Month 2:2, Week 1:1 (Rishon/Pesach), Year:Day 5939:32 AM|
Jericho March 2/7, Van Staden Count 2/14
2Exodus 2/40, Omer Count Sabbath #2/5
Gregorian Calendar Monday 20 April 2015
Bringing Rahab Home
Continued from Part 22
"Joshua, the son of Nun, sent two spies from Shittim. He sent them in secret. He said to them. 'Go. Look the land over. Most of all, check out Jericho" (Josh.2:1, NIV).
Common sense tells you that before you start a project, checking things out carefully and making plans pays dividends. Certainly no commander besieges a city without first finding out all he can about it, its inhabitants and the routines of its defending force in as much detail as possible. All armies possess scouts. In modern warfare drones are sent to take photographs. And if spies are available, these infiltrate and mingle inconspicuously and take detailed notes. The more challenging the target, the more investment of time and resources is needed.
Conquest by Military Parades
Was the work of the spies, in the end, even needed for a military operation that would turn out to be totally unconventional? In the end, knowledge of the strength and dispositions of Jericho's forces and the extent of the fortifications were totally irrelevent because no Israelite military power was even used, was it? In effect all that was required of Yahweh's forces was seven military parades. True, there was a mopping up operation to do after Yahweh had supernaturally destroyed the city's walls but one supposes the defenders were so confounded and demoralised after their city had come crashing down that little, if any, opposition was given. The work of despatching the defenders had to be carried out and was executed without the loss of a single Hebrew warrior.
Knowing in advance how many of the enemy there were could conceivably have been considered useful intelligence. However, Israel only had a fixed number of men anyway and since the whole army was ordered on parade, it wouldn't have made any difference in the end if they had mopped up not knowing any statistics whatsoever though perhaps prior knowledge would have been good for morale. But then this had been no ordinary military campaign. It was so bizzare, so unheard of in the annals of military warfare, that neither Jerichoite nor Israelite could have foreseen the result.
Not Knowing in Advance
Yahweh is the Elohim (God) of the expecting and of the unexpected. Things rarely turn out the way we have planned or hoped for but His plans always come to the divinely expected fruition. It is in the nature of emunah (faith) not to know the method, the process or the outcome in advance unless Yahweh should tell it prophetically in advance.
Headquarters: Acacia Grove
The true story of Jericho begins at a tiny place called Shittim on the east bank of the River Jordan. Those of you who were at Mishpachah Lev-Zion during the 16 days of Dedication will know what that is. The word means 'acacia', that small tree whose tough, knotty wood is close-grained and was valued for its durability. The geographical location would probably have been called something like 'Acacia Grove' - I doubt it was inhabited when the company of Israel first arrived and camped there, though who knows. It became their base of operations from which the spies were sent out prior to the miraculous crossing to Gilgal.
Acacia Wood in the Tabernacle
Yahweh majors in the details which often is unfortunately seen by us to be of little passing interest. But shittim (acacia) wood was a vital component of the Tabernacle. From it was made the gold-plated Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies (except the Mercy Seat), along with its staves (Ex.25:10,13). From it was made the gold-plated Table of Showbread (Ex.37:10), the gold-plated Altar of Incense (Ex.30:1; 37:25) in the Holy Place, the boards of the Tabernacle (Ex.26:15-37) and the brass-plated Altar of Burned Offering or 'Brazen Altar' in the Courtyard (Ex.38:1). Accacia was the living material component of the Tabernacle. Of all the furnishings of the Tabernacle, only the solid gold menorah and brass laver lacked it.
A Toughened Second Generation
Yahweh uses human beings for service in the Tabernacle but not any old human being. They are carefully selected, like the shittim wood because they have are tough and durable. Then he covers them with beaten gold and brass, providing them with a supernatural covering. Such were the second generation qodeshim (saints, set-apart ones) who were set-apart to take the city of Jericho. Born and bred in the wilderness of afflication, lacking the creature comforts of the cities that their parents had craved for even though they had been slaves, such were the men and women of that second generation of the First Exodus, and such must be the men and women of the second generation of the Second and Last Exodus whose second year we have only just entered. Each second generation was born for a task and raised under peculiar circmstances, unlike the rest of the world. To the world that is a dreadful thing but to the men and women of Yahweh, a great honour indeed and upon whom He bestows great blessings because the the sacrifices willingly made for it.
Of Priests and Soldiers
The Jericho action is marked both by a supernatural component and a human one. The supernatural takes care of the demonic strongholds, represented by the thick walls of the city. All the qodeshim (saints, set-apart ones) had to do in the original Jericho epic was, by human standards, weird and unpredicable. For six days they marched around blowing shofar's in precise formation - a divinely ordained tavnith (pattern), to be exact. Some of the fighting men marched in front of the column. Behind them were cohenim (priests) blowing shofar's, and behind them were the rest of the fighting men who formed a rear guard (Josh.6:3-5). Who are the fighting men of the Assemblies of Yahweh? The prayer warriors. Who are the cohenim (priests)? The congregational leaders and the leaders of households. What do the cohenim (priests) do? They blow the shofar's - they announce the Kingdom of our Messiah. None do what conventional soldiers do, their activity bespeaks the activity of the Divine Realm, not the natural.
Toughening the Remnant
On the seventh day, corresponding to the seventh annual festival of Sukkot (Tabernacles), the tavnith (pattern) changes. At this point we must mention the number of cohenim (priests) in the ranks. There are seven of them (Josh.6:8), each corresponding to one of the annual festivals. The order of Yahweh's business is always in sevens because seven is the number of completion and spiritual perfection. The whole object - the grand scheme of things - is the perfection of the shittim wood, the perfection of man, through spiritual toughening with a layer of first, brass and second, gold covering - first as servant metal and then as friendship metal. How do we become golden friends of the Messiah?
From Brass Servant to Golden Friend
"You are My friends if you do whatever I command you" (John 15:14, NKJV).
We don't start as Yah'shua's (Jesus')friends, though. That's a privilege that has to be earned through obedience. Brass comes before the gold:
"No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you" (John 15:15, NKJV).
On the seventh day of the Jericho March the troop, in strict tavnith (pattern), circle the city not once but seven times this time, just as we assemble for seven days on the seventh festival of Sukkot (Tabernacles). This time a much longer blast was blown by the cohenim (priests) on their shofar's - a much bolder proclamation was made announcing the city's doom - to then be accompanied by all the fighting men giving a deafening shout. What was that shout? It was a declaration of emunah - of faith - that Yahweh had already given them the city of Jericho just before He actually did. They had believed in the outcome before the fall of the walls and proved it by repeating the tavnith (pattern) march for six consecutive days without apparent result. Remember this emet (truth) well and then you will not be discouraged when the things you have been told will happen don't happen at once. Only on the seventh day, their emunah (faith) successfully competing for dominance over any doubting, was the promise fulfilled. On the actual seventh day are the promises fulfilled. But only after the entire tavnith (pattern) is repeated seven times. Do you think Yahweh is trying to teach us something there?
Bring Down the Strongholds
While the cohenim (priests) blow the shofar's proclaiming the Besorah (Gospel), the rest of the people - the prayer warriors, one and all, shout a large "AMEN!" The two sounds become echad (one) and together - their emunah (faith) combined - they bring down the strongholds of unbelief and, when the unbelivers attempt to stop them, the unbelievers themselves are stopped. For after Yahweh brought the walls down, He sent Israel's soldiers into the ruins to destroy everything and everyone that had not been set-apart, a picture of the Final Judgment of mankind surrounded by its own walls of self-protection and cleverness engineered by the flesh, but it is also a picture of the Mishpat Yahweh that has been pronounced on this penultimate generation.
Understanding This Year's Jericho March
This destruction is necessary for a reason, and for one reason only: when faithless, complicit and rebellious men set about with the materials of their own ingenuity to oppose the plans of Elohim (God) and refuse to yield and stand aside, they must be removed so the Kingdom can advance and all the truly repentant may be gathered. This cannot, and will not, be stopped. We are here, first and foremost, this year to bring down the fortifications of evil that are keeping the Remnant walled up against their will.
Which brings us to that strange picture of the Remnant itself - Rahab. She is an important ancestor in the Messianic Line that we spoke of yesterday. Yet looking at her you wouldn't think she was 'Remnant material', would you? She was a whore. But because she feared Yahweh and trusted in Him, she was delivered and appointed to a place of honour and glory. Her only qualification was obedient emunah (faith) - not any old kind of 'faith' - but saving emunah (faith). She was willing to put her life on the line in the midst of an entire hostile city of her own kinsmen. Like Ruth, she was willing to abandon them to their fate and be grafted into a new nation - Yahweh's own covenant nation. She was not of Israelite birth. She was a gentile, one of the nobles who became an Israelite by ingrafting. And once you are ingrafted, it doesn't matter what your origin was. No distinction is then made by blood for your lineage is Messiah - His son or daughter. It is emunah (faith) that counts, the emunah (faith) that leads to obedience.
Freeing the Remnant
Plainly we are called this year to wage war against powers and principalities that have imprisoned the Remnant. We are hear to shout down their prisons into rubble in Yah'shua's (Jesus') Name. You see, Jericho wasn't just about removing an obstacle in the path of the Nation of Israel as it took possession of the land given to them by Elohim (God) - they were also rescuing one of their own even if they didn't realise it at the time. The Remant comes in many unexpected shapes and sizes. Who knows how Rahab became what she was, how much was by choice and how much she was driven to it by force, or maybe even born into it? It doesn't really matter anyway - what matters is that she was an elect one but who would have guessed? Whilst her world collapsed around her as strange people and a strange language marched around her fortress-prison (who would deny that prostitution was the worst kind of bonage for a woman?), her home, with she and her family huddled up inside it, was supernaturally saved from the collapse. And when the Israelite soldiers broke through the walls, her home was left alone because of a mark that she had been instructed to leave behind so that the soldiers might identify her - a red cord.
Saved by the Red Cord
Rahab is us, one-time sinners of deep dye redeemed by grace. Who will deny that our backgrounds, one and all, are hardly a recommendation of merit? Rahab was saved by the oath the spies gave her and a red cord. What is that red cord a type of? The blood on the doorposts of the Israelites who 40 years before were saved from the malak (angel) of death on that First Pesach (Passover). Now the second generation had celebrated it for the first time in the Promised Land. We are saved by the promises of Elohim (God) when we trust in them and in the Blood of the Lamb which marks the doorways - our comings in and goings out - of our lives.
Setting the Remnant Free
We are all awaiting our companions, both literal spouses (old and new) and brethren and sisters of the Remnant. We are here to march, in emunah (faith), to set them, and ourselves, totally free and be made fit for service. We are here to be released - we and our families, like Rahab's and hers, for Yahweh and for each other. I have said dozens of times that this is a time of judgment for the nations, and it is, but right now it is the judgment of men and demons who have imprisoned our families. We are here now, these seven days, of which this is the second, to "preach the Besorah (Gospel) to the poor; ... to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of Yahweh" (Luke 4:18-19, NKJV; see Is.61:2 & Lev.25:10).
This is a Sh'mittah (Sabbatical) year but on its heels comes a Yovel (Jubilee) year too. Though the days are evil, this is also the time for proclaiming liberty to all the Rahabs out there, especially in our own families, for the Kingdom is first and foremost a family affair. This is Good News, let us get to work in witnessing and intercessory prayer in our prayer closets and in our assembles, and bring them all home. Amen.
Continued in Part 24