In the Old Testament God designated six cities to be Cities of Refuge. These cities guaranteed legal protection for any person who accidentally killed another. They could flee here and be safe from an avenger (Deuteronomy 19:4-6; Numbers 35:11-12).
The OT Law of “an eye for an eye” and a “tooth for a tooth” permitted a person to legally kill or avenge a person who was guilty of murder. But the institution of blood revenge was so deeply ingrained in Jewish society that it was useless to tell people not to seek revenge, even in an accidental killing. For this reason God established these six Cities of Refuge.
- The roads leading to the cities were always open
- There were signs clearly pointing the way
- The cities were available to ALL – Jew, Gentile, native, and foreigner
- Once inside the city a person was safe
- It was dangerous to leave
This is a wonderful word-picture of our position in Christ
- The way leading to Christ is always open
- There are signs that point us to Christ
- The invitation to Christ is open to everyone and “whosoever will” (St. John 3:16)
- Once in Christ we are safe
- It is very dangerous to “not abide” in Christ (St. John 15:6)
Christ is our Refuge
Hebrews 6:18-20 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have FLED FOR A REFUGE to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, EVEN JESUS, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
Never write anybody off as being beyond the grace of God. Never forget this one fact - the first person to walk into heaven after Jesus was crucified was a criminal! (i.e., the theif on the cross).