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" Christian Vigilanteism? "

"Appoint for yourselves cities of refuge... that the slayer who kills a soul 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 matter in the ears of the elders of that city, they shall take him into the city to themselves, and give him a place, that he may dwell among them. And 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." (~Josh20:2-6)

And if you read through Joshua chapters 20-21, you will notice that the cities assigned as cities of refuge were also cities assigned to the Levites. In Israel's day one of the duties of the tribe of Levi was as 'judges' over civil matters.

One of the early covenants God made with mankind was the matter of avenging the death of a murdered human being. "At the hand of every manís brother I will require the soul of man. Whoever sheds manís blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God He made man." (Gen9:5-6)

Notice God's mercy intermingled with justice. In this City-of-Refuge concept is the beginnings of what we have today as Trial-by-Jury. God's law did not necessitate a "government" carrying out the execution; it was to be carried out by: "The kinsman avenger of blood himself shall put the murderer to death; when he meets him, he shall put him to death." (Num35:19) But if possible (if the slayer could reach refuge before the avenger caught up to him) there was first to be a hearing of the matter, to determine the circumstances and motives. And then the "congregation" was to decide.

God's law had provision for accidental manslaughter, where death was unintentional. But notice that the killer did not get off scot-free: he had to remain in the city-of-refuge until the death of the high priest.

Notice also God's design of what we call a "speedy trial". The person could flee to the city, and the judges were already there, resident in the city, so he could present his case at the city gate, which is where city officials sat and conducted business; to either provide safe haven, or to adjudicate the matter to swift conclusion.

But also notice that if the killer was deemed "innocent" of premeditated "murder", but left the safety of the City-of-Refuge, and the 'avenger' found him outside the city, that there was no guilt laid upon the "kinsman avenger" for executing the killer (Num35:27) even though the death had been an accident.

There is a mentality today amongst some so-called "christian" activists where they take upon themselves the role of judge-and-executioner regarding things like abortion clinics and sexual deviants. Some of them condone their own behavior from this Biblical "avenger" concept. Some of them also proclaim themselves to be a sort of "Phinehas Priesthood"; since Phinehas went into the tent and killed the couple in-the-act, and was praised by God for his vigilance. (Num25:7-13)

And they further take Paul's words that these sinner/deviants are "deserving of death" (Rom1:32), as they shoot and bomb them. (Although it's now been awhile since I've heard of one of these incidents.)

Let us not forget that Phinehas was a Levite. A grandson of Aaron the first high priest. (Ex6:25) Phinehas was of the lineage of those holding 'governmental' and 'judicial' authority. Since Aaron was high priest, it could be said that Phinehas at that point was like a 'deputy' or 'police officer', carrying out his judicial function as a Levite.

Notice Paul says they are "deserving" of death; but he nowhere exhorts the Church to execute them. We as the Gentile Church are not of the tribe of Levi. Nor are most of us part of the "higher authorities" to whom Paul exhorts us to "be subject"; as God's ordained authority. (Rom13:1)

Thus, while things like sexual deviance is an "abomination" to God (Lev20:13, De22:5), and is "deserving of death" (Rom1:32), it is not the Christian's place to execute them based on self-presumed authority. Even Michael did not accuse satan. (Jud1:9) The judgment is God's. (Rom1:32) Those who deviate from God's Law are -RESERVED- for judgment. (2Pet2:4) Their time will come.

There is a difference between the sinner being deserving of death, and a child of God taking God's law into his own hands. It would be like one sibling giving a spanking to another for being disobedient to the parents. One sibling does not punish another; the parents do that. And if the one tries to punish a sibling, typically -they- are also in trouble from the parents for self-presumption.

Indeed, the world will receive judgment. But "judgment...begins at the house of God" (1Pet4:17) The world receives judgment for its sin, but the Believer also stands before the "judgment seat of Christ". (Rom14:10, 2Co5:10) We are not called to be judges of the world here in this lifetime. That will come later. (1Co6:3) We are to be "doers of the Word" (Ja1:22) But if we are taking the law into our own hands we have ceased to be doers, and have become judges "of the law". (Ja4:11)

So, while we observe that Christians are "anti-gay", and are commanded by God to "reprove" the world's "works of darkness" (Eph5:11), we are not commanded by God to take the law into our own hands to mete out God's judgment upon them. Lot spoke out against Sodom's deviance, but he did not judge them. God removed Lot out of Sodom, and then -GOD- judged Sodom and Gomorrah.

The same thing will be happening again soon. Christians are presently speaking out against the world's corruption. But, God is going to snatch the Church out of the world, and then bring judgment upon the world. Right now God has given the world up to "uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves" (Rom1:24) to do as they wish. It is their time to rack up the "measure" of their sins (1Th2:16) until the "iniquity of the Amorites" has been filled up to completion. (Gen15:16) And then the "wrath of God is revealed FROM HEAVEN" against them. (Rom1:18, 1Th2:16) Their due time is coming, as the time of mercy will have ended (Rev22:10-12); And they will know it as they cry out to the "...mountains and rocks, Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?" (Rev6:16-17)


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