The sin of Achan
Joshua 7:1 But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel.
Spies are sent to view Ai
7:2 And Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Bethaven, on the east of Bethel, and spake unto them, saying, Go up and view the country. And the men went up and viewed Ai.
Ai was a village near Jericho
7:3 And they returned to Joshua, and said unto him, Let not all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men go up and smite Ai; and make not all the people to labour thither; for they are but few.
A few men from Ai defeated the three thousand of Israel and there was great mourning and concern because God had not been with the army.
7:4 So there went up thither of the people about three thousand men: and they fled before the men of Ai. 7:5 And the men of Ai smote of them about thirty and six men: for they chased them from before the gate even unto Shebarim, and smote them in the going down: wherefore the hearts of the people melted, and became as water.
Joshua and the elders humbled themselves before God to seek the reason. This is the first step in sincere repentance, which is to humble ourselves before God and seek understanding from him.
7:6 And Joshua rent his clothes, and fell to the earth upon his face before the ark of the LORD until the eventide, he and the elders of Israel, and put dust upon their heads.
Oh, that today’s Spiritual Ekklesia would inquire of God in sincerity and truth like Joshua did, and not in self-justification of our sins.
7:7 And Joshua said, Alas, O LORD God, wherefore hast thou at all brought this people over Jordan, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? would to God we had been content, and dwelt on the other side Jordan! 7:8 O LORD, what shall I say, when Israel turneth their backs before their enemies! 7:9 For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land shall hear of it, and shall environ us round, and cut off our name from the earth: and what wilt thou do unto thy great name?
Then Jesus Christ revealed the sin to them so that they might turn from it and be saved. Oh, if only today’s Spiritual Ekklesia would sincerely seek out guidance and correction from Christ in genuine humility, then he would reveal God’s truth to us and if we acted on that understanding in true sincere repentance; we would also be saved.
Let us seek to obey the Lord our God with all our hearts like Joshua, and not be corrupted to sin by partaking of wickedness like Achan.
Achan had stolen from the cursed things and from the precious metals consecrated to God and had deceitfully hidden them.
7:10 And the LORD said unto Joshua, Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face? 7:11 Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff.
If we have any hidden unrepented sin and we try to justify it rather than sincerely repenting; we will be known by Christ and we will be destroyed if we do not sincerely repent.
7:12 Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you.
When will we destroy the accursed thing; which is our idolatry to follow men and corporate organizations in place of following the whole Word of God?
Our massive sin is our idolatry of men and our overwhelming pride in our own false traditions, justifying them instead of turning to true zeal for the whole Word of God.
Because of the sins of today’s Ekklesia we have been rejected by God the Father and Jesus Christ until we sincerely repent and expunge the evil from our midst.
7:13 Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against to morrow: for thus saith the LORD God of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you.
Then the God who later gave up his Godhood to be made flesh as Jesus Christ made them cast lots to find the evildoer and he caused the lot to fall on the guilty person. Today many more than one is guilty, the vast majority of us are guilty of pride and idolatry to exalt the words of men above the Word of God.
7:14 In the morning therefore ye shall be brought according to your tribes: and it shall be, that the tribe which the LORD taketh shall come according to the families thereof; and the family which the LORD shall take shall come by households; and the household which the LORD shall take shall come man by man.
Achan is to be cast into the fire as a demonstration that those who love the pleasures and rewards of sin will be cast into the lake of fire if they will not repent.
Brethren, this idea that Jesus Christ is love and will allow us to compromise with the Word of God or justify committing sin against God by following the teachings of others is an ABOMINABLE LIE!
7:15 And it shall be, that he that is taken with the accursed thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he hath: because he hath transgressed the covenant of the LORD, and because he hath wrought folly in Israel.
Joshua obeyed God and did as he was commanded, finding and rooting wickedness out of the congregation! No, he did NOT tolerate diversity of doctrine (a fancy term for false teachings) or any sin, and neither does God the Father and Jesus Christ!
7:16 So Joshua rose up early in the morning, and brought Israel by their tribes; and the tribe of Judah was taken: 7:17 And he brought the family of Judah; and he took the family of the Zarhites: and he brought the family of the Zarhites man by man; and Zabdi was taken: 7:18 And he brought his household man by man; and Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken.
Joshua tells Achan to repent before God
7:19 And Joshua said unto Achan, My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the LORD God of Israel, and make confession unto him; and tell me now what thou hast done; hide it not from me.
Achan then admits his evil deeds
7:20 And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done: 7:21 When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it.
Joshua very carefully sends officers to determine the truth of Achan’s confession
7:22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran unto the tent; and, behold, it was hid in his tent, and the silver under it. 7:23 And they took them out of the midst of the tent, and brought them unto Joshua, and unto all the children of Israel, and laid them out before the LORD.
Then Achan and his whole family and all his possessions were stoned and burned to death.
Brethren, this was recorded as an example for us that if we harbor sins secretly, God knows and he will surely correct us most severely.
7:24 And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had: and they brought them unto the valley of Achor.
7:25 And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the LORD shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones. 7:26 And they raised over him a great heap of stones unto this day. So the LORD turned from the fierceness of his anger. Wherefore the name of that place was called, The valley of Achor, unto this day.
Christ commands the destruction of Ai but grants Israel the spoil. Then the God who gave up his Godhood to be made flesh as Jesus Christ gave Joshua a stratagem by which he could take Ai in the next attempt, and Joshua again OBEYS the Eternal! If only we were full of the faithful obedience of Joshua!
Joshua 8:1 And the LORD said unto Joshua, Fear not, neither be thou dismayed: take all the people of war with thee, and arise, go up to Ai: see, I have given into thy hand the king of Ai, and his people, and his city, and his land: 8:2 And thou shalt do to Ai and her king as thou didst unto Jericho and her king: only the spoil thereof, and the cattle thereof, shall ye take for a prey unto yourselves: lay thee an ambush for the city behind it.
8:3 So Joshua arose, and all the people of war, to go up against Ai: and Joshua chose out thirty thousand mighty men of valour, and sent them away by night.
An Israelite army was hidden near Ai and the strength of Ai was lured out by the main army of Israel. The army of Israel then fled drawing the men of Ai out to pursue them. Then the other band of Israel attacked Ai from the far side and when the pursuers from Ai looked back they saw their city burning as the five thousand of Israel attacked the city from another place.
8:4 And he commanded them, saying, Behold, ye shall lie in wait against the city, even behind the city: go not very far from the city, but be ye all ready: 8:5 And I, and all the people that are with me, will approach unto the city: and it shall come to pass, when they come out against us, as at the first, that we will flee before them, 8:6 (For they will come out after us) till we have drawn them from the city; for they will say, They flee before us, as at the first: therefore we will flee before them.
When the army of Ai has been distracted from the defense of Ai by Israel, the undefended city was then attacked from the rear by five thousand of Israel and taken.
8:7 Then ye shall rise up from the ambush, and seize upon the city: for the LORD your God will deliver it into your hand.
Israel then set the city on fire to destroy the Canaanite city as a lesson that we must destroy all sin, and as an example of the end of all unrepentant sinners.
Notice that it is our duty to obey not just the written law of the scriptures, but to obey and live by EVERY WORD of God!
Deuteronomy 8:3 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live.
Joshua 8:8 And it shall be, when ye have taken the city, that ye shall set the city on fire: according to the commandment of the LORD shall ye do. See, I have commanded you.
In the morning Joshua prepared for the fight, numbering out the five thousand and separating the two forces.
8:9 Joshua therefore sent them forth: and they went to lie in ambush, and abode between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of Ai: but Joshua lodged that night among the people. 8:10 And Joshua rose up early in the morning, and numbered the people, and went up, he and the elders of Israel, before the people to Ai. 8:11 And all the people, even the people of war that were with him, went up, and drew nigh, and came before the city, and pitched on the north side of Ai: now there was a valley between them and Ai.
Five thousand were set to take the city from the west, while the main army was arrayed north of the city.
8:12 And he took about five thousand men, and set them to lie in ambush between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of the city.
8:13 And when they had set the people, even all the host that was on the north of the city, and their liers in wait on the west of the city, Joshua went that night into the midst of the valley.
Joshua advanced towards the city with the main army and the forces of Ai went out to meet Israel.
8:14 And it came to pass, when the king of Ai saw it, that they hasted and rose up early, and the men of the city went out against Israel to battle, he and all his people, at a time appointed, before the plain; but he wist not that there were liers in ambush against him behind the city.
Joshua then fled with the army of Israel and the strength of Ai pursued after them.
8:15 And Joshua and all Israel made as if they were beaten before them, and fled by the way of the wilderness. 8:16 And all the people that were in Ai were called together to pursue after them: and they pursued after Joshua, and were drawn away from the city. 8:17 And there was not a man left in Ai or Bethel, that went not out after Israel: and they left the city open, and pursued after Israel.
When the army of Ai was well distant from the city, God commanded Joshua to give the signal to his five thousand on the west of Ai.
8:18 And the LORD said unto Joshua, Stretch out the spear that is in thy hand toward Ai; for I will give it into thine hand. And Joshua stretched out the spear that he had in his hand toward the city. 8:19 And the ambush arose quickly out of their place, and they ran as soon as he had stretched out his hand: and they entered into the city, and took it, and hasted and set the city on fire.
The five thousand of Israel rushed into undefended Ai and set fire to the city and the army of Ai seeing their city destroyed behind them, went into panic and were destroyed as the main army of Israel turned back upon them.
8:20 And when the men of Ai looked behind them, they saw, and, behold, the smoke of the city ascended up to heaven, and they had no power to flee this way or that way: and the people [of Israel] that fled to the wilderness turned back upon the pursuers. 8:21 And when Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had taken the city, and that the smoke of the city ascended, then they turned again, and slew the men of Ai.
Then as the main army of Israel turned back on their pursuers, the five thousand of Israel who had set the city on fire came forth from the city to attack the army of Ai from the rear.
The army of Ai was then trapped between the main army of Israel before them and the five thousand now advancing out of the burning city on their rear.
8:22 And the other issued out of the city against them; so they were in the midst of Israel, some on this side, and some on that side: and they smote them, so that they let none of them remain or escape.
The wicked king was taken for judgment and his whole people were destroyed.
This destruction of the wicked Ai, is typical of the coming destruction of the wicked in today’s Ekklesia who teach idolatry and Sabbath pollution and seek people to follow after themselves, not teaching the brethren any zeal to live by every Word of God! They will be cast into the affliction of great tribulation and ultimately unless they repent, all wicked persons will be cast into the eternal destruction of the lake of fire.
8:23 And the king of Ai they took alive, and brought him to Joshua.
8:24 And it came to pass, when Israel had made an end of slaying all the inhabitants of Ai in the field, in the wilderness wherein they chased them, and when they were all fallen on the edge of the sword, until they were consumed, that all the Israelites returned unto Ai, and smote it with the edge of the sword. 8:25 And so it was, that all that fell that day, both of men and women, were twelve thousand, even all the men of Ai. 8:26 For Joshua drew not his hand back, wherewith he stretched out the spear, until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai.
Complete destruction is the ultimate fate of all unrepentant sinners.
8:27 Only the cattle and the spoil of that city Israel took for a prey unto themselves, according unto the word of the LORD which he commanded Joshua. 8:28 And Joshua burnt Ai, and made it an heap for ever, even a desolation unto this day.
Here the author equates evening with sundown; demonstrating that the terms “evening” and “sun set” or “sun down” are synonymous.
Evening is not some ambiguous period; it is clearly sunset. If anyone tries to tell you that it is alright to work after sunset beginning Sabbath, because evening is a vague and ambiguous time period: Don’t you believe them! They are false teachers tempting you and testing you, so that God can see how zealous you are for his Word!
At the same time some Rabbins teach that evening is at sunset for the Sabbath and is any time in the afternoon for other purposes because the sun is in process of going down; they are double minded and wrong: evening is sun set.
8:29 And the king of Ai he hanged on a tree until eventide: and as soon as the sun was down, Joshua commanded that they should take his carcase down from the tree, and cast it at the entering of the gate of the city, and raise thereon a great heap of stones, that remaineth unto this day.
The faithful followers of the God who later gave up his Godhood to become flesh as Jesus Christ [Hebrew: Yeshua Mashiach] were given the victory over the Canaanites at Ai; which was a type of God giving his faithful victory over Satan and sin.
If we are zealous and faithful to follow our Lord and his Word without compromise or turning aside; we will also be given a victory over sin and its king, Satan; through our zeal to obey and follow the Word of God, by God’s power to keep his promises and deliver his called out faithful.
Joshua gave Burnt Offerings and Peace Offerings; and if we are at ONE in FULL UNITY to follow and live by every Word of God we will also be at peace with God the Father and with the Son! However if we are like the idolatrous Canaanites who followed the idols of their own ways, we will also be destroyed like they were destroyed!
8:30 Then Joshua built an altar unto the LORD God of Israel in mount Ebal, 8:31 As Moses the servant of the LORD commanded the children of Israel, as it is written in the book of the law of Moses, an altar of whole stones, over which no man hath lift up any iron: and they offered thereon burnt offerings unto the LORD, and sacrificed peace offerings.
Joshua then wrote a copy of the law of God on the altar stones; thus indicating that they had hearts of stone. If we are called and faithful we should be writing the law of God on our hearts by diligently studying to learn and internalize into our very natures the whole Word of God (Jer 31).
8:32 And he wrote there upon the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he wrote in the presence of the children of Israel.
Then Israel stood one-half on Mount Gerizim and one-half on Mount Ebal
Deuteronomy 27:11 And Moses charged the people the same day, saying, 27:12 These shall stand upon mount Gerizim to bless the people, when ye are come over Jordan; Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Joseph, and Benjamin: 27:13 And these shall stand upon mount Ebal to curse; Reuben, Gad, and Asher, and Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali.
Joshua 8:33 And all Israel, and their elders, and officers, and their judges, stood on this side the ark and on that side before the priests the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, as well the stranger, as he that was born among them; half of them over against mount Gerizim, and half of them over against mount Ebal; as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded before, that they should bless the people of Israel.
Then half the people declared the blessings for faithful obedience to live by every Word of God; and half the people declared the curses for living contrary to the Word of God. Then Joshua read the Book of the Law [Moses last words to the elders, the book of Deuteronomy, as recorded by the attending scribes.] to all the people.
Oh, that there was a Joshua among us today so that we would turn away from our lukewarm, lip-service only religion, and our lack of zeal for keeping the Word of God; and turn back to live by every Word of the Eternal Almighty God!
8:34 And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessings and cursings, according to all that is written in the book of the law. 8:35 There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel, with the women, and the little ones, and the strangers that were conversant among them.
God’s message to today’s Spiritual Ekklesia: Just as physical Israel was in bondage in physical Egypt, we were in a spiritual Egypt of bondage to Satan and sin. We must remember that from which we were delivered, and we must be faithful to follow our Deliverer and to never equate the words of men as above or equal to the Word of God.
Right now the nations of Israel, both physical and spiritual, seem to think that obedience to God is a little thing.
Today the Israelite nations [including spiritual Israel] are immersed wholeheartedly in sin and they are about to receive God’s just correction in its fullness.
Today’s brethren rely on their false traditions instead of standing on every Word of God. Today’s physical nations as well as the Spiritual Ekklesia of the New Covenant called out are now facing the strong correction that Moses warned us of and that Jesus Christ warned us of in Revelation 3:14-22.