Caleb and Joshua—Men of Faith

Numbers 13:6, Caleb the son of Jephunneh.Although Caleb is listed here as being from the tribe of Judah, he nevertheless was of Canaanite heritage having become part of Judah when they conquered the land of Caleb’s ancestors. Elsewhere, the Torah lists Caleb as the son of Jephunneh, the Kenizzite (Num 32:12, also Josh 14:6, 14). Who were the Kenizzites (also Kenezite)? They were among the original inhabitants of Canaan (Gen 15:19), that Israel eventually dispossessed when taking the Promised Land. This people originated from Eliphaz, the oldest son of Esau. Thus, Caleb was an Edomite who accepted the Elohim of Israel and became grafted into the tribe of Judah (Josh 15:13). Throughout the Tanakh, Edom (a nickname for Esau) remains a sworn enemy of Israel maintaining a perpetual hatred for YHVH’s people and constantly covetous of their land even into modern times. In fact, the case could be made that the modern day Palestinians, if not descendants of Edom, at least manifest the same hatred for Israel as did the ancient Edomites. It is out of this people that Caleb comes.

The name Caleb means “dog,” although it can have the favorable connotation of faithful, loving and tenacious like a dog. Indeed, in his life, Caleb exemplified his name’s meaning in his faithfulness to the Elohim of Israel, in his faith and tenacious zeal to go up and to conquer the Promised Land as YHVH commanded.

Evidently Caleb defected from his own tribal peoples and joined the Israelites, while they were wandering in wilderness and before they came up to take the Promised Land. This speaks volumes about Caleb’s character in that he was willing to forsake his pagan heritage and align himself with the Elohim and people of Israel years before they actually dispossessed his people of their ancestral land. Caleb remained aligned with those who took that land and killed his heathen family. 

Indeed, Caleb was a unique individual in that he chose a spiritual path less traveled and one that was unpopular, and he clung ardently to that path despite, at times, vicious opposition. The Torah records that he had a different spirit and that he fully followed Elohim (Num 14:24). For this, YHVH promised him an inheritance in the Promised Land (ibid.). May we be like Caleb!

Numbers 13:16, Moses called Hoshea the son of Nun Yehoshua. Prior to sending the spies forth, Moses renames his assistant Hoshea (whose name means “salvation”) to Yehoshua (or Joshua,meaning “Yah [short for Yehovah] Saves”) by adding the Hebrew letter yud to Hoshea’s name so that his name would now begin with the first letter of YHVH’s name—the English letter “Y”.

What was the prophetic significance of this name change? Who is it that will lead us into our spiritual Promised Land or our spiritual and eternal rest? (See Heb 4:8 and 11, especially verse 8, where the author shows that Yehoshua was the foreshadow of Yeshua.)

Do you possess a vibrant and active faith in Yeshua? Is he the Chief Cornerstone of your spiritual house, the Author and Finisher of your faith and the Captain of your salvation to lead you into the spiritual rest of his eternal kingdom? Are you faithfully following him as the Israelites followed Yehoshua/Joshua into the Promised Land?

 

Rahab is a prophetic picture of you and me

Joshua 2:1, Rahab. Rahab, the non-Israelite innkeeper and inhabitant of Jericho, was a woman of faith who became a sincere convert to the Israelites’ religion, and ended up becoming an ancestor of David and Yeshua. Throughout Scripture, there are examples of righteous non-Israelites confessing their faith in the Elohim of Israel, choosing to leave behind their pagan cultures and being grafted into the nation of Israel. Who are some other examples of this in Scripture? (See Gen 41:45; Exod 12:38,48–49; Lev 18:26; Num 15:16; Deut 10:19; 31:12; Ruth 1:16.) Rahab was a stranger or alien seeking to be grafted into Israel. What does Scripture say about this class of people?

Stranger (Foreigner or Alien; Heb. nekar). Rahab was a stranger or foreigner to Israel. She is a prophetic picture of Gentiles who come to faith in the Elohim of Israel and are grafted into that nation.

Scripturally the Hebrew word nekar (Strong’s H5236/TWOT 1368b) is used in reference to anything or anyone that is foreign to the religion or people of Israel (Exod 12:43; Deut 31:16; 32:16; Judg 10:16; Neh 9:2; Isa 60:10; Ezek 44:7).

Nekar can also refer to people who forsake their foreign or alien ways and join themselves to the people and to Elohim, the God of Israel, and who take hold of the covenants of Israel (Isa 56:3–6; cp. Eph 2:11–14). In Exodus 12:43 and 48, the KJV uses the word stranger, though in each verse they are two different Hebrew words. In the former, the word nekar is used in reference to those who are not allowed to partake in Passover. In the latter verse, the Hebrew word for stranger is ger (Strong’s H1616/TWOT 330a) meaning “a temporary inhabitant, or a newcomer.”

This word is also translated in the KJV as stranger, or alien, but also carries with it the connotation of “a sojourner.” The TWOT defines a ger as follows: “The root means to live among people who are not blood relatives; thus, rather than enjoying native civil rights, the ger was dependent on the hospitality that played an important role in the ancient near east.… The ger in Israel was largely regarded as a proselyte. He was to be present for the solemn reading of the [Torah] Law (Deut 31:12) showing that he was exposed to its demands. The law concerning unleavened bread applied to him as well as the native (Exod 12:19) and a circumcised ger could keep Passover (Exod 12:48f.; Num 9:14).” He was also included in the celebration of the Day of Atonement (Lev 16:29), the Feast of Tabernacles or Booths (Deut 16:14), like the native he was forbidden from worshipping foreign gods (Lev 17:8), and was forbidden from eating blood (Lev 17:10, 12, 13). The laws of sexual chastity applied to him as well as to the native (Lev 18:26) along with the Sabbath laws (Exod 20:10; 23:12). He experienced the same legal and civil rights as a native Israelite (Deut 1:16; 24:17; 27:19) and Israel was to not oppress the ger (Exod 22:21; Deut 10:19) but to love him as themselves (Lev 19:34) (The TWOT, vol. 1, pp. 155–156)

In brief, Israel’s treatment of the ger was a means of evangelizing the world with the message of YHVH’s Torah-truth. All could come into a spiritual relationship with the Elohim of Israel without respect to ethnicity and there was one Torah (i.e., YHVH’s instructions, teachings or precepts in righteousness) for both Israelite and non-Israelite. Indeed, this was the driving force behind Paul’s passion for the Gentiles (or people of the nations).

Realizing the basis of evangelism from the Tanakh and the command to make proselytes by bringing aliens and strangers into the covenants and commonwealth of Israel and into a righteous relationship with the Elohim of Israel may help us to understand Paul’s statements in Ephesians 2:11–19 (cp. 1 Pet 2:8–11).

As we study the concept of the stranger’s relationship to Elohim, to the people and Torah covenants of Israel, it is interesting to note that Scripture nowhere indicates that YHVH would ever make a new or different covenant with the Gentiles or have different standards of righteousness for them than for Israel. Rather, the Gentiles were expected to assimilate into Israel, become Israel, follow the laws of Israel and be treated as Israel. This rule of law for the people of El never changed even through the apostolic age despite what most Christian biblicists teach to the contrary. Remember, YHVH stated clearly that he does not change (Mal 3:6), and Yeshua taught that any religious tradition of men that nullifies the Word of YHVH should be ignored (Mark 7:7–9).


 

Are You a Shepherdless Sheep?

Lone Sheep

Deuteronomy 31:23, He gave Joshua the son of Nun a charge. YHVH is the author of godly leadership. He prepares and trains leaders and then raises them up to lead his people in the paths of righteousness leading to the spiritual Promised Land. Beware of leaders who raise themselves up and promote themselves.

What is the purpose of righteous leadership? (See Eph 4:11–12.) What are the qualifications for leadership ? (See 1 Tim 3:1–13.) What is the premise of true, Spirit-ordained leadership? (See Matt 23:11.)

Many believers have been hurt by kingdom-building, money-grubbing and self-seeking leaders in the church world and now trust no one. They pride themselves on being “independent.” Is this good?

Did Yeshua ever speak of his sheep as being “lone rangers” or did he refer to them as “a flock?” Does he ever speak of his flock as being shepherdless? Of course, Yeshua is the Chief Shepherd, but does he speaks of undershepherds as well? (Read John 10:1–18.) Is a flock that is under the guidance of a servant shepherd a place of safety or harm? Is being outside the flock a place of safety or harm? (See Matt 18:12.)

Yeshua says that those who are outside are “lost” and have “gone astray” and are in danger of perishing (Matt 18:11–14).

Are you part of a literal flock of believers, or have you spiritualized this passage away to justify your independent (rebellious?) spirit against YHVH-ordained authority?


 

Do you have faith or fear?

"Promised Land" Road Sign with dramatic clouds and sky.

Numbers 13:2, Send forth men, if you please (The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash). The implication here is that Elohim gave Moses permission to send out the spies, but left the final decision up to him. This idea is confirmed in Deuteronomy 1:22 where Moses states that the idea to spy out the land came from the Israelites, not from YHVH. By allowing them to do this, it appears that YHVH was deliberately putting them to the test to see if they would trust him when he had already told them that Canaan was a good land and theirs for the taking with his help. Would they walk by faith in his word and promises or would they have to see the actual land before believing YHVH’s word?

When YHVH gives you a promise, do you have to see it come to pass before believing it, or are you able to simply begin taking steps of faith toward the fulfillment of the promises without actually seeing any tangible evidence of the end goal? What has YHVH promised you and what steps of faith have you taken toward possessing your spiritual “promised inheritance?” (Read the scriptural definition of faith in Heb 11:1.)

YHVH did not choose the twelve spies, the people did; hence, the name of this parashah, “Send for Yourselves.” When people choose their own leaders the failure rate is high­—in this case ten of twelve leaders were faithless duds. Man-inspired and initiated efforts seldom produce lasting spiritual benefits. This effort ended in the Continue reading


 

Do not be overcome, be an overcomer!

Deuteronomy 25:19, Blot out Amalek. The Hebrew name Amalek literally means “I am king.” Remember how the people of Amalek attacked the children of Israel as they were coming out of Egypt (Exod 17:8)? These heathens attacked the weary, stragglers and weak Israelites who were falling behind in the rear ranks (Deut 25:18).

The Israelites defeated Amalek militarily under the leadership of Moses and Joshua when Moses stood on a hill with his arms outstretched in the form of a cross (Exod 17:10–13). It was at this spot that Israel learned that YHVH Elohim was their spiritual banner (Heb. Yehovah Nissi; Exod 17:15).

There is a spiritual lesson in this story for us today. Amalek is a spiritual picture of the world, the flesh and devil that will attack and try to destroy us spiritually as we’re coming out of our own spiritual Egypt and beginning our trek through the wilderness of life en route to Promised Land of our spiritual inheritance, which is the kingdom of Elohim from heaven.

This reminds us of Yeshua’s Parable of the Sower (Matt 13:3–9) where the good seed of the Word of Elohim was sown on four types of soil. The seed failed to grow in the three types of soil representing the world, the flesh and the devil (Matt 13:18–23). This is another picture of Amalek.

What defeated Amalek? Joshua the valiant warrior defeated the Amalekites militarily, while at the same time Moses was perched on a hill over the battlefield with his arms raised to heaven. Both Joshua and Moses are a prophetic picture of Yeshua. Joshua’s Hebrew name is Yehoshua, which is the long version of the name Yeshua. At the same time, on the mountain Moses’ arms grew tired and had to be supported and in so doing took the form a cross. What are these things a spiritual picture of? Moses and Joshua combined form a prophetic picture of Yeshua defeating the world, the flesh and the devil at the cross on Golgatha’s hill. Only when Moses’ arms were raised up to heaven in surrender and supplication to the Almighty did Joshua experience victory over the Amalekites. Similarly, only through prayer and the intercession on our part and through the resurrected Yeshua the Messiah in heaven acting as our Great High Priest before Elohim’s throne will we be able to defeat the spiritual enemies that are attempting to prevent us from entering the Promised Land of our spiritual inheritance.

The enemies of our salvation will attempt to destroy us when were weak, tired and falling behind in our spiritual walk. However, when we determine to fight, we have Yeshua’s victorious death on the cross as well as his help in heaven to overcome our enemies.

One of YHVH’s covenant names is Yehovah Nissi or YHVH Is My Banner. A military banner is something used to help build the morale of troops during the battle. YHVH is our strength and morale booster in the time of battle, and through or faith in YHVH-Yeshua, we already have the victory over the world, the flesh and the devil!

This lesson illustrates the fact that the Scriptures contain many deep spiritual mysteries and truths that if it weren’t for the physical examples or prophetic shadow-types contained therein they might otherwise be obscured to us and too difficult to comprehend.


 

What kind of spy are you?

Numbers 13:2, Send forth men, if you please (The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash). The implication here is that Elohim gave Moses permission to send out the spies, but left the final decision up to him. This idea is confirmed in Deuteronomy 1:22 where Moses states that the idea to spy out the land came from the Israelites, not from YHVH. By allowing them to do this, it appears that YHVH was deliberately putting them to the test to see if they would trust him when he had already told them that Canaan was a good land and theirs for the taking with his help. Would they walk by faith in his word and promises or would they have to see the actual land before believing YHVH’s word?

When YHVH gives you a promise, do you have to see it come to pass before believing it, or are you able to simply begin taking steps of faith toward the fulfillment of the promises without actually seeing any tangible evidence of the end goal? What has YHVH promised you and what steps of faith have you taken toward possessing your spiritual “promised inheritance?” (Read the scriptural definition of faith in Heb 11:1.)

YHVH did not choose the twelve spies, the people did; hence, the name of this parashah, “Send for Yourselves.” When people choose their own leaders the failure rate is high­—in this case ten of twelve leaders were faithless duds. Man-inspired and initiated efforts seldom produce lasting spiritual benefits. This effort ended in the faithless leaders shouting down those who had courage and faith. Do you act like Caleb and Joshua or one of the other ten spies in your spiritual approach to what YHVH has called you to do? Are you running upward and onward toward your spiritual inheritance, or are you holding back? Are you hearing the voice of YHVH’s Spirit so that you know what your personal spiritual marching orders are? Do you know how to hear his voice? If not, why not? Most of us sometimes act as Joshuas and Calebs and at times like the other ten spies. We tend to be inconsistent in our spiritual walk. What are you doing to become more like Joshua and Caleb?

Eighteenth-century Christian Bible commentator, Matthew Henry, in his comments on this passage, discusses the demerits of the people’s choice to search out the land of Canaan. He then compares the unbelief of the ten carnal spies with the doubt and unbelief in the walk of the believer. He notes that the motion to search out the land appears to have come from the people (see Deut 1:22). They had a better opinion of their own policy than of Elohim’s wisdom. Thus we ruin ourselves, he says, by believing the reports and representations of sense rather than of divine revelation. We walk by sight, not by faith (pp. 130–131, ­Matthew Henry Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible, Moody Press).

What is “divine revelation?” One does not hear this concept often discussed. What is it and how does a born-again believer receive it? Henry continues, Difficulties that are in the way of salvation dwindle and vanish before a lively, active faith in the power and promise of Elohim. All things are possible, if they are promised, to him that believes, but carnal sense and carnal professors are not to be trusted. Unbelief overlooks the promises and power of Elohim, magnifies every danger and difficulty, and fills the heart with discouragement. May YHVH help us to believe! We shall then find that all things are possible through him who strengthens us (Ibid.)