Bible Pathways 2/28/2001
Numbers 34 -- 36
The Levitical priests were the instructors and counselors on spiritual matters, and were responsible for maintaining and teaching the highest regard for God, His Word, and the sacredness of life among the Israelites (Deuteronomy 33:10; Malachi 2:4-8).
Unlike the other tribes, the Levites did not have a separate inheritance in the land. They were to depend on the people's tithes, as God had commanded: The tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer as a Heave Offering . . . I have given to the Levites (Numbers 18:24). The tithes were also to be supplemented by Freewill Offerings. In addition, forty-eight cities and pasturelands scattered throughout the other tribes were assigned to the Levites as permanent residences (Joshua 21:1-42).
Of their 48 cities, six were assigned as cities of refuge, which were easily accessible throughout the 12 tribes. For those suspected of manslaughter or murder, these cities were vitally important as places of safety until a trial could determine their guilt or innocence (Numbers 35:11-12,15,22-25). Death caused by accident was rightly judged as manslaughter; but, the taking of another's life in self-defense or in time of war was not considered murder. The Lord often commanded the Israelites to defend their country and themselves and directed them to bring His judgment on ungodly nations through acts of war.
Our Creator demands that, whoever kills any person (intentionally), the murderer shall be put to death by the testimony of witnesses: but one witness shall not testify against any person to cause him to die. . . . You shall take no satisfaction (ransom) for the life of a murderer, who is guilty of death: but he shall surely be put to death. . . . You shall not pollute the land in which you live: for blood defiles the land: and the land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed in it, except by the blood of him who shed it (35:30-31,33).
When it was proven to the satisfaction of the congregation that the accused person was guilty of murder, he had to be put to death, regardless of age or whether it was a man or a woman. A prison sentence, rehabilitation, or any kind of financial settlement would be a violation of the Word of God.
To spare the life of a person who had been found guilty of murder would have defiled the whole nation, for the murderer had deprived a person of life. But his most serious offense was committing a crime against His Creator in forcefully taking from God His authority over a life He had created.
Without a doubt, the prosecution and execution of criminals is an exceedingly painful situation that everyone would prefer to avoid; yet it is necessary to maintain justice and order, the welfare of our society, and, most importantly, the approval of God. Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life. . . . For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loves and makes a lie (Revelation 22:14-15).
By the city of refuge (Numbers 35). Christ is our Refuge from the judgment of God and the curse of the Law (Phil. 3:9; Heb. 6:18). As the inheritance of the children of Israel (Numbers 36:7). While they were given an inheritance of the land that will pass away, we have been given a greater inheritance, one that will not pass away. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away, reserved in Heaven for you (I Peter 1:3-4).
34:5 fetch a compass means take a turn toward; 35:15 unawares means unintentionally; 35:26 come without means go outside; 36:4 jubilee refers to every fiftieth year, when all debts were canceled (see Lev. 25:10-12,29).
Government Officials: Rep. Martin Sabo (MN) (28th) and Rep. Bart Stupak (MI) (29th) · BPM Staff: Mary Kay Wagner · Pray for Hermano Pablo Hispanic Ministries · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio broadcast sponsored by Dr. and Mrs. John A. Hash · Country: Zaire, Democratic Republic of the Congo (38 million) in south-central Africa · Major languages: French and Lingala · Limited religious freedom · 42% Roman Catholic; 28% Protestant; 12% magical practices, ancestor worship, and witchcraft; 1% Muslim · Prayer Suggestion: Pray to be considerate to the less fortunate (Psalms 41:1).
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