THE REQUIREMENTS TO ENTER THE KINGDOM
The wilderness route from Mount Sinai in Arabia to Kadesh Barnea near Mount Hor has been calculated to be a journey which could have taken the children of Israel about eleven days, if they had entered in by faith when Yahweh first led them there. However, in reality, it took them forty years to arrive at their destination as a result of their unbelief which had its outworking in disobedience. They went round and round the same mountain, conditioned by their fleshly nature and dominated by its lusts.
Yahweh calls us to “Shema” (hear) His Word! (Deuteronomy 6:4) Shema (S8085) means to hear/listen and obey – not just hearing. It is a hearing of the Word that penetrates a receptive submissive heart, motivating it to respond in faith and act accordingly, in obedience to the Word given.
“So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief” (Hebrews 3:18)
The word unbelief here is APEITHEO and does not mean just a passive unbelief, but a refusal to believe; an actual unwillingness to be persuaded. It denotes an obstinacy that is based upon a rejection of the will of God. The person's own will is in control, preventing the Word from penetrating and generating faith in the heart to motivate action.
“But the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. (Hebrews 4:2)
Yahweh complained that their hearts were hard and stony and His Word could not take root and bring forth fruit. Their unbelief is equated with disobedience because their lack of faith caused His Word to fall on deaf ears and they did not obey. Their hearts were motivated by their own will. See the parable of the Sower Luke 8:4-15
The same word APEITHEO is translated as 'unbelief' in Hebrews 3:18; and as 'disobedience' in Hebrews 4:6. Hearing in faith and acting in obedience, is necessary to bring forth righteousness (i.e. right actions).
“The righteous shall live by faith” (Habukkuk 2:4) See also Romans 4:3-4 The motivation of the heart by His Word is what produces righteousness, otherwise it is our own works, (Romans 4:5-6) So we see that faith is required to enter the kingdom – the Word born of the Spirit, producing His life in us!
PRE-REQUISITES TO ENTER THE LAND
When their flesh had died in the wilderness, they were ready to go in to the promised land. Only the overcomers of the previous generation who had believed, entered in. All who had sinned, died in the wilderness. On route they had stopped forty-two times which represented the forty-two areas of testing they incurred in the wilderness.
This transit through the wilderness in unbelief and defeat, gave the enemy power and authority over their lives and it set a prophetic precedent which a future generation will be required to go through, in victory, in order to inherit the promises. They will be tested in the same areas of the flesh and they will overcome!!! (Revelation 12:11) We see in the endtimes that the Beast is given authority to continue for forty-two months and to “tread down the holy city” for that same period of time. We see that this is the same period of time Yahweh will give to His two witnesses (Is.43:10-12) who are the endtime overcomers with power over the Beast to exercise His judgments upon it (Revelation 11:2-6; 13:5).
When the children of Israel passed through the Red Sea, they walked in a passage-way through a wall of water heaped on either side of them. They walked out of the kingdom of the god of this world (Pharaoh) and were released from his power and authority over their lives. The opening of the waters gave them a passage-way from one kingdom to the other. Paul uses this to symbolize passing from kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light through Baptism.
After their deliverance from the world (through Baptism), they went through the wilderness where Yahweh took them through a process of dealing with their fleshly nature and getting the world (Egypt) out of them. The wilderness was the place of purging the flesh. Yahweh's principle is that nothing of the flesh can enter, or take part in what is holy. His priests had to be sanctified to enter the Tabernacle and the Temple; Also, His people needed to be cleansed of the flesh to enter into His holy land, Israel. By the same token, those who are called to the kingdom must be sanctified from the flesh. They will be need to “pass under the rod” of the Shepherd and qualify as His Firstfruits – i.e. those who have died to their flesh and are renewed by the Spirit to walk in covenant relationship in Him (Ezekiel 20:33-38).
At the end of their wilderness journey, the children of Israel again needed to go through a body of water to get into the promised land. The Jordan river was a barrier to them entering the land and they needed a way to pass through the waters of the Jordan to reach the promised land. As we know, Yahweh performed a miracle and they passed over.
ENTERING THE LAND
Looking back at when they came out of Egypt; they assembled and walked in family groups within their tribal ranks. The Cloud of His Presence joined them soon after and led the way to guide, overshadow and protect them and oversee them going through the trials and testings of the wilderness (Exodus 33:1-3, 14-17). By the time the Angel of His Presence had completed the assignment, Israel was established in their national identity marching in the divine order of their tribal placement around the Tabernacle, under the leadership of the Levitical priesthood. They had become a kingdom of priests among whom the Most high tabernacled.
The manifestation of His supernatural Presence with all its miracle-working power, ceased at the border of Ca'anan and they were to go over led by the Ark of His Presence, which was His Shekinah glory resident among them. The Ark was to go first, borne on the shoulders of the priests (it is always His priesthood that is ordained to carry the manifestation of His Presence and take the leadership), then the people were to follow the Levites bearing the Ark, at a distance of two thousand cubits, as they were instructed. (Joshua 3:5-6)
Both the priests and the people were called to prepare themselves and set themselves apart for three days for their transition from the wilderness into their inheritance in the promised land (Joshua 3:1-3). Their fleshly nature had been dealt with in the wilderness and now it was appropriate to deal the final death blow to the old life and enact its burial. The Jordan river which separated them from their inheritance is used as a type of the burial place of the self-nature.
Elisha is a prophetic type of the overcomers and the final step in his course of discipleship to receive the inheritance of his calling, was to go through the Jordan – i.e. complete death to self (1 Kings 2:1-14). A future generation of overcomers are going to have to go through the Jordan in a complete death to self and burial of the old nature, in order to enter into their inheritance as the Firstfruits of Messiah -- those who follow the Master all the way to the Cross and beyond into the power of His resurrection (Phil.2:5-8; 3:10-1211; Revelation 14:4).
This prophetic picture was enacted by the leader taking a stone for each tribe from the wilderness area and laying it down in the Jordan as a burial of the life that had come from there, and then taking up a stone out of the Jordan as a symbol of the new life being resurrected in glory of Messiah out of this act of burial of the self-nature, which would then be placed as a witness and a memorial on the other side of the river at Gilgal (Joshua 3:12; 4:2-3, 9-10).
All twelve tribes were represented in this prophetic act (See Revelation 7 & 14) by the leaders. The nation itself, followed two thousand cubits behind the Ark, as it went through the Jordan. The Ark represented Messiah. He was the Word of Yahweh dwelling among us in His glory (John 1:14); who became the Way for us to follow into eternal life. He went two thousand years before us, to open us the way for us to pass through from the wilderness of the fallen nature of man, into the inheritance of an immortal, incorruptible existence, as a son of the Father.
One of the promises to the overcomers is that they will be given to eat of the hidden manna (in the Ark) and be given a white stone upon which is a new name written, signifying their new identity as a new creation man (Revelation 2:17). Individually, each overcomer has to go through their own Jordan experience in a complete laying down of their self-nature, a crucifying of the flesh, to be able to enter into their spiritual inheritance. This was implemented at that time by each Israelite undergoing circumcision and rolling off the reproach of their flesh from them (Joshua 5:5-6, 9).
This symbolizes another level of identification with Messiah in his death and resurrection.
When our Messiah initiated our redemption, it was a finished work. When we are Baptised into Him, we have conferred on us the benefits of His redemptive work through being identified with Him in His death and resurrection. Potentially, it is ours! But it only becomes our possession when we appropriate it into our lives by faith and walk in the truth of it, by denying and putting to death all aspects of the carnal nature of the 'old man'.
It was very significant that they entered the land on the tenth day of the first month which is the day of setting aside the lamb for Passover (Joshua 4:19; 5:10). This fulfilled the pattern of the Moedim for Passover. As fully circumcised men (both in heart and in the flesh), they entered into their redemption, forty years after the first Passover. And the Captain of the Host came to meet them (Joshua 5:13-15).
He had come in the burning bush to commission Moshe for the redemption of His people(Exodus 3), now at the end of the journey He appears to Yehoshua as Israel's Guardian and Commander. Now, at the end of time He presents Himself as the Captain of our salvation (Heb. 2:10), completing what had been done in the physical, in the Spirit.