Revelation - Jericho

The Bible teaches us in many different ways, but one of the most common in the Old Testament is through types. For example, the lamb sacrificed as a sin offering foreshadowed Jesus Christ being the sin offering for us. Therefore, our understanding of Christ's sacrifice can be understood in part by the type in the Old Testament. In other words patterns in the Old Testament help us understand the New Testament.

We find one such pattern in the story of Jericho. Jericho was the first city that the Israelites conquered when they entered the promised land. They had spied it out beforehand and avoided capture with the help of a prostitute named Rahab. God commanded Joshua, which is the same name as Jesus in Hebrew, to walk around the city once per day for six days. The men of war went first with the seven priests, who had seven trumpets, following behind with the ark. (Josh. 6:4). During this time the people were not supposed to shout or make any noise until the day they were commanded (Josh. 6:10). On the seventh day, they marched around the city seven times. And on the seventh time around the city, the people were told to shout. "As soon as the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted a great shout, and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they captured the city (Josh 6:20)." However, the two men who had spied out the land were told, "Go into the prostitute's house and bring out from there the woman and all who belong to her (Josh. 6:22)."

This same pattern of judgment is found in Revelation. In Revelation, Jesus takes a scroll with seven seals which contain the judgments of God and opens it up. In this scroll there are seven trumpets blown by seven angels who stand in the presence of God (Rev. 8:2), which is similar to the seven priests who walked before the ark of God (the place of God's earthly presence) around Jericho. The seventh trumpet contains the seven bowls which complete the wrath of God, similar to the seven times they were required to walk around the city on the seventh day.

There are other similarities other than the structure. Trumpets in the Old Testament are used to call people to war (Ezek. 7:14). The sound of a trumpet brings to mind imminent disaster (Amos 3:6). The trumpets in Revelation are announcing the wrath of God to come in the seven bowls. The people who experience the trumpets should be fearful of what is to come. When the seventh seal was opened there was silence in Heaven (Rev. 8:1), just like the silence of the people waiting for the destruction of Jericho. When the seventh trumpet was blown there were loud voices in Heaven (Rev. 11:15), just like the people of Israel shouted when the final trumpet blew. Another interesting connection are Joshua's words to the men who were to save the women and all who belong to her. It is very similar to the call from heaven in Revelation saying, "Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sin, lest you share in her plagues (Rev. 18:4)." Joshua's command to rescue Rahab from the prostitutes house before the destruction of Jericho is similar to the call for God's people to come out of symbolic Babylon, the great prostitute, before God's judgment on that city comes.

The story of Jericho gives us a pattern of the judgment to come depicted in Revelation. The inhabitants of Jericho were trapped and each time the men of war and seven priests walked around the city was a warning of what was to come. The seven circuits of the city on the seventh day would have been an ominous sign that their destruction was imminent. The seven trumpets of Revelation are a warning of the wrath of God to come, and the seven bowls are the wrath of God to come, ending in the destruction of Babylon.


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