The Hebrew word Gilgal which is translated wheel, spelled Gimel Lamed Gimel Lamed is found in Joshua 5:9 where the Lord states He has “rolled away” the reproach of His people. This reproach was rolled away by the second circumcision which was to include all those who had grown up in the wilderness who had not yet received the sign of God’s covenant in their flesh.
To Lift Up
Voice of Authority Blood Sacrifice
To Lift Up
Voice of Authority Blood Sacrifice
By submitting to God, His people were completing the covenant which was first made to Abraham at the first circumcision in Genesis 17:8-10 where they were promised Canaan for an everlasting possession.
What might the picture language of each of these Hebrew letters tell us that would shed light on God’s plan in this demonstration of obedience?
Gimel: To Lift up – Lifted up with Pride – To Lift up the Name of the Lord – Benefit – Bounty – Reward – To Toil – Exaltation – Camel
Lamed: Control – To Shepherd – To Have Authority – To Urge Forward – The tongue – The Voice of Authority – Staff
With this in mind, these letters tell us that the mystery of what happened at Gilgal was that the name of the Lord was lifted up and all control and authority was given to Him. Amazingly, this resulted in Him rewarding them with His voice and leadership as they entered the land promised to their father Abraham.
But there’s more. The numbers that these two letters represent give us an even better insight into God’s purpose.
Gimel 3 Divine Perfection, Completeness, 3, Attributes of God, Omniscience, Omnipresence, Omnipotence, Solid, Substantial, The Entirety, 3rd Commandment
Lamed 30 Blood of Christ, Dedication (3×10), Magnified Perfection of the Divine Order, Marking the Right Moment, Blood Sacrifice
The 3 and the 30 then show us Gilgal was the place where an act of divine perfection took place that ultimately pointed to the blood sacrifice of Christ. The fact that the numbers are repeated adds even more emphasis to the significance of Christ’s future work on our behalf.
In Ephesians 2:11-13 Paul tells us:
“Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called ‘the uncircumcision’ by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands—remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who were once far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”
So the mystery found in the letters is that Gilgal is a symbol of God bringing His people under His control and rolling away the reproach of all those things in the past that have shamed them, and even better, giving voice and leadership to their immediate future. All of this points to the promise of a new covenant in Christ hinted at in Jeremiah 31:31 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah.” And in Colossians 1:20 we read:
“For in him (Christ) all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.”
But there is even more to the mystery of Gilgal. There are at least five sites recorded in the Bible that have this same name. Each of these sites was marked with stones. The twelve stones at the Gilgal we read about in Joshua were carried from the riverbed of the Jordan by one man from each of the twelve tribes of Israel to make a memorial to the work of God in parting the Jordan and allowing them to pass over on dry ground. Archeologists have discovered evidence of several of these sites and they all have something in common. Their stones are arranged in two intersecting circles that resemble the figure eight. Remember that Gilgal means “wheel” or “circle” or implies “rolling.”
Why did they pick this particular shape? In Deuteronomy 11:24 we find that “Every place on which the sole of your foot treads shall be yours." And further in Exodus 24:10 as Moses and the elders start up Mount Sinai we read:
“And they saw the God of Israel. There was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness.”
This is the second amazing mystery. The stones at each of the five sites were placed on higher ground and were arranged in this shape to resemble the footprint of a sandal. Just as they saw God’s footprint going before them as they ascended Mount Sinai, they symbolically set God’s footprint before them as they entered the land He had promised them. It was to be a lasting reminder that every place that the soles of their feet would tread was theirs because of Him. There was more than one Gilgal because this was never about a particular place, instead, the footprint at each site that was scattered throughout the land was to remain a lasting testimony that He would go before them always.
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