Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States

Joshua the Leader, "Sealed by the Spirit"

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Author of the Old Testament book named after him, Joshua, son of Nun, was from the tribe of Ephraim, born in Egypt and disciplined by Moses the Prophet. Since Moses the Prophet and leader authored the first five Holy Books in the Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy; it seems only natural that Joshua, his assistant and successor, would also author his own Holy Book as the leadership role of the Israelites was destined to pass on to him.

Suffice it to say that while Joshua was Moses' successor, he fulfilled what Moses the Prophet could not fulfill. Moses crossed the Red Sea "on dry land". However, he was not able to cross the Jordan River. Joshua not only crossed the Jordan River; but entered into the Promised Land thus completing the task Moses had ardently desired to do.

Moses could not assist Joshua in his leadership; nor could he even follow the new leader into Canaan. Actually he had to first disappear completely from the scene in order for Joshua's leadership to begin. While Moses must have been disheartened for having been denied entrance into the Promised Land flowing with milk and honey; his sadness did not embitter his relationship with the new leader. In fact, prior to his death, Moses gladly ushered Joshua in and announced him as his successor in the presence of the High Priest and all the assembly.

"And the LORD said to Moses: 'Take Joshua the son of Nun with you, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him; set him before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation, and inaugurate him in their sight. And you shall give some of your authority to him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient. He shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire before the LORD for him by the judgment of the Urim. At his word they shall go out, and at his word they shall come in, he and all the children of Israel with him—all the congregation.' So Moses did as the LORD commanded him. He took Joshua and set him before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation. And he laid his hands on him and inaugurated him, just as the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses" (Numbers 27:18-23).

What is the reason behind Moses' benevolence and good feelings towards Joshua, his former student but now the Israelites' leader, about to usher them into the Promised Land? The reason might very well be because Joshua did not desire to usurp Moses' authority. He did not speak ill nor critically of Moses the Prophet. Joshua was an example of humanity at its best; most faithful both as a servant and as a leader.

Joshua was a man the children of Israel followed unquestionably without nostalgia for their "own" leader. It appears that the Israelites were most satisfied with God's choice of leaders. Joshua must have embellished strength as he was not affected by the unrighteousness surrounding him; nor did he hide his strong convictions in the Word of the Lord.

Joshua did not fear the evil awaiting him to conquer in Canaan. He was not set up for defeat; but rather set about the business of preparation for the must-be-fought battles both spiritually and mentally. What made Joshua such a renowned victorious leader?

Firstly Joshua believed the Word of God without doubt, wavering, nor questioning. God was with Joshua and told him so,

"No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you" (Joshua 1:5).

Secondly, Joshua was a man of character, strong convictions and firm faith allowing himself to be taught by another upright and Godly man. God told Joshua,

"Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go" (Joshua 1:7).

Thirdly, Joshua did not deviate from the exact letter of the law. Not even once, did he allow himself in indifference, tiredness, compassion nor favoritism to overlook any portion of the law. Joshua did not treat the law half heartedly. He respected it, made it his life's work, meditated upon it, and observed it both by example and in exercising his authority. This is evident in and documented by God Himself in his words to Joshua:

"This Book of Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success" (Joshua 1:8).

The Holy Book of Joshua encompassed battles, preparation for tribal territories, tribal divisions by land, and a call to "choose Whom you will serve".

Divisions of the Holy Book of Joshua

Spiritual Wars and Victories
Preparation for the Inheritance
Middle Division
Southern Conquest
Northern Conquest
Division of Land
Cities of the Levites and Place of Refuge
Farewell Address and Advice

In summary, Joshua was a Biblical writer most popular particularly as the conqueror of the Battle of Jericho. The Holy Book of Joshua is an eyewitness account of his conquests. Joshua's faithful heart and unsurpassed adherence to God's teachings helped close him off to the external detrimental influences of the carnal pagan life surrounding him. By closing himself off to the interference of ungodly communication, thoughts, and provocations, Joshua became sealed by the Holy Spirit Who lived and abode within him.

"In Him you also trusted, after you heard the Word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in which also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise" (Ephesians 1:13).

The Holy Book of Joshua is considered one of the Historical Biblical Books. It entails new leadership, new lands for the twelve tribes, and accountability among those who believed in God. The Holy Book of Joshua covers approximately thirty one years after the death of the prophet Moses, and Eleazar as well as six years following the death of Joshua. Those six years following the death of Joshua are attributed to the writer Pinehaus.

In Exodus 17:9 we first read the name "Joshua" in Rephidim where he led the battle against Amalek. It was a benediction of things to come:

"And Moses said to Joshua, 'choose us some men and go out, fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in my hand.'"

Joshua, son of Nun, became a great servant, a great conqueror and a great leader for the Israelite nation.

"The Lord sees to the government of the world and brings the right person to power at the right time. The success of that person is in the Lords' hands. The Lord is the source of the honor given to any official" (Son of Sirach 10:4-5).

Glory be to God forever.

Bishop Youssef
Bishop, Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States

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