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THE SIX CITIES OF REFUGE (2)
Victor M. Eskew
A. Last Sunday evening, we began a two part lesson on “The Six Cities of Refuge.” In that lesson, we looked at some of the basics of the cities of refuge found in the Law of Moses.
1. These were Levitical cities located on either side of the Jordan River, three on the east and three on the west.
2. It was to one of these cities that a person would flee if he killed someone accidentally.
3. He had to flee to a city of refuge in order to escape the wrath of the avenger of blood
4. After his day in court, the manslayer had to remain in the city of refuge because he had polluted the holy land with blood.
5. He had to remain in the city until the death of the high priest. At that time, he was free to return to his city and his home.
B. We noted that the things surrounding the cities of refuge are a type of things in the New Testament. They were a shadow of good things to come.
C. In this lesson, we are going to look at the comparison between these six cities and important teachings in the Law of Christ.
I. THE MANSLAYER AND THE SINNER
A. The manslayer stood guilty before God.
1. He was not guilty of murder because the death was accidental.
2. He was guilty because he had polluted the holy land of Canaan with blood (Num. 35:33-34).
B. In the New Testament, sinners stand guilty before God because sin pollutes the world in which we live.
1. The New Testament word for “pollute” is “defile.”
a. Mark 7:23
All these things come from within, and defile the man.
b. Jude 8
Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh…
c. Revelation 21:27
And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth…
2. Sadly, at some point, all men stand guilty before God.
a. Romans 3:9
What then? Are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin.
b. Romans 3:23
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.
II. THE AVENGER OF BLOOD AND SATAN
A. Once a man had accidentally killed another person, he had a constant enemy who sought his life.
1. He was a close kinsman of the person who was killed (Gen. 9:5-6).
2. He is known as the avenger of blood.
B. The sinner also has one who is constantly seeking to destroy him, the devil.
1. The name “Satan” means “adversary, one who withstands.”
2. I Peter 5:8
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour.
C. Five examples:
1. He knew Job’s name (Job 1:8-9).
2. He tempted Jesus in the wilderness (Matt. 4:1-11).
3. He was part of the reason Judas betrayed the Lord (John 13:2).
4. He desired to have Peter (Luke 22:31).
5. He filled the heart of Ananias to lie to the Holy Ghost (Acts 5:3).
III. FLEE FOR SAFETY
A. In order to escape the vengeance of the avenger of blood, the manslayer had to flee for safety in one of the cities of refuge (Josh. 20:3).
The slayer that killeth any person unawares or unwittingly may flee thither: and they shall be your refuge from the avenger of blood.
B. We, too, must flee from our adversary. Our place of refuge is our precious Lord.
1. Psalm 9:9
The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.
2. Proverbs 18:10
The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.
3. Acts 4:12
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved.
IV. EASY ACCESS TO THE CITIES OF REFUGE
A. The roads to the cities of refuge had to be clear so there would be easy access into the cities (Deut. 19:3).
Thou shalt prepare thee a way…
B. Barnes comments:
1. It was the duty of the Senate to repair the roads that led to the cities of refuge.
2. All obstructions, small hills, and bridges had to be taken care of.
3. The road had to be 32 cubits broad.
4. Signs were posted at the crossroads directing one to the city of refuge.
C. Access into Christ is simple today.
1. The instructions are found in the gospel (Rom. 1:16-17).
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation…For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith…
2. The plan involves five simple steps.
a. Hear the Word of God (Rom. 10:17).
b. Believe in the Christ as the Son of God (Rom. 5:1-2).
c. Repent of sins (Acts 17:30).
d. Confess the precious name of Jesus (Rom. 10:9-10).
e. Be baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38).
3. Many people balk at the subject of baptism.
a. Salvation is found “in Christ” (II Tim. 2:10).
Therefore I endure all things for the elects’ sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
b. The way to get into Christ is to be baptized into Him (Gal. 3:27).
For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
V. HIGH PRIEST’S DEATH BROUGHT FREEDOM
A. Upon the death of the high priest, the manslayer was free to leave the city of refuge and return to his home (Josh. 20:6).
And he shall dwell in the that city, until he stand before the congregation for judgment, and until the death of the high priest that shall be in those days: then shall the slayer return, and come unto his own city, and unto his own house, unto the city from whence he fled.
B. In the New Testament, Jesus is our High Priest (Heb. 3:1).
Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus.
C. It was Jesus’ death that enabled us to be free from sin and escape the avenger of blood.
1. Romans 7:24-25a
O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Christ Jesus our Lord.
2. Matthew 1:21
And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.
3. Hebrews 10:12
But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.
VI. MAN SLAYER HAD TO STAY IN THE CITY OF REFUGE TO LIVE
A. If the manslayer remained in the city of refuge, he would live. If he left at any time, the avenger of blood could kill him (Num. 35:26-28).
But if the slayer shall at any time come without the border of the city of his refuge, whither he was fled; and the revenger of blood find him without the borders of the city of his refuge, and the revenger of blood kill the slayer, he shall not be guilty of blood: because he should have remained in the city of his refuge until the death of the high priest…
B. In like manner, we must keep ourselves faithfully in the confines of Christ to be saved. If we do not, the avenger of blood, Satan, can slay us.
1. We must not fall from the grace of God (Gal. 5:4).
2. We must abide in the doctrine of Christ (II John 9-11).
3. We must keep ourselves in the love of God (Jude 21).
4. We must not be entangled in the world again (II Pet. 2:20-22).
1. Kadesh: sanctify, set apart, consecrate, to make holy
2. Shechem, shoulders, burden-bearers
3. Hebron: joining or fellowship
4. Bezer: fortified place
5. Ramoth: high, raised up, exalted
6. Golen: rejoicing
That by two immutable things, in which is it impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us.