses out of numerous subsequent verses in the book of Ruth [1:4, 5]).
This is the way Scripture is structured throughout. God brought the Israelites out of Egypt that He might bring them into another land removed from Egypt, placing the Israelites within a theocracy in that land (cf. Exodus 19:5, 6; Deuteronomy 6:22, 23).
And God is presently dealing with Christians in exactly the same manner (Colossians 1:20-28). The former forms the type (as also seen in the book of Ruth and in numerous other places in Scripture), and the latter forms the antitype (1 Corinthians 10:1-11). And the antitype must follow the type in exact detail.
Ruth and Orpah are introduced in the opening chapter of the book of Ruth through their becoming members of a Jewish family by marriage, following the death of the head of the family, Naomi’s husband (vv. 3, 4). Then, the next statement in the book has to do with the death of both Ruth’s and Orpah’s husbands (v. 5), and the next statement has to do with three widowed ladies (Naomi, Ruth, and Orpah) beginning a journey toward another land (vv. 6, 7).
This is the order given in the text. At the time all three women began the journey together, most of Naomi’s family had died in a Gentile land. The family itself though had not been destroyed. Naomi (typifying Israel) remained alive to return to her land.
And, at this time as well, both Ruth and Orpah (typifying Christians) are seen as members of the family after a manner where death was involved. The marriage relationship had been dissolved through death; and though they were still looked upon as members of the family (still Naomi’s daughters-in-law [v. 7]), death was now seen as the main issue and remained the main issue (pertaining to the family relationship) as the journey toward another land began.
The land toward which all three women journeyed was a land quite familiar to Naomi, but this was not the case with Ruth and Orpah at all. Their familiarity and interest in this land was one gained through Naomi. They, previously alienated, had been brought into a position (members of the family, with death now the issue in this relationship) where they too could journey toward this land with Naomi.
But, as the journey began, both Ruth and Orpah were faced with a decision. Naomi urged each of her daughters-in-law to return “to her mother’s house” (v. 8). Naomi even kissed each (in the sense of a departing kiss [v. 9]). But, following this kiss, both rejected that which the kiss portended and said that they would continue the journey with Naomi.
In the end though, only one did so. Orpah, sometime after beginning the journey and telling Naomi that she would continue the journey with her, changed her mind and turned back. But Ruth, unlike Orpah, didn’t turn back. Rather, she continued the journey with Naomi, forsaking the land of her birth and traveling with Naomi toward another land.
Naomi then continued to deal with Ruth after the same fashion as before:
But Ruth wouldn’t turn back (vv. 16, 17). And when Naomi finally saw that Ruth was “determined” to continue the journey, she ceased speaking to her about returning to her own people (v. 18).
And the two of them continued the journey toward the land together, coming to Bethlehem, in the land, “in the beginning of barley harvest” (vv. 19-22).
As Ruth and Orpah were seen at the beginning of a journey toward another land as members of a Jewish family where death was involved in their family relationship, so it is with Christians. Christians, at the beginning of the journey toward another land, are seen as members of the family through the death of Another. And this family, as in the type, is inseparably connected with Israel.
Christians taken from among the Gentiles are pictured as branches from “a wild olive tree” (representing all the Gentiles) which have been grafted into “a good [cultivated] olive tree” (representing Israel); and Jewish believers are pictured as “natural branches” of the olive tree that have not been broken off — “a remnant according to the election of grace” (Romans 11:5, 17-24).
And the reason for this connection with Israel (whether for Gentile or Jewish believers) is very simple. Salvation is both “of the Lord” and “of the Jews” (Jonah 2:9; John 4:22). Only the Lord can bring salvation to pass, for it is a divine work; and the Lord brings it to pass through a Jewish Savior.
Gentiles, becoming members of the family during the present dispensation, find themselves undergoing an experience at the time of and subsequent to their salvation that is peculiar to the present dispensation. They, through a work of the Spirit, are immersed in the Spirit, providing them with a positional standing “in Christ.” Through this means, they become new creations “in Christ,” part of the one new man (2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:11-15). And also, through this means, because Christ is Abraham’s Seed, they become “Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:26-29).
Then, for Jewish believers, the whole process is identical, though they would be viewed as branches from the good olive tree rather than from a wild olive tree. “In Christ” there is no distinction between Jewish believers and Gentile believers. All become new creations “in Christ,” part of the one new man. And among those comprising this new man, “the middle wall of partition” has been “broken down,” rendering it impossible that any type distinction between believing Jews and believing Gentiles could exist (Galatians 3:26-29; Ephesians 2:11-15).
Both Jewish believers and Gentile believers — forming the one new man “in Christ,” where there can be no distinction as to ethnic background — are “fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel” (Ephesians 3:6). And both together, in this same body, are pictured as engaged in a race toward a goal, or a journey toward another land (two ways that Scripture uses to view the same thing).
Gentile believers engaged in this race or journey, coming from an alienated position (as Ruth and Orpah in the type), could know nothing about the journey and goal apart from Israel (typified by Naomi). They could come to an understanding of the things concerning the race or journey only by means of that which God has revealed through the Jewish people — His unchangeable Word.
Jewish believers who are engaged in this race or journey are not really seen in the type per se. The book of Ruth
Suffice it to say though, aside from the thought of an alienated position (branches from the good olive tree as opposed to branches from the wild olive tree), exactly the same thing would apply to Jewish believers as it would to Gentile believers in relation to the race or journey. Again, ““in Christ” there can be no distinction between the two; and both have to go to exactly the same source — the Word of God — in order to find out that which God has revealed about the race or journey.
And all those forming the one new man, exactly as in the type, are to be introduced to the purpose for their salvation — a goal out ahead — early in their Christian walk. There must be some type of understanding of the goal toward which everything moves
Note how Paul words the matter, with a race in view::
It is evident that the runners in the race that Paul pictured knew about the prize being offered at the end of the race for those finishing in a victorious manner. And they were exhorted to run the race in a manner that would insure
But it is also evident that the race could be run in a manner that would result in defeat. It was possible to run this race in a manner described as “with uncertainty” or “as one that beats the air” (both showing an aimless type movement in the race, with no fixed goal). And the end result of a race run in this manner is given — failure in the race, followed by a rejection for the prize
The book of Ruth deals with two types of Christians
The other typee
Thus, both women in the type were introduced to the journey and then tested relative to continuing the journey, with a revealed goal in view. And this is exactly as the Christian experience is to exist today — an introduction to the journey, followed by testing, with a revealed goal
Note how James, beginning his epistle, outlines the matter::
Orpah turned back, as many Christians do today. And she is not seen throughout the remainder of the book, for the book of Ruth, beyond Orpah’s turning back, deals with the positive side of the matter alone — that side having to do with individuals overcoming in the race of the faith
Ruth alone is dealt with in the remainder of chapter one and throughout chapters two and three, in relation to that seen and realized in chapter four. And Ruth was tested even beyond the time when Orpah turned back. Only when it had been clearly demonstrated to Naomi that Ruth was “determined” to complete the journey did the testing cease.
And so it is with Christians today. Testing in one’s life is for a revealed purpose, with determination to complete the race only opening the door for additional testing. And a Christian is to ““count it all joy” when these various testing occur, for, from previous instruction, the Christian is to know that present testing is for a divine purpose, to be realized in that coming day when Christ appears in all His glory.