We just touched on chapter 4 without saying anything of the stones taken out of Jordan. Ques. Some remark was made about the priests' feet being necessarily dipped in first? They had to go into the place of death; and the moment Christ touched the power of death, it was broken. The priests continued to stand in the midst of Jordan while the people passed over, but the power of death was at once broken, the waters were cut off. Ques. Why priests, and not Levites? Well, it was not exactly priestly service, though it was what priests had to do. The exercise of Christ's priesthood in heaven is a distinct thing. Dying for us is one thing, but now He is there for us, poor feeble creatures that we are on earth. Both priest and victim, He made propitiation, and died; that is what He had to do as priest, but that was not, properly speaking, priestly service. In the sacrifices of old, the priest did not kill the victim, his service began with taking the blood after the animal had been killed. 424 Ques. Would the carrying of the Ark by the Levites in the wilderness be more direct service to God? Yes, just so. But as to death, Jordan is Christ's death and our death with Him. God pronounces us dead with Christ, and then by faith we reckon ourselves dead; we have always to bear about in the body the dying of Jesus, and in that way death worketh in us. Only, it is impossible for death to work in me until I begin by reckoning myself dead. Ques. Monks try to arrive at it without being dead? Yes, and that makes all the difference. A very real thing it is that goes on when death works in us. And by death we are justified from sin, too. If a man is lying down on the floor dead, you cannot charge him with having lusts, or a wicked will, or a bad nature; he is dead. So God condemned sin in the flesh, for He is a holy God. But what am I to do seeing I have the flesh in me? It was condemned in the cross, and I find the condemnation gone, and death come. Christ had no sin, yet as made sin for us, the condemnation is past in His death. Ques. But many a person has passed through the seventh chapter of Romans who has not passed Jordan? I do not think so. A good many people have the truth in their minds who have not passed the Jordan. Jordan in itself is not experience, but 2 Corinthians 4 is experience. In Colossians 3, it is, "Ye are dead," and if dead, I am dead to everything; then as result, one cannot press it too much, "Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead." In Colossians, not only are our sins forgiven through Christ dying for us (which is the first thing we want as guilty), but when a man can say, "I am crucified with Christ," as in Galatians, then he is over Jordan. Ye are dead - mortify therefore. 'Mortify' is power; 'death' is weakness. And it is, "mortify . . . your members" - not, a living thing. When I apprehend what God says about me, that I am crucified with Christ, that is Jordan. Then follows the carrying about the dying of Jesus. Next comes Gilgal. Again and again they went back to Gilgal. When that place was lost practically, as in Judges, then the angel of the Lord went up from Gilgal to Bochim. But in Joshua they always went back to Gilgal. Ques. Is 2 Corinthians 4 going back to Gilgal? It is so practically. We go back to Gilgal in order to be able to fight. We must take our place there for ourselves with God; we shall not go on well in our work and service, if we do not learn more and more of ourselves with God. We shall not have God with us in it, except as we are with Him. 425 Ques. What is going back to Gilgal? Carrying out with God our own circumcision of heart. It is at Gilgal, too, that the reproach of Egypt is rolled away. Ques. Does not many a Christian try to reach Gilgal who has not passed over Jordan? That is the monkish idea again. In Colossians 2 we read, "Ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: in whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the flesh ('of the sins' should not be there) by the circumcision of Christ." Now there we have Gilgal and Jordan a little identified; but it is important to see that we are dead to the world, as well as dead to sin; for if a man is dead, he is dead to everything. Ques. You said that they went back to Gilgal in order to be able to fight for God; why did they go back there after fighting for God? Because they had to fight again. Their being successful in fighting was not the same thing as knowing themselves before God. The only way to maintain ourselves pure is to get before God, for self will crop up. In order to work rightly, we must get back before God, and learn that we are nothing. Self intrudes itself into gospel work as much as into anything else. Says one, 'we have had fifty conversions.' Oh, I say, you have had them, have you! Ques. Were the forty thousand in chapter 4 circumcised? I suppose so. Ques. Do you connect Gilgal with the sword of Goliath that David had? Well, yes, I do; that is to say, when he had it. Ques. "I am crucified with Christ," is that not the Red Sea as well as Jordan? Well, it is Jordan, but in a certain sense the Red Sea and Jordan are the same thing. Only, remember, there was no Ark in Egypt. At the Red Sea, it was death 'for,' not 'with.' The two coalesce; but the Red Sea was going, out, while Jordan was going in, there being no wilderness in the purpose of God. If I am only across the Red Sea, I have not yet reached the rest in Canaan which is the purpose of God for me; but when I am in Canaan, then I am seen in my new standing altogether. 426 Ques. In Rahab's case, she says that the dread of God's people had fallen upon the inhabitants of the land as soon as they heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea (chap. 2:9, 10); and then, again, their heart had melted when they heard how the Lord dried up the waters of the Jordan; chap. 5:1? Ques. And there was the leisurely way they went, with the distance between the people and the Ark? Yes. No one but Christ could pass through death in all its power. He alone could do so, and dry it all up for us: "Thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards." Ques. They were called upon to sink themselves too? Yes, and unless we are very practically set apart to God, we can know nothing really about Jordan or anything else. Ques. How are souls to be induced to pass through Jordan? I do not think they ever do until they have got sick of themselves, and are glad to get rid of themselves. Ques. Some say they go straight into the land? That was Pearsall Smith's doctrine; he wanted to jump right over Romans 7 into Romans 8. I do not believe we can ever do that. Ques. Was it not the good report of the land that drew them over? Yes, it was so in the starting; but the question was as to how were they to get across the Jordan when they found its waters overflowing all the banks. That is what people find out with their bad tempers or anything else; they cannot get rid of it though they wish it an hundred miles off. Ques. When the Queen of Sheba, who had nothing but the good things of this world, got to Solomon, she lost sight of them entirely? Just so; if a man is running a race in earnest with a most beautiful cloak on, he will soon throw it off. Or if he has a belt round him full of gold, and must swim a river, he will throw it off first, otherwise it will drown him. But the way to get into positive liberty is to say, "I am crucified with Christ"; well, then, Christ does not care for gold or fine garments, or for anything else, they are not of any good to Him. "Nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me," that is to say, I died with Him and I am risen with Him, and then, He liveth in me; and to sum it all up we find, not Christ is all in all but "Christ is all, and in all." Christ is all objectively, and He is in all in living power. 427 Ques. Is not Joshua 4 the same thing as 2 Corinthians 4? Very much so. There are the stones in the Jordan and the stones on the bank in Canaan. In Christ, I was once in Jordan, and that is all Jordan is worth in itself, but then, after all, I must carry it with me into Canaan, and bear about the dying of Jesus. Ques. What is the meaning of Joshua setting up these stones? He is always a figure of Christ leading us in the power of the Spirit, and these memorial-stones are a means of God to keep alive the truth in our souls. Ques. Have the twelve stones in Jordan a deeper signification than those in Gilgal? I think so; Gilgal is more the application of them. But even in heaven I do not lose sight of the fact of Christ having been in death; and here too, if I am going right, I never lose sight of the fact that He was down in the depths of death for me; so I bring it up with me, and carry it in my walk. And it is on the Canaan side I have this memorial that I went into death in order to reach there. Ques. The power of death comes back again when the waters return? Yes, and they become death for us now. The door is closed behind us. Christ's death has closed all connection between us and the world, and this is amazingly important. Christ came into the world amongst men as the last possibility of hope as to God having anything to say to men; it was the last thing God had left, to try if He could re-awaken any response in man's heart towards Himself. Could He bring man's heart back to Himself? No, He could not. And God's work began where man's possibility ended. Christ was rejected and died, and now, in resurrection, He has left all other things on the other side of the water. It is really on the other side of the Red Sea, for we still have to go through the wilderness as a fact. Ques. "Ye do shew the Lord's death till he come," what is this? The celebration of that which our faith ought always to hold firm. 428 Ques. In verse 10, the priests stood still until everything was finished, does that give us any individual thought? It is merely the passing of all Israel, the taking of them all into the new Canaan place. In figure, all the tribes were dead and risen, and a man out of each of the twelve tribes took a stone. While the Red Sea and Jordan coalesce, they are not the same; if they were only redemption, merely redemption, then I should be a person down here and in the world still. But the actual, practical, effect of crossing the Red Sea is to get into the wilderness - a trackless desert; if I cannot have a way in this world, I can have a way through it. Ques. Did you say there was no "we" at the Red Sea? No "with," because there was no Ark; it was a scene wholly between God and Christ. Ques. Is, then, the Red Sea death as a fact in Christ? Yes. But when they came out of the Red Sea, it was resurrection; on the cross Christ was totally alone. Ques. From where, then, do we start on our wilderness journey? Not from Canaan. In Romans, there is no person risen with Christ. One there is alive from the dead, but no other is risen with Christ. When I come to "risen with Christ," I have God quickening a dead Man and me with Him, and then setting Him at His right hand. In Colossians, He has quickened us together with Him, having forgiven us all trespasses; but in coming down to my place in death, Christ has put all my sins away - the whole thing is clear. God has been glorified, and He takes both Christ and believers, and puts us together up there. Though not union itself, it is the next step to it. In Romans there is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, but such, though alive, are not there said to be risen with Christ. Now, are we alive in this world? Then I ask, what are we going to do? Yield ourselves unto God, as those who are alive from the dead. And the wilderness then comes to prove such. True, we have tasted the grapes of Eshcol, but we are going through the world; when we are really in Canaan, grapes will be our portion. Ques. If there was no Ark at the Red Sea, where, then, do we find the death of Christ there? God's rod it was that smote the waters. He has delivered us by the death and resurrection of Christ, and not merely by the blood meeting His righteous claims - "When I see the blood, I will pass over you" - for they were still in Egypt, and there was no deliverance for them until they had crossed the Red Sea. But when they had crossed the sea, they were clearly no longer slaves, but fully redeemed out of their house of bondage. At the Red Sea, the great thing for us is that Christ was alone and we were not with Him. God was acting for the people at the Red Sea. It was the rod, i.e., judgment. 429 Ques. Do you say that Romans does not go further than giving life and justification? I do; we are there looked at as men down here, actually alive in the world, and we are called upon to yield ourselves up to God. Ques. Does not Romans 6:3 take in Jordan? No, because there we are not risen with Christ. So when Canaan is referred to in Exodus 15, it is, "Thou shalt bring them in." The power of death, but as broken, is seen at Jordan, and there is baptism at the Red Sea, but not at Jordan. Notice also that in Romans 6 we are not baptised to our own death, but to Christ's death. And so at the Red Sea, it is Christ's death, not our death and resurrection with Him. Quite true it is that, in one aspect of the Red Sea, the whole thing is finished; for we find there the judgment of the wicked, the work of redemption, and the fact that we are brought to God - "brought you to myself" - and I do not know how anybody can go further than that. If I look at redemption, the whole thing is finished, but when I come to the experimental side of things, then I find something else, namely, Christ's death and coming up in resurrection. But even then I have not "with." So in Romans 5, "we also joy in God" as well as "have peace with God"; it is perfect present favour, and we "rejoice in hope of the glory of God." But then, from the middle of Romans 5, comes another question which has to do with experience, not with forgiveness, nor with redemption and the like. It is now a question of the state and condition I am in, not that of judgment and redemption. And then I begin to talk about "I." I can, I cannot. And it is no longer, 'I have been redeemed,' but, 'I have died along with Christ.' Ques. Would you not say that in Romans 6 we get into Jordan, but that we do not get out? Well, in a sense, but that is a bad place to be in. Ques. Does Romans 6:8, take us beyond death? 430 Yes. Ques. Does not "reckon" carry us to Jordan? No, not exactly. In Romans, the Christian is looked at as living in this world, only dead to sin - the evil nature judged, but the place not changed. Ques. How far does Romans 8:1, go? As far as "in Christ." But it is all negative there. We have been brought to God, and there is no condemnation at all, neither as regards the nature nor in respect of the guilt. Ques. Is it not, then, a new state, "in Christ"? It is in Christ, but the effect of this is death to the old state. Ques. And Christ is our life? Not looked at as beyond death, that would be resurrection. It is identification with Christ as to life, but not as to place. We have been brought out of Egypt and we are in the wilderness, a dry and thirsty land where no water is; that is where the Red Sea brings us. Accordingly we find there the manna, i.e., Christ suited to our being in this world looked at as a wilderness, and water also. Ques. Is, then, Romans 8 entirely in the wilderness? Yes, but it makes us look up. And while we are walking in this world, we want the Spirit of Christ. The possession of the Spirit is significant of the Christian position. In Romans 8 the Spirit is contrasted with the flesh. Ques. If the Red Sea is only Christ's death and resurrection for us, not with us, would that make the world a wilderness to us? Yes; the Holy Ghost dwells in us, and we are strangers in the world, delivered from the condition we were once in. At the Passover God was Judge; at the Red Sea, a Deliverer. And we are delivered without as yet being brought into our proper place, whilst the world becomes a desert to us. That which constitutes the Christian condition is the presence of the Holy Ghost. A Christian is known in virtue of his having the Holy Ghost. There may have been a previous work of grace in his soul, but he is not a Christian in proper Christian standing until he has received the Spirit. It is Christ in us, as distinguished from holiness of character. The prodigal was very sincere, but though he had repented, he was not fit to go into the house, he had not the best robe, he did not know his father, for he had not yet met his father. Salvation is a real thing, and it is only truly known by the Holy Ghost dwelling in us. People are often told to examine themselves to see whether they have it, but set a man to examine and see if he has eyes, he will never see them until he dies and has none. That is not Christian condition. Before the prodigal met his father, he was examining himself and saying, "make me as one of thy hired servants," and then when he did meet his father, he could not say so at all. 431 Ques. What is the difference between the terms, "old man," and "flesh"? None, save that the one is old man, and the other is flesh. In Romans, the responsible man is seen in a new state; I quite admit that we find there the deliverance of the Red Sea, and also that we are brought to God which in that respect goes even further than Joshua. Ques. What are the enemies dead? It was the judgment of God upon all that was against the people; all that was gone for ever. But when we come to the actual condition of the people, then it is another thing. In the redemption at the Red Sea we see, in figure, the absolute place in which we are before God, viz., as fit before Him as ever we shall be in heaven. This does not give us exactly the whole of Romans, because the latter part of the epistle is experience. Jordan is a matter of fact, not of experience, although we have to learn it in our experience. Ques. But have we not to grow? Yes, but that is a distinct thing, it is not meetness. Hence the importance of seeing God's work clear and distinct. Jordan really has nothing to do with redemption, it has to do with my passing through a certain thing into heaven, or what is heavenly. We have also in Romans the certainty of God being for us, and of our being kept by Him. Yet it does not say, "whom he justified," them He also sanctified, but, "glorified." And then the apostle turns back, and says, "If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" In Exodus 15 we are brought to God; all is changed, but it is in order to our being with God, without raising the question as to whether we are in the world or not. And I do not weaken my place with God by bringing out, 'I must' this or that, before I clearly get where I am. It is quite right to insist upon practice, and upon experience too; but what we want to lay hold of, as against the whole religious world, is that we are with God according to the power of redemption without any question of our being in the desert or anything else in the world. And if we apprehend this clearly, we shall not fail to find that we are in the desert. We have, first, our redemption, an absolute redemption, but besides, God bringing us to Himself, and God going to bring us into a place which He has prepared for a habitation, and He dwelling in the midst. Then another thing, when I reach Canaan, I find the people of the land, instead of trembling, ready to fight with chariots of iron. First, we must be clear in our souls that God has redeemed us, and brought us to Himself, and that there we are. And then we have a great deal to learn, and judge, and find out about ourselves; but He has redeemed us first; up to that point all our experiences were Egyptian, like those of the prodigal, as we were saying, before he met his father. And very useful these experiences are, too. 432 Ques. What did you say the holy habitation was? God Himself. Ques. Then is it an individual thing and not a place? That is the very point. It is not Israel which is the habitation, but Thou hast brought us to Thy holy habitation. God has brought us to Himself, in this passage, not brought Himself to us. And as a consequence we have now to learn ourselves; God humbles us, and proves us, and so on, but all the while He takes care of the very nap of our coats. Well, if we have the consciousness that not only we are redeemed this way, but also that, as over Jordan, we are risen with Christ, then we are ready to be enlisted on God's behalf. Then, too, we find the other side of God's blessedness. Now it is, 'I have brought you into a certain place, not only to Myself.' But as soon as we are across the Red Sea, the whole experience in grace comes in - manna, the water at Rephidim, and conflict: manna came first, when they murmured and then got quails, too. God glorified Himself in thus giving them everything without reproach. But later on, twenty-five thousand from amongst the people died for asking for them. Moses, too, was shut out of the land. Ques. When you speak of wilderness experiences, do you mean that God was proving them, and that they also were proving God? Yes; in a certain sense both these things were true. But from Sinai onwards, the character of God's dealings was different. God did not deal with them in government until they reached Sinai. After Sinai, God humbled them, and proved them, to know what was in their hearts. Before Sinai, He dealt with them according to His grace, not according to their responsibility. 433 In 2 Corinthians 5 Paul says that we shall all be manifested to God; but far from being uneasy about that, rather he says, I am always living as if the judgment-seat were there, i.e., for himself; whilst as for sinners, he adds, "Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men." In a general sense, if we were all manifested to God, we should need no chastening. There might perhaps be some chastening for the purpose of shewing us something special, but I speak generally. It is important for us to see what Scripture is at, and to learn to distinguish between our being brought to God by redemption, and our experiences, whether it be those of the desert or those of Canaan. Ques. Are there, then, no experiences until after deliverance is known? There were experiences before the Red Sea; they were thankful to hear that God had visited them, and they started, and then followed, "Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD ." Ques. Is that Psalm 46? The Psalms are all experience, but that particular one gives us the deliverance of the last days, and there the power of evil is found in another shape. Ques. Then redemption takes us out of our former position, but leaves our condition as it was? It may or it may not be so. Ques. "Keep yourselves in the love of God," is that redemption? No, though I may learn it in redemption. Ques. Will you say a word about Amalek? It is the power of Satan in their enemies. God swore He would have war with Amalek, and it would soon be finished if that were all, but it is in men, and so it is from generation to generation. Ques. Why are the stones set up in Gilgal? It is the death of Christ, but as associated with our new circumstances. Ques. Is Amalek, Satan or the flesh? 434 Satan. Ques. Why did the priests stand in the bed of the river all the time? The power of Christ never ceases until all the people have passed Jordan. Ques. Do you exclude the idea of the flesh from Amalek? Well, I should. Ques. What is Jericho? It is the place where the curse was, and a sample, too, of Jehovah's power which set aside the whole power of the enemy by simply blowing rams' horns. Ques. What of the wedge of gold, and the Babylonish garment? That was merely the people gratifying their lust with the things of the world; and it was disobedience, too. In the desert there was no circumcision, for one must be in Canaan before one can circumcise. Ques. Had they neglected it in Egypt?