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The Trinity

The inspiration for such an article is derived from “a woman professor of religion” whom I met, and whose teachings I sat under while attending college. Her name and the college I attended is of no importance, although a statement she made o­ne afternoon acquired much of my attention: “There is no biblical support for a trinity – at least there isn’t o­ne verse saying a trinity exists. The idea came from the Council of Nicea around 325 A.D. where the bishops decided a trinity existed after debating the matter.” From that day o­n I began to uncover the truth for myself. This article is not meant to be an exhaustive historical account from 325 A.D. but simply a list of some of the topics of discussion among this council found through various published works, of which you can search out for yourself if desired, and to show what the bible says relating to these issues. The topics are:

  1. When should the resurrection be celebrated?
  2. What is the relationship between the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost – are they all God?
  3. Was Jesus Christ (the Son) created by God the Father?

    When should the resurrection be celebrated?

    My wife sometimes gives me a hard time o­n some of my attributes of character. All of which I deserve, but o­ne of those attributes is how I will often answer a question with a question. I cannot honestly remember when this attribute arose in my life, although I think it might have had something to do with teaching high school for a few years. As a teacher I tried not to give answers, but to help students discover the answer for themselves. I said all that so when asked the question, “When should the resurrection be celebrated?,” I can respond with, “Who said you SHOULD?

    All throughout the new testament, there are 2 things (commonly called ordinances) that God commanded of us. o­ne was to preach, teach, and baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost – Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen – Matthew 28:19-20. The second was to “remember the Lord’s death” through partaking of the Lord’s supper. And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink the cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come – 1 Corinthians 11:24-26. So, the question I stated above is legitimate. Jesus made a very specific point for us to remember his death and not his resurrection, because in his death is where we have victory over sin and the grave. Through his shed blood we have remission of sins (Ephesians 1:7, Colossians 1:14, and Hebrews 9:22) and Jesus himself stated it is finished upon giving up the ghost o­n the cross. Therefore, his death takes precedence over the resurrection – so, I ask again: Who said you should celebrate the resurrection?

    Please don’t misunderstand me as to what I’m saying. I did not say there was something wrong with celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Nor did I say the resurrection was not important. It holds plenty of importance because His resurrection from the dead proved that He was exactly who He said He was: God manifest in the flesh. I am just simply wondering why the question was even brought up among this council considering there is not a single verse of scripture commanding us to do such a thing.

    What is the relationship between the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost – are they all God?

    The simple answer to this question is 1 John 5:7 – For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are o­ne. According to that verse, and John 1:1-14 showing that the Word is Jesus Christ, the members of the Godhead are all o­ne in the same. So, I cannot tell you the condition of my professor’s heart, but here is a single verse supporting the trinity. Some people just don’t know this verse exists simply because it doesn’t exist in many of the modern versions (see the article “Which Bible?”). This should be enough evidence to convince the gainsayer; however, the bible has plenty of evidence to show they are all equal. Consider the few verses below among many that support this matter.

    First: God the Holy Ghost = God the Father

      1. Consider what was said about Ananias and Sapphira in the early church out of the book of Acts – Acts 5:1-4. But a certain man namd Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.
      2. It appears God and the Holy Ghost are o­ne in the same.

      1. Isaiah 6:8-9: Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Notice who was talking here compared to Acts 28:25-26. And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken o­ne word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers, Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive.
      2. The Lord and the Holy Ghost must be equal.

    1. Jeremiah 31:31-34: Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, said the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. Again, notice who was talking here compared to Hebrews 10:15-17. Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, (more proof that the Holy Ghost = Lord) I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.

    Second: God the Father = Jesus Christ the Son

    1. Look at the response Jesus gave the Jews about healing o­n the sabbath, and then how the Pharisees reacted in John 5:16-18. And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things o­n the sabbath day. But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not o­nly had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.
    2. The same type thing happened again in John 10:30-33. I and my Father are o­ne. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.
    3. Now, in response to the Jews’ comment about Jesus “being a man,” He was a man but he was also God. There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it – Ecclesiastes 8:8. So no mere man could simply dismiss his spirit if he wanted to die, but Jesus did o­n the cross – Luke 23:46. And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.
    4. Jesus performed many miracles while here o­n earth: healed the lame and the crippled, cured disease, raised the dead, caused the dumb to speak, and gave sight to the blind. Giving sight to the blind is particularly interesting. Mark 8:22-25: And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him. And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit o­n his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought. And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking. After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly. Jesus gave this man sight, and this is interesting because Psalm 146:8 states The LORD openeth the eyes of the blind. Jesus must be God.
    5. Genesis 1:1 states In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. Later in the bible this becomes more specific. Colossians 1:16-17 declares For by him [Jesus] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or power: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

    Lastly: God the Holy Ghost = Jesus Christ the Son

    Simple algebraic mathematics at this point would prove to you this last point. If God the Holy Ghost = God the Father, and God the Father = Jesus Christ the Son, then God the Holy Ghost = Jesus Christ the Son. It’s the transitive property of equality (if a=b, and b=c, then a=c). And politicians said the word of God doesn’t belong in school. Seems to me they were wrong. However, we won’t allow mathematics to usurp any authority over the word of God, so here is what the bible says.

    • Romans 5:8-9: But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
    • 1 Peter 1:18: Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
    • Here we have to look at a long passage because the sentence covers 8 verses, but we o­nly need 6 to get what we’re after. Colossians 1:9-14: For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffereing with joyfulness; Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.

    Here are three sections of scripture that plainly state we are redeemed and justified because of the shed blood of Christ. Now, take a look at the verse below.

    • Acts 20:28: Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. The o­nly way these verses cannot be contradictory is if God the Holy Ghost = God the Son.

    Was Jesus Christ created by God the Father?

    I imagine this question arose from the words that often describe the relationship between God the Father, and Jesus Christ: only begotten Son found in John, Acts, Hebrews, and 1 John, and the o­nly begotten of the Father also found in John. If you will recall the scripture we referenced earlier from Colossians 1:16-17: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or power: all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist you can see He was before all things. Even think about what Revelation 1:8 states – I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. Just two verses show how Jesus was there before all things, and that He created all things; therefore, God the Father could not have created God the Son.

    One more section of scripture to add to the discussion, o­ne we have also referenced previously, would be John 1:1-3: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. Here is yet more support that Jesus created all things, and that when the beginning started Christ was there. The past-tense use of the word “was” tells us Christ existed before the beginning because He is the beginning! Hallelujah!

    With a desire to not complicate the topic at hand, we will just simply skim the surface o­n the word “begotten” in scripture. The reason for this approach is simple; people will either believe what the bible says by faith about Jesus being both God and man, or they won’t. So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17). So you should have enough bible in the paragraphs above to decide if you will, or will not believe the diety and humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ.

    The word begotten is found most commonly in the bible’s geneologies. And unto Enoch was born Irad: and Irad begat Mehujael: and Mehujael begat Methusael: and Methusael begat Lamech (Genesis 4:18). Two things to note are how the males are primarily used in geneologies, and also that every person who has lived o­n this earth, besides Adam and Eve, were born from the womb of a woman. Now, the reason the males are primarily mentioned is because children are begotten “by their seed” through the man’s and woman’s acts of procreation. However, for Jesus Christ there were no such acts between Joseph and Mary because the bible says in Luke 1:18 that before they [Mary and Joseph] came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Also, His birth was considered to be by “her seed” and not man’s (Genesis 3:15). Again, every person that has been born, whether physically or spiritually – see 1 John 5:1 and James 1:18, is said to have been begotten. Adam and Eve are the o­nly o­nes you can’t say this about regarding a physical birth because they did not enter this world through the womb of a woman, but were made by God. This is why the title “only begotten son” has to apply to Jesus. He entered this world as a man (1 Timothy 2:5) through Mary’s womb, but not through the aid of man’s seed: making Jesus the o­nly begotten of the Father (John 1:14).

    So in conclusion, When you compare scripture with scripture you can see that Jesus created all things, therefore could not have been created by God the Father. However, since Jesus did take o­n the likeness of men (Philippians 2:7) with his body being born from Mary’s womb, the word begotten HAS to be used by God, considering its use throughout scripture. All scripture has to be compared with other scripture because no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation (2 Peter 1:20) and when you do that, this question is simple to answer but not necessarily easy to believe. Belief comes o­nly by hearing and receiving the word of God as truth. Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Have you believed and trusted in Christ?

    *All bible text comes from the Authorized King James Version and has been placed in this writing in bolded font. Where the text has been underlined, it is strictly for emphasis upon the writer’s discretion and is not intended to represent a change in the bible.*

 

Jesus Walks On water

Church News  According to the gospel accounts, immediately after Jesus fed about five thousand men with five loaves and two fishes, He walked o­n the sea as the disciples made their way toward Capernaum unto Bethsaida (Matthew 14:22-32, Mark 6:45-52, and John 6:15-21). I can’t help but wonder as to why He would do such a thing when everything He did served a specific purpose. He did not waste actions, words, or moments of opportunities and a few examples should be sufficient to illustrate these three points. First He came to this earth in the form of a man (Philippians 2:6-7) to accomplish death. The bible states during the transfiguration account in Luke 9:31 that Moses and Elias spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem. Everything He did went to fulfil that purpose. He would even often avoid answering people’s questions in the book of John when the inquirers posed questions to be argumentative rather than of heart felt inquisitions for truth. Also, it was stated in John 4:4 how he must needs go through Samaria. The point is, He always had a purpose for anything He did. So, why walk o­n water? What was Jesus trying to show or tell us? We will examine the context of Matthew 14:22-27 before discussing 2 possible explanations.And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking o­n the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking o­n the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.

From the context of the passage, I’m sure Jesus had to constrain his disciples to go to the other side of the sea without Him because: 1. they arrived with Him, so surely they wanted to depart with Him, and 2. o­ne of the last times they were o­n the sea, they thought they were going to die because of the storm. Had it not been for Jesus calming the seas, I’m sure they reckoned they would have (see Mark 4:35-39 along with the walking o­n water passage in Mark 6:45-52). Also, it needs to be noted that the disciples did not abandon Jesus. o­ne might think that the disciples were abandoning Jesus leaving him stranded o­n the other side of this sea, and this is simply not the case. Notice how the multitudes of people arrived at this desert place where Jesus fed them in Matthew 14:13: He [Jesus] departed thence by ship into a desert place apart: and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him o­n foot out of the cities. Jesus could have simply walked around the water like these people did (see the map below pinpointing the disciple’s destination). So again, why did Jesus walk o­n water? Please keep in mind as you read through the following possible explanations that they are simply points of interest derived from truths within the bible. We do not have a single verse in the bible stating, “Jesus walked o­n water because” … therefore, these points are in fact speculations based o­n biblical truths.

1. Picture of what Jesus does for individuals within the nations

According to Revelation 17 verses 1 and 15, water is a picture of nations. And there came o­ne of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters…The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. Verse 2 explains the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her [great whore] fornication. As a result of this great whore’s influence and control over the inhabitants of the earth, they have become completely filled with the sin of fornication. Sin is everywhere and all around them as is the same for us today: Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me (Psalm 51:5). Just as these disciples found themselves in the midst of this sea tossed with waves, all peoples find themselves struggling with sin. See below how this truth is illustrated in the life of Paul – Romans 7:15-25.

For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O WRETCHED MAN THAT I AM! WHO SHALL DELIVER ME FROM THE BODY OF THIS DEATH? Can you see the struggle with sin Paul describes he’s dealing with? You and I are no different, but thankfully God provides us with an answer to this question. I THANK GOD THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. Jesus Christ dealt with sin o­nce and for all o­n our behalf, and He’ll continue to help us with this struggle, just as He came to the disciple’s aid during the fourth watch of the night. It doesn’t matter who you are, what tongue you speak, or what nationality you’re apart of, Christ payed for your sins. You can have remission of your sins if you’ll repent and believe o­n the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 10:43, 17:30, Luke 24:30, and Romans 10:9).

2. How Jesus walked out of Hell and into Paradise

A lot of bible truth has to be presented before illustrating this point. Note the verses below where our journey begins with Jesus o­n the cross.

  • While Jesus was hanging o­n the cross, the bible tells us in Mark 15:33-37: And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, Behold, he calleth Elias. And o­ne ran and filled a spunge full of vinegar, and put it o­n a reed, and gave him to drink, saying, Let alone; let us see whether Elias will come to take him down. And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost.
  • According to the bible there are twelve hours of sun light in each day. To keep arguments regarding geographical locations out of this topic, the following statement by Jesus is true for where He was at the time. John 11:9: Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world.
  • The Jewish day begins in the evening, not in the morning as we reckon it. Take the first day of creation as an example and notice the evening is mentioned as the beginning of a 24 hour period. Genesis 1:5: And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
  • While o­n the cross, Jesus spoke with the repentant thief. Luke 23:39-43: And o­ne of the malefactors which were hanged railed o­n him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

Taking all the verses above into consideration, along with Acts 2 and Psalm 16 we have the following facts:

  1. Acts 2 and Psalm 16 tell us that Christ went to hell before going to Paradise. He did not go there to suffer, but simply to get the keys to death and hell (Revelation 1:18), to dump all our iniquities there in hell that were placed o­n Him (Isaiah 53:6, this event was pictured through the “scapegoat” released into the wilderness in the Old Testament – Leviticus 16), and to preach unto the spirits there in prison (1 Peter 3:19).
  2. A new day began at evening for the Jews (approximately 6 p.m. according to popular belief – but it began at evening nonetheless)
  3. Jesus died around the 9th hour of a 12 hour time frame, therefore there were o­nly 3 hours remaining before the next day began
  4. Before dieing, Jesus told the thief He would be with him today in Paradise, therefore He’s limited to 3 hours to get from hell to Paradise.

Next, our journey takes us to Luke 16:19-26 where we get a clear description of Hell and Paradise. There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy o­n me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Apparently, Hell and Paradise were close enough to be seen by the inhabitants of each. We also know from Matthew 12:40 that this is in the heart of the earth – For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Did you notice what was seperating Hell and Paradise? … A great gulf. This is the o­nly place in the bible where the word gulf appears, so we have to determine its meaning. It could be a deep abyss, or a body of water based o­n the definitions of the word. If this is indeed a body of water, we then have proof from the life of Christ that crossing it would be no problem for Him – He could walk o­n it. And, given the time frame Jesus is dealing with, the quickest route is to walk o­n the water and not around it – this seems to go hand in hand with the details of Matthew 14.

*All bible text comes from the Authorized King James Version and has been placed in this writing in bolded font. Where the text has been underlined or written in all capitalized letters, it is strictly for emphasis upon the writer’s discretion and is not intended to represent a change in the bible.*

Map Source – http://bibleatlas.org/bethsaida.htm

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Cities Of Refuge

What were these cities of refuge? Why were they built? What was their purpose? This article is intended to shed some light o­n these cities, in a running commentary form, as to their function and purpose. We will also discuss the similarities between these cities and our Lord Jesus Christ, and finally explore something very specific and interesting Jesus said while hanging o­n the cross that pertains to the details of these cities. But, before we examine Jesus’ statement we have to cover these cities first. Let’s begin our discussion by examining chapter 35 from the book of Numbers with the LORD speaking to Moses.

And the LORD spake unto Moses in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho, saying, Command the children of Israel, that they give unto the Levites of the inheritance of their possession cities to dwell in; and ye shall give also unto the Levites suburbs for the cities round about them. (v. 1-2)

The nation of Israel was divided into 12 tribes, plus the group of Levites who were the priests in charge of performing the duties involving the tabernacle. The land promised to Abraham (Genesis 15:7) was to be given to Israel as an inheritance, but the Levites had no land inheritance. And the LORD spake unto Aaron, Thou shalt have no inheritance in their land, neither shalt thou have any part among them: I am thy part and thine inheritance among the children of Israel. And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation (Numbers 18:20-21). Since the Levites had no physical inheritance, and considering their daily agenda consisted of carrying out the law’s ordinances involving sacrifices and care of the tabernacle, the 12 tribes were supposed to give the Levites a tenth of their inheritance. This is where God’s tithe comes in.

And the cities shall they have to dwell in; and the suburbs of them shall be for their cattle, and for their goods, and for all their beasts. And the suburbs of the cities, which ye shall give unto the Levites, shall reach from the wall of the city and outward a thousand cubits round about. And ye shall measure from without the city o­n the east side two thousand cubits, and o­n the south side two thousand cubits, and o­n the west side two thousand cubits, and o­n the north side two thousand cubits; and the city shall be in the midst: this shall be to them the suburbs of the cities. (v. 3-5)

God made sure the Levites got ALL the tenth in Israel. He gave precise dimensions so there wouldn’t be any arguments later involving who was supposed to get what and why. God took care of the specifics.

And among the cities which ye shall give unto the Levites there shall be six cities for refuge, which ye shall appoint for the manslayer, that he may flee thither: and to them ye shall add forty and two cities. So all the cities which ye shall give to the Levites shall be forty and eight cities: them shall ye give with their suburbs. And the cities which ye shall give shall be of the possession of the children of Israel: from them that have many ye shall give many; but from them that have few ye shall give few: every o­ne shall give of his cities unto the Levites according to his inheritance which he inheriteth. (v. 6-8)

So there were to be 48 total cities given to the Levites. Among those 48 there were to be 6 specifically seperated to refuge any manslayer – someone that kills someone else. Why would God allow refuge for someone that kills someone else? We have to keep reading to get the answer.

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come over Jordan into the land of Canaan; Then ye shall appoint you cities to be cities of refuge for you; that the slayer may flee thither, which killeth any person at unawares. And they shall be unto you cities for refuge from the avenger: that the manslayer die not, until he stand before the congregation in judgment. And of these cities which ye shall give six cities shall ye have for refuge. Ye shall give three cities o­n this side Jordan, and three cities shall ye give in the land of Canaan, which shall be cities of refuge. These six cities shall be a refuge, both for the children of Israel, and for the stranger, and for the sojourner among them: that every o­ne that killeth any person unawares may flee thither. And if he smite him with an instrument of iron, so that he die, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death. And if he smite him with throwing a stone, wherewith he may die, and he die, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death. Or if he smite him with an hand weapon of wood, wherewith he may die, and he die, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death. The revenger of blood himself shall slay the murderer: when he meeteth him, he shall slay him. But if he thrust him of hatred, or hurl at him by laying of wait, that he die; Or in enmity smite him with his hand, that he die: he that smote him shall surely be put to death; for he is a murderer: the revenger of blood shall slay the murderer, when he meeteth him. But if he thrust him suddenly without enmity, or have cast upon him any thing without laying of wait, Or with any stone, wherewith a man may die, seeing him not, and cast it upon him, that he die, and was not his enemy, neither sought his harm: (v.9-23)

In summary, these cities are to o­nly refuge those who killed someone else unawares, “accidentally” in other words. Under American law, this type of person would be someone who had committed manslaughter and not murder. It did not matter if you were an Israelite, a stranger, or someone sojourning (staying for a while before moving o­n) in the land. If someone killed another o­n accident, safety would be provided but not for murderers. Murderers would not be protected, but killed. Some people might not like the idea of capital punishment, but it is justified by God’s word in the Old Testament (here in Numbers, Genesis 9:6, and Deuteronomy 19:21) and even in the New Testament (Romans 13:1-4). The cities were to protect the killer from someone (the avenger) seeking vengence because of the person who was killed. An example of an avenger might be a family member who is extremely angered by the death of their kin. Deuteronomy 9:6 states perfectly that the cities were there lest the avenger of the blood pursue the slayer, while his heart is hot, and overtake him. However, a judgment would have to be made in order to determine if someone was guilty of murder or not. The verses above and below explain how to judge.

Then the congregation shall judge between the slayer and the revenger of blood according to these judgments (the examples given in the previous verses): And the congregation shall deliver the slayer out of the hand of the revenger of blood, and the congregation shall restore him to the city of his refuge, whither he was fled: and he shall abide in it unto the death of the high priest, which was anointed with the holy oil. 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: but after the death of the high priest the slayer shall return into the land of his possession. So these things shall be for a statute of judgment unto you throughout your generations in all your dwellings. Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be put to death by the mouth of witnesses: but o­ne witness shall not testify against any person to cause him to die. (v. 24-30)

There would have to be a trial after someone was killed. The congregation would judge based o­n what the witnesses saw, and the circumstances of the event. o­ne specific point God made was there had to be more than o­ne witness. One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established (Deuteronomy 19:15). There was also o­ne more thing God wanted to make sure of.

Moreover ye shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer, which is guilty of death: but he shall be surely put to death. And ye shall take no satisfaction for him that is fled to the city of his refuge, that he should come again to dwell in the land, until the death of the priest. (v.31-32)

God said the o­nly thing that could satisfy what the murderer did was for him to be put to death. Nobody could pay money, serve prison time, beg for forgiveness, or anything else to satisfy his actions. The murderer must be put to death. Also, the person who didn’t commit murder should take no satisfaction in staying in the city of refuge because when the high priest dies he can return to his home town. That means nobody could buy the person’s land, sell the land, use the land, or anything else because the land was still his, and he would occupy it again upon the high priest’s death – see also Deuteronomy 19:14 in its context. I believe God thoroughly covered every detail. Amen.

Similarities to Jesus Christ

  • THE WAY WAS PREPARED

According to Deuteronomy 19:3, a way had to be prepared so the slayer would have a route to flee to the city. Simply put, roads had to be created leading to these cities. Jesus said, I am the way unto the Father in John 14:6. o­n the cross of Calvery he finished preparing the way to the presence of God.

  • OPEN TO ALL

As you read above from verses 9-23, the six cities were a refuge to the children of Israel, the strangers, and any person visiting/sojourning among them. The Lord said in 2 Peter 3:9 He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come unto repentance, and also that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life in John 3:16. Just as these cities were available to anyone, Jesus is available to anyone willing to believe in Him.

  • THE o­nLY ALTERNATIVE

If you were to kill someone unawares, as the bible describes, your o­nly alternative was to flee to o­ne of the cities of refuge or be killed. From the way the passages read, it was guaranteed you would be killed if you didn’t flee. Similarly, Jesus said you would die in your sins if you did not believe o­n Him. I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins (John 3:18). So, for the cities it required fleeing to be saved, but as for Jesus you must believe to be saved.

  • FREEDOM AT THE DEATH OF THE HIGH PRIEST

Verse 32 above showed how the slayer was to stay inside the security of the city of refuge until the death of the high priest. Upon his death, you were free from any threat of death by an avenger. Hebrews describes Jesus Christ as being our high priest, and upon His death o­n the cross he cried it is finished before dismissing his spirit. Our freedom from sin was then made possible. The penalty of our sin had been payed for by His death. We were bought by the price of His sacrifice in our place upon that tree, and there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit (Romans 8:1). WE ARE FREE, HALLELUJAH!

Jesus reduces the murder charges

The main lesson from Numbers 35 is simple: If you are a murderer you could not be forgiven, and the penalty for your crime is death. Jesus told the scribes and pharisees in John 8:44: Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. Then just a few chapters later, along with details from the other gospels, the religious leaders had Jesus murdered. There were no accusations brought to Pilate about Jesus, the people hired false witnesses to try and condemn Him but none of their statements agreed in detail, and a false trial was conducted in order to try and have Him killed. They were liars and murderers just like their father the devil. Now we know that Jesus was going to that cross no matter what events took place because that was determined before the foundation of the world – Ephesians 1:4, and Revelation 13:8. However, this does not excuse their actions, and because they committed murder they should also be put to death. But, as unbelievable as this may sound, Jesus testified they were not guilty of murder.

While hanging o­n the cross Jesus said a number of different things, and o­ne of His statements relates specifically to murder. Something you have to understand is how these people had Jesus scourged, spit upon, crowned with thorns being forced into his scalp, mocked, and even had parts of His beard plucked out of His face. After He was hung o­n the cross the soldiers parted his raiment and cast lots to determine who got his vesture. Who could forgive such actions, and who could not see this was murder in the first degree. Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34). Not o­nly did Jesus ask the Father to forgive them, but Jesus testified to their killing Him unawares as Numbers 35 describes. According to Him they weren’t murderers and by saying that He made it possible for them to be free from their actions. If that doesn’t testify to the grace and mercy of God Almighty I don’t know what does. According to John 18:4, Jesus knew exactly what was going to happen to Him, and after all the false allegations and the physical abuse, He still showed love and compassion for these people. Not o­nly did He die o­n that cross for you and me, but he died for them as well. What a saviour we have! He truly is holy, harmless, undefiled, seperate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens! Hebrews 7:26. Amen.

*All bible text comes from the Authorized King James Version and has been placed in this writing in bolded font. Where the text has been underlined, it is strictly for emphasis upon the writer’s discretion and is not intended to represent a change in the bible.*

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