Sanctuary Cities Now and in Bible Times!
Local officials in certain cities in the United States began designating their cities as sanctuary cities during the 1980s. The policy was begun in 1979 in Los Angeles to prevent police from inquiring about the immigration status of those arrested for other offences! So local officials thumbed their noses at federal laws put in place to protect all of us! How asinine, audacious, and arrogant! It gives illegal immigrants a “get out of jail free” card while taxpayers pay.
There are more than 200 sanctuary cities in the U.S. that flaunt federal laws to the determent of everyone. Case in point is the recent shooting death of 32-year-old Kathryn Steinle in San Francisco (a sanctuary city) by an illegal immigrant who had been deported five times! Federal authorities had asked the city to hold him for deportation hearings but city officials refused! The city fathers put their leftist ideology above the safety of its citizens and federal law (that required his deportation).
The socialist, leftist, bleating hearts have declared that they will not enforce federal law and will not inquire into the immigration status of any person within their city. The officials spouting such nonsense think they are being gracious, forgiving, and kind but they are turning those cities into third world slime pits.
Historically, sanctuary cities were necessary and legitimate in ancient days but modern counterparts are a distortion of the original purpose. In the early days of Hebrew society, six Cities of Refuge were established throughout Israel to protect people guilty of accidental murder from being slain by a blood relative of the victim. It must be remembered that cities in ancient Israel did not have a police force, nor did they have prisons, nor an elaborate judicial system. God had given them Ten Commandments that provided a safe society but for those who disobeyed, there were problems. The murderer was to be put to death even if the victim’s family was willing to forgive and accept a “blood payment.”
God is the giver of life and to take a life was to pollute the land, and the land could only be redeemed by blood: the man-slayer was to have his life taken. Such action was also a legitimate step in preservation of society.
Cities of Refuge among the Hebrews were necessary because patriarchal law appropriately, in that day, required the nearest relative to avenge the death of his relation by slaying the murderer. Cities of Refuge were established to prevent hasty executions of this law and prevent injustice and the Cities of Refuge were judged proper for this purpose. There is no record of this system being inefficient or being abused.
Human nature, being what it is, often was the cause of injustice because of sudden heated vengeance taken by a victim’s relative. A sanctuary city permitted a man-slayer to run to that city giving him time to prove his crime was not premeditated and did not require the death penalty. Moreover, it also permitted a “cooling off” period for the aggrieved relatives. This was the humane and equitable end contemplated in the institution of Cities of Refuge.
God told Moses in Num. 35:14 to provide “three cities on this side Jordan, and three cities shall ye give in the land of Canaan, which shall be cities of refuge.” The six cities were located all over the land to provide easy access for any Jew or even any stranger in the land. No Jew was ever far from a City of Refuge since everyone lived within a day’s journey of a designated city. Also, the roads to the cities were far better than the other roads in the land.
If a man-slayer fled to a City of Refuge, the city officials inquired into his crime as to whether or not he planned to slay the victim. If found guilty, he was to die but if the killing was not premeditated, he was permitted to live in that city until the death of the high priest. Getting to a city was not enough since the killer had to present his case and defend himself “in the ears of the elders of that city” (Joshua 20:4) to the satisfaction of the city officials.
While the offender preferred to return to his home, he was required to stay in the city until the death of the high priest, after all, he had killed another person. So, he did not get away with his offence. Justice was served. After the death of the high priest he could return to his home and possessions. If he left the city before the death of the high priest, he could rightly be killed by the aggrieved relative.
The Cities of Refuge protected the innocent and helped diffuse family feuds that often resulted in whole families being killed. God’s gracious provision was not an “eye for an eye” but “no more than an eye for an eye” and “only an eye for an eye.”
The purpose of the cities was not to harbor killers but to ascertain guilt and provide justice. That is the opposite of present day sanctuary cities where the whole idea is to give sanctuary to the guilty. This is a producer of further crime because it does not hold the guilty accountable. Such city officials are promoters of wickedness, injustice, crime, and hatred.
The City of Refuge represents Christ since “The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble” (Psalm 9:9). The man-slayer had to confess his transgression and his mistake. A fake repentance for a premeditated murder did not gain the slayer any safety whatsoever. Getting to the city was not the answer. He still had to have his case adjudicated by the town fathers. If guilty, he was punished.
The Cities of Refuge typify the relief which the gospel provides for poor, penitent sinners. Their protection from the curse of the law and the wrath of God is found in Christ to whom desperate offenders flee for refuge.
God’s interest was to punish and prevent crime whereby sanctuary cities promote and protect crime. It’s time for city officials to be held accountable for their criminality. By protecting criminals, city officials become partakers in their guilt and expose themselves to share in their punishment. It is time for awakened, alarmed, and angry citizens to recall the mayor and city council members responsible for any Sanctuary City.
The big differences in Cities of Refuge and Sanctuary Cities are:
In one the innocent offender is protected and in the other the guilty is protected.
In one the offender must give an account and in the other the guilty is protected without remorse, repentance, or restitution.
In one the offender goes home to a productive life after the death of the chief priest and in the other the offender never goes home and can live off the sweat of American taxpayers.
In one the basis is law and the other the basis is lawlessness.
In one the offender has committed one offense and in the other there are often many offences.
In one the offender was a legal citizen and in the other the offender is an illegal alien with no constitutional rights.
In one the offender must prove his innocence and in the other the offender has to prove nothing.
Now, get out your petitions and throw out all the bums!
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