Summary: God prepared Joshua for the conquest ahead by allowing him to meet the man with the drawn sword who is the Theophany of Christ. In the same manner, we need to prepare for what lies ahead by looking intently to Christ as the Commander of the Lord's Army.
Joshua 5: 13-15 (NIV)
13 Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?”
14 “Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” Then Joshua fell face down to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord[e] have for his servant?”
15 The commander of the Lord’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.
Today, we will talk talk a little bit about prophecy.
You see, there are a lot of things that are happening in the world that can instill fear in our hearts if we do not put these in proper perspective.
One of the major headlines that happened last week was about the blood moons.
Many of you probably have seen all those beautiful pictures of the blood moon that was observed in several continent.
You might be asking, "Pastor, what are "blood moons"?
I will try to explain this as simple as possible.
We are familiar with a lunar eclipse.
A lunar eclipse occur when the earth gets completely in between the moon and the sun causing the moon to go dark for a few moments.
A blood moon occurs when the earth is lined up just perfectly so that some of the sunlight gets refracted through the earth's atmosphere and onto the moon.
This causes the moon to appear "red' much like our sky that looks red due to the refracted light.
That is why they called this as blood moon because it appears red.
There was actually four consecutive blood moons that happened within this year which is called a lunar tertrad.
A tetrad is four consecutive lunar eclipses separated by six full moons and no partial eclipses in between.
This phenomena is extremely rare.
It only happened 8 times in the last 20 centuries.
The reason religious folks are getting so excited about this is that each blood moon happens during a Jewish Holiday.
1. April 15, 2014 (Passover)
2. October 8, 2014 (Feast of Tabernacles)
3. April 4, 2015 (Passover).
4. September 28, 2015 (Feast of Tabernacles).
Is this a coincidence or part of a big plan regarding our future destiny?
Just hold on. It is getting more interesting.
How many of you have heard of the word "Shemitah?"
It basically means the Sabbath year in the seven-year cycle that started back in ancient Israel.
Exodus 23:10-11New Living Translation (NLT)
10 “Plant and harvest your crops for six years, 11 but let the land be renewed and lie uncultivated during the seventh year. Then let the poor among you harvest whatever grows on its own. Leave the rest for wild animals to eat. The same applies to your vineyards and olive groves.
Every seventh year was to be a Sabbath year where farmers were to let the land lie fallow and allow slaves their freedom.
It was also a time when debts were canceled and released entirely.
Deuteronomy 15:1-2New Living Translation (NLT)
15 “At the end of every seventh year you must cancel the debts of everyone who owes you money. 2 This is how it must be done. Everyone must cancel the loans they have made to their fellow Israelites. They must not demand payment from their neighbors or relatives, for the Lord’s time of release has arrived.
And so, if you add up these dates, many scholars believe that the sunset on September 24, 2014 to September 12, 2015 was the year of the Shemitah on the Jewish calendar.
And so, it was a special year marked by a special sign in heavens such as the blood moons.
What about Bible prophecy?
What does the Bible says about the blood moon?
Joel 2:28-32New Living Translation (NLT)
31 The sun will become dark,
and the moon will turn blood red
before that great and terrible[b] day of the Lord arrives.
The Bible prophesied that all these things are going to be unveiled in this world.
There will be a blood moon as one of the signs of the last days.
The Lord will come again.
We must always be prepared and get ready because we are still in spiritual warfare.
Our task has not yet ended.
We are not supposed to lay our guard down.
We must continue in our conquest for the Promised Land.
Our redemption is drawing nearer each day.
And so, as we we study the fifth chapter of the Book of Joshua, we are going to look how God prepared Joshua to attack Jericho.
Joshua was fearful.
He did not know what lies ahead after crossing the Jordan River and looking at the walls of Jericho.