Old Testament Summary Lesson 18: “Be Strong and of a Good Courage”
- “Prophet in Waiting:” The selection of Joshua to replace Moses was anticipated by the Israelites. There was (and still is) a system that God established that there would always be a worthy “Prophet in waiting.” Known examples include Joseph for Jacob, Joshua for Moses, Nephi for Lehi and presently the President of the Quorum of the Twelve. These prophets were and are still led by the Lord. History some times only records the results of their decisions without elaborating on the revelatory decision making process.
- The Saving Step: The name Joshua means “Jehovah saves.” “Yeho-Shua” is the original Hebrew pronunciation for the Savior’s name. Through the Greek and then into the Latin languages, it finally has transformed into English as “Jesus.” Accepting the Savior, Yeho-shua, requires stepping into a spiritual “gateway” to enter His kingdom. “. . . The Jordan river has come to have a deep significance for Jews, symbolizing the gateway to the homeland after years of wandering in exile in the desert . . . and crossing it is seen as stepping from a world of troubles to one of peace. The river is also important to Christians because John the Baptist performed baptisms on its banks and Jesus was baptized there.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
- Establishing an Altar: The twelve stones that the Children if Israel removed from the Jordan River were probably used as the altar at Gilgal, just East of Jericho. Gilgal became the temporary site of the center of worship, in effect, a temporary Temple. “According to the Bible the altar was made of stones joined together with earth . . . four stones were placed at the four corners of the altar; these were known as the “horns” of the altar.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
- Good News! The account of Joshua and Caleb as spies or emissaries for Israel has additional symbolism because they returned with a good report — a faithful example of choosing to serve the Lord and then continuing to lead Israel. They were of the tribes of Joseph (Joshua) and Judah (Caleb). These tribes always led Israel in the past and must through a good report be faithful examples in choosing to serve the Lord and continue to lead Israel in the Latter-days. The two tribes will once again combine as emissaries for the Lord preceding the gathering of the rest of Israel. The symbol of the Israeli Ministry of Tourism is the characterization of the two emissaries (Joshua and Caleb) carrying a clump of grapes between them – bringing good news!