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Joshua Part 3: Covenant & Conquest

Scripture: Joshua 5:1-15, 1 Corinthians 10:11, Joshua 6:1-27
Date: 02/24/2007 
The third in a six part series on the life of Joshua. The experience of Israel in crossing Jordan and going to the Promised Land will be repeated in the last days. Is there an obstacle fortress blocking your entrance in heaven?
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Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the live broadcast. It is presented as spoken.

Happy Sabbath. I’d like to say good morning to everybody. I’m glad that you’re here. Again I always want to welcome visitors. We always have a nice sprinkling of visitors and we’re delighted that you have chosen to worship with us here at Sacramento Central and I hope that you’ll find that we’re friendly and that this service will be a blessing for you.

Today we’re continuing our study in the life of Joshua and it’s Joshua part three. In case you’re wondering we’ll probably have four parts in this study. Joshua part three “Covenant and Conquest” is our title for today’s segment of our study. Now we’re going to be dealing with the subject of the walls of Jericho in particular and when we think about something such as the walls I can’t help but think about the Great Wall of China. I had read about it many times before and I did several amazing facts relating to the Great Wall of China built, oh, about two thousand years ago they started. It covers a span of about fifteen hundred miles. Imagine that. Just one wall that would reach from Sacramento to St. Louis. That’s about the distance of the Pony Express ride they used to have over that same course. Or from Miami to Maine. I understand now with satellite technology they’ve been able to detect as much as six hundred miles of additional wall they had not seen before, looking down from space with their special cameras, that had somewhat eroded. An incredible human feat.

It would have cost more than our entire national budget for the United States interstate system to be able to rebuild those walls today. Someone said three hundred and sixteen billion dollars they spent on that Great Wall. Now when we think of walls, walls are usually there to keep an enemy out, and of course the Great Wall of China was built to keep out the Mongol raiders. I remember when Karen and I and the boys a little over a year ago went to China and we first started up the Great Wall there were thousands of people there, but we wanted to see how far it really went and so we went up this one section and we finally got to the place where there were absolutely no tourists there. It was kind of fun to think here we are in China and there are no people and we’re on the Great Wall. But we did finally have to get down to where the people were to get someone to take a picture of the family. It just was mind-boggling and we were looking at just a little section that had been restored how big it was.

As the children of Israel were preparing to enter the Promised Land there was a city that was especially known for its walls and it was the city of Jericho. These tremendous fortifications were there and it represented the beachhead to get into the city. When you go to France, if you go to Normandy still today on the coastline of Normandy you can see the bunkers that the Germans had built to try to repel an invasion and even though they are about sixty years old now because they were concrete they’re still there. Up at a highpoint in those fortifications it looked like there was no way to get into the coast. It was through actually a series of miracles that the D-day invasion was a success. Weather was working in their favor and Rommel’s wife had a birthday so he left the front lines. A lot of things contributed to that. In the same way, when the children of Israel looked at the walls of Jericho they knew they were going to need divine aid to conquer this city.

Jericho represented a fortress of evil that blocked the way to the Promised Land. Now it is very important for us to be studying this subject because the Bible tells us that, I Corinthians 10:11, “All these things,” speaking of the children of Israel. “…all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition…” And of all the Old Testament stories that we could be studying the story of Joshua is of great relevance. Why? Because Joshua and his experiences will be repeated as God’s people enter the Promised Land. Joshua and what the children of Israel went through just prior to crossing the Jordan and taking the Promised Land those things will be symbolically repeated by you as we prepare to be led by our Joshua into God’s Promised Land. Can you see that there are some parallels there and this is a very relevant study for us? The question is, is there a Jericho that is blocking your access to Canaan? Does the devil have a pagan fortress in your life that you have felt it is impossible to overcome? I’m not going to ask for a show of hands, but I want you to be praying that God’s Spirit will speak to you. Is there some pagan fortress that the devil has possession of in your life that stands as an obstacle to your entering the Promised Land? Would you like to see that fortress overcome? Would you like to see it conquered? Would you like to experience victory so that you can have that access? Well, it’s going to take a miracle because when the devil builds a fortress it has high walls.

Now we’ve got to go back to chapter five of Joshua really to get the full scope of this story and I’m going to begin with verse one and our study today will take us through chapter five and six and we’ll stop there. So it was, Joshua 5:1. “So it was, when all the kings of the Amorites who were on the west side of the Jordan, and all the kings of the Canaanites who were by the sea, heard that the Lord had dried up the waters of the Jordan from before the children of Israel until we had crossed over, that their heart melted; and there was no spirit in them any longer because of the children of Israel.” Now when we left our story last time God miraculously parted the Jordan River. Remember the priests put their feet in the water, the waters stopped, they crossed over and made it safely to the other side. A mile and a half away was the city of Jericho. From their walls they saw this miracle. The word of this incredible miracle supernatural evidence of God’s blessing spread all throughout the Promised Land. If you were a Canaanite or a Perizzite or an Amorite and you were living in the Promised Land would it make you nervous to know how God was with the Israelites and they were coming to evict you? I’d be a little nervous. It goes through a course of three things that happen that sort of prepare them for Jericho. We’re going to look at those things quickly.

They reinstituted circumcision. There was a consecration and a circumcision that took place. Look at verse 2. “At that time the Lord said to Joshua, ‘Make flint knives for yourself, and circumcise the sons of Israel again the second time.’” Why is He saying “the second time”? Well evidently, and the scholars can’t prove this but they have to surmise a little bit, when Moses and Aaron met with the children of Israel and said, “Look, God is going to do great things for you. Consecrate yourselves to the Lord” that at that time they were told to reinstitute the ceremony of circumcision God had given to Abraham. During the time of slavery they had become negligent about the covenants and the ceremonies God had given to them, and so before they began to see God’s miracles of deliverance they needed to reconsecrate themselves and so they began to circumcise their sons back in that time. So here we are forty years later. When they disobeyed the Lord at Kadesh.

You remember when the spies came back Joshua said, “We can make it,” with Caleb. The others said, “We can’t.” Because of their unbelief they wandered forty years. During that point, when God put a curse on them to wander, they had not circumcised their sons or celebrated the Passover for forty years. Now they have crossed over into the Promised Land. They’re preparing to go into battle against their enemies. They need to return to complete obedience. If God is going to work miracles for you, there needs to be a complete consecration to known duties. I want to say it again because it’s a very important point. Some of you have been praying for miracles and nothing is happening. Do everything you know how to do to follow everything you know you should follow. When Moses, just as a case in point to prove this, when Moses was on his way to first meet with Pharaoh to be the great liberator of God’s people… Moses: burning bush, God spoke to him, told him what to do, where to go, but he wasn’t quite ready yet. You know what happened? You read in Exodus 4:24. I get questions on this all the time. People say, “What is going on here?” Exodus 4:24 “And it came to pass on the way, at the encampment,” the inn. They’re on the way back to the Promised Land. Moses with his wife Zipporah, he’s going to meet Aaron, the plagues, the miracles, the great exodus.

Before that happens, this is between the burning bush and the great deliverance, God meets him on the way “and sought to kill him.” An angel of judgment stood in his path. “Then Zipporah” his wife “took a sharp stone…” You notice these aren’t iron knives. They use stone knives for circumcision. I don’t want to take this too far except to say one of our friends found an old flint arrowhead on our property. I keep it in the desk drawer up there in Covelo. It is like a razor even though it must be hundreds of years old. They found it just protected like a serrated razor’s edge. It is extremely sharp. Don’t think that this would have been crude. It was extremely sharp. For some reason even the Egyptians when they embalmed bodies did not use the iron or bronze knives they had. They used stone. They felt that it was sacred to use stone when cutting flesh. I’m not sure of all other reasons for that. Zipporah, Moses’ wife, takes a sharp stone and cuts the foreskin of her son. Evidently they had neglected to circumcise one of their sons and Moses and Zipporah were disagreeing on this. Maybe she thought it was barbaric, and he said, “I should,” but he was going along with what his wife said and said, “Oh well, alright.” The angel said, “Look, you’re the priest of this family, and if you’re not going to follow me, how are you going to lead these people? If you can’t be a leader in your own family, how are you going to lead these people?” So finally Moses stopped and he said, Look, God is not going to let me go any farther.

There is an angel of judgment here. We must obey him.” So she, grudgingly, followed through with the circumcision and said, “You’re a bloody man!” In other words, “This is a barbaric practice. I don’t understand it.” That’s what people say about Passover. Killing animals, the sacrificial system, why, it’s barbaric! The cross is barbaric too. Blood for sin is barbaric, but if God says this is His law, it’s His law and He wants us to follow these known duties. Now what does that mean for us today? First of all, if you want to see great miracles of deliverance and victory and if you want to see the walls come down, follow the requirements that God has revealed to you. If you’re willing to do what God has told you to do, you open the way for Him to do more. He can work miracles for you, but if you’re being inconsistent in following what God has revealed to you then there are limits in what God can do for you. Now he had parted the Jordan River for them, but He had not brought down the walls of Jericho. He said, “I’ve brought you into the Promised Land. Before I can give you victory, you must in every area be consecrated.” They were to renew the covenant.

For us, you read in Romans 2:29 and there’s a lot I could read in the New Testament about the spiritual dimension of circumcision. “…he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, and not in the letter…” Even Moses in the Old Testament said, “Circumcise therefore the foreskins of your heart.” In other words, there was to be a cutting away of the carnal nature, being willing to be led by the spirit and not the flesh, being sensitive to the leading of God’s Spirit. That’s what all of this entails. That’s a New Testament equivalent of it. Have we allowed the Lord to say we’re not going to live by the flesh, but we’re going to live by the Spirit? The things that are distracting us from following Jesus all the way, having a tender heart rather than a stony heart, that’s what this means. In Colossians 2:11 “In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands,” it’s not the physical one, “by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ…” You know it’s interesting here that with Moses after he crossed the Red Sea on his way back to Egypt… he circumcised his son, crossed the Red Sea, had the Passover then God works these miracles of deliverance for him. The same events that preceded the great exodus deliverance preceded the great conquest of Canaan.

The next thing. They renewed the covenant. Now we’re in chapter 5, verse 10, “So the children of Israel camped in Gilgal, and kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month” as they were supposed to “at even on the plains of Jericho.” Here they are, they’re on the plains, they’re ready to take possession of the Promised Land and they now keep the Passover again. They sacrifice a Passover Lamb. Was there a great deliverance and was there a Passover kept back in Exodus before God worked incredible miracles for them? What’s the equivalent of the Passover for us? At the Last Supper Jesus renewed the covenant with His people. Jesus is the Passover Lamb. When we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, He said, “I’ve longed to eat this Passover with you.” It’s a symbol for Jesus the lamb, the blood of the lamb, the blood on the door, this whole covenant symbolized that their sins were going to be under the blood, that the angel of judgment was passing by.

All of these nations in the Promised Land were about to be destroyed or evicted. They were under judgment, but Israel was going to be blessed. What made the difference? Israel was under the blood of the lamb; they were not. What was it that brought the disaster on the Egyptians and especially the firstborn? Those who were in the house without the blood, the firstborn perished. There was judgment. If we want our homes to be blessed and if we want to be prepared for that miracle we need to have the circumcision of the heart. We need to have the Passover lamb and be under the blood and be prepared for this great entrance into the Promised Land. So they renewed the Passover, they recircumcised the males and that would be all the way from eight days up until forty.

Keep in mind everyone over forty was circumcised before they left Egypt. Then something else happened that probably was a little bit unnerving for them. For the first time in forty years, a generation that could never forget, the manna ceased. Read this here in Joshua 5:12 “Now the manna ceased on the day after they had eaten the produce of the land; and the children of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate the food of the land of Canaan that year.” Now also keep in mind it said the Passover was kept in the spring. This was the time for the first harvest. There’s an abundance of wheat and grain in the fields from the winter crop and so they began to as they crossed over the Jordan all of the… I probably ought to read chapter six just to give you the contest here. Look at chapter six of Joshua verse one. “Now Jericho was securely shut up because of the children of Israel; none went out, and none came in.” Did you see that?

So after they crossed the Jordan these pagan cities sequestered themselves. Well they had all these farms that were outside the city, and so the children of Israel basically just went roaming through all of the farms in the countryside and vineyards and things and they’re gleaning all they want. As they began to do that God said, “Look, I gave you manna as an emergency precaution to sustain you in the wilderness. You are now in the Promised Land. You don’t need it anymore.” Some people wonder why God doesn’t do miraculously for us what He has maybe done in Bible times miraculously. It’s because He doesn’t need to do miraculously what He can do naturally. Sometimes people don’t go to the doctor for a simple procedure where God has given doctors and natural medicine the ability to take care of what this problem is and they stay at home languishing asking for God to work a miracle. God says, “I’m not going to do for you miraculously what you have the ability to find naturally.”

I think some people have tempted the Lord and been foolish in the way that they’ve dealt with these things. God performs miracles in our extremity. God does not typically rain manna down for us when our refrigerator is full. He’s practical. Now think about what this might have meant for them. You’ve got a generation that never remembers waking up and not finding manna except on Sabbath. It fell six days a week, but there was none on Sabbath. They’d get twice as much on Friday. Now for the first time on a weekday, they wake up, no manna. Now they’re really trusting on the Lord and they realize there’s no turning back to the wilderness. The Jordan River has closed back up, the manna has stopped falling, God has said, “Look, I’ve brought you here and I expect you to live here and flourish here. You need to conquer these nations if you’re going to keep eating here.” Can you understand the message that god is giving them? He’s basically saying, “There’s no turning back now. The manna is gone. You’re not going to live in the desert anymore. You’re going to have to conquer the Promised Land.” So there’s great motivation here. God is saying, “Consecrate yourselves to Me.”

Alright. Let’s keep reading. Now this is where chapter six should probably begin with verse thirteen. I think most of us know that the chapters and the verses that you find in the Bible were not inspired, but somebody, I forget what his name was, Larry Librarian or something like that, he was just one day going through the Bible and he marked out the chapters and the verses and it sort of stuck because it is a practical system. But chapter six really ought to begin with verse thirteen. And to give you the context, Joshua now knows the next step on the agenda, on the flow chart is conquer Jericho. He does not know exactly how that’s going to happen. He is on the same side of the Jordan as Jericho. Jericho sits between the Jordan River and the hills of Judea.

Joshua may go up into the hills of Judea by himself to look at the city, consider its fortifications and to be praying and say, “Lord, what do I do now? What’s the next step? How shall we go forward?” And while he’s up there alone and he’s praying he has an interesting encounter. Verse 13, “And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes…” Lifting his eyes means he may have been kneeling down praying. It could have been from the hilltop looking down. “…and looked, and behold, a Man” seemed to come out of nowhere and he “stood opposite him…” He’s standing right there by him “with His sword drawn in His hand.” Now I want to pause here. What does that mean? I can think of three times in the Bible where you see this angelic, and I think everyone here knows it was not a normal man. We’ll get to that in a moment. Three times in the Bible where you see some angelic creature with not just a sword, but a drawn sword. Why do you draw your sword? Because you’re getting ready to use it, isn’t that right? Is that too complicated? How many of you remember when Balaam was going the wrong way? God had told him not to go and he insisted in going and you read in Numbers 22:23 “Now the donkey saw the Angel of the Lord standing in the way with His drawn sword in His hand, and the donkey turned aside out of the way…”

Finally Balaam when he had his eyes opened and he saw what the donkey saw it says “and he bowed his head and fell flat on his face.” Then you can read where King David because of bad behavior an angel of judgment was going through Israel and David lifted his eyes and he saw the angel of the Lord standing between heaven and earth having in his hand a drawn sword stretched over Jerusalem so David and the elders clothed in sackcloth fell on their faces. Don’t forget this: drawn sword, impending judgment, you’d better get down and humble yourself. Now who does Joshua see? He sees this individual with a drawn sword and he says to him, “Are you for us or for our enemies?” He’s a majestic being; He’s fit in the regalia of a warrior. Maybe it was a little different than what Israel normally wore and he’s saying, “Who are you?” Joshua is not afraid. It’s interesting. It’s almost like Jesus said, “He that is not with Me is against Me.” Joshua, our Joshua, that’s what He says. Are you with Me or against Me? Joshua in the Old Testament says, “Are You for us, or are You for our enemies?” There is no neutral territory in this ground. You’re with us, or you’re against us. Before we get to the last days everybody is going to be off the fence. You’re either going to be sealed with the seal of God or worshipping the beast and receiving his mark, worshipping his image.

You’re going to hear Joshua say, “Are you for us, or are you for our enemies?” You cannot play the middle ground in this battle between good and evil. And so He answers in verse 14 and He says, “No,” I’m not against you, “but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” And He’s not even saying, Joshua, I’m the Commander of your forces. I’m the Commander of the forces that are helping your forces. You know the Bible refers to the Lord as the Lord of Sabaoth. That’s not Sabbath. It’s Sabaoth and it means the Lord of hosts, the Lord of armies. God has His army in heaven. This is a very unique experience in the Bible. You know why? He reveals Himself as the Commander of God’s armies, but what you have here is a picture of a mirror. You have the most vivid example in the Bible of the type meeting the antitype. Two Joshuas meet. Who is this Commander of the Lord’s army? It’s Jesus. Joshua on earth is meeting our Joshua or Jesus and the commander of the earthly Israel is meeting the Commander of heavenly Israel, the spiritual Israel. You’ve got this type who is meeting antitype. It is a very interesting meeting.

They have both got their armor; they’ve both got their swords. One is going to be conquering the earthly Jericho; the other is going to conquer the spiritual Jericho in the great controversy. What a meeting! That would have been something to see. And one bows before the Other. I’ve got some quotes I want to read you from some of the commentaries in case you’ve got any doubts. Let’s start with Adam Clark who you may have not heard me say before, but this was the right hand man of John Wesley, a brilliant man, in case you are wondering who this is. “It has been a very general opinion both among the ancients and the moderns that the person mentioned here is no other than the Lord Jesus.” The idea that Michael or the Commander of God’s army is Jesus is not something our church conjured up. This is very old, established theology, but you’d be surprised at how people react to that. Let me give you a couple of others. John Gill puts it this way, “Not a mere man nor a created angel in human form, but a Divine Person in such a form, even the Son of God who frequently appeared in this manner to the patriarchs.” And then Matthew Henry’s commentary, and by the way, you’ll find Matthew Henry’s commentary in Ellen White’s library at the General Conference. “We have reason to think that this Man was the Son of God, the Eternal Word who before He assumed the human nature for a perpetuity frequently appeared in human shape.” There is no question about Who this was that appeared to Joshua.

This was Jesus in His preincarnate form. Sometimes He appeared as the Commander of the angelic host, better known as Michael. He is not an angel. He is only called the archangel. Archangel means the greatest messenger. That’s why when our Joshua comes with a shout… Was there a shout when the walls of Jericho fell? It says, “The Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout.” He’s coming with ten thousand times ten thousand angels. That’s why you read in Revelation chapter 12 there was a war “in heaven: Michael and his angels” (That’s this individual that appeared to Joshua.) “fought against the dragon… and his angels.” There is a titanic cosmic conflict going on between good and evil, between our Michael and His forces and the dragon (the devil) and his Canaanite forces so to speak. So He appears to him here. Notice and Joshua… oh, wait. I want to read this to you right out of the Bible. We’re back in chapter 5. In verse 14 He says, “‘…but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.’ And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped” Him. Now you notice three times I’ve shown you drawn sword you better get on your face. Balaam knew better. David and the elders knew better. Even Joshua the general of God’s people gets on his face before this Individual. He worships Him. Not only does he say that, he says, “‘What does my Lord say to His servant?’ Then the Commander of the Lord's army said to Joshua, ‘Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.’” All of the things that happened to Moses prior to the great exodus happen again as they get ready forty years later to enter the Promised Land. Circumcision, Passover, a divine meeting with God the Son, taking your shoes off your feet for it’s holy ground, and he’s in a posture of worship. Who do we worship only? Only God. So this Commander of God’s army is the Lord. Does that make sense? It’s the Lord Jesus.

So now he’s saying “Lord, what do You want me to do?” As you begin chapter six it’s telling us what God says to Joshua so let’s begin chapter six verse one. I’ve mentioned already that he said Jericho was securely shut up. Everyone is blockaded in the city; they’re preparing for a siege. None went out or came in. And the Lord, this is during this meeting where God’s General is talking to Joshua. He says to Joshua, “See! I have given Jericho into your hand…” He’s saying conquer Jericho; this is your next step, and Joshua is bowing before Him asking for this instruction. “See! I have given Jericho into your hand,” just like when God said to Moses, “I’ve given Pharaoh into your hand. I’ve given the children of Israel to you.” Look at what happens when we consecrate ourselves to God. Celebrating the Passover, trusting in God’s provision they renewed the circumcision, bowed down and humbled himself before God, then God reveals His will.

Have some of you wanted to know God’s will? Have you wanted to see how to get the victory? You consecrate yourself the way the children of Israel did, and you’ll see the walls of Jericho come down. What happens here in chapter five and the first part of chapter six recognize that which is holy, worship God. Joshua here is worshipping God. Wonderful things happen when you follow those steps. The Lord said, “I have Jericho into your hand, its king,” that means the devil will be overthrown, “and the mighty men” the minions of the devil or the demons that hassle you. “You shall march around the city, all you men of war; you shall go all around the city once. This you shall do six days. And seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets.” Now I have asked people a thousand times, how many times did the children of Israel march around Jericho and if you catch people without their bibles open in a crowd, you know what they all say? Seven times. That’s not what it says. If you do the math, how many times did they march around Jericho?

What is seven plus six? Thirteen times. How many were at the Last Supper? Thirteen. I’m not trying to… I know you thought that was an unlucky number. Biblically it’s the symbol for the twelve apostles and their leadership. When they marched around Jericho they were to take the ark with them. The ark was carried by how many priests? There were three priests on each pole, four poles. The poles went all the way through. Twelve priests isn’t that right? Led by Joshua. How many? Thirteen. Isn’t that interesting. Then in addition to that they had seven priests blowing trumpets so seven and thirteen is how many? Twenty. So you’ve got this leading procession of twenty that are marching around the city. You’ve got the twelve priests and Joshua. They had the twelve apostles and Jesus. Isn’t that interesting? Do you see all the parallels that are here? This is so exciting to me. It just shows that God knows all things and they’re all in His hand. “And seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times,” and that’s not talking about the seventh day of the week.

Some people say, “On the Sabbath day they marched around the city seven times and then smothered the people of Jericho? That doesn’t sound very Sabbath like.” Now how this happened there is a couple of different ways, and I probably will address it now and then I’ll back up and explain more about the battle. One of two things happened. Either they marched around the city six days, they rested the Sabbath, and then the seventh day of marching which would have been the first day of the week they took it. That’s what I’m inclined to believe. It’s not talking about seven days sequentially. It’s saying the seventh day of marching. It leaves out what happened on the Sabbath. It could be that one of the six days they went around the city one time was the seventh day Sabbath. Well, what did they do that day? They marched quietly around the city. They didn’t fight. The trumpets blew. They didn’t even speak. They were commanded to be silent. Then they went back to the camp. Well, if God tells you to do that on the Sabbath, you do it. It’s hardly working. So we don’t know exactly how that fit in. I’m inclined to think they marched around the city six days, they rested and then on the first day of the week, the seventh day of marching that’s when God gave them the victory. That’s when the Holy Spirit was poured out too, wasn’t it?

You know the Holy Spirit was poured out on the first day of the week. I’m not trying to make a case for Sunday here, but it was after the Sabbath that these things happened. God began His new work. Alright let’s keep going here. I want to go back and piece by piece look at what’s happening. God has now told them that they are to overcome the walls of Jericho. I took this picture from ancient Syria, this fortification here because it’s an ancient fortification just to give you an idea. The walls of Jericho were very high. Matter of fact, if you’ve got your Bibles turn with me and look at Deuteronomy 9:1. Don’t lose your place in Joshua, but Deuteronomy 9:1. Moses is, before he dies, reciting to the children of Israel how they’re going to get the victory. And he says, “Hear, O Israel: You are to cross over the Jordan today, and go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than yourself…” By the way, some of you have thought, “How can I ever overcome the fortresses the devil has in my life?” They are great; they are mighty, but by God’s power, you can do it. Listen to what it says in Deuteronomy 9:1 “…greater and mightier than yourself, cities great and fortified up to heaven…” The walls were fortified up to the sky. He was especially talking about Jericho. Walls that reach “up to heaven.”

So the walls of Jericho were very high and it was very difficult to penetrate them because there was a rampart that went around the city as well as the inner wall. Now several things are happening here in fighting the walls of Jericho. Humanly speaking it was impregnable; it was a bulwark that could not be overcome. What was to go around the city? First it said you’ll take the priests. Okay? You’ve got nineteen priests. Seven of them are on ram’s horns. What are the priests today? We’re talking about how our Joshua is going to lead us into the Promised Land so let’s look at this. Is there a modern equivalent for the priests today? Exodus 19:6 in case you’re wondering the priests were not just a caste within Israel. Even the Lord said to Moses, all of Israel “you will be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” All of us are to be priests and make atonement and bring people to God.

The work of the priest was to teach the word, to offer sacrifice, to intercede. Revelation 1:6 you might write some of these down “and (He) has made us” this is New Testament now. God “has made us” a kingdom of “priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever.” I Peter 2:5 “you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” Alright, if we’re going to get victories for Christ again, by the way, this world is the territory of an enemy king. Just as Joshua when he entered the Promised Land they were invading enemy territory. The land belonged to them, but it had been kidnapped by Canaanites. Who made this world?

Jesus did. Has it been invaded by an enemy? Didn’t Jesus even refer to the devil as the prince of this world? He’s the king of this world. Most of the people in the world recognize him; the majority by far serves him. So if you and I are going to go forth conquering for Christ what does that mean? Winning souls for Christ. If we’re going to do that, we’ve got to go out as His priests. What was their weapon that they used? What were the priests carrying? A couple of things. What’s mentioned? They bore the ark; twelve of them bore the ark. What’ the ark? A golden box, is that our power? What was in the ark? The Ten Commandments were in the inside and the Law of Moses, the word of God the Torah was in a pocket on the outside. They were carrying the word of God with them. That ark is a very important symbol for the word of God. Joshua 6:6 “So Joshua the son of Nun called the priests and said to them, ‘Take up the ark of the covenant, and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord.’” So what is going to give us power to bring down the walls of Jericho? The word of God.

So not only are we a priesthood, what are the priests to carry? The word of God. What gives us power? The word of God. More than that, they had seven what? Seven trumpets. Are you still with me? Isaiah 58 what is that trumpet? Verse 1, “Cry aloud, spare not; lift up your voice like a trumpet; tell My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” Why? Because when we hear about sin we go to Jesus for salvation. So people are to talk about sin and salvation. Isaiah was a prophet. He was to lift up his voice. What do prophets say? The word of God. Like what? Like a trumpet. That’s what I try to do every Sabbath morning and several times in between is to proclaim the word of God. This is what brings down the fortifications of the devil.

Do you remember the scripture reading? The “weapons of our warfare are not carnal but” they’re “mighty” to bringing down the fortifications of the enemy. I’m not done. Ezekiel 33:6 talking about the trumpets, “But if the watchman sees the sword coming…” the watchman on the wall sees an army coming “and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned… I will require” the blood of those people “at the watchman’s hand.” Do you know something the world doesn’t know? Do you know something as a Christian the world doesn’t know? Do you know something about the priorities, what really matters, what’s going to last, that the world doesn’t know? I think you do, and we’ve got a responsibility not to put our light under a bush but to let our trumpet blast and let people know what the truth is. The word of God is his trumpet. Now how can you read Joshua’s story in chapter six about seven trumpets and not hear echoes from Revelation.

Type in to your computer… I’m assuming you’ve got a Bible program, type in “seven trumpets”. It’s going to appear two places. It’s going to appear in Revelation and it’s going to appear in Joshua chapter 6. Does the Bible tell us before our Jesus, our Joshua comes back that seven trumpets are blown by these angels? I think there’s a parallel there, friends. Revelation 8:2 “And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets.” This is happening just before Jesus comes to take the world back just like Joshua came to take the Promised Land back. It had once belonged to Abraham, but they’d lost it because they’d wandered into Egypt. Revelation 11:15 “Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ…’” Now I’ve got to be real careful what I say here so I’m not misunderstood. People are probably going to take my sermon and they’re going to edit it and just take one section out of context and get me in trouble. I can’t help that. You can make a person say anything if you do that. But I want you to hear carefully.

I believe firmly in the historic interpretation of prophecy. I believe those seven trumpets in Revelation represent the military history of the church from the first coming to the second coming. The seven churches in Revelation chapter 2 and 3 represent the religious history covering the religious history from the first coming to the second coming. We’re now living in the age of the church of Laodicea. The seven seals represent a political history of the church from the first coming to the second coming. I believe that, but I think there may also be… Pastor Doug doesn’t know everything, but I think there may also be a last day fulfillment of those seven trumpets. I’m not one of these people who thinks that the fiery mountain is a meteor or any of those things, but I’m not sure what the answers are. But in the same way that the sun turning dark, the moon turning to blood, the stars falling from heaven, we know that’s happened historically, hasn’t it?

If you know anything about Seventh-day Adventism 101 you know that. But you know Revelation says those things happen in quick succession at the second coming. There’s a dual fulfillment there. It could be that there’s going to be some form of dual fulfillment. When they marched around the city of Jericho did it take two thousand years or did they do it quickly in seven days in succession? I think that we’re going to see some things happen very quickly and there could be some parallels. I’m not sure; I’m not dogmatic about this, but I just thought I should share that with you. In Revelation 11:19 “the temple of God was opened in heaven,” after the seventh trumpet is sounded, “and the ark of His covenant was seen…” When they sounded the seven trumpets on the seventh day here in Joshua was the ark in their midst? What’s in the ark? The law of God. Were they at all bashful about the Ten Commandments when they entered the Promised Land or did they have them right out front? The children of Israel, when they entered the Promised Land were they hiding the Ten Commandments somewhere or was it right out front?

Will God’s church have the Te Commandments right out front when we enter the Promised Land? Should we be bashful or apologetic about the Ten Commandments? I heard a sermon this week, a local preacher, he was preaching on the Ten Commandments. It just broke my heart. “They’re just a mirror. We don’t have to keep them. It’s just so we can see our sins and go to Jesus. It’s not really required that we obey them, and we’re not under the law now, we’re under grace.” And I think that’s a doctrine of devils if ever there was one and how many times preachers say that! When God says, “Thou shalt not…” is that a suggestion? Is that something we’re to say, “Well, He was having a bad day and so He’s… it was a recommendation, but you know, nobody is perfect…” It was a command! They haven’t changed. When the church of God is apologetic and making excuses about breaking the commands of God and they’re kind of hiding the Ark of the Covenant, that’s really sad. When Jesus comes back there’s going to be a people of Israel. Spiritual Israel is going to be marching with the ark right out front. They’re not going to be apologizing for it and for the law of God.

But there is still more happening here. These things are parallels for us. Now they had rams’ horns. A horn in the Bible was a symbol for power, and if you’ve ever kept sheep… Any of you ever seen these mountain sheep butting each other with their great big gnarly massive horns? They’ve got heads that must be tougher than woodpeckers because you can hear it across the mountains. In the Rocky Mountains we had them, when I lived in Tockwitz Canyon we had these mountain sheep that went up there and every now and then you’d hear them, ka-bonk! And you’d hear this big echo through the canyon. Their heads just bam! They’re powerful. It’s amazing that they don’t take Tylenol when they fight like that during the rutting season. It was a symbol for the Jews of power. You notice these different powers in the visions of Daniel. They have different horns and it meant their powers because this was a shepherd economy. That was the power. When they poured the oil of the Holy Spirit on someone and they were anointed as either king or priest it was a horn filled with oil because they wanted the power of the Holy Spirit. That horn represented power.

So when they were blowing the trumpet with a rams’ horn it represents the power of the word. The ark, the word, the priest, the word. What is it that’s bringing down the walls of Jericho, by the way? What did Jesus use to fight the devil in the wilderness? He had one thing, the word. “It is written…” That’s what defeated the devil, and brought down his fortress. You hear me say this all the time, but it’s not going to change. Our power as Christians is the word. It is the word that will keep us from sin; it’s the word that is going to give us victory; it is the word that is going to help us conquer and bring others to Christ. It is just being totally saturated and absorbed in every fiber by the word of God. We are to be living epistles of the word. That was what went before them when they went into the Promised Land.

And it says “they shouted”. Now I want to get into that here. You read in Joshua, on the seventh day… and I just want to take you back. I don’t want to rush through this. Can you imagine being in Jericho at that time? You see the children of Israel one day, they come out and talk about a somber… they could probably look off the walls. The walls were probably crowded with thousands of people that were looking down. Historians tell us these walls were massive. They may have been as much as fifty feet wide at the base, thirty feet wide at the top and this was the inner wall. The outer wall also went around the city. Matter of fact, if there’s time I’ll show you some of the archeology of Jericho. You’re in there and you see this army of a million, they come and they quietly, without uttering a word, they march around the city. The priests are intermittently blowing the trumpets as they make one circuit around the city.

Their pucker must have been sore after six days of doing that, right? That would have been unnerving. And then they go back. They come back the next day, walk around the city. Then on the seventh day it’s like their crescendo is building. Seven times on the seventh day they go around the city. Joshua warns them straightly, he says, “You don’t say a word and you’re not to utter a word until I give you the command.” That means that God’s people are to speak what Christ wants us to speak when Christ wants us to speak. It’s not to be ours, it’s to be His. And when I tell you, you’re to do what? Shout! I was waiting for a chance to do that and wake some of you up. It’s in context. I’ve often thought, what were they doing when they shouted? Before I answer that, a very similar story, look at this II Chronicles 13:14 & 15. “And when Judah looked around…” Judah was at war with Israel. The southern kingdom of Judah led by Abijah was at war with Jeroboam, this is not the good… I’m sorry Jeroboam was the wicked king of the north. They’re totally surrounded. “And when Judah looked around, to their surprise the battle line was at both front and rear…” They’re surrounded. It looked hopeless, and what did they do? “…they cried out to the Lord, and the priests sounded the trumpets.

Then the men of Judah gave a shout; and as the men of Judah shouted, it happened that God struck Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah.” And they fled. They got the victory when the priests blew the trumpet. The priests were in their midst, they shouted and they gained the victory. The Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout. Now if I were to ask you to shout at the count of three… I’m not going to do that. It just doesn’t sound dignified in church, and I don’t want to be misinterpreted for the wrong kind of church. But if I were to ask you to shout, what would you shout? I mean, how does a person shout? Have you ever shouted at your kids? What do you shout? Their name, “Get out of the street!” whatever it is, you usually shout something. I guess there are some people that have like the Marines shout that just Hoorah that’s just a noise, but there’s only one time in the Bible and I thought, what did they shout?

I did a study on what did they shout. There is a prophecy in Zechariah 9:9 “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey…” When Jesus fulfilled that prophecy and He came down into Israel and the people shouted, you know what they shouted? Hosanna! They shouted hosanna. Now I don’t know if that’s what Israel shouted. It’s a very ancient word and the word hosanna is an exclamation of adoration for God. It’s a shout of praise. Hosanna. You ever do that just on the spur, say, Hosanna. Maybe you’ve done a halleluiah. You ever do a halleluiah? You’re going to think I’m trying to make you Pentecostal, but I’m just reading the Bible to you.

I think they may have shouted hosanna, a praise to God. Otherwise it’s just incoherent noise. How much better if there’s some meaning to the noise? Now as they went around the city, the seventh time on the seventh day and they shouted, the Bible tells us, well, let’s go to it. Joshua 6:15 they rose early in the morning and Joshua then gave them instruction. “On the seventh day,” verse 15, “they rose early, about the dawning of the day, and marched around the city seven times in the same manner. On that day only they marched around the city seven times. And the seventh time it was so, when the priests blew the trumpets, that Joshua said to the people: ‘Shout, for the Lord has given you the city!’” And the roar of those million men plus the trumpets blaring all went up at one time and Joshua said, “the city shall be doomed by the Lord to destruction…” That’s going to happen to this world when our Joshua comes back. “…and all who are in it.

Only Rahab…” Oh, remember her? “Only Rahab the harlot shall live…” She’s mentioned in chapter two. “…she and all who are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent.” And he goes on to say, “you, by all means keep yourselves from the accursed things, lest you become accursed…” This will be part of our study next week. Verse 20, “So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets. And it happened when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout,” the earth rent with the sound, “that the wall fell down flat. Then the people went up into the city, every man straight before him,” in other words, the wall just fell down flat and they could just go right into the city. You can expect the people in the city had no fight left in them. Their nerves were probably a wreck watching this and then the shout and the walls coming down. You’d probably figure “Look, I’m doomed.” There will be no fight in the lost when Jesus comes either. “And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, ox and sheep and donkey, with the edge of the sword.” It was annihilated and what’s going to happen to all in the world who are not saved? Isn’t it going to be a complete destruction?

I have a moment here before we’re done. Let me read a little archeology about Jericho. I was at the ancient city of Jericho and it’s a true story. They know right where it was. It’s one of the oldest cities in the world. “Throughout the last century,” and this is a report by archeologists that’s found in Answers in Genesis. “Throughout the last century no less than four separate excavation teams have found remains of a collapsed mud brick wall at the base of a stone retaining wall. Scholars now agree that the wall fell down, but they differ on the date. Bryant Wood and other highly regarded archeologists date the destruction of the wall at the time of Joshua, about 1400 BC.” That would be accurate, probably about 1406. “Interestingly, at the north end,” now Rahab was going to survive. All of the wall fell it said except Rahab’s house which means that one section of the wall survived. Oh, here’s a picture on the screen I want to show you of Jericho and archeology.

When they did excavations evidently it had two walls, a big bulwark, a ramp of earth, and very high walls and you can get a little perspective there from the size of the people of what that might have looked like. At the north end of the wall, at the tell, that means the hill of Jericho archeologists made some astounding discoveries that seem to relate to Rahab. “The German excavation of 1907 through 1909 found that the north part of the wall, the stretch of lower city, the wall did not fall as everywhere else. A portion of the mud brick wall was still standing.” Isn’t that interesting? One section was still standing. I don’t have time to read all of this to you. It says according to the Bible in Joshua 6 that they burnt the city with fire.

They found when they excavated ancient Jericho the ashes were three feet thick. Furthermore they found their jars were still full of grain. It was not a siege where the people had time to eat their food. It must have been during the harvest. Their jars were still full of grain and the walls all fell down flat completely around the city. You can read more about this online. It’s a very interesting study. I like what Joshua says here. We’re back in chapter six. He says, “Now the city shall be doomed… to destruction” except for Rahab. And then it goes on. He says to the young men in verse 22, “Go into the harlot's house, and from there bring out the woman and all that she has, as you swore to her.” It’s not talking about her possessions. What was the all that she had? Her family. The people. “And the young men who had been spies went in and brought out Rahab, her father, her mother, her brothers, and all that she had. So they brought out all her relatives and left them outside the camp of Israel.” So they’re out there in the desert. “And they burned the city and all that was in it with fire.” What’s going to happen to this world when our Joshua comes?

The elements will melt with fervent heat and the earth and the things that are in it will be what? Burned up. But Rahab and everyone in her house is spared. You know what I think is a great story? “Joshua spared,” verse 25, “Rahab the harlot, her father's household, and all that she had. So she dwells in Israel to this day, because she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.” This is a beautiful story. Rahab is something like Mary. Mary had a bad reputation and yet she found grace from Jesus and she ends up being the first one to view the resurrection. She invites Jesus, she was the sister of Martha and Lazarus, and they invited Jesus into their home. Lazarus is resurrected. They’re all spared. There are some parallels there.

She ends up becoming a mother in Israel. She marries somebody. You know who I think she married? I think she married one of the spies because you could just picture it. Joshua says to the two spies, “Go find Rahab. You know what she looks like. I don’t know. You were there. Bring her out.” They bring her out and she’s out and she says, “Now what do I do?” “Well, I’ll try and help you out.” I think one of those spies, his name was Salmon, because the Bible says that Salmon married Rahab. The Bible says that. And they had a son whose name was Boaz and Boaz married Ruth and she had a son named Obed who then got married and had a son named Jesse who then had a son named David. Rahab ends up not only being a mother in Israel, she ends up being a mother of Christ. She becomes one of the ancestors of Jesus. Talk about a wonderful story of grace. This is a parallel of what’s happening in the last days. Our Joshua is going to come. Our Lord will descend from heaven with a trump, with a shout, the walls of Jericho are going to fall, Babylon is going to crumble. You notice it says that she was saved “out of” the destruction. “Babylon is fallen… come out of her, My people lest you receive of her plagues.” God is calling His children out of Babylon and there are so many parallels for the last days in this story that we can relate to. One of the most beautiful things is, if we just make God and His truth and His word central in our lives, whatever fortress the devil might have in your life those walls will crumble through the power of our Joshua, and He can give you the victory, friends.

We are soldiers on our way to the Promised Land. That’s good news and all things are possible even though it may look hopeless at times if we put our trust in our general. Do you want to do that, friends? The house of Rahab can still stand if we believe in Jesus and we put Him before us. I had this one picture of Rahab’s house still intact. There you’ve got it. See the little red cloth in the window when everything fell? Your house will stand. Do you know what I like? Before you turn to your closing hymn look at this: Psalm 91:7. Rahab had everyone around her perish, but she survived. “A thousand may fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; But it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes shall you look, And see the reward of the wicked. Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your habitation, No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling…” You can be secure in this world when Jesus comes like Rahab was on the wall if you’ve got that red ribbon in your window. Amen? That’s good news. And you know what it says, “she and her household.”

How many times in the Bible did Paul and Silas said to the jailor, “You and your house will be saved if you believe. Lydia and her house were saved. You by your example of putting Jesus first will have a saving influence on your home and your children before the age of accountability are saved by the influence of the believing parents. It’s not only important for you to believe to be saved, but for those for your household around you. Amen? You know I thought it would be great to sing this song “Sound the Battle Cry” 614. Go ahead and reach for your hymnals 614. Listen to the words and do me a favor. Joel, I like the way you play. I don’t want this to be played like a dirge, friends. This is a marching song. I want to hear you sing. I’ve made up my mind. I want Central to sing a new way. So let’s sing this the way it was written to be a song of praise. You’ll even notice the words hosanna in here as we sing. Let’s stand together.

Sound the battle cry! See, the foe is nigh; Raise the standard high for the Lord; Gird your armor on, stand firm every one; Rest your cause upon His holy Word. Rouse, then, soldiers, rally round the banner, Ready, steady, pass the word along; Onward, forward, shout aloud Hosanna! Christ is Captain of the mighty throng.

Okay. You can do better. When you get to the part “shout aloud Hosanna!” I want you to raise your voice just a little louder when you get to that word. Okay? Let’s try that. Verse two.

Strong to meet the foe, marching on we go, While our cause we know, must prevail; Shield and banner bright, gleaming in the light, Battling for the right we ne’er can fail. Rouse, then, soldiers, rally round the banner, Ready, steady, pass the word along; Onward, forward, shout aloud Hosanna! Christ is Captain of the mighty throng.

Amen. Before we sing the last verse, I want to give some of you an opportunity to respond to this message. This is a story a subject in the Bible about victory. Some of you maybe have the devil has a fortress in your life and you’re wondering how do I overcome these bulwarks. There’s something that has been an obstacle to the Promised Land for me, and through Joshua and through the word of God you can gain the victory. That’s how Jesus did it when the devil came. Maybe you have some special need for prayer and you’d like to come to the front and just ask for that power of praise that will send the enemy running and believe! We’ll have special prayer for you. Come as we sing the last verse. Sing with our hearts.

O! Thou God of all, hear us when we call, Help us one and all by Thy grace; When the battle’s done, and the vict’ry’s won, May we wear the crown before Thy face. Rouse, then, soldiers, rally round the banner, Ready, steady, pass the word along; Onward, forward, shout aloud Hosanna! Christ is Captain of the mighty throng.

Can you say Amen? Go ahead and say Hosanna! Praise the Lord! I hope that that will bring some walls down in your life today and this week. Let’s pray together.

Father in heaven, oh what a wonderful story. Lord, we thank You and we praise You for the stories that encourage us of victory and conquest. We know that the victory followed consecration, Lord, and I pray that You will circumcise us in our hearts. Help us be tender in our conscience. Take away the stony hearts out of our flesh, Lord, and give us hearts of flesh. Embed, inscribe the new covenant on our minds. And then, Lord, I pray that we will claim that Passover blood over the doors of our lives and that we can be under the blood. Help us to humble ourselves and bow before you as Joshua did before Joshua that we might experience victory in our lives. May we surround ourselves with the word recognizing we are an army of kings and priests bearing the ark of the Lord, blowing the trumpet because Jesus is coming soon. Lord, some have come with special needs for special prayer, and I pray whatever the fortress that the devil might have in their life that You will bring the walls down and give them complete victory that the old fortifications of the enemy will be left with nothing but rubble and ashes and that we can move forward and take possession of the Promised Land. Lord, we know Jesus is coming soon. We want to be found in that house of Rahab and her family that has the covenant token. I pray that we can find deliverance when our Joshua comes. We know soon we’re going to hear that shout and that trumpet blast. I pray we’ll be faithful to do everything we can to bring others into this house of salvation to survive your coming. It’s in Christ’s name we pray. Amen.

God bless you, friends. I’ll bet you during the day you’re going to find yourself singing “Rouse, then, soldiers, rally round...” Isn’t that a great song? God bless you, friends. Following our service today some will be gathered here in the sanctuary for prayer. If you’d like to join them, you’re welcome. We want to remember this is a house of prayer.

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Lessons from Job (5 Part Series)

Lessons from Job (5 Part Series)
God's Promises




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