The Lord instructed Joshua to build six unique cities to be called cities of refuge. These six cities were all built high on hillsides and could be seen for miles around. They were dispersed throughout the Promised Land so they could be reached from any place. The purpose of these six cities of refuge was to be a shelter of protection for those who had innocently shed blood (accidental deaths).
We read in Joshua 20:1-6: “The Lord also spoke to Joshua, saying, ‘Speak to the children of Israel, saying: “Appoint for yourselves cities of refuge, of which I spoke to you through Moses, that the slayer who kills a person accidentally or unintentionally may flee there; and they shall be your refuge from the avenger of blood. And when he flees to one of those cities, and stands at the entrance of the gate of the city, and declares his case in the hearing of the elders of that city, they shall take him into the city as one of them, and give him a place, that he may dwell among them. Then if the avenger of blood pursues him, they shall not deliver the slayer into his hand, because he struck his neighbor unintentionally, but did not hate him beforehand. And he shall dwell in that city until he stands before the congregation for judgment, and until the death of the one who is high priest in those days. Then the slayer may return and come to his own city and his own house, to the city from which he fled.’” The city of refuge is a type of the last day church in the earth! By the Blood of Jesus we have been delivered from our “sin” nature, and also from the enemy (avenger) of our soul. The church is to be a “city on a hill” just like the city of refuge was.
We are to be a visible demonstration of God’s Kingdom to the world. Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.” (Matthew 5:14)
The Body – the ministry and life of a local church — is to be God’s place of refuge for our desperate world. The church is a place of protection, power and peace for all those who enter into God’s Kingdom. These six different cities received six different callings and anointings that last day Church will have.
SIX CITIES OF REFUGE
God desires to raise every city of the world up as a refuge. The Book of Joshua and the Book of Ephesians gives us greater understanding of cities that God ordained to be places of refuge. These six beautiful cities are pictures that reveal the ministry of the last day Church.
1. Kadesh: “Holy Sanctuary”
The first city of refuge was Kadesh means “holy sanctuary.” (Joshua 20:7.) The church is to be the holy sanctuary or temple of God’s presence. As born-again believers, we become the temple of God’s very presence. Ephesians 2:21-22 says, “in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” As we come together as the corporate temple of the Lord, God’s presence is multiplied and magnified in the earth.
God has always desired to dwell with and in man. We are His temple that He dwells in by the Holy Spirit. “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16) “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19) “And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.’” (2 Corinthians 6:16)
The presence of God is becoming stronger and stronger in the church. God is going to let His full presence be seen in the church. When God’s presence and glory are in our midst, revival is the natural result.
2. Shechem: “The Shoulder”
The second city of refuge that God told Joshua to establish was Shechem which means “the shoulder” and is a type of the government of God. “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
“The government shall be upon his shoulder.” This is a picture of the restoration of the five-fold ministry in the church. The last day Joshua Generation Church will be a place where God’s government is in control!
In much of the church there is a “head problem” — a problem caused because the church’s government does not follow God’s pattern and order. We must follow the plan of God given to us in the Word of God for our church government. In Ephesians, we see that the government of God is for the Body of Christ. “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the Body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head — Christ — from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” (Ephesians 4:11-16)
Shechem is a type of the Body of Christ in the earth, and the body can only function in relationship and harmony to its head. God’s government brings a “divine order” and safety into the Church. God is restoring the office and ministry of the Apostle and Prophet. As He does, there is coming a new maturity and order to the Body of Christ.
In the last-day church, we will see these five ministry offices flowing together in team ministry. As each minister finds his place in God’s order, and receives and releases the other four offices, the Body of Christ will experience tremendous growth and maturity. God’s pattern will produce God’s power in the Church.