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Christ Our City of Refuge



Christ – Our City of Refuge

Last week we saw how Christ our forerunner has forever anchored our souls safely in heaven. If that were all there was for us in Hebrews 6—that would be enough for a lifetime of hope. But there is more.Christ Our City of Refuge

Turn with me again to Hebrews 6:17. Look again at these precious words of security, comfort and hope—because there is so much MORE from God’s Word for us!

Hebrews 6:17-20 Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, 18 that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. 19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, 20 where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

God has provided us with “strong consolation (NAS, encouragement)” (v. 18). “We who have fled for refuge” is a New Testament allusion to an incredible Old Testament example for us today. These were cities God had provided for people living in Israel in the Old Testament times, who sought protection from avengers for an accidental killing (cf. Num. 35; Deut. 19; Josh. 20).

How do we run to Him? He tells us we come by “laying hold of the hope set before us” (v. 18). What is that hope? It is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.  The only way to have a strong confidence and a steadfast hope, is to seek refuge in God and embrace Jesus Christ, who is our only hope of salvation[1].

The Greek word in Hebrews that is translated “refuge” (in KJV, NKJV, and NASB) is the same one used in the Septuagint (the Greek version of the Old Testament) in the passages describing the cities of refuge. The writer of Hebrews is telling us that the only way to experience the power of God that saves us is when we run to Him in desperation–for refuge.

And to understand one of the clearest explanations of entering into the refuge of Christ, turn with me to Joshua 20. When Israel entered the Promised Land, God gave them a constant reminder of His salvation. This reminder was ordered by God to be set up in the Land as a visible symbol of Him as God their Savior 24/7/365 across the entire land.

What was that reminder? A strategically placed group of six cities called the Cities of Refuge. There is actually a whole chapter of the Bible (Joshua 20) devoted to these cities. There are many pictures of salvation in God’s Word—Jesus used the serpent lifted up, the manna, Paul used the rock, and both used the Passover lamb. But one of the most beautiful, the most powerful, the most amazing pictures of Jesus Christ is tucked away in one of those back corners of the Scriptures. That picture is one that shows Jesus is always waiting, His arms are always open, the door is never locked—the clearest picture of Christ as Savior is seen in the cities of refuge.

“And they [assigned] Kedesh in Galilee in Mount Naphtali, and Shechem in Mount Ephraim, and Kirjath-arba, which is Hebron, in the mountain of Judah. And on the other side [of the] Jordan by Jericho eastward, they assigned Bezer in the wilderness upon the plain out of the tribe of Reuben, and Ramoth in Gilead out of the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan out of the tribe of Manasseh. These were the cities assigned for all the children of Israel, and for the stranger who sojourneth among them, that whosoever killeth any person without intent might flee the avenger of blood, until he stood before the congregation.” (Joshua 20:7-9)

Amazingly to me, that archaic system of justice from the Old Testament shows up, of all places, in the New Testament.

 Cities of Refuge

The Cities of Refuge (Numbers 35, Joshua 20, Deuteronomy 4, 19), remind us of Christ Jesus our hiding place. God commanded that when His people came into possession of the land six Cities of Refuge should be appointed, to which he who slew a man, through ignorance or unintentionally, might flee from the avenger of blood who, according to Eastern custom, would pursue and kill the man-slayer. Three on each side of the Jordan River-which were provided for a man-slayer guilty of second-degree murder.

Those cities of refuge portray how Christ shelters the sinner from death. It was a very marvelous provision for a man who accidentally killed someone. Maybe the one whom he killed had a hotheaded brother who wanted vengeance. So the fugitive could escape to a city of refuge where he would be protected and his case tried. The elders of the city would investigate the case. If he was acquitted of intentional killing he must remain within the city until the death of the high priest. [2]

We have fled to Jesus Christ, and He is our eternal refuge. As our High Priest, He will never die (Heb. 7:23-25); and we have eternal salvation. No avenger can touch us, because He has already died and arisen from the dead[3].

These six cities of refuge are beautiful types of Christ, to whom we “have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us” (Heb. 6:18). Step back with me into the ancient world of the Bible, and listen to this wonderful picture of Christ that God built into their daily lives. To do so look with me at these truths about the Old Testament description of the cities of refuge.

  1. God Himself appointed these cities of refuge. This was an act of grace, for all men are sinners and deserve to die. Moses did not choose the cities, to remind us that the Law cannot save anyone. It was not an earthly priest who appointed them, to remind us that religion in any form can’t save anyone. These cities and the Christ they picture both came from the loving heart of God. “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16).
  2. God’s Word announced these cities of refuge .The six cities are named in Joshua 20:7–8, and they could never be changed. On the authority of the Word of God, a slayer could enter a city and no one could forbid him! So with our salvation: it is promised to us in the Word, and this can never change. There were cities in Israel that were larger and more prominent, but none of them could shelter the sinner. There are many “religions” today, but there is only one way of salvation as announced in God’s Word—faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12).
  3. Anyone could access these cities of refuge. Now we come to the most wonderful part of the truths of these cities of refuge. They are the clearest pictures of grace in all of the Bible!

First, they were in central places on both sides of the Jordan, so they were easy to reach from any place in the country.  God expressly commanded that roads were to be made to these cities (Deut. 19:3).  If you look at a map of the Holy Land, you find that the six cities were arranged so that no tribe was too far from the place of safety. On the west side of Jordan were Kedesh in the north, Shechem in the central area, and Hebron in the south. Right across the river on the east side (where Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh chose to settle) were Golan in the north, Ramoth in the central section, and Bezer in the south. These cities were accessible. Some of them were located on mounts so as to be even more prominent.

From Jewish literature we can add some further detail about the highways.  They were carefully repaired every spring, after the rains and bad weather of winter.  Further, bridges were built where needed so that people did not have to run down into a ravine but could go straight across, taking the shortest possible route to the city.  At every crossroad were special signs which said, “Refuge!” and pointed in the direction of the city.  These signposts had to be large enough so that a man running hard could easily read them. Runners, learned in the law of God, were stationed to guide the fugitives to the place of safety.[4] We can picture a man coming up the road.  Another man is pursuing him, sword out.  The first man, having no time to use a magnifying glass, approaches the sign and sees the big words, “Refuge” magnified! He runs to the city and is safe.

Second, the cities of refuge were open to all — to the Israelite, the stranger, and sojourner. Joshua 20:9 says, “that whosoever killed a person …” (KJV). What verse sounds like this—that whosoever…” Right! John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

Third, from nonbiblical sources we hear that the great doors of these cities were always left open and never locked. We can see why.  Otherwise a man might die while beating on the door.

Fourth, these sources also tell us that each city of refuge was stocked with food.  It was a completely sufficient refuge, then, not only providing legal protection, but also meeting a man’s needs once he was inside. The cities of refuge were completely adequate for the needs of the endangered ones. So long as the slayer remained in the city, he was safe, and he would be freed when the high priest died.

Fifth, we know from the Bible itself, of course, that if a killer did not flee to a city of refuge there was no other hope. Note that the slayer is told to flee to the city. Such a person could not afford to delay!

Christ is Portrayed by the Cities of Refuge

The similarities between the cities of refuge and Christ, our refuge, are striking.  We can compare them point for point.

  • First, Christ is easy to reach.  We may cast ourselves upon Christ at any time, in any place.  The Church is to be the teller of this good news.  The Church is to cry, “Refuge!  Refuge!” to the lost world.  This emphasis is made at the very end of the Bible in the book of Revelation: “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come.  And let him that heareth say, Come.  And let him that is athirst come.  And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Rev. 22:17). So has the Saviour placed Himself within the reach of all, even of such as are in the utmost peril of vengeance.  Jewish tradition declares that there were posts at the cross roads with “Refuge! Refuge!” upon them, pointing out the way.
  • Second, Christ is open to all — the Jew and the Gentile, the Greek and the barbarian, to all people. Listen to the echoes of Christ’s open arms throughout the Scriptures:  Genesis 3:9 Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?”; Isaiah 45:22 “Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other; Matthew 11:28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest; Revelation 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.
  •  Third, Christ never locks His gates.  There is no need to wake Him.  He is infinite; He is God; He is never asleep.  We do not have to beat upon the door and die because He does not open it.  Many have stood by a deathbed and seen men believe in the last moments of life.  It is good that there is no gate to unlock and that men can enter quickly. What a picture of Christ! Certainly the “way to the city” is clear! No one need ever wonder how to come to Him, for we come to Him by faith. He will never turn any sinner away (John 6:37). High roads led to each city, and their gates were always open.
  •  Fourth, Christ is a completely sufficient refuge.  Christ’s death in space-time history is completely adequate to meet our need for refuge from the true moral guilt which we have.  It is final because of who He is.  He is the infinite second person of the Trinity; therefore, His death has infinite value.

Furthermore, the cities of refuge were not only a legal protection, but also had a supply of food.  So Christ not only makes a Christian legally safe through His propitiatory death, but He supplies the believer with great riches.  God the Father becomes our father; the Holy Spirit moves in and is the agent by which the whole Trinity produces Christ’s fruit through us.

Even the suburbs or borders of the city were a sufficient security to the offender, v. 26, 27. So there is virtue even in the hem of Christ’s garment for the healing and saving of poor sinners. If we cannot reach to a full assurance, we may comfort ourselves in a good hope through grace[5].

Fifth, if we do not flee to the refuge which God has given to us at such a great price, there is no help for us.  Hebrews relates this negative emphasis to the Old Testament: “He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses; of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, with which he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” (Heb. 10:28, 29).  There isn’t one of us who does not stand in that situation.  We have heard the gospel, and if in the Old Testament ignoring God’s law brought death, what about us if we despise the work of Christ and the grace which He showers upon us? Nor can lost sinners today afford to delay in fleeing to the only refuge, Jesus Christ.[6]

So Christ is easy to reach, His arms are open to all, His entrance is never locked, He is a completely sufficient refuge, and He is the only hope. How wonderful. But there is so much more as we examine the differences between the cities of refuge and Christ our refuge.  Christ is portrayed by the cities of refuge but He is so much better!

Christ is Better Than Any Cities of Refuge

Christ is better because He is nearer than any city of refuge.  A runner could fall and not be able to get to a fugitive in time to shelter him within the walls of

safety, but a man who looks to Christ can never fail.  The Bible makes a specific promise: “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37).  In fact, Jesus says, “I stand at the door and knock” (Rev. 3:20).  He Himself seeks us.[7]

Christ is better because He offers only Permanent Refuge. Hebrews also speaks of Christ as “the forerunner [who] is for us entered” (Heb. 6:20).  That means that He has entered into God’s presence and that we can enter, too. When do we enter this refuge?  I would suggest we enter at three different times.

  • First, we enter in once for all at the moment we cast ourselves upon Christ and accept Him as our Savior.  We are declared justified by God the judge on the basis of Christ’s finished work.  In Romans 5:11 Paul uses the aorist tense, indicating our justification is a past thing, completed forever.  If we are saved, we are saved. Romans 5:11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. Remember what we saw two weeks ago—justification means that God has no record that we even sinned. Our sins are paid for, put on Christ’s account and gone forever!
  • Second, we enter into this refuge as Christians in every daily moment when we claim the blood of Christ to cover a specific sin.  1 John 1:7-9But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
  • Third, at that great moment when we die or when the Lord returns, we will enter in perfectly and completely. Hebrews 7:24-25 But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

Christ is better because He died only for the guilty. The biggest difference is that the cities protected only the innocent.  They were only for the man who killed by mistake.  Christ died for the guilty, for the deliberate sinner.  Who is that deliberate sinner?  Every one of us can say, “It is I!” How is it possible that the holy God would accept those that are guilty?  It is not by giving up His holiness.  He does not devalue that, or we would have no moral absolute in the universe.  Rather, the reason Christ is able to be our Redeemer is that He is a high priest and the sacrifice He gave was His own death.

A man stayed in a city of refuge until the death of the high priest, and then left.  Christ is our high priest.  He has died once for all, and He lives forever.  So though we are legally guilty before the God who is there, when we cast ourselves upon Him we are free forever.  This does not suggest that we may “leave Christ” and lose our salvation, for we do not build doctrines on types; rather we interpret types on the basis of doctrines. The true Christian can never perish, but by failing to “abide in Christ” he or she opens the door to spiritual and physical dangers. Our High Priest will never die, and because He lives, we live also.

  • Hebrews 7:23-27 says this strongly: And they, truly, were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death; but this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.  Wherefore, he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.  For such an high priest became us who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s; for this he did once, when he offered up himself (Heb. 7:23-27)

We are not like a man who runs to a city of refuge and is acquitted after a trial because he is innocent.  We are guilty.  If you are still a non-Christian, run to Christ, for God’s own promises say, “Refuge!  Refuge!”

If you are a Christian, take Christ as your sufficient refuge; bring your specific sins under the work of Christ and in all the vicissitudes of life, moment and moment by moment, through the whole of your life.

There is one point of contrast between the cities and Christ: when the slayer came to the city, he was admitted but he was also tried. With us, there is no trial, for we are already condemned! The elders of the city only protected someone who was innocent of murder, but Christ receives guilty sinners. What grace! John 3:18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

“What a picture this is for us today! This reveals that Christ is our refuge. Listen to what this means— I have already been carried into court, and at the trial I was found guilty.  I was a sinner. The penalty which was leveled against me was death—and it has already been executed. Christ bore the penalty for me, you see. Because He died in my place, I am free. I have been delivered from the penalty of sin; never do I have to answer for it again.  I am free now to go out and serve Him. I now have a High Priest, a resurrected Savior, to whom I can go.

What a wonderful picture of my Savior this gives! The apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians: “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come” (1 Cor. 10:11). “Ensamples” are types. Millions of things could have been recorded, but God chose to record only these things because they enable us to grow in our understanding of Him and our relationship to Him[8].”

Now, can I show you something of the depths and heights of Christ’s richness toward us? Look again with me at that ancient list of city names in Joshua 20.

Do you remember from the Old Testament that often Hebrew names are also words that have a distinct meaning? And do you remember that God often points out that a name also means something in addition to being a name—to make a point?

Take for instance David’s encounter with Abigail’s husband Nabal. His name means in Hebrew ‘fool’, and God shows that is just what he was. God points out Jacob’s name means deceiver as he was, and so on many times through the Old Testament this dual usage of a word is seen.

Now can I read Joshua 20 again and give you the meaning of each city that God names? Here we go: “And they [assigned] Kedesh in Galilee in MountNaphtali, and Shechem in Mount Ephraim, and Kirjath-arba, which is Hebron, in the mountain of Judah. And on the other side [of the] Jordan by Jericho eastward, they assigned Bezer in the wilderness upon the plain out of the tribe of Reuben, and Ramoth in Gilead out of the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan out of the tribe of Manasseh. These were the cities assigned for all the children of Israel, and for the stranger who sojourneth among them, that whosoever killeth any person without intent might flee the avenger of blood, until he stood before the congregation.” (Joshua 20:7-9)

  • KEDESH is not only a city name it also means a “holy place” or “righteousness”.
  • SHECHEM is not only a city name it also means “shoulder”.
  • HEBRON is not only a city name it also means “fellowship”.
  • BEZER is not only a city name it also means a “stronghold” or “fortress”
  • RAMOTH is not only a city name it also means “exalted” or “heights”
  • GOLAN is not only a city name it also means “separated.”

Now listen to how each of those city names portray Christ’s refuge offered for us to lay hold of every day, every hour, and every moment of our lives.

Christ is also Portrayed as Our Lifelong Refuge

In looking over the meaning of the names of these cities of refuge, we are struck with the distinctive characteristic of each. They are individually showing forth some particular feature of the character of Christ; and when taken as a whole, they illustrate the sufficiency of Christ as a Refuge to meet all of our need, and the need of all. To see the adequacy of Jesus Christ to meet our every need, consider the names of the cities. These six cities of refuge all point to Him, and enable us to sing with a restful, joyful heart, “God is our refuge and our strength.”[9]

KEDESH means a “holy place” or “righteousness,” and this is our first need. When we come to Christ, He gives us His righteousness and forgives all our sins (2 Cor 5:21, Col. 2:13). Here was the refuge for the unclean. The holiness of the Lord Jesus Christ is the only hope of the sinful. Only that which is clean can cleanse. The unrighteous can only find refuge in the righteousness of God. The finished work on the accursed tree affords a holy hiding-place, for only there are the unclean made holy. To that blest fountain of Thy blood, Incarnate God, I fly. There let me wash my spotted soul, From crimes of deepest dye.  In wonder lost, with trembling joy We take the pardon of our God; Pardon for crimes of deepest dye, A pardon bought with Jesus’ blood: Who is a pardoning God like thee? Or who has grace so rich and free?

SHECHEM means “shoulder,” and suggests that we find in Christ a resting place, a friend on whom we can lay our burdens. “Can I hold out?” is always the question a new believer asks. The answer is, “He will hold you!” Here was the refuge for the weary.  (Matt. 11:28; Luke 15:5) The Lord Jesus is the strong Savior. Most believers have found that they can find no rest in ruling themselves. But when faith comes, we lean not only on His merit, but also on His almightiness. A tired child finds refuge on the shoulder of its loving father. And the Lord Jesus has borne our burden upon His shoulder, even as the lost sheep found both safety and rest upon the shepherd’s shoulders.

HEBRON means “fellowship,” suggesting our fellowship with God in Christ, and also our fellowship with other believers. So the Lord Jesus is the refuge for the homeless. Like Noah’s dove, man is spiritually a homeless wanderer. There was no rest, no safety, and no fellowship outside of that ark. The repentant homeless prodigal found a refuge in his father’s house and in his father’s fellowship. The Lord Jesus Christ is the only real Hebron for the soul. There is no fellowship with the Father except through Him, …truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.” (I John 1:3)

BEZER means “stronghold” or “fortress,” suggesting the protection and victory we have in Christ. The safest place in the world is in the will of God.  Jesus Christ is the refuge for the helpless. We are not only sinners, but we are also helplessly sinful. In the case of the one guilty of second-degree murder, there was to be no such thing as self-protection. And so it is with us sinners. We are “without strength.” “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.” (Prov. 18: 10) When we flee from the justice of God into the mercy of God, we will find a stronghold that can never give way. No matter how helpless, here you are eternally safe. The Lord Jesus is the only Bezer. Other hiding-places win fail and fall like the walls of Jericho.

RAMOTH means “exalted” or “heights” and reminds us that believers are seated “together in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 2:4–10). Sin always leads a person down, but Christ lifts us up; and one day we shall be caught up together in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air! And so our Lord is the refuge for the hopeless. By nature we are not only without strength, but also without hope in the world.(Eph. 2:12) Those who hope in this world system of politics and religion have no hope. The Lord Jesus is our hope, exalted at the Father’s right hand, with a name which is above every name, high and lifted up. He is our Ramoth. When you are downcast, and feeling yourself hopeless in this world, look up. During Noah’s flood, there was no mountain that could save. Only those who were lifted up by the ark were saved. Jesus Christ is the Ark of our hope and eternal security.

GOLAN means “separated.” God has appointed His Son to be the refuge for those who are tempted. We are usually tempted much by the world when we tamper much with the world. We have not fled to the Lord Jesus as our city of separation. He separated Himself for our sakes-for He was separate from sinners-that He might succor those who are tempted. Golan is the last of the six cities which are mentioned. Most of us would have to confess that separation from worldly ambition, worldly pleasures, and worldly fame is just about the last refuge which we seek. “Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.” (Hebrews 13:13)

Is Christ your city of Refuge? Is He easy to reach to you? Are His arms open to you? Do you see His entrance as never locked, and that He is a completely sufficient refuge? Do you see that there is no other hope but Him? Then He is YOUR city of refuge.

Do you see–Christ is better because He is nearer than any city of refuge.  Christ is better because He offers only Permanent Refuge. And, Christ is better because He died only for the guilty.

Have you fled for life long refuge to the One who is the refuge for the unclean, the refuge for the weary; the  refuge for the homeless; the refuge for the helpless, the refuge for the hopeless, and the refuge for those who are tempted.

Finding Refuge through Christ’s Word

Now to apply what we have learned about Christ our forerunner (prodromos) who pulls us safely home; and Christ our city of refuge—let me show you how to find refuge each day in the Bible!

Go back and look again at Hebrews 6:18-19 that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. 19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil,

The third Hebrew word that God gives us is describing CLINGING HOPE–the word is BATACH (982): HOPE THAT INSPIRES DEEPER TRUST.

What does God seek as our response to hard times? Clinging to Him as our refuge–is the resounding answer.

Turn with me to the most well known verse in the Bible using this special word. Proverbs 3:5.

  • Proverbs 3:5 Trust [literally cling to; Hebrew batach; LXX peitho] the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;

Here batach is used in the sense of hope that comes from casting one’s total future upon God as a little child and trusting Him for everything. This word is most often translated to trust or to have confidence in someone-usually God. But in some contexts it is definitely used to mean hope, as in the great prophetic Twenty-second Psalm. The Messiah’s thoughts while suffering on the cross are predicted here[10]:

  • Psalms 22:9 KJV “But thou [God] art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me HOPE [Hebrew batach; LXX elpis] when I was upon my mother’s breasts” Psalm 37:3-5 Trust in [LXX elpidzo] the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. 4 Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.
  • Psalm 40:3 He has put a new song in my mouth—Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, And will trust [cling to] the Lord.
  • Psalm 56:3-4, 11Whenever I am afraid, I will trust [cling to] You. 4 In God (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me. 11 In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?
  • Psalm 112:7 He will not be afraid of evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting [clinging to] the Lord.

Old Testament batach is in the LXX the New Testament elpis/elpidzo. New Testament usage of elpidzo:

  • 2 Corinthians 1:10 who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us,
  • Philippians 2:19 But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your state.
  • 1 Timothy 4:10 For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.
  • 1 Timothy 5:5 Now she who is really a widow, and left alone, trusts in God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day.
  • 1 Timothy 6:17 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.
  • Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
  • 1 Peter 1:13 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
  • 1 Peter 3:5 For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands,

New Testament usage of elpis:

  •  Romans 5:2, 4-5 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
  • Romans 15:4, 13 For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. 13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
  • Colossians 1:5 because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel,
  • Titus 2:13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,
  • 1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
  • 1 Peter 1:21 who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
  • 1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;
  • 1 John 3:3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.


[1]  John MacArthur, Saved Without A Doubt, (Wheaton, Illinois: Victor Books) 1992.

[2]  McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers) 2000, c1981.

[3]  Wiersbe, Warren W., The Bible Exposition Commentary, (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books) 1997.

[4]  Hodgkin, Christ in all, p.

[5]  Henry, Matthew, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Bible, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers) 1997.

[6]  Warren W. Wiersbe, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines on the Old Testament, (InterVarsity Press: IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament ) Downer’s Grove, IL.

[7]Schaeffer, Francis A., The Complete Works of Francis A. Schaeffer, (Westchester, IL: Crossway Books) 1985.

[8]  McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers) 2000, c1981.

[9]  Roy Gustafson, In His Land Seeing Is Believing. Minneapolis, Minnesota: World Wide Publications, 1980, p. 65-68.

[10]  Hal Lindsey, The Terminal Generation. Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company: 1976, p. 95.




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