In this bright and aromatic story, Ruth typifies the church in four ways. First, Ruth was a woman in Adam in God’s creation and a Moabitess (a sinner — see note Ruth 1:41) in man’s fall. Through the fall the God-created man became a sinner and thus became the old man (Eph. 4:22; Col. 3:9) consisting of two parts — a natural (good) part created by God (Gen. 1:27, 31) and a fallen (evil) part corrupted by sin (Rom. 5:18-19a). As a created and fallen person with these two aspects, Ruth typifies the church, before its salvation, as men in God’s creation and sinners in man’s fall being “our old man” (Rom. 6:6).
Second, Ruth, the widow of the dead husband, was redeemed by Boaz, who cleared the indebtedness of her dead husband to recover the lost right to her dead husband’s property (Ruth 4:9-10). In this aspect Ruth typifies the church, whose old man is her crucified husband (Rom. 7:4; 6:6), being redeemed by Christ, who cleared away her old man’s sin for the recovery of the lost right of her fallen God-created natural man (Eph. 5:25). Ruth’s old husband, Mahlon, typifies the fallen part of our old man, and his indebtedness typifies our sin caused by our fallen part, because of which we lost our right as a God-created being. Ruth herself, as the wife, typifies our natural man, who was created by God to be God’s counterpart, His wife, and who was redeemed and regenerated to be the new man as the wife of Christ (Rom. 7:1-4 and notes). Christ’s death on the cross destroyed the fallen part of our old man, redeemed the part created by God, and cleared our sin caused by the fallen part, thereby recovering the right of the God-created part.
Third, Ruth, after being redeemed by Boaz, became a new wife to him (Ruth 4:13). As such, she typifies the church, which, after being saved, became the counterpart of Christ in the organic union with Him through the regeneration of the church’s natural man (John 3:6, 29a; Rom. 7:4b). When Ruth married Boaz, she was redeemed from her indebtedness, and she became his new wife for the producing of the needed heirs. In the fulfillment of this type, Christ, our new Husband, died to redeem us and to clear the indebtedness caused by the sins of our old man. Then in resurrection He, as the life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45b), regenerated us to make us a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17) married to Him. After being redeemed and regenerated, our natural man, excluding our fallen part, becomes our new man (Eph. 4:24) and takes Christ as our new Husband in the divine organic union with Him. Now, in the organic union between Christ and us, we can bring forth Christ and spread Christ by ministering Him to all men universally for His increase (John 3:30).
Fourth, Ruth (a Gentile sinner) being united to Boaz that she might participate in the inheritance of God’s elect typifies the redeemed and regenerated Gentile sinners (the main constituents of the church) being attached to Christ that they may partake of the inheritance of God’s promise (Eph. 3:6).