Arlen L. Chitwood
Preparation for Meeting Boaz
Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, shall I not seek security for you, that it may be well with you?
Now Boaz, whose young women you were with, is he not our relative? In fact, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor.
Therefore wash yourself and anoint yourself, put on your best garment and go down to the threshing floor . . . .” (Ruth 3:1-3a).
Ruth chapter two and the first part of chapter three present a wealth of information surrounding the manner in which Christians are to properly govern their lives during the present dispensation. And governing their lives in this manner is with a view to their ultimately reaching a revealed goal, brought to the forefront in chapter one, referred to again in chapter three, and seen realized in chapter four.
The facet of the Christian life seen in chapter two and the first part of chapter three has to do with the harvest during the present dispensation (chapter 2) and with preparation for meeting Christ on His threshing floor, at His judgment seat, following the harvest (chapter 3a). Then the goal, having previously been brought to the forefront in chapter one, has to do with an inheritance in another land, referred to in connection with a time of rest in chapter three, and seen realized in a regal setting in chapter four.
A Word Picture
The book of Ruth, in its type-antitype structure, presents one of a number of parallel word pictures about the Church that God has provided in the Old Testament Scriptures, beginning in the book of Genesis. And these different word pictures, viewed together, form a complete picture of the antitype, allowing individuals to properly see and understand all the various things about the antitype. The book of Ruth, in this respect, simply adds another dimension to an already existing and developing picture, providing more details and information in numerous realms.
Only through viewing all of the types together, in the light of the antitype, can the complete biblical picture be seen and understood in all its clarity and fullness, exactly as God revealed the matter in His Word. Should one type be ignored or removed, the picture resulting from the other types would be incomplete. There would be something lacking in the picture that the reader would, as a result, not see. And, failing to see that which was lacking could only leave the reader without all the necessary information to properly understand things exactly as God revealed them, leaving himself open to the possibility of error in this area of biblical study and interpretation.
Thus, the things opened up and revealed in the book of Ruth have their basis in revelation that begins in Genesis and continues through the other four books of Moses, then through Joshua and Judges. But, revelation in Ruth by no means completes the picture; no more so than did any previous revelation on the subject complete the picture. Rather, revelation in Ruth simply adds to an already existing and developing picture, providing a different facet of the picture, adding details, and placing the emphasis in a particular realm (as does any revelation on the subject beyond the original type). Then God continues beyond the book of Ruth with the developing picture through additional revelation. And He continues until the picture is complete, exactly as He would have man see the picture.
Ruth chapter two, dealing with the harvest, covers one such part of this developing picture; and the beginning of chapter three, dealing with preparation for meeting the Lord of the harvest on His threshing floor at the end of the harvest, covers another inseparably related part of the developing picture. The last two chapters in this study on the book of Ruth have dealt with the former — with work in the field during the time of harvest. And this present chapter will deal with the latter — with preparation for meeting Christ at His judgment seat, following the harvest.
A Threefold Preparation
Preparation for meeting Christ at His judgment seat is set forth in Ruth 3:3 in a threefold manner: “wash yourself . . . anoint yourself . . . put on your best garment.” And this verse is unique in Scripture with respect to a complete and concise statement pertaining to the subject at hand. This is a verse that, in the realm of the salvation of the soul (cf. Hebrews 10:36-39; 1 Peter 1:4-11), could be compared to Acts 16:30, 31, dealing with salvation by grace through faith (cf. Ephesians 2:8, 9).
Ruth 3:3 is addressed to saved individuals, relating exactly what must be done if these individuals (Christians) would one day come into a realization of the salvation of their souls, ultimately entering into the rest set forth in verse one. And, though different parts of this threefold preparation are dealt with numerous places throughout Scripture, this is the only place in all of Scripture where everything is brought together and the matter is stated in so many words, in a complete manner, such as can be seen here: wash…anoint…put on your best garment.
And, correspondingly, Acts 16:30, 31, asking and answering a question concerning salvation, refers to a subject dealt with numerous places throughout Scripture as well. But these two verses form the only place in all of Scripture where the question and answer surrounding salvation by grace appear together in so many words, in a complete manner: “What must I do to be saved?” “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved . . . .”
In the preceding respect, there should be no controversy surrounding the whole realm of soteriology (doctrine of salvation) — not only past (seen in Acts 16:30, 31) but present and future as well (seen in Ruth 3:3).
But, though controversy shouldn’t exist — for Scripture is clear on the matter — exactly the opposite is true. Regardless of the clarity of Scripture, mass confusion exists in a large segment of Christendom today surrounding this complete threefold realm of soteriology. And, viewing what is occurring, the reason for this confusion is easy to understand: The Old Testament types — the word pictures that God has provided to open up, shed light upon, and help explain the antitype — have largely been ignored. That is to say, whether dealing with salvation by grace in Acts 16:30, 31 or the salvation of the soul in Ruth 3:3, confusion exists mainly because man has ignored the study of Scripture after the manner in which God structured His Word.
Thus, in order to remain within a completely biblical perspective in any realm of soteriology — past, present, or future — only one way for proper biblical study exists: The complete word picture in the Old Testament and the antitype in the New Testament must be viewed and studied together, in the light of one another, running all the checks and balances. There can be no proper understanding of soteriology — whether in the Old Testament or in the New Testament, whether past, present, or future — apart from placing the Old Testament types alongside the New Testament antitype and studying them together.
In this respect, God has provided the types so that man can properly understand the antitype. And, with this in mind, note the three parts to Ruth 3:3 as they relate to proper preparedness for meeting Christ on His threshing floor, at His judgment seat, when the harvest is over.
1) Wash Yourself
The basis for this part of the type is seen in a previous type, from the book of Exodus. Its basis is seen in a part of the central Old Testament type dealing with the whole of the Christian life — from the type dealing with the Israelites under Moses (1 Corinthians 10:1-11).
The Israelites under Moses had been removed from Egypt for a revealed purpose. These Israelites possessed a calling, and that calling had to do with the nation of Israel realizing the rights of primogeniture, as God’s firstborn son, in another land (cf. Exodus 4:22, 23; 19:5, 6).
In route to that land, at Sinai, the tabernacle ministry with its priestly activity was established. And, within this tabernacle ministry, performed by Aaron and the priests ministering with him, basic truths surrounding the first part of the command seen in Ruth 3:3 were established.
Priests were taken from the tribe of Levi, and these priests, upon their entrance into the priesthood to perform priestly functions, were given a bath. Their complete bodies were bathed at this time, an act never to be repeated (Exodus 29:4).
Then, once they had entered into their priestly ministry, washings of another type were to occur, which had to do with parts of the body, not with the whole body. And these washings were solely for those whose complete bodies had previously been bathed. These were washings occurring during the course of their ministry as priests.
Priests ministering between the brazen altar in the courtyard and the Holy place of the tabernacle became defiled during the course of their ministry. They still lived in a world where sin and death were present, and they still possessed the old sin nature. Ministering under these conditions, this defilement was shown through their hands and feet becoming soiled, necessitating cleansing.
To provide this cleansing, there was a brazen laver in the courtyard of the tabernacle, located between the brazen altar and the Holy place. This laver had upper and lower basins filled with water; and the priests, ministering between the brazen altar and Holy place, though their complete bodies had been bathed upon their entrance into the priesthood, had to stop and wash their hands and feet prior to entering into the Holy place. They had to stop at the brazen laver and wash that which had become soiled prior to entering into the place where there was a seven-leafed candlestick, a table of shewbread, an altar of incense, and a veil separating them from God’s presence in the Holy of Holies (Exodus 30:18-21).
It was established truths surrounding washings within the Mosaic economy that Jesus drew from in John 13:4-12 when He washed the disciples’ feet.
In this account, Jesus, following supper, rose, laid aside His garments, girded Himself with a towel, poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet. But when He came to Peter, there was an adverse reaction. Peter, in a very emphatic manner (a double negative appears in the Greek text), said, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus responded, “If I do not wash [Greek: nipto, referring to a part of the body] you, you have no part with Me” (v. 8).
This was near the end of Christ’s earthly ministry, preceding His crucifixion. Christ’s ministry (along with the ministry of the disciples whom He had called and sent out) had centered on one thing — an offer of the kingdom of the heavens to Israel, conditioned upon the nation’s repentance (Matthew 4:17-25; 10:1-8). And Christ’s statement, within context, could only have been understood one way by the disciples. Unless they allowed Christ to wash their feet, as He was demonstrating and doing, they could have no part with Him in the kingdom being proclaimed and offered to Israel.
Peter, knowing that Christ was referring to a place in the kingdom with Him, and desiring one of these places above everything else, responded to Jesus’ statement by saying, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head” (v. 9). As evident by Peter’s response, if allowing Christ to wash his feet was a prerequisite to his having a part with Christ in the kingdom, then he wanted to go beyond allowing Christ to wash his feet. Peter wanted Christ to wash his complete body, making absolutely sure that he would have a part with Him in the kingdom.
But Jesus then stated, “He who is bathed (Greek: louo, referring to the complete body] needs only to wash [Greek: nipto, referring to part of the body] his feet, but is completely clean . . . .” (v. 10a). Jesus could only have been alluding to washings of both the complete body and parts of the body experienced by the Levitical priests in the type (in the Septuagint [Greek: translation of the Old Testament] of the book of Exodus, the words louo and nipto are used to show the same distinction seen in John 13:8-10 [cf. Exodus 29:4; 30:18-21; 40:12-15]). And Jesus’ actions in this passage in the gospel of John, pointing to a future high priestly ministry that He was to occupy following His resurrection and ascension, would have to be understood in the light of this overall Old Testament type.
(Note that this act of washing the disciples’ feet, as the washings in the Old Testament type, had no power in and of itself. This washing, as all washings seen in Scripture, was symbolic of something else; and the power lay in that to which the act pointed, that which it foreshadowed.)
The washings associated with the Levitical priests in the Old Testament (a washing of the complete body, followed by washings of parts of the body), in turn, pointed to, foreshadowed respectively, both Christ’s past work at Calvary and His present work in the heavenly sanctuary. Christ died for our sins, providing a cleansing typified by the complete bath that the priests were given upon their entrance into the priesthood. And Christ presently ministers as our High Priest to provide subsequent cleansings, typified by the subsequent cleansings at the laver in the type.
Thus, Christ, through washing the disciples’ feet in John chapter thirteen, was demonstrating truths typically seen through the Levitical priests washing their hands and feet at the laver in the courtyard of the tabernacle as they carried out their priestly ministry on behalf of those forming the nation of Israel. Then, the allusion to a washing of the entire body that Christ made as He was about to wash Peter’s feet, was a reference to the prior experience of the priests upon their entrance into the priesthood.
And, as in the type, Christ’s present ministry in the heavenly sanctuary is solely for the saved, for those who in the antitype of the experience of the Levitical priests at the time of their entrance into the priesthood have already had their complete bodies washed, never to be repeated. Christ’s present ministry is for those forming the one new man “in Christ,” for those who have been saved in past time and are now in a position to receive cleansing from present defilement through Christ’s present ministry in the sanctuary.
Thus, as in the type, Christ’s present ministry has nothing to do with the unsaved. The unsaved are dealt with solely on the basis of Christ’s past work at Calvary — His death and shed blood. As previously stated, from a typical standpoint, the unsaved being dealt with in this manner is connected with the Levitical priests receiving a complete bath upon their entrance into the priesthood, not with subsequent washings of the hands and feet. It is only after a person has been saved, has passed from death unto life, that he can be dealt with on the basis of Christ’s present work in the sanctuary — performed by a living Christ, on the basis of His blood on the mercy seat.
(Jesus’ statement in John 13:10, 11 is often used in an effort to show that Judas was not among those viewed as having been washed completely, as the other disciples, placing him in an unsaved state. However, the passage can’t be understood in this manner, for it would be out of line with both Jesus’ actions in this chapter and other Scriptures dealing with the disciples and their ministry.
It appears clear from John 13:12 — “when He had washed their feet” — that Christ washed the feet of all twelve disciples, with no distinction made between Judas and the other eleven in this respect. And He could not have included Judas among those whose feet He had washed apart from having looked upon Judas in the antitype of previously having had his complete body washed.
Christ’s act of washing the disciples’ feet in John chapter thirteen foreshadowed His present ministry in the heavenly sanctuary, which is for the saved alone. Thus, through this act of washing Judas’ feet, Christ acknowledged something which is really not even an issue in the text [or any other text in Scripture for that matter] — that Judas was a saved individual, not unsaved as is so often believed and taught.
In this respect, John 13:10b, 11 would have to be understood in the sense of Judas’ uncleanness being associated with Christ’s present actions [washing a part of the body, following a complete bath]; and, as stated in the text, it had to do with Judas’ future actions — betraying Christ [v. 11].
Judas betrayal of Christ, mentioned in this verse, could, in no way, be grounds for questioning his salvation. If it were, salvation would be brought over into the realm of works, where it can’t exist [e.g., note that Peter denied Christ three times — a similar act in many respects (Matthew 26:58, 69-75); and his salvation can’t be brought into question for this denial, for exactly the same reason that Judas’ salvation can’t be brought into question for his betrayal].
It would really make no sense to associate Judas’ actions with saved-unsaved issues [which have to be read into the text to do so]. On the other hand though, it would make perfect sense to associate his actions with unfaithfullness [as Peter’s subsequent action, also foretold by Jesus immediately before it occurred], which is really what the text deals with.
Then note Jesus’ previous calling of Judas as one of the Twelve, to be numbered among those carrying the good news surrounding the kingdom of the heavens to Israel. It is completely untenable to believe that Jesus would call someone, among the Twelve, who was spiritually dead to carry a message necessitating spiritual understanding, to a nation capable of this type of understanding.)
First John 1:5-2:2 is another New Testament passage that deals specifically with cleansing provided through Christ’s present ministry in the sanctuary, drawing from the typology of the tabernacle and the ministry of the Levitical priests. And, with that being the case, the only way in which this section of Scripture can be properly understood and explained is through continual reference to the type, given to shed light upon the antitype.
The section begins with a reference to light and darkness (1:5-7a). Individuals either walk in light or in darkness, and two things exist for those walking in light that do not exist for those walking in darkness: (1) they have fellowship with the Father and the Son, and (2) they receive continuous cleansing from their sins. Then the section goes on to deal with confession of sin (1:7b-10) and Christ’s high priestly ministry (2:1, 2).
(Note that both textually and contextually, 1 John 2:1, 2 has to do with the saved, not with the unsaved. The word “advocate” [v. 1] is a translation of parakletos in the Greek text [cf. John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7; ref. chapters 3, 4 in the author’s book, Search for the Bride], and the word “propitiation” [v. 2] is a translation of hilasmos in the Greek text.
Hilasmos is derived from the same root form as the word for “mercy seat” [hilasterion] in Hebrews 9:5. And Christ’s high priestly work in the heavenly sanctuary, on the basis of His shed blood on the mercy seat, is what is in view in 1 John 2:1, 2.
The words “the whole world” at the end of verse two would have to be understood contextually. Salvation by grace is not in view in the text or context, and the expression would have to be understood in the same sense as seen in Colossians 1:6, 23, where salvation by grace is not in view either.)
Thus, this whole section in 1 John is about keeping oneself clean through confession of sin, allowing an individual to walk in the light and have fellowship with the Father and with His Son. And this is all made possible through Christ’s present ministry in the sanctuary, on the basis of His shed blood on the mercy seat.
That which is seen in this section can be properly understood and explained only through referring back to the layout of the tabernacle and the ministry of the Levitical priests as they carried out their priestly duties. Light existed only one place in the tabernacle (aside from the fact that God is Light and dwelt in the Holy of Holies). The only light in the tabernacle came from the seven-leafed golden candlestick in the Holy place. And the only way a priest could enter into the Holy place, where light existed, was to first wash his hands and feet at the laver in the courtyard.
Only then could he enter the place where light, a table of shewbread, an altar of incense, and a veil separating the person from God existed. Otherwise, if he did not wash his hands and feet, he would find himself on the wrong side of the laver, separated from the light, the table of shewbread, the altar of incense, and the veil in the holy place. He, in the words of 1 John 1:6, would be walking in darkness, separated from fellowship with the Father and with His Son.
In that respect, two types of Christians are seen in the opening section of 1 John — faithful and unfaithful — those who allow Christ to wash their feet, and those who do not. And teachings surrounding the matter, to aid in one’s understanding, are drawn from Old Testament typology.
2) Anoint Yourself
“Oil” is used in Scripture for anointing purposes, and “oil” was used in this manner in the Old Testament to anoint prophets, priests, and kings. And there was a connection between the use of oil after this fashion and the Holy Spirit coming upon an individual to empower him for the office to which he was being consecrated.
The anointing of Saul and David would be two such examples (1 Samuel 10:1, 6; 16:13). The Spirit came upon each following their being anointed, to empower them for the regal tasks that they were to perform.
Then the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25:1-13 sets forth matters as they would exist relative to the Holy Spirit and Christians during the present dispensation. Note that this parable has to do with the kingdom of the heavens, which, at the time when the parable was given, had been taken from Israel. And the kingdom was taken from Israel with a view to a new nation being called into existence, which would be allowed to bring forth “the fruit of it” (cf. Matthew 21:33-43; Ephesians 2:11-15; 1 Peter 2:9, 10). Thus, the parable of the ten virgins, no longer applicable to Israel, could only apply to those forming this new nation — to Christians.
All ten of the virgins had oil in their vessels, but only five possessed an extra supply of oil (vv. 2-4, 7, 8). That would be to say, all Christians have oil in their vessels, but not all Christians possess an extra supply of oil. That is, all Christians are indwelt by the Spirit, but not all Christians are filled with the Spirit.
The Spirit indwelling an individual occurs at the time of the birth from above (1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19). The individual is immersed in the Spirit, which places him “in Christ,” making him part of the one new man and Abraham’s seed, because Christ is Abraham’s Seed (cf. Matthew 3:11; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Galatians 3:26-29).
But the filling of the Spirit is another matter entirely. The filling of the Spirit occurs subsequent to the indwelling of the Spirit and may or may not occur in a Christian’s life.
The filling of the Spirit is connected with receiving the Word of God, and, at the same time, allowing the indwelling Spirit to lead the individual into all truth. The filling of the Spirit is connected with Christian maturity. The two go hand-in-hand in this respect. From a biblical standpoint, the more a person matures in the faith the more he can be said to be filled with the Spirit.
Note parallel verses in two companion epistles, Ephesians and Colossians, relative to the filling of the Spirit:
And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,
speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. (Ephesians 5:18, 19)
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. (Colossians 3:16)
In Ephesians, Christians are commanded to be filled with the Spirit; and in the parallel section in Colossians, Christians are commanded to let the Word of Christ dwell in them richly in all wisdom. The latter relates how the former is accomplished.
Thus, the importance of spiritual growth to maturity in this manner cannot be overemphasized. Spiritual growth to maturity is inseparably related to the filling of the Spirit, a necessity for Christians if they would be properly prepared for meeting Christ at His judgment seat.
(For additional information on the filling of the Spirit, refer to the author’s book, Salvation of the Soul, chapter 5.)
Matters have been set in the type, and the antitype must follow the type in exact detail. As Ruth could not be properly prepared for meeting Boaz apart from being anointed, neither can Christians be properly prepared for meeting Christ apart from being filled with the Spirit.
3) Put On Your Best Garment
Scripture presents only two positions relative to the garment in view. An individual is seen as being either clothed, or naked. There is no middle ground where one is seen partially clothed (cf. Matthew 12:30).
Thoughts surrounding the garment — being clothed or not being clothed — are set forth very early in Scripture, in the opening three chapters of Genesis. Adam’s and Eve’s bodies, prior to the fall, could only have been enswathed in a covering of glory. God is covered “with light as with a garment” (Psalm 104:2), and man, created in the “image” and “likeness” of God could only have been arrayed in a similar manner prior to the fall.
Man lost this covering at the time of the fall and found himself separated from God. And, until God slew innocent animals and clothed Adam and Eve with the skins from these animals, this separation continued.
This is the way in which matters surrounding being clothed or being found naked are set forth at the beginning, establishing first-mention principles. And, accordingly, this is the way matters on this subject must be seen continuing throughout Scripture (e.g., ref. Exodus 32:1ff; Esther 5:1).
Thoughts surrounding the raiment in the book of Ruth, brought over into the antitype, have to do with being properly clothed for going forth to meet the bridegroom. The marriage and marriage festivities are in view, and being arrayed or not being arrayed have to do with acceptance or rejection relative to the matter at hand, exactly as previously established in the unchangeable foundational truths set forth in the opening chapters of Genesis (and though the covering in Ruth is not synonymous with the covering in Genesis, established foundational truths surrounding acceptance or rejection still hold true, and regality is in view in both instances).
(For a discussion of this covering of glory in the opening chapters of Genesis, along with two different Hebrew words used for “naked” in chapters two and three, both before and after the fall, refer to the author’s book, Salvation of the Soul, Revised Edition [chapter 1, pp. 4-6].)
Ruth was going forth to meet the bridegroom in the type, and so are Christians in the antitype. And an individual going forth to meet the Bridegroom must not only be properly prepared through that shown by washing and anointing but also through that shown by being properly clothed.
And in view of that which lay ahead and that which Scripture elsewhere has to say about this matter, only one thing can possibly be in view in this part of Naomi’s command to Ruth, as it relates to Christians. Only the wedding garment can be in view.
This apparel, according to Revelation 19:7, 8 is made up of “the righteous acts of saints.” This is something that Christians progressively weave for themselves, over time, as they glean in the field and beat out the grain. And to do this work in a proper manner, with the wedding garment being progressively woven, an extra supply of oil is necessary. That is, being filled with the Spirit for the task at hand is an absolute necessity, for only through being filled with the Spirit can a work in the spiritual realm be effectively accomplished.
Appearing in Christ’s presence in that future day without a wedding garment is the central issue in the parable of the marriage feast (Matthew 22:1-14) and is a central issue in the letter to the church in Laodicea, depicting Christendom at the end of the present dispensation (Revelation 3:14-21; note particularly v. 17).
Relative to the man appearing without a wedding garment and the subject at hand in Matthew 22:1-14 — the wedding festivities — the man was cast into the darkness outside the banqueting hall (v. 13). And relative to an entire church appearing naked in Christ’s presence and the subject at hand in Revelation 3:14-21 — ruling from His throne (v. 21) — Christ said, “I will vomit you out ofMmy mouth” (v. 16).
Clear instructions concerning the necessary preparation have been given in the Word of God, and clear warnings have been sounded in this same Word concerning that which will occur if these instructions are ignored. And Christians in possession of this Word — in possession of these instructions and warnings — who ignore this revelation and one day find themselves in Christ’s presence, in an unprepared manner, will be without excuse.