Joshua 4-6: PICTURES OF SALVATION
JOSHUA and JERICHO
JOSHUA is a picture of JESUS the Captain of our salvation who leads us victoriously into our promised inheritance (land). The Book of Joshua gives us the keys to taking the land.
Joshua 4 tells of the Memorial of 12 stones at Gilgal that they built to the miracle of the Jordan Crossing, which represented their entrance into a new life under the power of the Holy Spirit. This was a place they were always to return to remember how God brought them into this new dimension of life. It was the Presence of God in the Ark that held the waters back. It is only by walking by the Spirit, trusting in and being filled by the Spirit that we overcome the waters of the old-life (flesh) This revelation is essential for victory in the Promised Land. Likewise we must always return to this place of realisation and rededication to be refilled with the Spirit.
Joshua 5:1-12 takes place at Gilgal reinforcing this message. Here they were all CIRCUMCISED. This cutting of the flesh represented their covenant with God and hence their renunciation of trusting in the flesh. It is a picture of the circumcision of our heart. 'For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.'(Phil 3:3) This had to be done before going forward. Likewise all our faith and praise must be in God not ourselves.
Joshua 5:13-6:5 tells of the appearance of THE COMMANDER OF THE ARMY OF THE LORD to Joshua. This is JESUS himself, showing that Jesus was really the One who led them into the land. He is 'the Greater than Joshua' The battle would only be won by following his instructions. He had his sword drawn, a warrior ready to execute vengeance. He led not just Joshua'a men but an invisible army of angels. Though they seemed outnumbered and Jericho seemed impossible to defeat, greater forces were with them than against. 'Greater is He that is with us than he that is in the world.'(1John 4:4) Eyes of faith see the invisible forces on our side.
Joshua 6:1 describe the walls of Jericho. It was the door to the whole land and was most strongly fortified. We face our Jerichos-the strongholds in our minds and in our circumstances that stand at the door blocking our progress into the land. They must be pulled down for us to take our land. Identifying and defeating our Jericho is the key to taking the whole land. God's strategy was for them to walk around it 13 times in 7 days. They had a good look and saw how impossible it was. Faith is not denial. It doesn't pretend the problemís not there. It looks it squarely in the eye and then looks to God to overcome it. God wanted them to come to the place of seeing it was impossible so that they had to look to God and trust Him completely. Then they knew it was God who alone who gave them the victory.
Archeology confirms how strong Jericho was. The Middle-Bronze Age remains of Jericho (1600BC) show an impressive defence system. (SEE PICTURES) First there was a deep trench with a 20 foot revetment wall towering over it. Once you were over this you had to ascend a steep slope covered by a glacis (a slippery white plaster surface) which went up to the base of the main brick-walls. On this slope you were a sitting duck for the archers on the walls. It was also Passover (harvest) time(3:15) and they would have had plenty of grain in - confirmed when archeologists found large storage jars filled with carbonised grain, burnt by fire (6:24).
For these 7 days they were to say nothing (6:10) They would have just talked and meditated on the problem and become discouraged. All they heard were the continual blowing of God's Jubilee Trumpets announcing that God's Kingdom was at hand, declaring God's imminent judgement - the end of Jericho. It was a final warning and opportunity to those inside to repent of rejection of God and surrender. As Israel saw the Ark, reminding them of God's Presence in their midst and as they heard the trumpets proclaiming victory FAITH was rising in their hearts, and so when Joshua said:
'Shout for the Lord has given you the city'(v16), they released their faith together in a loud shout of praise and victory and the walls fell out flat. (v20). Normally walls fall INwardly but the angels pushed Jericho's wall OUT for a reason. The walls tumbled down the glacis filling up the trench enabling the attackers easy access to the city. Thus they could climb over the rubble directly into the city.(v20). Remains of the mud-brick wall were found in the trench confirming the Bible's account. Thus they ran in and possessed the city with swords in their hands to finish off the disobedient. (see 2Cor 10:4-6). The city was then completely burnt - again confirmed by the archeological remains.
Joshua then put a curse on Jericho preventing it being rebuilt for hundreds of years. This left it a desolate ruin, exposed to erosion resulting in the almost complete destruction of the remains of the city itself. This has also been noted by archeologists to their surprise.
'By FAITH the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were encircled 7 days.'(Hebrews 11:30) This story is a picture of the active obedient faith needed to destroy our Jericho's. As we believe and obey God, He works through us and for us, to do what we can't do.
With our Jericho:
1. We must SEE IT and admit the impossibility of doing it ourselves.
2. We must then SEE GOD - that with Him it is easy. We look at things through the eyes of faith. If God has told us to do it, then we can do it for He is with and in us. Thus we act in faith knowing as we do He will put us over!
3. We SOUND THE TRUMPET against the problem, meditating and declaring God's word, seeing that stronghold falling down, announcing to it that it is finished.
4. Then when faith has risen we release our faith against it according to Mark 11:23, with a shout of faith and praise, pulling down satan's stronghold. God's power and His angels are released and thus the mountain of resistance shall be removed.
5. We go in with praise to God and the sword of the word to finish off any remaining enemy resistance (Eph 6:17; 2Cor 10:6): 'Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand; To execute vengeance on the heathen, punishments on the people; To bind their kings with chains,and nobles with fetters of iron; To execute on them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye the LORD' (Psalm 149:6-9).
The sword we use is God's written judgements. 'IT IS WRITTEN.'
It has 2 edges.
One is the POSITIVE word FOR US - 'this land (promise) is mine !'
The other is the NEGATIVE word against satan: 'you are defeated !'
Thus if we obey our Captain Jesus as Israel obeyed Joshua the walls of our Jericho will come crashing down, and we will advance into God's will in our lives and God's Kingdom will be extended in and through us.
JERICHO is a picture of any enemy stronghold (the Canaanite inhabitants had given themselves over to satan and all kinds of evil and were ripe for judgement) Ultimately it is a picture of the whole WORLD-SYSTEM, which is under satan's power (2Cor 4:4), illegally possessing the earth. At the end of the age it will be fully given over to satan and ripe for judgement. JESHUA is coming with the armies of God (saints and angels) to repossess the earth and kick satan and his people out. God's people will then repossess the earth, God's Kingdom will then be physically established on the earth. As with Jericho: 'the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a SHOUT, with the voice of an arcangel and with the TRUMPET OF GOD' (1Thess 4:16).
As 7 trumpets blasted for 7 days, so in the Book of Revelation God blows 7 trumpets for the last 7 years giving His warning of imminent judgement as God's Kingdom comes on the scene. They also herald the last chance for the people on earth to repent. 7 is the number representing spiritual perfection, so we see many 7's as God's perfect Kingdom is established. As the last day of the 7 involved an escalation and intensification of activity before final judgement fell, so we see the same thing as the 7 years of the Tribulation move to their close. With the final (7th) Trumpet God pours out His final judgement and establishes His Kingdom:
'The 7th angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, 'The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever' (Rev 11:15). At this signal the World-System (Babylon) falls down and is consumed by fire (Rev 18).
Then Rev 19:11-16 describes the final invasion as God's army comes to possess satan's stronghold (the earth) Jesus executes vengeance with a sharp sword out of his mouth. He executes judgement on His enemies with the sword of his mouth. He casts out satan,and possesses and reigns over the earth for 1000 years. The Kingdom of God will be established and God's people will possess their inheritance.
When the walls of the kingdoms of this world come crashing down-who will remain? Only those, who like Rahab and her house who believed in the Lord and separated herself from the evil of Jericho. It will be those who trust in and confess the blood of the Lamb as Rahab did by hanging the scarlet thread out of her window!
Diagram1: THE WALLS OF JERICHO
The revetment wall of Joshua's Jericho. For an idea of scale look at the woman on the right. (For the wall's position, see the diagram2)
Diagram2: showing the remains of the defensive system of Jericho.