Before Moses died, the LORD took Moses up the mountain of Nebo in Moab and showed him the land that He had promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as an inheritance forever.
“And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho. And the Lord showed him all the land of Gilead, unto Dan, And all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim, and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah, unto the utmost sea, And the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, unto Zoar.
“And the Lord said unto him, This is the land which I swore unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and Jacob, saying, I will give it unto your seed: I have caused you to see it with your own eyes, but you shall not go over there. So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord. And He buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knows of his sepulcher unto this day” (Deuteronomy 34:1-6).
Even though Moses wasn’t allowed to enter the Promised Land, the LORD allowed him to see it from a distance. Verse 6 says the LORD personally buried Moses. That is quite a tribute to Moses, the man of God. Moses was the first true prophet of God, and he was unique in that he saw and talked with the LORD (as the Angel of the LORD) in person. Most of the prophets in Israel who came after Moses saw and communicated with Him in visions or dreams.
“But since then there has not arisen in Israel a prophet like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, in all the signs and wonders which the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt, before Pharaoh, before all his servants, and in all his land, and by all that mighty power and all the great terror which Moses performed in the sight of all Israel” (Deuteronomy 34:10-12).
Joshua, Moses’ assistant, took over Moses’ role as the leader of Israel after his death. Before they crossed over the Jordan River to enter Canaan (the Promised Land) in the year 1406 BC, the LORD spoke to Joshua and gave him his marching orders.
“Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them—the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the River Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your territory. No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them” (Joshua 1:1-6).
Just as God supernaturally intervened when He parted the Red Sea during the time of Moses and the Exodus from Egypt, so He did 40 years later when He parted the Jordan River, and Joshua and the Israelites crossed over into the Promised Land.
“Then the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan; and all Israel crossed over on dry ground, until all the people had crossed completely over the Jordan” (Joshua 3:17).
The Israelites began the conquest of the Promised Land by destroying Jericho, with God’s supernatural help, of course. The city of Jericho, built thousands of years before Joshua was born, was one of the oldest cities in the world. In some places, it had fortified walls up to 25 feet high and 20 feet thick. Jericho was a symbol of military power and strength, and the Canaanites considered it invincible. The destruction of Jericho is recorded in Joshua 6.
The number 7 represents perfection and completion. By employing this number in His unique battle plan, the Man of War (the Angel of the Lord) made sure the Israelites knew where the victory came from. The LORD had told Moses and Joshua He would be with them, and He certainly was at Jericho.
“And the Lord said unto Joshua, See, I have given into your hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valor. And you shall compass the city, all you men of war, and go round about the city once. This shall you do six days. And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams’ horns: and the seventh day you shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets. And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him” (Joshua 6:2-5).
These instructions were repeated by Joshua to the priests, and they were carried out daily for six days and then fulfilled on the 7th day. The seven priests blew their trumpets one time for 6 days in a row. This would be 42 (6×7) times the trumpets sounded in six days. 6 is man’s number and is incomplete (not perfect), so the walls of Jericho did not come down at this time. On the seventh day, the seven priests (and all the children of Israel) made seven laps around the walls of Jericho, blowing their horns each time, for a total of 49 (7 x 7) times. 7 is God’s number and is perfect and complete.
On this day, after the 91st (13 x 7) time that the trumpets sounded, the walls fell. The 13th seven was indeed a very unlucky number for the inhabitants of Jericho. From Joshua 6 verse 3 to verse 16, there are 14 (7 x 2) mentions of the number 7, a double dose of completeness.
The walls fell after the last trumpet sounded, and all the people shouted as one. I think the Lord also shouted with them at this time, as He will do at the Rapture. The results were exactly as the Lord had described them to Joshua. It was a great victory for the newly formed nation of Israel and struck terror into the inhabitants of the remaining kingdoms of Canaan. Jericho’s destruction was perfectly complete.
The conquest of the Promised Land continued after Jericho. A summary of all the kings and kingdoms the Israelites conquered is given in Joshua 12. Thirty-one kings were defeated by Joshua and the Israelites at this time (Joshua 12:24). However, there was still much land remaining to be possessed, according to Joshua 13:1-6.
In approximately 1399 BC, Joshua assigned, by lot, a specific territory in the Promised Land to nine tribes and half the tribe of Manasseh, as Reuben and Gad and half the tribe of Manasseh had already received their inheritance east of the Jordan River. Joshua divided up the land even though there remained much of the land of Canaan yet to be conquered. The priestly Levites were not allotted a portion of land but were given forty-eight cities scattered throughout Canaan. The Tabernacle of Meeting was set up in Shiloh. It was within the tribal territorial allotment of the tribe of Ephraim (Joshua’s tribe).
Before Joshua died, he assembled all the tribes to Shechem, an important city in Ephraim’s territory, where he gave a speech much like Moses did before he passed. It was a speech that reviewed the history of the land of Canaan since Abraham entered it in approximately 1876 BC, until the time of Moses and Joshua and the conquest of Canaan by the Israelites (with the LORD’s help, of course). Joshua’s famous line (below) was given in this speech.
“Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord! And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:14-15).
The people responded that they would obey and serve the LORD God of Israel, and only His voice would they obey.
“So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and made for them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem. Then Joshua wrote these words in the Book of the Law of God. And he took a large stone, and set it up there under the oak that was by the sanctuary of the Lord. And Joshua said to all the people, ‘Behold, this stone shall be a witness to us, for it has heard all the words of the Lord which He spoke to us. It shall therefore be a witness to you, lest you deny your God.’ So Joshua let the people depart, each to his own inheritance” (Joshua 24:25-28).
Shechem is the place Abram first came to when he entered the land of Canaan. This is where God appeared to Abram and promised him, “To your descendants, I will give this land” (Genesis 12:7). Afterwards, Abram built his first altar there. Just as God had originally made a covenant with Abram in Shechem, Joshua made a covenant with the children of Israel 477 years later (in the same place) that they would obey the LORD God of Israel and only Him.
The number 477 is interesting. In Shavuot, Pentecost, and the Rapture :: By Randy Nettles – Rapture Ready, I wrote about the gap period between Pentecost (high watch day for the Rapture) and Yom Kippur 2026 (possible beginning of the Tribulation) over the next three years, 2024, 2025, 2026. I mostly wrote about the 120 days between 2026 Pentecost and 2026 Yom Kippur, as 120 is a very significant number. The gap period between 2025 Pentecost and 2026 Yom Kippur is 477 days. The gap period between 2024 Pentecost and 2026 Yom Kippur is 856 days.
I didn’t see anything significant in the number 477 at the time, but as I researched it more, the number is somewhat significant. From 1406 BC (the year the children of Israel entered the Promised Land of Canaan) to 2025 AD (the possible year the Church enters the heavenly Promised Land) is 3430 years. 3430 divided by 7 = 490 (70 x 7). There are 477 days between Pentecost 2025 and Yom Kippur 2026. As I said in The Day of the Dead and the Great Flood :: By Randy Nettles – Rapture Ready, 1908 years is the time between Abram entering the Promised Land (1876 BC) of Canaan and the crucifixion of Jesus (AD 33). 1908 divided by 4 = 477.
From 1876 BC to 1399 BC is 477 years. 1399 BC was when Joshua divided up the land of Canaan between the 12 tribes of Israel. From 1399 BC to 922 BC is 477 years. 922 BC was the eighth year of Rehoboam’s (son of Solomon and Naamah, an Ammonitess) reign. It was during his reign that Israel was divided into two kingdoms. He was obedient to the LORD for three years and then turned to pagan gods after that. It was during his fifth year that the LORD allowed the king of Egypt to sack Jerusalem and take the treasures from the house of the LORD and the king’s house. Something significant probably occurred during his 8th year.
From 922 BC to 445 BC is 477 years. 445 or 444 BC (scholars are divided on the exact year) was the last decree of the Persian king Artaxerxes regarding the Jews. This decree was given to Nehemiah and the Jews to rebuild the walls and city of Jerusalem. In my opinion, it was the beginning of Daniel’s prophecy of 70 weeks. From 445 BC to 33 AD is 477 years (with 69 Shemitah years). Of course, we know all the great events of 33 AD.
Now, back to 1399 BC. Joshua recorded the children of Israel’s decision to obey the LORD and His word in the Book of the Law of God, and he then erected a memorial stone “under the oak that was by the sanctuary of the LORD.” This oak tree is associated with the ‘terebinth’ or oak tree where Abram had set up camp in Genesis 12:6.
“And Joshua said to all the people, Behold, this stone shall be a witness to us, for it has heard all the words of the LORD which He spoke to us. It shall therefore be a witness to you, lest you deny your God. So Joshua let the people depart, each to his own inheritance” (Joshua 24:27-28).
The bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel had brought up out of Egypt, they buried at Shechem, in the plot of ground which Jacob had bought from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem, for one hundred pieces of silver, and which had become an inheritance of the children of Joseph (Joshua 24:32).
Shortly after this, Joshua, the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died, being one hundred and ten years old, and they buried him within the border of his inheritance at Timnath Serah, which is in the mountains of Ephraim. The exact year of Joshua’s death is not known, but he judged Israel for approximately 25 years, according to Josephus. That would put his death in about 1381 BC. Israel was without an effective God-fearing leader after Joshua’s death.
Eleazar, the son of Aaron, died about this same time. The people buried him on a hill belonging to Phinehas, his son, which was given to him in the mountains of Ephraim.
“So the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the Lord which He had done for Israel” (Joshua 24:31).
Judah and Simeon were the first tribes of Israel to conquer their territory (mostly) and drive out the Canaanites who dwelt there. They took Bezek, Jerusalem, Hebron, Debir, Zephath, Gaza, Ashkelon, and Ekron.
“So the Lord was with Judah. And they drove out the mountaineers, but they could not drive out the inhabitants of the lowland, because they had chariots of iron. And they gave Hebron to Caleb, as Moses had said. Then he expelled from there the three sons of Anak. But the children of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites who inhabited Jerusalem; so the Jebusites dwell with the children of Benjamin in Jerusalem” (Judges 1:19-21).
However, Manasseh, Ephraim, Zebulun, Asher, Naphtali, and Dan did not drive out all of the Canaanites that dwelt in their allotted territories.
“Then the Angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said: ‘I led you up from Egypt and brought you to the land of which I swore to your fathers; and I said, I will never break My covenant with you. And you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall tear down their altars. But you have not obeyed My voice. Why have you done this?’ Therefore I also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you, but they shall be thorns in your side, and their gods shall be a snare to you.’ So it was, when the Angel of the Lord spoke these words to all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voices and wept” (Judges 2:14).
When all the generation of Joshua had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel.
“Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served the Baals and the Ashtoreths; and they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt; and they followed other gods from among the gods of the people who were all around them, and they bowed down to them; and they provoked the Lord to anger.
“And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel. So He delivered them into the hands of plunderers who despoiled them; and He sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, so that they could no longer stand before their enemies. Wherever they went out, the hand of the Lord was against them for calamity, as the Lord had said, and as the Lord had sworn to them. And they were greatly distressed” (Judges 2:11-15).
Just as Moses (and Joshua) had predicted, the children of Israel started worshipping the gods of the heathens that still occupied the land of Canaan.
“For I know your rebellion and your stiff neck. If today, while I am yet alive with you, you have been rebellious against the Lord, then how much more after my death? Gather to me all the elders of your tribes, and your officers, that I may speak these words in their hearing and call heaven and earth to witness against them. For I know that after my death you will become utterly corrupt, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you. And evil will befall you in the latter days, because you will do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger through the work of your hands” (Deuteronomy 31:27-29).
However, the Lord did not completely abandon His chosen people. The Lord raised up judges (military leaders), which delivered them out of the hands of those who spoiled them. The people would repent, worship the Lord, and follow his commandments for a while, but when the judge died, the people would corrupt themselves more than their fathers in following other gods. This cycle continued for several centuries. The total time of the judges was about 326 years, from 1376 BC to 1050 BC, when Saul became king of Israel.
Samuel was the next prophet of God after Moses. He gave his first prophecy as a young child, as recorded in 1 Samuel 3, against the judge, Eli, and his family.
“So Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel had been established as a prophet of the Lord. Then the Lord appeared again in Shiloh. For the Lord revealed Himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the Lord” (1 Samuel 3:19-21).
In 1 Samuel 4, we see the inhabitants of Canaan are still entrenched in their territories as Israel goes to war against the Philistines. Initially, the Philistines routed the Israelites, so the elders of Israel decided to bring out their ultimate weapon, the ark of the covenant. So, the people sent for the ark of the covenant in Shiloh. The sons of Eli, Phinehas and Hophni, brought the ark to the battle, but because of the apostasy of Phinehas, Hophni, and all the people, Israel was defeated, and the ark was captured by the Philistines. When Eli heard the news, he fell and broke his neck and died. Samuel takes over at this point as the last of the judges of Israel.
“Then Samuel spoke to all the house of Israel, saying, ‘If you return to the Lord with all your hearts, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths from among you, and prepare your hearts for the Lord, and serve Him only; and He will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines.’ So the children of Israel put away the Baals and the Ashtoreths, and served the Lord only” (1 Samuel 7:3-4).
The Israelites gathered at Mizpah and confessed their sins before the LORD. Samuel offered a lamb as a burnt offering sacrifice.
“Then Samuel cried out to the Lord for Israel, and the LORD answered him. Now as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel. But the Lord thundered with a loud thunder upon the Philistines that day, and so confused them that they were overcome before Israel. And the men of Israel went out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, and drove them back as far as below Beth Car” (1 Samuel 7:9-11).
“So the Philistines were subdued, and they did not come anymore into the territory of Israel. And the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. Then the cities which the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron to Gath; and Israel recovered its territory from the hands of the Philistines. Also, there was peace between Israel and the Amorites” (1 Samuel 7:13:14).
When Samuel was old, he made his two sons judges of Israel. Like Eli’s sons, they did not walk in the ways of the LORD. They went after dishonest gain, took bribes, and perverted justice. The elders of Israel came to Samuel and told him they didn’t want his sons as judges but wanted a king to judge them like all the other nations. Saul was the first king of Israel. He was tall, powerful, and good-looking. He started well but ended badly, as he had a bad habit of disobeying the word of God (usually delivered to him by Samuel).
The proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back” was when Samuel relayed God’s message to Saul concerning the Amalek people. The original Amalek was the grandson of Esau.
“Thus says the Lord of hosts: I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he ambushed him on the way when he came up from Egypt. Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey” (1 Samuel 15:2-3).
Saul attacked the Amalekites and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword except for their king, Agag. He also spared “the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good, and were unwilling to utterly destroy them. But everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed.”
King Saul disobeyed the word of the LORD in that he did not kill all the people (he spared Agag) and all the animals. He kept the best of the animals and killed the rest of them. The word of the Lord came to Samuel and said, “I greatly regret that I have set up Saul as king, for he has turned back from following Me, and has not performed My commandments.” When confronted by Samuel for his disobedience, Saul didn’t take responsibility, for he was the king, but instead tried to blame it on the people.
Samuel then told Saul, “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you from being king” (1 Samuel 15:22-23).
Saul was replaced with David, a man after God’s heart (1 Samuel 13:14). Many years before he was officially made king, the LORD sent Samuel to the house of Jesse in Bethlehem to anoint one of his eight sons as a future replacement for Saul. The LORD told Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). The LORD does not judge a person by his outward appearance but by the contents of his heart and if that person is willing to obey the word of God.
Samuel rejected the first seven sons that were presented to him. When David stood before him, the LORD told Samuel, “Arise, anoint him; for this is the one! Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers, and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward” (1 Samuel 16:12-13). This was rare in the Old Testament as, usually, the Spirit of the LORD only came upon men temporarily to accomplish a particular objective of the LORD’s. About this time, the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a distressing spirit from the Lord troubled him.
After 40 years as king of Israel, Saul died in battle at the hands of the Philistines. His son Jonathan also died in the same battle. David was made king of Judah at this time, while Saul’s son, Ishbosheth, was made king of the other 11 tribes of Israel. He reigned for only two years. Ishbosheth was murdered, and then David became king over all 12 tribes of Israel. The first thing he did militarily was defeat the Jebusites that inhabited Jerusalem. He then defeated the Philistines that lived on the western coast of Canaan.
David built a house in Jerusalem, establishing his rule from there. He also brought the Ark of the Covenant there. It was at this time that the LORD made a covenant with David. Nathan the prophet had a vision, and the LORD spoke these words to him to give to David:
“When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men. But My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever” (2 Samuel 7:12-16).
David defeated most of the enemies of Israel. He subdued the Philistines, Moabites, Zobah, Amalekites, Ammonites, and the Syrians of Damascus. He placed garrisons in Damascus. He also put garrisons in Edom, and all the Edomites became David’s servants.
“And the LORD preserved David wherever he went. So David reigned over all Israel, and David administered judgment and justice to all his people” (2 Samuel 8:14-15).
The Israelites were not supposed to intermarry with foreign women from Canaan. Here is what the LORD told Moses and the children of Israel:
“When the Lord your God brings you into the land which you go to possess and has cast out many nations before you and when the LORD your God delivers them over to you, you shall conquer them and utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them nor show mercy to them. Nor shall you make marriages with them. You shall not give your daughter to their son, nor take their daughter for your son. For they will turn your sons away from following Me, to serve other gods; so the anger of the LORD will be aroused against you and destroy you suddenly” (Deuteronomy 7:1-4).
Of course, the children of Israel were disobedient in this matter, and it started immediately upon entering Canaan (during the time of the judges of Israel). “Thus the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. And they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons, and they served their gods (Judges 3:5-6). This became a generational problem throughout the kingdoms of Israel and Judah.
King David took foreign wives from Jerusalem, and they gave him many children. He also had many horses and much wealth. These were prohibitions outlined in the book of the Law, Deuteronomy.
“But he [the king] shall not multiply horses for himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, for the Lord has said You shall not return that way again. Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself” (Deuteronomy 17:16-17).
King David started the practice of having many wives, and even foreign wives, but his son, Solomon, perfected the practice.
“But King Solomon loved many foreign women, as well as the daughter of Pharaoh: women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites – from the nations of whom the Lord had said to the children of Israel, You shall not intermarry with them, nor they with you. Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods. Solomon clung to these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart.
“For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and did not fully follow the Lord, as did his father David. Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, on the hill that is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the abomination of the people of Ammon. And he did likewise for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods” (1 Kings 11:1-8).
One of Solomon’s wives was from Ammon. Her name was Naamah and she was (king) Rehoboam’s mother.
Solomon had been warned twice by God to not go after other gods, but he did not keep what the LORD commanded. Therefore, the LORD said to Solomon,
“Because you have done this, and have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant. Nevertheless, I will not do it in your days, for the sake of your father David; I will tear it out of the hand of your son. However I will not tear away the whole kingdom; I will give one tribe to your son for the sake of My servant David, and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen” (1 Kings 11:11-13).
This was the beginning of the end for the United Kingdom of Israel. Solomon, the wisest man of the ages, had played the fool.
More to come in part III.