TheShiningLight

Preparing the Way of the Lord

Joshua 3 – 4

Joshua 3

Joshua 3:1 And Joshua rose early in the morning; and they removed from Shittim [Acacia Wood], and came to Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over.

Three days after the people came to the Jordan river they were told to make ready to cross

3:2 And it came to pass after three days, that the officers went through the host; 3:3 And they commanded the people, saying, When ye see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests the Levites bearing it, then ye shall remove from your place, and go after it. 3:4 Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure: come not near unto it, that ye may know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed this way heretofore.

The people are told to sanctify themselves, which means to wash and be clean; to be separated from all sin and uncleanness. 

This was an example for us, teaching us that all those who cross into the spiritual Promised Land of eternal life must be holy and free from all spiritual uncleanness and sin.  Cleansed through sincere repentance to go and sin no more; thereby having the atoning sacrifice of Christ applied to us.

3:5 And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the LORD will do wonders among you.

In the morning Joshua commands the priests to go forward over Jordan.

3:6 And Joshua spake unto the priests, saying, Take up the ark of the covenant, and pass over before the people. And they took up the ark of the covenant, and went before the people.

Jesus Christ then tells Joshua that he will demonstrate that he is with Joshua as he was with Moses.

3:7 And the LORD said unto Joshua, This day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee.

Christ commands the priests to stop and stand still as soon as they enter the water by the shore.

3:8 And thou shalt command the priests that bear the ark of the covenant, saying, When ye are come to the brink of the water of Jordan, ye shall stand still in Jordan.

Joshua then declares to the people that God will give them a sign of a miracle to demonstrate that the God of Moses is with them and will lead then to inherit the land.

3:9 And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, Come hither, and hear the words of the LORD your God. 3:10 And Joshua said, Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you, and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Hivites, and the Perizzites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Jebusites.

3:11 Behold, the ark of the covenant of the LORD of all the earth passeth over before you into Jordan. 3:12 Now therefore take you twelve men out of the tribes of Israel, out of every tribe a man. 3:13 And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the LORD, the LORD of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand upon an heap.

As long as the ark stood still over the water of Jordan, the swollen rushing river was held back and Israel crossed over dry-shod.  This was a remarkable miracle of encouragement for Israel; and it must have been a very frightening exhibition of the power of God for the nearby Canaanites.

This crossing of the river was an instructional example that God’s faithful will cross the river of death and rise from the grave entering the spiritual Promised Land of eternal life by the poser of God. 

3:14 And it came to pass, when the people removed from their tents, to pass over Jordan, and the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people; 3:15 And as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, (for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of [the early spring] harvest,) 3:16 That the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap very far from the city Adam, that is beside Zaretan: and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, failed, and were cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho.

3:17 And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan.

 

Joshua 4

The God Being who later gave up his God-good to become flesh as Jesus Christ then commanded  that twelve stones be taken from around the priests feet in the Jordan river and set up where they were to camp that evening for a memorial; so that Israel would always remember the power of their God.

Joshua 4:1 And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over Jordan, that the LORD spake unto Joshua, saying, 4:2 Take you twelve men out of the people, out of every tribe a man, 4:3 And command ye them, saying, Take you hence out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the priests’ feet stood firm, twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging place, where ye shall lodge this night.

A man of each tribe [except Levi the tribe of God] took a stone for his tribe out of Jordan.

4:4 Then Joshua called the twelve men, whom he had prepared of the children of Israel, out of every tribe a man: 4:5 And Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of Jordan, and take you up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel:

4:6 That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones? 4:7 Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever.

The memorial of the power of God was set up near Jericho where the first camp in the physical promised land was established.

4:8 And the children of Israel did so as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones out of the midst of Jordan, as the LORD spake unto Joshua, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, and carried them over with them unto the place where they lodged, and laid them down there. 4:9 And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of Jordan, in [from] the place where the feet of the priests which bare the ark of the covenant stood: and they are there unto this day.

The priests carrying the ark stood still in the river until all the people had passed over and then twelve stones were gathered up; then as they marched out of the river the spring flood waters resumed.

The ark represented the presence of God opening the way for entry into the physical promised land, and the ceremony was symbolic of the fact that only by obedience to God and his Word, only by faithfully living by every Word of God and following Jesus Christ; can one pass over the spiritual boundary of death to enter the spiritual Promised Land of Eternal life.

4:10 For the priests which bare the ark stood in the midst of Jordan, until everything was finished that the LORD commanded Joshua to speak unto the people, according to all that Moses commanded Joshua: and the people hasted and passed over. 4:11 And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over, that the ark of the LORD passed over, and the priests, in the presence of the people.

Keeping their promise and doubtless eager to complete their mission and return to their families, the army of Reuben, Gad and half of Manasseh who had been given land east of the Jordan marched into the physical promised land, armed and ready for battle.

4:12 And the children of Reuben, and the children of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh, passed over armed before the children of Israel, as Moses spake unto them: 4:13 About forty thousand prepared for war passed over before the LORD unto battle, to the plains of Jericho.

This event magnified God before the people, and it also magnified Joshua by proving that he was with God and that God was with him!

4:14 On that day the LORD magnified Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they feared him, as they feared Moses, all the days of his life.

Joshua was commanded by God, to command the priests to march forward.

4:15 And the LORD spake unto Joshua, saying, 4:16 Command the priests that bear the ark of the testimony, that they come up out of Jordan. 4:17 Joshua therefore commanded the priests, saying, Come ye up out of Jordan. 4:18 And it came to pass, when the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD were come up out of the midst of Jordan, and the soles of the priests’ feet were lifted up unto the dry land, that the waters of Jordan returned unto their place, and flowed over all his banks, as they did before.

The first camp in the physical promised land where the twelve stones from Jordan were set up, was at Gilgal near Jericho.

4:19 And the people came up out of Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and encamped in Gilgal, in the east border of Jericho. 4:20 And those twelve stones, which they took out of Jordan, did Joshua pitch in Gilgal.

4:21 And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones? 4:22 Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land.

Spiritually this is a tremendous lesson. The twelve stones are a memorial, showing that the way into the spiritual Promised Land is ONLY through faithfully living by every Word of God and following Jesus Christ the Lamb of God.

4:23 For the LORD your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red sea, which he dried up from before us, until we were gone over:

This memorial was about the entry of Israel into the physical promised land.   When the resurrection of the chosen takes place; and the children of faith who follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth are raised up to that Promised Land of eternal life; the whole earth will know who is God indeed!

4:24 That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the LORD your God for ever.

Our God is Mighty to Deliver his faithful!

Why do we call his Sabbaths holy, and then pollute them; condemning ourselves? Why will people admit truths and then turn away from them to insist on their own false ways?  Why do we idolize men and exalt the words of men above the whole Word of God?  Why do we love men, corporations, social activities and friends; and we do NOT love God enough to DO what he says?  Why are we zealous for our own false traditions, and condemn any zeal to keep the whole Word of God?

Today’s Ekklesia is lukewarm and stands condemned by Jesus Christ (Rev 3:14-22) for our lack of zeal to live by every Word of God!  We are ready to be vomited out of the body of Jesus Christ into severe correction for our lukewarmness to live by every Word of God!

Why will you die, oh [spiritual] Israel?  Why will you not choose LIFE eternal and cast your idols aside, to be zealous for the whole Word of God?  Why do we fear men and not God?  Why are we followers of false ways and we are not zealous to follow the whole Word of God?

Dare to be a Daniel, a Joshua; and to faithfully follow Jesus Christ in living by every Word of God with passionate zeal!

Rahab and false witness

Why did God think highly of Rahab when she lied?

We all know that faith without works is dead and she had to do her part to prove her faith by her works.  When the officers came to her door and demanded information about the two men, she deceived then to save the two men, some would condemn her calling this lying.

What does the scripture say? Clearly it says that we are not to bear false witness, yet Jesus came to reveal the purpose and intent, the spirit of the law; what did he teach?

Jesus taught that the foundation of the law was mercy; therefore he healed on the Sabbath day, and allowed that men could indeed lift an ox out of a pit on the Sabbath.

We are to obey the letter of the law, however in certain extremely rare emergency occasions the intent of the law – which is the spirit of mercy; may over-rule the letter of the law.  Very rare emergencies are exceptions to the letter and such extremely rare exceptions should never become the norm.

Luke 14:3 And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day? 14:4 And they held their peace. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go; 14:5 And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day?

Jesus said that the Sabbath was made for the good of people and even animals, and that exceptions to resting on the holy weekly and annual Sabbaths could be made in exceptional cases, for the good, the life, health and safety of others. 

Jesus used the situation of David when he had been fleeing from Saul’s soldiers for three days without food and ate the Bread of Presence, saying that God desires mercy.

The vast majority of false witness is to deceive others (as is commonly done by the COG elders today regarding their false teachings), or for personal gain, or to harm others.  Rahab did not lie to harm anyone!  She misled these officers to SAVE lives!  This was an “ox in the ditch” situation where an exception to the letter of the law was necessary to obey the Greater Law of Mercy.

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