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The transition from Moses to Joshua, when applied to us (the body of Christ) can be viewed prophetically as the sons of God being brought to birth.
God called Israel a “son” in Exodus 4:22,
22 Then you shall say to Pharaoh, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Israel is My son, My first-born’.”
Again, He says in Hosea 11:1,
1 When Israel was a youth, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son.
In other words, Israel was born out of Egypt. Egypt was Israel’s mother, just as God was Israel’s Father. But having an Egyptian mother meant that Israel had to go through another step in order to be qualified as a son of God.
Hagar too was an Egyptian, and she could give birth only to Ishmael, not to the promised seed, Isaac. Ishmael was a “wild donkey,” the angel said in Genesis 16:12. First-born donkeys were unclean animals and could not be given to God directly. Every first-born donkey had to be redeemed with a lamb (Exodus 13:13). So also Israel, having Egypt (Hagar) as his mother, had to be redeemed with a lamb at Passover in order to be the “sheep” of His pasture.
You might say that this was the first impediment to Sonship. God overcame Israel’s unclean condition by providing a Passover lamb that represented Jesus Christ, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
I should also note that many Egyptians celebrated Passover with the Israelites, as provision had been made for them as well (Exodus 12:48, 49). They joined with the nation of Israel (the tribe of their choice) and thus became Israelites by nationality. So also is it in the church today, for all who have faith in the blood of the Lamb are one body and are of the household of faith.
Born of Water
Moses is a prophetic type of believer who has experienced Passover. Because he led Israel for 40 years to the banks of the Jordan River, the type also extends through Pentecost. Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:5,
5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”
To be born of water and the Spirit is a two-step process. There are various layers of meaning in this revelation, but the foundational illustration of this is seen in Moses and Joshua. Moses was “born of water,” for that is the meaning of his name. Recall that he was drawn from the water—the Nile River—when he was taken into the house of Pharaoh. Exodus 2:10 says,
10 And the child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. And she named him Moses, and said, “Because I drew him out of the water.”
Moses means “born of water” or “drawn from water.” Hence, Jesus told Nicodemus that he had to be “born of water.” In other words, the first step was to have faith in the Lamb that had been provided, for even as Israel had been born out of Egypt, so also had Moses been born of water. This also includes the idea of baptism, for even though Israel left Egypt at Passover, it took some days for them to actually leave Egypt. They did not fully leave Egyptian territory until they crossed the Red Sea (at the Gulf of Aqaba).
Hence, even leaving Egypt was a two-step process, ending with Israel’s baptism at the Red Sea, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:1 and 2.
The Israelite Church in the wilderness, then, was justified by faith in the blood of the Lamb and were baptized in the Red Sea. Then they went to Mount Horeb for Pentecost, and after spending 40 years in the wilderness, they were ready to enter the Promised Land under Joshua.
Born of the Spirit
Being born of the Spirit is another two-step process. God seems to like doing things in two or three steps, because it is based upon the law of two or three witnesses by which every matter is established.
At Mount Horeb, Israel received the Ten Commandments. This was the day celebrated thereafter as the feast of weeks, which was later known by the Greek name, Pentecost. Israel had the potential of receiving the baptism of the Spirit at the mount, but they were too fearful to approach God (Exodus 20:18, 19). In the big picture, it was not yet time in the divine plan for the church to be filled with the Spirit. That would come 1480 years later in Acts 2:1.
Nonetheless, if we study what might have happened, we will get a better understanding of what actually did happen in Acts 2. And when we study the feasts of the Lord as a whole, we will see how Pentecost fits into the big picture.
The Spirit of God is associated with all of the feasts in different ways. The feast of Passover signifies being begotten by the Holy Spirit, followed by water baptism. Pentecost is the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which is designed to promote growth to spiritual maturity. Tabernacles is the full birth of the sons of God, along with transfiguration and immortality.
Being born of the Spirit is not a single event. The Greek term gennao can mean either “begat” or “born,” depending on how it is used. When used of a man, it means to beget. When used of a woman, it means to give birth. When Jesus used the term in his conversation with Nicodemus, it is somewhat unclear how the word should be translated. It appears that the word was meant to portray a double meaning in that case. Yet the primary translation should be “born,” because it is a reference to Moses’ birth and to Israel’s birth out of Egypt.
Applying this to us today, we could say that we were first born of water (as Moses). Later, through Pentecost, we were begotten of the Spirit in preparation for being born of the Spirit at Tabernacles.
Another way of looking at it is that we were begotten twice, first of water (Passover) and then of the Spirit (Pentecost), and that both of these begettings will lead to birth at Tabernacles. The problem is that there are so many layers of meaning, so it is hard for our minds to sort out the whole truth.
Joshua and Tabernacles
The prophetic pattern under Moses is only a partial pattern, because Israel broke the type when they refused to enter the Promised Land. This happened when the people believed the evil report from the 12 spies at Kadesh-barnea in Numbers 13 and 14. Their faith was lacking, because they had refused to receive the baptism of fire at Mount Horeb on that first Pentecost.
So once again we have to ask ourselves, “What would have happened if the Israelites had had sufficient faith to enter at that appointed time?” The day the 12 spies gave their report was the 50th Jubilee from Adam, but their lack of faith changed that day into a Day of Atonement. It was the 10th day of the 7th month on the Hebrew calendar.
If they had agreed to enter the land, they would have had a five-day time of preparation, and they would have entered the land on the first day of Tabernacles (7/15). I believe that they would have entered as transfigured sons of God, wielding the sword of the Spirit, and the Canaanites would have been converted in a single week. There would have been no carnage, except for the destruction of the flesh. Israel would have fulfilled the Great Commission instead of adopting the Old Covenant policy of genocide.
But Israel did not enter Canaan at that time. God sentenced the nation to spend 40 years in the wilderness. When they finally entered Canaan, it was not at Tabernacles but at Passover. They crossed on the 10th day of the 1st month—the day that the people were to select the lambs for Passover (Joshua 4:19; Exodus 12:3).
Israel’s entry into Canaan, then, did not fulfill the feast of Tabernacles. That fulfillment remains for us at this end of the age. It has been a long process. First, Jesus had to fulfill Passover by dying on the cross as the Passover Lamb. Then the Spirit had to be given at Pentecost in Acts 2:1. Even then, the church was not ready for Tabernacles, so it had to spend 40 Jubilees in the wilderness.
Forty Jubilee cycles is 40 x 49 years, or 1960 years. The wilderness experience began in 33 A.D. and ended in 1993. This date sparked a flurry of events that must lead eventually to our own entry into the Promised Land under Joshua (Yeshua-Jesus).
In a sense, we are crossing the Jordan, but we are also entering the Promised Land from Kadesh-barnea. To fulfill this prophetic event properly, we must do what Israel refused to do. We must enter, not at Passover, not at Pentecost, but at Tabernacles. Hence, there are two biblical patterns to consider: the pattern Israel did NOT follow, and the pattern that Israel DID follow.
In the end, we will see elements of BOTH patterns. I realize that makes it quite confusing and difficult to sort out, but the fact is that I did not write this story. I am only trying to understand what God has written in His plan.
There are many overcomers who died in the wilderness. Provision has been made for them to be raised from the dead at the feast of Trumpets—the first of the feasts yet to be fulfilled. I believe the dead will be raised on 7/1 of some year on the Hebrew calendar. Paul says that the dead will be raised when the trumpet sounds (1 Corinthians 15:52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16).
The living overcomers will be transfigured two weeks later on the first day of Tabernacles (7/15). God has made provision for both groups. The first group, having died, must be raised from the dead, and these fulfill the pattern of the Jordan crossing (death and resurrection). The second group, being alive at the end of the age, need not be raised from the dead. Instead, they will simply be transfigured, or “changed,” as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:51.
When this change occurs, then both groups will be fully united as one body, needing only the Head to be complete. The Head (Joshua-Jesus) will then join with the body in the middle of the feast of Tabernacles (7/19), according to the pattern seen in John 7:14. Jesus came to the temple in the middle of the feast of Tabernacles.
Then the complete and perfect “son” will be presented to the Father on the 8th day of Tabernacles, for all first-born sons must be presented on the 8th day, according to the law (Exodus 22:29, 30).
Every year we must be watchful, because we do not know which year these feasts will be fulfilled. We know only that God has established “appointed times” for these events. This is what happened when Passover, the wave-sheaf offering, and Pentecost were fulfilled nearly 2,000 years ago. So we now watch for the second set of feasts that are the appointed times for the events surrounding the second coming of Christ.