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Joshua 7:1-26: Are You Part Of Achan’s Family? Will You Perish As Did They?

Posted by Job on September 24, 2007

A troubling question in the Old Testament, especially to those of us with the modern mindset, is that of why Achan’s innocent family members had to perish for his sin in the narrative of Joshua 7:1-26. Morever, it is a common theme in the Old Testament. The families and servants of those that joined in the rebellion of Korah in the desert against Moses were swallowed up by the earth, Haman’s sons were hanged with him, the families of those that accused Daniel were tossed into the lion’s den, and the entire lines of kings that turned against God were killed. But speaking of Achan in particular, I am going to make use of an allegorical interpretation.

The Bible at various points from Adam and Eve to how the patriarchs were priests of their family to Paul’s controversial (to the modern mindset) command that women be in a position of willing submission (though not subservience or inequality) in the church and in the home is a way that God teaches His children authority. Basically, that can be carried forth to mean that as a preacher is the pastor of the congregation, a man is the “pastor” of his house, meaning his family.

So, as the “man of the house” goes, the family goes. But in a similar token, as the pastor of the church goes, the congregation goes. Achan, the pastor of his family, sinned, and brought doom on his family. So think about a pastor who sins by abandoning true Bible doctrines and practices for lies? Just like a king of Israel, such a man would sin and cause his congregation to sin. The result? Spiritual destruction, eternal damnation in the lake of fire not only for the pastor, but his “family”, his church congregation. In a great many cases, people know very well that the pastor’s doctrines and actions are not biblical, but they will be hesitant to leave because of loyalty to the pastor and congregation. In other words, they are willing spiritual captives! (Perhaps Achan’s wife could or should have immediately asked Moses to dissolve her marriage the instant her husband’s iniquity was known in order to save her life and that of her children, but she did not. By the same token, how many people are unwilling to leave an apostate church even for the sake of their own children?) As a result of their unwillingness to come out of the spiritual Babylon of the false preacher, the entire congregation will partake of his plagues and share his fate.

That is why it was appropriate in that narrative to depict the death of Achan’s family: to show how the iniquity of a pastor, preacher, prophet, elder, bishop, priest, or any other church official will result in the doom of a large number of people, just as the sins of the kings of Israel and Judah caused a lot of, say, innocent children to be slaughtered by the Assyrians and Babylonians as well as die to famine, disease, pestilence, etc. So the application for modern Christians: do not let it happen to you. Do not perish with the many Achans that fill the religious landscape, trusting that God will be compelled to accept your works. Instead, leave that which you know to be a lie and follow after truth.

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3 Responses to “Joshua 7:1-26: Are You Part Of Achan’s Family? Will You Perish As Did They?”

  1. E.Bert Todd said

    Achan in the OT, Ananias in the NT
    Same sin, same result. These folks refuse to see…

  2. E.Bert Todd: Well, I am certain that we are getting through to some people if we just keep praying and then speaking as the Lord would have us to speak. God bless you!

  3. I’m afraid that your interpretation proves quite a bit too much.

    Should I advise my wife that she probably ought to leave me for my sin today? Ought I to leave her, she has certainly sinned today.

    Further, the doom of Achan and his family was certainly physical before it was spiritual. Are we to put sinners to death to please God? Were these lives sacrificed so that we might learn a lesson and grow spiritually? Does that open the possibility of other murders if some might learn a spiritual lesson?

    I want to respect the text, but your interpretation seems like the justification of sin and immorality, not a defense of scripture or good ethics.

    I’m working on Joshua 7 at the moment. I may come to a different conclusion (but I think that I’m starting from different presuppositions as well…)

    Best wishes,
    Eric

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