TEXT: JOSHUA 2:1-24
A STORY OF TWO GENERATIONS AND WHAT EACH REAPED BECAUSE OF THEIR ATTITUDE TOWARD GOD. ONE A PATHETIC GENERATION OF UN-BELIEVERS WHO, AFTER WITNESSING THE MIRACULOUS POWER OF GOD, FAILED THROUGH FEAR AND UNBELIEF, THUS BEING OVERTHROWN IN THE WILDERNESS ONLY TO HAVE BECOME AN EXAMPLE UNTO ALL WHO WALK CONTRARY TO THE LEADERSHIP OF THE HOLY SPIRIT (II Cor. 10:6-11, Hebrews 3:7-19). THE YOUNGER GENERATION, SEEING THE MISTAKE OF THE FIRST, PROSPERS GREATLY AND DOES THE IMPOSSIBLE. HOW DOES THE NATURAL CONQUERING OF JERICHO ON THE 7TH DAY APPLY SPIRITUALLY TO THE HOUR IN WHICH WE LIVE? WHAT DOES THE LONG BLAST OF THE RAMS HORN ON THAT 7TH DAY IMPLY?
Turn with me into Joshua 2, where today we are discussing the subject, “IT HAPPENED AT JERICHO”. Although this beautiful story is of a historical occurrence, I feel we should study and observe the pattern of it because just as certain things happened at Jericho, I feel we can expect certain things to happen in a similar manner for us. Even though these are natural occurrences which happened here at Jericho, still I believe our conditions and circumstances in later days will bring about God’s purpose, therefore, all of this study should be looked upon strictly from a spiritual significance.
For a basis of thought you should read Joshua 2:1-24. (1) And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went and came unto a harlots house, named Rahab and lodged there.” Since the fall of Jericho does not take place until chapter 6, it would be well worth the readers time to read those first six chapters.
CHARACTER STUDY – JOSHUA AND RAHAB
First off, let us take a quick run down on several characters found in verse 1, namely Joshua and RAHAB, who after this setting is also found mentioned in a number of places throughout the scriptures. Joshua was from the tribe of Ephraim, (Numbers 13:8). The Grecian form of his name was Jesus. (Acts 7:45) In that he led his people into the promised land he may have well been a prototype of his great successor the Lord Jesus who in turn will lead His own sheep into the promised land of glory.
Throughout the 40 years of wilderness wanderings Joshua had been a personal attendant to Moses having first been seen with Moses in the Mount, (Exodus 24:13). Also he was one of the twelve spies sent to spy out the land of Canaan, (Numbers 13:8-16). According to Josephus, the Jewish historian, Joshua was 85 when he succeeded Moses and died at the age of 110.
Israel, now with only a fragment of what one day will be the complete word of God, namely the first five books of Moses’ writings, had enough of an understanding as to what God wanted and expected out of them, however through unbelief the first generation after the giving of the Law at Mt. Sinai was unable to fulfill their obligations to Jehovah and all were destroyed in the desert this side of the promised land. Only two out of the first generation made it to the promised land for which they had been delivered to enjoy, not even that great servant Moses who longed for the sight of this promised land as it had been he who was ordained to lead between two and three million Israelites from slavery and servitude out of Egyptian bondage.
MOSES, GOD’S SERVANT REPRESENTS OLDER GENERATION
At the age of 120, his eyes not dimmed or his natural force abated, Moses, the aged servant of God, though never allowed to enter into his dream, the promised land, was kindly permitted by the Almighty to climb along to the height of Mt. Pisgah (today called Mt. Nebo), some 8 miles from the boundary line of the promised land (the Jordan River), to view that promised land upon which he would never be allowed to set foot (Numbers 20:11-12). From the top of Mt. Pisgah on a clear day one can see as far to the north as the snow capped peak of Mt. Hermon where Jesus was transfigured and where, strange enough, in a vision he (Moses) appeared with Elijah talking with Jesus, (Matthew 17:3). Somewhere on those lofty peaks of Mt. Pisgah, 8 miles east of the mouth of the Jordan River, Moses’ earthly journey ended. Moses could no doubt see the hills of Judaea and Galilee as well as Mt. Carmel where Elijah, some 500 years later would call fire down from heaven. It was here God lifted his soul into even a better land and buried his body. Of his sepulcher no man knows; undoubtedly he was removed from the reach of idolatry by Israel. (Deuteronomy 34:1-12)
APPROACHING JORDAN FOR CROSSING
The Jordan, being the boundary line for the promised land, is now ready to be crossed by Joshua and the new generation. In our story of Joshua 2, we note Joshua with his army of Israelites are now encamped just this side of the Jordan waiting word from his two spies who were already in the land gathering certain information for him, namely, WHAT IS THE REACTION OF THE PEOPLE OF JERICHO AND THROUGHOUT THE LAND OF CANAAN CONCERNING THIS NATION OF ISRAEL WHO ARE NOW READY TO MOVE INTO THE LAND TO TAKE THEIR FATHER ABRAHAM’S INHERITANCE! (Deuteronomy 34:1-5) Notice carefully verses 9-11 declared how the people of Jericho felt in their hearts about what happened at the Red Sea 40 years prior, as well as what happened to various kings along the route of Israel’s desert journey. Furthermore, RAHAB brings them up to the present hour informing these two spies who have entered her home how she is aware the Lord has given Israel the land and how the terror of Israel has fallen upon all the inhabitants of the land of Canaan and furthermore their hearts are faint because of what God has done for Israel. And last of all she asks for protection for herself and her family when Israel did conquer Jericho. (Joshua 2:12-21)
WOMAN OF FAITH
Briefly, let us take a quick look at this woman, RAHAB, who provided shelter to the two spies of Joshua. Informed by some outside source, RAHAB, along with all the people of the land are by no means ignorant of the miracles wrought by Almighty God in behalf of Israel within the past 40 years. Somehow through this she had become convinced Israel’s God was the true God – not Baal and Estar, the Babylonian gods of that period.
CANAANITE PRIESTESS PUBLIC PROSTITUTE
And upon meeting these spies she decided to risk her life by casting her lot with the people of Israel and their God. Although the scripture calls her a harlot, she may not have been altogether as bad as the word harlot today would imply. Recall she lived among a people whose morals were extremely low. Priestess’ of the Canaanite religion were always public prostitutes, therefore no doubt, her profession was considered by her own people among whom she lived as honorable and not such a disgraceful thing as the word would imply among us today. Three other places mention RAHAB in the scripture. According to Matthew 1:5, RAHAB married an Israelite named Salmon; I Chronicles 2:51, Caleb (one of the original 12 spies) had a son named Salmon – it is possible this is the same Salmon whom RAHAB married. If that be true, she married into a leading family of Israel and that could account for how she came to be within the ancestral line of Boaz, David and Christ! Furthermore, it is learned from Hebrews 11:31, that RAHAB is listed among the heros of faith of the old covenant. God certainly honored this Canaanite harlot’s choice in siding with Israel before the city fell. Perhaps her salvation was a reward for the kindness shown toward the spies which Joshua had sent into Jericho to get an account of the feeling of the people within the land before his invasion. It had been within RAHAB’s power to turn the two spies over to the king’s soldiers when word leaked out and reached the king’s ears that RAHAB was entertaining two strangers. Instead, she hid the spies pretending they had left her establishment, sending the king’s soldiers away on a false trail.
PART 1 – TWO SPIES GATHERING INFORMATION
Therefore, from the scriptures do we learn somewhat of our present setting. It is in the spring of the year and the river Jordan is by no means shallow as we shall later learn, because it is not the time of the year for the Jordan to be shallow, instead it is well out of its banks during the month of Abib, Israel’s first religious month of the year. And it is this time of year during the pass-over season God has chosen to take the people across the Jordan into the land of Canaan where no more than six miles away stands their first target, this fortified city of Jericho. From the walls of Jericho the river Jordan is in plain view where along its banks now encamps a nation of people who just recently buried all their dead of the older generation, except for Caleb and Joshua, and now await word from the two spies who are inside Jericho gathering certain information.
MEMORIES OF YOUNGER GENERATION AND HOW IT BENEFITTED THEM
Perhaps no generation ever carried the memories as does this entire new generation of Israelites who now, under the leadership of Joshua, is ready to cross the Jordan into the land of Canaan. A few days ago God Commissioned Israel, through Joshua, to prepare for the crossing saying, Now that my servant Moses is dead it is time to prepare the pass over the Jordan River. This they will do as soon as the report is brought back by the spies now gathering secret information in Jericho.
Why had Joshua only chosen to send two spies into the land when 40 years prior Moses had sent 12 to spy out the land, Joshua and Caleb being two of those spies? And had it not been for the good report Caleb and Joshua brought back out of the land they too would be as dead as the rest who all died in unbelief (an unpardonable sin). Yes, it is only because of this good report Joshua stands alive to direst Israel.
UNBELIEF OF PEOPLE AT KADESH-BARNEA
Turning back the pages of time 40 years we see Moses, along with perhaps 2½ or 3 million people camped at Kadesh-Barnea: Moses, having received the Law at Sinai planned to go directly from Sinai to Canaan, therefore, he journeyed straight to Kadesh, 150 miles north of Sinai, 50 miles south of Beersheba, the southern gateway into Canaan, intending to enter the land at once. However, his 12 spies, one from each tribe, returned from their scouting party with such a discouraging and frightening report, the people of Israel balked and refused to go any further and would have stoned Moses had it not been for the miraculous intervention of God. There they were within sight of the promised land and had reached a most crucial point of their journey and turned back! Caleb and Joshua, being the only spies out of the 12 who even encouraged the people to go forward, assuring the people God was with them regardless if the Israelite people did look like grasshoppers compared to the giants they saw and what if their cities were well fortified, that would be nothing compared to the power of God! Nevertheless, the people turned a deaf ear to their report, instead listening intently to the 10 spies who instructed the nation they would never be able to take the land! These two men were the only two out of approximately 600,000 men over 20 years old who were permitted to enter the land 40 years later while the others died in unbelief. Throughout the New Testament we are constantly reminded of the failures of this first generation, who died in unbelief. For instance, read John 6:27-49, Christ’s words were, your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness and are dead (eternally)!! (Hebrews 3:7-12)
TRIBES SELECT REPRESENTATIVE
At Kadesh-Barnea the men were selected to spy out the land of Canaan. Each tribe had been allowed to choose one man to represent them. This was so each tribe would have a voice in the matter and none would feel neglected. However, as we shall learn this was a grave mistake to give all the people a voice. Moses, no doubt, did not want any of the tribes to feel left out saying he was showing favoritism, however, 10 tribes definitely made a poor selection to represent them. Their choice of selection caused the first generation after the giving of the Law to die in unbelief and resulted in a 40 year wandering in the wilderness until the death of the first generation. The journey from Egypt to the promised land would not have required over 90 days at the most, however, because of Israel’s listening to the report of the spies and their refusal to enter into the land, it resulted in a wondering period of 40 years waiting until the present generation died off and a new generation would become old enough to take their place and go into the promised land, under a new leadership.
JOSHUA’S CHOICE OF ONLY TWO SPIES
It had been upon the evidence of what happened at Kadesh-Barnea 40 years ago that prompted Joshua to send only two spies into the land and not 12, when the hour arose that he was faced with the same ultimatum as Moses. This time each tribe was not given a voice in the matter, and since only the report of two spies had been inspiring and pleasing to God 40 years ago, only two spies are now chosen to cross the Jordan and enter Jericho to gather information for Israel.
Looking back through 40 years from our present setting gives us a better understanding as to why this new generation is now camped on this side of the Jordan River in sight of Jericho ready to enter the promised land given to Abraham their father by Almighty God in Genesis 12. Jericho is certainly not ignorant of the presence of these millions camped at Jordan. They know all about what happened at the Red Sea along with their wilderness journeying for 40 years, and because of what they know it has produced great fear in Jericho and throughout the land of Canaan concerning these people who had the Red Sea to open before their path; who has since then never gone into any town to buy either food or raiment and how had never known what it was to plant a garden or dig a well. HOW IS IT POSSIBLE TO FEED AND CLOTHE A NATION OF POSSIBLE 2 OR 3 MILLION PEOPLE? These and other reports are the things which terrify the idolatrous Baal worshipers of Jericho and various cities throughout Canaan.
NEW GENERATION REPRESENTS FULL BELIEF AND TRUST IN GOD
None, however, can be less ignorant of what all has happened these 40 years, although many were small children at the time, than is this new generation of Israelites now ready to cross Jordan into Canaan. Standing in Israel’s ranks under Joshua’s leadership are men and women who, not like their parents, full of unbelief, are now ready to take the land their parents could have easily taken 40 years ago. Men, who 40 years prior were young tots; women who now hold their own babies and are now ready to cross the Jordan River, were held by their mothers or led by the guiding hand of their parents as they crossed the Red Sea! These children now all grown into adulthood can still recall those fearful nights in Egyptian bondage when they did not know whether their parents would ever return home alive at night. Yes, within the minds of this new generation standing ready for the crossing, is that full unbroken story which relates a continual picture from the horrors of Egypt through the Red Sea and 40 long years of desert wandering because of disobedience. No, there is not a single thread missing in understanding, in responsibilities and decisions from the hour they left Egypt until their present hour, 40 years later. Many standing in those ranks now ready to cross the Jordan under a new leadership can well remember the terrible tragedy Egypt suffered at the Red Sea, the following day after Israel left Egypt under God’s leadership heading straight for the promised land which as of this time, 40 years later because of unbelief they still have not entered. They can easily recall how God did not choose to lead them by the way of the usual camel caravan route from Egypt to Canaan, instead God chose to lead them in a route which seemed utterly impossible, revealing to them it will be only God himself who can take them through and not their own initiative and might. Therefore, from this I can say it will not be what you and I think (about the scriptures) or what we feel we know nor will it be our power or ability which will get us through either, it will be nothing short of the grace of God! Nevertheless, within the grace of God there always comes that responsibility or obligation upon our part to be sure we remain in His will while we are attempting to walk with and obey God. Forty years ago, that older generation, which is now all dead because of unbelief, was then the parents and carried many of these who are now standing at the Jordan River in their arms as small children. They well remember that hour approaching the Red Sea when suddenly they looked back only to see that terrifying Egyptian Army in hot pursuit (somewhere around 1300 B.C.). Egypt at that time was the only nation known who could breed such swift horses as used to pull their chariots. They were known to be the swiftest horses in the world and here that Egyptian Army was dashing across the desert in hot pursuit with the finest of these military horses of the day. With Egypt they had been a standard of military pride and might and here stood, as the world would look upon it, a handful of helpless, bedraggled people. And what could they do against such military might and power? Israel having been in bondage so long had no weapons of defense – she was totally dependent upon the grace, mercy and power of Almighty God to preserve and sustain her from whatever situation that lay in her pathway. There they stood at the banks of the Red Sea! How foolish it must have looked for a man to lead between 2-3 million people in such a route as this. Moses moved his people out of Egypt by night, silently and swiftly in so much not even a dog barked nor a cry was made after the midnight hour when the death angel passed through Egypt striking all the first born, even Pharaoh himself suffered loss; through utter despair he had ordered the people out. Moses takes them from Goshen along with all their flocks and herds which numbered into the thousands. The route Moses chose to move this mass migration out of Egypt was toward the Sea of Reeds also called the Red Sea at a northern marshy place, south of the bitter lakes which are a geographical extension to the sea and today is the site of the Suez Canal. The land there was marshy and the waterway somewhat shallow, however not as shallow as one unbeliever of whom I heard trying to explain away the miracle of the Red Sea said Moses crossed at a spot where the water was only a few feet deep. Isn’t that amazing, that is even a far greater miracle seeing the entire Egyptian Army was drowned in such a small amount of water! Every kind of excuse has been offered to explain away the miraculous, well-timed wind God created that night to part the waters. Some Russian scientists recently explained that a meteorite coming into earth’s orbit did not burn itself out thus crashing into the Red Sea and causing this gigantic opening, splitting the waters which allowed the people to cross. Wouldn’t it be more simple just to believe the Bible and accept what the scripture says – God caused a strong wind to part the waters! Israel, with not one boat and with nothing materialistic with which to build a boat, stood at the sea – God had certainly not chosen to lead these people in a way natural or convenient. May I say, neither has God chosen to lead us in a way that looks natural or pleasing as far as man’s way is of looking at the thing. So often God chooses a way which appears completely foolish for a man to walk, yet He will allow him to make a decision by following Him through some truth which appears completely foolish or unnecessary to believe or accept. Nevertheless, here stood a people at the Red sea, mighty in number which had been beaten mistreated and poor. Yet in one sense they were not poor because the scripture declares only a few days prior to their leaving Egypt God had caused this same bedraggled people to find favor with many of the Egyptians and from the scriptural term they “borrowed” from the Egyptians.
ISRAELITES “BORROW” FROM EGYPTIANS
However, since they were never going to return I am more of the opinion their “borrowing” from the Egyptians was more or less in this sense – God had caused a certain class of Egyptians to show kindness toward the Israelites, especially after all the plagues etc., had fallen upon Egypt, they no doubt knew the Israelites were involved with them which caused the Egyptian people to want to do something good for them. Moreover, when the Israelites asked to “borrow”, I believe God had given Israel such favor with the people, it was more or less like, here is my savings, take it. Furthermore, we know from scripture it was a mixed multitude which left Egypt, meaning certain Egyptians left to follow Israel to the new land. When Israel left Egypt that night she took with her a great amount of Egyptian wealth. Therefore, I say why did they simply “borrow” something, knowing they would never return?
VICTORY AND DISASTER AT RED SEA
Standing at the banks of the Red Sea all that night we realize Israel was waiting for something to happen. Their fear was the army would take them back into captivity. However, they were waiting somehow to cross over when suddenly as daylight began to appear here came that mighty, powerful Egyptian Army. As Israel saw the dust from the advancing military chariots crossing the desert, they began to cry out and complain against Moses why he had done this to them! Naturally complaining against Moses they were complaining against God who was maneuvering the entire thing. This caused Moses after hearing the complaining Israelites, to lift his eyes to God and begin to cry out. God in turn told him to instruct the people to stand still and they would see the salvation (deliverance) of the Lord. What happened? First, God placed as a separation between the Israelites and Egyptian Army a pillar of cloud and fire whereby the Egyptians might not advance upon the camp of the Israelites. As night came the scripture says a strong east wind began to blow and when light came the next day God had parted the waters of the Red Sea. Never in the history of the world had such a phenomena happened! Stepping down into the sea on dry ground to walk across to the other side was all of Israel, her domestic animals etc., while on both sides of them stood a quivering wall of water! By the time the Hebrews reached this place for crossing, Pharaoh, whose heart God had once again hardened, changed his mind and decided he didn’t want to loose all these Israelite slaves, thus he sent his army out to bring them back. However, according to the scripture, the army never quite overtook them. As Pharaoh’s men attempted to pursue the Israelites across the Red Sea, the wind ceased and the water surged back like a flash flood. In the swirling waters of the sea the Egyptians and their horses were submerged and drowned.
MEMORIES OF WHAT CAUSES OLDER GENERATION
TO MISS GOD SPURS YOUNGER GENERATION
Now forty years later a new generation of Israelites are camped at the Jordan waiting instructions from their new leader, Joshua, to cross into the promised land. Many of these were mere children that unforgettable day when an entire nation stepped down into the bottom of the Red Sea and walked across on dry ground! What an impression that must have left upon their little minds as they watched that gigantic opening within the sea. Such an indelible impression was stamped upon their minds they would carry it to their graves. The psalmist described it as “the sea saw it and fled before them” (Psalms 114:3). Yes, many of these standing by the Jordan, 40 years ago well remember seeing dead Egyptians floating to the surface of the Red Sea; many no doubt recall hearing their parents murmuring and complaining against Moses as to why had he brought them out to the sea, saying it would have been better had he left them in Egypt to die. They remembered the complaining and grumbling of their parents; they remembered the unbelief which caused them to miss the promised land; they remembered seeing thousands dying as they were being bitten by serpents and Moses erecting a brass serpent upon a pole instructing the people to look upon it and be healed. In their minds there wasn’t a single thread missing of that story of 40 years ago which caused their parents to die in unbelief, never entering the land. Being children 20 years and under had caused them not to be responsible for the attitude and decision of the adults which were made in their journeyings. Therefore, all these experiences caused this new generation to be a far wiser generation in their trusting God because of what they had seen and heard, and moreover they definitely intended to prosper from the mistakes of the older generation. This event which happened at the Red Sea, I am sure, went down in history as the greatest defeat Egypt ever suffered although perhaps never recorded in Egyptian history because they certainly would not want to face the shame of such a defeat.
INFORMERS AT JERICHO
According to Joshua 2:10, who do you suppose informed all the people of Canaan, especially Jericho, about the disaster at the Red Sea and how God worked in behalf of the Israelites? Certainly not the Egyptians who were ashamed of such a defeat, and not the Israelites who were never permitted to cross over because of unbelief: therefore, it must have been the camel caravans traveling from place to place in those days who carried those stories of such an unforgettable and frightening nature. I imagine all through the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness just waiting for the first generation to die off, Israel encountered many such caravans coming across those very same desert sands and no doubt the Red Sea had washed up many an object only to be buried in the sands, later to be discovered as signs of what happened at the Red Sea. No doubt over the years it had become quite a tourist attraction for many of the caravans to filter through the sands and dig up items revealing the great defeat in that hour. Man is much the same today, he still has that curiosity to investigate such things. Those boys and girls who then were under 20 years of age could never forget how those waters looked as they came crashing down on those frightened, screaming, terrified horsemen and horses which reared backward while chariots overturned and spilled their occupants into the swirling angry waters, nor could they forget seeing the rubbish drift to the surface and float off. I imagine many night in their tents those children talked about such things. I am relating all this to show you what was in their minds and these experiences resulted in this younger generation being a wiser, more obedient generation to God’s word than the previous one, as they stood ready to cross the Jordan 40 years later waiting for God to do exactly the same for them – to again open the waters!
That early generation slowly moved from the Red Sea up through the wilderness unto Mt. Sinai and on to Kadesh-Barnea where they were preparing to cross over into the land of Canaan. However before crossing, Israel sent 12 spies to spy out the land, the people, the industrial, military, agricultural and scientifical standpoint and anything else which affect their cultural life. I have a definite reason for brining all this in as you will later see. Note, 40 years later after God has maneuvered the children of Israel through their desert wandering and the last of the old generation has died off, He now moves the new generation up to the Jordan River in view of the greatest fortified city throughout all the land of Canaan; militarily, economically, and scientifically this gentile city was the greatest, BUT IT IS GOING TO FALL! And how will the fall of Jericho apply to our day and hour? This we must later examine!
ARCHEOLOGISTS DESCRIBE JERICHO “OLDEST CITY KNOWN”
In has been well over 500 years since Abraham walked in this same land and it is not strange not once in Genesis do we find Abraham ever dwelling around or mentioning this city, yet it was very much a city even in his day. As a matter of fact, recent archeological discoveries made while digging around the old foundations of fallen Jericho show signs of civilizations reaching much farther back than just the period of destruction of Old Jericho, around 1400 B.C. Now they determined from new evidence discovered this could well be the oldest known city in the world! Recall, when the 12 spies ventured throughout the land 40 days investigating it, they returned with the same report as they were told coming out of Egypt; that it was a land flowing with milk and honey; it was a land filled with all kind of sweet things. Moses, after leaving Egypt, the Red Sea and Mt. Sinai, progressed slowly through the southern deserts of the Sinai peninsula. Making their laborious journey to be northward through the rugged highlands east of the Dead Sea, at last they were poised, ready to infiltrate the pasture lands and wooded hills which lay invitingly open to Israel between the fortified walled cities of Canaan. However blocking their pathway into this green pasture flowing with milk and honey of the promised land was the River Jordan, and between the river and the fertile valleys of the west lay that fortified city of Jericho; that ancient city which even during that hour was undoubtedly one of the oldest occupied cities in that part of the world. Although Jericho is 825 feet below sea level, as one would have viewed the city from the Jordan, it appears to be standing on a high plateau backed by towering cliffs. From a distance it looked green carrying a fragrant smell, and because of its good water supply the fields and groves of balsam were under intensive cultivation.
JERICHO’S LOCATION AND STRATEGIC IMPORTANCE
Jericho’s location was strategically important as it domineered the Jordan crossing, on the direct East-West route which ran from Chaldea up the Euphrates through the Arabian Desert; crossed the King’s Highway at Petra and ended in the North-South coastal route along the Mediterranean from Sidon and Tyre to Egypt. Jericho, with its striving commerce was situated on a high plateau, well watered through irrigation. Its rich soil abundantly grew vegetables, grapes, grains, figs, dates and the famous balsam tree which from it was produced an aromatic resinous substance (sometime now used medically in cough syrups, etc.). Furthermore, it served to sweeten the stench laden air of the cities in that day. In short, we can say Jericho was the prize of the gentiles. Yes, the spies thrilled the hearts of Israel in describing the lands as truly a land flowing with milk and honey, nevertheless, ten of the spies had more to add to their report which produced a far different attitude within the people. Those people there said the spies, make us look like grasshoppers they are so large! They also have great walled cities, the like of which we have never seen before, you see, they had spied Jericho and the sight of Jericho frightened them. But what Israel did not know was the inhabitants of this land were terrified of them. How often God tries our faith only to see if we are willing to walk with Him or will we lean on the arm of flesh and then begin searching for an easy way out. Beloved, remember this, if God has promised He will do a certain thing, it matters not how impossible it may look according to the law of reason, God will do it! God had promised them the land, He would not have wavered in His promise, however when the 12 returned after having spied the land for 40 days only 2 came with a good report, Caleb and Joshua.
A NIGHT OF DECISION AND WHAT IT COST
WHAT A NIGHT THAT WAS IN THE CAMP OF ISRAEL AS THE REPORT OF THE TEN SPIES CIRCULATES THROUGHOUT THE VAST CAMP OF ISRAEL. Laying there in the tents that night many of them scarred from beatings received from the whips of hard taskmasters in Egypt. How often had they been knocked down and left to die in some slime pit as they were compelled to make brick! For some reason they seemed to have forgotten all those miserable days very quickly because now they are making a great decision and that decision must be reached on the basis of what someone has seen! That something is a report delivered by ten men which overnight turned the camp of Israel at Kadesh-Barnea into nothing but a frightened, confused, grumbling mess. The longer they talked the more confused and frightened they became. Finding so much fault with their present situation they finally declared in despair; WOULD TO GOD WE HAD STAYED IN EGYPT AND DIED THERE! MOSES BRINGS US OUT HERE TO FALL BY THE SWORD, etc. And like us, so often, little did they realize all their murmuring and complaining that night was being registered in heaven and by morning God declared – THIS GENERATION IS NOT GOING OVER!
OLDER GENERATION DIES IN UNBELIEF
We are only refreshing your memory on a story perhaps you already know, how God told Moses that first generation which had been out of Egypt only a few months would be required to wander aimlessly throughout the desert 40 years until the old generation perished and the only ones permitted to go over would be those 20 years and under, which naturally included the babies for it had been the older generation, not the children, who grumbled and complained. You led us out in the desert for our babies to die with no decent memorial! However, I want you to notice God was going to reverse this thing. He was going to permit the young ones to live and go over into the land but cause the old ones to die off in the desert. God did just this, and beloved, once God has spoken such a thing it cannot be changed under any circumstances. Although not permitted to enter the land, I want you to note for 40 years that old generation continued to enjoy the manna which fell from heaven and never knew what it was for 40 years to wear out shoes or clothing.
CURSED GENERATION ALSO ENJOYS BENEFITS OF GOD
Think of it friends, today with all of the modern technology we are unable to make clothing as durable as that! Many may say, that is too much to believe, that is one account I can’t accept in the scriptures. Beloved, it we can’t accept that we might as well throw the entire book in the ditch! Israel for 40 years never had a tailor shop nor shoe cobbler shop. After the experience of Kadesh-Barnea, Israel began that long period of wilderness wandering of uncertainty. God is now going to keep them out in the middle of all these desert sand dunes and hot rocks with nothing for company but scrub brush as they drift and wander from place to place, seeing nothing day after day but hot blistering sun and burning desert sand and barren bleached rock when they could have been inside the land feasting on the riches and goodness of God He had promised to them. Oh yes, there was another miracle Paul spoke which went with them for 40 years, A ROCK! From that ROCK, they, their children, their cattle and everything drank from it (Numbers 20:8) yet they continued to wander aimlessly on in the hot burning desert with seldom a shade tree in sight. Had they obeyed God they would have been sitting under shade trees in the promised land, but now their only comfortable shade would be from a sheep or goat skin. Once in a while a calf would die or a curse would fall upon Israel claiming the lives of many thousands (I Corinthians 10:8) yet wherever they wandered, they mourned and buried their dead. No, there wasn’t any certain burial place in the desert; no markers to mark the graves yet the younger generation who stands at the Jordan ready to move into the promised land can no doubt recall every location of every graveyard wherein they buried dad, mother, uncle and aunts as well as they can recall the day they stepped into the Red Sea walking on dry ground.
NEW GENERATION BELIEVERS
Beloved, this new generation standing ready for marching orders to cross the Jordan was not a generation which doubted and had to be destroyed as was that older generation which the Lord moved out of the land of Egypt only to have to destroy because of unbelief (Jude 5). No sir, this was s new generation which laid hold to the promise of God, and as they stood on the other side of Jordan they were fully aware it was the grace of God which would take them across. No doubt about it, this new generation had certainly been put through the mill. Just think, many of them had come all the way from Egypt; many had slid down the banks of the Red Sea and climbed out on the other side; many could easily recall seeing those terrified Egyptians disappearing beneath the great wall of water as their screams were silenced by the roar of tons of water. I imagine they had spent many nights with these events fresh in their minds as they drifted off to sleep, and for 40 years they had been forced to wander realizing in their hearts they were wandering because Dad and Mother had grumbled and complained and found disfavor with God. Yes, in this younger generations’ heart they knew the day would come they would see that promised land. However, it would not be until the old crowd was dead! Nevertheless, this older generation still drank from that same ROCK as did the younger generation (I Corinthians 10:1-5) and ate the same manna, but through it all it had not changed their attitude nor their mind in the least nor had it changed God’s mind concerning their destiny. God said to the older generation – YOU WILL WANDER UNTIL EVERYONE OF YOU DIE!
Many times God brings people to a point of decision and there is a place in making that decision if you grumble and complain too much, after that it isn’t going to do you one bit of good to entreat God because as these Israelites found out, it wouldn’t work! You don’t change the mind of God, once He has offered something to you and you fail in it, then you just don’t change God’s mind.
YOUNGER GENERATION PREPARES FOR CROSSING
As this new generation stood there that day watching those two spies cross the Jordan and go trudging toward that great city, Jericho, they knew why they were going and they began making the necessary preparations. Every woman was making preparations concerning her children and her tent; every man knew he was a soldier and now he has a far different attitude and outlook concerning the whole thing than did that of his dad or his uncle 40 years prior. All they had encountered had shaped their lives, the Red Sea experience, crossing the hot burning, blistering sands of the desert, etc.. (When Israel’s army went through that Sinai desert with armored tanks in her 6 day war, 1967, one report of how they handled their captured prisoners (when there would be so many) was this, not wanting to kill off part of the prisoners whereby only a few soldiers could handle them, they made the Egyptians take off their belts and shoes. They wear loose trousers. Watch the psychology of this. When you are standing on hot sand with no shoes and no belt to hold up hour loose trousers, you aren’t going to cause much trouble). Israel in that hot blistering sand of the Sinai had buried their fathers, mothers and family and though unmarked they knew where they all lay, however in times to come all traces would be destroyed.
NEW GENERATION REQUIRES NEW LEADERSHIP
Picking up our story 40 years later, the older generation is dead. A new group (new blood) has come on the scene. Moses, God’s servant, has gone off the scene as well as Miriam and Aaron. For this new generation it will require a complete new leadership although they still have the same commission; they still have the same goal and objective as when they left Egypt! Yes, they still have the same God who spoke to them, only now they have an obstacle in the way. (Jericho) However this obstacle looks somewhat different to this new generation than did it to the older crowd. Two men are out spying the land. Recall, 40 years ago they had all waited at Kadesh-Barnea quite a ways down the river, no where near that large metropolitan city of Jericho, doing exactly the same thing they were now doing, waiting for a report! However, the spies this time had been sent out from this new generation and it is not from Kadesh-Barnea but from just across the river of Jordan in sight of Jericho, the very strong-hold of the Canaanite, the city which the 10 spies looked upon 40 years ago and declared could not be taken.
Therefore, notice God has brought this new generation face to face with the very ultimate of impossibility! It is very strange, is it not, these two spies were not told to go spy out all the land as they were 40 years ago! No, they were told only to go spy out Jericho! In other words, they know we are coming so just go in and find out what they think about the whole situation. Israel is encamped by the river making preparations to cross in just a few days. God is setting this beautiful scene in motion. Two men have crossed the river late in the evening and walked in through the gates of Jericho, the very pride of the gentile Canaanites (such as would New York, Chicago, Berlin, Paris, Montreal and Rome of our day). This was the metropolitan city of the Canaanites and these two spies have just walked in the gates. WHY? To listen, to hear what is being said. Beloved, this new generation is going to take the land and note, they are going to begin with the toughest city first; they are going to the hard place first! Nevertheless, there is a great test that lies here for this new generation.
STORIES HEARD IN MARKET PLACE
What kind of stories do you suppose these spies heard in the market places and streets? For 40 years every kind of weird story imaginable had come to Jericho concerning that mysterious nation of wandering Israelites who left Egypt 40 years ago. No doubt the spies overheard such reports as; they never plant a garden, they never go to a grocery store and there are millions out there! How do they live? Oh, so many things they had heard! They are in the desert but never dig a well! How on earth do they survive? Someone said, I hear they all drink from a ROCK! A ROCK, YOU MUST BE CRAZY! Some say they live off the grace of their God! Yes sir, those people living in metropolitan Jericho no doubt had received every caravan passing through or returning from countries round about and these Camel caravans had picked up stories as they had traveled through the desert of how that little nation could exist. How could a desert supply enough for millions? IMPOSSIBLE! Oh sure, at times they died like flies and they left big graveyards here and there, however they never left any signs of having planted a garden; they never appeared in a town to buy groceries or clothing; they never dug a well for water and each morning they always had manna for food and a ROCK went constantly with them. These Canaanite simply couldn’t understand how anyone could exist that long-surely somewhere at sometime they would run out of something! (Deuteronomy 8:1-10)
THE ONE PERSON GOD PERMITTED SPIES TO CONTACT
These spies had come into Jericho for one purpose, to spy out the city and look the situation over. While doing this they came in contact with Rahab, the harlot. Now, in the eyes of all logical reasoning this was a very foolish person for God to allow them to meet, an ill-famed woman of the street. In our day she would have had the worst reputation of anyone in town, nevertheless she happened to be the very one they met! During their conversation she began to tell them of the things they had heard concerning the children of Israel. The report of what happened at the Red Sea 40 years ago. Recall, Jericho was not too far from the Red Sea. Who had given this report? Certainly no Israelite had been there to tell the story nor would an Egyptian have told of such a crushing defeat for them! How else could Jericho have heard these reports except by the passing caravans and brother, I don’t believe these reports stopped at Jericho but went all the way to Chaldea of what God did at the Red Sea. No doubt as these Canaanites at Jericho listened to the stories their hearts continually melted within them for fear! They also had heard of the terrible destruction of the Ammorite kings Sihon and Og, and their hearts became more faint for this was reaching closer to home. Each report that came to Jericho was brining the Israelites closer. WHY? Because the 40 years of wandering was coming to an end. It wasn’t until the very ending of that period that God took Moses, Aaron and Miriam. The old leadership which had weathered the storm had been taken home! And now beloved, God has brought it to another place and equipped it with new blood and new strength!
TERROR 40 YEARS YET ISRAEL UNAWARE
There in Rahab the harlot’s home she begins to inform the spies how well the inhabitants of Jericho know what had happened the past 40 years and how it brought terror to the city. These two spies had no idea what God was going to do, they only knew they were here on a mission and were to report all these findings back to Joshua, who in turn would set the battle plans in order. As these two spies were being informed the gate watchers began to spread word around that Jericho had a couple of strangers in town. When this news reached the king he called in his forces instructing them to find the strangers. News reached Rahab’s house just in time for her to hide the spies. She told the soldiers a couple of men had come to her house and left although she had no idea who they were, but they could possibly overtake them if they would go quickly. Rahab certainly covered for the spies. She had hid them on the roof until the soldiers left in search of the strangers. Returning to the rooftop listen to what Rahab says, we know your Lord has sent you here and we also know you are coming into our land. We have heard how He promised you when you were in Egypt He was going to give you this land and we know our days are numbered. SHE KNEW IT! Rahab was a part of this city. She well remembered from a child those stories concerning those people and she knew the day had come that this people of Israel, who had wandered in the desert for 40 years, were now ready to occupy the land.
Beloved, is that not true spiritually speaking concerning this message. Sure there are some bad stories which have attached themselves to this message, that is in the way people do with what they hear, stories which have filtered through denominational people causing them to say they want no part of this message. By no means am I justifying the argument or confusion about it. I am defending the objective that is within this message! God would not justify the grumbling, complaining of the old crowd, no sir, but He certainly will justify the loyalty, ability and faith of this little bunch that had the same commission, the same vision and the same goal which was given to them in their hearts by God. They had the same story the old ones had, however this new group just saw things a little different! They saw everything the old ones saw because there were those now 50-60 years old who were teenagers when they walked out of Egypt when they heard the ram’s horn and Israel began to line up and stream out of Egypt toward the Red Sea. Now that new generation is camped just across the river in sight of Jericho; in sight of the strong-hold of the Canaanites, and if ever there was built a strong fortress this was it! Abraham never mentioned anything about Jericho although he did about Hebron, Bethel and Salem, yet God has caused this new generation to camp just across the river.
RAHAB HIDES SPIES AND RECEIVES SALVATION
Rahab warned the spies to go into the hills. I have seen those old archeological diggings of the old Jericho. Just about ½ mile behind old, ancient Jericho stands a mountain called today the Mt. Of Temptation. It was behind that mountain (history says) Jesus went to be tempted of the devil at the end of 40 days fasting. Throughout that chain of mountains are little honey-combed caves and it was there Rahab told the spies to flee and stay for three days before leaving. By that time the soldiers would have given up the search. She advised them of this route because if they crossed the lowlands to the river they would be spotted. Rahab’s house was built into the wall, therefore she lowered them down out side the wall through the window by a cord. As they were leaving Rahab asked the spies to promise to remember her and her household when they came into the land. They instructed Rahab when they should come into the land to gather all her kin in her house and hang the same scarlet cord out the window which she used to help them escape and all the Israelites would know it was the home of the one who sheltered the spies and they would be spared. However, if she should tell this to anyone she was as good as dead, she would NOT BE SPARED.
I believe the thing that made those two spies return to camp rejoicing was all the people within the city were terrified. THAT WAS THE REPORT THEY WANTED TO HEAR! Certainly they also saw those great gigantic walls of the city, however these two spies never said, how are we ever going to get over the thing; we haven’t a latter nor is there any tree; how could we ever get our entire army over those walls. Through it all they felt God knew exactly what He was doing. The one thing they discovered, JERICHO WAS FRIGHTENED! They did not have courage for anything and that feeling is not only in Jericho but everywhere up and down the length and breadth of the land, THEY ARE ALL AFRAID OF ISRAEL! They were in that condition 40 years ago although Israel did not know it!
GENTILES STILL FEAR ISRAEL
That is the way they still are over there today, beloved. I don’t say that disrespectful toward any race of people, I only state it in the light of God’s word. GOD IS STILL WITH ISRAEL. Why, because it is through that race of people God is intending to fulfill certain prophecy for this earth, therefore these statements are made in respect to God’s word.
PART 2 – WHERE JOSHUA PLACES MINISTRY IS IMPORTANT
Returning to camp, the two spies enthusiastically reported their findings to Joshua, THE PEOPLE OF JERICHO ARE AFRAID, THEY HAVE NO COURAGE! Chapter 3 informs us the order of Israel’s crossing the Jordan. My, this crossing of the Jordan was quite different from that at the Red Sea. Since that crossing Israel had been given the Law which was written upon the two tablets of stone and carried in a box called The Ark of the Covenant which had a lid on it and golden rings on each side whereby a pole could be inserted and the box could be carried on the shoulders of priests (or ministry). Recall, Moses did not have that when they crossed the Red Sea. Nevertheless, Joshua does, and now he informs this new ministry or the (new) priests they are to bear this ark of the covenant. Now watch carefully, when the time comes for crossing, Joshua made sure there would be a certain interval of distance between the ministry who bore the ark and the congregation of the people. The purpose was once the priests stepped into the water carrying the Ark of the Covenant, which contained the Law on the tablets of stone, there would be a pillar of smoke hover over the Ark day and night wherever the box was. As the priests moved out the distance was maintained between the ranks of people and the priests which enabled everyone of the huge multitude, from the rear to the front, to see exactly the route taken by the priests, whereas if the priests were jammed right in front of the people, only those close up would be able to see which way the box went and those on the end of the line would only be FOLLOWING THE CROWD. That beloved has quite a meaning.
ARRANGEMENT OF PEOPLE BEHIND MINISTRY AND WHY
The distance God placed between those priests carrying the box and the people themselves allowed those in the very rear ranks to see the route the box was taking. This arrangement let him know he was not just following something because the crowd was; he could see the box, he could see the Shekinah Glory; he could see the same body of priests (or ministry) as did those in the front ranks. I want you to know as they prepared for the crossing this was just as thrilling and adventuresome to those Israelites of the new generation as it ever was to that old generation, seeing they neither had bridges, boats or barges available. On the opposite side of the Jordan (6 miles) in sight lay the huge fortified city of Jericho, all illuminated by the rising of the sun. Beloved, as that early morning sun rises over the valley on the camp of the Israelites that morning they were to make their glorious crossing, I can see every camel packed for the crossing; every ordained priest who is to carry the box stoops over and places it upon their shoulders. Oh, what a sight to behold, THE MINISTRY STANDING IN THEIR PROPER RANKS and the sound of a rams horn is heard throughout the camp to MOVE OUT and a cheer goes up throughout the entire Israelite camp. For days they have waited for this event and upon hearing the report of the two spies that Jericho is in terror because of them they are ready to move. The priests step forward to the water, recall, this move came in the month Abib, the spring of the year when Mt. Nebo sent her melting snow down into the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan’s banks are overflowing as the waters rush on toward that Salt Sea. God let them cross, not in the dry summertime when the Jordan would be shallow in places, no sir, He let them cross when the Jordan was in full blast. No sooner did those priest’s feet (those carrying the Ark of the Covenant) hit the water, WATCH WHAT HAPPENED! (Joshua 3:13-17)
JORDAN CEASES FLOWING
We believe it happened because it is Bible history, yet to these people it was an experience which made them jump up and down along the bank. Suddenly when those priest’s feet hit the water the Jordan stopped flowing! (Psalms 114:3) Some magnetic force had stopped that river right there while the rest of the waters below them kept flowing down to the Salt Sea. After awhile dry rocks began to appear on the bottom, and beloved this sight sent a chill and a thrill throughout the entire host of Israel. WHY? Because they could remember when as young boys and girls a strong wind once blew all night and they watched the mighty Red Sea divide, and here they are seeing rocks becoming bleached and dry as the sun shines directly upon them.
JERICHO AND REACTION TO STOPPED WATER
Some 6 miles from the Jordan the same sun was rising upon a city from which the two spies had escaped after gathering information for Joshua. Watching from the wall towers the guards in Jericho saw what was happening! They had been closely observing the people. Looking at it from a military standpoint, in Jericho every soldier on that wall knew that group of people wasn’t camped across the Jordan for nothing. No doubt the guards have been doubled and all reserves were alerted for standby duty! I can imagine those nervous soldiers walking from post to post saying, WHAT ARE THEY UP TO? The reports of what had happened 40 years ago had never died down. Now they, like Pharaoh, are about to experience something. As the sun rose higher in the heavens the entire valley was bathed in light and with the atmosphere perfectly clear there wasn’t a single obstacle to hinder or block the view which God has ordained for this new generation. I can see high on the walls of Jericho walks the guards protecting a city built so impregnable that the Canaanites thought there wasn’t anything that could take it, (now they are not so confident). Considering Jericho was built upon a high plateau, the tops of those massive walls possible reached 150-200 feet into the air, certainly it provided them with a marvelous view. I can see these watchful guards as they nervously walked their post and continually file their reports back down to the officers in charge, who in turn keeps the king informed.
When that great eventful morning took place and those priests set foot into the Jordan River and the waters began to roll back you can rest assured the hearts of those guards observing from the high walls of Jericho were pounding with fear. Beloved, the minute those guards spotted the waters of the Jordan backing up, I can see them as their hearts melts within them for the scripture declares Israel crossed in sight of Jericho. In Israel you have never seen such excitement as they simply could not contain themselves, and yet they had the very commission of God to follow His leadership as did the older generation. Along the walls of Jericho brother the story was different. I want you to know that guard didn’t just casually say, Officer of the day, guess what? Sir, you won’t believe this, but it is the truth, the Jordan River just stopped flowing. NO SIR, that was not the way he reported it at all. When this phenomena happened I can see those guards rushing around asking what was going on? With fear and trembling voices they shouted, THE JORDAN ISN’T RUNNING! THE WATERS HAVE STOPPED FLOWING! Below the divided waters, it continued flowing on toward the Salt Sea and up and down the Jordan those rocks began to shine and it wasn’t long until they began to dry off as the wall of water simply continued to stand there. Those poor frightened guards began to run from post to post as the city now calls in the reserves – MAN THE TOWERS!! The city of Jericho was shaken as it had never been before, LOCK THE GATES, BAR THEM! As those priests stepped into the swelling Jordan waters and stood there, Israel crossed over. No, there wasn’t a strong east wind blowing, just some men standing in the water carrying a box. Whoever heard of such a ridiculous thing.
Looked silly didn’t it, but it worked, and on the walls of Jericho guards watched those men step into the water with a box on their shoulders AND SAW THAT RIVER STOP FLOWING. Every guard was now posted, all reserves called out as the report began to circulate among the terrified people of Jericho – THE JORDAN HAS STOPPED FLOWING! YOU DON’T MEAN IT, OH MY, WE ARE DONE FOR! I am dramatizing it, but I want you to know as those guards stood there on the wall sending the report down no doubt the king sent special runners throughout Jericho to warn the people, because when Israel had fully crossed over the report had gone throughout the Canaanite city and also the land of Ammorites that THE JORDAN HAD STOPPED FLOWING! The report had to come from Jericho as this was the point of crossing. The crossing took hours, long enough for Jericho to sound the alarm, call out all their guards and soldiers, secure the gates, etc.
RAHAB JUSTIFIED BY WORKS – JAMES 2:25
What about Rahab the harlot whom the spies had promised protection, what was she doing? I can see her saying to her kin, they are on their way, come on if you want to be saved. It is time to get under the protection of God’s grace. When the Jordan stopped flowing the entire city was alerted and recalling what happened to Pharaoh’s Army 40 years ago, knew what was in store for them.
12 MEN, 12 STONES
That evening as the sun was setting, all Israel was now safely on the west side of Jordan in the Land. As the last of the Israelites crossed over, Joshua instructed twelve men to return into the Jordan and take up the best stones and set up an altar to the Lord in the Jordan which would be a memorial to the generations that should follow. The wise counselors of Israel declared: “He who sees the spot on the Jordan, where Israel crossed, is bound to offer up thanks to God.”
TWO CROSSINGS IN SAME MONTHS AND WHAT IT MEANS
Is it not strange that Israel’s new generation crosses the Jordan River in the same month as that of the older generation when they came out of Egypt (Abib). This lets me know that God gave to this younger generation the same promise He gave to the older generation 40 years prior. In a sense, He is going to give this new generation the same kind of experience or protection He gave the older group. Yes, they have the very same God to move away every obstacle before them the older generation had. Although it should be noted here five days after Israel crossed Jordan the manna which had followed them throughout their desert journey ceased falling and now they must eat the fruit of the promised land.
Try to visualize the turmoil and terror God has now allowed Jericho to encounter as word reaches them the Jordan was dried up! It literally frightened the entire land. Fear which has possessed them for 40 years has now suddenly had a revival. Those guards standing awestruck and dumbfounded upon the wall witnessed a sight which could never be erased from their memories as they watched the Jordan cease flowing. Just think, beloved, when a soldier has been trained to be brave in the face of the enemy and sees something like this he knows it is something he can’t cope with. Sure, he may stand unmoveable and face an oncoming chariot charging against him, that is something in the natural realm. However, when he witnesses water dividing and standing upright, that is something his spirit can’t cope with, he knows that is coming from some power of the supernatural and he has not been trained to deal with the supernatural. Therefore, with a trembling, frightened voice, from his position on the high wall he gives out such an alarming sound it further terrifies the city causing their hearts to melt that much more within them. Reserves are called in, but what good can they do. Their hearts have melted also! This report the scripture says went throughout all the Ammorite camp and over all the cities up and down the sea coast. In short, it terrified the entire land.
REPORT SAME AS 40 YEARS AGO
Isn’t this pathetic! What had already happened 40 years ago had already terrified the inhabitants of the land, yet these twelve spies said the land could not be taken. We look like grasshoppers in their sight! Oh, had Israel only known, grasshoppers nothing! It was Israel God had made to look like giants into these people. Note, these giant size people were in the land 40 years later and this new generation had to face the same thing their parents faced, however, experience had taught them regardless to the obstacles the grace of God was on their side. They carry the same commission, the same vision, and the same objective as did that of the older generation. Now they have a job to do and an obligation to fulfill, they have a loyalty to uphold and their hour for action has come.
Note, Israel, having fully crossed the Jordan, seems now in no hurry to attack and destroy Jericho. The fourth day has fully arrived in the promised land and the new generation is camped roughly three miles or half way between Jordan and Jericho at Gilgal, (Joshua 4:19, 5:10) It is here Israel keeps the annual passover. Recall, it is also here God sent His invisible army (angels) to insure or encourage Joshua (5:13-15). Furthermore, it is here on the fifth day the manna which has followed them through the desert ceases, Joshua 5:12.
FALL OF JERICHO – CHAPTER 6
God has brought them into the land to face what militarily would be thought AN IMPOSSIBILITY, yet He is going to take the impossible and reduce it to nothing. This miracle alone furnishes Israel with enough courage and confidence they do not stop until all the land has been taken from the Canaanites. The day approaches when God Himself has plans to set the battle. His plan of attack is quite simple, no military strategy has ever been used like this. The walls of that city will fall before one arrow or one sword has been used. Jehovah tells Joshua His plan is to send seven priests with seven ram horns serving as trumpets along with those carrying the ark of the covenant to lead the possession around the city once each day for 7 days. No attack is to be made, instead they are simply to return to camp after this is accomplished. As you are making the trip around the city each day have the priests blow the ram’s horn. Furthermore, God told Joshua the host of people following the priests must remain in complete silence at all times.
For days the nervous guards along the high walls of the city have been on double duty with all reserves called in. Every move Israel had made has been observed in her camp 3 miles away. None around Jericho has had much sleep, just sitting, watching and impatiently waiting for days. This uncertainty alone is enough to work on the nerves of the Canaanites. The Israelite camp has been under constant surveillance, although no effort has been made in the camp to move any closer. Then one day the guards noticed some strange movement in the Israelite camp. Look, their priests are placing that strange box back on their shoulders again. We might say this is putting a revival in Israel’s soul while it is putting great fear and turmoil in the hearts of the Canaanites in Jericho. Their report comes from the wall, THEY ARE ON THE MOVE AGAIN! Beloved, I can see those priests begin to slowly move out, armed not with carnal weapons but armed only with Ram’s horns. As the camp of Israel is forming ranks it is here they begin to slowly ascend the slopes reaching up to the plateau where sits their massive target – THE CITY OF JERICHO. MAN YOUR STATIONS, is the cry of the alarm! Every man is on the wall at his post of duty with arrows drawn, however Israel remains, throughout their march around the city, just outside the reach of the range of the arrows. On the wall every man stood with his weapon in hand, his neck stretched like a turkey gobbler wondering which way they were going and what were they up too! From the natural standpoint this looked completely silly, an entire army following peculiarly dressed men carrying a box. Note, once Israel had completed their circle around the city, whose walls through excavations have proven to be approximately seven acres around, when the last man completed his round it no doubt had made a full circle.
THE 6 DAY MARCH THE SAME
Everything had been dead silent up to this point and it is only the priest who breaks that silence as they lift to their lips the ram horns, blowing a loud clear sound which of course brings fresh terror to Jericho for they believe this is a signal for an attack. Instead there is no attack, the marchers simply return to Gilgal, their camp. Back to camp and the sun set. The next morning the same thing is repeated, however, once again they did not attack only returned to camp as before. By the third day fear temporarily begins to leave the Canaanites and the soldiers may find this affair of marching around their city quite humorous, wondering just what they are going to do next. Little do they realize God is simply throwing them off guard as He lulls them to sleep. The next day the same procedure. Feeling now the Israelites will not attack, Jericho sees this more and more humorous. I imagine some began to say, look at that old fellow down there, isn’t he dressed strange! And they began to jest and make jokes. For the moment fear seems to have subsided a little with each passing day. Next day, the identical same march is repeated, always remaining out of firing range but by now Israel’s thousands of troops marching around the city have made quite a visible beaten path as they have marched day after day. No doubt from the inside the soldiers are beginning to feel, they are only trying to scare us, leave them alone they will go away. They know they can’t get in. The sun rises on the 6th day and the same procedure is repeated. None makes a sound, only the ram’s horn is sounded during the march. Why, they have been doing this six days and no one has gotten hurt, some of the officers in Jericho, may have said. Call off the reserves and let them get some sleep, after all we won’t need them. But oh, my, about the time those reserves were catching up on some much needed sleep the sun is ready to rise on the dreadful 7th morning, the day Jericho will sleep the sleep of death forever!
7TH DAY DIFFERENT FROM OTHER 6
The Israelite camp is up and ready before dawn. This is the morning Israel has long awaited. Today she must make seven trips around the city. As the sun rays breaks, the horizon that morning everyone is in ranks, the priests know exactly what to do, as well as does every man know his position. Arming themselves with their weapons as the entire valley is now well lit with sunlight and the priests take their position in front of the army to lead the way back to Jericho, inside Jericho most are slumbering and relaxing for no doubt they think this will just be another day for another march, they will hear the same old horns blasting away again.
7 TRIPS ON 7TH DAY
As those seven priests step out leading the march that will carry the army of Israel around the wall on their well beaten path 7 times today the first guard on the tower probably says, Look, it is the same old circle! But beloved something strange happened after they had made one complete circle, this time they did not return to camp but instead began marching around again. As they were making their second round those puzzled tower guards began to wonder, WHAT IS GOING ON NOW, USUALLY THEY ONLY MARCH ONCE A DAY! The second time round and they still did not return to camp. The third time around, the fourth time around, the fifth, and sixth time around the walls, in the heart of the Israelites they can hardly wait until the 7th time round. No doubt in the minds of the Canaanites, when are they going to stop this? Today every man in Israel has his sword, however Jericho doesn’t know that. Israel knows what is going on but Jericho is in the dark. Jericho is confused. God has completely thrown them off guard, she has been taken in by so many circles and her excitement has built again by the strange action of Israel and it causes their hearts to melt inside them. That is just the way God does things. He shakes you up, you are so confused, He takes you on a merry-go-round and when He turns you loose you don’t know what happened. Beloved, I see these priests as they start around the wall for the final trip.
Imagine what a peculiar sight this scene must have presented from the wall as day after day some 40,000 warriors and the rest of the host of Israel marched slowly, cautiously and silently following only priests, ram horns and a box! And with this they are going to tear down our wall? In this procedure was no siege machines to throw huge boulders; no tower or battering rams to bring down the wall; no ladders or hooks to be used to go over the wall; and above all, no noise other than the constant marching of feet. Occasionally the silence would be broken by those piercing shattering blasts of the ram horns which in itself brought cold fear as despair crept over them and their hearts grew faint.
THE 7TH ENCIRCLEMENT THE LONG BLAST
As they marched around that wall the 7th time and the last man has completed the circle, there the army of Israel stops with a complete circle all around the seven acres or so of the city, having now made seven complete circles around on the 7th day – THEY COME TO A COMPLETE STOP IN DEAD SILENCE! Suddenly the silence is broken by the blast of those ram’s horns and Joshua cries out to the people, Shout, for the Lord has given you the city! How God actually brought down the walls is really unimportant. Whether by earthquake tremors at just the precise moment or those vibrations from the victorious shouts of Israel’s host or some other miracle, the point is: through complete obedience of the ministry (or priesthood) the soldiers and people in general, those walls came flat down. (Joshua 6:20) So the people went into the city of luxury and evil and utterly destroyed every living thing saving only Rahab and her family.
WALLS COME FLAT DOWN
For a moment I would like to discuss this phrase, “the walls came flat down.” To do so we must use an archeological discovery of the noted Dr. John Garstang, director of the British School of Archeology in Jerusalem. In excavating the ruins of Old Jericho, 1929-36, Dr. Garstang and his trained staff found vivid evidence that the city had been destroyed some time around 1400 B.C., coinciding with Joshua’s period and, in a number of details, dug up evidence confirming the biblical account that the walls did fall down flat as declared in Joshua 6:20. The wall was double and the two walls being 15 ft. apart, showed the outer wall to have been 6 ft. thick while the inner wall was 12 ft. thick. Apparently the walls had been built on somewhat of a faulty, uneven foundation of brick 4 inches thick and 1-2 ft. long, lay in mud mortar. The two walls were linked together by houses built across the top, as scripture referred to Rahab’s house being on the wall. Dr. Garstang found the outer wall fell outward and down the hillside which naturally dragged with it the inner house. The evidence of the streak of bricks gradually getting thinner down the slope proves it fell in this angle. The foundation walls of the palace of the king (Joshua 2:2-3) was four courses of stone high, remain, tilted outward. The archeologist feels there are indications remaining to show it might have been an earthquake which brought down the wall. However, it is also interesting to note vibrations have been known to bring down well constructed objects. For instance, a similar incident happened (though on a much smaller scale) in Mayette, Kansas on Sunday, May 17, 1959, when the spectator bleachers at a rodeo collapsed suddenly as the people were leaving resulting in the death of one person and injuring 149 other people. The promoter stated the only explanation he could account for the collapse of the stands was THE RHYTHMATIC STEPS OF THE CROWD AS IT SHUFFLED TOWARD THE EXITS MAY HAVE STARTED THE STRUCTURE SWAYING UNTIL IT CRUMBLED.
Another point of interest I would like to touch on is, after Israel fulfilled Joshua 6:21 (destroying all the living) they burned the city with fire. Dr. Garstang found signs of the conflagration and destructions were very well marked. The archeologist found great layers of charcoal and ashes and walled ruins reddened by fire. The outer wall suffered most. Houses along the wall were burned to the ground. The area generally was covered with a dep layer of black burned debris, under which there were pockets of white ash overlaid with a layer of fallen reddish brick. In connection with verse 18, wherein Joshua instructed the people to keep themselves from the accursed things, “lest ye make yourselves a curse when you take of the accursed thing, and make the camp of Israel accursed and trouble it.” And you recall, Achan did not agree with this taking unto himself several items. After the army was stopped at Ai, it resulted in the death of he and his family.
The archeologist further discovered under the ashes and fallen walls a most interesting thing. In the ruins of storehouses was an abundance of foodstuff, wheat, barley, dates and lentils and such, turned to charcoal by intensive heat, untouched and uneaten. Evidence the conquerors refrained from confiscating the food.
Concerning the amazing prophecy of a curse pronounced upon anyone who ever would attempt to rebuild the city (verse 26), read I Kings 16:34. It is interesting to note that the New Testament Jericho is built approximately 1 mile south of the ruins of Old Jericho.
PART 3 – SPIRITUAL SIGNIFICANCE
Have you ever wondered what the significance of these seven ram horns are? Many times I have asked myself what do these seven ram horns signify? Israel as a nation we know did not have 7 ages or 7 dispensations in the sense the gentile church did, nevertheless, there was things represented about that city that applies strictly to our day. Furthermore, why did Israel march around the walls 7 times on the 7th day and then blow the horns? Last, why was the 7th day different from the other six, and what does it signify?
HEIGHT OF GENTILE ACHIEVEMENT
First, I want you to note this city of Jericho stood for the highest of man’s gentile achievements in that hour when Israel was coming into the land. For centuries of time that city was the gentile’s pride, their culture, their scientific achievements were all represented within that city’s structure. Their architecture was represented there; their material advantage and benefits were all represented within this city. Jericho was the capitol of the Canaanites. Their military might, all their growth, their progress, their achievements of whatever in human life that could be obtained in that hour was represented in that day.
As for modern culture Israel had little to offer having been in the wilderness. All they knew was THERE WAS A GOD LEADING THEM. They were minus that great military training of that hour. True, they had helped erect many of the great pyramids and sphinx over in the cities of Egypt, although you might say they were not great architects. But oh, brother, God had brought Israel face to face with the very might, the best the gentiles had to offer.
WHAT WAS FULLY REPRESENTED HERE WAS A FUTURE PICTURE OF THE GENTILE AGES WHEN ISRAEL WOULD ONCE AGAIN BE LED BACK INTO THAT LAND OUT OF ALL GENTILE NATIONS AFTER HAVING BEEN BROUGHT THROUGH ALL SERVITUDE AND IT WOULD ACTUALLY BE AT THAT TIME THEY WOULD SETTLE IN THAT LAND TO NEVER BE PLUCKED UP AGAIN. AND IT WOULD BE WHEN THE MIGHT OF THE GENTILES HAS COME TO ITS CONSUMMATION OR PEAK. WHEN WOULD THAT BE? ARE YOU LISTENING? THAT WOULD COME ABOUT ONLY AT THE END OF SEVEN GENTILE CHURCH AGES! THOSE SEVEN PRIESTS REPRESENTS SEVEN MESSAGES TO THE SEVEN GENTILE CHURCH AGES AND NOTE BELOVED, THE DESTRUCTION AND FALL OF THE PRIDE OF THE GENTILES WOULD NOT COME UNTIL THE MESSENGER OF THE 7TH CHURCH AGE PICKS UP THE ECHO OF ALL THOSE OTHER SIX MESSAGES AND ALL THIS CLIMAX WITHIN THIS 7TH MESSAGE. THAT 7TH MESSAGE HAS BEEN SOUNDED AND BLASTED. WHEN? AT THE CLOSING OF THE LAODICEAN CHURCH AGE AND IT WOULD BE AT THAT TIME (NOTE THIS) WHEN GOD WOULD DEAL WITH ISRAEL AS THE MIGHT OF THE GENTILES HAS REACHED ITS FRUITION. THE GENTILES ARE AT THEIR END. INTELLECTUALLY, SCIENTIFICALLY, AND MILITARILY!
U.S. PRIDE OF GENTILES, BUT LOOK AT HER FEAR
United States is supposed the greatest world power of any nation in the world, and is a perfect illustration of what we mean! We have been fighting in a little nation called Vietnam over 10 long years, 1961-1972. America has lost 45,884 lives with a total wounded of 303,475. South Vietnam reports lost 157,917 lives with approximately 417,167 wounded. The civilian population killed is estimated at 425,000 with an estimated 900,000 enemy troops killed, making a grand total of soldiers and civilians dead of 1,539,082. America alone has spent since 1964, $107.8 billion. An amount second only to that of World War II where she spent $664 billion. Here we are with the most modern weapons man has ever killed with, the best gunboats, the best fighter planes, radar equipment, etc., we have gone back and forth across Vietnam like a man losing a checker game, but like Jericho, we too are scared.
On the other hand you take the little nation Israel, give her a handful of obsolete guns and she will simply scare the daylights out of anything that gets in her way. I am not trying to debase us gentiles, but it is a fact. Beloved, we have run our course and that includes every gentile nation on the face of the earth; we have built our fortifications, our atomic and hydrogen bombs and now we are scared to death. What we have allowed to continue in Vietnam for 10 years is the proof of our fear. We built powerful battleships only to rust in mothballs; we built a gigantic air force and what do we do, we sit around and argue, fuss and stew, while Israel is pleased to get our obsoletes and with them, and the guidance of God, she modifies a little here and there and down in the Sinai she goes.
Face it, Israel has returned to the land, she has come out from gentile nations this time to be established in the land forever. When? At the time the gentiles have reached the time of their fruition.
This is a day the gentiles boast of having gone to the moon. AND WHEN DID IT HAPPEN? As seven church ages come to a close! God sent His 7th church age messenger and his message was not only for this hour, nor did it consists of something new just for this age – HE REACHED BACK INTO THE OTHER AGES AND PICKED UP THE FIRST (BLAST), AS WELL AS THE 2ND, 3rd , 4TH, 5TH AND 6TH (this covers the 7 gentile church ages) ALTHOUGH EACH AGE HAD THEIR MESSENGER, THE LAST MESSENGER BROUGHT THEM DOWN AND INCORPORATED ALL THESE MESSAGES (ram horn blasts) INTO HIS MESSAGE (blast) WHICH WAS THE LAST TO SOUND.
When did this message come to us? At the close of the 7th church age, and as it did it went around this earth, and I can see God reach out and strike the economical situation of the world. Beloved, as a nation, America is broke. Furthermore, every gentile nation is broke! DO YOU KNOW WHY? God has to do this in order to bring things to naught, to glorify Himself. If Israel had Uncle Sam’s military potential she wouldn’t need anyone to support her, she would be sitting in a position to laugh at the world! Why? Because God can take a handful of Israelites in an hour when it is time and God desires to do a certain thing, and do to the gentiles, through that little nation, that which resembles what He did to a group of Jerichoites – and their hearts melted (within themselves) when they saw the Jordan’s waters back up.
Now to finish our lesson, on that final 7th day, that same day Israel marched around Jericho 7 times and blew those ram horns a long blast just before that tremendous shout of victory came. This lets me know the sounding of all 7 church age messengers message throughout all the seven church ages would already become and already have been sounded before the shout. (I Thessalonians 4:16-17)
WHAT LONG BLAST ON THE 7TH DAY MEANT
The last one represented the work and ministry of the 7th messenger as he incorporated all the revelation of those other messengers into this last great and final blast which shook the foundation of this religious world as it has never before been shaken! You see, God didn’t just send a prophet to this 7th church age to fulfill Malachi 4:5 simply to have the people going around the world saying GOD SENT A PROPHET, GOD SENT A PROPHET, but the important thing is – WHAT DID THAT PROPHET SAY? WHAT WAS THE BLAST OF HIS (ram horn) MESSAGE. I am interested only in what he said, he said GET BACK TO THE WORD OF GOD! And when he said BACK TO THE WORD OF GOD, it is back to what the original (33 A.D.) pentecost was; it is back to what our early apostolic fathers Peter, James, John and etc. taught. Beloved, this message encompassed the message of each messenger and brought it all right back to the word and as that messenger to this 7th church age was sounding, I can see little Israel over there – the fright of the gentiles, the fright of the world! It appears the entire world is against her! And you know, beloved, God has to allow it to be that way.
In the early months of 1972, Israel was getting her greatest influx of tourist trade. In 1971, her tourist trade went up 40 percent over the year before. January was really starting heavy until that Lod Airport massacre came and it looked as though the tourist trade would slow down – that was one of the purposes of the massacre. By doing this it would scare off many gentiles who would not want to be caught in such a situation. It is a way of shutting off dollars of Israel’s tourist trade! God is using this trade to milk the gentiles dry. Next there was that terrible, brutal thing at the Olympics.
We powerful nations won’t do anything about it but I know God will use that little nation to do something. You are not playing with a little kid, Israel might look like a small kid, nevertheless that little nation won’t take this sitting down. Before she is through someone will pay dearly!
When the 7th or last horn sounded after the circle had been completely united – oh, as that blast went up into the sky that morning, the earth began to tremble; those gigantic walls which had been built so impregnable by the architectural design of men who thought they knew how to do such a thing began to crumble! DOWN WENT THE WALLS! As it did, every man in that circle did a left flank and marched straight forward over that old crumbled wall of Jericho and slew everything in his path. May I say this, before Israel had marched around that city 7 times and even before the Jordan dried up, great fear had already possessed those poor Jerichoites, and once those walls did begin to tremble as that great shout went up, the earth began to tremble and the walls began to tremble and fall there simply wasn’t any courage whatsoever left within them. They were so frightened no doubt all they did was fall on their face. Over the walls with swords gleaming in the sunlight came the victorious fearless Israelites. GOD HAD BROUGHT THE GENTILE STRONGHOLD TO AN END!
As the victory report spread throughout the land, there was not an Ammorite nor Canaanite that was not full of fear. God did that to allow everyone to know HE WAS ON THE MOVE; HIS PEOPLE WAS ON THE MOVE! You will recall their next stop was Ai, that little city which they should have taken in an hour’s time, however, God did not let them capture Ai, because there was sin in the camp. It was a lesson well learned and after the problem was removed (stoning of Achan and family) the army moved on undefeated. When Israel was in the perfect will of God there wasn’t a tribe could stand against her or a city to stand in her way!
Beloved, this has been said to let you know there has been one powerful trumpet message sounded over this land. To me I can see the beautiful prophetical picture of things being unfolded, and looking at it from a spiritual standpoint I believe there has also been many people privileged in years go by to have entered into it and had they seen the true spiritual objective of God in the beginning they would have moved on with God. However, they did exactly like many of the older generation of Israelites did! There is a lot of fanaticism and by the time some people get through saying the prophet said this or that, THEY WERE COMPLETELY OUT OF THE BIBLE REVELATION OF TRUTH AND OVER IN A LAND OF FEAR AND UNBELIEF.
Beloved, may I say this in closing, if you ever intended to be anything for God; if you ever intended to truly walk in fellowship, victorious over your battles with the enemy, this message that the 7th church age messenger prophet uttered is that which can place you back on the true foundation of the Word and place within you the kind of faith whereby we can say with Paul – God hath not given us the spirit of fear (that which possessed the older generation causing them to die in the wilderness) but of power and of love and a sound mind! (II Timothy 1:7) This message shows us how to rightly divide the Bible and how to use this sword against the enemy without fear. No wonder for centuries of time the devil has sought to destroy the effectiveness of this book. If he can ever get you out of its revelation and into a tradition, cult, or creed, HE HAS YOU LICKED! If you have suffered this defeat, RETURN TO GOD’S WORD OF REVELATION WHEREBY YOU HAVE SOMETHING UPON WHICH TO STAND WITHOUT FEAR AND UNBELIEF!