Moses' second speech, Part 26
Aug 22, 2012
The war of the Canaanites under Joshua takes a different form under the New Covenant Joshua (Yeshua). This is primarily because the Old Covenant used the physical sword after Israel was unable or unwilling to accept the sword of the Spirit at their first Pentecost at Mount Horeb. Those who have come under the New Covenant and have accepted its Mediator have received a different commission, which is to teach all nations and baptize them into the death of Christ, so that they might also be raised in newness of life. This is our Great Commission.
Yet under Joshua, the command to dispossess the Canaanites takes two forms. The first was to destroy all who fought against Israel; the second was to expel them from the land. The presumption, of course, was that they would not repent. In fact, Canaan had already been given 828 years (2 x 414) in which to repent since Noah's curse on Canaan. Hence, their non-compliance to the divine verdict demanded national execution according to the law in Deut. 17:12.
Under the New Covenant, those among the nations who accept the dominion of Jesus Christ (as the new Joshua) are the ones who submit to the divine verdict, and their faith allows them to receive the death penalty in a very different form. Baptism puts the old man to death vicariously by identifying with the death of Christ, thereby not only nullifying Noah's curse, but also the more fundamental curse upon Adam.
Those who do not have faith in the New Covenant Joshua must still be excluded from the Kingdom until they have a change of heart. Hence, in whatever form the Kingdom of God emerges in the earth, unbelievers are excluded. When the Kingdom was established under Moses and later gained geographical territory under Joshua, it was necessary that the non-believing Canaanites be expelled from the Kingdom, even in its Old Covenant form.
That, of course, was an imperfect Kingdom from its start, for their faith was limited. Yet they were a pattern "church in the wilderness" (Acts 7:38) that the Church under the New Covenant would emulate during the Pentecostal Age. This Pentecostal Church was supposed to succeed where Israel had failed, for it was launched with the full acceptance of the Pentecostal experience in Acts 2. However, this Church too fell short of its Pentecostal commission, and the power of the Holy Spirit waned over the centuries and eventually was very nearly extinguished.
Even the Pentecostal renewal a century ago was rejected by many mainline denominational churches who claimed that the gifts of the Spirit had ceased by divine design at the death of the last apostle.
In each Church, we see that the Kingdom developed in two stages. The first was the wilderness phase in which it claimed no geographical territory but was working in the hearts of the Church. In the second phase (under Joshua), the Kingdom received the Promised Land.
In other words, under Pentecost, the Church was yet in the wilderness, and the Kingdom was yet an internal matter of the heart. But when Pentecost ends and Tabernacles begins, the Kingdom emerges in the earth under Yeshua, having geographical territory. The destruction of "Babylon" results in the Stone Kingdom growing until it fills the whole earth (Dan. 2:35). It will start small, perhaps with a single nation declaring itself to be under the rule of Jesus Christ and His law. But it will then grow into a company of nations until the whole earth is filled with the knowledge of the glory of God.
Moses' admonition in Deut. 7:16, "your eye shall not pity them, neither shall you serve their gods," is applicable to us as well, but in a New Covenant context. A Kingdom nation cannot allow religious freedom, for that would bring confusion in violation of the First Commandment. Only believers can be citizens of the Kingdom. Those citizens must comply with the laws of the Kingdom or suffer the consequences. If they prefer to follow other gods and their laws, they are free to change their citizenship from the Kingdom of light to one that is yet in "outer darkness." But if they remain in a Kingdom nation, they will be subject to judgment for any infraction of the law.
In other words, all believers will be expected to be law-abiding citizens of the Kingdom. If they think the law has been put away, they will soon be disavowed of that opinion when the law forces them to pay restitution for sin against their neighbors.
If so-called "believers" refuse to comply with the law, the law will have no "pity" upon them but will enforce its provisions to restore the lawful order between neighbors. The judges are not allowed to have pity, for pity is the prerogative of the victim alone. The judge is called to discern justice in the case and has no right to impose a stiffer or lighter sentence than the law prescribes. He can show no partiality (Ex. 23:3).
This may sound harsh to those who do not understand the mind of God and His law, but keep in mind that God's law always gives the right of mercy to the victim. No judgment is without mercy and grace. But the right of mercy and grace is given to the victim in order to ensure that his rights are respected.
Deut. 7:17-19 continues,
(17) If you should say in your heart, "These nations are greater than I; how can I dispossess them?" (18) you shall not be afraid of them; you shall well remember what the Lord your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt: (19) the great trials which your eyes saw and the signs and the wonders and the mighty hand by which the Lord your God brought you out. So shall the Lord your God do to all the peoples of whom you are afraid.
We now stand at the crossroad of history. We find ourselves living in a time comparable to Israel's Jordan crossing under Joshua. Even as the Israelites may have wondered how they could possibly overcome the seven nations of Canaan, so also might we ask how we might overcome Mystery Babylon, the great city that has overcome the kings of the earth.
The answer is simple: by faith. This is not our battle. The battle belongs to Jesus Christ. We cannot fight this battle in our own strength, but in the strength of faith. Because faith comes by hearing, we have walked in the wilderness, hearing His word and learning the divine plan. We understand where we are in the history of the Kingdom. We have learned the lessons of past generations, so we know what NOT to do. The knowledge of His word gives us faith, and this faith gives us confidence. Our faith is knowing.
We know that victory is ours. We have already seen it by faith even before it is visible in the earth. Our faith is the evidence and conviction of things not yet seen (Heb. 11:1). For this cause we engaged in spiritual warfare to prepare the way for the results to emerge visibly in the earth. We have fought the battle of Jericho, and we have won. As Babylon's government falls, its legislators hasten to pass more ungodly laws in the attempt to stop its collapse.
Their efforts are in vain, because history is now at the time of harvest, and the Kingdom is bearing fruit. God will no longer be denied the precious fruits of the ground (James 5:7). The fruitless tree has been chopped down. All usurpers, pretenders, and contenders for Kingdom dominion have been disqualified. The divine investigation has been completed and the verdict has been rendered.
Therefore, we do not fear Babylon, for we know what God did to Pharaoh. We have an advantage over Moses himself, for we have seen many more examples of divine deliverance since his day. And we remember.
This is the twenty-sixth part of a series titled "Moses' Second Speech." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones