Sermon

Lessons from the Book of Ruth

by Ian J Henderson

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Today I would like to look back at a book of the Old Testament, a book which the Jews read, in fact, at Pentecost. They claim that it shows the steps that lead to conversion and here's a quote from a Jewish source, it says:

"Ruth was a convert to Judaism, willingly entering a covenant with God through the acceptance of His Torah. At Shavuot, the Jewish people en-mass entered this covenant with God by willingly accepting His Torah."

So that's why they read the Book of Ruth at Pentecost. Now in the news this week there was a very interesting quote which actually caught my eye, George Bernard Shaw talking about Christianity. He said:

"Christianity is the greatest thing in the world, it's just a pity nobody every tried it."

We can modify that somewhat and say; "You know God's Way of Life is the greatest thing in the world, it's just a pity nobody ever tried it." I mean there's no record for example; that the Jubilee was ever kept, ever. And yet, what a fabulous idea. We wouldn't have all the super wealthy people today trying to run the world when they are not in the least bit qualified.

We are not told who wrote the book. The characters in the book are not referred to in any other Old Testament writing. But it's a book with a hidden message for us today. But we are given the time setting. Let's turn back to Ruth; every time I go back to this book we see a little bit more, it's very, very interesting. It's often what you're not told that raises questions rather than what you are told. Ruth 1:1:

"Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled..." (Ruth 1:1)

So there's your time setting; life in the time of the Judges. Well these were dark days, they were full of sufferings brought about by the Israelites' apostasy and immorality. Part of the judgments God brought upon His sinful people included famine and war. And the Book of Ruth opens with a report of famine which drove Naomi's family out of Bethlehem into neighbouring Moab. Naomi eventually returned with Ruth because she heard that;

"...she had heard in the country of Moab how that the [Eternal] had visited his people in giving them bread." (Ruth 1:6)

So as I say, it is an interesting point that Ruth and Boaz are not mentioned in the book of Judges, which you would have thought they would have been, but they are not there. But first of all I'd like to look at certain facts - it's always interesting, I hated history at school but it's quite a big part of the Bible, when you look at it, isn't it? So let's have some 'horrible history'.

The People Go Off Track (PLAY FROM 02:45)

People go off track. I got into a terrible mess in South Africa because we had a problem with some of the young people reading literature that they shouldn't have been reading. So I suggested to the YOU they all read the book of Judges and then go and ask your parents some interesting questions about it. It did cause quite a few interesting questions. Now again, the time setting, Judges 1:1:

"Now after the death of Joshua..." (Judges 1:1)

That's where we are; if you go to Judges 2:8 you get a bit more information here:

"And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the [Eternal], died, being an hundred and ten years old. And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnathheres, in the mount of Ephraim, on the north side of the hill Gaash. And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the [Eternal], nor yet the works which he had done for Israel [astounding isn't it, just one generation]. And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the [Eternal], and served Baalim [so they went completely to the other side]: And they forsook the [Eternal] God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the [Eternal] to anger. And they forsook the [Eternal], and served Baal and Ashtaroth." (Judges 2:8-13)

What a tragedy. They had the very Way of God, they had the Law of God and they just ditched it. And as you've just heard from Mr Armstrong just now, in the WT 'The Religion of Judaism', it's quite interesting that the Jew's take on the law, in that their law eventually the whole thing just degenerated into their own commandments. They did their own thing, they forgot about God. Judges 2:16:

"Nevertheless [God didn't abandon them] the [Eternal] raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them." (Judges 2:16)

In other words a Judge would come along, sort things out and they'd have so many years of relative peace, and then they got off track and there would be a war or a famine; and then eventually God would send another Judge along, and so on. This is how it went on for several hundred years. If you turn to the last verse of the Book of Judges, Judges 21:25, and here's the key to the whole period and it has a little bit of a message for us today:

"In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes." (Judges 21:25)

As Mr Armstrong was going over in that broadcast there, he mentioned the Jews were coming up with all these traditions.

I had a partner once, he and his wife were Jewish, and his wife would walk to the Synagogue, she would not drive the car. She'd have about a dozen handkerchiefs and every so often she'd stick a handkerchief in a hedge. And that was her Sabbath day's journey and she could do another Sabbath day's journey from there to eventually get to the Synagogue. I think she would be walking about a mile and a half or something, which in South African in summer is hot! She would have been much better in the air conditioned car. She would even take the light bulb out of the fridge so that when you turn the fridge on the light doesn't come on; that's work. And all the toilet paper is all neatly taken off into squares and put on a plate at the side, you mustn't be tearing the paper. This is how they went.

Well no king in Israel. The similarity today with the Church is pretty obvious and Mr Armstrong has been dead now for thirty years and an overview of the Church reveals a similar situation; every man is doing what seems right in his own eyes. Hence we have all these different doctrines and ideas that are flying around. Around half the original Worldwide Church of God has gone back to their roots - Christmas, Easter, Sunday worship, and so on. That's astounding, gone right back into it.

Most of those that remain seem to be slipping into this Laodicean condition. Let the people decide - that's the way of the Laodicean era; let the people decide. From the beginning Mr Armstrong belaboured the point on many occasions about the Two Trees and how important it all was. But it really was, it really was, because without understanding as to what went on back then, man took to himself the right to decide what was right and wrong; and that was wrong.

What God put before man was; "Here's the way of life, your job is, do you obey or do you not obey?" You don't get to make the rules. But of course they decided to make the rules. And we've got six thousand years of human suffering and disasters to prove that it doesn't work. But this is our job in the future isn't it? You can make a note of Malachi 3:18, we all know this verse very well:

"Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not." (Malachi 3:18)

That's our job, that your job description for the coming world tomorrow, that's your job description, that's our job description. We've got to learn to discern between who is obeying God and who isn't. Just had a quick look through Mr Bowles' Pastor's Report and he says; "This is undoubtedly part of the very reason that God has allowed us to all to experience the shattering today, allowing us to make up our various judgments as He makes His own righteous assessment of us."

You know it was very comfortable back in the days of yore when you were in a Church with two, three, four, five, six, seven hundred people or whatever. It was very easy, you just went along with the flow. Now; most people find themselves to a degree on their own, you've got to make your own decisions. And that's where the men, I'm afraid, have been separated from the boys.

And another thing he mentioned was; "Just notice the range and depth of the foundational truth that has been restored to the Church in our day." And then he lists, I think it's about eighteen or nineteen points, of things that God restored through Mr Armstrong into His Church. It's not 'new' truth it was 'restored' truth.

Now the timing overview; let's see, at the end of the period of the Judges you see then coming along Samuel, followed by Saul and King David. The time of Ruth, just make a note and we'll go over this in a minute, but in Ruth 4:21 it said:

"And Salmon begat Boaz, and Boaz begat Obed, And Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David." (Ruth 4:21-22)

So you know we're looking at towards the end of the period of the actual Judges. Now according to Josephus, the Jewish historian, who was remarkably accurate in some places, and then very human in others shall we say. He claimed this all happened in the days of Eli. You remember; "...the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas..." (I Samuel 1:3). And we are told in I Samuel 2:12 that Eli's sons:

"Now the sons of Eli...they knew not the [Eternal]." (I Samuel 2:12)

That was a bit of an understatement, they were not a very nice pair of gentlemen.

So Ruth; let's just turn to Ruth 1:1:

"Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehemjudah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons. And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehemjudah. And they came into the country of Moab, and continued there." (Ruth 1:1-2)

So obviously there was rain there, there was food there, and that's what you do when there is a famine, you've got to follow the food. Now let's have a quick look at what's involved here. First of all the location. Bethlehemjudah, it seems a bit of an awkward way of putting it but it was used to differentiate; because there was another Bethlehem up in Zebulon. So this is the Bethlehem that Christ was born in, in other words.

Elimelech, the father, the name literally means God King or God the King, Strong's 458, which is rather interesting. The Ephrathites is the ancient name that was given to Bethlehem was Ephrath, Strong's 673. Mahlon means 'weakly', Strong's 4248. Not a very nice name for a bloke is it? And Chilion, Strong's 3630, is 'pining' somewhat unusual.

When you come to Boaz, this is very interesting; my book what knows all these things, as does Strong's 1162 in Ruth 2:1 says; Boaz, from an unused root of uncertain meaning. Which is a nice way of saying; "I haven't got a clue." However, if you look at Jachin and Boaz, the two columns that were in front of the actual temple, there they give you the meaning. And Jachin means 'He shall extablish', Strong's 3199. And Boaz, 'In it is strength', Strong's 1162 which is rather interesting. So I think we'll go with that rather than saying from unused root of uncertain origins.

Now here is the kind of traditions of the Jews that Mr Armstrong was talking about. According to Jewish sources; Boaz was 80 and Ruth was 40 years old when they were married and Boaz; and died the day after his wedding. I couldn't possibly comment on that! Ruth 1:3:

"And Elimelech Naomi's husband died; and she was left, and her two sons. And they took them wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth: and they dwelled there about ten years [interesting, that they were childless]. And Mahlon and Chilion died also both of them; and the woman was left of her two sons and her husband." (Ruth 1:3-5)

And here of course we come to the section which of course it really gets to you when you understand what's going on here. Ruth 1:6:

"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 how that the [Eternal] had visited his people in giving them bread [so things had returned to normal in Israel]. Wherefore she went forth out of the place where she was, and her two daughters in law with her; and they went on the way to return unto the land of Judah." (Ruth 1:6-7)

So they actually set out, they packed everything up and off they go. And obviously there is a stopping point here. Ruth 1:8:

"And Naomi said unto her two daughters in law, Go, return each to her mother's house: the [Eternal] deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me. The [Eternal] grant you that ye may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband. Then she kissed them; and they lifted up their voice, and wept. And they said unto her, Surely we will return with thee unto thy people. And Naomi said, Turn again, my daughters: why will ye go with me? are there yet any more sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands? Turn again, my daughters, go your way; for I am too old to have an husband. If I should say, I have hope, if I should have an husband also to night, and should also bear sons; Would ye tarry for them till they were grown? would ye stay for them from having husbands? nay, my daughters; for it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the [Eternal] is gone out against me. And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her." (Ruth 1:8-14)

And here's the thing; Orpah went back. Naomi was trying to get them to go back to their own land and remarry, because they wouldn't have been that old, they would probably have been round about thirty-ish I would imagine, thirty, thirty-five which is still, relatively young. But look at Ruth's attitude in Ruth 1:15:

"And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law. And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the [Eternal] do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me. When she saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her." (Ruth 1:15-18)

I mean that's a pretty defining statement of intent. Now to be thinking about the spiritual aspects from our point of view, this parallels our conversion doesn't it? You know, at baptism we started a whole new life. I still, looking back, think that we didn't really properly understand in any great depth as to what we were actually going to be expecting. I certainly wouldn't have expected fifty years on to be sitting here giving a sermon, having gone through everything that we've gone through. But the big thing is, it is a totally different way of life, it's diametrically opposite to the world. That's why there is so much in the Bible about coming out, come out of it. And Paul writing this Romans 12:1 here is what Paul had to say, trying to get across this point to us:

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may [be able to] prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." (Romans 12:1-2)

That just takes a couple of seconds to read; but therein lies the basis isn't it? And if you look back over here it says which is your 'reasonable' service, that word there can also be translated 'logical', Strong's 3050 because we are giving your bodies as a living sacrifice, because of what God has done for us.

"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed..." (Romans 12:2). Interesting word, 'metamorphoo', Strong's 3339 from which we get metamorphosis. And the 'renewing' or the 'renovation', Strong's 342 of your 'mind' or your 'understanding', Strong's 3563. "...that ye may prove [disern, Strong's 1381] what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." (Romans 12:2)

The metamorphosis is quite interesting. I think as children we've all have done it haven't we? We get the caterpillars that eat, the nasturtiums and anything that is coming out of the ground and they go into a chrysalis form, and they're like rock hard and they dangle from anything they can dangle from, and they stay there for ages. And then at the right time the shell breaks and out comes a butterfly. What went in was a caterpillar, what comes out is a butterfly or a moth. How different can you get, from a creepy crawly bug which you know eats your cabbages and everything else, to a beautiful butterfly? I mean the one crawls on the ground, the other one flies. I mean there's absolutely no link between the two and I'm sure that God put that there to teach us a lesson.

As God keeps on saying; "Look at my works, look at My works, look at what I've done!" I mean that's what Mr Bowles was mentioning the other day, Look at what God had Mr Armstrong put back into the Church that we completely lost; completely lost. It started with the whole plan of God. Ruth 1:19:

"So they two went until they came to Bethlehem. And it came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem, that all the city was moved about them, and they said, Is this Naomi [don't forget they'd been gone 10 years plus]? And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full and the [Eternal] hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the [Eternal] hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me? So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter in law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest." (Ruth 1:19-22)

So we're in springtime aren't we? Now, Ruth meets Boaz. When you read this sometimes you are not too sure whether it was rigged or not, but it does seem that she just happened to be in that field; and came home to Naomi and Naomi asked her, where she was now? In other words God has a hand in all this because we are talking about here about a lady who bore a child which became part of the generations of Christ This is important, it's very important, in fact it's one of the big things about the Book of Ruth. It's giving credence to King David as being in that line, that lineage. Ruth 2:1:

"Naomi had a kinsman of her husband's, a mighty man of wealth, of the family of Elimelech; and his name was Boaz." (Ruth 2:1)

Now Boaz, it seems if you read between the lines, was quite wealthy, quite a wealthy man. He was single, unusually for the time he was righteous, he was living God's way. He was also in the lineage of Christ. Now many of the people around him were off track. When he was confronted with Ruth, as we'll see just now, he diligently follows God's Law to the letter, to the letter.

And here we have such a similar thing with today. How many people have we in the world who are the custodians of the Law of God, as it says in Isaiah 8? That's what we are, the custodians of the Law of God, God's way of life. Important? Vital, absolutely vital! And here's this man living at a time of chaos, quite frankly. I mean you read through the Book of Judges sometime and just see all the things that went on. It's horrific, absolutely horrific, and yet here's a man who was righteous. Ruth 2:2:

"And Ruth the Moabitess said unto Naomi, Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find grace. And she said unto her, Go, my daughter. And she went, and came, and gleaned in the field after the reapers: and her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging unto Boaz, who was of the kindred of Elimelech. And, behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers, The [Eternal] be with you. And they answered him, The [Eternal] bless thee." (Ruth 2:2-4)

So again, a little thing, but he seems to have had a good relationship with his workforce didn't he? That doesn't tend to happen too much today, as long as you get your salary cheque it doesn't matter who runs the company does it? Ruth 2:5:

"Then said Boaz unto his servant that was set over the reapers, Whose damsel is this [she would have stood out obviously; probably quite a very attractive lady, she was unusual, maybe the style of dress cut slightly different, but he really certainly noticed her]? And the servant that was set over the reapers answered and said, It is the Moabitish damsel that came back with Naomi out of the country of Moab: And she said, I pray you, let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves: so she came, and hath continued even from the morning until now, that she tarried a little in the house." (Ruth 2:5-7)

In other words, she worked hard. But you see what she's doing, she's obeying God's law, she's living God's way because that's what you did back then. If you were poor you went out and you gleaned. There was food to be had but you had to work for it. And she worked and she worked hard, she spent little time in the house. Ruth 2:8:

"Then said Boaz unto Ruth [so obviously now he's talking to her], Hearest thou not, my daughter? Go not to glean in another field, neither go from hence, but abide here fast by my maidens:" (Ruth 2:8)

Do you see a spiritual link there for us? There are a lot of fields out there at the moment, a lot of fields covered with dandelions and hog weed and a whole load of other nasty stuff. We're told, stick to the field that we are in. He said Ruth 2:9:

"Let thine eyes be on the field that they do reap, and go thou after them: have I not charged the young men that they shall not touch thee? and when thou art athirst, go unto the vessels, and drink of that which the young men have drawn." (Ruth 2:9)

So Boaz is protecting Ruth and commanding her to stay in his field. It's also interesting he says; the 'young men' which does point out that Boaz was maybe was not eighty, but he was quite a bit older. And as I say, we're commanded to stay in Christ's field. That's the field we're in, go back to those points in the Update this week, that's the field we're in, and we're told to stay there and don't bother about going into other fields. Ruth 2:10:

"Then she fell on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, and said unto him, Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger? And Boaz answered and said unto her, It hath fully been shewed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother in law since the death of thine husband: and how thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou knewest not heretofore. The [Eternal] recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the [Eternal] God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust." (Ruth 2:10-12)

Does that ring any bells? "The [Eternal] recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the [Eternal] God of Israel..." (Ruth 2:12). That's what we're looking forward to isn't it? A full reward, eternal life, kings, priests, rulers, teachers, that's what we're looking forward to. And the way things are going it's not that far off. "...under whose wings thou art come to trust." (Ruth 2:12). Exodus 19:4 talks about eagles wings, they come out on eagle's wings:

"Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself." (Exodus 19:4)

There's quite a lot of scriptures about wings. King David says; "...hide me under the shadow of thy wings," (Psalm 17:8). I saw a lovely photograph the other day in one of the papers, it was a goshawk on its nest with one little baby which wasn't very old, it was all at the small fluffy stage, and something was trying to get at that baby. And this goshawk was over the top of the baby with its feathers all fluffed up making itself look as big as it can, and its wings right round the little one, which I thought was rather nice. I tell you what, I wouldn't have taken that thing on, it looked pretty dangerous.

But that's how God looks at His people, He brought them out of Egypt on eagles wings though they walked didn't they? But they were protected. The other verse of course you've got to make a note of is Revelation 22:12:

"And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be." (Revelation 22:12)

So those who say there is no need for any works, I say to you, there is no need for any reward then, because it says right here the reward is commensurate with work. So what are the works? Well how are we obeying God? How are we living God's way? Are we preparing as teachers and so on? Ruth 2:13:

"Then she said, Let me find favour in thy sight, my lord; for that thou hast comforted me, and for that thou hast spoken friendly unto thine handmaid, though I be not like unto one of thine handmaidens [so she was obviously quite different to look at]. And Boaz said unto her, At mealtime come thou hither, and eat of the bread, and dip thy morsel in the vinegar. And she sat beside the reapers: and he reached her parched corn, and she did eat, and was sufficed, and left." (Ruth 2:13-14)

So we've now progressed from having been protected and looked after in the field; now it's you come and eat at my table. Isn't that what we do? Isn't that what we do, we eat at Christ's table literally? We have the Word, the food, and when it goes wrong, it becomes tables of vomit. The analogy with the food is there. Christ said; "I am that bread of life." (John 6:48). Ruth 2:15:

"And when she was risen up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, Let her glean even among the sheaves [she was getting a bit of extra help there], and reproach her not: And let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not." (Ruth 2:15-16)

So she was actually not waiting till the field was clear, she was still going in among the sheaves, and even then there was handfuls of food being left. So he was really looking out for her. Does God look after us today like that? You bet He does - you bet He does. He was taking very special care of her. Ruth 2:17:

"So she gleaned in the field until even, and beat out that she had gleaned: and it was about an ephah of barley." (Ruth 2:17)

This is where we get into the realms of technical speculation! A Hebrew unit of dry measure equal to approximately one bushel or about 33 litres. Now, I've seen it be 31 litres, 35 litres, 37 litres, 29 litres; a little bit of variance there. But it's a fair amount. A bushel which is 48 pounds, about 22 kilos, that's a fair load of grain. When you think you're down on your hands and knees picking this stuff up bit by bit. Ruth 2:18:

"And she took it up, and went into the city: and her mother in law saw what she had gleaned: and she brought forth, and gave to her that she had reserved after she was sufficed [they had a good meal anyway]. And her mother in law said unto her, Where hast thou gleaned to day? and where wroughtest thou? blessed be he that did take knowledge of thee. And she shewed her mother in law with whom she had wrought, and said, The man's name with whom I wrought to day is Boaz. And Naomi said unto her daughter in law, Blessed be he of the [Eternal], who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead. And Naomi said unto her, The man is near of kin unto us, one of our next kinsmen." (Ruth 2:18-20)

Now you can read over that, but you see Naomi's got it; Naomi's living God's way, Naomi understands God's law. She knew exactly what this was all about and she new exactly what she had to do as we'll see. Ruth 2:21:

"And Ruth the Moabitess said, He said unto me also, Thou shalt keep fast by my young men, until they have ended all my harvest. And Naomi said unto Ruth her daughter in law, It is good, my daughter, that thou go out with his maidens, that they meet thee not in any other field [Naomi is adding her weight to the this thing of stay in the field, don't go anywhere else]. So she kept fast by the maidens of Boaz to glean unto the end of barley harvest and of wheat harvest; and dwelt with her mother in law." (Ruth 2:21-23)

Now we come to the interesting bit as they say, Ruth 3:1:

"Then Naomi her mother in law said unto her, My daughter, shall I not seek rest for thee, that it may be well with thee? [She realizes that Ruth has been looking after her and she has this feeling that she obviously she wants to reciprocate she wants to see Ruth, do well] And now is not Boaz of our kindred, with whose maidens thou wast? Behold, he winnoweth barley to night in the threshingfloor." (Ruth 3:1-2)

There's something very interesting here too, you can read over some of these things but when you think about it, this was a rich man, what was he doing winnowing the actual barley? Why didn't he have somebody else do it? Because he did not have a great big opinion of himself. He was looking after his own thing, because back in those times it was a little bit unlawful, as you can gather, and he was looking after his own stuff. Ruth 3:3:

"Wash thyself therefore, and anoint thee, and put thy raiment upon thee, and get thee down to the floor: but make not thyself known unto the man, until he shall have done eating and drinking." (Ruth 3:3)

She was approaching her Redeemer physically. Revelation 19:8 just make a note of it:

"And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints." (Revelation 19:8)

That is how it applies to us. But back then these people, these two ladies, they were applying the law of God; which means they had to know it! So there was some people around, a very few probably, who were actually obeying God. Ruth 3:4:

"And it shall be, when he lieth down, that thou shalt mark the place where he shall lie, and thou shalt go in, and uncover his feet, and lay thee down; and he will tell thee what thou shalt do. And she said unto her, All that thou sayest unto me I will do. And she went down unto the floor, and did according to all that her mother in law bade her. And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry [he was about to get a fright], he went to lie down at the end of the heap of corn: and she came softly, and uncovered his feet, and laid her down. And it came to pass at midnight, that the man was afraid, and turned himself: and, behold, a woman lay at his feet. And he said, Who art thou? And she answered, I am Ruth thine handmaid: spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid; for thou art a near kinsman." (Ruth 3:4-9)

There's the claim, there's the claim, you are a near kinsman. Spread therefore in Hebrew, Strong's 6566, it means to spread the wing, which is rather interesting. The emblem of protection and a metaphor taken from the young of fowls who run under the wings of their mother from birds of prey. I know at College we had swans on the lake and it wasn't unusual in the Spring to see mummy swan cruising along and all of a sudden two little heads would pop out, and they're riding on her back. Very interesting.

It is interesting too, that in the Jewish wedding the man has like a shawl, a long shawl, that goes right down almost to the knees, I guess. And when they had taken their vows, the man takes the shawl and puts it around the woman, and that is a symbol of he is agreeing to protect her. And this is what we are seeing here. Ruth 3:10:

"And he said, Blessed be thou of the [Eternal], my daughter: for thou hast shewed more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, inasmuch as thou followedst not young men, whether poor or rich." (Ruth 3:10)

So I would guess this is a little speculation, but I think it is pretty obvious, that this was quite a lady. She must have been a very beautiful lady, and it would have been kind of obvious that she was still at an age where she could bear children and she could have husband. And she is out there with a lot of young lads, you know, doing the harvesting. You can put three and five together and you kind of come up with eight most of the time. But she didn't do anything like that, she kept herself to herself and she presents herself to Boaz in line with the law of God, so Boaz was older, definitely older. He says in Ruth 3:11:

"And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman [isn't that lovely - she had only been there a few months and yet everybody had such a high opinion of her, which is utterly amazing]. And now it is true that I am thy near kinsman: howbeit there is a kinsman nearer than I. Tarry this night, and it shall be in the morning, that if he will perform unto thee the part of a kinsman, well; let him do the kinsman's part: but if he will not do the part of a kinsman to thee, then will I do the part of a kinsman to thee, as the [Eternal] liveth: lie down until the morning. And she lay at his feet until the morning: and she rose up before one could know another. And he said, Let it not be known that a woman came into the floor [she was very discreet]. Also he said, Bring the vail that thou hast upon thee, and hold it. And when she held it, he measured six measures of barley, and laid it on her: and she went into the city." (Ruth 3:11-15)

That's why I am questioning the kind of poundage conversions, because six measures of barley would be about three hundred pounds. Having said that, having said that; you've got to be careful because I remember seeing down in South Africa, I think I've mentioned this before, one of the African ladies walking down the street, way miles from anywhere, with a Victorian cast iron bath on her head - full of logs! Now work it out; this lady was dead straight and she was walking down the road like - I do this every day! So it could have been three hundred pounds. But I think it might have been a little bit less than that. Ruth 3:16:

"And when she came to her mother in law, she said, Who art thou, my daughter? And she told her all that the man had done to her. And she said, These six measures of barley gave he me; for he said to me, Go not empty unto thy mother in law [as I said, 280 pounds]. Then said she, Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall: for the man will not be in rest, until he have finished the thing this day." (Ruth 3:16-18)

I recall it saying; "...Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the [Eternal]..." (Exodus 14:13). That's what she said to her basically. And in Ruth 4:1:

"Then went Boaz up to the gate, and sat him down there: and, behold, the kinsman of whom Boaz spake came by; unto whom he said, Ho, such a one! turn aside, sit down here. And he turned aside, and sat down. And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, Sit ye down here. And they sat down." (Ruth 4:1-2)

Again, you can look over that. Who's in control here? Who's in control? The gate was where one sat if one was the Judge. So Boaz was a man of some substance and when he called for ten elders, ten elders came. Ruth 4:3:

"And he said unto the kinsman, Naomi, that is come again out of the country of Moab, selleth a parcel of land, which was our brother Elimelech's: And I thought to advertise thee, saying, Buy it before the inhabitants, and before the elders of my people. If thou wilt redeem it, redeem it: but if thou wilt not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know: for there is none to redeem it beside thee; and I am after thee. And he said, I will redeem it [oh yes he wants the field]. Then said Boaz, What day thou buyest the field of the hand of Naomi, thou must buy it also of Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance." (Ruth 4:3-5)

And suddenly there kind of things changed round a little bit. If you want to read up on that law, it's Deuteronomy 25:5. Ruth 4:6:

"And the kinsman said, I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I mar mine own inheritance: redeem thou my right to thyself; for I cannot redeem it. Now this was the manner in former time in Israel concerning redeeming and concerning changing, for to confirm all things; a man plucked off his shoe, and gave it to his neighbour: and this was a testimony in Israel. Therefore the kinsman said unto Boaz, Buy it for thee. So he drew off his shoe [so it's a done deal in front of ten witnesses]. And Boaz said unto the elders, and unto all the people [so this is something interesting, a crowd gathered around here], Ye are witnesses this day, that I have bought all that was Elimelech's, and all that was Chilion's and Mahlon's, of the hand of Naomi. Moreover Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased to be my wife [note that; purchased], to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance, that the name of the dead be not cut off from among his brethren, and from the gate of his place: ye are witnesses this day." (Ruth 4:6-10)

You know, especially when you come to the Feast, we tend to look into the future, and we look at the way things will be done, and so forth. The more you look over the scriptures you realize what God is saying; that it's very important this whole thing with marriage, with the name, the name of the family name it is important, the inheritance, it's so important.

You know, you can imagine this other man, who is not even named by the way. Notice, he doesn't even merit his name being put down in the Bible, he's just there and doesn't comply so he's a side player. It would have been, I should imagine, quite interesting to have to take a lady into the house and get it to produce a child, especially if this lady happens to be somewhat rather stunning and maybe a whole lot more pretty than your existing wife! I mean you look at these situations, it wasn't all that easy for this poor bloke, I do feel sorry for him. But anyway he gave up on it. Ruth 4:11:

"And all the people that were in the gate, and the elders, said, We are witnesses. The [Eternal] make the woman that is come into thine house like Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel: and do thou worthily in Ephratah, and be famous in Bethlehem [Boaz was well liked, I would imagine some of the folk didn't perhaps agree with the way he lived, because he was righteous and if you're righteous you're not very popular normally]: And let thy house be like the house of Pharez, whom Tamar bare unto Judah, of the seed which the [Eternal] shall give thee of this young woman." (Ruth 4:11-12)

Linking again into the lineage which became the lineage of Christ. So we have in Ruth 4:13:

"So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife: and when he went in unto her, the [Eternal] gave her conception, and she bare a son." (Ruth 4:13)

And they all lived happily ever after. It's rather interesting, isn't this what we are going to do? We are going to marry our Redeemer. Christ is our Redeemer. Turn to Isaiah 54:5, as I say, you go through the Bible for years and years and years and suddenly something leaps out and sort of slaps you in the face and said you missed this bit. I don't know how many times I've been through the book of Isaiah:

"For thy Maker is thine husband; the [Eternal] of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called." (Isaiah 54:5)

That's in Isaiah; "...thy Maker is thine husband..." (Isaiah 54:5). We are marrying the Creator, we are marrying the Redeemer. It's right there in the middle of Isaiah. Back to Ruth 4:14:

"And the women said unto Naomi, Blessed be the [Eternal], which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel." (Ruth 4:14)

It is so important this lineage that you go through the Bible and when they went into the land to rebuild the Temple, there's reams of stuff there about all the different families and all their relatives and company. It was all documented, it's important.

How important will it be in the Millennium if some of our children who are out in the world at the moment come on through into the Millennium, how are we going to feel? As we watch them grow and the children grow up and get married, and they grow up and get married, do you realize that if you have a son or a daughter that goes into the Millennium and marries and each family has average four children, and each generation is 25 to 30 years, that one child by the end of the Millennium will have produced a million people? That's the figure I saw at one time that had been worked out. Think about that, that's astounding! And your name will have been carried all the way through. It's that important, that's important to God. Ruth 4:15:

"And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter in law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath born him [another interesting little bit here]. And Naomi took the child, and laid it in her bosom, and became nurse unto it [this is very special, again something different]. And the women her neighbours gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of David." (Ruth 4:15-17)

He should have been called Mahlon after his father, he should have been called Mahlon after his father but that's not what God wanted. Obed means serving or a servant, Strong's 5744; not weakly or pining, or whatever the one was. And you know this happened again in the Bible; make a note of Luke 1:13 you had this with John the Baptist:

"But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John [this is a complete break with all tradition, he should have been called Zacharias; in verse 59]. And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father. And his mother answered and said, Not so; but he shall be called John." (Luke 1:13,59-60)

Why? Because that's what God wanted. Check the meaning of the word John, it is from the Hebrew name, Strong's 3076, God favoured - very interesting.

Then Ruth 4:18 the genealogy of David, this is one of the things that the Book of Ruth is important for, it's trying to get across. By the way, the book was probably written by Samuel, or edited by Samuel, because it does seem to be sort of round about the same period:

"Now these are the generations of Pharez: Pharez begat Hezron, And Hezron begat Ram, and Ram begat Amminadab, And Amminadab begat Nahshon, and Nahshon begat Salmon, And Salmon begat Boaz, and Boaz begat Obed, And Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David." (Ruth 4:18-22)

Lots of begatting going on there, but that's the generations leading up to David. So let's just wrap all this up. To the Jews, they look at Pentecost as the day the Law was given. Which is sort of true; but it's not totally true is it? Because the Law has always existed, it has existed since the Garden of Eden otherwise there would have been no murder with Cain and Abel, so the Law had to be there.

I mean God would not - it's inconceivable, to me anyway, that God would go to all the trouble of making a man and not teach the man His Way of Life. Because He wanted this man to become God, He wanted him to be changed into a spirit being into the God family, and so on. And that was turned down because of the fact that Satan got his oar in there, as he usually does.

The New Testament shows us that it is the day when the Holy Spirit was given to the group of God's people, just one hundred and twenty of them. Within a day or two there was four or five thousand had been baptized. It was all done in a plan to order by God because that's the way He does things. You have twelve disciples who were trained and they had worked with the one hundred and twenty. And then they went out and because there was no microphones or stuff in those days, you had to raise your voice and talk to people; and there's no way you can speak to five thousand people unless you've got a fabulous auditorium or something somewhere.

So all these people went out and the Word spread, but they had to be trained first as we are being trained now. But you can't obey God's Law without the Holy Spirit, it simply isn't possible. And we've got 6,000 years of human history to prove that one point! It is totally impossible. The knowledge has always been available if you think about it, it's been hidden in plain sight.

When I was at school in Rhodesia we had Army Cadets once a week and occasionally we'd get taken out by the regular army to go shooting and so on. And one day they took us out to learn about camouflage. And they lined us all up in front of this patch of bushes, a few scrubs and a few small bushy trees and stuff, and the grass which was about two or three feet high. And the man in charge turned to us and said, Right, in front of you there are twenty-four men armed to the teeth, all looking at you. Your job is to spot them. And not a one of us found a one of them. Not a one of us!

And the one man, the nearest man stood up in front of me, he was eight or ten feet away. But you know what? They weren't hiding behind anything, they were hiding in front of things. Amazing? Not one of them, that's what they pointed out. They had them all stand up and go back into their position and as they went back into position they just disappeared. And then he said; "Now I'll tell you how to spot people, you look for the eyes, you cannot hide the eyes." And when we started looking for the eyes; oh we could see. "Oh there's one there, oh there's another one over there." Quite amazing, absolutely, it taught me a lot that day I'll tell you. A man standing in front of a lump of rock and you couldn't see him, couldn't see him; he was about thirty yards away!

And you know what? God's truth is in the Bible, it's always been in the Bible, it's in plain sight. Even before the Flood the knowledge of Christ's coming to rule all nations was known by Enoch. Turn to Jude 1:14:

"And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all..." (Jude 1:14-15)

This is before the Flood, before the Flood they knew this, they knew this. He warned the people, he was a preacher of righteousness, but they couldn't understand and they ended up killing him, they ended up killing him. Job, turn to Job, Job 19:25:

"For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:" (Job 19:25)

We sing that in the Messiah don't we? "I know that my redeemer liveth..." (Job 19:25). so he knew that he had to be redeemed, there had to be a price paid for him. And that He shall stand at the latter day on the earth not in heaven. One of the biggest lies every told that, heaven's coming here - we're not going there. And then there's that scripture I mentioned in Isaiah 54:5:

"For thy Maker is thine husband; the [Eternal] of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called." (Isaiah 54:5)

Shall be called future tense. Revelation 5:9, I'm just get you warmed up for the Feast because these scriptures invariably come up at Tabernacles don't they?

"And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;" (Revelation 5:9)

And isn't it amazing, we are a small group of people. We have people in New Zealand, Australia, Philippines, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Mexico, South America, USA, here in the UK, Canada. Think about it, we've got people literally, as I said before, we are the salt of the earth and the earth is on a low salt diet - like sprinkled. We have people in America who are hundreds of miles from the next Church member. It doesn't seem possible does it, but it is, hundreds of miles.

Turn to I Corinthians 6:19, it's all here, it's all in the book and when you read it, when you are looking for the right thing, when you are looking for the eyes not the whole body, you're looking just for the eyes, you spot it. And the eyes is what comes when you get the Holy Spirit. It opens it up then and then you start to understand. You can see where all the different things fit in:

"What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own [when we went down into that water and we came out of that water, we gave up the self, we're not our own anymore]? For ye are bought with a price [and what a price]: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." (I Corinthians 6:19-20)

So everything we have has come from God hasn't it? Turn to Luke 12:37:

"Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them." (Luke 12:37)

I don't think anybody's going to be saying; "Excuse me waiter, there's a fly in my soup." Think about this, the One who created everything, I mean right at the very beginning, He spoke and it existed. The Father told Him what He wanted and Christ as the Word, did it. Created the angels, created the universe, had all the hassles with Satan and the rebellion and the damage that was done, and then in Genesis, the re-creation. "...Let there be light..." (Genesis 1:3) that was Christ speaking. "...Let there be light..." (Genesis 1:3) and He recreated everything from that point.

That's the being that allowed Himself to be brutally beaten and eventually stuck upon a stake to pay the price for us so that we could be forgiven and appear before God as being totally sinless! That is utterly mind blowing isn't it? But that's what it says, that's what it says, He wants to serve us. How crazy is that? Who are we? Who are we; that we are called heirs with Him? Think about it.

The future that we have in front of us is very hard to comprehend. You read the scriptures and you see things happening. We've all watched now for years things. I think Mr Armstrong said way back in the 1950's and 1960's; they're happening now. In 1964 or thereabouts, he was talking about trade wars. Today it officially started. There is a trade war now between America and China, they've lowered 25 percent on all Chinese goods. That's not going to bode well. We've trade wars now between Europe and America and I'm putting stuff together for an Update in a few weeks time to show you just the deceit that's going on in Germany at the moment. Oh yes, sanctions on Russia, no Russia can't join the G7, but we are kind of like buying most of our oil and gas from them.

You look at these things and say, What's going on here? Has the whole world gone crazy? The short answer is; "Yes it has;" because we're in the end time, we're in the end time. We see stupidity on a massive scale in government. You wonder what people are thinking. You know, this is a male, that's a female and which one are you? And half way through the conversation they can change their mind, and suddenly you're insulting them and you can be sued. It's not, dare I say normal? It's not reasonable, it's madness, it's insanity, it's insanity.

Did you notice the other day the article that somebody had written put up on the news that since the FED was created back in 1913 they've had eighteen periods of time where they've increased rates which has been immediately followed by a crash? Eighteen times! And they're doing it again nineteen times. Right now it's happening, the rates have just gone up a little bit again.

That is a definition of insanity right? Where you repeat the same thing over and over and over again and you're hoping for a different result. It's not going to happen. If you jump off a ten storey building I can guarantee every time you land, that's the end, finito, finished. It just doesn't work. And to expect to bounce and to land on your feet unharmed, is insanity, but that's what these people are doing. And these are the people who control the finances for much of the world.

You have this Bilderberg Group that's just been meeting. And you go back in there and it's amazing after each of these meetings you see certain seismic shifts in politics. These are the movers and the shakers who feel they've got what it takes to rule the world. Meanwhile they haven't a clue! They haven't a clue. It doesn't matter where you look, you are looking today at insanity. And the reason you are looking at insanity is that this is Satan's world, and frankly Satan is insane. He cannot think rationally, he's so perverted.

So, what's the hidden message? Well the hidden message I think is pretty obvious. Turn to Ephesians 5:25 it is a section we've often gone through, that for years when I first came into the Church this puzzled me - not about loving your wife by the way:

"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish [that's what Christ wants]. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones [here's the verse that used to stump me]. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church." (Ephesians 5:25-32)

Take it right back to Ruth, the great mystery is, we are to marry our Redeemer. We are going to marry the Lord of the whole earth. We are going to marry the second most important person that exists. Think about it. That's why it is important that we get it right. And it's not easy is it? It's getting harder and harder, as we get older and older we are getting slower and slower. When we used to go away for a few days it used to take me half an hour to load the car. The last time we went away it took four hours. Turn to Revelation 19:6, this is the goal medium term, I would say, in fact it might even be short term the way things are going: Revelation 19:6:

"And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready." (Revelation 19:6-7)

That's what is going on right now. I've had several conversations over the years with people saying; "You're not doing any work." The work's done, Mr Armstrong did the work, he said it, he finished it and he died. All we're doing now is and this is what we are doing; "...for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready." (Revelation 19:6-7). It's a period of trial on the Church to see if we are we still going to stick around and believe what the Church was taught through Jesus Christ, through Mr Armstrong. Are we going to hang onto that? That's all there is, there is nothing else, sorry.

It made me laugh when one of the top men in the Church got up and said that over half the doctrines in the Church at least had been put there by a committee. And I thought to myself, you know what? Mr Armstrong taught those fellows when they were in short trousers, literally, the Law of God. Now how dare they say that some great committee did this and did that. People forget very quickly don't they? The wife is now making herself ready, that's what we are doing.

We've got the Feast coming up, is it the last one in this era? You know we're right on the cusp of financial collapse. We've got chaos, utter chaos, in Europe. We've got a Pope who is more interested in politics than religion. Mrs Merkel could be out of a job by the end of this week. Yes, that was in the news this morning, they're having another go at her. Brexit is the biggest joke I've ever seen and it gets worse as the time goes on. You just wonder how big a mess they can make of it. I would have thought they would have been glad to see the back of us. No we're in the stage now where the marriage of the Lamb is close and His wife has got to make herself ready. Revelation 19:8:

"And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints." (Revelation 19:8)

How do we get to be righteous? We get to be righteous because of the blood of the Redeemer who paid the penalty for all our sins that we get to stand before our Father as sinless. Think about that! And we get to marry that Redeemer. That's the message of the book of Ruth. Revelation 19:9:

"And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God." (Revelation 19:9)