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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

Redeemer, Redemption

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REDEEMER, REDEMPTION . Redemption means in strictness deliverance by payment of a price or ransom , hence, metaphorically, at any great cost or sacrifice; but in the OT, outside the Law (especially in Deut., Psalms, Isaiah), is often used also of deliverance simply, as from oppression, violence, sickness, captivity, death redemption by power . The typical redemption in the OT was the deliverance of Israel from Egypt (cf. Isaiah 51:9-11 ).

Two words, with their derivatives, are used in the OT to express the idea. The one, gâ’al (from which gâ’âl , ‘redeemer’), is used technically of redemption of ant inheritance, of tithes, and the like: in a wider sense it is a favourite term in the later Psalms and Deutero-Isaiah. The other, pâdhâh , is frequent in Deut. and in the earlier Psalms. The gô’el is the kinsman who has the right to redeem; the term is used also of the ‘avenger of blood’ ( Numbers 35:12 etc.); elsewhere, as in Job 19:25 , Psalms 19:14 etc., but especially in Deutero-Isaiah, it denotes Jehovah as the vindicator, deliverer, and avenger of His people (cf. Isaiah 40:14 ; Isaiah 43:14 etc.). The NT, likewise, employs two words one agorazô , ‘to buy or purchase’ ( 1 Corinthians 6:20 ; 1Co 7:23 , 2 Peter 2:1 , Revelation 5:9 ; Revelation 14:3-4 ; St. Paul uses a compound form in Galatians 3:13 ; Galatians 4:5 ); the other, and more usual, lutroumai (from lutron , ‘a ransom’), and its derivatives. The special Pauline word for redemption is apolutrôsis ( Romans 3:24 ; Rom 8:23 , 1 Corinthians 1:30 , Ephesians 1:7 etc.). In Romans 11:26 ‘Deliverer’ is used for the OT ‘Redeemer’ ( Isaiah 59:20 ).

In pious circles in Israel the coming Messianic salvation was viewed as a ‘redemption’ (Luke 2:38 ), in which, possibly, political deliverance was Included, but in which the main blessings were spiritual knowledge of salvation, remission of sins, holiness, guidance, peace ( Luke 1:74-79 ). In Christ’s own teaching the political aspect altogether disappears, and the salvation He brings in is something wholly spiritual. He connects it with His Person, and in certain well-known passages with His death ( John 3:14-16 ; John 6:51-56 , Matthew 20:28 || and Matthew 26:26-28 || etc.). In the Apostolic teaching (Acts, Paul, Peter, Heb., Rev.) Christ’s work is distinctively a ‘redemption.’ Redemption, moreover, is not used here simply in the general sense of deliverance, but with definite emphasis on the idea of purchase ( Acts 20:28 , 1 Corinthians 6:20 , Ephesians 1:7 , 1 Timothy 2:9 , 1 Peter 1:18-19 , Revelation 5:9 etc.). This glances back to Christ’s own saying that He came ‘to give his life a ransom ( lutron; cf. antilutron in 1 Timothy 2:6 ) for many’ ( Matthew 20:28 ). Further, ‘ransom,’ ‘price,’ ‘purchase,’ ‘redeem,’ are not to be taken simply figuratively, in the sense that Christ has procured salvation for us at the cost of great suffering, even of death, to Himself. This is true; but the consensus of Apostolic teaching gives a much more definite interpretation to the language; one in accordance with Christ’s own intimation. His death was an explatory sacrifice by which those who avail themselves of it are literally redeemed from the wrath of God that rested on them, and from all other effects of sin. It is St. Paul who works out this idea most systematically (cf. Rom 3:23-26 , 2 Corinthians 5:18-21 , Galatians 3:10-13 ; Galatians 4:4-5 , Titus 3:14 , etc.), though all the NT writers share it. The immediate effect of Christ’s redeeming death is to free from guilt and annul condemnation ( Romans 8:1 ; Romans 8:33-34 ), but it carries in its train deliverance from sin in every form (from sin’s dominion, from the tyranny of Satan, from an evil world, from ‘all iniquity,’ Romans 6:1-23 , Galatians 1:4 , Titus 2:14 , Hebrews 2:14 etc.); ultimately from death itself ( Romans 8:23 ). It not merely redeems from evil, but puts in possession of the highest possible good ‘eternal life’ ( Romans 6:23 , Ephesians 1:3 etc.). It is a redemption in every way complete. See, further, artt. Atonement, Propitiation, Reconciliation, Salvation.

James Orr.


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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Redeemer, Redemption'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/hdb/r/redeemer-redemption.html. 1909.

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Monday, December 16th, 2019
the Third Week of Advent
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