The Story: The Passover, Part 3 (Joshua’s Passover)

What does the Passover mean for us today? Well, we start with what it meant for the Israelites. And for them, it was a remembrance of God’s protection and redemption — when God freed them from the shame of slavery and made them into a free nation.

Joshua’s Passover

Several major events in Israelite history are marked by the celebration of the Passover. Here’s a story we don’t tell in fourth grade Bible class. You see, it begins with the fact that the Israelites born in the desert, during the 40 years of wandering, had not been circumcised.

Therefore Joshua had them all circumcised (surely an unpleasant process in an age without antibiotics or anesthesia — and very difficult to explain to fourth graders!) — and then they celebrated the Passover.

(Jos 5:10-15 ESV) 10 While the people of Israel were encamped at Gilgal, they kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month in the evening on the plains of Jericho. 11 And the day after the Passover, on that very day, they ate of the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain. 12 And the manna ceased the day after they ate of the produce of the land. And there was no longer manna for the people of Israel, but they ate of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.

The circumcision of the people, followed by the Passover, marked their entry into the Promised Land. No longer did they need manna. They could eat the fruit of the land.

After 40 years of manna, you know they were thrilled to eat ordinary food. Even manna gets old after 4 decades! And there’s something special about a meal you cook yourself.

And then —

13 When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?”

14 And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the LORD. Now I have come.”

And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?”

15 And the commander of the LORD’s army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.

Imagine the scene. The people of God had dedicated themselves to obedience, and worshiped God by eating a Passover meal, recalling his deliverance of the people from Egypt. They are encamped in the Promised Land, preparing to conquer it for God — and the angelic commander of YAHWEH’s army appears before Joshua, announcing that Joshua is on holy land.

He tells Joshua to take off his sandals. You see, the story that began with Moses at the burning bush, where God told him to take off his sandals, had finally come full circle. Moses’ mission was completed! And the story, which began on holy ground, ends on holy ground.

What does the Passover mean? That we’re celebrating God’s victory, the end of wandering, and our presence on holy ground — alongside the angelic army of God, our victory assured.

They were just outside a city named Jericho, and they were about to undertake the mission God had prepared for them. But they knew victory was assured — despite having many battles yet to be fought.

Pointing to Jesus

Oh … as is always true … there’s another level yet again.

You see, to Christians, our “circumcision” is by the Spirit.

(Rom 2:29 ESV) 29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

We receive our circumcision when we receive the Spirit — when we’re first saved — when we’re baptized.

And, of course, the Passover is reflected in Christian practice in the Lord’s Supper.

Baptism and Eucharist. The baptistery, the cup, and the loaf — all symbolize that at last we are no longer in the wilderness but in God’s Promised Land. We were circumcised, we’ve eaten the Passover, and now the commander of the Lord’s army appears to us.

But like the Israelites, the mission isn’t over. Rather, the promise is that the victory is assured even though there are many battles yet to be fought. You see, Jesus is the commander of the Lord’s army, and he stands before us —

(Rev 5:5-6a ESV) 5 And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” 6 And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain … .

— the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the conqueror — but the Lion is really a slain Lamb. And so we stand on holy ground.

Profile photo of Jay Guin

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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6 Responses to The Story: The Passover, Part 3 (Joshua’s Passover)

  1. laymond says:

    ” You see, Jesus is the commander of the Lord’s army, and he stands before us –”

    The Archangel Michael will be disappointed to hear he is no longer the commander of the “Lord’s Army” Jay has demoted him .

  2. monty says:

    Laymond,

    How could the angel Michael receive Joshua’s worship? The angel in Revelation speaking to John you have said was Christ and that Christ wouldn’t accept John’s worship (trying to prove Jesus isn’t on the same level as the Father) . But you’re OK with Michael receiving Joshua’s worship? Not very consistent, don’t you think? Consistency would have the angel in Joshua as being Christ and the angel in Revelation being, well, just an angel.

    I think of our own President who bears the title of Commander in Chief of the armed forces but doesn’t lead any of the troops off to war. We have generals for that. I think of Michael being the leader of those troops that go and battle. Or maybe better yet, how the Kings would go off to war(Saul, David) but they would always have their Joabs.

  3. laymond says:

    Monty, I don’t recall ever calling Jesus an angel of any sort. It is possible that I may have spoken so as to be misunderstood, of that I plead guilty often, but to call Jesus an angel, I don’t think I am guilty of that. Maybe you can bring to my recollection just where it was that I said something that is diametrically opposed to my beliefs. It is my understanding, and belief that Jesus was begotten, body and soul for the purpose of receiving the “word of God” and delivering that word to mankind.
    Thus the messenger of God.
    As we see in Hebrews, Jesus was made, not created Jesus was made in a union between God and woman, just how that union took place I do not know, but the bible says it did. The union between a man and a woman can, not always, but can beget/ make a child. That child is not a new creation anymore than Jesus was a new creation, that child is the image of God’s creation, a human being. Which the bible says is the image of God. And the bible also says Jesus was made the image of God. So if I said Jesus was an angel that would oppose every thing I believe.
    I regret if I somehow misspoke and gave you the impression I saw Jesus as an angel, I see Jesus as the begotten Son of God.

  4. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Monty and Laymond,

    (Rev 3:21 ESV) 21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.

    (Rev 17:14 ESV) 14 They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.”

    I think Monty has it right.

  5. laymond says:

    Jay said; “I think Monty has it right.” since we were discussing something you said, I didn’t expect anything else. But that don’t make it true.

    But, you and Monty might be right, Jesus may have been an angel, after all the word angel means messenger. and We do know that God created the angels before he created the physical universe. as is stated in Job 38. I wonder what the scriptures say?

    Job 38:4 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.
    Job 38:5 Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
    Job 38:6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;
    Job 38:7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
    (sons of God, or as the NIV says all the angels, so they were looking on while God was creating, so I guess we know who God was speaking to when he said “in our image” )

    Hebrews 1:14 certainly fits the description of Jesus mission.

    Hbr 1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?

    But wait!! Hebrews seems to be distinguishing Jesus from those angels created before the beginning of time.

    Hbr 1:13 But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?
    (I take this to mean, NONE. not even one named Jesus.)

    Rev 5:11 And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;
    Rev 5:12 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
    (I don’t see Jesus numbered with the angels here either)

    archaggelos–> 1.archangel, or chief of the angels
    1Th 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
    (seems to me Michael will accompany Jesus on his return)

    (Jude 1:9 plainly gives that title to Michael)
    Jud 1:9 Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil —————.

    Seems to me that Joshua was talking to Michael.
    Jay, sorry but I don’t understand your point in quoting Rev.

  6. Larry Cheek says:

    Laymond,
    Do you see Jesus as having lesser or greater position with God than the angels? You mentioned earlier that Jay had demoted Michael from commander of the Lord’s Army, in reference to Jesus being placed into that position. Do you consider Michael as being a higher authority than Jesus? I have read comments where you demote Jesus into being just a man that God used for his purpose. In other words, his human Son.
    Did you notice that in the verses that you quote Rev 5:11-12 is followed with a clearer statement about the Lamb (Jesus) and his relationship with the Father in receiving the exact same worship.
    (Rev 5:13 KJV) And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.
    14 And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.

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