These two and a half tribes (v.12,13) raised cattle, so they asked Moses if they could live on the cattle-country side of the Jordan, instead of the side God wanted Israel to live on. Joshua reminded them that they promised to lead the charge across the river to attack Canaan’s giants (Josh.1:12-15).
These tribes already had “rest” (1:12-15) from their enemies (cf.Deut.12:10), for the Jews killed all the giants east of Jordan. But they couldn’t “enjoy” their rest (Josh.1:15) until they helped the other tribes get their rest from the giants west of the river. That makes those two and a half tribes types of the Old Testament saints who are resting in death, in “peace” from their enemies (Isa.57:1,2), but won’t be allowed to enjoy that rest until they rise from the dead and lead Israel’s charge against her enemies at Armageddon, as pictured here.
The Jews were freed of their enemies in Egypt, but they wouldn’t be completely free of their enemies until they crossed Jordan and defeated those enemies. Kind of like how we were freed from our sins when we believed, but we won’t be completely free of them until the Rapture. But Joshua 4 isn’t a type of that. There are no types of the dispensation of grace, which was “hid in God” and not in the types (Eph.3:1-8,9). But there’s a parallel here to the Rapture, the culmination of our salvation (Rom.13:11), because salvation is something we have in common with Israel. Just as Canaan’s giants tried to keep the Jews from inheriting their land, at the Rapture we’ll have to rise to meet the Lord in the air governed by Satan’s host (Eph.2:2), who will try to keep us from our inheritance. “The dead in Christ shall rise first” into the air to lead the charge against them (IThes.4:16). “Michael” (v.16) the archangel (Jude 1:9) is the commander of God’s armies (cf.Rev.12:7-9), and trumps (IThes.4:16) are associated with battle (Num.10:9).
God magnified Joshua when He parted the Jordan for him,
as He magnified Moses when He parted the Red Sea for him, typifying how God magnified the law of Moses 1500 years, then magnified Christ. The Jews followed Moses, but didn’t fulfill the type and follow Christ when the wind and waves obeyed Him (Ex.14:21cf.Mt.8:26). They will someday!
The priests holding back that flooded river had to be told to leave (Josh.4:15-17) because they loved holding back its wrath, a type of how the Lord loved holding back God’s wrath on our sins on the cross. Psalm 40:5 predicted He’d “delight” in offering His body for our sins (Heb.10:5-7). The priests could have left at any time, but didn’t (cf.Mt.26:53).
The salvation of the Jews began when they left Egypt the 10th day of the first month (Ex.12:2,3), and ended the same day 40 years later (Josh.4:19). Since the passover lamb was a type of Christ, He’s the beginning and end of salvation for Jews (Heb.12:2;Rev.1:8,17) and us (ICor.5:7). He began our salvation when we believed, and will finish it at the Rapture.
Later, some men of these two and a half tribes swam the flooded Jordan “to make David king…with a perfect heart” (IChron.12:8,15,38), a type of how the Old Testament saints will lead future Jews across Jordan (Isa.1:15) to defeat the beast and make Christ king in the kingdom (Ezek.36:24-26).
We know these 12 stones were types of Israel’s 12 tribes, because in writing to them, Peter called them “lively stones” (IPet.2:5). Those memorial stones had the law written on them (Deut.27:2), and so will those future Jews (Jer.31:33).
John baptized in Bethabara (John 1:28), i.e., “place of the ford,” where the Jews crossed Jordan (Josh.2:7). So he said God could make true children of Abraham (Mt.3:9) out of those stones, the ones with the law on them. Also, the stones the Lord said would cry out (Luke 19:35-40) might have been those stones with the law written on them, for the law had been crying out about Christ for 1500 years in the types.
A video of this sermon is available on YouTube: “40,000 Armed and Dangerous” Joshua 4:12-24