Every Knee Will Bow
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (KJV).
Those who love Jesus and realize who he is adore, worship, and bow down to His majesty. Our text in this verse says that the three realms of existence all do and will bow down to Him.
- Heavenly beings
- Earthly beings
- Demonic beings
The heavenly or celestial beings knew who Jesus was before He appeared on the earth. Just before the Great Tribulation in the Throne Room of God all the celestial beings and the raptured Church acknowledge Him and bow down to Him. In Revelation chapter five we are permitted to see into the Throne Room of the Universe. Where in chapter four the central character was God the Father, in chapter five it is God the Son. He is called the Lamb here. The Seven Sprits are there. The Seven Spirits are present, the twenty-four Elders and so are the Cherubim. There are also millions of angels who have entered the Throne room that weren’t there or discussed in chapter four. In this chapter God the Son receives the legal right to carry out the Great Tribulation. The Lord Jesus has fulfilled the Law and has achieved the right to carry out the events of the Tribulation on this earth. Initially there did not appear that anyone was qualified to open this title deed/will/contract held in the right hand of God The Father. The lack of anyone meeting the qualifications to open the book implies that there is a deity-worthiness that’s required to take this command and open this book. It is finally realized that because of Christ’s sacrifice He is worthy to open the scroll and start the Great Tribulation.Not just for the sacrifice He made for us. He fulfilled the Mosaic Law in a unique way too.
From an earthly view point He is the Goel as the Avenger of Blood
Within the Mosaic penal code they had this principle of retribution for murder. It is different than vengeance. Vengeance belongs to God, but there were certain circumstances where an avenger was justified in killing somebody in retaliation for them taking the life of one of their immediate family – particularly a brother. So, if someone killed my brother in Old Testament times, I had the legal right to avenge his blood by killing that person, that is, if it was first degree or premeditated murder. If it was second degree or manslaughter, the individual who did the killing could go to one of the Cities of Refuge and he could hide there and I couldn’t touch him.
There was a legal retaliation. The Romans called it “Lex Talionis” and it was a legal principle that there was a retaliation that was justified. Even our legal system has it today, but the individual does not go off and kill somebody. They do it through our court system and we have a systematic way of dealing with the issue. You would still forgive the person, but there are still responsibilities for what they did. The purpose here is different than vengeance. Vengeance is just going out and killing someone because you hate them or because they have harmed you in some way. That’s not what God allows. The only thing He allows in one narrow sense, that if somebody killed a brother, the other brother could be the avenger of blood within certain circumstances..
Moses gave the following directions for the avenger of blood:
The willful murderer was to be put to death without permission of compensation, by the nearest of kin. [Numbers 35:32 says never accept a ransom payment from someone who has fled to a city of refuge, allowing the slayer to return to his property before the death of the high priest.]
The Law of retaliation (Lex Talionis) was not to go beyond the immediate offender. (Deuteronomy 24:16; 2 Kings 14:6; 2 Chronicles 25:4 etc.) In other words, this person couldn’t go out and kill a family, he couldn’t steal all his money, there were a lot of things he couldn’t do. He was simply limited in this narrow sense
If the individual committed second degree murder or manslaughter then he could hide in one of the Cities of Refuge. Note the interesting aspect of that – he could stay there without harm – protected. He could stay there protected until the High Priest died, but if he left, then he was subject to being killed by the avenger if the avenger was still nearby looking for him. When the High Priest died, then the avenger lost his opportunity to take vengeance or legal right to kill this person for murdering his brother. This is another picture of Jesus. He is our High Priest. He died so that we can be released from being locked in our sins.
When we look at this,we see another picture of the Lord Jesus here. He is our avenger of blood. Satan took the life of Adam and Eve, spiritually and physically. Adam and Eve would have lived for ever had they not sinned – been tempted by Satan to sin. The Lord Jesus is our avenger of blood. Even if the crime would have been manslaughter – it’s not, it was premeditated murder – and when the High Priest dies, the person that did the murder is now is free.
Which of us is guilty of sin? When Jesus died, you’re released from the sin just like the slayer [who was able to flee to a City of Refuge and was able to go free after the death of the High Priest.] It’s awesome to see how this works out.
He is our Goel in the Law of Levirate Marriage
Moses gave the following instructions for the Law of Levirate Marriage (Deuteronomy 25:5-10):
Essentially, the Law of the Levirate marriage was this: If my married brother with no male offspring dies, it would be my obligation to marry my brother’s widow and have children with her at least until she had a son to carry on the name of my brother. His name is what would be carried on, not mine. The idea was to carry on the line within the nation Israel of the individual that died. The woman, the widow, was unable to go out and marry a stranger. That was against the law.
The closest surviving brother was to take her as his wife.
The firstborn son of this union took the surname of the deceased thus continuing his name in the family register that it might not perish out of Israel.
If a brother did not wish to take his deceased brother’s wife as his own, say somebody said, “Not her; I’m not going to marry her”. She had the legal, right in the center of the city square where the elders (the decision makers) were, to cite him legally before the elders. This consisted of removing his sandal that signified that he gave up all claim to the deceased brothers estate.
If he were to marry her, he got the brother’s estate. If he didn’t like the woman and he hated her so much, he was really going to suffer for not carrying out the law and she could spit in his face. Once she did that, he was vexed forever that is,for the rest of his life, he had no more respect, and he would never ever be part of the elders. He couldn’t even carry out normal business activities. He had to leave the community, he had to a long ways away in order to earn a living and survive. Spitting was an act of humiliation, it’s still there today.
We see this Levirate law back in the Old Testament. We see this with the story of Judah and Tamar.
Onan was one of Judah’s sons. Onan dies and Tamar his wife comes to Judah and says, “I need a husband.” Judah had one more son that was a very young man and Judah says, “I’ll give you him when he’s old enough.” And she says, “OK, I’ll wait” and Judah never gave her that son.
So what the Lord did is he brought Tamar to Judah, this was some years later, dressed as a harlot and enticed him into a sexual relationship. Before she would have intercourse with him, he said, “What do you want?” She said, “Why don’t you give me your signet ring and your staff in the mean time, so I’ll know you’re going to come back and give me what you said you were going to give me.” “OK, I’ll do that.”
She gets pregnant and the word goes out that Tamar has been having intercourse outside of marriage and she’s now pregnant. Judah is the man of retribution. “Who is she to do this? She needs to be killed. She needs to be stoned under the law.” So they bring Tamar before him and he asks her, he doesn’t recognize her now – she doesn’t have that dress of a harlot – “Who did this, how can you do this?” She holds up his jewelry and staff – “By this guy.” Obviously the situation changes, the situation dissipates, it’s not going to carry on, and it’s not going any farther.
The Lord did that to carry the line of Judah through to the Christ. The progeny of that union was Perez and Perez came into that line to keep that line flowing through to the Lord Jesus.
He is our Goel as the Kinsman Redeemer
Moses gave the following instructions for the Goel or Kinsman Redeemer.
The provision was also made for the Kinsman-Redeemer or Goel in addition to the Levirate marriage. To “redeem” means to “buy back”, “to take from”, and “to make right.”
Provision was made for a poor person to sell their property or himself into slavery to someone else for money. But they could buy the property or themselves back; they always had the ability to buy it back. It’s a different system of real estate than what we have. It’s more like a tenant relationship. Because once Israel got the land, they never lost it. And even within the tribes, if the property was moving from one tribe to another, they never lost it. They held a permanent deed to the property and in essence when they “sold” the property they were getting a lease-hold arrangement when they were giving up the land for some temporary money. They did this on a regular basis and there were some specific laws in Leviticus 25:48 on how this would be worked out.
One could sell their property and ideally if their nearest of kin had the willingness and the ability to buy it back, their nearest of kin could buy it back for them. There were specific instructions on what the cost was going to be. They divided out the seven years that you would be indentured in slavery. Regarding the price of the land, specific instructions were given. The redeemer not to pay more than what the original price was, and to take off for the number of years that the property had been with the other person, therefore to determine the value of the property by its remaining years. Usury or interest was not to be charged. No interest was to be charged amongst the Jews at all.
The kinsman redeemer was essentially a rich benefactor. He could pay this ransom price to get the land and/or the individual who sold themselves into slavery back. At the end of seven sevens in the fiftieth year which is called the Jubilee, all land went back to the appropriate tribe, it didn’t matter who owed what. Now the Pharisees in later years tried to get around that by signing new agreements that took effect after the Jubilee. They would go to people and say, “I know the Jubilee is coming and you’ve got to get your land back, but I’ll give you ‘use of the land and money’ if you sign another deal with me.”
“If thy brother be waxen poor, and hath sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem it, then shall he redeem that which his brother sold.” (Leviticus 25:25). The nearest of kin had the responsibility, but they had to have the qualifications to do it. It is the Goel, the same person, that can take somebody out of slavery that can perform the Levirate marriage.
The nearest of kin had the responsibility of redeeming his kinsman’s lost opportunities. If a person was forced into slavery, his redeemer purchased his freedom. When debt threatened to overwhelm him, the kinsman stepped in to redeem his homestead and let the family live. If a family member died without an heir the kinsman gave his name by marrying the widow and rearing a son to hand down his name (The Goel is the also the brother who fulfills the law of Levirate Marriage).
We see the concept of the Kinsman-Redeemer or Goel in the book of Ruth. The Goel is Boaz, Ruth is a Gentile widow of a Jewish man whose father had sold their land because of debts, and it’s Naomi’s husband Elimelech who has sold that land and they had to move to Moab. Something happened in his past where he became destitute. He got poor and he had to go to Moab to live. Moab is where one of his sons married Ruth. They were not to marry out of the faith but the story that here has a purpose.
Naomi’s name means “pleasant one”. It is a picture of Israel that had wondered away from Bethlehem, which means, “House of Bread”. Boaz was to become the kinsman redeemer. Naomi and her daughter’s-in-laws had all lost their husbands. The husbands were all dead and they were all widows. Naomi tells her daughter-in-laws to leave and go someplace else and go find other men, but Ruth wants to stay, she does not want to leave. She loves Naomi. It’s a beautiful love story too, but the central thread through this is showing us the roll of the Kinsman Redeemer. Boaz, whose name is on one of the pillars of the Temple, became foundational in the line to bring the Lord Jesus Christ’s body into the world.
Naomi had become bitter and she saw this union with Boaz as a way out for Ruth. So she instructed Ruth in what to do, how to effectuate the kinsman redeemer, or to activate the Goel’s responsibility.
Now there was another man who was [a closer kin than Boaz to Naomi’s dead husband, Elimelech and he agreed to buy the land – to buy it back, to redeem it until he found out that Ruth came with the package. A Gentile woman came with the package. In Israel, that was forbidden – the Jews did not marry Gentiles. If they did, there was going to be a lot of problems for them socially. They were going to be outcasts unless that person converted. It still would be a tough marriage because the Jews would always view them as being an “outsider” even if they converted.
When the nearest Kinsman Redeemer got involved and found out that Ruth was part of the package, he backed out, because that was going to harm his inheritance somehow. The story doesn’t tell us how, but it was going to harm his inheritance. Boaz now becomes the nearest of kin and he has the privilege of redeeming her land and her with it. So he takes the land and he takes a Gentile for a bride.
In summary, Boaz was nearest of kin to her deceased husband (Ruth 2:1). He was able to redeem by paying the price of redemption (2:1), and he was willing to redeem the land (4:4). That is what makes this story so beautiful. This story is a picture of the Christ and His Church.
What did Christ do? The Church is the Bride of Christ. He bought it and brought the Gentiles into the Church. Christ is a Jew. The Jews and the Gentiles are one in the Church. Christ is our Goel, our Kinsman Redeemer. That’s one of the reasons why he qualifies to take this Title Deed to the Earth back.
Because he’s the only one who’s worthy, He takes the title deed of the earth from God the Father.
And when he had taken the book, the four living creatures and the four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having each one a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints (KJV).
Now we see the celestial beings and the elders (raptured Church) bowing down before Him. They are holding the repository of the saint’s prayers waiting administering. God treats our prayers seriously. That’s where they go; they go directly to the Throne Room of God where God will act upon them. They are distributed by the Cherubim and after the Rapture, those prayers that come up to them are going to be distributed by the twenty-four Elders, those now in heaven representing the Church.
13 And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. 14 And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever (KJV).
This chapter of Revelation closes with the three realms bowing down to Him. The creatures in Heaven, on the earth and under the earth all acknowledge Him by bowing down and confessing His name. While He was on this earth the demons also knew who He was.
28 And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with demons, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way. 29 And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time? 30 And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding. 31 So the demons besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine. 32 And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters. 33 And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told every thing, and what was befallen to the possessed of the demons. 34 And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts (KJV).
All in Heaven, on earth and under the earth will bow down to Him and confess His name. Only those on the earth have the choice to do it now while it is still today. The other realms are already bowing down to Him. Those who do not accept His Lordship today will when they meet Him face-to-face.
Daniel E. Woodhead Ph.D.Share on Facebook