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The Place of Refuge
Examiners Vol. 4 No. 1 - November 2010
Josef Cherreguine

God has never left any generation of believers without a place of refuge (called city of His refuge in Numbers 35:25-28, city of His Refuge in Joshua 21:13,21,27,32). Originally, the city of refuge was designed to protect those who accidentally killed someone and seeking protection from being killed by relatives of the one he killed.

Anything given by God is always a matter of grace, it is not earned, it is not deserved, and therefore this is classified as a part of logistical grace provision. In this life, everything is by the grace of God. The positive believer advancing toward spiritual maturity in any time of historical disaster is not in any way deterred from the blessings that belong to him in the midst of those adversities in life. Nothing can take away the blessing which God has prepared for His beloved. Such blessings are guaranteed by the sealing of the Holy Spirit.

Even though we often associate blessing and prosperity from God related to the good times - there is no personal blessing, no promotion, and no system of prosperity, which you cannot have even in the worst time of historical adversity. God’s plan continues and has the same blessings, the same rewards, the same promotions in historical adversity, as in historical prosperity. It is to the advantage to be a believer in time of historical disaster. Galatians 6:8 For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life.

Great Tribulation analogy of City of refuge: The place is described in Dan 11:31, the land of Edom, Moab and Ammon, high desert country. Mat 24:16 - it is described as the mountains. Rev 12:6 - it is described as the high desert country. Edom is any soul without reverence and positive volition toward God and Bible doctrine. The place is the provision of logistical grace, and the challenge to perpetuate the faith-rest drill once they have arrived. No matter how great the adversity, to an individual or to us collectively as a nation, God still has a plan for your life, and logistical grace is still functional. God, as the city of refuge is waiting for anyone who has nothing to offer but sins and lawlessness.

There are times when there is only one place to be, that is in the plan of God, the right place to be at the right time, and you arrive there by the use of Bible doctrine previously learned and understood. Bible doctrine becomes usable only after it is understood. God has never left any generation of believers without a place of refuge, without protection, without a wall of fire. We are all products of our own decisions, not of our circumstances, and for the Jews to move out from city of refuge after they arrived is to destroy their security. Most believers get out of the city of refuge but their own will and decisions, many stay outside for their entire lifespan on earth.

Daniel 7:25, 12:7 And he will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. I heard the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, as he raised his right hand and his left toward heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half {a time;} and as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people, all these {events} will be completed.

Revelation 12:14 But she was given two wings like those of a great eagle, to fly into the wilderness to the place prepared for her, where she was cared for and protected from the Serpent, the Dragon, for three and a half years.

The serpent is used instead of Satan or Devil because during the last half of the Tribulation, Satan will attempt to lure or to get the born again Jews to leave their place of refuge. They are safe as long as they stay in their place of refuge; the only secured and totally safest place for us is to be in the center of God’s will, plan and purpose. The city of refuge is a line of divine protection, hedges build around the believers in order for them to carry out the spiritual advance with confidence and courage.

Matthew 24:21-30, which has to be applied as a part of the faith-rest drill, on the part of these believers. Just as the serpent tempted the woman in the garden, so the serpent will tempt the woman Israel in the place of refuge. Satan knows and realizes that the Jews are safe in that high desert country; therefore he must lure them out of their place of safety, their place of refuge.

1 Thessalonians 2:18 For we wanted to come to you - I, Paul, more than once - and yet Satan thwarted us. Rev 1:7 Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. Even so. Amen.

Satan will attempt to lure believers away from their place of refuge. This place of refuge is literal, physical and geographical. For Church Age believers, it spiritual, invisible but real, It is called the divine dynasphere. However, the place of refuge is not a prototype of the divine dynasphere, but just an object lesson aimed to teach Israel of reliance and enjoyment of divine provision and protection which they missed.

The word Satan in the Hebrew is Satan, Satanas in the Greek meaning an adversary, one who withstands; an opponent; a prosecutor, 1Chronicles 21:1, Job 1:6-12, 2:1-5; Zechariah 3:1.  1Chronicles 21:1 Then Satan stood up against Israel and moved David to number Israel.  Zechariah 3:1 Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. When he is called the devil, diabolos, emphasizes his slander, slanderous, accusing falsely, the malignant enemy of God and the Messiah.

John 8:44 “You are of {your} father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own {nature;} for he is a liar, and the father of lies.  When he is called the great dragon, drakon speaks of his function as a vicious destroyer. Serpent - ophis = the hiss of the serpent - “the serpent” is a correct translation, unless you want to be modern and say the snake. Ophis has the idea of being sly and deceitful and being sneaky about it.

  • As a serpent he is crafty and deceitful -Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.
  • As a serpent he out-rightly denies and contradicts the word of God -Genesis 3:1b And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?”
  • As a serpent he deceives God’s people - Genesis 3:13b And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
  • As a serpent he leads God’s people astray – 2 Corinthians 11:3 But I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity {of devotion} to Christ.

Star - heylel - translated Lucifer in other passages - the shining one or the star. Isaiah 14:12 How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! Lucifer actually comes from the Latin and it means light bearer. It means the shining one, the translucent one, the simulating one. Two creatures are said to throw out light which made them ultra-attractive; here heylel for Satan, and nachash, Genesis 3, for serpent.

Satan was attractive to at least one third of all the angels. The serpent was attracted to one-half of all mankind. Do you have crush on Satan? Anyone can easily deny that but his or her direct or indirect participation in supporting the satanic policy of good and evil will confirm the fact.

2 Corinthians 11:14-15 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness;

2 Corinthians 11:3-4 But I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully. The phrase “another Jesus” means another of different kind, a hoax, a counterfeit.

Satan always uses an intermediary agent; a "middleman." He now has his third demon assault army made up of the remnants of the first and second demon assault armies. As of now, they are on the standby order, since there is restraint by the Holy Spirit. The demonic forces cannot hurt physically the Church Age believers without divine permission, and only under evidence testing.

Revelation 16:14 for they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world,

The spiritual blackout throughout the world makes it possible for everyone to see the Second Advent, because He will come as the light of the world, John 8:12, Rev 1:7. They will actually see it when it occurs and therefore they are not to believe the rumors and the false statements, and the miracles that will be used to tempt them to leave their place of refuge.

Because Satan is license to attack physically the people of the Tribulation, his goal is to have the return of Christ without any Jew left alive. Satan as the subject performs the action of the verb through intermediary means. He used the serpent to get to the woman in the Garden. Then he used the woman to get to the man, (Genesis 3:1-5).  Satan used Cain as an intermediary agent to kill a godly man, his brother Abel, (Genesis 4:8). Satan used fear as an intermediary agent to get Abraham to lie about the fact that Sarah was his wife, (Genesis 12:13. Genesis 12:13).

David to sin with Bathsheba when he should have been at work leading the Israeli army to victory. He used a lust for an excessive luxurious lifestyle against Solomon, 1Ki 4:22-23. Satan used Korah, Dathan and Abiram to attack Moses and try to discredit his authority.

Judges 1:8 Yet in the same manner these men, also by dreaming, defile the flesh, and reject authority, and revile angelic majesties. Satan used Korah, Dathan and Abiram who promised 250 princes if he will just simply compromise.

Satan used the sin of jealousy to cause Joseph’s brothers to sell him into slavery. He used the lust for promotion, power and recognition to turn Absalom, David’s son against David. Delilah was promised promotion for betraying Samson, (Judges 16:5), for eleven hundred pieces of silver. Satan used a love for money as an intermediary agent to Balaam to curse the Jews, (Deuteronomy 23). For money Achan brought defeat on Israel’s army and death to himself and to his family, (Joshua 7).

For money Delilah betrayed Samson and ultimately slaughtered thousands. For money Ananias and Sapphira became the first hypocrites in the church and God executed them as a testimony against their misuse of money and deceit. For money, Judas betrayed and sold out the Lord Jesus Christ! 

The above illustration of how Satan entices believers to leave the city of God’s refuge establishes several principles:

1.       Man is personally accountable for his own decision and action. Each man is volitionally responsible for his own thought, decision and action.

2.       Satan tempts believers to execute human viewpoint and human solution but he is not responsible for its consequential results to their lives.

There are five major category of demonic and satanic attack on men:

  1. Genetic attack – the satanic attempt to annihilate the human race by replacing them with half-human half angels super beings. This resulted to the flood where only eight people were saved.
  2. Demonic possession of the unbelievers (from the era of Israel to Church Age)
  3. Demonic influence of the regenerated born again believers (from the era of Israel to Church Age)
  4. Physical demonic attack of the Tribulation population.
  5. Satan personal attack on the unbelievers of the Millennial Kingdom unbelievers resulting to Gog and Magog rebellion.

Why Satan is bringing them out of the place of refuge? To bring Israel to the point where she has lost control of her own destiny, and to destroy Israel, so that Israel has no future. They will maintain control of their lives in this crisis and they will continue to make decisions from a position of strength, and for those reasons, they will be able to survive. They are alive in the midst of the flood but they can see the whole picture.

Daniel 3:25-26 “Look! I see four men loosed and walking about in the midst of the fire without harm, and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of God. They came out of the midst of the fire and the fire had no effect on their bodies nor was the hair of their head burnt, nor were their trousers damaged, nor had the smell of fire {even} come upon them.

The safest place in the entire universe is inside the plan, purpose and will of God. However, majority of believers chose human and satanic will instead of the will of God.

Those who advance through perception, metabolization application of Bible doctrine and  will continue in the greatest adversity to have a personal sense of destiny, to maintain control of their own lives, and continue to make good decisions from a position of strength. Bible doctrine is the key antidote for all human miseries. There is no alternative for spiritual growth.

 Spiritual growth, spiritual advancement including perception and understanding of Bible doctrine, spiritual maturity and victory are possible only inside the divine dynasphere.

God knew that Satan would be the ruler of this world, and designed certain things to protect the human race in Satan's rule. God must protect the human race in order go from creation to the end of the world. In order for the angelic conflict to be resolved, there are certain increments of history that have to be fulfilled: the O. T. dispensations, the cross, resurrection, ascension, session, glorification of Christ, the intensification of the angelic conflict in the Church-age, the tribulation, the second advent, and the millennial reign of Jesus Christ. All of these things have to be fulfilled, and the human race has to be perpetuated in order to do so.

So God has provided certain laws to protect the human race from destruction during the time that Satan is the ruler of the world. Of course there is another restrainer in the world during the intensification stage of the Church-age, and that's the ministry of the Holy Spirit (2 Thessalonians 2:7).

Now, it's not just people hating you; remember it is a system that hates you. It is a type of thought; it is a thought, it is a system, it involves certain people. If you think only in terms of people hating you, remember there is a system that hates you. And that system is religion, and legalism, and it despises you. There are eight reasons for the world's hostility towards the believer.

1.      The cosmic system hates the Lord Jesus Christ (and we are related to Christ). Jesus Christ has always been despised by the cosmic, and yet He came to save it, John 3:17, "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him."

2.      The cosmic system hates the believer because once a person is in the plan of God they no longer belong to the world. Colossians 1:13, For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, (Philippians 3:20). For our citizenship [politeuma, or heavenly privilege] exists in heaven, from which place we eagerly anticipate the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; He no longer belongs to the cosmic system.

3.       The cosmic system hates the believer who has positive volition toward God and His Word rejecting both the demonic doctrine and human viewpoint.

4.       The cosmic system hates every believer since they are pre-designed to be exalted above the unbelievers and angelic beings. The spiritually mature believers are the recipient of fabulous blessings in time and eternity.

5.       The cosmic system hates every believer because they are recipient of 40 fantastic grace gifts at the point of salvation, logistical provision, spiritual resources, assets, problem solving devices, protection and power available inside the divine dynasphere.

6.       The cosmic system hates every believer since they alone can fulfill the plan and the will of God; they alone have the capacity to execute the purpose of God in their lives, contrary to the will and schemes of Satan.

7.       The cosmic system hates every believer since they are the representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ on earth. They are the visual manifestation of His glory upon reaching spiritual maturity.

8.       The cosmic system hates every believer who is going in the right direction, opposing Satan’s operation in the world.

John 15:19, "If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you." You're born again now; you are disciples now. The Greek word for love here is the imperfect active indicative of phileo which is ephilei, meaning a personal rapport love. Satan is in opposition to the plan of God; that is what this verse teaches. Every believer is in the plan of God, and therefore it is the policy of Satan to hate anything in the plan of God.

Since the day of your salvation, you have been in union with Christ, you are in the plan of God by the baptism of the Spirit, by all of the 40 things or more that happened at the moment of salvation. So, whether you like it or not, or whether you know it or not, Satan hates you.

You're to love the individual, John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but has eternal life. But not the system, 1 John 2:15-17, Do not love the world [cosmic system], nor the things in the world [cosmic system]. If anyone loves the world (cosmos system), the love of the Father is not in him.

For all that is in the world (cosmos system), the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world (cosmic system). And the (cosmos system) world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever. When people are saved, they are snatched out from the cosmic system (Jude 1:20-23).

John 15:18-19, "If the world hates you (and it does), keep on knowing that it has hated Me before {it hated} you. If you were of the world [second class condition, but you are not], the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you."

This is what we would expect from a world that is out of touch with God, and out of union with the Lord Jesus Christ. There is union with Christ and union with fellow believers but because of this hate there is disunion with the world. The objective of this study is to define the reasons for the cosmic hostility and hatred toward the believer. The cosmic system designed by Satan hates the Lord Jesus Christ (John 15:18). Once a person is in the plan of God, as a believer priest, they no longer belong to the world (John 15:19).

The slave is not greater than His master (John 15:20). If they hated the Lord Jesus Christ, they will also hate you. Therefore, you will have problems and difficulties that you will have to face alone. In John 15:20, the Greek word for remember is mnemoneuo; it is a command to call to mind something that you've learned and already know. So, you recall an established fact, that a slave is not greater than his Master, and apply it to the situation that you're going through. Once you are identifying with someone, and they become rejected by others, it's only a matter of time before you will be rejected.

Regenerated believers are not of this world, they are chosen out of the world (John 15:19) and hated by the world. The Lord Jesus Christ redeemed them from the world and by His grace transferred them into His own kingdom, a kingdom not of this world. Believers are the royal citizens of the kingdom of God. Satan, the god (2 Corinthians 4:4) and the ruler of the cosmic system (John 14:30) “established” his own kingdom by coercion and force. His recruitment program is automatic at physical birth through genetic transfer of old sin nature.

The kingdom of the world (Matthew 4:8-9) is hostile to the kingdom of God. There is nothing in common between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of the world, but the exact opposite. The world glories in its physical, material, temporal and carnal wealth. The kingdom of God glories in Christ Jesus. God left the believers in the world (John 17:15) under severe hostility of the demonic forces, but protected from the evil one until the Second Coming of Christ. The believers are provided with complete logistical blessings vital for their existence and spiritual growth toward spiritual maturity. The Devil cannot just do anything against the believers without permission from God. Satan is not sovereign but just a subordinate.

The Lord Jesus Christ did not ask God the Father to take the believers out of this world but to provide them protection through the Word of God stored in the soul (epignosis) (John 17:15, 17). The best and the only perfect protection of believers against the world, the flesh and the devil is Bible doctrine calculated and resident in the souls. The citizens of the world are brainwashed with the wisdom of the world (1 Corinthians 1:20) from the time they came out of their mother’s womb. They looked at the people of God with disdain and superiority. They regard the people of God as foolish and weak things of the world (1 Corinthians 1:27), they are the base things and despised of the world. The men of the world regarded the children of God as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things (1 Corinthians 4:13).

The believer outside the city of refuge must use the rebound technique to re-enter the pre-designed plan of God and maintain the daily intake of Bible doctrine to survive from the hostility of the cosmic system. Rebound is appropriating what the Lord Jesus Christ did for us by naming, acknowledging our sins. Rebound is not confessing your sins before the congregation (public confession is evil since it is an act of self-humiliation, putting merits on man), not making pledges or vows to God, not making promises that you will not do it again, or being sorry for the sin committed.

Rebound is acknowledging that you cannot do anything for your sins but the Lord Jesus Christ has already paid for the sins of the world. Rebound is where independence from God ends and dependency to God begins. Rebound activates the believer’s walk in the spirit inside the city of refuge.

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