Welcome to our fourth study of biblical verses on freedom, finding freedom from the past. In the previous studies, we understood the danger of picking out single verses about a topic and using them out of context and saw the necessity of connecting every verse to the central theme of the Bible - the gospel. We concluded rejoicing that God has removed our yoke of bondage to sin, transformed us through Christ’s death on the cross, and made us free indeed!
Our next verse about freedom is Joshua 5:9:
Then the Lord said to Joshua, "This day I have rolled away the reproach (derision, ridicule) of Egypt from you." So the name of that place is called Gilgal (rolling) to this day.” (Joshua 5:9 AMP)
After the Israelites left Egypt, during their years of travel through the wilderness, they had children. None of the male children who had been born after the Israelites left Egypt were circumcised. So, when they entered the promised land, God told Joshua to circumcise all the males, and Joshua obeyed. In this way, God said He had removed, "rolled away," the reproach of Egypt from them.
This word "reproach" means ridicule, derision, and shame. It refers back to when the Israelites were slaves to the Egyptians and how they lived in ridicule and shame under the harsh oppression of their bondage.
And now, through circumcision, God had, metaphorically, cut off and "rolled away" their past. He had taken away their old identity and removed the shame of their past. They were no longer to think of themselves as slaves but rather as sons and daughters. God liberated them from their past and all its associated shame and gave them a permanent reminder of His love and care for them. “Then I will take you for My people, and I will be your God; and you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who redeemed you and brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians” (Exodus 6:7 AMP). “But the Lord has taken you and brought you out of the iron [smelting] furnace, out of Egypt, to be a people for His own possession, as [you are] this day” (Deuteronomy 4:20 AMP).
Now the place where this circumcision happened was called Gilgal, which means “wheel” or “circle.” So, God said their shame and reproach was “rolled away,” at Gilgal, the “wheel.”
It’s interesting, too, that later on Gilgal became the operations center for the Israelites, so that when they went out and fought battles, they would return to Gilgal to regroup, re-strategize, and be re-energized for the next fight.
This place, Gilgal, was highly significant in the history of the Israelites. They lost their shame there; they had their identity changed there; it became their operations center, their strategy headquarters for entering the promised land.
The word here for “rolled away,” Gilgal, comes from the same root word from which we get the word, “Golgotha” – the place of the skull. The Gilgal of Joshua points forward to the Golgotha of Jesus.
Golgotha is the place where Jesus Christ died that your sins might be atoned for, that the shame of your past might be cut off and rolled away, that your past identity as a slave of sin would be removed (circumcised) from you. “In Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands, but by the [spiritual] circumcision of Christ in the stripping off of the body of the flesh [the sinful carnal nature], 12 having been buried with Him in baptism and raised with Him [to a new life] through [your] faith in the working of God, [as displayed] when He raised Christ from the dead” (Colossians 2:11-12).
Near the place of His execution at Golgotha, Jesus' dead body was sealed in a tomb by a large stone that was rolled into place to cover the entrance (Matthew 27:66). But on the third day, the stone was rolled away so that all could see Jesus had risen from the dead (John 20:1)!
“Now after the Sabbath, near dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. 2 And a great earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone [from the opening of the tomb], and sat on it” (Matthew 28:1-2 AMP).
Three days after Jesus died on the cross and was placed in the tomb, the stone rolled away, and you and I came out of that grave with Jesus, as new creations. Jesus, the greater Joshua (Hebrews 4:1-13), circumcised you of all your rebellion, your choosing to live in the lusts of your flesh, your sin and shame through His death on the cross, and raised you to a new life in Him. “Therefore if you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, sharing in His resurrection from the dead], keep seeking the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God” (Colossians 3:1 AMP).
And now all you need to do is believe this message, receive this good news of freedom from your past, and you will experience this resurrection power in your own life, where you will be raised with Christ and have a new heart, a new purpose, a new life.
Yes, at Golgotha, our sin was cut off and rolled away, our guilt was cut off and rolled away, our past identity as a slave of sin was cut off and rolled away. The cross now becomes our center of operations, our headquarters for fighting against sin and Satan. Golgotha is our Gilgal.
Joshua 5:9 (Amplified Bible - AMP) Then the Lord said to Joshua, "This day I have rolled away the reproach (derision, ridicule) of Egypt from you." So the name of that place is called Gilgal (rolling) to this day.
For encouragement on how to see more of Jesus in the Scriptures, read “Looking to Jesus.”