Featured Items Ritchie Christian Media

Joshua the Son of Nun (6): A Figure of Christ

N Mellish, Stoke on Trent

The first thought regarding the way in which Joshua prefigures the Lord Jesus is in his name, for the Joshua of the Old Testament is the Jesus of the New. Both names mean "Jehovah the Saviour" and Joshua actually has the name of "Jesus" given to him in Hebrews 4.8.

We find that victory was given to the first Joshua as this was also accomplished by the Lord Jesus. It was a mighty act to see Joshua moving by the will of God putting the enemy to flight. The Lord Jesus also moved according to the will of God and set aside all that was against us. It is evident in Hebrews 2.14 that the Lord puts to nought Satan's power and, as we have written before, He also destroyed the principalities and powers that once controlled the believer when "he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it" (Col 2.15), that is, in the cross.

Both were associated with Egypt, Joshua was born there and suffered in the brick kilns under the task masters, because Pharaoh assumed that the Israelites would rise up against him. The Lord was taken to Egypt by Joseph who had been warned in a dream of the evil of Herod, who sought to remove what he saw as a threat to his throne. It is interesting that dreams only occur in one of the Gospels, in the book of Matthew, and is in keeping with this book being written to the Jews. Of the six dreams recorded, the first is to preserve the mother in ch.1, the others to preserve the Lord. The last dream, in 27.19, is given to Pilate's wife, who suffered a nightmare whilst she was daydreaming. I suppose she turned over in bed when Pilate rose at the request of the Jewish hierarchy, and it was then that the Lord spoke to her in the dream.

Both succeeded the Law. The Law could not bring Israel into the Promised Land, and to this end Moses has to be removed from the scene. We know it was the grace of God that eventually gave them the land for there were occasions in the wilderness when the Lord would have terminated them as a nation because of their failure to keep the law. We thank our God that when the Lord Jesus came this was an appearance of grace. The book of Titus reveals: "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men" (2.11), and John writes in his Gospel: "for the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ" (1.17).

Another remarkable comparison is that both began their ministry at Jordan, and it was from here that they glorified God. Joshua saw the waters parting before him as he moved into the land to face the enemy. As far as he and the people were concerned the wilderness was behind them, the enemy was in front of them, and he was going to thrust that enemy out of the land that God had given to the people of Israel. It is from Jordan that the Lord moved into the wilderness to "enter the strong man's house and spoil his goods" (Mt 12.29). He must first bind the strong man. This is what the Christ of God did in the wilderness. If He bound the devil in the wilderness as we have seen, He destroyed him at the cross. Once the strong man was bound the Lord commenced His ministry of recovery for those who had been held captive by the devil at his will, and as Israel wondered at the great signs that were done by Jehovah (Josh 24.17). So John records the signs that were wrought by the hand of the Lord.

It was from Jordan that Joshua took twelve stones to be a witness of the wonders of the power of God that had brought them through these waters, and they were to testify of all that the Lord had accomplished for them. So it was that the Lord Jesus also took twelve disciples who were to be witnesses of all that He accomplished in His ministry here. These twelve were to be brought into the mind of the Father as to who the Lord was. The first epistle of John (1.1-2) sets forth that this was the purpose of their call. The realisation of who the Lord Jesus is was declared in Matthew 16 when Peter made the great confession that He was "the Christ, the Son of the living God" (v.16). This set aside all the thoughts of men who linked Him with mere mortal men. It was after this confession that the Lord could now instruct them regarding the Church (v.18), then the cross (v.21), and finally His coming (v.27). The Lord would speak of these men as being His witnesses of all that He had done (Lk 24.48).

It was from victory over the enemy that Joshua was able to divide to Israel their inheritance in the land, and this is recorded from chapters 13 to 21. There can be no inheritance without first bringing the enemy to nought. It was only after the land was taken that Joshua could give the various tribes their portion. Is this not so with the Lord Jesus? In the epistle to the Hebrews chapter 2 sets forth the day when He will fulfil the will of God that was revealed in Genesis 1.26, that a man would govern the world. The first man though crowned with glory and honour failed to hold the world for God, and instead of all being under his feet "now we see not yet all things put under him" (Heb 2.8). How thankful we ought to be, for in v.9 we see the second man who was crowned with glory and honour to recover what the first man lost because of sin. The sin that had entered into the world must be dealt with and this could only be done as the Lord Jesus "taste(d) death for every man" (v.9). Some would say "for every thing", but this is not necessary as Romans 8.19-22 makes abundantly clear. When Adam sinned it did not affect the creation, we find a fallen man in an un-fallen world. It was God that cursed the creation for the sake of man, but He put a hope into creation that when man was recovered then the Lord would deliver the creation from its curse. Creation is looking for a recovered man and it was to this end that the Lord tasted death for every man. Well might Hebrews go on to state (2.10) that the Captain of our salvation has been made "perfect through sufferings". That is, there is nothing now can hinder the Lord from taking up universal government - all has been done to eradicate sin and recover men. Without this the Lord could not have taken up His place in Kingship.

Finally, we see that when Joshua had accomplished his work it was then that he was able to enter into his own possession in "Timnath-serah, which is in mount Ephraim, on the north side of the hill of Gaash" (Josh 24.30). So we find the Lord Jesus. When the work of redemption was complete it was then that God "raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places" (Eph 1.20), or, as the writer to the Hebrews puts it, "when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high" (1.3). As Joshua waits for the coming Kingdom hour, so the Lord Jesus sits in anticipation of the time when His enemies will be made His footstool.



Back issues are provided here as a free resource. To support production and to receive current editions of Believer's Magazine, please subscribe...

Print Edition

Digital Edition

Copyright © 2017 John Ritchie Ltd. Home