John Barnett

The Cities of Refuge (Numbers 35; Joshua 20; Deuteronomy 4, Deuteronomy 19) remind us of Christ Jesus our hiding place. God commanded that when His people came into possession of the land six Cities of Refuge should be appointed, to which if he who slew a man, through ignorance or unintentionally, might flee from the avenger of blood who, according to Eastern custom, would pursue and kill the man-slayer. Three on each side of the Jordan River - which were provided for a man-slayer guilty of second-degree murder.

Those cities of refuge portray how Christ shelters the sinner from death. It was a very marvelous provision for a man who accidentally killed someone. Maybe the one whom he killed had a hotheaded brother who wanted vengeance. So the fugitive could escape to a city of refuge where he would be protected and his case tried. The elders of the city would investigate the case. If he was acquitted of intentional killing he must remain within the city until the death of the high priest.

We have fled to Jesus Christ, and He is our eternal refuge. As our High Priest, He will never die (Hebrews 7:23-25); and we have eternal salvation. No avenger can touch us, because He has already died and arisen from the dead.

These six cities of refuge are beautiful types of Christ, to whom we “have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us” (Hebrews 6:18).

Taken from "Reflections of Christ in the Cities of Refuge" by Discover the Book Ministries.