Do you really believe that?Chuck, you ve got to be kidding! That’s often the reaction by some to the idea that we take the Long Day of Joshua seriously.
The days were just not long enough for some of Joshua’s battles. In the Battle of Beth-Horon, responding to Joshua’s request, the Bible says the sun stood still to extend the day for Israel to defeat their enemies.
- It is a manual for spiritual warfare;
- It is a prophetic anticipation of the Book of Revelation;
- It deals with the background to Israel’s claim to the land, which is presently being contested by the current Peace Process.
- It contains some of the most fascinating passages in the Old Testament.
The Name of the Book
It may come as a surprise that the name Joshua, in Hebrew, is essentially equivalent to our Lord’s name in Anglicized Greek: Jesus. That was designed to get our attention.
Furthermore, as a military commander, Joshua’s actions at Jericho strangely parallel the events in the Book of Revelation: he first sends in two witnesses, he defeats the enemy with seven trumpets, and he seems to ignore the numerous ordinances in the Torah.
The Levites were exempt from military duties yet they are in the march against Jericho. The Ark of the Covenant is also in the march. They are supposed to rest on the seventh day yet on the seventh day they march seven times as much!
What is really going on?
And who really fought the battle of Jericho? Despite the declarations of the popular song, it wasn’t Joshua. It was a mysterious personage who identifies Himself with the Burning Bush of 40 years earlier: our Lord Himself!
The kings aligned themselves with a leader who called himself “The Lord of Righteousness.” (Does he foreshadow the Antichrist?) The kings are subsequently defeated with signs in the sun and moon and then hide in caves.
An Anticipatory Model?
As we examine the Book of Joshua carefully, we notice that it seems to be a precursor to the book of Revelation: another Yehoshua, as Commander-in- Chief, will dispossess the Planet Earth of its usurpers first sending in two witnesses, then with a series of judgments of sevens finally defeats the kings with signs in the sun, moon, etc. The kings hide in caves, etc.
Rahab, Woman of Destiny
Where was the most dangerous spot in Jericho? On the walls! Think about it. Where was the safest place in Jericho? In Rahab s house. Where was Rahab’s house? On the wall.
It is Rahab, a Gentile of dubious reputation who becomes the mother of Boaz, the hero in the Book of Ruth who links Bethlehem with the House of David. (You cannot really understand the Seven Sealed Book in Revelation unless you have studied the Book of Ruth as a book of prophecy!).
Rahab subsequently emerges in the genealogy of the Son of God–which is a study in itself.
When they cross the Jordan (in a manner conspicuously parallel to the crossing of the Red Sea 40 years earlier), 12 stones are erected on the Gilgal side, after crossing.
Also, just prior to the Jordan returning to its regular flow, Joshua sets up 12 stones in the middle of the Jordan, which will then be covered with the waters. Strange.
These are not only commemorative of their deliverance, they are prophetic of ours: the baptism of His death, and the deliverance by His resurrection.
It is interesting that, much later, John the Baptist, at this very spot alludes to these stones in his challenge to the Pharisees and Sadducees.
Perhaps the most important aspects of this military book are the practical insights for spiritual warfare. Its parallelism with Ephesians is also instructive.
The first issue is, who has the initiative? Remember, it was God who declared war on Satan. When Christ first announced the church, He pointed out that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. It is the church which has the initiative! That’s you and I, isn’t it?
What does “Crossing the Jordan” signify spiritually? Going to heaven? Hardly. There are enemies there. Warfare. Setbacks. The ingredients of success and failure in their adventures are detailed for our own instruction to gain victory instead of defeat.
After they cross the Jordan, they get circumcised! For 40 years Israel was not circumcised! It is remarkable that while they were miraculously provided for throughout their wilderness wanderings, they were not rebuked for not maintaining this sign of the covenant.
Is there an intentional parallel between this and the Jewish diaspora, during which they “are not my people”?
They are in enemy territory. So are you and I. (But are we adequately prepared? Ephesians warns us to “put on the whole armor of God.” You must do this before not during the battle!)
If you are not under attack, perhaps it is because you are not relevant, or perhaps you are already relegated to where the enemy wants you.
We may not realize this as we should, but no conflict, no crown. If we are truly Christians, then we will be in real warfare.
The Prophetic Horizon
As the nations of the world line up to challenge Israel’s rights to the land that God covenanted to them, another Yehoshua is getting ready to give them the surprise of their lives! He, too, is preparing to dispossess the land in fact, the entire Planet Earth of the Usurper and his followers!
The Book of Joshua also introduces the Shofar and the cycle of the Jubilee. After each seven sabbatical years (49 years), the next year was to be a Jubilee Year: all debts were forgiven, all slaves went free, and the land returned to its original owners.
Peter, referring to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, alludes to the time of restitution of all things, which is regarded as an allusion to the Jubilee.
Many suspect that the Jubilee, too, will prove to be prophetically significant, and we are approaching the 70th Jubilee!
As we sit back and watch the emergence of a European Superstate, the rebuilding of Babylon, the positioning of Magog and the Muslim allies to attack Israel, and the Vatican positioning to lead a worldwide ecumenical movement and to internationalize the Temple Mount in Jerusalem we realize that the stage is being set for the big climax. It’s time to do our homework! It’s time to diligently find out what God has said about these things.