There’s so much to digest in light of the recently-concluded Kingdom Invasion Conference. How does the church go about the process in taking its mandate forward? This article is not a review of the messages from the conference, but rather a “big picture” perspective that may prove helpful in seeing where we currently stand as a church. This can be achieved by examining the significance of Gilgal.
When Israel crossed over the Jordan, they placed 12 stones in Gilgal that were taken out of the river Jordan. What do these 12 stones represent? It was a question that generations to come would ask; it’s a question we need to ask to gain perspective for our day (Josh 4:20-21). Let’s undertake a brief review and understanding of this Old Testament locale.
1. Gilgal was the first encampment for Israel after crossing the river Jordan.
It was here where the Children of Israel celebrated their first Passover in the land of their inheritance (1 Sam 5:10). Gilgal also served as the base of operations during the years of conquest under Joshua’s leadership. Cornerstone can be likened to a headquarters where the saints are equipped for battle on many fronts. There are some lessons we can learn from Gilgal. Israel invaded new territory but the battles were only getting started. The next sequence of events help to provide keys in knowing how to go forward.
2. Gilgal was the place of a fresh circumcision and separation (Josh 5:7-8).
It was here where God rolled away the reproach of Egypt. Joshua had an encounter with the Lord of Hosts who was seen with a sword in hand. True circumcision of heart requires an inward yielding to the sword of the Lord before executing the sword externally throughout the land (Josh 5:13-15; Heb 4:12). Joshua had a revelation of the holiness of God; and so must we. The first stronghold to be taken was the impenetrable walls of Jericho (Josh 6). This required a circumcision of ears so that the battle plan of God could be ascertained. What kind of plan consists of walking silently around the walls of a fortified city for seven days? This is one of the reasons for an increased call to prayer and fasting, which by the way was a prominent theme at Kingdom Invasion.
3. Gilgal was one of the known locations for the School of Prophets.
This school was initiated by Samuel at Ramah (1Sam 19:18-24). A group of prophets later gathered around Elisha during a period of drought at Gilgal (2 Kgs 4:38). The prophetic ministry is an integral function of Cornerstone which looks to further develop in helping to equip the church as an effective end-time army. This includes knowing the times and seasons of the Lord while moving the church in tandem with God’s agenda.
4. Gilgal was a place of judgement.
Samuel, as prophet, priest and judge would circuit amongst key cities; Gilgal being chief among them (1 Sam 7:16). The Bible is very clear about judgement first being exercised in the house of the Lord (1 Pet 4:17). Samuel would later execute judgement upon Agag, king of the Amalekites at Gilgal (1 Sam 15:33). There’s been an emphasis on holiness in recent weeks at Cornerstone. It’s vitally important that we allow the sword of God’s Word to deal with the (Amalekite) works of the flesh in our lives. This leads us to some warnings that can be learned from Gilgal.
5. It was at Gilgal where the Gibeonites deceived Joshua (Josh 9:6).
This indicates the need for discernment in this hour of heightened spiritual activity. Gilgal was the place where Saul was anointed king (1 Sam 11:15). Saul was the people’s choice, not God’s. It was at Gilgal where Saul presumed the role of a priest in defiance to God due to losing face with the people (1 Sam 13:12). It was at Gilgal where Saul demonstrated disobedience to the Word of the Lord concerning the destruction of Agag, king of the Amalekites. In the life of Saul we see the dangers of presumptive ministry. It was at this time when God spoke of a future king (David) who would be characterized by a circumcised heart (1 Sam 13:14).
“…What meaneth these stones” (Josh 4:21)? There’s so much more that can be gleaned from Israel’s related experiences at Gilgal. The name “Gilgal” also has the connotation of a hub or wheel that served the interests of Israel at a time of great activity. Gilgal aids our understanding in being able to reconcile the events surrounding Joshua and beyond. The message(s) of Gilgal helps to provide a modern-day perspective and blueprint for the Church of our day; it’s a call to men and women of circumcised hearts and ears.
Pastor Tim O’Connell