A Devotion for 20 august 2020 Anno domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? 14 And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant? * 15And the captain of the LORD’s host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.”
(Joshua 5:13-15;all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
Though some Bible scholars may disagree, I believe there is absolute biblical evidence to show that this Captain of the Host of the Lord was none other than the pre-Incarnate Christ! Who else is presented in Scripture leading the Host of Heaven, and who else, as a man, is deserving of worship?
“ And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 12His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” (Revelation 19:11-16)
Joshua was standing on the frontier of the city of Jericho perhaps assaying his battle plan to breach the tall walls that fortified the city. It is likely that Joshua’s plan would never materialize, for God had another plan which would have made no sense to Joshua. It was God who would bring the walls of Jericho down and not Joshua and his army.
As the faithful Joshua surveyed the approaches to Jericho, he spied a stranger before him with sword drawn as for battle. Joshua was courageous and undaunted by the first glimpse of this figure, but he would later fall down and worship this image of God. He went right up to the man whose sword was drawn (that took courage) and asked if he was friend or foe. The stranger’s answer was not directed to the choice Joshua offered, i.e., friend or foe, “Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come.” Man is feeble in character and resolution. God is not on any man’s side. No, if men will have the security and protection of the Lord, they must be on the Lord’s side! Christ is our Captain, and He will lead the Armies of Heaven on His return, not come as a humble little baby. He is our militant Captain, and the Captain of Mercy and Grace to us:
“Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: 8Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. 9But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. 10For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11For both he that santifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren.” (Hebrews 2:7-11)
Notice that Joshua fell down and worshipped this figure (I say ‘figure’ because He was not mortal man). But worship is not acceptable to any other than God. We have two examples of the angel rebuking John the Revelator for kneeling in worship to him with the added counsel – worship God (only). “And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”(Revelation 19:10) And “And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. 9Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am your fellow-servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.” (Revelations 22:8-9)
Another time came Moses to the environs of Mt. Horeb when he came across the Burning Bush. Notice the similarity of counsel from God in the Bush to that given Joshua by the Captain of the Host of the Lord: “And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. 3And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. 4And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. 5And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon you stand is holy ground.6Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.” (Exodus 3:2-6)
Let us now examine the peculiar nature of the term used here – ‘CAPTAIN.’ This is a military term and suggests that militancy must also be practiced by the people of God. A Captain is a leader of men. In the American military, a Captain is a Commissioned officer. He is commissioned by the President of the United States to act in his capacity as a leader with the authority of the President. So is the minister and laity of the Church commissioned by God to act on His behalf as directed in the Great Commission: “And Jesus came and spoke unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matthew 28:18-20) This represents the apostolic commission which the Church has been remiss in following – either in works, or in truth.
Likewise, our Lord Jesus Christ was commissioned by the Father for His earthly ministry: “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word (o. logos) that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.49For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. 50And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.” (John 12:48-50)
As you can see, God delegated His work to His Son to fulfill according to the Councils of Heaven before the worlds were made. Jesus was faithful to His Father’s commandments in every tiny detail. Likewise, our Lord commissions us to act on His behalf in the world by carrying forth His message to every race, tongue and tribe of peoples scattered throughout the continents of the world and to the isles of the sea.
I once had the privilege and honor to serve as a captain in the Army. One of my responsibilities as company commander was to keep an account of every soldier assigned on the muster rolls. A captain must know his men, and so does Christ know His followers. He, too, keeps a Muster Roll in Heaven. It is entitled the “Lamb’s Book of Life” in which every name of the faithful are inscribed. “. . . the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. 4And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. 5And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.” (John 10:3-5) A good soldier follows his captain into any arena of combat. In fact, that is the Infantry Slogan at Fort Benning – “Follow Me!”
Our Captain is a Warrior and a “man of war.” “The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.” (Exodus 15:3); but He is also the Captain of our Salvation and the Bishop of our souls. “For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” (Hebrews 2:10)
Are you seeking to get the Lord on YOUR side; or do you seek to forever stand on the LORD’S side?