The title of "Christ" given to Jesus the Son of God, means the 'anointed one'. He was anointed twice. Peter tells us that "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power." (Acts 10:38). That was before his ministry. Then in Hebrews 1:9 we read that the God of Jesus both highly exalted and anointed him with the oil of gladness above his fellows. That applies to Him sitting at the right hand of God. In this comparison it is also important for us to look at the meaning of Christ’s name, Jesus.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE NAMES OF BOTH
Joshua and Jesus are really the same name. The Hebrew name,
Yehoshua, is called Joshua in our English translations. Jesus is the English form of the Greek translation of
Yehoshua, (Joshua) which means, "he will save." That is why the New Testament says that Mary would bring forth a son "and call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins." (Matthew 1:21). However, for the sake of clarity we will use the familiar names of Joshua and Jesus. Yet it is important to remember they have a single Hebrew source and both carry the same meaning,
"He will save."
It should not be surprising that Joshua of the Old Testament and Jesus of the new, have certain functions in common. The reason is that God ensured fitting names were often given to those worthies chosen to serve him in great and special ways. For example, Moses’ name means 'drawn', because Pharaoh’s daughter drew him out of the water. (Exodus 2:10). This name Moses, also has a more significant meaning of being progressively drawn out. His patience was continually being drawn out by the rebelliousness of the children of Israel in the wilderness. Likewise, the names of Joshua and of Jesus exemplify their great achievements in saving the people of God.
THE SALVATION WROUGHT THROUGH JOSHUA
Joshua stood alongside Moses in upholding the laws of God when the people had departed into idolatry. He also, together with Caleb, stood firmly by God and Moses, when the rest of Israel trembled at the report of the other ten spies. The ten had convinced the people they could not overcome the inhabitants of the Land of Canaan and agitated to return to slavery in Egypt instead. There is no blight recorded against the name of Joshua in the whole of the Bible. Therefore his character and courage fittingly represent the greater Joshua, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Joshua, because of his bravery and faithfulness, later led the people of God into the Promised Land, whereas Moses, the lawgiver, was not suffered to do so. God therefore worked salvation through Joshua in the military campaigns against the inhabitants of the land, whose defilement constituted the epitome of sin. Their evil practices are recorded in Leviticus 18, as being thoroughly degrading in idol worship that involved sexual abuse with beasts; men with men; and all forms of prostitution, with child sacrifice. His victorious campaigns against the inhabitants of the land even saved the land itself from the defiling effects of their evil practices. A lesson can be learnt from this today if only the masses would take heed. If they don’t the lord Jesus will return in "flaming fire taking vengeance upon them that know not God and obey not the gospel
of our Lord Jesus CHRIST". (2 Thessalonians 1:8)
BOTH PREPARED BY GOD FOR THEIR WORK
So Joshua led the children of Israel into the Promised Land, where they could settle as promised by God to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. (Genesis 15:18-21, 26:2-4, 28:13-14) Yet in all this Joshua had to be personally prepared by God for the stupendous task ahead of him. This preparation commenced as a young man, whilst he was the assistant of Moses. On one occasion he departed not out of the tabernacle, whilst Moses ministered to the people. (Exodus 33:11) This tabernacle was the place where God met with Moses the lawgiver of Israel. So the record that Joshua departed not out of the tent-of-meeting with God, indicates that as a young man he was eagerly seeking advice from God. This reminds us of the occasion when Jesus as a young man departed not out of the temple, but was found there by his frantic mother and Joseph, both hearing and asking the doctors of the law very mature questions. (Luke 2:46-47)
Like Joshua who replaced the Lawgiver Moses, Jesus superseded the law itself. "For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." (John 1:17) Law could not save Israel either from sin or from their enemies. Only God could do this. This fact is recognised time and time again in the writings of the Prophets. Here are just a couple of examples, "The Lord is my strength and song and is become my salvation." (Psalm 118:14) "The LORD Jehovah is my strength and song, he also is become my salvation." (Isaiah 12:2)
JEHOVAH THE TRUE SAVIOUR
Consistent with the above, the name Yehoshua can also indicate the eternal truth that ‘Jehovah is salvation’. Thus the supremacy of God Himself is seen in the name of Jesus or Joshua, which can also be understood as JEHOVAH WILL SAVE.
How then do we recognise this fact in line with the declaration in Matthew 1:21, that Mary’s son would be called "Jesus for he (Jesus) shall save his people from their sins"? The answer is found in the fact that "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself." (2Corinthians 5:19. God, Jehovah, is the True Saviour and He works His salvation in and through His son the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus said, "I can of mine own self do nothing." "The Father that dwelleth in me He doeth the works." (John 5:30 and 14:10). So Jehovah, the God of both
Joshuas, wrought the salvation that we read of in the Scriptures. God brought about a temporary salvation in the first Joshua, when he saved the land from the blight of disease and brought His people into the Promised Land. He will work, and has already worked a greater salvation in and through the greater Joshua, His only begotten Son. For that salvation is not only one from temporary diseases, but from the blight of death brought into the world by sin, and shared by all the inhabitants of the world without exception, until Jesus comes again.
We can surely be saved not only from sin through His right living and sacrificial death, but we can share with Him the deathlessness He now enjoys as the champion over both sin and death. So it is with utmost anticipation and expectancy that we look for him to' appear the second time without sin unto salvation', (Hebrews 9:28) when He comes to reign over the whole world, and mankind is taught to do the will of God.