Monday, December 28, 2015

The Ruth-less Church - a Book Review

I am not in in the habit of reviewing and recommending books, but in this case I will make an exception. I recently came across a book (and I cannot remember how, but then that is usually the case when God leads me to something important), which so clearly explains the Book of Ruth and its prophetic significance for the Church, that I feel compelled to share a short book review and a big recommendation for everyone to get this book and read it. The book to which I refer is  The Ruth-less Church vs. The Role of Christianity in Israel's Redemption as Prophesied in the Book of Ruth by Matthew T. Wilson.

While many have taught that the Book of Ruth is a parable of the Church and her Bridegroom, Mr. Wilson has a more insightful look as to whom each of the people in the story of Ruth actually represent. After reading his interpretation of how this real life story represents a prophetic parable, I have to say that I believe his interpretation is far more accurate as to what God was trying to teach us through Ruth's story than the common interpretation, which if you are not familiar with is one which makes Boaz the Messiah, and Ruth the Church. While a cursory read through the story might make one think that is the spiritual application, Mr. Wilson shows us in far more detail how there is so much more to the story than that.

The first few chapters of the book lay down Mr. Wilson's background, which he brought to his understanding of the Book of Ruth, and some background as to how the Book of Ruth has been interpreted by others. Then he goes into the background of the writing of the Book of Ruth - the time of Israel's history during which it was written, and a better understanding of the situation which faced the family of Elimelech and Naomi. With so few verses, the Book of Ruth does not seem to tell us much, but Mr. Wilson shows us what the intended audience (Israel) would have understood which we do not, and which makes a real difference in understanding the story.

These details of the historical situation and the customs of the time make a great difference in seeing what the prophetic parable is in Ruth's story. Through the story, verse by verse, Mr. Wilson paints a picture of unfaithful Israel and the Church's obligation to lead her back to her Redeemer. While in general the theme is said by everyone to be about the Church and the Messiah, everyone has seemed to have missed who the Redeemer actually is in the story, and what the Church's obligation is to bring Israel back to her Redeemer. This book about the Ruth-less Church shows exactly how far we have strayed from the objective God had for us in giving us the gospel, when Israel turned her back upon her Lord. We are truly a Ruth-less Church in that we do not act as Ruth did. We have strayed far from the Lord and His plan. [My comment: There is a small portion of the Church that is trying to get back to that plan, but (and this is my observation) even that portion of the Church is straying off into legalism rather than finding that middle ground where truth lies.]

Mr. Wilson speaks of the Church sacrificing itself to bring redemption to Israel, as Ruth's sacrifice  brought redemption to Naomi, but what he doesn't say (due, I believe, to restraint and a desire not to offend), is that the sacrifice that the Church is going to be making is most likely laying down its life (or the lives of its members) during the tribulation to demonstrate its faith in its Savior, as a witness to Israel. We should have been rooting out the apostasy, we should have been a living sacrifice, but as we have failed in that, God is going to offer us up as a sacrifice unto death, not only as a testimony to Israel, but to purge us and make His Bride worthy of Him by cleaning her up. While Christ's sacrifice may have covered the penalty for our sins, the apostasy of the Church has made her garments stained with unholiness. He must dress her in white, and so she must be cleaned.

I do not want to say too much about what is found in this book, for I believe it is best understood and accepted when one walks step by step through the process with Mr. Wilson. It is an enlightening book, and a warning to the Church that we need to get with God's plan. I believe those that do will be blessed, for God has promised a blessing on those who bless Israel.

This book is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. It is found in the Kindle edition, but I do not know about its availability on Nook. It is probably available at other sites also. Please invest in this book, as I believe it will bless you greatly. And pass it on when you have finished. The Church needs to hear this message.