Joshua 3 to 4 and Baptism

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Deacon, Oct 7, 2014.

  1. Deacon

    Deacon
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    Last week in the Adult Sunday school class I teach we covered Joshua chapters 3 to 5:1 – Joshua's entrance into the Promised Land and the making of a memorial.

    Two chapters is a rather long section and I didn't get to all the application or discussion I wanted to.
    I thought about starting the class with discussion of last weeks lesson... but I need some advice.

    Here are my thoughts.....

    • The Lord promised Joshua that "just as I was with Moses, I will be with you" (1:5).
    • The people were committed to their leader (believers). "Just as we obeyed Moses, we will obey you" (1:17}.
    • They followed the ark of the covenant (a symbol of the presence of YHWH) (3:14).
    • The Israelites passed through the waters.
    • Joshua's crossing was compared to Moses' crossing the sea (Joshua 4:23)
    • Finally in the NT (1 Corinthians 10:1-2) Moses' crossing of the sea was called a 'baptism'.

    So…. Is it appropriate to compare Joshua's crossing of the Jordan to Christian baptism or am I stretching the text or creating a false metaphor?

    What pitfalls should I be looking out for in heading this direction?

    Rob
     
  2. InTheLight

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    Hey that's an interesting comparison. I can see ways that it could work and also pitfalls.

    In 1 Cor. 10 the key phrase is "baptized into Moses". To me that means the Israelites trusted Moses' leadership, they were 'all in' when it came to having faith that God could get them through the water and across the Red Sea. They identified with God and his plan for them. Of course, when we get baptized we are proclaiming our faith in God and publicly identifying with Him. This is where the metaphor works.

    The pitfall is the fact that the Israelites needed to go into and across the water of the Red Sea to be (physically) saved. As Baptists we don't believe the waters of baptism save us from anything.

    I think you could make this metaphor work.

    A thought provoking post.
     
  3. JamesL

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    When I was a kid, probably 7 or 8 years old, someone was taking the Promised Land as a type of heaven. I was raised in a church full of mysticism, works, and insane allegory, btw.

    Anyway, this person pressed the allegory to the point of teaching that when we die, each one of us will literally attempt to cross the Jordan - to see if we are able to enter heaven. I believed it for years


    I think that the Promised Land is often misunderstood as a type of heaven, rather than the simple reading of an inheritance which was promised to Abraham.

    If the type is understood wrong, it would be very easy to give the impression that one must go thru the water (baptism) to enter heaven
     
  4. Deacon

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    I've been beginning each class with a short instructional message about how to interpret biblical narrative.
    Oddly enough, this weeks topic of concern deals with forming false metaphors - the example is in the story of David and Goliath where he picks up 5 smooth stones - it's not so uncommon to make the 5 stones into various traits that we need in order to conquer our enemies.

    I may start the class with the baptism idea, then instruct them on interpretation and allow discussion as to whether we've crossed a line.

    Concerning the Promised Land and heaven - one of many favorite songs is the Cox Family singing "Far Side of the Jordan" [LINK]
    I know the theology's terrible - but I still like it.

    I'm still wavering as to whether I should go with this or not.
    Any other comments would be appreciated.

    Rob
     
  5. JamesL

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    Deacon,
    That song you linked was pretty darn close to what I was taught as a kid. He said he'd run out in the water and take her by the hand, insinuating that she would be going through the Jordan after she dies, on her way into heaven

    You've got a great idea about highlighting false metaphors.

    I think one of the greatest things to ever happen is that the scriptures were made available to everyone, but that's also the most dangerous thing. When left alone with the scriptures, we're all too easily inclined to read into them what we want yo see

    I love your heart for the truth, btw
     
  6. PreachTony

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    How exactly are you teaching the class " how to interpret biblical narrative?" I'm just curious, because some people teach that only literal interpretations are allowed and some people admit that a spiritual interpretation is allowed.

    As for David and the smooth stones, one way I've looked at that scripture is that it is prof to us that God will always provide us the help we need, and He will go above and beyond.

    Similar to what I was saying earlier, are you just going to seek majority opinion on "whether we've crossed a line?" My tendency to view scripture through a spiritual lens might tell me I've not crossed a line, while a staunch literalist will most likely differ with me.

    There are a lot of gospel and spiritual songs with weak theology. Thankfully, people are saved by hearing the preached word of God, not the singing of the word of God.

    I hope this has been at least a little helpful.
     
  7. Deacon

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    I think we all view scripture through our own lens - the tricky part is correctly adjusting our lens to view what scripture is really teaching.

    I've been using an outline of a class taught by John Walton on Logos Bible Software. [EXAMPLE]
    He's certainly not a strict literalist... He teaches a modern historical interpretive hermeneutic which I'm very comfortable with.

    I'm still a bit uncomfortable with what I've suggested because don't find it in any commentary I own.

    I've still got a few day to research the idea.
    If I'm wrong I may get to show them how the idea is a false one. :tonofbricks:

    Rob
     
  8. PreachTony

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    Remember, too, that at one point in time the ideas that now appear in the commentaries you own had never appeared in a commentary before.

    What I mean is, just because no one has written it down before does not mean it is not a logical and founded point. It might mean that you get to put your name to it. :type: Of course, if you do, I expect partial credit since I gave you the idea :smilewinkgrin:
     
  9. Deacon

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    The class went well today - even though it varied from my usual format.

    Here are my notes:

    Video: "Far Side of the Jordan", (Cox family YouTube video) – Jordan river as a metaphor for heaven.

    Teaching: Misreading Biblical Narrative
    Creating Metaphors
    Misdirecting Promises
    Extracting Proof Texts

    Q - Is the metaphor of Jordan as heaven a legitimate one?

    Handout: Parallels between Joshua and Moses [Biddle. (n.d.). Literary Structures in the Book of Joshua, www.rande.org/biddle.doc ]

    TEXT: Joshua 3 and 4 (review)

    • The Lord promised Joshua that "just as I was with Moses, I will be with you" (1:5).
    • The people were committed to their leader (believers). "Just as we obeyed Moses, we will obey you" (1:17}.
    • They followed the ark of the covenant (a symbol of the presence of YHWH) (3:14).
    • The Israelites passed through the waters.
    • Joshua's crossing was compared to Moses' crossing the sea (Joshua 4:23)
    • NT use of text: (1 Corinthians 10:1-2) Moses' crossing of the sea was called a 'baptism'.

    1 Corinthians 10:1–2
    For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea;

    The people were 'baptized' into Joshua – immersed into Joshua's commission from the Lord to conquest the land.

    Discussion:

    [Discussion centered around Moses' mission and how he revealed aspects of God's holiness in the Pentateuch. Then Joshua's mission and how he revealed aspects of God's faithfulness.]

    Rob
     
  10. The Biblicist

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    I think you are dead on! Remember exit OUT OF EGYPT (Ex. 13 - figure of the world and being of the world) was accomplished in connection with the shed blood of the lamb (type of redemption) before crossing the red sea -= blood before the water!

    However, after crossing the red sea the children of Israel because of disobedience wandered for 40 years until the old generation died and a new generation arose. Here again is a picture of DEATH of the old nature and the NEW BIRTH preceding crossing the river of Jordan. Hence, the comparison with crossing the sea is consistent with each type in their immediate contexts - redemption first followed by baptism. Crossing Jordan is into the land of BATTLE (no battles in heaven). Baptism is a committment to the Lord to remain faithful and pure to his teachings IN THIS WORLD.

    In connection with 1 Cor. 10:1-4 and the words "baptized unto Moses." Moses is clearly stated to be a type of Christ. Being baptized "unto" Moses is clearly being made parallel with the Corinthians being baptized "unto" or with reference to Christ. Paul already dealt with baptism and its relationship with the gospel previous to this in 1 Cor. 1:17-18. If baptism is inseparable from initial salvation then Paul would never have said "Christ sent me NOT to baptize BUT to preach the gospel." Hence, to be "baptized UNTO Christ" means that one is witnessing their committment to Christ. However, that committment was violated in the wilderness. Likewise, the Corinthians committment to Christ in baptism was violated by everything Paul is spelling out in the book of Corinthians.

    However, in regard to that "spiritual" drink and "spiritual" meat are both things they PARTOOK of, digested and became one with and thus are both said TO BE CHRIST. The Corinthians had been saved by PARTAKING of Christ by faith in the gospel, and showed that committment in baptism in regard to Christ, but now are violating their profession of faith and their committment in baptism by their behavior and false doctrines.
     
  11. clark thompson

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    I think to use that medaphor is alright just as long as you see it as it is a medaphor.
     

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