The Way Into Heavenly Places

Joshua 5  •  11 min. read  •  grade level: 6
Josh. 5
We must remember that all these things which are written "happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come." 1 Cor. 10:1111Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. (1 Corinthians 10:11). This expression, "ends of the world," has its importance, as also this, "once in the end of the world" (Heb. 9:2626For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. (Hebrews 9:26)). It is what we are in as Christians, consequent on the end of all the dealings and ways of God with man as to teaching or testing him. Now man as man has been fully tried, and God has set up another Man. He is more than man, too, but still another Man, and it is in grace too, surely, for sinners, that we may find a better paradise than that which has been lost. The Lord Jesus Christ could say, when He came to the end, "Now is the judgment of this world." We find man tried in every way from innocence to the cross of Christ, and the Son Himself is cast out of the vineyard and slain. John the Baptist came after the law and the prophets, and preached repentance (Matt. 11), but they would not repent. When he mourned, they did not lament; and when the Lord came and piped, they would not dance. In that same chapter He says, "Come unto Me." Now man must come to Christ as ruined, according to His own invitation.
Man may be decently alienated from God, or indecently, but it is all the same. "The carnal mind is enmity." We must come to the second Man-to Christ. God did not set up the second while He could recognize the first. He cannot own both; and to acknowledge man in the flesh now, is to set aside the fact that God has set up another. What I would now set forth is the full deliverance we have in the Lord Jesus Christ. I need not say this is not deliverance as to our body, but blessed liberty of spirit while we are waiting for the deliverance of the body. We are not only forgiven, but we are brought into liberty of association with God in holiness.
This deliverance is shadowed in Israel's history by figures-Egypt, the wilderness, Jordan, Canaan. We are all aware that the general idea is that Jordan means death, and Canaan, heaven. But as soon as we enter Canaan, we get conflict. This is evidently not the heavenly places as a place of rest. That which characterizes Canaan is conflict, and we get a figure of what we find brought out in Eph. 6-the wrestling, not with flesh and blood, but with spiritual wickedness in heavenly places, for which we need to have on the whole armor of God. But if we are to have conflict there, we must first be there. What I would speak of at this time then is the way we get into the heavenly places. Remember, Christ is there. We find in the history of Israel the way a soul progresses to the heavenly places. It is when they were in Canaan, and not in the wilderness, that the reproach of Egypt was rolled away. They kept the Passover as circumcised, they ate the old corn of the land, and the manna ceased.
And this is the way the soul gets into deliverance "from this present evil world," and is introduced into the heavenly places.
The children of Israel were slaves in Egypt, making bricks without straw; but God comes down to deliver them and He talks only of Canaan, and not of the wilderness. But first He appears in the character of a judge. He must pass them through the judgment. They were as great sinners as the Egyptians (perhaps greater, for they had a greater knowledge of God); but still, wherever the blood was, there was shelter- perfect security. It was only because the blood was on their houses that God passed over. It was not a question of communion, but the blood keeping God out as a judge.
So with the believer now. It is a blessed fact that, wherever the blood is relied on, God cannot see a single sin. God would have to deny the efficacy of the blood if He did not pass over. What screened them was not their seeing the blood, but God's seeing it. Many souls are saying, I do not know whether I have accepted it aright; but what gives peace is knowing that God has accepted it. They think they must look into their hearts to see if they have accepted it aright; yet a simple soul would not think of such a thing, but would only be too happy to rest in God's value of Christ's blood. It is quite true that we ought to find the blood more precious each day, but that is not questioning my acceptance. It is a question of growing affections; but what gives peace is not growing affections, but the fact that God has accepted the blood, and He must deny the efficacy of the blood of Christ if He did not receive me. The effect of it was to arrest His hand in judgment. Not only has my sin been pardoned, but God has been glorified at the cross of Christ. That gives full value to the blood.
If God judged sin only, then He is righteous, but there is no love. If He had said of men, They are poor wretched things, and cannot help it, so I will pardon all, there might be love shown, but there would be no righteousness. It would not be holy love. But when we come to the cross, we have perfect righteousness, and perfect love. God's truth and majesty are fully brought out there, because He, the captain of our salvation, was there made "perfect through suffering." He has suffered, and now the Son of man is glorified, and God is glorified in Him. He has run the race, and is now set down at the right hand of God.
"God hath highly exalted Him." In virtue of the cross, man is glorified. Stephen sees the Son of man in heaven; that is the wonderful thing. Stephen did not say, I see the glory (this was natural in heaven), but "I see... the Son of man standing on the right hand of God" in the heavens-Man in heaven. He is there not only as Son of God, but as man. He gets His place in the glory of God. We have this wonderful truth because He has finished the work God gave Him to do. None but He could sit there. God has been glorified by what Man has wrought. He was divine, of course, or He could not have done it. This becomes the basis of everything-man's having a place in the glory of God, not at His right hand, which is the place of preeminence for Christ alone. Now that He is there, He has sent down the Holy Ghost to convince the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment-of righteousness both to the believer and to the unbeliever-to the unbeliever because he rejects Christ-to the believer because he is associated with Him. He convinces the world, not as individuals, but all in a lump. When the world cast out Christ, the Father said, I will have Him; and now He is set down as the result of His finished work. He receives it now from His Father as man. The angels desire to look into this. All God's moral attributes have been glorified in man in the Person of Christ. It is the foundation not only of the putting away of our sin, but of the glory of God in righteousness and truth.
When we have passed through the veil and entered within the holiest in the consciousness of our souls, what value do we not see in the blood! And now we apprehend what the cross is! Now we contemplate the cross for the affections of our souls. We meditate and think of the cross; then we get growth. When we are at home with God, there can be growth. It is not there we find peace, for peace is had by learning that righteousness has accepted the blood which love gave. Now love gives it to me, but righteousness is exalted in giving it. Israel goes to the Red Sea, and here they are brought to a standstill. They found they were hemmed in on every side, and they were sore afraid. So often when a person is delivered from judgment in one sense, he meets somehow with death and finds Satan pursuing. Many a soul gets peace and comfort while looking at the cross, but is afraid when it thinks of judgment. "I am a poor sinner delighting in the cross; it just suits me." Does judgment suit you? When they came to the Red Sea, it was not judgment, but God a positive deliverer. They had known God as a judge in Egypt, and the blood had screened them. Now they learn Him at the Red Sea as a deliverer. They never see the "salvation of God" till they get to the Red Sea, and they pass out of Egypt. They are not only sheltered from judgment, but brought into a new place.
The blood screens us from judgment on account of our sins, and by that same cross and resurrection we are brought to God. Christ dead and risen is what we have in Romans, and the result is we are brought to God as our Father. Death and resurrection take me clear out of the place I was in. If I say, I am a guilty sinner, He says, You are justified. If I say, Defiled, He says, You are cleansed. If I have offended, then I am forgiven. He has met every question that could perplex the soul.
The new place of man is as perfectly redeemed and brought to God. Not only are his sins put away, but he is delivered, brought out into the wilderness. When God speaks of deliverance, He does not say a word of the wilderness. I am brought out into a new place altogether-not yet the heavenly places, but I have "redemption through His blood." So we find two conditions of the Israelites-in the wilderness, and in Canaan. And there are two distinct parts in the life of a Christian: first, what we find in Hebrews and Galatians, the place of deliverance from the present evil world (Gal. 1:44Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: (Galatians 1:4)); that is, the wilderness. Second, I am in Canaan, the heavenly places, as shown in Ephesians and Colossians. The wilderness is what the world is to the Christian. What has a dead and risen man to do with the world? Now death and judgment are behind me, but I have not left conflict behind.
The blessed Lord went into death, and bore the judgment. If I am associated with Him, it is all behind Him. If I have a part in Christ, I have a part in the deliverance. (See Psalm 22.) As soon as heard "from the horns of the unicorns," He says, "I will declare," etc. The first thing the Lord does in resurrection is to declare the Father's name to His brethren. He brings them out into the same place He is in. In John 20 He says to Mary Magdalene, "Go to My brethren," and then He leads their praises as the first-born of many brethren: "In the midst of the congregation will I praise Thee." He brings them to His God and their God, His Father and their Father. He has been all alone in His suffering and wrath. Now all is settled, and now He says, "In the midst of the congregation." He associates us with the praises-"not ashamed to call them brethren." He never said, "My brethren," nor "peace," until after He was risen.
He had said, "Fear not," and anticipatively He had said, "My peace I give unto you"; that is, you shall have it. But peace was not then made, and it is not till He had made peace by the blood of His cross that He came and preached peace to them that were "afar off" and to them that were "nigh." He passed into the new place as, man, and says, Now you are here with Me. Now we are associated with Christ, as Israel sings, "Thou in Thy mercy hast led forth the people which Thou hast redeemed: Thou hast guided them in Thy strength unto Thy holy habitation." We have the promise of glory too: "Thou shalt bring them in." (Exod. 15:13, 1713Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation. (Exodus 15:13)
17Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O Lord, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established. (Exodus 15:17)