After they crossed the Jordan River, the children of Israel were circumcised at Gilgal. Circumcision represents heart circumcision and the cutting away of the carnal nature that we were born with (Deut 30:6). An uncircumcised person in the Old Testament was considered unclean and could not partake of the blessings and rites of the Jewish faith. Lack of spiritual circumcision represents the fact that the sinful desires, ways, thought patterns, and reactions that we were born with have not been cut away or removed.
The Lord instructed Joshua to circumcise the people because the younger generation had not been circumcised by their parents in the wilderness (Jos. 5:2-5). The New Testament makes it clear that what God requires of believers is spiritual circumcision (Rom. 2:28-29). It is vital that we are spiritually circumcised so we obey God’s commandments.
We cannot circumcise our own hearts, but we have to give God permission and access to deal with all of the sin in our lives. We have to expose our hearts to the Lord and surrender to Him everything in our lives that He deals with. We must not resist when God is dealing with issues in our lives, but surrender everything to Him. We must understand that we cannot enter into God’s full inheritance for our lives without a circumcised heart.
In 1981, while ministering in New Zealand, I was visited by two angels. One of the angels had a large sword in his hand. The word “circumcision” was written on the bottom of the sword. The other angel wore a sash inscribed with the words, “The Enforcer.” The Lord said to me: “I have come to circumcise the hearts of My people, and I will start with the leaders. Those who hearken and yield to My sword of circumcision will move on higher with Me. However, those who do not allow Me to circumcise their hearts will be judged by My angel, the Enforcer.”
Before we can all enter into the last day revival, we must allow the Lord to do a thorough work of cleansing in our lives. We must submit to the Lord’s work of circumcision in our hearts by His sword, the Word of God.
The purpose of a “Joshua” ministry is to get the people across the Jordan, and then get them to start possessing the land. To get them into the land they have to be sanctified, but to actually possess the land there will then be battles where we fight against the enemy. The fact that God has cleansed us and cut wrong things out of our lives does not mean to say that we have possessed the land. That is only the preparation so that we can stand against the enemy.
To enable Joshua to overthrow the enemy, the Lord appeared to Joshua as the Captain of the Lord of Hosts in Joshua 5:13-15. Every “Joshua” leader must have a revelation of Christ as the Warrior King. He must know that “It is not by power or might, but by my spirit” that the Lord is going to overthrow the enemy (Zech. 4:7). It is by the anointing that we will be able to dispossess the demonic powers and the wickedness that control the nations, to gather a great harvest of souls.
Under Joshua’s leadership, the children of Israel did not possess their full inheritance. They were slow in possessing the land of Canaan (Jos. 13:1, Judg. 1:27- 36). The Israelites were satisfied to settle for partial victory. This is also true of the human heart. Many Christians reach a certain level in their walk with the Lord and they are content to dwell there. Israel’s ultimate destination, Mount Zion, was not possessed. The Jebusites retained possession of it.
About four hundred years passed before God raised up David to lead Israel into their full inheritance and Mount Zion. The last enemy that God had originally mentioned to Abraham back in Genesis 15:18-21 was the Jebusites. The Jebusites lived in the Promised Land right up to the time of David. Zion was the last and most difficult stronghold to capture. Nevertheless, David took Mount Zion and the city of Jerusalem after receiving his third anointing (2 Sam. 5:3). David brought Israel into complete rest by conquering Mount Zion. Possessing Zion requires a new anointing! After making it his capital, David went on to rule over Israel and over all the surrounding nations from Zion.