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They shall be cities of refuge for you from the avenger, that the man slayer may not die until he stands before the congregation in judgment. (Numbers 35:12)

There is something very interesting about the “avenger” or “avenger of blood” mentioned here. We can understand that if someone related to or very dear to this person had been killed, they would want to avenge their blood. What makes this so interesting is the Hebrew word translated as “avenger.” The term go’el is typically, and more literally, translated as “redeemer.” So, it is interesting to consider that the “avenger” of shed blood is also the “redeemer.”

While the law regarding cities of refuge alludes to the potential innocence of some and, consequently, their protected status while in these particular towns, the instruction is also very clear about those who aren’t innocent of shedding blood. Those who murder aren’t protected by these cities and, therefore, subject to be put to death by the “avenger.” Considering this principle, what does this say for those in this day and time who are quick to take life? Moreover, what about those who take life under the “protection” of the law — as in abortion? The Bible is very clear, actually, because one day, the Redeemer of all mankind — the Messiah — will return as the Avenger of innocent blood. 

Isaiah asks, “Who is this who comes from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah, this One adorned in His clothing, bending down in His great power? … Why is Your clothing red, and Your garments like one who treads in the winepress?” (Isaiah 63:1-2). The one to whom the question is addressed is referred to as one who “speaks in righteousness, great to save” — in other words, a redeemer. The redeemer responds that He is dealing with His enemies saying, “I will tread them in My anger and trample them in My fury; and their blood will be sprinkled on My garments, and I will stain all My clothing. For the day of vengeance is in My heart, and the year of My redeemed has come” (Isaiah 63:3-4).

Summarizing these verses: when Messiah returns, He will avenge the innocent of His people who have suffered at the hands of violent men. In short, in redeeming His people, He acts as their avenger. While we should take no glee in the future prospects of our enemies, we can rest assured that our Redeemer — who alone is just — will once and for all put down His enemies under His feet, and in so doing, redeem us from this wicked world.

Blessings and Shalom,  




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