Friday, February 27, 2009

My Redeemer Lives

While doing research on the Atonement last year, I found some information that helped me have a much clearer understanding of Christ’s title of “Redeemer.” It has greatly increased my appreciation of his willingness to fill that role. The quote below is one I used on my cd on the Atonement called "He Hid Not His Face."

A favorite hymn in the Church is “I Know That My Redeemer Lives.” That hymn is based in part on this Old Testament verse found in Job:

For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Job 19:25-26

In Titus 2:14, we are told again of his responsibilities as a “redeemer”:

“Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

We should read the word “redeem” in this verse in light of ancient slavery practices. To “redeem” someone in antiquity meant to purchase their freedom either from slavery or by way of ransom from pirates or kidnappers (who often sold their victims into slavery as well). It was no dead metaphor in Paul’s day to say that Jesus Christ “gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness” (2:14; NIV emphasis added). Here slavery to sin and captivity to its deathly consequences are portrayed as the chains that only our “great God and Savior” could break by giving himself over to death in our place.

(Arnold, Clinton E. - Gen. Editor, Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary, “Titus”,Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2002, pg 505)

In the Book of Mormon we find a similar image of the chains of hell being broken and the joy of being redeemed by Christ.

Alma 5:7-9

...Behold, they were in the midst of darkness; ....yea, they were encircled about by the bands of death, and the chains of hell, and an everlasting destruction did await them.

And again I ask, were the bands of death broken, and the chains of hell which encircled them about, were they loosed? I say unto you, Yea, they were loosed, and their souls did expand, and they did sing redeeming love.

1 comment:

  1. I like how the "Heavens declare the Glory of God" (Psalms 19) through the constellations of the Ram, Pisces, and Cetus, which symbolically portray how Christ, the Ram, breaks the bands of that great sea-monster Cetus (which represents death and hell), and frees mankind (represented by Pisces). See John Pratt's excellent article: