FRIDAY MORNING MANNA
Biblical Numerology: NUMBER SIX Part I
Six Cities of Refuge Symbols of Refuge Provided in Christ
Quote for the Week
Revenge, at first thought sweet, bitter ere long back on itself recoils.
JOHN MILTON, Paradise Lost
See Joshua 10: 40-43; 4: 12, 13; chapter 11; 14: 6-15, 17; 17: 14-18; 18: 1-10; 19: 59, 50; chapter 11; chapter 22; 35: 31-33; Num. 25: 11, 13; 35: 11, 12; 35: 30-33; Gen. 9: 6; Exo.. 21:14; Jer. 7, 12, 14; Matt. 18: 16; Heb. 10: 26, 27; John 17: 20; 1 Pet. 3: 8, 9.
It would be interesting to see what their individual reactions would be, and how much, if any, it would influence their thinking for the present and the long-term in their powerful positions within their respective spheres of influence in forming policies and making decisions on the fly as presidents of two nations that are currently on the spotlight of the daily news cycle: U.S. President Donald Trump and Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte; the former, current president of the most powerful nation on earth just into the 100th day of his incumbency; the latter, of the largest Roman Catholic nation in that part of globe. The Philippines proudly claims to be “the “only Christian nation in Asia.” More than 86% of the population is Roman Catholic, 6% belong to various “nationalized Christian cults” (as described by Jack Miller of the Center for Global Education) and another 2% belong to well over 100 Protestant denominations. The Philippines’ government is modeled closely to America’s government.
Both nations claim to be, or at least the media,–traditional or social being shaped by today’s rapidly-changing digital landscape–automatically refers to them, whether by rote/habit or calculatedly, as Christian nations—maybe in contrast to the monotheistic Jewish, Muslim/Islamic nations, and other world polytheistic religions. For Bible students, the coming final crisis and test facing the world will be irrevocably religious in nature that will embrace all other enterprises of human society—political, socio-economic, military, science, and the environment. No one can choose to opt out of it. “Every nation, tribe, tongue, and people” shall be involved in God’s pre-ordained means of finally settling the core issue of the great controversy started from the very beginning. By that time only two religions, laws, and classes of people will be eternally identified as taught in Christ’s parable of the Wheat and Tares in earth’s final harvest. Matt. 13: 24-30; Rev. 14: 6-19.
Indeed none can deny without fooling themselves that by their final “fruits ye shall know them.” Matt. 7: 15-20.
Both, to say the least are the “most colorful” presidents ever to be elected by surprising victories in their respective democratic republics. While many entertain conspiratorial theories and “fake news” that their ascent to power practically within the same time frame was no mere coincidence, etc., history and God, of course, will reveal the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth, later. The former with his current stance on “sanctuary cities” directly related to his campaign promise of setting up America’s modern-day version of the “great Wall of China” on the border with Mexico in his “America First” over-all political platform, the latter on how he intends to continue solving the country’s illicit and always deadly drug epidemic other than summarily eliminating them via the Old West style of simply gunning them down when they “resist arrest.” Interesting thoughts as we proceed to consider the following:
Main source, except as identified: SDA Bible Dictionary, Commentary Reference Series Vol. 8, Review & Herald Publisher’s Asso., Washington, D.C, 1960, art. City of Refuge:
Levitical cities. When Israel finally entered the earthly Canaan, the land “flowing with milk and honey” after 40 years of wilderness wandering led by Joshua, God instructed earlier that cities of Refuge, thatis, cities assigned to the Levites, who supervised the administration of justice.
There were six cities designated in Canaan, three on each side of the Jordan, where one guilty of unintentional murder was accorded the right of asylum (Num. 25: 9-34). These six cities—Bezer, Ramoth-Gilead, and Golan east of Jordan (Deut. 4: 41-43), and Hebron (Kiriath-arba), Shechem, and Kedesh in Naphtali to the west—were selected so as to facilitate the flight of the pursued person in his effort to reach a place of safety.
Wherever he might live, no person would have to go more than about 30 miles in order to reach a city of refuge. Usually the distance would be considerably less. “The cities of refuge were so distributed as to be within a half-day’s journey at every part of the land.” E. G. White, Patriarchs & Prophets (PP), p. 515)
In a comparatively primitive society where the law ‘an eye for an eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, stripe for stripe’ (Exo. 21: 24, 25) prevailed, where the machinery of justice had not been fully developed and made accessible everywhere, men who had unwittingly or accidentally taken human life would be at the mercy of the slain man’s relatives who, in the heat of passion, might not distinguish between intentional and unintentional murder.
The so-called law of the avenger required the eldest male relative of the slain man to avenge the death. A fugitive claiming the protection of one of the cities of refuge received a fair trial, and if found innocent was to remain there until the death of the high priest. Apparently, the accession of a new high priest inaugurated a new era that was considered to erase any possible legal claims of the preceding era (Num. 35: 28, 32)— a wise provision that would prevent family feuds going on from generation to generation. (“At the death of the high priest, however, all who had sought shelter in the cities of refuge were at liberty to return to their possessions.”
“The Lord did not see fit to abolish this custom at that time; but He made provision to insure the safety of those who should take life unintentionally.” (PP 516).
“The roads leading them were always to be kept in good repair; all along the way, sign-posts were to be erected bearing the word ‘Refuge’ in plain, bold characters, that the fleeing one might not be delayed for a moment. Any person—Hebrew, stranger, or sojourner—might avail himself of this provision. But while the guiltless were not to be rashly slain, neither were the guilty to escape punishment. The case of the fugitive was to be fairly tried by the proper authorities, and only when found innocent of intentional murder was he to be protected by the city of refuge. The guilty were given up to the avenger. And those who were entitled to protection could receive it only on condition of remaining within the appointed refuge. Should one wander away from the prescribed limits, and be found by the avenger of blood, his life would pay the penalty of his disregard of the Lord’s provision. ”- PP 515, 516
“In a trial for murder, the accused were not to be condemned on the testimony of one witness, even though circumstantial evidence might be strong against him. The Lord’s direction was [Num. 35: 30 quoted]. It was Christ who gave to Moses these directions for Israel; and when personally with His disciples on earth, as He taught them how to treat the erring, the Great teacher repeated the lesson that one man’s testimony is not to acquit or condemn. One man’s views and opinions are not to settle disputed questions. In all these matters, two or more are to be associated, and together they are to bear the responsibility,’ that in the mouth of two or three witnesses, every word may be established.’ Matt. 18: 16.” PP 515
“If the one tried for murder were proved guilty, no atonement or ransom could rescue him. [Gen. 9: 6; Num. 35: 31, 33; Ex. 21: 14 quoted]. The safety and purity of the nation demanded that the sin of murder be severely punished. Human life, which God alone could give, must be sacredly guarded.” PP 516, 517.
Symbol of Refuge Provided in Christ
“The cities of Refuge appointed for God’s ancient people were a symbol of the refuge provided in Christ. The same merciful Savior who provided those temporal cities of refuge, has by the shedding of His own blood provided for the transgressors of God’s law a sure retreat, into which they may flee for safety from the second death. [Rev.20: 6, 14; 21: 8; 2: 11]. No power can take out of His hands the souls that go to Him for pardon [justification]. ‘There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.’ ‘Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us;’ that ‘we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us.’ Rom. 8: 1, 34; Heb. 6: 18.
“He who fled to the city of refuge could make no delay. Family and employment were left behind. There was no time to say farewell to loved ones. His life was at stake, and every other interest must be sacrificed to one purpose,—to reach the place of safety. Weariness was forgotten, difficulties were unheeded. The fugitive dared not for one moment slacken his pace until he was within the walls of the city.
The only Hiding-place from eternal death is Christ
“The sinner is exposed to eternal death, until he finds a hiding-place in Christ; and as loitering and carelessness might rob the fugitive for his only chance for life, so delays and indifference may prove the ruin of the soul. Satan, the great adversary, is on he track of every transgressor of God’s holy law, and he who is not sensible of his danger, and does not earnestly seek shelter in the eternal refuge, will fall a prey to the destroyer.
“The prisoner who at any time went outside the city of refuge was abandoned to the avenger of blood. Thus the people were taught to adhere to the methods which infinite wisdom appointed fro their security. Even so, it is not enough that the sinner believe in Christ for pardon of sin; he must, by faith and obedience, abide in Him. [Heb. 10: 26 27, quoted].” So here we clearly understand what it means “to abide in Christ.”!
Christ is the repentant sinner’s Refuge
“’If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’ The Lord says, ‘’Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God.’ ‘Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean; from all your filthiness and all your idols will I cleanse you.’ 1 John 1: 9: Jer. 3:13; Eze. 36: 25.
“But we must have a knowledge of ourselves, a knowledge that will result in contrition, before we can find pardon and peace. The Pharisee felt no conviction of sin. The Holy Spirit could not work with him. His soul was encased in a self-righteous armor which the arrows of God, barbed and true-aimed by angels, failed to penetrate. It is only he who knows himself to be a sinner that Christ can save. He came ‘to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised [by Satan].’ Luke 4: 18. But ‘they that are whole need not a physician.’ Luke 5: 31. We must know our real condition. Or we shall not feel our need of Christ’s help. We must understand out danger, or we shall not flee to the refuge. We must feel the pain of our wounds, or we shall not desire healing.” – Ibid, Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 158.
God is, in time of danger
“[Ps. 145: 18 quoted]. He comes to all His children in their affliction. In time of danger He is their refuge. In sorrow, He offers them joy and consolation. Shall we turn from the Redeemer, the fountain of living waters, to hew out for ourselves broken cisterns, which can hold no water? When danger approaches, shall we seek for help from those as weak as ourselves, or shall we flee to Him who is mighty to save?”- Ibid, Sons & Daughters, 19.
(Continued next week)