Recently I’ve been doing a lot of work on Justin Martyr and thus reading a lot of his Dialogue with Trypho. If you haven’t read it then you should stop whatever you are doing now and go read it… all! But in case you don’t have time for that I thought I’d share one of his intriguing thoughts!
Justin sees Joshua as a type of Christ. By this, he means that Joshua was a foreshadow of Christ. Joshua’s name was also changed by Moses from Oshea to Joshua in Numbers 13:16. (‘Joshua’ is the Hebrew for the Greek ‘Jesus’ – they are the same name). So Justin, speaking about Joshua says:
But since not only was his name altered, but he was also appointed successor to Moses, being the only one of his contemporaries who came out from Egypt, he led the surviving people into the Holy Land; and as he, not Moses, led the people into the Holy Land, and as he distributed it by lot to those who entered along with him, so also Jesus the Christ will turn again the dispersion of the people, and will distribute the good land to each one, though not in the same manner. For the former gave them a temporary inheritance, seeing he was neither Christ who is God, nor the Son of God; but the latter, after the holy resurrection,shall give us the eternal possession. [Dialogue with Trypho CXIII]
Ok, so we have established that Joshua is a type of Christ. But how does that mean that Moses had declared the name of the LORD as Jesus? Well, Justin clears that up in another chapter. In Exodus 23:20-21 the LORD says to Moses that the one who is sent to lead the people into the Promised Land would have the LORD’s name in him. Justin, therefore, says:
Now understand that He who led your fathers into the land is called by this name Jesus, and first called Oshea. For if you shall understand this, you shall likewise perceive that the name of Him who said to Moses, ‘for My name is in him,’ was Jesus. [Dialogue with Trypho LXXV]