Magazine Article

The Joshua Generation of the Adventist Church

Born of adversity, this generation bears much promise

Andy Nash
The Joshua Generation of the Adventist Church

What was Israel’s greatest generation? Was it the patriarchal era of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? Or the golden era of David and Solomon? Or the reformation era of Ezra, Esther, and Nehemiah? All these generations indeed shone brightly, albeit with occasional flickers.

I favor the Joshua generation. There was something very special about a generation of babies born in the Sinai desert during Israel’s 40-year sojourn. These desert babies grew into desert toddlers and then desert teenagers and finally desert young adults who found themselves standing at the Jordan River, ready to cross into the Land of Promise. Refined and ready, this generation was stronger than they realized. They were equipped to do what their parents were not: enter fully into the abundant life that had been promised. 

Even more powerful is the image of these young adults led by their two older mentors, Joshua and Caleb. Of the 2 million Israelites who walked through the Red Sea, Joshua and Caleb proved to be the most faithful of all. They were one in a million.

At the edge of the Jordan, here’s what the Lord told the Joshua generation: “‘Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. . . . Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go’” (Joshua 1:7-9, NIV).

And then the young adults—and their two mentors—crossed into the Promised Land. 


Here’s a message for the newest generation of young adults in the Adventist Church.

You also have come through a desert. You’ve endured more than you realize, and you’re stronger than you realize. The pandemic has toughened and refined you. You’ve learned adaptability and fortitude. And if you’ve clung to Christ through it all, you’re ready to cross into the abundant life, to lead the church into the abundant life.

As you enter in, be sure to follow the three things the Joshua generation did before you: 

  1. Know God’s Word for yourself. Immerse yourself in Scripture—verse by verse, chapter by chapter. Don’t just study beliefs; study the scriptures that undergird those beliefs.
  2. Don’t turn to the right or left. You don’t need the dry sands of legalism or the bitter waters of liberalism. Remember: (1) salvation is the work of Christ alone—He drenches you in His blood; (2) the abundant life is the work of Christ in you. Your daily decisions and behaviors do matter. They directly impact your entry into the abundant life.
  3. Be strong and courageous. You’ve been equipped with something very special: the Judeo-Christian faith of the Adventist Church. We celebrate “new treasures as well as old” (Matt. 13:52, NIV): the treasures of Jesus and His enduring words at Sinai. Now enter in.
Andy Nash

Andy Nash ([email protected]) is a pastor and professor who leads Israel tours for all ages, including a special “Joshua Generation” tour from Egypt to Canaan March 1-19, 2024.