Why did Joshua put the stone of testimony under the oak?


Did you realize that Joshua told the people that they could not “serve the Lord” and that observance of the Law would be something against them?

“Joshua 24:27 And Joshua said to all the people, See, this STONE shall be a witness AGAINST us, for it has heard all the words the Lord spoke to us; so it shall be a witness AGAINST you, lest [afterward] you lie (pretend) and deny your God”.

I think we all know here the stone is a symbol of the Law that was AGAINST us.

The context here is that Joshua was telling them you can’t observe the Law but the people insisted they can.

“16 And the people replied, “We would never forsake the Lord and worship other gods! 17 For the Lord our God is the one who rescued our fathers from their slavery in the land of Egypt. He is the God who did mighty miracles before the eyes of Israel, as we traveled through the wilderness, and preserved us from our enemies when we passed through their land. 18 It was the Lord who drove out the Amorites and the other nations living here in the land. Yes, we choose the Lord, for he alone is our God.”

19 But Joshua replied to the people, “You can’t worship the Lord God, for he is holy and jealous; he will not forgive your rebellion and sins. 20 If you forsake him and worship other gods, he will turn upon you and destroy you, even though he has taken care of you for such a long time.”

21 But the people answered, “We choose the Lord!”

22 “You have heard yourselves say it,” Joshua said. “You have chosen to obey the Lord.”

“Yes,” they replied, “we are witnesses.”

23 “All right,” he said, “then you must destroy all the idols you now own, and you must obey the Lord God of Israel.”

24 The people replied to Joshua, “Yes, we will worship and obey the Lord alone.”

25 So Joshua made a covenant with them that day at Shechem, committing them to a permanent and binding contract between themselves and God. 26 Joshua recorded the people’s reply in the book of the laws of God and took a huge stone as a reminder and rolled it beneath the oak tree that was beside the Tabernacle.

27 Then Joshua said to all the people, “This stone has heard everything the Lord said, so it will be a witness to testify against you if you go back on your word.””

I want you to see what Joshua did with the stone.

“And Joshua wrote these words in the Book of the Law of God; and he took a great stone and set it up there UNDER an oak that was in [the court of] the sanctuary of the Lord.”

He placed it UNDER the OAK tree. If you know your Bibles you would note that is the place the Lord first appeared to Abram and told him this is the place where it is given to Abram thereafter Abraham.

Genesis 11:6-7 Abram passed through the land to the locality of Shechem, to the oak or terebinth tree of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land. Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, I will give this land to your posterity. So Abram built an altar there to the Lord, Who had appeared to him.

You would also note that it was the oak tree is at Moreh and it was there Abraham built an altar (the first) for the Lord. I think some of you are already seeing it. The oak is also known as the tree of Moreh. Translated in Hebrew it also means the “strong man”.

I now want to now show you a passage in Colossians 2.

Colossians 2:13-15

21st Century King James Version (KJ21)

13 And you, being dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,

14 blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was AGAINST us, which was contrary to us. He took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross;

15 and having despoiled principalities and powers, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

Now I want you to see what the Holy Spirit just showed me. Joshua took the stone that stood as a witness against us and placed it UNDER the oak tree at Mamre.

Joshua is Jesus in Hebrew. He took the ordinances and nailed in on the tree called the cross and buried the Law under the cross.  There are some that argue that it only refers to the sacrificial law. Let me show you the Jewish understanding of this verse.

Kehillah in Colossae 2:13-15

Orthodox Jewish Bible (OJB)

13 And you being dead in your peysha’im (YESHAYAH 53:8) and your orlat basar (uncircumcision of flesh) he made alive together, you together with Moshiach, having granted you selicha for all your peysha’im;

14 Having erased the handsigned sefer of guilt choiv (debt), the heavenly indictment against us in the maleh chukat haTorah (full statute requirement of the Torah), which was against us. Moshiach has done away with this opposing record, having nailed it to Moshiach’s Etz.

15 Having disarmed the rulers and the authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, having triumphed over them by Moshiach’s Etz.


Now let me show you how it is worded in the Living Bible.

Colossians 2:13-15

Living Bible (TLB)

13 You were dead in sins, and your sinful desires were not yet cut away. Then he gave you a share in the very life of Christ, for he forgave all your sins, 14 and blotted out the charges proved against you, the list of his commandments which you had not obeyed. He took this list of sins and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ’s cross. 15 In this way God took away Satan’s power to accuse you of sin, and God openly displayed to the whole world Christ’s triumph at the cross where your sins were all taken away.

I hope you are blessed by your heavenly Joshua.

P/S: This note is dedicated to Richard Yap a good friend who showed me this incredible passage. I am very blessed by your insights.

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