The priests will enter the Jordan on Nisan 10 (Josh 1.11, 3.2, 4.19) and Nisan 10 is the day that Yeshua rode into Jerusalem as the Passover lamb, and it will be the exact half-way point of the Birth-pains. The False Messiah will also enter Jerusalem and kill the two witnesses (Rev 11.1-14). Then he will declare himself God and “Jesus” in the Temple. Israel will flee into the wilderness of Jordan, from Pella to the south of Petra for the remaining 1260 days of the Birth-pains.
But, in Josh 3.12-17 we have another picture. It is springtime and the Jordan River has overflowed its banks (3.15). The people at Jericho know that a large army is approaching their city but they felt temporarily secure because they did not think anyone could cross the flooded Jordan. But as soon as the priests touched the edge of the Jordan the waters stopped flowing down, and they rose up in a heap going all the way back to a place called Adam, which is by Zarethan, and those flowing down toward the Arabah and the Dead Sea (3.16). This enabled Israel to cross the Jordan opposite Jericho. Now, what is being communicated here.
The flooding of the waters is a picture of death that has flooded mankind, but Yeshua (Joshua) has stopped that going back to Adam, the first man, which is by Zarethan, which means “distress” and man dwells beside “distress” and is always close to death (Jordan). But death has been cut off (3.16) for those in faith going all the way from Adam to the Salt Sea, called the Dead Sea or Lake of Fire (3.16). But, there is only one place to cross, only one way to enter death safely, and that is with Yeshua (Joshua) leading us (John 14.16; Acts 16.31). One day we will all come to the Jordan. Without Yeshua there is no safe crossing place..
Josh 4.1-24 has the story of the twelve stones that were taken from the middle of the Jordan. The stones were symbolic of the twelve tribes and were taken and placed where Israel lodged after crossing the Jordan. They were set up as a “mazavot” or memorial. In Matt 3.9 Yochanon Ha Matvil (John the Baptist) is immersing people in the Jordan and he says that “God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham.” Many believe the stones he is referring to are the twelve stones for the twelve tribes placed there by Joshua near the Jordan.
The place they were set up is called Gilgal (4.19-20) on the eastern edge of Jericho. This memorial was there to inform their children that “Israel crossed this Jordan on dry ground.” In Josh 5.1-12 we learn that Israel is going to be circumcised a second time (5.2). But when were they circumcised the first time? This alludes to the “circumcision of the heart” (Deut 10.16, 30.6). Those circumcised were the ones born in the wilderness (5.5). This circumcision is done at Gilgal, which means to “roll away” (5.9). Gilgal is related to the Hebrew “gulgoleth” (Num 1.2; 1 Chr 23.3, 24; 2 Kings 9.35) and the word “Golgotha” where Yeshua was crucified. It was called that because it was a little knoll “rounded” like a bare skull. His death “rolled away” our sin and the curse of the law (death). We are no longer “under arrest or indictment” and we can have the “circumcision of the heart.” Being “born again” is synonymous with the circumcision of the heart.
In Josh 5.13-15 we learn that Joshua is near Jericho when he see a man with a sword drawn. Joshua asks him if he is for Israel or their enemies. The man tells him that he is the captain of the armies of Yehovah. Joshua is to remove his sandals because he is standing on “adamat kodesh” or “holy ground” because this place had a kedusha on it because Jericho has been set apart to God and will be given to Israel. This being is called the “captain of the armies” and could be an angel sent by God as a shaliach (agent), or this is a “theophany” where God appears in human form, like he did with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses Aaron, Samuel, David, Solomon and others. We believe this is a theophany. God could be seen and heard and he took upon himself a literal physical form. He is called Yehovah in Josh 6.2. However, a theophany is not an incarnation because even though it was all God, it was not all man in the flesh. The incarnation is “very God and very man.” Joshua falls down and worships this captain, which one is never to do if it is an angel (Rev 22.8-9).
Josh 6.1-27 tells us about the fall of Jericho. Jericho symbolizes the world and the seven day siege here is a picture of the Birth-pains where we have the destruction of the non-Jewish powers before entering into the land of the Messianic Kingdom. Israel was to march around the city once a day for six days with the Ark. Yeshua will be presented for seven years before final judgment falls in the seventh year. On the seventh day they were to march around the city seven times, then they were to blow trumpets of ram’s horns (the shofarot symbolize their testimony in pronouncing judgment). After that, the people were to shout (teruah) and then the wall of the city would fall flat (6.3-5). So for six days the people did what was commanded. The armed men (believers armed with a thorough knowledge of the word) went before the ark, then seven priests with trumpets before the ark, and then a rear guard. They were not to shout or let their voices be heard until the right time which tells us that our message is to be nothing more or nothing less than what God tells us to say. They continued to do this for six days. Then it came to the seventh day, which was the seventh day of Hag Ha Matzah. This was Nisan 21, the seventh day of the festival and the city was put under a ban (Lev 27.28-29). All that is within the city belonged to the Lord, except Rahab and all who are with her in the house (6.17).
The city was seen as the “first fruits” to God from the land, so the people were to avoid taking anything for themselves. All the silver, gold, bronze and iron would go into the treasury of Yehovah (6.19). The people took the city and Rahab and her family are delivered (6.23). In Josh 6.26 Joshua made the people take an oath, “Cursed before Yehovah is the man who rises up and builds this city Jericho; with the loss of his first-born he shall lay its foundation and with the loss of his youngest son he shall set up its gates.” Hiel is from Bethel and he tried to rebuild Jericho during the reign of King Ahab hundreds of years later, and this curse was fulfilled (1 Kings 16.34). This does not mean that Jericho would never be built again because the curse only referred to the one who attempted to rebuild it.
Josh 7.1-26 tells us the story of Achan (troubler) and why Israel was put to flight after Jericho at a city named Ai (7.1). This will teach us the concept of “communal responsibility.” Joshua sent some of the army against Ai and they were defeated. But the number didn’t matter, they could sent one and Ai would have been defeated. The point is, they went as God directed. Thirty-six (6 x 6 = six is the number of man and sin) Israelis were killed and Joshua inquired of the Lord about what happened. Joshua learns that it was not God’s unfaithfulness that was the problem, it was that Israel violated the ban on Jericho by taking something. Notice he says, “Israel has sinned” not just one man. A little leaven can leaven the whole loaf (1 Cor 5.6). Someone took something that belonged to God. Joshua tears his garment because there was a “tear” in the righteousness of Israel.
As a result of this sin, they had no power before their enemies, so this needed to be dealt with. The Lord begins a process of identifying the guilty party by passing before the Lord, starting with the tribe, then the family, then the household, then the individuals. A man named Achan is identified as the one who took something that was under the ban, and he confesses. Thirty-six people died because he took a Babylonian garment. This alludes to the Babylonian religion and its false righteousness (garment) which has caught the eye of many, despising God’s word about it (false religion), two hundred shekels of silver (a type of man’s effort to enter into the redemption) and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels (gold is the metal of deity). 1 Tim 6.10 reminds us about the love of money being at the root of all kinds of evil. Achan felt terrible after he got caught, but maybe he should have felt as terrible before he did it. Maybe we should all feel as terrible before we commit a sin as we do after we do it! Joshua has a word play on his name in verse 25, and lived up to his name. Achan is stoned in the Valley of Achor (trouble), along with his possessions, because of the singular (“you, you, him, him”) in 7.25-26, and the use of the plural in 7.24-25 (“them”) refers to his possessions and not his children.
We will pick up here in Part 3.