DO YOU QUALIFY TO RUN TO THE CITY OF REFUGE?
WAS THE DEATH OF THE LORD JESUS “FIRST DEGREE” MURDER
(PREMEDITATED) OR “SECOND DEGREE” MURDER
THE LAW OF THE LAND
In most states, first-degree murder is defined as an unlawful killing that
is both willful and premeditated, meaning that it was committed after
planning or “lying in wait” for the victim.
Most states divide murders into degrees, with first degree murder
representing the worst form of homicide crime (though some states use
other names such as “capital murder”). State laws vary as to what exactly
constitutes murder in the first degree, but it generally includes murders
committed by people who willfully take a life after having a chance to think
about what they are doing.
States have also enumerated certain murders which qualify as first
degree even when the normal elements aren’t met – such as the killing
of law enforcement officers and murders committed in the course of violent
crimes. Defenses to the charge take many forms, from mistaken
identity to self-defense to not guilty by reason of insanity. States
reserve their most severe punishment for certain first degree murder,
including the death penalty.
State laws categorizing murders into first, second and possibly third
degrees generally require that first degree murders include three basic
elements: willfulness, deliberation and premeditation. Some states
also require “malice aforethought” as an element, though states differ as to
how malice must be shown and whether this is a separate requirement
from willful, deliberate and premeditated taking of human life. Most states
also enumerate certain kinds of killings as first degree murders without
need to prove intent, deliberation and premeditation.
Not all states break murder into degrees. In some places, the top level
murder crime is called by another name, such as “capital murder.”
Enumerated First Degree Murders
State laws often categorize specific types of killings as first degree. In these
cases, the typical elements of specific intent to kill, deliberation and
premeditation may not be required. These often include:
• the killing of a child by use of unreasonable force;
• certain killings committed in a pattern of domestic abuse;
• the murder of law a law enforcement officer, and
• homicides occurring in the commission of other crimes such as arson,
rape, robbery or other violent crimes.
This list merely illustrates some of the enumerated first degree murders.
For a complete list, consult specific state laws.
State laws spell out specific factors which render those found guilty of first
degree murder subject to the state’s harshest sentence. Aggravating
factors include aspects of the crime, of the defendant, or of the victim(s)
which render the defendant eligible for either the death penalty or life in
prison without the possibility of parole.
Common aggravating factors include:
• The defendant had one or more previous murder convictions;
• The killing occurred during commission of any of a list of violent
crimes (such as arson, rape or robbery);
• The victim was a law enforcement officer performing his or her duties;
• The victim was a judge, prosecutor, witness or juror killed to prevent
the performance of their duties;
• The killing was particularly heinous or involved torture;
• The defendant laid in wait (waited and ambushed) the victim;
• The defendant poisoned the victim;
• The killing involved bombs or explosive materials; and
• The defendant was an active gang member and victim was killed as
part of gang activity.
This list merely illustrates several of the factors aggravating factors used in
some states consult state law for the complete list of a specific state’s
The Death Penalty
Currently, most states retain the death penalty as an option for those
convicted of their highest level murder offense. State vary in terms of how
often prosecution seeks the death penalty, and also in whether their top
level murder convictions require the death penalty. Texas, for example,
imposes death sentences on all those convicted of capital murder, its
highest level murder charge. In California, on the other hand, aggravated
first degree murder can draw either the death penalty or life in prison
FROM GOD’S POINT OF VIEW IT WAS “FIRST DEGREE” MURDER.
IT WAS OUR SINS WHICH PUT HIM ON THE CROSS!
22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man
approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which
God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge
of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it
was not possible that he should be holden of it.
fixed, settled, specified, established, defined, explicit, known, determined,
definitive, conclusive, express, precise, categorical, positive, definite.
33 Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a
vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built
a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country:
34 And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the
husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it.
35 And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed
another, and stoned another.
36 Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto
37 But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence
38 But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among
themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on
39 And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew
40 When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto
41 They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men,
and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall
render him the fruits in their seasons.
9 Then began he to speak to the people this parable; A certain man
planted a vineyard, and let it forth to husbandmen, and went into a far
country for a long time.
10 And at the season he sent a servant to the husbandmen, that they
should give him of the fruit of the vineyard: but the husbandmen beat
him, and sent him away empty.
11 And again he sent another servant: and they beat him also, and
entreated him shamefully, and sent him away empty.
12 And again he sent a third: and they wounded him also, and cast
13 Then said the lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send my
beloved son: it may be they will reverence him when they see him.
14 But when the husbandmen saw him, they reasoned among
themselves, saying, This is the heir: come, let us kill him, that the
inheritance may be ours.
15 So they cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What therefore
shall the lord of the vineyard do unto them?
16 He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the
vineyard to others. And when they heard it, they said, God forbid.
5 And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved
for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine
hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the
6 And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with
the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him.
7 But Jesus withdrew himself with his disciples to the sea: and a great
multitude from Galilee followed him, and from Judaea,
4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that
thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou
5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive
6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part
thou shalt make me to know wisdom.
PLEADING FOR OUR CASE.
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44 If you had to come to the courts, of being guilty, you would seek the
best lawyer you could find. Anybody wouldn’t do it.
45 And every man that’s born in this world, I don’t care how good of home
he come out of, he is guilty of the Blood of Jesus Christ until he has
accepted the pardon of it. And the only way that you know the pardon
is right, when the Token puts Itself upon you, and you have the Token.
46 Notice, you are guilty, and you would hunt the best attorney that
you could find to plead your case. And if I was going to the Judgment
of God, I don’t want no priest, I don’t want no man; I want the best
attorney I can find to plead my case.
47 Let me say to this, to you, my Christian friend. Our attorney is also
our judge, and our–our judge became our attorney. The case is
settled when we receive His pardon. The judge Himself came down
and became the attorney, and the attorney and judge is the same
Person. God become man, that He might justify man by His Own
death that He placed upon him. Hallelujah! That means, praise our
God! He deserves all praises. Our judge and our attorney is the same
48 The Holy Ghost is the Token that we have been pardoned.
The case is closed. To every man and woman that truly has received the
baptism of the Holy Ghost, he has been tried, he is identified with his
attorney, with his judge, with his sacrifice, and the Token he holds in his
possession shows that his trip is paid to Glory. Amen. It’s all over. He holds
that Token. It’s his, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which is the witness of
the resurrection of Jesus. Amen. Do you believe it? [Congregation says,
"Amen."--Ed.] That’s your identification, you’re holding the Token.
49 Now if you haven’t got that Token, you’ll not be coming in. You must
have the Token. That’s the required price, “When I see the blood, the blood
is the token. When I see the blood, I’ll pass over you.” You must have the
Token. If you don’t, why, you won’t go. You’ve got to have the Token.
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E-31 Notice, there they were. And Peter said, “We’ll just build a
tabernacle here for Moses.” Now, the law only puts you in jail. The
law only puts you under condemnation. The law only magnifies. It
was the policeman that come, and caught you by the arm, and
said, “You’re guilty , and you’re under the penalty of death
.” The law has no redeeming grace. Grace come by Jesus Christ
, not by the law. I don’t plead for the law; I don’t want nothing
to do with the law.
Well then, Peter said, “I’ll tell you then; we’ll build a us another tabernacle:
we’ll make it for Elijah.” What did Elijah represented? The justice of
God. Who wants justice? Brother, I don’t; I want mercy, not justice.
We’re all borned in sin, shaped in iniquity, come to the world
speaking lies. We are guilty from the beginning to the
end. There’s not one of us could redeem one another, if we’re
archbishops, popes, whatever we might be. We’re prophets, or
whatever, even if we were Angels, we would still be unfit to
redeem one another, certainly. I don’t want justice; never do I call for
justice; I want mercy. God, give me Your mercy.
JESUS IS OUR DEFENSE COUNSEL
33 And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there
they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the
other on the left.
34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they
do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
35 And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided
him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the
chosen of God.
1 Corinthians 2:7-9
7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom,
which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known
it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have
entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them
that love him.
HE TURNS THE CASE TO BE MANSLAUGHTER, MEANING THAT HE
QUALIFIES US TO FLEE TO OUR CITY OF REFUGE.
WHERE IS OUR CITY OF REFUGE? IN JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF.
20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth
in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son
of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from
the law of sin and death.
AND ALL THIS WAS TO OBTAIN UNTIL THE DEATH OF THE HIGH
PRIEST – JESUS CHRIST.
IT WAS HIS DEATH THAT HAS FREED US FROM THE PURSUIT OF
THE AVENGER OF BLOOD.
HOWEVER, EVERY CHECK, TO BE CASHED, REQUIRES AN
ENDORSEMENT OF THE RECIPIENT. EVERY PARDON NEEDS AN
ACCEPTANCE. HAVE YOU LAID CLAIM TO WHAT HE HAS
PURCHASED FOR YOU?
WE ARE ALL VICTIMS OF SIN – YET HE IS THE WAY, THE TRUTH. AND
THE LIFE. HE IS WAITING TO HEAR FROM YOU. THERE IA AN “800
NUMBER” ON THE 24-HOUR HOTLINE TO THE THRONE ROOM OF
THE UNIVERSE AND HE IS ANXIOUS FOR YOU TO CALL!! WHY NOT
USE IT NOW?
3. The cities of refuge as a picture of Jesus.
a. The Bible applies this picture of the city of refuge to the believer finding
refuge in God on more than one occasion:
i. Psalm 46:1: God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in
trouble. More than 15 other times, the Psalms speak of God as our refuge.
ii. Hebrews 6:18: 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.
b. Points of similarity between the cities of refuge and our refuge in Jesus.
· Both Jesus and the cities of refuge are within easy reach of the needy
person; they were of no use unless someone could get to the place of
· Both Jesus and the cities of refuge are open to all, not just the
Israelite; no one needs to fear that they would be turned away from their
place of refuge in their time of need.
· Both Jesus and the cities of refuge became a place where the one in
need would live; you didn’t come to a city of refuge in time of need just to
· Both Jesus and the cities of refuge are the only alternative for the one
in need; without this specific protection, they will be destroyed.
· Both Jesus and the cities of refuge provide protection only within their
boundaries; to go outside means death.
· With both Jesus and the cities of refuge, full freedom comes with the
death of the High Priest.
c. A crucial distinction between the cities of refuge and our refuge in Jesus.
· The cities of refuge only helped the innocent, but the guilty can come
to Jesus and find refuge.
1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the
mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
3 Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains
shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.
4 There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the
holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.
5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her,
and that right early.
6 The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the
7 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.
8 Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in
9 He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow,
and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire.
10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I
will be exalted in the earth.
11 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.
18 And first I will recompense their iniquity and their sin double; because
they have defiled my land, they have filled mine inheritance with the
carcases of their detestable and abominable things.
19 O LORD, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of
affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and
shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein
there is no profit.
20 Shall a man make gods unto himself, and they are no gods?
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115 Little story comes to my mind. Sometime ago a little boy was
sitting in a wagon. A gun fired down the street, and the horses run away
and was going over a cliff. A young cowboy run and stopped the horses just
before the wagon went over the cliff, ’cause it had a baby in it. He saved
the little one’s life.
Many years after that, standing in the courthouse. This same boy had done
a crime, took the road that’s wrong, been guilty. He was drinking, gambling,
shot a man; and was guilty, found guilty. And the judge raised up and said,
“I sentence you to hang by your neck until your mortal life is gone.”
117 That young man said, ” Judge !” And he broke the court
procession, as he jumped over the rail and fell at the judge’s feet, for
He said, ” Judge , look at my face. Don’t you know me?”
He said, “No, son, I don’t.”
He said, “You remember a certain little boy’s life that you saved many
years ago from a runaway horse?”
He said, “Yes, I remember it.”
He said, ” I am that boy.” He said, ” Judge , you saved me then.
Save me now .”
The judge looked down at him and said, “Son, that day I was
your Saviour. Today I’m your judge .”
Today He’s your Saviour. Sinner, tomorrow He may be your Judge.