Jesus Christ is our ULTIMATE “City of Refuge”: In Numbers 35:9-34, God commands Moses to appoint six cities of refuge to run in and hide, which would serve as interim shelters for murderers who commit crime by accident until they are brought to trial. They should not leave the vicinity of the cities of refuge until the death of the High Priest, and it is only then that they are free to go back to their homes (v. 28).
In both the Old and New Testament, our Lord Jesus Christ is alluded to as our “City of Refuge”:
- Old Testament: "Return to the stronghold, you prisoners of hope. Even today I declare that I will restore double to you" (Zech 9:12)
- New Testament:"Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us" (Heb 6:17-18)
- These cities of refuge rear their towers of safety on high – similar to Christ raised up on the cross (John 3:14-15) and then exalted to the right hand of God the Father after His ascension (Philippians 2:9).
- The highway of salvation resembles the smooth and plain paths to the cities of refuge – similar to the path that leads to our Redeemer Jesus (John 14:6).
- Road signs were set up pointing to the cities of refuge – similar to the ministers of the gospel who direct sinners to Christ (Ephesians 4:11-13).
- The gates of the cities of refuge stood open night and day – similar to Christ who will not cast anyone who goes to Him (John 6:37).
- The cities of refuge afforded support to everyone who entered its walls – similar to Christ who promises support for us when we abide in Him (John 15:4-5).
- Finally, the cities of refuge were a protection for all – similar to Christ who promises us divine protection from the wrath of God (Romans 8:1).