Key Themes / Verses: Joshua 1:3, 11; 23:6, 14
A SPIRITUAL WARFARE MANUAL
Key Word: POSSESSION. Joshua 1:11, 3, 5-7. Joshua compares to Ephesians, Acts, and Revelation. Overcoming the enemy and occupying the Land. God says, “Take it all.” Conflict and conquest go with possession. It is prophetic of Israel and a type of the church. The Israelites knew they were headed for war when they left Egypt, armed for battle (Exodus 13:18; Numbers 32:6).
FULL REDEMPTION: Salvation is not only redemption from hell (Egypt). It is redemption to heaven (Promised Land) Romans 4:25. The Christian today is given title to spiritual blessings (Romans 5:1-11; 8:37; 1 Corinthians 1:30; Galatians 5:22-23; Ephesians 1:3). The practical possession and experience of them depends upon conflict & conquest (1 Corinthians 9:25-27; 2 Corinthians 10:3-6; Galatians 5:25; Ephesians 6:10-20; Hebrews 4:11). They are attained never through flesh – always through power of the Holy Spirit in a yielded life (Romans 7 & 8).
THE PROMISED LAND: Replacement theology is an errant teaching that began with Origen (182-251 AD), who developed allegorical interpretations of Scripture. Replacement or New Israel theology teaches that God is finished with Israel and no longer has any obligation to the descendants of Abraham. In Origen’s allegorical system, when the text said, “Israel,” it meant “the Church” and not the Jews, so long as the promise or comment was good. If the promise or comment was not good, then “Israel” still meant “the Jews,” and not “the Church.” The Church is now the recipient of all the blessings promised to Israel (ironically not the curses!) This is an anti-Semitic teaching that is unbiblical (Romans 11:11, 17, 19, 23-24, 29).
Israel’s Ownership of Land is Unconditional (Genesis 12:7; 15:18-21; 17:8; Exodus 15:13-17; 23:27-33; Jeremiah 23:8; Ezekiel 37:21). Israel’s Possession of the Land is Conditional (Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20). Notice the key word is not victory. God gets the victory. Israel gets deliverance & possession. Adam was told to fill the land and subjugate (kabash) it (Genesis 1:28), the same verb used in Joshua 18:1 as conqueror of the land.
1. Israel’s Free Title to the Land (Jeremiah 23:8; Ezekiel 37:21)
2. Extent of Promised Land (Joshua 1:4; Deuteronomy 11:24-25)
3. Did not Possess All (Joshua 13:1; Deuteronomy 4:1-2; 9:3-6; Not until Solomon, 500 years later, was this promise realized: 2 Chronicles 9:26)
4. Land Conquered & Available (Joshua 11:16)
5. Tribal, gradual occupation (Joshua 11:23; Numbers 36:7-9; Exodus 23:29-30)
Joshua was a great general, and his battle plans, campaigns, and execution are superb. His first target was Jericho, the power center. Then he headed straight up into the Judean highlands, home of Gibeon and Jerusalem and took the strategic places, then headed into the populated southwest lowlands toward Philistia. Then he headed due north to the Galilee and conquered Hazor and its allies (5:1; 9:1; 10:40; 11:1-3; 12:1-8). By this method, Joshua brought the power centers under his control. Great strategy, but Joshua was also following the routes of the journeys of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob through the Land. They had gone through it on faith. Now Joshua conquers it by that faith. The people of God came into their final inheritance, and will do so again.
THE PROMISED MAN – There is a strong emphasis at beginning and end of Joshua on being a servant. Joshua was obedient in 11:5 to the Lord’s command through Moses in 1:7. Joshua obeyed the order to bless and curse from Mounts Gerizim and Ebal (Deuteronomy 27:1ff; Joshua 8). Joshua established cities of refuge in obedience to Moses’ command (Deuteronomy 19; Joshua 20). Joshua destroyed the Anakim (Joshua 11:21) according to the command of Deuteronomy 9:1ff. God in turn was faithful to Joshua. God sent the hornet ahead of Israel (Deuteronomy 7:20; Joshua 24:12). God fought on Israel’s behalf (Joshua 10:14; 23:10) to fulfill the promise of Deuteronomy 3:22).
The book of Joshua begins with the death of Moses, the servant of the Lord, and Joshua, the minister to Moses (1:1). The book ends with the death of Joshua, the servant of the Lord (24:29). Judges, showing continuity, begins with the death of Joshua (Judges 1:1). The Apostle Paul follows that example introducing himself as Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus (Romans 1:1). The term servant of the Lord (eved Adonai) is used 22 times in the Hebrew Bible. Moses: 17 times; Joshua: 2 times; David: 2 times; Isaiah 22:19: 1 time. At each place there is a dead “servant of the Lord.” There was another servant of the Lord. He is not dead!IMPORTANCE OF THE WORD: The book of Joshua begins with importance of the Word of God, emphasizes it again at the beginning of the Southern Campaign, and ends emphasizing it (Joshua 1:8; 8:31-34; 23:6; 24:26; reflecting Deuteronomy 28:61; 29:20; 30:10; 31:25). Joshua is united around the importance of God’s Word. The words God used with Joshua in 1:7 are the same ones Joshua uses with Israel in 23:6, creating an envelope around the whole work.