In previous posts we saw that the good land is a type of the all-inclusive Christ (link to post), the goal of God’s calling for His people to enter the good land (link to post), and the way the children of Israel entered the good land by crossing the River Jordan (link to post). In this post we will focus on how God’s people took possession of the land. It was as an army in full cooperation and coordination with God that the children of Israel corporately occupied and took possession of the land.
In Joshua 1 after God’s charge, promise, and encouragement to Joshua, there is a record of Joshua’s charge to the people. He speaks a particular word to the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, reminding them of Moses’ word in Numbers 32. These two and a half tribes, who had been given the land to the east of the Jordan, were charged to cross the Jordan to help their brothers take possession of the good land. Joshua 1:14-15 says, “…But you yourselves shall cross over in battle array before your brothers, all the mighty men of valor; and you shall help them, until Jehovah gives rest to your brothers as He has to you, and they also possess the land which Jehovah your God is giving them.” This charge indicates that the possessing and enjoying of God’s promised land was a corporate matter, requiring all God’s elect to rise up, fight for the land and for one another, and gain and possess the land so that everyone would be able to enter into his particular portion and be at rest (note 121 in Joshua 1).
The New Testament also reveals that God’s people possess and enjoy Christ, who is the reality of the good land, not individually but corporately. For instance, Ephesians 3:17-19 says, “That Christ may make His home in your hearts through faith, that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be full of strength to apprehend with all the saints what the breadth and length and height and depth are, and to know the knowledge-surpassing love of Christ, that you may be filled unto all the fullness of God.” Furthermore, Philippians 1:19 says, “For I know that for me this will turn out to salvation through your petition and the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.” The saints’ petition in this verse refers to the supply of the Body of Christ. This supply along with bountiful supply of the Spirit issues in our daily salvation by living and magnifying Christ (vv. 20-21). Gaining Christ is a matter of experiencing Him in these ways. Ephesians 4:15-16 speaks of the Body growing and building itself up by the operation in the measure of each part. This growth is a matter of having Christ increase in us (Col. 2:19). In our Christian life, we cannot fully gain Christ in His all-inclusiveness without the function of all the saints. We must consider one another and fight for one another, so that each member of the Body may enter into, lay hold of, and enjoy his particular portion of Christ (Col. 1:12). It was as an army that the God’s people took possession of the good land in the Old Testament, and today it is also as an army that we apprehend and gain the all-inclusive Christ.
The chorus of Hymns, #885 says,
Fight the battle in the Body!
By the virtue of the Head;
Standing firmly with the Body,
Into vict’ry you’ll be led.
In forthcoming posts we will see aspects of the riches of the good land, and ultimately the fulfillment of God’s purpose in the land.
(Most references in the Further Reading can also be viewed on www.ministrybooks.org.)