A Sense of Urgency: It is time to take the promised land
"At that time the Lord said unto Joshua, make thee sharp knives, and circumcise again the children of Israel the second time. And Joshua made him sharp knives, and circumcised the children of Israel at the hill of the foreskins. And this is the cause why Joshua did circumcise: All the people that came out of Egypt, that were males, even all the men of war, died in the wilderness by the way, after they came out of Egypt. Now all the people that came out were circumcised: but all the people that were born in the wilderness by the way as they came forth out of Egypt, them they had not circumcised. For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the people that were men of war, which came out of Egypt, were consumed, because they obeyed not the voice of the Lord: unto whom the Lord swore that he would not shew them the land, which the Lord swore unto their fathers that he would give us, a land that flowed with milk and honey. And their children, whom he raised up in their stead, them Joshua circumcised: for they were uncircumcised, because they had not circumcised them by the way." (Joshua 5:2-7).
Today, many people who believe in Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior have experienced what they would consider a "born-again" moment in their life. They have been saved by faith and confession that Jesus Christ is the only Begotten Son of God. In church history the Scriptures identifies this as coming out of death and into a new life in Christ. We celebrate this by a baptism in water experience and sharing a Passover meal of the bread and blood of Jesus as the Eucharist/communion of oneness in the body of Christ.
This Passover meal is also a recognition of the children of Israel who were in bondage and slavery to the world system of the times upon which God brought death. However, in the midst of one of the greatest stories of world destruction, over 3,000,000 were led by Moses out of Egypt, carrying the wealth of the land as the death angel had passed over them, harming no one.
Moses led them to the Red Sea where the waters parted and they all walked across to dry land under the guidance of Moses. This amazing story in time demonstrates the magnitude of the personal experience believers encounter when they receive Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit unveils our true identity as children of God and our birthright position in Christ – in Elohim – when we receive Jesus Christ as the only begotten Son of God. The world may call the Almighty – GOD, but through the Holy Spirit Jesus unveiled Him as our Father.
With this basic level of Christian faith, we recognize that someday when our natural body is worn out we have the assurance of being in a place called Heaven where our Heavenly Father – God - resides. Most believers will say they don't know where this place is physically located. Yet, with trillions of believers since Calvary called Christians, we have created images of mansions in the sky, streets of gold, glorified perfect bodies, and total rest while being waited upon by angels. These images have been passed down through history by diverse languages of the scriptures, interpretations of words, cultures, and customs of certain time eras, and those that were in control of the religious system at the time.
When we pause to consider that most of us are not ready to leave our natural bodies and go to an unknown place called heaven, we must consider the question of what does our Heavenly Father expect from us while we are still on the earth in our natural bodies? This is the challenging question – how can one be a child of God in an Egyptian world filled with self-focus, instead of the God of the Bible?
The scripture I opened this teaching with in Joshua chapter 5 is a wonderful path and direction we can apply to our journey into the promised land.
"In the NAME of JESUS" is our birthright. Our blessing is revealed through the Torah when taught by the Holy Spirit released in us by the NAME.
"If the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious?" (2 Corinthians 3:7-8). Paul is referring back to the Old Testament; the wisdom of the teachings and instructions of the Father with Moses and the Torah. Since Moses continuously kept the Torah by the Spirit of God, he was blessed with the ability to enter into the Holy of Holies and fellowship with God anytime and not encounter death. The next in line was the High Priest, who could enter only once a year.
On that same concept that separated Moses and Aaron's relationship with God and entering into the Holy of Holies, we have Paul using this illustration to say that because Jesus Christ is our High Priest we can now enter into the Holy of Holies anytime; however, God did not change the conditions of entering. His WORD was made flesh, but how many of us are being led by the Spirit of God according to HIS WORD?
Paul is unveiling a key when he states, "You are our epistle, living letters of the Torah, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart" (2 Corinthians 3:2-4).
Jesus Christ is the WORD- the TORAH - made flesh and dwells among men (John 1:14). He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end (Revelation 1:8, 11, 21:6, 22:13). He emphasizes His messages to the churches, the many members of His body that IT IS FINISHED (Rev. 21:6, John 19:30.
The WORD that was written on tablets of stone can NOW be written on our hearts. The teachings and instructions of the Father to His children, the blessings on how to obtain the promised land – the earth that belongs to the Lord and the fullness of it is NOW the vision for the bride of Christ, the church, the New Jerusalem.
In Hebrew 8:8-10 we read the Lord saying, "Because finding fault with them, He says: "Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new/renewed covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people."
This Scripture is found in the New Testament, which is considered to be for the church, yet God is speaking directly about the House of Israel and the House of Judah, declaring that He will write His Torah on their minds and their hearts. Just before that we read Paul saying to the converted Gentiles that God would write the TORAH on their hearts. Then we have Jesus speaking to John to address the churches outside of Israel that the WORD – Jesus Christ is finished – the TORAH has been made flesh and is now residing in mankind. "And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with/in them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with/in them and be their God" (Revelation 21:3).
There is a great rejoicing in all of Heaven when one person receives Jesus as their personal Savior. The disappointment is when they don't hunger for the fullness of their blessings on the earth. Jesus paid the price of our birthright with His own LIFE. He did this because of His great love and desire for all of His Kind to return to a relationship of oneness with the Father. The birthright is a free gift; however, the way to receive the blessings of the Father is where our free-will option is activated.
To get a better clarity of this we need to venture back in time to when the Whole House of Israel, all twelve sons/tribes of Jacob were brought out of the land of Egypt to take dominion and authority over the promised land that God had already established for them. Here we have one nation that had been in bondage for over 400 years, and NOW they were being taken from the strongholds of bondage and death to life in a land of promise, dreams and visions, with the wealth of Egypt handed to them. We are not talking about a few people here and there, but millions coming together and leaving a land that they were born into as slaves - never knowing there was a world beyond. For several generations the children of God only knew the life of a slave.
That is an amazing event that needs to be remembered as it is filled with details of similar issues we can identify with today.
Being born again is a "Passover" experience we relate to Moses and the children of God crossing the Red Sea, along with the cross of Calvary and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Our birthright has been established as we are now "new creations in Christ" (2 Corinthians 5:17). However, being a new creation in Christ does not mean that there is a "New Testament people" and the Old Testament has been done away with. It is in the Old Testament where we find our blessings to live life in abundance according to the will of our Heavenly Father. This is where we find the Father's teachings and instructions to train up a child in the way it should go so that as he/she gets older they will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6).
This training was first introduced to the Hebrew children, not just to the Jewish/Judah tribe at Mt. Sinai when Moses was given the Ten Commandments, fifty days after Passover. This is also the beginning of what we know called "the church" in Acts 2. The church was not formed at Passover, but at Pentecost.
After the disciples were "born again" at Passover, they had to go through a wilderness circumcision of their hearts to be able to do the work of the Father that Jesus had commissioned for them to do.
"Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: 'The feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts" (Leviticus 23:2) God told the Hebrew children, all 12 tribes of Israel, that they were to be in Jerusalem three times a year to celebrate the LORD's FEASTS. These three feasts were Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. These were the LORD's, not the Jews'. The celebration was to be honored in Jerusalem. The culture of the times was to travel by foot, which would take a while to get from point A to point B, along with taking time to rest on the Sabbath each week. The preparations for going to Jerusalem for a family was such an ordeal that they would often plan to stay within a day's journey from the city until after the Pentecost celebration, which also required them to be in Jerusalem.
The significance of this is that Jesus told His disciples that He would see them again, after He arose, in the Galilee. "But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee." (Matthew 26:32). If you were having a meal with Jesus BEFORE the cross, what would you think He was talking about when He makes the statement that He will be raised and go before you to Galilee?
On foot, a journey to the Galilee from Jerusalem was a 3-1/2 days' journey through the wilderness along the Jordan River. This statement by Jesus was probably not given much attention about when He would be raised, what He was being raised from, or when this would take place, knowing that they needed to be around the Jerusalem area over the next few months.
"He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you" (Matthew 28: 6-7)."But go, tell His disciples—and Peter—that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you" (Mark 16:17).
The disciples were scared after the crucifixion, hiding in Jerusalem. They had totally forgotten that Jesus had said He would see them again in the Galilee after He had risen. They were aware that it was a long journey to the Galilee, and they would need to be back in Jerusalem within about a month and a half for Pentecost.
They were also supposed to be participating in the counting of the Omer between Passover and Pentecost, going from the barley harvest to the wheat harvest, referred to as "The Feast of Weeks." "And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven Sabbaths shall be completed" (Leviticus 23:15). Remember, their survival in this culture depended on the agricultural awareness of planting and harvesting. Going to the Galilee through the wilderness was a great diversion from their survival preparations. If one did not work, they didn't eat. There was no time to chase "what if's," besides, there was the fear of being known by someone that could accuse them of being with Jesus. Panic and fear of the unknown was all around them.
Yet, the hair-size thread of hope was still within them, and ignited when the confirmation to go to the Galilee to see Jesus came by the women. That breath of LIFE is what we each must always keep close to our heart, never giving up on the Father.
Jesus met them at the Galilee in a familiar setting with which they could all identify – fishing. This is how He will meet with us, also. In the process of the disciples needing to return back to Jerusalem, Jesus continued to walk and talk with them AS the RESURRECTION LIFE, not the man Jesus. Each day they would have also been counting the Omer, yet they were now aware of the numeric implication of the WORD; the letters in the Hebrew Torah scroll coming off the pages as LIFE. This journey back from the Galilee to Jerusalem was a journey through the same wilderness where Jesus met satan and the temptations of man.
"He was seen by Cephas (Peter), then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remained to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles" (1 Corinthians 15:5-7). Jesus took His disciples, along with over 500 people, through a wilderness journey from being born again to being the church with the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
Being the church, the sons of God/bride of Christ, is more than just receiving Jesus as our personal Savior. This is the beginning of turning around from going in the wrong direction and receiving our birthright that was restored by the blood of Jesus. However, Jesus is not going to have intimacy as a husband to His bride if the bride is still a child. He welcomes the children to be train in the way they should go, but until believers are spiritually mature enough in Christ to literally handle the WORD of God to do the Father's business in the earth we will not see the return of Jesus Christ for His bride. The bride must make herself ready to carry HIS NAME, HIS NATURE, and HIS CHARACTER in the world so that the unity of the bride – the church – and the groom – Jesus Christ – unveils the one NEW MAN – the LAST ADAM (1 Corinthians 15).
The time is NOW to let go of the old grave clothes of yesterday and to live according to the newness of Christ in you; the hope of glory to the world of bondage and slavery. Circumcision of the heart is a wilderness experience, spending time in intimacy, learning the NAME, the NATURE, and the CHARACTER of Christ in you so that the WORD of God is written on your heart. Out of the heart the mouth speaks (John 7:38). Our mouth has the ability to produce LIFE or death (Proverbs 18:21). "The word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it. "See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess" (Deuteronomy 30:14-17).
"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father" (John 14:12).