Chapter 8 Why Did God Put the City of Refuge?
There were six cities of refuge among forty-eight towns which were given to the Levites; three in the east of the Jordan and three in the west.(Num. 35:11-14) The city of refuge is the place to which a person who has killed someone accidentally may flee. While staying in the city of refuge, he might not be killed by the avenger.
According to Moses’ law, the parents, brothers, or relatives of the dead were allowed to kill the murderer even thouth the crime had been done accidentally without his intention. God prepared the city of refuge, so that someone who killed another accidentally could flee to it before meeting the avenger.
But when the investigation revealed that the murderer stroke and killed intentionally in quarrelling, he should be delivered to a court and put to death, even though he had fled to the city of refuge. In case of the person who has killed someone accidentally without intention, he can flee to the city of refuge and stay there. And he will not be killed by the avengers unless he goes out of the city.
How long should the sinners who fled to the city of refuge remain there? God allowed them to be released from the city of refuge and to go home, when the anointed high priest died.(Num. 35:15-32).
The law of the city of refuge was not only the criminal law in the Old Testament, but also the prophecy which would be fulfilled through Jesus Christ. As it is written;
【Dan 9:24】 「”Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to anoint the most holy …… until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’」It was a prophecy that God’s people would return to the heavenly homeland by the death of Jesus, the Holy Anointed High Priest, who was crucified. As it is written;
【Heb 5:8-10】Although he was a son …… and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.
【Heb 11:15-16】 「If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country-a heavenly one.」
Since all the feasts and the system of the city of refuge in the Old Testament are shadow of things to come in the New Testament, the high priest who was anointed in the Old Testament represents Jesus who was anointed as the most holy High Priest.
Seeing Lev. 23:5-16, the Israelites brought a sheaf of the first grain to the priest as a wave offering on the day after the Sabbath, after they kept the Passover. And they presented an offering of new grain on the 50th day after they had presented the wave offering. This was also a prophecy which would be fulfilled through Jesus’ resurrection and the day of Pentecost.
In the same way, the city of refuge which was allowed for Israelites in the Old Testament was also a prophecy. As like the sinners who were in the city of refuge and returned to their homeland through the death of the high priest, the saints, who are confined in this earth which is the spiritual city of refuge, will be saved through the blood of Jesus, and will return to their heavenly homeland.
All the flesh of men received the likeness of the one who belonged to the dust of the earth, but their spirits are the holy people who are from heaven. The prophecy of the city of refuge shows how the sinner who is prisoned on earth can be redeemed through Jesus’ blood in the gospel of the new covenant and returns to the heavenly homeland.
Form now on, let’s look into the way how to receive the redemption through Jesus’ blood, and what the new covenant is.