TheShiningLight

Preparing the Way of the Lord

Joshua 22 – 24

Joshua 22

Joshua speaks to the two and a half tribes which had chosen to live east of the Jordan River and releases them to cross back over to their land on the east of Jordan.

Joshua 22:1 Then Joshua called the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, 22:2 And said unto them, Ye have kept all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, and have obeyed my voice in all that I commanded you: 22:3 Ye have not left your brethren these many days unto this day, but have kept the charge of the commandment of the LORD your God. 22:4 And now the LORD your God hath given rest unto your brethren, as he promised them: therefore now return ye, and get you unto your tents, and unto the land of your possession, which Moses the servant of the LORD gave you on the other side Jordan.

Joshua urges them to be diligent to live by every Word of God.  This instruction to physical Israel is the very same for today’s spiritual Israel in the physical sense and in the spiritual sense as taught by Jesus Christ.  We must be zealous to learn and to live by every Word of God to receive the gift of entrance into the Promised Land of eternal life.

22:5 But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the LORD charged you, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.

22:6 So Joshua blessed them, and sent them away: and they went unto their tents [land].

Joshua blesses the eastern half of the tribe of Manasseh.

22:7 Now to the one half of the tribe of Manasseh Moses had given possession in Bashan [Golan east of Galilee/Jordan]: but unto the other half thereof gave Joshua among their brethren on this side Jordan westward. And when Joshua sent them away also unto their tents, then he blessed them, 22:8 And he spake unto them, saying, Return with much riches unto your tents, and with very much cattle, with silver, and with gold, and with brass, and with iron, and with very much raiment: divide the spoil of your enemies with your brethren.

The two and one half tribes then departed to the east of Jordan

22:9 And the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh returned, and departed from the children of Israel out of Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan, to go unto the country of Gilead, to the land of their possession, whereof they were possessed, according to the word of the LORD by the hand of Moses.

Gad, Reuben and the east half of Manasseh honor God by building an altar to him.

22:10 And when they came unto the borders of Jordan, that are in the land of Canaan, the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh built there an altar by Jordan, a great altar to see to.

The rest of Israel sees this as rebellion against God for God’s altar was at Shiloh and they seek an explanation from the two and one half tribes just as Jesus Christ later taught us to do in similar circumstances in Matthew 18.

22:11 And the children of Israel heard say, Behold, the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh have built an altar over against the land of Canaan, in the borders of Jordan, at the passage of the children of Israel. 22:12 And when the children of Israel heard of it, the whole congregation of the children of Israel gathered themselves together at Shiloh, to go up to war against them.

Phinehas is sent with representatives of the tribes to speak with Reuben, Gad and Manasseh.

22:13 And the children of Israel sent unto the children of Reuben, and to the children of Gad, and to the half tribe of Manasseh, into the land of Gilead, Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, 22:14 And with him ten princes, of each chief house a prince throughout all the tribes

of Israel; and each one was an head of the house of their fathers among the thousands of Israel. 22:15 And they came unto the children of Reuben, and to the children of Gad, and to the half tribe of Manasseh, unto the land of Gilead, and they spake with them, saying,

Phinehas seeks dialogue to know why Reuben, Gad and Manasseh have built this altar and apparently will not look to Shiloh.

22:16 Thus saith the whole congregation of the LORD, What trespass is this that ye have committed against the God of Israel, to turn away this day from following the LORD, in that ye have builded you an altar, that ye might rebel this day against the LORD? 22:17 Is the iniquity of Peor too little for us, from which we are not cleansed until this day, although there was a plague in the congregation of the LORD, 22:18 But that ye must turn away this day from following the LORD? and it will be, seeing ye rebel to day against the LORD, that to morrow he will be wroth with the whole congregation of Israel.

Phinehas tells them it would be better to return and possess land in the west of Jordan rather than to remain in the east and turn away from God.

22:19 Notwithstanding, if the land of your possession be unclean, then pass ye over unto the land of the possession of the LORD, wherein the LORD’s tabernacle dwelleth, and take possession among us: but rebel not against the LORD, nor rebel against us, in building you an altar beside the altar of the LORD our God. 22:20 Did not Achan the son of Zerah commit a trespass in the accursed thing, and wrath fell on all the congregation of Israel? and that man perished not alone in his iniquity.

Reuben, Gad and Manasseh answer that they are not at all rebelling against God, but were setting up a memorial of their faithfulness and zeal for the whole Word of God.

22:21 Then the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh answered, and said unto the heads of the thousands of Israel,

22:22 The LORD God of gods, the LORD God of gods, he knoweth, and Israel he shall know; if it be in rebellion, or if in transgression against the LORD, (save us not this day, [if we are in rebellion against the Word of God]) 22:23 That we have built us an altar to turn from following the LORD, or if to offer thereon burnt offering or meat offering, or if to offer peace offerings thereon, let the LORD himself require it;

Gad, Reuben and Manasseh answer that they have done this to prevent any apostasy by setting up a memorial that they are one people with one God and that there is no border or division between them and the rest of Israel.

22:24 And if we have not rather done it for fear of this thing, saying, In time to come your children might speak unto our children, saying, What have ye to do with the LORD God of Israel? 22:25 For the LORD hath made Jordan a border between us and you, ye children of Reuben and children of Gad; ye have no part in the LORD: so shall your children make our children cease from fearing the LORD.

This altar was not for sacrifice but was a memorial that the eastern tribes worshiped and obeyed the same God as the western tribes.

22:26 Therefore we said, Let us now prepare to build us an altar, not for burnt offering, nor for sacrifice: 22:27 But that it may be a witness [memorial] between us, and you, and our generations after us, that we might do the service of the LORD before him [at Shiloh and later at Jerusalem] with our burnt offerings, and with our sacrifices, and with our peace offerings; that your children may not say to our children in time to come, Ye have no part in the LORD. 22:28 Therefore said we, that it shall be, when they should so say to us or to our generations in time to come, that we may say again, Behold the pattern of the altar of the LORD, which our fathers made, not for burnt offerings, nor for sacrifices; but it is a witness between us and you.

These people without God’s Spirit put us to an open shame, for we claim to have God’s Spirit and have none of their zeal for the whole Word of God.

God forbid that the spiritual called out should worship and follow any other than God our Father in heaven and the Creator, through living by every Word of God and the Holy Scripture.  It is time to turn from our false traditions and idols of men and corporate entities, and to regain a true passionate zeal for the whole Word of God.

22:29 God forbid that we should rebel against the LORD, and turn this day from following the LORD, to build an altar for burnt offerings, for meat offerings, or for sacrifices, beside the altar of the LORD our God that is before his tabernacle.

These words brought peace under God, between the eastern tribes and the western tribes.

Even so, if all in today’s spiritual Israel uttered the same commitments of zeal for God from the heart; to serve the Eternal and keep all his Word with all their strength and minds; it would bring peace between them and God and between one another

22:30 And when Phinehas the priest, and the princes of the congregation and heads of the thousands of Israel which were with him, heard the words that the children of Reuben and the children of Gad and the children of Manasseh spake, it pleased them. 22:31 And Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest said unto the children of Reuben, and to the children of Gad, and to the children of Manasseh, This day we perceive that the LORD is among us, because ye have not committed this trespass against the LORD: now ye have delivered the children of Israel out of the hand of the LORD.

Phinehas returned to Shiloh and reported to the leaders of the people.

22:32 And Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, and the princes, returned from the children of Reuben, and from the children of Gad, out of the land of Gilead, unto the land of Canaan, to the children of Israel, and brought them word again. 22:33 And the thing pleased the children of Israel; and the children of Israel blessed God, and did not intend to go up against them in battle, to destroy the land wherein the children of Reuben and Gad dwelt.

22:34 And the children of Reuben and the children of Gad called the altar Ed: for it shall be a witness between us that the LORD is God.

 

Joshua 23

The final address of Joshua

Joshua 23:1 And it came to pass a long time after that the LORD had given rest unto Israel from all their enemies round about, that Joshua waxed old and stricken in age. 23:2 And Joshua called for all Israel, and for their elders, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers,

Joshua disclaims any military success and credits God for all victories over the Canaanites.

The Canaanites were a type of sin and the spiritually called out cannot overcome sin except by zeal for and relying upon: every Word of God. 

It is because of our idolatry and our  turning aside to our own ways that we are guaranteed failure to overcome sin and failure to attain to the resurrection to spirit and the spiritual Promised Land of eternal life.

and said unto them, I am old and stricken in age: 23:3 And ye have seen all that the LORD your God hath done unto all these nations because of you; for the LORD your God is he that hath fought for you.

If we follow our Mighty One without any compromise, to zealously live by every Word of God; all sin would be conquered by the indwelling of the One who conquered all sin and the Promised Land of Eternity will be divided among us, as each receives his office from our Lord.

The dividing of the land was a type of dividing the offices of the kingdom among the chosen overcomers; for all these things are decided according to our zeal for the whole Word of God: NOT our zeal for our idols or our own ways.

23:4 Behold, I have divided unto you by lot these nations that remain, to be an inheritance for your tribes, from Jordan, with all the nations that I have cut off, even unto the great sea westward. 23:5 And the LORD your God, he shall expel them [those remaining] from before you, and drive them from out of your sight; and ye shall possess their land, as the LORD your God hath promised unto you.

Be strong and courageous to follow the Word of our Mighty One and to cleave exclusively to him; do not follow any idol of men or corporate entity away from any Christ-like zeal to live by every Word of God. 

Today we are spiritually lukewarm being filled with zeal for our false traditions and idols of men; and we seem to have no zeal to learn and to live by every Word of God to please our LORD.

We call the Sabbath holy and then pollute it; we refuse to preach the commanded gospel of warning and repentance, and instead preach what people want to hear: which is not battling against sin! It is accommodating sin!

23:6 Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left; 23:7 That ye come not among these nations, these that remain among you; neither make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause to swear by them, neither serve them, nor bow yourselves unto them: 23:8 But cleave unto the LORD your God, as ye have done unto this day.

If we were zealous for the whole Word of God and faithfully following our Master, NOTHING could prevent us from overcoming all sin and standing in the resurrection to spirit.

23:9 For the LORD hath driven out from before you great nations and strong: but as for you, no man hath been able to stand before you unto this day.

We can drive all sin out from us by the power of God the Father and the Master Overcomer, Jesus Christ; and Satan could not turn us aside from our Beloved.

23:10 One man of you shall chase a thousand: for the LORD your God, he it is that fighteth for you, as he hath promised you.

If we truly loved God the Father and Jesus Christ; we would DO what they teach and what they command us to do, with passionate enthusiasm to please them!

23:11 Take good heed therefore unto yourselves, that ye love the LORD your God.

If we turn aside to idols and false traditions, we will surely fail to conquer sin and to be chosen to enter the Promised Land of eternity. If we in any way turn aside to sin and join together in trying to marry false doctrine with the truth, to mix the profane with the holy; thereby polluting the whole lump; Jesus Christ will no more go before us to drive sin out of us, and he will correct us just as he did to physical Israel.

23:12 Else if ye do in any wise go back, and cleave unto the remnant of these nations, even these that remain among you, and shall make marriages with them [a type of  becoming ONE with sin], and go in unto them, and they to you: 23:13 Know for a certainty that the LORD your God will no more drive out any of these nations from before you; but they shall be snares and traps unto you, and scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes, until ye perish from off this good land which the LORD your God hath given you.

If the spiritually converted knowingly marry the unconverted; God’s Spirit will leave us because we have become one flesh with the unconverted.

23:14 And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof.

God blesses all those who are zealously faithful to live by every Word of God.

23:15 Therefore it shall come to pass, that as all good things are come upon you, which the LORD your God promised you; so shall the LORD bring upon you all evil things, until he have destroyed you from off this good land which the LORD your God hath given you.

When we do something that God forbids and we justify ourselves by saying, “the church said this is ok;”  we have made that man or organization our idol and we have exalted it above the Word of God. 

In doing that we have turned aside from any zeal for our God, and into zeal for an idol of men!  We have transgressed our baptismal covenant to become fully ONE with God the Father and Jesus Christ.

23:16 When ye have transgressed the covenant of the LORD your God, which he commanded you, and have gone and served other gods, and bowed yourselves to them; then shall the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and ye shall perish quickly from off the good land which he hath given unto you.

 

Joshua 24

Then all the people gathered together  [not just the leaders as in Joshua 23] so that Joshua could address the whole nation.

Joshua 24:1 And Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and called for the elders of Israel, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers; and they presented themselves before God.

Joshua then reports the Word of the God who later became flesh as Jesus Christ to all the people, rehearsing the history of the nation and its relationship with God.

In the beginning of Israel, Jesus Christ first revealed himself to Abraham and called him out of his city and then revealed himself to Isaac, Jacob and Joseph; and then they went down into Egypt to become an allegory of the spiritually called out.

24:2 And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods. 24:3 And I took your father Abraham from the other side of the flood, and led him throughout all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his seed, and gave him Isaac. 24:4 And I gave unto Isaac Jacob and Esau: and I gave unto Esau mount Seir, to possess it; but Jacob and his children went down into Egypt.

Physical Egypt was a type of bondage to sin and was destroyed by Christ, picturing Christ destroying spiritual bondage to Satan and sin by his atoning sacrifice as the ultimate Lamb of God.

Then Israel was called out of physical Egypt crossed the Red Sea by the power of Christ; in a kind of baptism in the Red Sea, rising up out of a symbolic death to a total victory and a new life as a nation.  This event symbolically represents the death and resurrection of the spiritually called out and total victory over bondage to Satan and sin.

Physical Israel then celebrated a total victory over bondage to the spiritual pharaoh Satan,  on the last and High Holy Day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. 

This is also an allegorical lesson about a resurrection of the spiritually called out from bondage to Satan, sin and death at the end of six thousand years [pictured by the end of the sixth day when Israel crossed the Sea] since the creation of humanity, after which the High Holy [seventh] Day of that Feast representing the millennial Sabbath of rest is celebrated.

The seven days of Unleavened Bread picture the calling out of people over six thousand years of human history, followed by the High Day picturing the millennial Sabbath of Rest.

24:5 I sent Moses also and Aaron, and I plagued Egypt, according to that which I did among them: and afterward I brought you out. 24:6 And I brought your fathers out of Egypt: and ye came unto the sea; and the Egyptians pursued after your fathers with chariots and horsemen unto the Red sea.

When Israel sought deliverance from pharaoh; God delivered Israel from pharaoh and opened up the sea of death [picturing death and the resurrection] allowing physical Israel to cross over: This picturing God the Father and Jesus Christ delivering their chosen from the bondage of sin and death in a resurrection to eternal life.

24:7 And when they [Israel] cried unto the LORD, he put darkness between you and the Egyptians, and brought the sea upon them, and covered them; and your eyes have seen what I have done in Egypt: and ye dwelt in the wilderness a long season.

Then Christ gave them victory over their enemies [a type of victory over sin] and led them into the physical land of promise; just as he will give ultimate victory over sin and over death itself to his faithful who are zealous to live by every Word of God the Father and to follow Christ the Lamb of God in all things.

24:8 And I brought you into the land of the Amorites, which dwelt on the other side Jordan; and they fought with you: and I gave them into your hand, that ye might possess their land; and I destroyed them from before you. 24:9 Then Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, arose and warred against Israel, and sent and called Balaam the son of Beor to curse you: 24:10 But I would not hearken unto Balaam; therefore he blessed you still: so I delivered you out of his hand.

Jesus Christ delivered Jericho that great city into the hands of Joshua and Israel, and gave Israel a great victory over the city which was a representation of victory over sin and death itself.

24:11 And you went over Jordan, and came unto Jericho: and the men of Jericho fought against you, the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; and I delivered them into your hand.

If the spiritually called out are diligent to learn and zealously keep the whole Word of God like Joshua was: We will be given total victory over sin through the One who has already attained total victory over sin.  But if we turn aside from zeal to live by every Word of God, if we begin to compromise with the Word of God and to follow idols of men, we shall all likewise perish spiritually just as Jericho perished physically.

24:12 And I sent the hornet before you, which drave them out from before you, even the two kings of the Amorites; but not with thy sword, nor with thy bow.

Physical Israel was given a land of promise and if they had obeyed God in all things they would have remained in the land forever.  This history is a solemn warning and lesson for us that entry into the Promised Land of eternal life, is entirely contingent on our zeal to faithfully live by every Word of God.

24:13 And I have given you a land for which ye did not labour, and cities which ye built not, and ye dwell in them; of the vineyards and oliveyards which ye planted not do ye eat.

This message is for BOTH physical AND spiritual Israel: It is for us today!

Let us fear, respect and obey our God, Our Master; and turn away from fearing men and following them contrary to the Word of God.

24:14 Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD.

Choose whether you will serve idols of men, false traditions  and corporate church groups, or whether you will prove all things and hold fast the good, to live by every Word of God.

24:15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

Like the Israel of Joshua we should also declare that we will serve the Eternal and no other. Remember the might of our Deliverer and remember that the idols of men are as nothing before Almighty God.  Follow men, ONLY as they live by every Word of God!  We should all be as faithful to God as was Joshua.

24:16 And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods; 24:17 For the LORD our God, he it is that brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we went, and among all the people through whom we passed: 24:18 And the LORD drave out from before us all the people, even the Amorites which dwelt in the land: therefore will we also serve the LORD; for he is our God.

But the people could not keep their promises to God; and neither has most of today’s spiritual Ekklesia  kept our baptismal promise to enter into a marriage covenant to obey God the Father and  Jesus Christ.

Just as physical Israel was corrected for their turning aside into idolatry; so we of spiritual Israel will also be corrected for our turning aside from zeal to follow our LORD.

24:19 And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot [you say you will, but you cannot keep your word] serve the LORD: for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. 24:20 If ye forsake the LORD, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good.

Just as they insisted that they would follow and obey God; we also claim to be followers of God the Father and every Word of God; yet we call the Sabbath holy and then pollute it; therefore we also condemn ourselves with our own mouths.

24:21 And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the LORD.

Dear brethren, we are indeed witnesses against ourselves when we declare that we follow God and we then follow our idols of men.

24:22 And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the LORD, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses.

Let us put away our idols of men and false ways; and open up our Bibles to learn and to keep the whole Word of God.

24:23 Now therefore put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the LORD God of Israel.

The people declared that they would follow the Word of God; just as we also declare that we will follow the Word of God; and then we refuse any zeal to live by every Word of God.

24:24 And the people said unto Joshua, The LORD our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey.

Joshua then set a stone [reminiscent of the Chief Corner Stone] as a witness that the people had indeed pledged themselves to obey and follow the Eternal and to live by every Word of God.

This physical stone was a type of the ROCK of our Salvation, Jesus Christ; who has heard our baptismal pledge to follow him and to be zealous to live by every Word of God, regardless of any trial or temptation!  And if we grow lax and lukewarm, sinning against zeal for our lord and our covenant with him: HE, Jesus Christ, the espoused Husband of our baptismal vow: will judge us.

24:25 So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem. 24:26 And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God, and took a great stone, and set it up there under an oak, that was by the sanctuary of the LORD. 24:27 And Joshua said unto all the people, Behold, this stone shall be a witness unto us; for it hath heard all the words of the LORD which he spake unto us: it shall be therefore a witness unto you, lest ye deny your God. 24:28 So Joshua let the people depart, every man unto his inheritance.

Joshua the faithful dies

24:29 And it came to pass after these things, that Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being an hundred and ten years old. 24:30 And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnathserah, which is in mount Ephraim, on the north side of the hill of Gaash.

Joshua was such a powerful example of faithfulness and obedience to God that his influence continued and the people obeyed God during his leadership and for years after his death.

All elders and leaders will have to give an account for leading the brethren away from zeal for God and into a zeal for following men.  It would be better to have never lived than to stand before our Mighty Judge and have to answer for turning people into idolatry and away from any zeal to live by every Word of God.

24:31 And Israel served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that overlived Joshua, and which had known all the works of the LORD, that he had done for Israel.

Then the  bones of Joseph were buried in Shechem

24:32 And the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, buried they in Shechem, in a parcel of ground which Jacob bought of the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for an hundred pieces of silver: and it became the inheritance of the children of Joseph.

later Eleazar the high priest during the leadership of Joshua, also died and the era of Joshua ended, beginning the book of the Judges.

24:33 And Eleazar the son of Aaron died; and they buried him in a hill that pertained to Phinehas his son, which was given him in mount Ephraim.

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