There is also another category of things I must believe. This is how we move over the Jordan, by believing and receiving. David frequently said “God will” and “I will” and these things came to pass, because they were faith.
But in the NT we have a new set of words that are not in the OT. “You have, you have, He has”. These words refer to our standing, our position and what Jesus Christ has done on the cross. It’s all past tense. The OT was always future tense “God will”. Jesus’ words were also future tense. But in the rest of the NT almost all of Paul’s writings are past tense “He has, you have” and just like David had to believe “He will” we also have to believe “He has” in order for it to be received.
Joshua had to “be strong and have good courage” as God told him. He was commanded not to turn away and not to deviate from God’s words. This strength, determination and faith was required to pass over and take the land which had been promised to so many leaders before Joshua. When Joshua did deviate from God’s words, he lost battles and people died. When Joshua didn’t eliminate a people group, they literally remainded a thorn forever after.
For many years God has pointed to this story of Joshua and the people going over the Jordan. God said to Joshua “go over this Jordan, you and all this people” (Jos 1:2) and “you shall cause this people to inherit the land which I swore to them”.
To me it is clear that we are no longer living in the “shadow of things to come” as the OT was. But Jesus Christ didn’t come to fight Rome, He came to liberate humanity by removing the right that death has to rule over us because of our sin. When you remove the sin, you remove the power of death – the “sting” of death is sin according to the bible.
Jesus Christ clearly shifted the battle away from fighting flesh and blood, because He understood that the battle is a spiritual one, a Heavenly one. Rather than fight Rome, He shifted the fight and made it against spiritual powers in Heavenly places.
In that same way it is vital that we know that we are not preparing to take physical land away from Esau/Ishamel (Saudi Arabia)/Midianites (Iran) or any other literal group of people like Rome or Assyria. Many people believe that George Bush believed that Isaiah was to be literally fulfilled in wars against physical nations.
But that is not where the fight is. Instead we receive what Jesus Christ did on the cross in His position as Lamb of God.
Let me say it again, it is very important that we do not think this is a time to invade other countries or to fight with flesh and blood people. We must not think this is a time to “deal with” unfinished business from the past. Instead the bible says…
in that day Israel shall be the third, with Egypt and with Assyria [in a Messianic League], a blessing in the midst of the Earth – Is 19:24
So this is a time of bringing together different people groups – uniting the tribes – under Jesus Christ. Again… this is not at all through force, but it is a natural response from within willing people when they see the goodness of God as revealed in Jesus Christ on His cross which He willingly chose to experience on our behalf.
This inner change will occur simply because the root causes which underpin the enslavement of humanity are being dealt with through faith in Jesus Christ. People will respond when they see a change in the Earth occuring. At this time they suffer every day. When this is lifted many will naturally respond to His goodness.
What is it that causes a curse to devour the land? Why do the inhabitants suffer the punishment? (Is 24:6). This is a vital question, what IS it which causes the suffering that humanity experiences? It is sin which empowers curses to devour our land. It is sin which empowers death as a punishment.
And what is the solution? Well, it’s not a solution to come, it is a solution which has already come. This is not something we say “God will” like David in the OT. Instead we say “God has” as Paul constantly keeps saying in the NT.
This change-over from a curse devouring the land and inhabitants suffering punishment over to being released and reconciled back to our Father God and being given gifts, this change-over is to be received by faith in Jesus Christ on the cross as the Lamb of God – and it is repeatedly and vividly described by Isaiah, perhaps as Godly encouragement to us to believe…
It shall come to pass that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be firmly established as the highest of mountains (Is 2:2)… and they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more (Is 2:4, Mic 4:1-3)
When God has washed away the moral filth and bloodstains, through the judgement and burning and sifting of Jesus Christ on the cross, then the Lord will create over the whole site, over every dwelling place, over our assemblies, over all His glory is a canopy (a defense of divine love and protection) – Is 4:4-6
When He has completed His work of chastisment and purification (of us onto Jesus Christ) then He will inflict punishment on the fruit created during the reign of sin and death (Is 10:12). The burdens and yoke have departed our neck (Is 10:27), the yoke of burden, the rod for goading our shoulders, the rod of the oppressor are all broken (Is 9:4) because unto us a Child is born and upon them a “great Light has shined” (Jesus is described here Is 8:14, 9:2, 9:6-7), therefore war boots and garments rolled in blood will be burned as fuel (Is 9:5).
The Spirit of the Lord is upon Him (Jesus Christ is described here Is 11:2-5, 61:1) and as a result of Him the wolf shall dwell with the lamb… and they shall not hurt or destroy in all My Holy Mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
In that day the Lord will visit and punish the Host of Heaven… and they will be gathered together as prisoners in a pit or dungeon (Is 24:21-23) (“the captors were led captive and God gave gifts to men” Eph 4:8) and the Lord of hosts made for all peoples a feast of rich things inaugurating the reign of the Lord on the earth, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined (Is 25:6) and He destroyed the covering of mourning off all peoples, removed the veil of profound wretchedness that was woven over all nations, swallow up death in victory, abolish death forever, wipe away tears from all faces, take away the reproach from people (Is 25:7-8)
Only on this condition shall the iniquity be forgiven and purged, that the stones of idol altars be made like chalk and stones be crushed to pieces… then a great trumpet will be blown and they will come who were lost and they will worship the Lord on the holy mountain.
What the prophets said “will” happened, we can now confidently claim “has” happened! That is the difference between OT and NT faith. We know and believe that it happened on the cross.