A Call to Battle

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A Message by Paul L. Cox in Hawaii on Feb. 13, 2022

Many decades ago, when I was a young man I would often go into my father’s library. My dad was cook in the Marine Core who loved the Bible; he would also collect books and I would read them. One of those books was Gleamings in Joshua, by Arthur W. Pink. If my memory serves me correctly, I was going on a backpacking trip and took the book with me. Reading it, I was stunned, and became enthralled with the book of Joshua; it’s still my favorite book of the Bible. It’s an amazing account of type and antitype.[1] Joshua, as the type, is an Old Testament prophetic indication of Jesus; the antitype would be Jesus himself in the New Testament. In the OT Hebrew, Joshua translates as Joshua, but in NT Greek, it means Jesus. The Book of Joshua is about entering into the land by means of crossing over the Jordan River; and ‘Jordan’ means to spread judgment, so you pass through judgment but it doesn’t touch you as you enter into the Promised Land.

The difficulty is that we Christians, especially in the evangelical world, believe that we enter the Promised Land, set up camp, and then just study the Word while we await the second coming of Jesus. That is not the message from the book of Joshua; rather, it is a call to battle. Recently, I heard the Lord say, “You are to speak to the troops, because this is a call to battle.” Keep in mind, I would not vote for this if I could vote! None of us want to go into battle, but as Christians we have two options—we are either the victims, or we are the warriors. Sadly, most Christians seem to want to be the victims. My son had a deliverance session with a lady who had cancer and she actually said, “It is God’s will that I have cancer.” She absolutely refused to battle for healing, because she believed everything was God-ordained so she was supposed to just live it out. Too many Christians believe that this is the way life is; we just have to suffer through it, and life stinks. But that is not what God has called us to; He has called us to battle.

I was so impacted by Gleamings in Joshua that my first sermon was on the first chapter of Joshua. I became a member of the First Baptist Church in Downey, California in 1966, which was the beginning of the Jesus Movement, though I didn’t know that until many years later. When I attended there the first time, I was stunned; I had never heard preaching, a choir, an organ and a pianist like that, and I was intrigued by the church. Already trained to be a schoolteacher, I started teaching eighth-grade history, English, and reading in a public school in 1967. I remember sitting in the balcony of the 2,000-member church and thinking I heard, “You’re going to preach from that pulpit.” I was so astonished by the power of the preaching of our pastor, Harold Adams, that to have such a thought was absolutely ludicrous. But sure enough, the day came when I delivered that first sermon to 500 people.

At the time I was the director of the Junior High Department, which grew to about a hundred. Later, I became the director of the children and College Department, with about 60 leaders under me; we had a gym, and were very busy. In the College Department, my first lessons were also from Joshua. Next, I became pastor at the First Baptist church in Buhl, Idaho; and the Book of Joshua became my first sermon series. The pattern continued, first as the pastor at Bethany Baptist Church in Montclair, California, and later at Bethel Christian Fellowship in Chino, California. Then we moved to the High Desert, where my first sermon series was again  from the book of Joshua. Now, here we are at Mountain View Community Church in Hawaii, and a call to battle from Joshua is very fitting.

When Joshua was told by the Lord to first take Jericho and then the land, I don’t think he had a full understanding of the cosmic battle he was engaging in, even though he already knew that there were giants in the land. Friends, this is not just a Bible story; there is actually skeletal evidence of giants throughout the world, ranging anywhere from eight to thirty-five feet tall. This is not theory; this is not made-up stories in the Bible; this is true, verified, scientific fact. Think about this: there were probably close to a million men (maybe as many as three million people in total), moving across the Jordan River and getting ready to go into battle against Jericho, which means ‘City of the Moon God’. Incidentally, Allah is most likely the moon god. This many people headed into battle must have been a terrifying thing! I have never been in the military, even at the height of the Vietnam War. Subsequently though, I’ve read books about it and have had terror come upon me as I thought, “I came so close to going into that battle.”

Battle, as we’ve seen it portrayed in movies, is not all fun and games. Even so, when war breaks out young men are normally very excited. They may think that they are going to go off and save the day, coming back as heroes; but then the reality and the terror set in.

My son and I were watching Saving Private Ryan, and about halfway through the movie I left the living room because the horror and terrible nature of battle was so excruciating that I couldn’t watch it visually. Battle is terrifying! I mentioned that Joshua did not have a full understanding of the Battle of Jericho because he was in a physical battle, which in retrospect seemed very easy, didn’t it? But the victory occurred because the Lord is the One who fought for Joshua, and He remains the One who battles for us. Jericho was defeated by a bunch of guys marching around for seven days and blowing trumpets only because it was God taking down an evil people.

I was wondering what Eisenhower said to the troops on D-day (the same year I was born). This is called ‘The Order of the Day’. Can you visualize the warriors getting ready to land at Normandy in France, knowing that many of them would die? Imagine the terror of that. This is what Eisenhower said to them:

Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force!

You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hope and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is will trained, well equipped and battle-hardened. He will fight savagely.

But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man-to-man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our Home Fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men. The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to Victory!

I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full Victory!

Good luck! And let us beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.

I believe we have now crossed over, and we are in the land. At our Aslan’s Place academy on Friday, January 28, 2022, a prophetic word was delivered that we are both Joshua and Joshua’s army. When I arrived here, an intercessor for Aslan’s Place said, “Jericho is about to fall.” I say now that we will accept nothing less, Lord, than full victory against the evil cosmic enemies.

So, we are going into battle, but against what? What is it for which we are fighting? Something true about a battle is that when you’re a warrior in a conflict, nothing else matters; it’s because you are now under the authority of the Commander in Chief, and you will do what exactly he says. When I go into battle, my focus must be on the fight itself, as well as on offering support to those who accompany me. I cannot act against or undermine them, because it could cost me my life. The troops are not the problem; it’s the people who complain and gossip in the background. In any battle, the army must have a leader, a general. When the Lord (the Commander in Chief) was initially speaking to Joshua about Jericho, He dealt first with His general, who then instructed his officers. On my birthday, I received a card with both a prophetic word and the verse with which the Lord encouraged Joshua:

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” [2]

Often, those of us who are leaders did not sign up for this; we were assigned. I’ve asked my friends, “Who signed up for this?” If I knew what I was going to have to go through, I would not have done it so I am no hero; but I have my assignment and you have yours.

Look at God’s instruction to Joshua regarding the nature of the battle:

“Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses.” [3]

With that in mind, what is the nature of our battle? First, we are to take back the physical land. Notice that the Lord used the word, ‘foot’; so there’s a possibility that Joshua lost a foot in battle at some point, and only had one. The land they were to take back was the promised land. Fast forward to today. Have you heard the lies in the media about Israel taking the land from the Palestinians? Not true! While God loves the Palestinians, the land belongs to Him. It is believed that the Garden of Eden was in Jerusalem, and if you trace the order of Melchizedek, which can be done through the Dead Sea Scrolls, it goes from Adam in what would later become the city of Jerusalem, to King David in a direct line. The land has always belonged to the Lord, and we needn’t be shy about that. It’s as simple as this, many people don’t want the Lord to have His land and we are in a battle to take back the land, which causes conflict.

A friend I often work with says, “This is all about the land”; and God wants the land of Hawaii back. Look at His continued instruction to Joshua:

“Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success” .[4]

I think Joshua must have been terrified. We must also know the Word and live by it, and this applies to all of us. Next, Joshua commanded his officers:

“Pass through the midst of the camp and command the people, ‘Prepare your provisions, for within three days you are to pass over this Jordan to go in to take possession of the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess.’ ” [5]

Note that he mentioned the tribes. We understand that Mountain View Community Church is a tribe, and it takes many tribes to possess the land. As Rob and I lead the Kingdom Institute, we are training the tribes. There’s nothing wrong with being a tribe, a family, and we must know that victory is the only option. Joshua continued:

“Remember the word that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, saying, ‘The Lord your God is providing you a place of rest and will give you this land.’ Your wives, your little ones, and your livestock shall remain in the land that Moses gave you beyond the Jordan, but all the men of valor among you shall pass over armed before your brothers and shall help them, until the Lord gives rest to your brothers as he has to you, and they also take possession of the land that the Lord your God is giving them. Then you shall return to the land of your possession and shall possess it, the land that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you beyond the Jordan toward the sunrise.” [6]

Victory is the only option, and at the end of it is rest. The army is to follow the leaders, just as the leaders follow the Lord; and there must be no contention among them. The Israelites with Joshua responded:

“All that you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. Just as we obeyed Moses in all things, so we will obey you. Only may the Lord your God be with you, as he was with Moses! Whoever rebels against your commandment and disobeys your words, whatever you command him, shall be put to death. Only be strong and courageous.” [7]

This is very serious business! Pondering it, I found a prophetic word delivered on May 19th, 2006:

The army is ready to be sent in; army boots for every person, the army is coming in; they are ready, they are ready to go. Many have waited for this.

I look to the East, West, North and South; release the warriors. Men of God rise up, rise up for it is time; you have been prepared. It is time; stand back no longer. Women, you must let the men come forward; it is time for your men to come forward. Release, release, release. I am cleansing the sins that have been defiled by ungodly women for generations back. You did not have the only responsibility to take the earth. Witchcraft has been released on the land because of ungodly authority. Confession, confession, confession; I am a forgiving God, but the sins of the land you carry. The strategy of the enemy is to capture power. I have released this day godly power from deep within the earth, which has been held. That power must not get into the wrong hands; it must not be captured by ungodly women.

A nation is birthed; I have birthed a new thing. My glory will be released, My glory is coming forth. Do not stop My glory. Judgment; the sword is being released. Heed the words, time is short, you have been prepared, you have been trained. It’s time to go out. Take no glory for your own; I will not share My glory. I will use those in who are in unity, in oneness, not preferring one to another. I will use the least of these; I will use the despised; do not judge with your eyes. It’s springtime, a new springtime. The waters are muddy, but it will run off to be pure. The river is mine; it is pure from my throne. Judge not with your eyes.

The youth; I am bringing the young. Do not turn them aside this time. You must welcome them; you must embrace them; you must father them. I will show you My heart is in them.

Do not rationalize with your eyes. The people younger than twenty years will be the ones to enter into my glory. They are the ones who will see my power. They watch, standing off as you lead them in circles to the desert they didn’t want to be in; they are weary and tired.

The youth that you think are the worst have the most power; they are the leaders. They can stand against the enemy because they can recognize the enemy and know its weaknesses. Like David living with the Philistines, they have lived with the enemy. They know the enemy’s weaknesses.

I am trying to prepare you; do not reject what I am doing. The youth are hiding from you, but I am getting ready to bring them back. The time of those who tried to take their lives is coming to an end. This young generation will be the mighty army of God that comes into the Promised Land. Be careful. Be careful, be careful; do not despise them. See with my eyes what I see; hear with my ears; fulfill in your heart what I have put in you. Stop being religious; stop being self-righteous; just be my children, just walk with me. My glory will do the rest. I will begin to bring the youth to you. Love them; be the mother and father to them that they need. They will take you into the Promised Land. These are the ones who will show you how to cross the river; you cannot go in unless they go in with you. This is My word, and I never change.

This is Joshua’s army.

I have waited decades to see this come to pass, and it is now happening. Why are we doing meetings to encourage and train the youth? Why are we training leaders? First of all, because the Lord is sending us, but also because people need the Lord. During the Jesus Movement, Steven Green wrote the song, People Need the Lord,[8] which speaks of the emptiness of everyday life, fear, heartache and pain, all of which remains relevant today, and perhaps even more so.

I have about 2.5 million miles with American Airlines, and learned long ago that the fastest way to travel is to watch movies. I do not watch R-rated films so I am constantly looking for movies that are appropriate. As I was scrolling through the list of movies I saw one called American Utopia, which is also a Broadway play. The film is a reproduction of the actual musical, which was recorded live in a southern state. The musical starts with a ridiculous song that has difficult-to-understand lyrics. As the movie continued, I actually found myself not paying much attention to the words because the music itself is quite captivating. But as soon as I turned on the closed captioning function so I could understand, the reality of the nonsensical nature of the lyrics quickly became apparent. The final song is performed with great excitement, but the words are nothing less than strange. The paraphrased message is, “We are on the road to nowhere, knowing what we want. Why don’t you come along?” Nothing makes sense, and we are going nowhere, but don’t worry, just be happy. Is this the purpose of our lives? What a sad, distorted view of the reality that is the marvelous life the Living God has given us.

So what is the purpose of our lives? I’m at the stage now where I could retire, but for what purpose? I don’t because my life is for God’s glory, for the King and His Kingdom. That is the best purpose; that is the greatest romance; it is also the greatest conflict and the greatest adventure. On my way to Hawaii on American Airlines again, I found another movie called Dear Evan Hansen, about a teenager who is unable to function in life, so he writes letters to himself. Eventually, a boy with whom he has a brief conversation, commits suicide. Evan meets with the boy’s family, who is convinced he is a true friend; they are relieved to think that their loved one enjoyed a friendship. Though that is not true, Evan enters into the deception. The movie, also a Broadway play, is filled with songs that express desperation and hopelessness. It ends with no suggestion regarding the purpose of life, or why we are alive on the earth. There is no answer given to the question, “What is the meaning of life?”

Why do we battle for the Lord? We battle so that people who cannot find any meaning in their lives can see the truth of Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We battle so that people will know our wonderful Lord and find true fulfillment in serving Him.  We battle so that people can be saved and set free from all the evil that has plagued them and their families for generations.  We battle so that people can enter into the freedom of the Lord and live a life of fulfillment, peace, and rest in the joy of the Lord.  We battle because the Word of God provides the real answer to the reason why we are on this earth.  Life is not meaningless and nonsensical.

Scripture is clear that a life apart from Jesus has no purpose.  Without Jesus there is no one to find you, no one to rescue you.

The battle is difficult but what other choice do we have?  Battling is exhausting.

For years I’ve done many sessions of personal ministry, becoming both physically and mentally exhausted from the battle. At the same time, Donna would be in tremendous pain. I would go out to soak in my Jacuzzi at night, sit there and say, “Lord, I don’t know if I can keep doing this. I’m so tired and Donna is suffering. People I work with are in pain, we are all in pain, and this is very hard.” Then I would remember a song by Bill and Gloria Gaither, and sing it in the Jacuzzi, I Will Serve Thee[9] The song speaks of the reason Jesus died on Calvary, to give us life and to save us from the heartaches and broken pieces of our lives. He is the reason I continue; He is the reason we persevere. I will serve You because of I love you, you have given life to me.

One day at Downey First Baptist Church in 1966, as the organist played the old hymn, So Send I You during the offertory, the Lord called me to ministry. The song’s message is a call to serve the Lord in battle, clearly indicating that the price of service is high because one can expect to be unrewarded, ridiculed, unknown and even hated. Isaiah faced a similar call to offer his life for service to God:

And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” And he said, “Go, and say to this people: “ ‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and blind their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.” [10]

Like Isaiah, I said, “Here I am, send me.” Like Isaiah, many of my friends have also said, “Here I am, send me.” For none of us has life been easy, because we are in the middle of a war, and it’s not World War III. It’s the war of the ages in which evil pulls out all the stops to cripple the advancement of the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in the heavens; it’s the war between darkness and light, the Light of the World; it’s a war that, apparently, the enemy still mistakenly thinks he can win. We are going into battle; we have crossed over, and we are going to fight. This is a commission from the Lord that can also be yours, should you choose to receive it. What will your answer be?

[1] Type — a figure, representation, or symbol of something to come, as an event in the Old Testament foreshadows another in the New Testament. Types generally find their fulfillment in the person and ministry of Christ, but they sometimes relate to God, His people, or some other reality.

Youngblood, R. F., Bruce, F. F., & Harrison, R. K., Thomas Nelson Publishers, eds. (1995). In Nelson’s new illustrated Bible dictionary. Thomas Nelson, Inc.

[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Jos 1:9.

[3] Ibid., Jos 1:2–3.

[4] Ibid., Jos 1:7–8.

[5] Ibid., Jos 1:11.

[6] Ibid., Jos 1:13–15.

[7] Ibid., Jos 1:16–18.

[8] Both the lyrics and a video of Steve Green performing are available at https://zionlyrics.com/lyrics/steve-green-people-need-the-lord-lyrics

[9] Music with lyrics available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4o1Pq3U2QP0

[10] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Is 6:8–10.

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