The Lord is a Warrior: Reading Joshua with Revelation and Revelation with Joshua

priestcolor-e1570208304330.jpgIn his illuminating book Gospel Typology in Joshua and Revelation: A Whore and Her Scarlet, Seven Trumpets Sound, A Great City Falls, [1] Warren Gage makes a sevenfold comparison between the books of Joshua and Revelation. In particular, he compares the destruction of Jericho to the destruction of Babylon. What follows is a summary (with biblical texts) of his observations.

The City of Jericho

 

·      Jericho, a city fortified by high walls stands in the way of Israel’s inheritance. (Deut. 9:1)

 

·      When this city is destroyed, Israel can take the land.

 

 

The City of Babylon

 

·      Babylon, a city whose sins reach to heaven, has stolen the inheritance of God’s people. (Rev. 18:5)

 

·      This city must be destroyed if Jesus and his people will inherit paradise (Rev. 21:1–5)

 

 

Joshua, Sun, and Stones

 

·      Joshua “makes” the sun stand still, as God listens to his voice (Josh. 10:12–14)

 

·      God throws down hailstones to destroy his enemies who stand against Joshua (Josh. 10:11)

 

Jesus, Sun, and Stones

 

·      Jesus gives light to earth, so that there is no night (Rev 21:23)

·      God will rain down hailstones (Rev. 16:19–21)

 

The Wealth of Jericho

 

·      Jericho was filled with silver and gold (Josh. 6:19; 7:21), bronze and iron (6:19), linen (2:6), scarlet (2:18).

 

·      The plunder Achan kept for himself was from Shinar (Josh. 7:21), which we know is associated with Babylon (Gen 10:10; 11:2, 9)

 

·      In Jericho lived a harlot with scarlet thread (Josh. 2:18)

 

·      The defeat of Jericho made the nations tremble with fear (9:1–3, 24; 10:1–4)

 

The Wealth of Babylon

 

·      Babylon was filled with material wealth—gold and silver, bronze, iron, linen, and scarlet (Rev. 18:12–13).

 

·      In Babylon lived a harlot with garments of scarlet and purple (Rev. 17:4).

 

·      The kings of the earth would tremble at Babylon’s fall (18:9–10).

 

Two Spies (Two Witnesses)

 

·      Two spies viewed the land and served as witnesses of the coming judgment.

 

·      The spies were threatened by the king of Jericho (2:1, 14)

·      The spies were saved from the king through burial under the flax seed.[2]

 

·      The harlot spared the life of the spies. And she does so by sending them into the hills for three days—a time stamp assoc. with death and resurrection.

 

 

Two Witnesses

 

·      Two witnesses are sent by God to testify to the coming judgment (11:3–12)

·      The wicked city (Jerusalem now) seeks to kill the witnesses (11:7)

·      They are delivered from death while everyone is looking on (11:12).

 

The Angel of the Lord: Commander of the Army

 

·      Joshua’s conquest of Jericho begins with a vision of the divine man (Josh. 5:13–15).

·      The people of Israel must be circumcised (sealed) before the battle (Josh. 5:2–9)

 

·      Joshua meets Joshua, the former a type of the latter. The latter is the LORD (Josh. 5:14–15; 6:2)

 

Jesus: Commander of the Army

 

·      Revelation begins with a vision of the True Joshua (Rev. 1:12–19)

·      The true Joshua is pictured in priestly glory and with a sword in his mouth (Rev. 1:16)

·      Jesus spoke to his church, calling them to purify themselves, in preparation for holy war (Rev. 2:1–3:22).

·      John fell before the feet of Joshua (Rev. 1:17).

·      Later, before the war began the saints of God are sealed on their forehead (Rev. 7:3; 14:1; 22:4)

 

 

 

Joshua’s Warfare: Seven Circles

 

·      Joshua led the campaign against Jericho.

·      The strategy of the war was a series of sevens—”He commanded the people to circle the city once a day for seven days and seven times upon the seventh day (Josh. 6:3–4). On the seventh day, Joshua arose early in the morning (Josh. 6:12). He caused the priests carrying the ark of the covenant to sound seven trumpets of judgment before the city.”[3]

 

·      At the seventh trumpet all the people shouted against the city (Josh. 6:8, 20).

 

·      Additionally, we should note the “telescopic” nature of the battle plan—the seven trumpets come on the seventh march on the seventh day. In order, the seven days/marches lead to seven marches on the seventh day, where the seven trumpets are finally blown.[4]

 

·      The walls fell at once (Josh. 6:20). All those who remained in Jericho were put to the sword, and the city was burned with fire (Josh. 6:21, 24).

 

Jesus’s Warfare: Cycles of Seven

 

·      Jesus leads the campaign against Babylon.

 

·      Jesus stood in the midst of seven churches; he opened seven seals (Rev. 5:1) and the judgment commenced with seven trumpets and seven plagues.

 

·      When the seventh trumpet sounded, there was a loud shout in heaven where the kingdom of God is declared to overcome or become the kingdom of man (Rev. 11:15).

 

·      The telescopic pattern of salvation in Joshua repeats in Revelation.[5]

 

·      The destruction of the wicked city happened in one hour (Rev. 18:2) and all the city was burned with fire (Rev. 18:8).

 

The Salvation of Rahab—a type of the Church

 

·      In the judgment upon Jericho, there was salvation—namely, Rahab the prostitute (Joshua 2). “Joshua saved Rahab” (Josh. 6:25)

·      The exodus theme was played out in her life, where she experienced a salvation much like that of Israel in Egypt (i.e., hiding in her home behind the scarlet cord).

·      Rahab the harlot was delivered along with all her house. She came out of the city in safety because she had obeyed the word of the two spies (6:25).

·      Through her faith, Rahab is grafted into the family of Israel’s Messiah. Matthew 1:5–16 records that she marries into the line of Judah and becomes an heir of the promise and a grandmother to the true Joshua.

 

·      Saved by Joshua the type, Rahab becomes a mother to the true Joshua.

 

The Salvation of the Church—a Prostitute Made Christ’s Bride

 

·      In the judgment upon Babylon, there was salvation. Namely, the people living in Babylon are given a chance to live— “Come out of her my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you partake of her plagues.” (18:4).

·      The exodus theme plays a prominent role in Revelation, where the people sing the song of Moses (Rev. 15:3)

·      And so some of those who had belonged to the harlot city were delivered from death, even those who had obeyed the word of the two witnesses.

·      The final result of the people being delivered from the world is a bride, made pure to marry the king of Judah (Rev. 19:6–9; 21:1–5).

 

So what do you think? Is there sufficient textual evidence for seeing Revelation as a book written to repeat the Joshua story at a higher level? I think so. And for that reason we should read Joshua in light of Revelation and Revelation with the military victory of Joshua in mind.

Truly, Christ is not simply the meek and mild Jesus. He is also a mighty warrior, the one come to save his people and destroy his enemies—the oppressors of his people. Truly, Jesus is a Warrior and one who now waging war against his enemies through the power of his sword—the word of God proclaimed with the power of the Spirit.

May we listen to his voice and proclaim his truth!

Soli Deo Gloria, ds

______________________________

[1] Gage, W. A. (2013). Gospel Typology in Joshua and Revelation: A Whore and Her Scarlet, Seven Trumpets Sound, A Great City Falls. Fort Lauderdale, FL: St. Andrews House.

[2] Gage makes the case later that the flax was well-known in Egypt as a cloth associated with death and burial. He writes, “Why does the text tell us that Rahab hid the spies under stalks of flax? Why do we need that detail? Wouldn’t it be sufficient for us to know that she hid the two men from the king’s police? Clearly something must be intended by such specific detail. Flax is bleached in the sun to make linen (cf. Isa 19:9), a fabric used in the ancient East (and especially Egypt) for burial garments. We are told that Rahab hid the spies under the flax, which itself is a metaphoric burial. Might it be that the additional detail that she hid them under the flax is intended by the author to prompt us to understand the emblematic nature of this hiding as a kind of burial?”

[3] Gage, W. A. (2013). Gospel Typology in Joshua and Revelation: A Whore and Her Scarlet, Seven Trumpets Sound, A Great City Falls. Fort Lauderdale, FL: St. Andrews House.

[4] Gage, Gospel Typology in Joshua in Revelation, “The Commander of the Host of the Lord directs the battle plan against the great city. Its distinctive character is the “telescopic” series of sevens: there are three series of sevens, the seventh march becoming seven more marches, and the seventh of those marches becoming seven blasting trumpets. The people march around the city once a day for seven days. Then on the seventh day, the people march around the city seven times. Then on the seventh march around the city, seven trumpets sound and the people shout, which causes the great city to fall. After Rahab and her household are delivered, the Great City is burned with fire (Josh 6:22, 24).”

[5] Gage, Gospel Typology in Joshua in Revelation, “In the war scroll of Revelation there are seven seals to be opened which initiate the great battle (Rev 6:1–8:2). The seventh seal becomes seven trumpets that sound (Rev 8:6–13). When the seventh trumpet sounds in Revelation, a great shout fills all heaven, saying, ‘The kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever!’ (Rev 11:15). After this shout Great Babylon falls (Rev 14:8; 16:19, 18:2). Seven vials of judgment are poured out on the Great City (Rev 16:1) before the righteous remnant in Babylon is delivered (Rev 18:4) and the Great City itself is burned with fire (Rev 18:9).”

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