A City Set On a Hill
Surviving the Seventieth Week by Reforming Fundamentalism and Establishing Cities of Refuge
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Copyright 2010 by Raul E. Lopez, MD, MDiv

Today there are cities which have a population which rival the population of whole continents at the time of Moses. Mexico City has a population of 20 million people, while the whole nation of Israel had a population of about 2 million at the time of the Exodus. If a city of refuge is to be more than just a village it must be a city state, which is basically a small country. In order to create a focused Christian presence with the least possible effort, the first prototype city should be located in the smallest possible viable autonomous or independent country. However, this must be balanced by the fact that countries which are too small cannot form viable independent nations. Very small countries would make weak refuges. Perhaps a country about the size of Biblical Israel would be most ideal in today's world. It should also be a country which is easily accessible to citizens of the United States, since that country currently has the greatest number of Biblical Christians.

It would be important to determine if prophetic scripture suggests any future country that might serve as a city of refuge. If so, perhaps the identity of that country could be determined. Such a country is, indeed, suggested by certain Old Testament passages. The cities of refuge would provide protection not only for the church, God's spiritual people, but also for God's biological people, the Jews. Isaiah prophesies that Tarshish and the isles will be responsible for returning the Jewish people to their homeland. He says "who are these who fly like a cloud, and like doves to their roosts? Surely the coastlands [or islands] shall wait for Me; and the ships of Tarshish [Southern Spain] will come first, to bring your sons from afar, their silver and their gold with them, to the name of the Lord your God, and to the Holy one of Israel" (Isaiah 60:8-9). Solomon, speaking of the reign of the Messiah says, "the kings of Tarshish and of the isles will bring presents" (Psalm 72:10).

Tarshish is supposed to have been located in southern Spain near Seville. An ancient city called Tartessus was located there. It was the principal European port facing the Atlantic Ocean so some speculate that it was also the city described by the Greeks as Atlantis. Southern Spain was the region which produced the original colonists of the Caribbean Islands. This is in contrast to the Spanish which went to Mexico and Central and South America who came primarily from central and northern Spain. This difference can be heard in the accent of the Spanish spoken in the Caribbean. Furthermore, it is believed by some that among the original Spanish colonizers of these islands there were a high number of recently converted Jews who were fleeing from the stigma of Jewish ancestry. Settling in the New World was a high risk venture at the beginning and in addition to the search for adventure and possible profit, fleeing violent discrimination may have been an important motivator. Some estimate that up to 20 to 30% of the Spanish Caribbean population may have hidden Jewish ancestry.

One of the Islands of the Caribbean meets the size requirements and the requirement of ease of access to United States citizens. Puerto Rico is about the size of Ancient Israel, and is a self governing territory of the United States. Even though it is, at the present, part of the United States, it has the right of self determination because of its territorial status and language. Therefore, in contrast to any of the fifty states, it could become independent if it so chooses. It is interesting that the original name of the Island was San Juan Bautista, Saint John the Baptist. This is now the name of the capital. Originally the name of the capital was Puerto Rico which means rich port, but that became the name of the Island. It was John the Baptist who came as a witness to Christ in preparation of His first coming. Perhaps this island will serve as a witness before the second coming of Christ. The island is already on its way towards fulfilling that task since it has the highest proportion of evangelical Christians of any country in Latin America. Some estimates place the proportion of evangelicals as high as 40% which is higher than the United States in general (Operation World Ed. 21).

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