Cities of refuge
Numbers 35:11 Then ye shall appoint you cities to be cities of refuge for you; that the slayer may flee thither, which killeth any person at unawares.
Numbers 35:14 Ye shall give three cities on this side Jordan, and three cities shall ye give in the land of Canaan, which shall be cities of refuge.
Joshua 20:2 Speak to the children of Israel, saying, Appoint out for you cities of refuge, whereof I spake unto you by the hand of Moses:
1 Chronicles 6:67 And they gave unto them, of the cities of refuge, Shechem in mount Ephraim with her suburbs; they gave also Gezer with her suburbs,
All societies form some sort of court system to judge among themselves for either protection from or punishment of evil. Those system usually have a method of appeal. We either depend on the Father in Heaven or the fathers of the earth.
1 Samuel 8:3 Samuel's sons were taking bribes " And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment."
The Levites formed a system of appeals courts which were called the cities of refuge through a network of ministers created by the choice of the people through the patterns of tens in free assemblies. These courts could acquit people who did not get a fair trial in local congregations of the people. But if they took bribes the guilty might go free from recompense. The people could prevent that corruption if they chose their ministers with an eye on that distant corruption. But if the people were not interested in the weightier matters for everyone in the nation corruption and bribes will go unchecked.
“Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.” 1 Corinthians 15:50
The Levites began to occupy a distinct position as the spiritual primogeniture of a nation, since that terrible scene of sin established with the golden calf. They were conferred with the office of service to the tents of the congregation. They were selected for this purpose because, as a tribe, they were willing to come out first and serve Moses and the Lord.
As being wholly consecrated or separated to the service of the Lord, they had no territorial possessions. Jehovah was their inheritance1 and, for their support, it was ordained that they should receive from the other tribes the tithes of the produce of the land and the people, but only according to their service. It was not automatic nor collected by force.
“Forty-eight civil jurisdictions were assigned to them, thirteen of which were called priest cities. Along with their dwellings they had ‘suburbs’, and ‘commons’, for their herds and flocks, and also fields and vineyards (Num. 35:2-5). Nine of these cities were in Judah, three in Naphtali, and four in each of the other tribes (Josh. 21). Six of the Levitical cities were set apart as ‘cities of refuge’ (q.v.). Thus the Levites were scattered among the tribes to keep alive among them the knowledge and service to God.” 2
A Father’s offer
“Augustus was sensible that mankind is governed by names; nor was he deceived in his expectation, that the senate and people would submit to slavery, provided they were respectfully assured that they still enjoyed their ancient freedom.”3
He suggested a series of changes that drove a stake through the heart of the last vestiges of the Roman Free Republic. While always proclaiming a desire and intention to reform the way to safety, prosperity, and freedom, he edged inexorably toward tyranny.
This road to ruin began a glorious journey of successive rulers who consistently grew in power. By the rule of Marcus Aurelius, true freedom and independence was despised. This stoic president led what historians have called the Golden Age of Rome.
“I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it.”4 “Idleness and pride tax with a heavier hand than kings and parliaments.”5
If you wish to conquer a people, addict their hearts to the love of benefits and their minds to vain knowledge, then they will fight to maintain their slavery against any who might set them free. Just teach the people to call good “evil” and evil “good”. The weakened and deceived people of a once strong republic will rush to grant new power to men like Augustus in exchange for peace and security. With the abandonment of responsibility, liberty, and freedom, rights are soon traded for the provisos, or conditions, and the “provisions of the state”.
“For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.” 2 Peter 2:19
With the office of Emperator, translated “Commander-in-Chief”, he controlled the military. With the office of Principas Civitas, “First Citizen”, he was the chief executive officer, President of Rome, Prince of the People, signing into law the statutes of the Senate. And with the office of Apo Theos, ”Appointor of gods”, he appointed the magistrates and judges throughout the Empire to enforce those laws and his sovereign power.
It was not these three elected offices of Roman government that subdued the people so much as the clever systems of citizen enfranchisement.6 Among these was the threefold process of individual abdication through Novation,7 Tutor8 and Korban.9
The fathers and patriarchs of each household steadily released their custodial rights to their sons and daughters into the power of the of the State, the Conscripted Fathers.10 Originally within the laws of Nature and Nature’s God, it is the Father of a house who holds the power and authority over his children. Originally, children were the property of the head of the household. The Romans called this authority and right patria potestas.
“The patria potestas could not be dissolved immediately by manumissio (manumission), because the patria potestas must be viewed as an imperium, and not as a right of property like the power of a master over his slave.”11
What Caesar had become through a history of changes was the Pater Patriae, “The Father of his Country”. With this granted imperium, the heads of the families, the fathers, were cut off from their God-given rights, liberty, and freedom. The Commander-in-Chief was proclaimed to be the Patron of the people of Greater Rome, called the “world”. To this new world order, he was the Patronus, or Our Father, to whom all were to apply for security and salvation.
The registration of foreigners, as well as resident citizens, led to the registrations of the children of each family in a process of Novation, whereby a father manumitted the custody of his own children into the care and tutorship of the Father of the state. This custom alone would eventually bring Rome and the Kingdom of God into pernicious conflict.
The Caesars, as Father of the State, initiated a series of reforms that began a fast track ascension into the bondage that had begun years before. But “It is easier to show the disorder that must accompany reform than the order that should follow it”.12 By 200 AD, Caesar was the name of a subordinate to the Emperor, which was called Augustus in Latin or Basileus in Greek.
Caesar Augustus was not alone in his lust for power and control. His rise to authority over men was relatively easy. All he had to do was to appeal to the tyranny in the hearts of every man. By promising them an entitlement to the power and profits of his rule, his own jurisdiction was insured. Men feared standing for what was right, they coveted their neighbor’s goods and they loved themselves more than they loved their neighbor or their rights. Freedom soon perishes in a nation of tyrants.
1Num. 18:20; 26:62; Deut. 10:9; 18:1, 2
2Easton’s Bible Dictionary.
3Chapter 3, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon.
4On the Price of Corn and Management of the Poor, Benjamin Franklin, 29 November 1766.
5Letter on the Stamp Act, Benjamin Franklin, 1 July 1765.
6Enfranchisement n. 1. Releasing from slavery or custody. 2. Admission to the freedom of a corporation or body politic; investiture with the privileges of free citizens. Webster’s Dictionary
7“the remodeling of an old obligation.” Webster’s Dictionary
8tutor -ari, dep.: also tuto -are: to protect, watch, keep. guard against.
9Bringing closer to the originator or father, a substitute father honored.
10Conscripti Patres. Elected Fathers of the Senate. All Senators were addressed Patri or Father.
11Unterholzner, Zeitschrift, vol. ii p. 139; Von den formen der Manumissio per Vindictam und der Emancipatio.
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