Thursday, 7 July 2011

CROSSING JORDAN

             
REVISION : The Journey to and possession of the Promised Land is God’s Road Map showing the way to regain our inheritance which was lost in Adam and restored in Christ.  i.e. the kingdom of God on Earth as it is in Heaven.  It is ours through Christ but it has to be possessed.  Satan is the ‘god of this age’ by default.  Since the Cross he has only two powers – to deceive and to accuse - and with these he keeps the Earth under his sway.  Jesus stripped satan of all authority and gave it to His people to exercise in His Name.  He commissioned us to make disciples of all the nations i.e. to bring the world back to God.  The blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God, has brought us out of “Egypt” i.e. satan’s domain.  The Holy Spirit has been given to us to equip us for the task. When we have completed our Commission, Jesus will return and the whole Earth will be renewed.  What seems to be impossible to the human mind, God has shown in Israel’s possession of the Land, that it can be done. AMEN
The Ongoing Journey:  Joshua  chapters 2 - 4
Crossing Jordan is about coming out of the wilderness and overthrowing the enemy's strongholds as Jesus did [Luke 4] and Israel did.  It is next on God’s agenda for the Church, so it is vital that we understand what is involved.  God told Israel to “Watch the Ark so that you will know which way to go, for you have not passed this way before.”  The Jordan marks the end of wilderness wanderings and the emergence of a people with a purpose and certain victory ahead. It is a way in which the Church has not passed before i.e. the Church will go beyond anything that it has experienced before.

Israel was to take their bearings from the Ark.  The Ark of the Covenant was the highest type of the Lord Jesus in the Tabernacle.  It contained the tablets of the Law, perfectly kept; Aaron’s Rod that budded symbolizing Resurrection Life and the Golden pot of Manna – the Living Word.

At this same spot at the River Jordan, centuries later, Jesus the Living Ark of God, was baptised in identification with the whole human race.  He was anointed with the Holy Spirit and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted.  After 40 days He returned “in the power of the Spirit” and began to destroy the works of the devil.  [1John 3:8]

There was to be a space of “about 2,000 cubits” between the Ark and Israel. This instruction holds an exciting truth: - About 2,000 years after Jesus came out of the wilderness in the power of the Spirit and began to demolish the works of the devil, the Church will follow.

Emerging from the Wilderness: 
The wilderness is the place of doubt, unbelief and works.  Many of God’s people, aware that God is wanting to advance the Church, are trying to move on by works e.g. dying to Self, battling the flesh etc.  At the Jordan Self will die, not through our good works, but by a powerful deeper revelation of the Cross.  Any advance the Church makes is ALWAYS “by Grace through Faith” not of the works of the flesh.  Our victory is assured because of what Jesus has already done. Everything necessary for victory over the devil and repossession of the Earth has already been accomplished at the Cross.  It is a finished work. The Scriptures urge us to rest by faith in His finished work.  However, God does instruct Israel that they are to sanctify themselves, i.e. to consecrate themselves to the task ahead.
Truths that will bring us out of the wilderness:-
The question of identity:   Israel carried their slave mentality out of Egypt, even though they saw their enemies buried in the Red Sea.  In their minds they were “grasshoppers” compared to the giants which occupied the Land.  Yet God called them His Son.  “Israel is my son, my firstborn.” [Exodus 4:22] When Jesus was baptised at the River Jordan, the voice from Heaven had said “This is my Son...” The devil sneered “IF you are the son of God.....” 
The enemy’s strongholds in the Earth seem immense.  Mere Man is dwarfed alongside them.  However the truth is that the Church is not mere Man.  We are the Body of Christ.  God sees us as one entity with Christ the Head. Jesus lives in us by His Spirit and greater is He that is within us than anything in the world.   As Israel was, so also collectively, we are God’s Son – Christ in the Earth.  “As He is in this world, so are we.” [1John 4:17 ] The Accuser keeps up his relentless attack to keep us seeing ourselves as “grasshoppers,”   the task impossible, and the enemy too great; but the truth is : -
The enemy is a defeated foe.  The spies Joshua sent to spy out the Land learned that ever since the victory at the Red Sea, the enemy had been watching the advance of Israel in fear and trembling. They knew what Israel had yet to realise, that they had no power to withstand the Army of God.
Ever since the Resurrection of Christ, of which the Red Sea Crossing is a type, the hordes of hell have known that their days of tyranny over the Earth are numbered.  Armed with Truth, the people of God will stand in their identity in Christ and the gates of Hell will not stand against the Church of Jesus Christ.  The enemy has no legal right over the Earth because:-
The Blood has been shed for all people. “That He by the Grace of God should taste death for everyone.”  [Hebrews 2:9]  “And having made peace through the blood of his Cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether things in Earth or things in Heaven.”

[Colossians 1;20] The price has been paid for everyone who ever lived or whoever will live. At the moment multitudes do not know this, but on the basis of the Blood shed for all, the Church can do battle for them and claim the nations for Christ.  The work of reconciliation has been done for all the Earth. The legalities were settled at the Cross.
The hosts of Heaven stand with us:  Near the walls of Jericho, Joshua met the Captain of the heavenly hosts who were waiting to do battle with Israel.  Why did they have to wait for Israel?  Angels don’t have authority in the Earth, Man does.  The angels will fight with us not for us. In Revelation 12, when the Manchild company rises up in kingdom authority, the angels join the battle.  This is a picture of the New Testament Joshua generation doing battle against the enemy. When the Church rises up in kingdom authority, the devil will be cast down.  We have a preview of this in Luke 10 when the seventy disciples went out in the authority of Jesus [Luke 10;17—24]. Jesus said “I saw satan fall.”


Crossing Jordan 
 Israel had seen their enemies buried in the waters of the Red Sea. However the effects of the long bondage in Egypt continued to hinder their entry into the Promised Land.  At the Jordan they were to see another burial – the death of the old Israel and the emergence of the new.  God had told them that when the old generation was dead, they would come out of the wilderness. The old generation stands for the old nature resident in us, plagued by doubt and unbelief, struggling to measure up by our own good works.  Day by day Israel had witnessed the old men die. Now they were ready.  The Jordan is a powerful picture of the completeness of our deliverance in Christ. As far as God was concerned the transaction from slaves to sons had taken place at the first Passover, but Israel had to realise it and bring it into their experience.  The Jordan crossing is a deeper revelation of the Cross.

When the feet of the priests carrying the Ark entered the Jordan, the flooded river rolled back as far as a town called Adam. This was no coincidence – the effects of the Cross go right back to Adam and cover all Adam’s race.  As the Ark, on the shoulders of the priests rested in the midst of the Jordan, the people filed past it.  In type they “entered into His rest”[Hebrews 3:18-4:1 ] or finished work. At the Jordan where the Ark had rested, Israel witnessed their symbolic burial.  Twelve stones, one for each of the tribes, were placed in the river bed, then twelve stones from that place were carried to to Canaan’s side and set up as a memorial.  When the waters rolled back, the old was gone forever and the new had emerged. 

When the Church comes into the deeper revelation of the Cross, we will see that we have been crucified with Christ, and our old Adamic nature was buried in His tomb.  It is gone forever. We are a new creation in Him. [2Corinthians 5:17] We are dead to the world and alive to Christ and the devil has no power over us.  The Joshua generation stands in its identify in Christ, totally free from the bondage of Egypt.  Together with Christ the Head, we are the Son of God, heir of the world,[Romans 4:13] having kingdom authority. We overcome By the Blood of the Lamb, our faith confession and are totally committed to the glorious vision of the kingdom of God “on Earth as it is in Heaven.” It is believed that the Jordan Crossing was in a Jubilee Year – the Feast of freedom and restoration.[Leviticus 25]  When Israel blew the yobel [jubilee trumpets] the walls of Jericho fell down.  When Jesus returned from the wilderness in the power of the Spirit He announced Jubilee in the synagogue in Nazareth [Luke 4] and proceeded to set the captives free.  When the Church crosses Jordan it will bring Jubilee to the Earth.

Conclusion :  In crossing Jordan, the Church enters into all that the Cross of Christ has purchased for us.  At Pentecost we were given the Spirit to empower us and to guide us into all truth.  Down through the centuries the Spirit has unfolded Truth to us, building “precept on precept” until we are ready to begin our assault on the gates of Hell.  It is our awesome privilege to liberate the Earth from the influence of the hordes of Hell and bring the world back to God through the shed blood of Christ our Passover Lamb.  As Jesus said “I will build My Church and the gates of Hell will not prevail [stand] against it.” Matthew 16:18