Say They Are Liars

‘Behold, I will cause those of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie — I will make them come and bow down at your feet, and make them know that I have loved you.

Rev 3:9

Reaping What Was Sown

Why won't Jews get along?  When is Netanyahu going to quote Jeremiah?  How many nations/races/people groups do you think God would have to say such things to?

Violently attacking White students on campus is not progressive but it's what happens when we allow for hateful rhetoric to go unchecked- that includes calling Whites colonizers.

What Jews Plan To Do

13: These Dead Stones Speak

These stones that were gathered speak. As Schaeffer put it, "when the waves get high, we can look back and see that God has worked." When the waves get high, what do you look back to? Do you think stones and statues are significant? If so, in what way? Do you think God thinks they are significant? In what way?  

To answer my own questions, regardless of what you think the significance of these things are, I think our mind, on its own, looks for high points in our past to give us a footing in times of trouble. It seems our mind was built for this kind of thinking. Thus, God calls out to Israel in the hope that they would find footing and push back against the current of sin (see Isaiah 51:1-2). In like manner we should remember the rock and stones of our past and we should make sure to lay down some for the future as well.
As seen at

What follows are fragmentary pieces of Francis Schaeffer’s commentary Joshua and the Flow of Biblical History picked out for my own edification and direction. I am interested most in finding the conditions God gave for taking and possessing His land. Also, what can we learn from this story of conquest? To go to the start of these lessons click here.

Two Kinds of Memorials

What was happening as Rahab waited in that place of danger with her scarlet cord in the window? What occurred between the time the spies left her and the time Jericho fell?

Soon after the spies had returned to the east side of Jordan and reported to Joshua, Joshua sent officers among the people to prepare them for the great moment of crossing. The ark of the covenant of the Lord was to lead the procession. Because the ark represented the presence of God, there was to be between it and the people a space of 2,000 cubits (about 3,000 feet, or well over half a mile).[1] Finally, Joshua himself told the people, “Sanctify yourselves; for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you” (Josh. 3:5).

God said to Joshua, “This day I will begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee” (Josh. 3:7). After this encouragement, God told him how to instruct the priests who would bear the ark. When they came to the brink of the Jordan, they were to stand still in the water. Then the people would know that God was really with them because as the priests’ feet touched the river, the river would be rolled back. Why? Because “the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth passeth over before you into Jordan” (Josh. 3:11). Joshua promised the people that “as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests who bear the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above, and they shall stand upon an heap” (Josh. 3:13). Though it was the time of flood, the water would stop.

This was, of course, a continuity with what they had experienced when they came out of Egypt, and Joshua, Caleb and those who were children then would have remembered that event well. Now they were going to see a sign which paralleled the parting of the Red Sea. Though God gave the same sign as he had with Moses, in order to establish Joshua’s authority with the people, there was obviously something much more important at work than either Moses or Joshua.[2] There is a continuity of the power of the Lord. In both cases, the power of the Lord was there.

The First Kind of Memorial: Two Piles of Stones

When all the people had passed over the Jordan, Joshua obeyed some important instructions from God.

The LORD spoke unto Joshua, saying, Take you twelve men out of the people, out of every tribe a man, and command ye them, saying, Take here out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the priests’ feet stood firm, twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging place, where ye shall lodge this night. Then Joshua called the twelve men, whom he had prepared of the children of Israel, out of every tribe a man; and Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of Jordan, and take ye up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel; that this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones? Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel forever. And the children of Israel did so, as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones out of the midst of Jordan, as the LORD spoke unto Joshua, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, and carried them over with them unto the place where they lodged, and laid them down there. And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests who bore the ark of the covenant stood; and they are there unto this day. For the priests who bore the ark stood in the midst of Jordan until everything was finished that the LORD commanded Joshua to speak unto the people, according to all that Moses commanded Joshua; and the people hastened and passed over. And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over, that the ark of the LORD passed over, and the priests, in the presence of the people. (Josh. 4:1–11)

These verses describe the first of the two kinds of memorials I want to discuss in this chapter. The Israelites set up two piles of twelve stones so that the people could look back to what God had done in the past as a reminder that He had promised to care for them in the future. Christians through the years have often spoken of “stones in the midst of the Jordan.” In the beginning of L’Abri Fellowship, we were going through a great number of difficulties, a real spiritual battle. At that time we sent out our first family prayer letter, pointing out where we were being attacked, but also mentioning the “stones in the midst of Jordan,” God’s acts for us in the preceding weeks. It was then—July 30, 1955—that we first held our yearly day of prayer, a practice we have carried out from that day to this.

The first pile of twelve stones, one for each of the tribes, was set up in the bed of the Jordan. Inscribed on a stone in the lake near Geneva is the message, “When you read this, weep.” Someone carved this because when the water gets that low, the territory is in drought. When you can read the words, then cry, because the country is in trouble. The memorial in Jordan was exactly the opposite. Someone could have written upon it, “When you see this, rejoice and remember.” Occasionally, the Jordan gets very low, and the Israelites were able from time to time to see these twelve stones and to recall the great things God had done for them.

The second pile of stones was, in a way, even more exciting. Twelve men each took a stone out of the place where the priests’ feet stood firm, put it on his shoulder, and carried it out of the river. These stones which bore the marks of the waters of the Jordan stood on the dry land as a perpetual testimony of God’s interest in the Jewish people.

During the first night on the west side, the people camped close to the river, at Gilgal. As they looked up at the mountains which rose steeply to the west, their minds must have been filled with questions. But at the same time, they were in the land, they had taken the twelve stones, and the water had rushed back. That night they would have looked at those twelve stones stacked into a pillar (Josh. 4:20) and realized, “God has done something great. We can have tremendous confidence for the future.” These stones were a memorial to God’s faithfulness, and therefore a reminder of His trustworthiness in the days which lay ahead.[3]

The Jews had been waiting to enter the land since the time of Abraham. These particular people had been wandering in the wilderness for many years, waiting. Now, though the Jordan in flood had stood in their way, they were in the land. They were where Moses himself had not been allowed to go. And they established the first kind of memorial for all generations.

These stone memorials were set up for two purposes. Joshua told the children of Israel at Gilgal:

When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones? then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land. For the LORD your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up from before us, until we were gone over; that all the people of the earth might know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty, that ye might fear the LORD your God forever. (Josh. 4:21–24)

First, the stones were to instruct future generations. We can imagine a godly Jew in years to come taking his children to the twelve stones in Gilgal and saying, “Look! These stones were taken up out of the Jordan. I was there. I saw it happen.” Then the grandfather would tell the grandchild; and though the people died off, the story would go on.

Second, the stones were to tell the other nations roundabout that this God is different. He really exists; He is a living God, a God of real power who is immanent in the world.[4]

God today gives us, especially at the beginning of our Christian lives or at the start of a Christian work, things that we can remember. This way, when the waves get high, we can look back and see that God has worked, and that helps to give us a faith in the future. It is this work of God in our lives which should be open to observation and should give a testimony to the world roundabout us that God is mighty and God is different, that God is neither a projection of man’s thinking, nor a God who cannot move in history. The power of God should also be manifested through the Christian community as a testimony to the world and to the Christians themselves.

The Ark: The Character and Promises of God

In preceding chapters, we have studied a number of continuities: the written book, the supernatural power, the supernatural leader, the spiritual blessings of the Abrahamic covenant, the national blessings of the Abrahamic covenant, and the reverse side of the covenant of grace—judgment. Now we will study two more continuities that were flowing along, both represented by the ark.

“The ark of the covenant of the LORD your God” stood at the center of the narrative we have just discussed. What was the ark? It was a representation of the character of God.[5] The people had no image to worship; in fact, they were commanded not to make an image. One cannot make an image of God, for God is spirit. But God has a character, and the ark was a statement of that character. Basically, the ark was a box with a lid. It contained the law, expressing the fact that God is holy, and on top of it was the atonement cover, the propitiatory, the mercy-seat (to use the beautiful translation that Luther gave us), representing the love of God. God’s love covers God’s holiness when we come to God in His own way.

The ark was more, however, than a representation of God’s character. It was the ark of the covenant of the Lord, the ark of the oath and promises of God. Because of His character as shown in the Ten Commandments—He is a holy God and He will not lie—people need not be afraid that He will renege on His promises. Because this is the kind of God He is, He will not turn away; He will not become a liar. As the people watched the ark being carried more than half a mile ahead of them, it represented not only the existence of God and character of God, but also the fact that He had made promises which He meant to keep.

In Joshua 3:11 the ark is called “the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth.” God isn’t a localized God, but the universal God.[6] His power did not stop when the Israelites crossed the Jordan, any more than it ceased when they left Egypt. He is a God who is universal and not localized—in contrast to the heathens’ thought of their gods.

In Joshua 4, the words “the ark of the covenant of the Lord” are used over and over again. They are repeated like a chorus. We proceed in the narrative, see another part of the story, and then are reminded again that the ark was the external sign of the oath and promises of God.[7] He was showing that He meant to fulfill His promises.

We do not know what happened to the ark. It is conceivable that it was destroyed when Jerusalem was laid waste by Babylon, or it may have been brought back from Babylon and been in the Temple when Titus demolished it in A.D. 70. Perhaps the ark did not come to an end. It is not farfetched to think it exists somewhere and will one day reappear. Whatever happened to it, we must understand that what it represented did not end. The covenant and the oath of God (which reaches all the way back to Genesis 3:15) has come up to today through different forms. From the times of Noah and Abraham, sweeping on through the Old Testament into the New, the promises of God will continue right up to the end of this era and beyond it into eternity.

As we see what happened in Joshua’s day, we can take heart in the midst of our struggles. The God who kept His oath and promise to the children of Israel at the dramatic moment of their walking over the Jordan and entering the land will keep His word to the very end. As Bunyan’s Pilgrim crossed another river, the river Death, the oath and promises of God gave him absolute assurance. Not only in the river Death, but in the whole of life, we can count on God to keep His living promises.

Questions & Notes

  1. The _________ represented the presence of God.

  2. God gave the same sign as he had with Moses, in order to establish Joshua’s _________ with the people.

  3. These stones were a memorial to God’s _________, and therefore a reminder of His _________ in the days which lay ahead.

  4. What was the two purposes Schaeffer gives to the stones?

  5. The ark represented the _________ _________ _________.

  6. God isn’t a localized God, but the _________ God.

  7. The ark was the _________ sign of the oath and promises of God.

These questions are from The NIV Serendipity Bible.

A.What was one significant place in your formative years?
B.What might you someday tell your child about it?
C.Which of your folks’ childhood memories have you heard over and over again?
D.What household item would you enjoy handing down to the next generation?
My answers to these four questions:
A. Bard St, China Lake CA.  The building is gone but in this one room efficiency apartment God conducted a major operation on me.  He took out the heart of stone and gave me a heart of flesh.  I've looked the site up numerous times to remember what God can do.
B. My kids have never seen the place and now it is impossible, but I have shown pictures.  These were offices converted into efficiency apartments.  .
C. I cannot recall any.
D. I can think of no household items, but I would like to pass on my books.

Click on the “Joshua and the Flow of Biblical History” tag below to see all the posts in this series. To go to the start of this series click here.