The Essential Basis of the Inheritance
Now we go back to the Book of Joshua, and here we see the essential basis of the inheritance.
Baptised in the Jordan
We recall what happened when the people went over the Jordan. I dare not stay now to speak about the crossing of the Jordan, though I may touch it again later, but there is one clause that I like very much: “When all the nation were clean passed over Jordan” (Joshua 4:1). We speak of people making ‘a clean breast of it’, and by that we mean that there is no compromise, no reservation, nothing that they are holding on to. They have made a clean job of it, and that is what the Jordan means. You know that it is a symbol of baptism, being baptized into Christ. Paul says: “We were buried with him through baptism” (Romans 6:4), and it says of Jordan at the time of the crossing: “Jordan overfloweth all its banks all the time of harvest” (Joshua 3:15). It is a complete inundation, a complete burial of everything. Jordan is only a type in the Old Testament, but that type contains the New Testament spiritual principle, so Paul says: “We were buried with him through baptism” – and if God does not raise us with Him, that is the end of us! That is the spiritual position of the people who are going into the inheritance.
Now there is this interesting thing: When the nation were clean over Jordan the Lord commanded that the whole new generation should be circumcised. While I am speaking about this, remember Paul’s interpretation of circumcision: “Neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh… circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit” (Romans 2:28,29). As we said earlier, circumcision is a sign of separation unto God. It is an interesting and impressive thing that the new generation which had arisen in the wilderness had never been circumcised. The parents had neglected this command of God, and those parents had all died in the wilderness. This means that they had ignored the spiritual law of heart separation unto God, so what arises is this: there is no entering into the inheritance without a circumcised heart. The heart has to be wholly and utterly for the Lord. If that is not true, sooner or later there is going to be a tragedy in the Christian life.
The Place of the Heirs of the Inheritance
Reproach of Egypt
Do you notice what the Lord said when this nation was circumcised on this side of Jordan? He said: “This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you” (Joshua 5:9). What does that mean? Have you ever thought about that? The reproach of Egypt rolled away! When they were utterly separated in heart unto the Lord the reproach of Egypt was rolled away. Who were these people? They were the children of Israel, and ‘Israel’ was Jacob’s other name. What does ‘Israel’ mean? It means ‘a prince with God’. These people were therefore, by Divine decree, children of a prince with God, and, as children of a prince, they were princes.
Princes with God
What would you think if you saw a man, who was a prince of the royal household and therefore an heir to all that that household inherited, in prison, with his clothes in rags, his food being doled out to him from time to time, never able to choose anything for himself, and without money or home of his own? What would you say? ‘What a shame!’ That would be a reproach to a prince, would it not? It would be a great shame upon such a person! Yet these children of a prince with God were in Egypt like that. No, princes ought never to be in a position like that! That was the reproach of Egypt, the shame of the whole situation. It is called the house of bondage, and no prince ought to be in that.
Wholly for the Lord
These people are now clean over Jordan, their hearts are circumcised, and now they are wholly for the Lord. The reproach and the shame of the past are rolled away.
What a glorious thing to have the reproach and shame of our past life all rolled away! Our rightful place, dear friends, is where all the reproach of the past is rolled away. That is the place of the heirs of the inheritance.
(Extracted from Chapter 5 The Great Inheritance from the book ‘God’s New Israel’ by T Austin Sparks. Messages given in Switzerland in 1969.)