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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

Deliverer

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In the Acts and Epistles the word ‘deliverer’ occurs only twice. Once (Acts 7:35) the original word is ὁ λυτρωτής and once (Romans 11:26) it is ὁ ῥυόμενος. The reference in Acts is to Moses, and so does not specifically concern us here, except that the word is one of a group (λύτρον, ἀντίλυτρον, λυτρόω, ἀπολύτρωσις) used of the redemptive work of Christ. In the Koine the word λύτρον usually meant the purchase-money for the manumission of slaves (A. Deissmann, Light from the Ancient East2, 1911, p. 331f.). In the Septuagint (Psalms 19:14; Psalms 68:35) the word λυτρωτής is used of God Himself, and the λύτρωσις wrought by Christ is illustrated by that wrought by Moses (Luke 1:68; Luke 2:38, Hebrews 9:12, Titus 2:14), and that notion may have influenced Luke’s choice of the word in Acts 7:35 (R. J. Knowling, Expositor’s Greek Testament , ‘Acts,’ 1900, p. 192). The passage in Romans 11:26 (ὁ ῥυόμενος) is a quotation from Isaiah 59:20 and is given the Messianic interpretation. ‘There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer.’ It is a free quotation, the Septuagint having ἐκ Σιών instead of ἕνεκεν Σιών, while the Hebrew has ‘to Zion.’ Some of the current Jewish writings (En. xc. 33; Sib. Orac. iii. 710f.; Pss. Sol. 17:33-35) cherished the hope of the conversion of the Gentiles. St. Paul here seizes on that hope, and the OT prophecy of the Messiah as Deliverer, to hold out a second hope to the Jews who have already in large measure rejected the Messiah. Before He comes again, or at His coming, the Jews will turn in large numbers to the Deliverer once rejected (cf. Sanday-Headlam, Rom. 5, 1902, in loc.). In 1 Thessalonians 1:10 St. Paul had already used ὁ ῥυόμενος of Jesus in connexion also with the expectation of the Second Coming of Christ. It is not here translated ‘the Deliverer’ because the participle is followed by ἡμᾶς, ‘who delivereth us from the wrath to come.’ The word ῥύω means properly ‘to draw,’ and so the middle voice is ‘to draw to one’s self for shelter,’ ‘to rescue.’ The word emphasizes the power of Christ as our Deliverer, ἐκ τῆς ὀργῆς τῆς ἐρχομένης. The deliverance is complete (ἐκ) (Milligan, Thess., 1908, in loc.). This word ῥύομαι is the most frequent one for deliverance by God. St. Paul in 2 Corinthians 1:10 uses it of his rescue from death in Ephesus (ἐρύσατο ἡμᾶς καὶ ῥύσεται-καὶ ἕτι ῥύσεται). It is the word for our rescue from the power of darkness in Colossians 1:13. St. Paul has it also in 2 Timothy 3:11 when he tells how the Lord delivered him out of his persecutions. In 4:17f. he uses it of his rescue from the lion, and of his hope that the Lord will deliver him from every evil deed. In 2 Peter 2:9 St. Peter uses it also for God’s help in temptation. In Galatians 1:4 St. Paul has ὅπως ἑξέληται for Christ’s purpose to deliver us from the present evil age. The word is ἐξαιρέομαι, ‘to take out from,’ while in Hebrews 2:15 the word for deliverance from the fear of death is ἀπαλλάσσω, ‘to set free from.’

These words are simply those that in the Revised Version happen to be translated by ‘deliver’ in English. But they by no means cover the whole subject. As a matter of fact all the atoning work of Christ is embraced in the notion of deliverance from sin and its effects. St. Paul himself epitomizes his conception of Christ as Deliverer in his paean of victory in 1 Corinthians 15:54 ff.: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting? The sting of death is sin; and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ,’ This deliverance applies to the whole man (soul and body) and to the whole creation (Romans 8:18-25). It means ultimately the over-throw of Satan and the complete triumph of Christ in a new heaven and a new earth (the Apocalypse).

A. T. Robertson.


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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Deliverer'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/hdn/d/deliverer.html. 1906-1918.

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