Would you like to have a new beginning, taking new territory, free from the reproach of the past? That’s what Gilgal represents in the Bible and why I can’t wait to go there with Judy! Gilgal is a very significant marker, not only in Israel, but also, potentially for you and for me. Let me tell you a bit about Gilgal and why it could matter a lot to you.
It’s about three things…
Rolling away the REPROACH of sin
When the children of Israel finally entered the Promised Land, it was by way of a very significant miracle. “Jordan” means to “descend” and God pushed back the descending Jordan all the way to the city of Adam which allowed them to cross over on dry land. It’s a picture of the descent that began with Adam being rolled back. Amazing!
The first thing they did upon entering the land was to circumcise the men at Gilgal. (Gilgal means to “roll away a heavy burden”) Then God told Joshua, “This day, I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” Egypt is a spiritual type of sin in the Bible, and sin always brings a reproach. Sin is heavy, but the reproach is heavier.
When we are forgiven of our sins, that’s a beautiful thing, but many people struggle for years with the reproach that sin brought into their life, long after the sin was forgiven. Gilgal signifies a place where one can leave behind the heavy reproach, disgrace and taunting of the enemy that came as a result of sin.
Not only was this a brand new beginning for Israel, but we see other new beginnings of significance happening there as well. One well known example is when Elijah was taken up in the chariot, leaving his mantle with Elisha who witnessed this dramatic event. Because he was there at Gilgal to see Elijah taken away, Elisha also received a double anointing to launch his ministry.
For those of you wanting a new beginning, a Gilgal experience may be just what you need. It’s not necessary to go there, but for many, just being in the vicinity of such amazing history, is enough to inspire and launch them into a brand new beginning as well.
Gilgal is most likely not the proper name of an ancient city. Gilgal appears to be a “type of place” instead of an actual place. To meet someone at the Gilgal would be like meeting someone at the mall or the arena or racetrack, etc. In recent years, archeologists have found several “gilgals”.
One of the interesting things about gilgals is that they are mini fortresses made of rock laid out in a perimeter in the shape of a sandal or foot. Building a fortress in the shape of a foot was likely a way to claim the promise of God, that wherever they set their foot would be theirs. (Deuteronomy 11).
The use of footsteps to mark out and claim territory was not a quirky idea of Joshua. It was a promise first given to Abraham, but if you look at their first battle inside the Promised Land, they were to use their feet and leave their foot impressions around the outside of Jericho for seven days! They were claiming that city with their footsteps. Very significant!
It’s quite likely that the gilgal Israel first encountered was already constructed, but Joshua commanded them to take 12 stones from the Jordan River, representing one from each of the 12 tribes and place them inside where they slept. Because the gilgal was a fortified place to camp or take refuge, this made perfect sense. It also further marked the gilgal as now belonging to Israel.
The use of physical illustrations to make spiritual impressions…
Please note that God used physical representations like a gilgal and the 12 stones from the river to establish in their mind, that the time for a new beginning to take new territory was about to begin, free from the reproach of past sin. God could have simply told them, but he had them enact the symbols which helped them really get a hold of the reality.
That principle of demonstrating spiritual truth with physical symbols is still powerful today. Imagine actually visiting the gilgals and reflecting on what God has done, what He will do and the new beginning that may be in store for you in 2015!
The gilgal locations by the Jordan are just one of the stops we intend to make in Israel this April. We are so excited to be going on this very unusual but highly meaningful trip. The real new year begins this Spring and it will be a great time to visit Israel for a new beginning.
If you even think you would like to come with us on this “Recover All 2015 Tour” let us know asap. We are going because we feel God’s invitation to us has been extended and we thought we would extend that invitation out to you. If we have enough response by the end of this month, we will formalize the invitation, the expenses and the tour details. If not, Judy and I will have the trip of a lifetime by ourselves. Either way is fine with us. Just want to see who would like to be onboard for an incredible experience this Spring. Group size will likely be limited to 10 or 12, so let us know if you want to be included.
If you have an interest in going with us (probably April 2 – 12), drop Judy an email now (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let us know. We will keep you posted on developments and confirm things at the end of the month.