“The LORD said to me, ‘They have spoken well. ‘I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. ‘It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him. Deut 18:17-19
This prophecy is almost always used to identify Yeshua the Messiah, who we think of as Jesus Christ. But the first person to fulfill this prophecy was indeed named Yeshua, but it was Yeshuah the son of Nun who we know as Joshua. Yehoshua, or Yeshua for short, is the same Hebrew name for both Jesus and Joshua. I have no idea why the translators have decided to translate their names differently, but they both have (or had in Joshua’s case) the same mission as well as the same name!
Joshua’s mission was to lead the people across the Jordan and into battle to claim their inheritance. Leading them across the Jordan wasn’t all that difficult since God stopped the river for them! Stopping the river was just like parting the sea, only this time it was so Israel could be the aggressor instead of the prey. Stopping the river allowed the people to cross swiftly but it also let the people (and their enemies) know that Joshua was just as anointed for leadership as Moses.
Joshua’s job was not just to be a wartime leader, he was also tasked with setting up God’s government for God’s people. He had to do this perfectly and the people had to obey perfectly or else they would lose their blessing. One guy broke a rule regarding the spoils of war and God removed His blessing from the entire nation (Joshua 7). After this, Joshua interceded for the people, just like Yeshua does for us now, and then Joshua had to execute judgment on the man who broke the rules. Yeshua will also execute judgment when He returns and, finally, at the end of the thousand years.
The parallels between Joshua and Yeshua are stark. Herod wanted to put all the kids under two years old to death because he thought the Messiah was going to come with fury and restore Israel violently, just like Joshua did. Herod, the Pharisees, and all who had a power base in the existing corrupt system did not want to lose their power so they resisted the Messiah. The disciples thought Jesus was going to restore all things in the first century, too, which helps to explain their behavior at times. The brothers whose mom asked if they could sit at Yeshua’s right and left thought He was going to launch a military campaign and restore earthly Israel at that time and they would actually sit on earthly chairs to the right and left of Yeshua. Peter took the sword and chopped the guy’s ear off because he was prepared to fight and restore the kingdom just like Joshua and his contemporaries set up the nation.
Yeshua is going to come with fury the second time. There will be much violence and suffering but God’s remnant will be protected throughout. Remember how Rahab was saved when the wall of Jericho came down? She was a prostitute who lived on the wall of Jericho. She concealed the Israeli spies who had been sent to scout the land and they promised to save her from the destruction that was to come because of her actions. She had her whole family with her in her house (on the wall) when the wall (that her house was built upon) came down. Rahab and her family were not harmed. This is also how God’s people will be saved from the tribulation – miraculously.
The end of this age is going to come much like the beginning of the country of Israel. Those who are faithful and obedient will be blessed and saved – these will be like the virgins who had plenty of oil for their lamps. Those who aren’t will be outside with the weeping and the gnashing of teeth. Yeshua will lead the battle and the kingdom will FINALLY be set up. And Deuteronomy 18:18 will be fulfilled for the last time!