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Questions & Answers

The Spirit of Joshua

First posted: February 18, 2005



Can you tell me about the spirit of Joshua?



A zeal for justice

As you may already know, the people of Israel left Egypt under the leadership of Moses, but God did not allow Moses or the Israelites who left Egypt as adults to enter the Promised Land. The reason why the adults were cut off is obvious; they were an unfaithful and rebellious bunch of people. The reason why Moses was not allowed to enter the Promised Land is a little more complicated. Even though most people attribute it to the "rock" incident in Numbers chapter 20, the "spiritual seeds" for Moses' fall were sown much earlier.

In Exodus chapter 32, the Lord declares that Moses was up at the mountaintop receiving the Law from Him, and the people below got tired of waiting, and decided to fashion a golden calf after the lust of their flesh. When God told Moses up at the mountaintop that the people had corrupted themselves (v7-9), He then asked Moses for permission to destroy them and to make a new nation out of Moses (v10). Moses' reply, however, was to ask God not to destroy them. Even though this is seen by most people as an example of "good" intercessory prayer, the chapters that follow show quite the opposite.

Exodus 32:14 declares that God "repented of the evil which He had thought of doing to the people of Israel". Obviously, when this verse speaks of "evil", it is not referring to "moral evil", since God never does anything that is morally wrong; everything that God does is good and righteous, because God's nature is Holy, and He cannot deny Himself. The Hebrew word that is translated as "evil" here has the connotation of something that causes "troubles", "discomfort" or "pain", and does not refer to "moral evil" in and of itself. What God was about to do against the people was "good", not "bad", but Moses failed to understand that.

When Moses "interceded" before God, he was not asking God to save the people from an attack of the enemy; he was asking God to save the people from God Himself!!! He was so emotionally attached to those people that he could not bear to see them suffer or be killed off completely. When God told him that He would destroy those people and make a new nation come out of him, God was telling Moses that that generation was too perverse to be restored, and that it was better to destroy them right away and allow the next generation to receive an impartation of the spirit that was inside of Moses, but Moses refused the offer. He chose to "save" that wicked generation from God's judgments, but, since God's judgments are inevitable (1 Peter 4:17), all that Moses did was to postpone them. This led to that wicked generation dying a slow, 38-year death. During this time, those people slowly wore out Moses' patience and eventually led to the incident in Numbers chapter 20 where Moses was barred, along with those people, from entering the Promised Land.

In Exodus 32:34, the Lord tells Moses that He spared the people of Israel "for now", so to speak, but would punish them on the day of His visitation. If you read the end of Exodus chapter 32 and the beginning of chapter 33, you will notice that God was not at all happy with Moses or with the people. Moses had prevented Him from purifying the people through judgment. I am convinced in my heart, from various passages of Scripture, that God would have killed off the adults over a 2 year period and would have quickly prepared those who were young at the time, meaning that the 40-year desert traversal would have been a 2-year trek. Those who had a right heart towards God would have received an impartation of the prophetic spirit that was in Moses in the same way that the 70 elders received it in Numbers chapter 11. In other words, Moses' "human mercy" led to a pointless waste of time; this is why the people of Israel simply wandered around in circles for 38 years:

"31But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised. 32But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness. 33And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness. 34After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise. 35I the LORD have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die." (Numbers 14:31-35)

Notice that the passage above ends with the Lord saying, "I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation". In other words, it is as if God were saying,

"Moses' humanistic mercy will not prevent Me from executing My judgments, because I am a Just and Righteous God".

Joshua, on the other hand, had a different attitude concerning the judgment of sin. You may remember that, when the people of Israel lost at Hai and God pointed out to him that the people had disobeyed the Lord, he did not hesitate to find the guilty party and to judge him and his collaborating family. In this case, the guilty one was Achan, and Joshua and the people of Israel stoned him (and his whole family) to death (Joshua 7:25-26). Unlike the rebellious generation of complainers who only thought about their own temporal needs, Joshua and the generation of people that fought with him were people who had God's zeal for justice and judgment. This is part of what the "spirit of Joshua" is all about. A person who does not have a zeal for justice and judgment cannot be said to truly have the spirit of Joshua.


No unconditional submission to men

A second thing that can be said about those that have "the spirit of Joshua", and will take the spiritual Promised Land in these latter days, is that they do not submit unconditionally to men:

"16And they answered Joshua, saying, All that thou commandest us we will do, and whithersoever thou sendest us, we will go. 17According as we hearkened unto Moses in all things, so will we hearken unto thee: only the LORD thy God be with thee, as he was with Moses." (Joshua 1:16-17)

Notice that they placed a precondition to their submission to Joshua's authority (v17). It's as if they said, "As long as we see God with you, we will follow you". They thereby were declaring that they had the right to judge their leadership. Those who submit to men unconditionally "just because" they have the title of "pastor" or "apostle" do not have the spirit of Joshua abiding in them.

This attitude of never trusting unconditionally in men is also manifested in what the spies said to Rahab before they left Jericho. Instead of saying to her that they would save her and her family no matter what, they placed a precondition on her, saying that they would be free of her blood if she told on them or if she did not hang a scarlet line out her window (Joshua 2:12-21).

Some might argue that believers must unconditionally submit to "authority" because "sons" do not have the right to judge their "fathers", but the Lord Jesus would "disagree":

"And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges." (Luke 11:19)

"39And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch? 40The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master." (Luke 6:39-40)

The word "master" above is a "mistranslation" of the Greek word "didaskalos", which literally means "teacher". Notice that, according to the Lord, the disciple does not have a permanent state of inferiority with respect to his or her teacher. On the contrary, a good teacher is one who believes and hopes that his or her disciples will one day be like him or her. The concept of "caste hierarchy" that is so prevalent in today's Church is contrary to the spirit of Joshua that is about to be manifested. The Lord Jesus wants us to be like Him; He longs and desires to see His Glorious and Mighty nature manifested in us; He does not see us as inherently and permanently inferior beings. In fact, He was willing to pay with His life so that we may one day be One with Him, and no two things can really be One if they do not share the same nature. To share in the Lord's nature, we must be willing to submit ourselves to Him, constantly exposing ourselves to God's judgments so that He may mold us into His Glorious likeness.


A warrior nature

A third thing that is characteristic in the "spirit of Joshua" is the warrior spirit. As Moses and Joshua were descending from the mountain in chapter 32 of Exodus, the Lord records the following:

"15And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand: the tables were written on both their sides; on the one side and on the other were they written. 16And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables. 17And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said unto Moses, There is a noise of war in the camp. 18And he said, It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome: but the noise of them that sing do I hear." (Exodus 32:15-18)

Notice that Joshua thought that the noise was the "noise of war in the camp" (v17). Why? Because the Lord wanted to show how "war-oriented" Joshua was. The spirit in Joshua was anxious to fight the enemy and conquer him. Joshua was not interested in leaving Egypt in order to enjoy a quiet and comfortable spiritual retirement. He was always aware that there was land to conquer, wars to be fought, and kingdoms to be taken. This is the reason why Joshua, along with Caleb, were so willing to fight the giants in the Promised Land after they returned from spying the land along with the other 10 spies:

"6And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes: 7And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land. 8If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. 9Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not. 10But all the congregation bade stone them with stones. And the glory of the LORD appeared in the tabernacle of the congregation before all the children of Israel." (Numbers 14:6-10)

Notice that those who did not have the Joshua spirit wanted to stone Joshua and Caleb. Non-Joshua people hate the Joshua-spirit people because they "stir things up"; they challenge the spiritual "status quo" and the spiritual lethargy and conformity of those who would rather relax and accept a life of "spiritual coma". Those with the Joshua spirit are spiritual giant-killers. They feel the strong prophetic calling to tear down Amorites in the spiritual atmosphere and to establish the Kingdom of God on Earth.


Admission of human weakness

A fourth characteristic that is evident in the "Joshua spirit" is the willingness to recognize that the battle must be fought in the Spirit, and not through human effort (Zechariah 4:6). Notice, for example, that Joshua was willing to obey God and go around Jericho 6 times during the first 6 days and 7 times on the 7th day. Joshua understood that a spiritual battle was being waged as they went around Jericho. He also understood that the battle had to be done through priests with the Ark of the Covenant, which speaks of prophetic intercession that longs for the manifestation of God's "Shekinah presence". Those who go to church simply to "get blessings" from God are not aware of the "Ark of the Covenant", because the Ark implies being exposed to God's Face, and His Face brings death to anything that is earthly or unGodly. Those who simply seek the Lord's hands want the temporary benefits of being around God, but don't want to die to self. God's Glorious Countenance brings death to self so that we may resurrect in Him. Those with the Joshua spirit understand that it is through priestly prophetic intercession that longs for the manifestation of God's fearsome Countenance that the "latter rain" will eventually come (Habakkuk 3:1-13).

"12And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; 13And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. 14His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; 15And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. 16And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. 17And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: 18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death." (Revelation 1:12-18)

Those who have the spirit of Joshua are willing to relinquish any faith in earthly methods and to "rest" in the Lord, as Hebrews 4:1-10 declares (the name "Jesus" in Hebrews 4:8 can also be translated as "Joshua"; the names "Jesus" and "Joshua" are equivalent in Hebrew and in Greek). They are warriors in the Spirit, and they hate those who stubbornly persist in doing God's work in the strength of the flesh.


A believer who recognizes his or her human weakness is able to enter into the rest of the seventh day.


The 4 faces

To summarize, people with the Joshua spirit have the following 4 characteristics:


A zeal for justice


No unconditional submission to men


A warrior nature


Admission of human weakness


After we finished typing the 4 characteristics listed above, we suddenly realized that each characteristic is related to each of the four faces that Ezekiel saw in the living beings described in Ezekiel chapter 1:


"As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle." (Ezekiel 1:10)


As we have said before, the "lion" in Scripture speaks of apostolic judgments. This means that the "lion face" corresponds to the first characteristic: the zeal for justice.


As we have said before, "flying creatures" like the "eagle" speak of the prophetic anointing, and the eagle's "high flying" and accurate vision from above speak of the prophetic anointing's ability to detach believers from the perspective of earthly, natural reasoning in order to see things from the heavenly, spiritual perspective. Therefore, the "eagle face" corresponds to the second characteristic, the refusal to unconditionally submit to men, since prophets are called to defy human structures and human authority for the Lord's sake, even at the price of being isolated or even murdered.


In Scripture, the "ox" is associated with strength to serve. As we have studied before, the evangelistic anointing endows believers with a warrior nature and spiritual strength to tear down Amorite strongholds in high places. Therefore, the "ox face" corresponds to the third characteristic: a warrior nature.


As you may have noticed, the "man face" is the only non-animal face mentioned in Ezekiel 1:10. As we have said before, "man", when compared to "animals", is the living image of weakness. Therefore, the "man face" corresponds to the fourth characteristic: admission of human weakness.


As we have said before, the pastoral and teacher ministries are "female" ministries while the apostolic, prophetic, and evangelistic ministries are "male" ministries. Since Scripture associates "woman" with weakness when compared to "man" (1 Peter 3:7), we can also say that the "man face" is associated with the weakness of the pastoral and teaching ministries:


Face Ministry Spirit of Joshua characteristic
Lion Apostle A zeal for justice
Eagle Prophet No unconditional submission to men
Ox Evangelist A warrior nature
Man Pastor & Teacher Admission of human weakness


Fellow believer, all of us are called to manifest each of the 4 faces of Ezekiel 1:10. At times, we will be manifesting our "lion face" when the Spirit calls us to make judgments as we roar like lions. At times, we will be manifesting our "eagle face" when the Spirit calls us to move in the prophetic and to break free from earthly structures and natural thinking. At times, we will be manifesting our "ox face" when the Spirit calls us to manifest a strong-willed warrior nature that tears down spiritual strongholds, and, at times, we will be manifesting our "man face" as we recognize our human weakness before God and as we serve others in pastoral humility and teacher meekness. This is why Ezekiel chapter 1 declares the following:


"And they went every one straight forward: whither the spirit was to go, they went; and they turned not when they went" (Ezekiel 1:12)


"When they went, they went upon their four sides: and they turned not when they went" (Ezekiel 1:17)


Some time ago, I asked the Lord, "How can these creatures move in all 4 directions and go 'straight forward' without turning their heads?". But, then, the Lord reminded me of the fact that these creatures have 4 faces. The fact that they don't turn their heads as they move in each direction means that, at times, they move in the direction of each of their 4 faces. When they move in the direction of the lion face, for example, the "main face" becomes the lion face, and they are "moving forward" with respect to that face. Whey they move in the direction of the eagle face, the "main face" becomes the eagle face, and they are "moving forward" with respect to that face. As the Spirit prompts them (Ezekiel 1:12), they move in the direction of the appropriate face, meaning that, at times, their "main face" is the lion face; at times, it is the eagle face; at times, it is the ox face, and times, it is the man face.


A person with the Spirit of Joshua moves in all 4 faces. A believer who "lacks" one of these faces is incomplete.  We are called to grow in all 4 faces. As we have said before, the man face (i.e.- the admission of our weakness) is the required foundation to develop the other 3 faces, but the pastoral matriarchy has led to a Church full of believers that only grow in the man face.