Joshua 5:13-6:27 • The Beginning of the End


There are many lessons to be learned from Israel’s conquest of Jericho, and the one we’ll focus on here is its parallel to God’s working in the Last Days leading up to Final Judgment. In all that occurs is the pattern of how God works His Final Judgment which will be seen in those times that Israel itself is carried away for its disobedience, and in the Final Days as documented in Revelation and supported throughout all of Scripture. What occurred at Jericho was really the beginning of the end, a very powerful lesson highlighting the difference between those who listen and obey God’s Word and those who don’t.

Read 5:13-15

Q: How do we know that this is the pre-incarnate Christ that appears to Joshua?

A: By the fact that He allowed Joshua to worship Him. Whenever angelic messengers are sent and men react this way, the men are told to immediately stop worshiping them as only God alone can be worshiped. Joshua is not discouraged in worshiping Him.

Q: How is the appearance of Christ as the “captain of the Lord’s host” similar to what we know of the chronology of the End Times?

A: Both are personally led by Christ.

And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war...And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.

— Revelation 20:11, 14-15

Read 6:1-7

Q: Why not attack outright? What is the purpose in delaying with the circling of the city for each of 6 days before the actual, final attack?

A: God always provides the maximum amount of time possible for repentance. He declares beforehand what is about to happen to provide notice that time is running out before Final Judgment takes place.

But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.

— Matthew 24:8

Q: Were there others “birth pangs”—warnings from God—previous to the Israelites showing up at Jericho?

A: Yes. According to Rahab’s testimony to the spies, all the people in Canaan were aware of other signs from God beginning with the crossing of the Red Sea 40 years previous to the conquest of the Amorites west of the Jordan River over the past couple of years.

For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. When we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.

— Joshua 2:10-11

Point: Just as labor pains come over a period of time, increasing in frequency until birth actually occurs, so events from God are provided in ever-increasing frequency leading up to Final Judgment.

Point: Note that the issue is not about “belief”—the Canaanites “believed” God was at work in all that they saw; the issue is whether or not to be changed by God’s Word from the heart and therefore truly repent.

Read 6:8-11

Q: What is special about the “seven trumpets of rams’ horns” they were instructed to use?

A: These were the “jubilee” horns that were to be sounded at the celebration of the Year of Jubilee, an event that symbolizes the complete redemption of the land and people as about to be literally undertaken by Israel for the first time.

Q: What might the sending of the ark of the covenant signify?

A: It carries God’s Word which is fulfilled for everyone concerned, whether fulfilling God’s promises for Believers or bringing judgment upon non-Believers.

Read 6:12-14

Q: What is God essentially doing through this procession?

A: He is sounding the alarm (through the rams’ horns) to heed His Word (the ark of the covenant) which is about to be fulfilled.

Q: How might this parallel the order of events in the Last Days?

A: Signs and wonders come with greater and greater strength with greater and greater frequency. (e.g., the 7 seals, the 7 trumpets, and the 7 bowls in Revelation). These, in effect, are the last warnings before Final Judgment.

Read 6:15-21

Q: How is this event characterized in the book of Hebrews? How is it defined?

A: “Faith”.

By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days.

— Hebrews 11:20

Q: Why do you suppose that this is attributed to faith?

A: First, it has to do with their following God’s Word to do it HIS way instead of following their own ways or desire. Second, it comes about as the result of a word of faith, the shout provided at the appointed time. It’s an example of faith in God’s Word.

Q: If they marched around Jericho for 7 days, that most likely means that this day was the Sabbath. What might that signify?

A: Normally it is a day of rest, usually strictly observed by Israel, a day that they would avoid doing work much less going to battle. It would be the least suspected time that they would go to war. This is probably a teaching about the fact that Final Judgment will come at a time we do not expect.

You too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect.

— Luke 12:40

Q: This is not the first, nor last, mention of a trumpet in connection with the presence of God. What does it usually mean?

A: It signified the people coming to meet God at Mt. Sinai and will be used to announce His final coming in the End Times.

So it came about on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunder and lightning flashes and a thick cloud upon the mountain and a very loud trumpet sound, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain.

— Exodus 19:16-17

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

— 1 Thessalonians 4:16

Q: What is the significance of the destruction of Jericho being “under the ban”?

A: It means Final Judgment for those that have refused to repent and be reconciled to God.

Read 6:22-25

Q: Who were the only people that were saved?

A: Those that followed through in their belief in God by being obedient to His Word, to do exactly as instructed.

Q: This is not the last time that Rahab is mentioned in the Bible. What else of note is attributed to her?

A: She will marry Salmon with whom she’ll bear Boaz, the great-grandfather of David. Through David—and therefore Rahab—the messianic seedline is traced. (Matthew 1:5)

Q: When “final judgment” was rendered on Sodom and Gomorrah—or the earth in the form of Noah’s flood—everyone was destroyed collectively in the same instance. However, Jericho is only the first conquest for what will be the whole of Canaan. What might that teach concerning the End Times?

A: Jericho served as an example and warning itself to all the others living in Canaan of what awaited them if they did not repent. In the End Times, there are many judgments that take large numbers of lives that serve as an example and warning to the rest of the world leading up to Final Judgment.

Read 6:26-27

Q: What is the deeper meaning of “foundation” and “gates” that is being taught here?

A: This teaches of what it means to build upon a foundation other than the One True God and to trust in the strength and protection of another (the symbolism of the city’s gates). Just as Jericho fell because of its refusal to trust in God, so will those who emulate it.

Overall Application