The Bible speaks of cities of refuge in Joshua 20:1-9.
There are many Old Testament pictures of Christ. Although there are many references to Christ in the Old Testament Scriptures, one of the clearest is that of the shadow of the cities of refuge. Jesus is the One that the cities of refuge speak to us about. Since there would be those who would accidentally kill someone else, there were six cities assigned to where the accidental manslayer could flee and find safety from the avenger of blood. It was a custom that when one man killed another, one of the relatives of the slain man would act as "the avenger of blood." Revenge was widely practiced in the ancient world. Many people died unnecessarily due to the fact they accidentally killed someone else. There is a difference between premeditated murder and manslaughter. The cities of refuge were places of asylum for the innocent. Three of the cities were east of Jordan, three were on the west side. Six in the Bible is the number of man. Let's look
at three things to stimulate our thinking about the cities of refuge being a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I. Their Appointment-
They were appointed in the wilderness long before they came into use. They were appointed before Israel ever reached the land of promise. Our Heavenly Father appointed Jesus as the Savior long before man ever sinned (1 Pet.1:20; Rev.13:8). When the proper time came, Christ, the One appointed stepped on the scene.
II. Their Accessibility-
They were so set up that any one of the cities could be reached within one day within the country. They were cities set on hills so that all could see them. The gates of the cities were always open, day and night. Christ was lifted up (Jn. 12:34).
III. Their Availability-
Road signs all along the main roads of travel declared the six cities were available. The one who fled for refuge was safe until the high priest in the city died. We are safe forever because our High Priest, the Lord Jesus, will never face death again (Rev.1:18).
IV. Their Acclamation-
Each city tells us of something we have in Jesus: Kadesh (sanctuary or righteousness), Shechem (shoulder), Hebron (fellowship), Bezer (fortress), Ramoth (exaltation), and Golan (joy). In Christ Jesus we have all of these things that the names of the cities of refuge communicate to us who savingly believe. As human beings we have great needs, but Christ can meet them all.