Jesus Fights the Battle of Jericho (Joshua 5:10-15)

Jesus is the Captain of Our Salvation (Hebrews 2:10).  In the passage we’ll look at today (Joshua 5) the Captain of Our Salvation appears to Joshua as the new generation of Jews readies themselves to enter the Promised Land.

Jos 5:10  And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho.
Jos 5:11  And they did eat of the old corn of the land on the morrow after the passover, unleavened cakes, and parched corn in the selfsame day.
Jos 5:12  And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.
Jos 5:13  And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?
Jos 5:14  And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant?
Jos 5:15  And the captain of the LORD’S host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.

How do we know that this is Jesus who appears to Joshua? There are several reasons. For one, Joshua calls this man Lord and falls down and worships.  Earthly men do not lead the Lord’s armies.  The only man who deserves worship is Jesus.   Further, an angel would not have allowed Joshua to worship him.  Also, the Lord tells Joshua that the ground he is on is holy and the only thing that could have made that place holy is that the Lord Himself was there.  Finally, this is consistent with the overall role Jesus has in bringing about the Kingdom of God.  For example, in Revelation 19 we see Jesus in this role of leading the armies of God as Captain of the Host of the Lord. So it all fits together.

So why did Jesus come down from heaven for this event?   Paul makes it clear that Jesus had accompanied the children of Israel in the wilderness (1 Corinthians 10:4). It makes sense that He would continue to be with them to bring them finally into the Promised Land.  From this event all of the other events of God’s plan flowed – there would have been no Jerusalem, Nazareth or Bethlehem and the important events associated with these places if God’s plan for the Jews to occupy Canaan had been thwarted.  The Captain of our Salvation had to make sure that it happened as planned.

It is interesting that though Jesus assures Joshua that he is there as the Captain of the Lord’s Host, we don’t see Jesus take part in the battle for Jericho. The Jews themselves are seen fighting this battle (Joshua 6). So where was the Captain of the Host of the Lord during the battle for Jericho? He was leading the parallel battle that goes on in the spiritual realm.  The forces of Satan (Ephesians 6:12) would have been lined up against the Jews in this event. The spiritual battle had to be won in order for the earthly conquest of the Promised Land to happen as God had planned.

We get a glimpse of this parallel warfare in Daniel 10:13-21 (this was also Jesus who appeared to Daniel). There is evidently an ongoing conflict in the spiritual realm that influences the affairs of men. In Daniel the Prince of the Kingdom of Persia – evidently a fallen angel that had authority over the Kingdom of Persia in Satan’s worldly realm – was able to prevent Jesus from getting to Daniel to help him (and thus his people and all readers of the Bible) to understand an important prophesy concerning the latter days.  It is interesting that the Prince of the Kingdom of Persia was able to withstand Jesus for 21 days. Evidently this battle is closer and more evenly matched than we would think.  However, we know that in the end the Lord – the Captain of Our Salvation – prevails (Revelation).

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