Jesus the True Joshua: The Deliverer of Authentic Rest
Thus far the writer has already proven that Jesus, whom the Father has now used to speak, is superior to Angels, “Thou hast put all things in subjection under him [Jesus]…” (Hebrews 2:8) Moves then to show that He is also superior to Moses, the great lawgiver, “For this man [Jesus] was counted worthy of more glory than Mosses inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more hounour than the house”. After showing the superiority of these two, now begins to discuss and argue that the Joshua, who picked up where Moses left off, never really delivered the wandering people to the promised “rest” that the Father promised. Yes, Joshua led them into the land of Canaan, but due to their hard hearted minds, they forfeited the promised “rest”, “For if Jesus (Joshua) had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.”(Hebrews 2; 8) Matthew Thiessen, in his “Hebrews and the End of the Exodus”, writes, “According to scripture, Joshua succeeded in leading the people into all of God’s promises; in other words, “Mission Accomplished!” Nonetheless, the biblical results of the leadership of Joshua find no place in the letter to the Hebrews.” How can, then, we understand what the writer of Hebrews intended the readers to understand?
First of all as Dr. Allen says in his lectures the writer of Hebrews was well versed in the Torah and the ways of the Hebrew people, therefore understanding that the name Jesus is actually a Greek rendering of the Hebrew Yeshua, which is the English equivalent of Jesus. Luke writes that the angel Gabriel was sent with a WORD, by God the Father, to a young virgin, named Mary, “And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shall call his name Jesus.”(Luke 1:31) The Hebrew meaning of the name Joshua (Jesus), is, He who saves his people. The writer of Hebrews would have known the significance of that name being given to our Savior. Therefore the writers says that, since, “there remaineth a rest to the people of God”, (Hebrews 4; 9) it was Jesus, who actually, fulfilled that rest for us. “What enabled the author to make a move that appears to be in opposition to the biblical account of Israel’s history? The answer lies in his understanding of the significance of Psalm 95.”(Thiessen, 2007, 356). The Psalmist writes, “Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.” Again Thiessen, writes, “Since it was traditionally believed that the Psalms were composed by David, the fact that he could refer to another day when rest might be obtained demonstrated that Joshua did not actually lead them in to the rest that was promised to them, yet even more so shows that, up until David’s day, God had not fulfilled his promise to bring the people into his rest.” (Koester, 2001, 271)
Therefore having established that Jesus fulfilled the role of the deliverer of the “rest” that the Father had promised, the writer now concentrates on the hearers, “Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief” (Hebrews 4:11). This labour that the writer speaks of, is liken to the battle that Joshua had against the city of Jericho, that walled up strong hold, that held the key to the children of Israel, gaining momentum, to enter into the promised land. Likewise the true Joshua, fought the battle against Satan, Paul also writes to the church at Ephesus, “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience…”.(Ephesians 2:2). The writer of Hebrews said that we now have this, greater than Joshua, who is also a, “great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus(Joshua) the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.” Jesus our savior overcame the greatest city of destruction known to man, the city of Sin, whose prince, was destroying the hope and dreams of the children of God. The true savior of his people, which the name Joshua means, is not the successor of the law giver, who is a typology of the very one who, John says was with God, and was God, the same who became flesh and tabernacle with us to defeat our Jericho wall, of fear and freed us from the wrath of a Holy God, and ushered us into eternal rest, Jesus Christ.