“Concerning the sun and moon’s standing still. This great event was doubtless typical; and as the sun was made to be a type of Christ, and is the most eminent type of him in all the inanimate creation, and is used as a type of Christ in Scripture, for he is the “Sun of righteousness,” and “the light of the world,” etc.; so doubtless the sun here, when it stands still to give the children of Israel light to help them against their enemies, is a type of Christ. The sun did as it were fight for the Israelites by his light; so Christ fights for his people: and the way that he does it, is chiefly by giving them light. Hereby he helps them against the powers of darkness, and overthrows the kingdom of darkness. Christ was at that time actually fighting for Israel as the captain of the host; he had a little before appeared in a visible shape with a sword drawn in his hand, and told Joshua that as the Captain of the host of the Lord he was come, Joshua 5:13-14. And there was now a double type of Christ’s fighting for his people against their spiritual enemies; Joshua was then fighting as the captain of the host of Israel, who bore the name of Christ; for Joshua is the same with Jesus, and he was an eminent type of him; and at the same time the sun stood over Joshua fighting for Israel against their enemies. While Joshua or Jesus thus fought, the sun appeared also fighting in the same battle, being a type of the true Joshua or Jesus. It was a great thing for the sun to stand still to fight for Israel, and to help them to obtain the possession of Canaan, but not so great a thing as for Christ, who is the brightness of God’s glory, and the express image of his person, the Creator and Upholder of the sun, to appear as he did, to deliver his people from their spiritual enemies, and to make way for their obtaining the heavenly Canaan. The sun, though so great and glorious a heavenly body, and though so high above the earth, yet did forego its natural course was greatly put out of the way, and deprived of that which naturally belonged to it, for the sake of Israel, laid aside its glory as the king of heaven, was as it were divested of the glory of its dominion over heaven and earth, which it has by its course through all heaven and round the earth. For it is by its course that nothing is hid from its light and heat, by which it has influence over all, and as it were rules over all, Psalm 19:6. The influence of the heavenly bodies is called in Scripture their dominion. Job 38:32, 33. But this glory as king of heaven and earth was laid aside to serve and minister unto Israel. But this was not so great a thing as for the eternal Son of God, the infinite fountain of all light, who is infinitely above all creatures, the Sun of righteousness, in comparison of whose brightness the sun is but darkness, and therefore will be turned into darkness when he appears. I say it was not so great a thing as for him to lay aside his glory as King of heaven and earth, and appear in the form of a servant to serve men, and came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and should even give his life to destroy and confound our enemies, and obtain for us the possession of the heavenly Canaan. The sun, who by its course was wont to fill heaven and earth, now confined itself to the land of Canaan, for the sake of Israel, so Christ, who, being in heaven filled all things, Ephesians 4:10, by his incarnation confined himself to the land of Canaan, and to a tabernacle of flesh. Hence it is not any way incredible, not at all to be wondered at, that God should cause such a miracle for the sake of the Israelites, or that nature in so great an instance should be made to yield and give place to Israel’s interest, when the God of nature did as it were deprive himself of the glory that he had from the beginning of the world, yea, before the world was, even from all eternity, (John 17:5) the glory that naturally belonged to him, and as it were give up all for man, that he should become incarnate, and deliver up himself to death for the spiritual Israel.
The moon, which is a type of the church, also stood still at that time to fight against the Amorites for the church; for the church fights with Christ against the spiritual Amorites. The church militant is Christ’s army, they go forth with Christ, and under Christ, to fight the good fight of faith, and are soldiers of Jesus Christ. Christ and the church are represented going forth together in battle, Revelation 19:11, etc. Both the sun and moon stood still at that time, that there might there be a representation of the same thing in heaven that there was on the earth: there was Joshua and Israel fighting God’s enemies on earth, and there the sun and moon fighting against them in heaven, and both represented Jesus and his church fighting against their spiritual enemies.
Josh 10:12-14. Concerning the sun’s standing still. This is supposed to give occasion to the story of Phaeton the son of Sol and Clymene, who, desiring his father to let him guide the chariot of the sun for one day, set the world on fire. So we read that it was about the space of one day that the sun stood still, and this in all probability caused an extraordinary scorching and distressing heat in many parts of the world. And Mr. Bedford, in his Scripture Chronology, observes that mention is made of it in the Chinese history, that in the reign of their seventh Emperor Yao, the sun did not set for ten days together, and that the inhabitants of the earth were afraid that the earth would be burnt, for there were great fires at that time. This happened in the sixty-seventh year of that emperor’s reign, and so the time of it Mr. Bedford observes, according to their account, exactly agrees with scripture history, Scripture Chronology, p. 489. And he observes that it is natural for men in things of great antiquity to enlarge beyond the truth. And what the Chinese history mentions about great fires in many places, agrees with the story of Phaeton’s setting the world on fire. And indeed to have the day more than twenty-four hours, for besides the twelve hours that the sun stood still, the time of the sun’s course above the horizon was probably more than twelve hours, for it was probably later in the year than the vernal equinox: I say to have the sun so long above the horizon, and twelve hours of it together, so extraordinarily near the meridian, shining down with a perpendicular ray all that time, must needs cause exceeding heat in many places.”