A Word of Hope
“Are you hearing from Holy Spirit anything I need to know?” I recently asked my friend, Chuck Pierce.
“Well, I’ve been hearing a phrase in my spirit,” he said. “I’m not sure all that it means; perhaps you’re supposed to teach on it. The phrase is, ‘There will be a return to Gilgal.’”
“Huh?” I replied with a bewildered look.
Chuck does this type thing to me.
So, while he jets off to prophesy someplace else, I go to my Bible, lexicons, and reference books.
The Bible uses something scholars and theologians call “typology,” or “types and shadows.” This simply means God used events in the Old Testament to symbolize or picture events that will occur in the New. He also used people as “types.” Elijah, for example, was a type or foreshadowing of John the Baptist, Elisha pictured Christ. Gilgal, as well as events associated with it, is one of these Old Testament places that pictures New Testament truths. Incredibly important truth, as we shall see, and very relevant for us today.
We find Gilgal in the book of Joshua, which has several of these “types.” Holy Spirit’s phrase to Chuck could not possibly be understood without examining a few of them. So, for the next couple of days we shall mine the gold from “there will be a return to Gilgal.” It will be fairly in-depth teaching, revealing several of these symbolisms and various word pictures - be prepared to think! As you see these truths, the revelation will be a great blessing and encouragement to you. I promise.
Joshua is an incredible book of Scripture, one of my favorites. In this great book Israel is able to finally possess their promised inheritance, and this is a picture of the entire human race finally receiving back our lost inheritance through Christ. It stands to reason, therefore, that we would see the Fall, Christ, the Cross, the Resurrection and more, typified or pictured in this amazing book.
Having taught the book of Joshua a few times, I’m somewhat familiar with Gilgal. It was the place Israel first settled after crossing the Jordan River (Joshua 4.19), and Gilgal became their headquarters for several years as they conquered the land of Canaan. In a sense, it was their temporary capital.
The name Gilgal means “rolling.” One might think they named this settlement “the place of rolling” because it was there Yahweh rolled back the waters of the Jordan river, allowing them to cross over. This is not the reason, however. Actually He did not even “roll back” the waters, He cut off the flow of water upstream. They named it Gilgal because this was where God said He had rolled off of them the reproach or shame of their slavery, their captivity in Egypt (Joshua 5:9).
This was all intended by God to be a picture of the entire human race being delivered from our spiritual slavery, and receiving our inheritance through Christ. Obviously, then, “returning to Gilgal” means leaving our reproach, our slavery, and once again possessing our inheritance in Christ.
But there is so much more detail in this picture painted by Yahweh. It is nothing short of amazing. Even the geography and topography of the area was used by Him. Joshua was a “type” of Christ; he gave Israel their inheritance, Jesus gave us ours. His name actually confirms this. Joshua’s full name was Jehoshua; Joshua is simply a shortened form. It comes from yasha, the root word for Yeshua. The name means “Jehovah is salvation,” and is the Hebrew counterpart for the name “Jesus.” Joshua’s name, essentially, was Jesus. (It had originally been Hoshea (Numbers 13:16), but Moses changed it - no doubt at the leading of Holy Spirit - to facilitate being a picture of Jesus, our salvation. Amazing - the one who gave Israel their inheritance had the same name as He who gave us ours!)
CROSSING THE JORDAN
The Jordan River pictures humankind’s spiritual death, that which “flowed” to us from Adam. Notice the geographical, topographic “map” and city location God prepared over time to picture this. Incredibly, twenty miles or so up river from this location, there was actually a town named Adam. From there the river flowed southward through the Arabah, which means “desert, sterile, or barren,” and emptied into the lowest point on earth, the Dead (Salt) Sea, where nothing can live. Could there be any doubt that even this geography - a river, flowing from Adam, into barrenness, arriving eventually at earths lowest point, feeding into the Dead Sea - was formed by God to picture Adam, his fall, and the fruit of his sin flowing downstream into the sea of humanity? None.
THE ARK AND MERCY SEAT
That is why the Ark of the Covenant, covered by the Mercy Seat where the atoning blood was sprinkled, was required to enter the Jordan first (Joshua 3:11-13). It pictures Christ, entering into death for us at the Cross, and then sprinkling His atoning blood on the Mercy Seat of heaven - the only thing that could cut off the flow of death that began at Adam. This is also why when the Ark entered the Jordan and the flow was cut off, it was not just stopped upstream a mile or so, enough distance to allow several hundred thousand people and animals to cross. It was cut off almost 20 miles upstream at the town of Adam! “Then the waters which were flowing down from above stood and rose up in one heap, a great distance away at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan; and those which were flowing down toward the sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off...” (Joshua 3:16; NASB)
Let that sink in. At Gilgal, God painted a literal picture of Christ entering into death for us, conquering it, and cutting off its flow at the source. What a picture!
CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST
Joshua was instructed by the Lord to have the priests who carried the Ark and bloodstained Mercy Seat into the Jordan, to remain in the riverbed until all of Israel was across. Why? Because all the people entering along with the Ark pictured us being “crucified with Christ,” (Galatians 2:20). Obviously, then, exiting the other side of the Jordan pictures Christ’s and our resurrection. Out of death, into our inheritance, and living at Gilgal - where the reproach was lifted.
There is even more understanding for us regarding the rich symbolism of Gilgal. We will pursue that tomorrow. For today, realize that returning to Gilgal calls us to a fresh revelation of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, and our identification with it. It is remembering that He broke the curse of sin and death, its shame, and now invites us to live with Him in the power of His resurrection. This is our inheritance, the “promised land.”
And I am confident He desires to do the same for our nation. America can return to Gilgal. And we will!
Pray with me:
Father, You are more than amazing. In ways no human could ever have even imagined, You hid pictures of Christ, the Cross, and our great redemption done through history. You even fashioned geography and topography to do this. Truly, You are beyond description. There is no one like You.
Thank You for Gilgal, for removing our reproach, our shame. Thank You for sending Jesus into death, restoring to us our lost inheritance. And thank You for doing so with such finality that our past is not even remembered.
As we ponder these things our faith is stirred to believe that You can do this for our nation…that such an incredible revival can take place it will lift off of an entire nation the reproach of sin and shame. Do this, please. Send us back to Gilgal! We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.
We decree that there will be a return to Gilgal!
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