Animals, Colors, Metals, Numbers and Signs in Scripture.
Seven - Completion
Seven Days Mourning for Israel
When Israel died in Egypt, his descendants spent seven days mourning his death before he was buried:
Israel, whose name before had been Jacob, was the man who God chose to make into a great nation. He was the father to the nation known by his name. All his descendants could look to him as being their father and leader. God had greatly blessed Israel and subsequently many blessings had come upon his descendants because of God's blessing of Israel.
In the scriptures, mourning is often associated with death or a loss of something dear and precious to the mourner.
When God's children are born of the Spirit of God, they begin to mourn over their sinful condition and over their sins. They see themselves as ruined, hell-deserving sinners and unable to deliver themselves from their horrible condition. Isaiah related his experience as follows: Is. 6:5, "Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts." The publican cried out for mercy because of his sins: Luke 18:13 "And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner."
We would never rejoice over a savior until we mourn as a sinner. We are blessed to both mourn and to be comforted: Matt. 5:4 "Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted."
Along with our mourning over the fact that we are sinners, we also mourn over what our sins caused our Redeemer to suffer. We read in Rev. 1:7 "Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him." This has reference to Zec. 12:10 "And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. 11 In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon." There had been a great king in Judah by the name of Josiah, who had clave unto the Lord his God and through him the land of Judah had great deliverance during the time of his reign had died while he fought to defend the border of Judah. There was a sore mourning for him by the Jews in the valley of Megiddon. He had been a great deliverer and defender of Jerusalem.
Similarly, but greater than Josiah, our Saviour, Jesus Christ has delivered us from our sins through his death. He suffered the awful wrath of God that our sins deserved for us on the cross of Calvary. His suffering could not be measured as he cried out, "My God, my God why hast thou forsaken me?" When someone dies to deliver you from the death that you deserved, you rejoice because of the effect of their actions, but you mourn because of what they had to suffer on your behalf. Therefore, it is with the children of God and their sins. We mourn over our sins, but we rejoice over the work of our Saviour who saved us from our sins. Then we mourn because of what he had to suffer in order to save us from our sins.
Just as the descendants of Israel mourned over the loss of their leader and the Father of their nation, so we as children of God mourn over the death of our saviour, leader, and creator and what he suffered for us in his death.
The establishment of cities of refuge and their purpose and order of use are set forth in Num. 35:11-28:
There were six cities appointed as cities of refuge for the children of Israel that the man-slayer may flee unto to seek refuge from the revenger of blood. If the man-slayer slew someone by accident or without intent to do harm to the person, then he would be safe from the revenger of blood in the city of refuge. However, he must remain in the city of refuge unto the death of the High Priest.
If the man-slayer purposely slew the individual then he was to be turned over by the city to the revenger of blood that he may be slain.
While only six cities of refuge are listed in the Old Testament, yet there is a seventh set forth in the scriptures. Heb. 6:17, "Wherein God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: 18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: 19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; 20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec."
The Lord's church is that seventh city of refuge. It is there in the preaching of the gospel and the teaching of God's grace that we find refuge in the hope that is set forth before us. In the Old Testament cities of refuge, the innocent found refuge from the revenger of blood, whereas the guilty had no refuge. In our city of refuge, we find that the guilty find refuge in the finished work of Jesus and have an eternal refuge from the revenger of blood. Furthermore, our High Priest has already died to redeem us from sin and he ever lives to make intercession for us. Our city of refuge is far better than the six cities of the Old Testament.