JOSHUA – PREPARATIONS COMPLETED

JOSHUA
(4)        The Commander of the Lord Appears                  
Joshua, and his army, after crossing the Jordan was no doubt preoccupied with the tremendous task that was ahead “…saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand.” . Joshua, addressing this heavenly figure of a man asked “Are you for us or for our enemies?” Who was this man? Was it God or Christ in human form (theophany)? Was it an angel?
THEOPHANY
[the AHF ih knee]– any direct, visual manifestation of the presence of God.  The key word is visual, since God makes His presence and power known throughout the Bible in a variety of ways. But even in a theophany a person does not actually see God Himself. This is an impossibility, according to ; and . What a person sees are the effects of God’s unmediated presence. Theophanies proper are limited to the Old Testament. The most frequent visible manifestation of God’s presence in the Old Testament is the “Angel of the Lord.” Other theophanies are the burning bush , the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire , the cloud and fire of Sinai , and the cloud of the glory of the Lord . Theophanies are never given for their own sake, to satisfy a curiosity about God, but to convey some revelation or truth about Him. In the New Testament Jesus as the physical expression of God is a kind of theophany . But such is the uniqueness of His Incarnation that the word is not entirely appropriate.   The word theophany does not appear in the Bible.
(from Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary) (Copyright (C) 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)
ANGEL OF THE LORD
A mysterious messenger of God, sometimes described as the Lord Himself , but at other times as one sent by God. The Lord used this messenger to appear to human beings who otherwise would not be able to see Him and live . The Angel of the Lord performed actions associated with God, such as revelation, deliverance, and destruction; but he can be spoken of as distinct from God . This special relationship is a mystery similar to that between Jesus and God in the New Testament.
(from Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary) (Copyright (C) 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)
        
In response to Joshua’s question the man responded “…as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.” God was now going to fulfill His promise to Abraham, Isaac Jacob, and to Joshua when He said to him “…get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to…the Israelites” . It was God who promised the land and it is God who will give it to them , the sin of the Amorites had now reached its full measure and the commander of God’s army had now come. The sinful acts of Canaanite worship that included child sacrifice, idolatry, religious prostitution and divination had outlived the patience of a righteous God and now His judgment was about to be carried out, and He would be the commander of the forces against evil.
As Moses encountered God at his appointment as the one to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, so Joshua experienced a similar encounter, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” Not only was Joshua and his army about to be plunged into a physical battle for the land, they were also facing a spiritual battle for the minds and hearts of his people as they would experience the effects of the horrific sinful practices of the inhabitants of the land, and as God had warned Joshua, the same warning held true for the individual Israelite; “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” . As believers in God, we too face similar battles in the world today, for we are reminded by the apostle Paul that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” and we also need to obey the voice of our commander as revealed through His Word.

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