God supplied us with a map. The map shows the journey the Israelites took in the Exodus from Egypt. This also shows church history and the journey our lives must take. It obviously doesn't take into account our personal details, but is an overview. I think it's awesome that God put this map together in such a way that it has real significance for us today, as I will attempt to explain.
I should point out that while doing my research I found that there are many versions of the route taken in the Exodus and even the borders are a bit hazy, so this is my interpretation which is not accurate, but will serve our purposes.
Israel’s sin, ie separation from God because of sin. During this time Israel had a knowledge of God, but He was as a memory, or a religion. They had a hope that one day God would free them from their captors.
This is like the early church, such as the Anglican (I can use this curch as an example because I was brought up in the Anglican Church) :). They had a knowledge of God, but they only had a religion. There was no relationship as such. The early church set a platform for what was to come.
This is also like a person who has not yet found salvation. They have a knowledge of God to one degree or another, but don’t know Him. It’s like He is out of reach, far off in the Heavens. Built into the depths of man is the knowledge that there is more to life. It’s this inner knowledge that may one day lead to their salvation.
2. The Passover
Salvation came to the churches such as the Salvation army and the Lutheran church sprang up. The new churches acknowledged salvation and embraced the ‘born again’ experience and fellowship with God. Repentance was preached in the church and people were ‘born again’ and entered into a relationship with God. At last they could know God instead of just knowing about Him.
New churches were founded, such as the Baptist, that taught repentance and baptism (as symbolised by the Red Sea crossing) for the remission of sin. The believer’s baptism by immersion was practiced as taught in the Scriptures.
Separation from sin was embraced by the church. People who were born again were now baptized into Christ. Another giant step forward as people not only got to know God, but were also baptized into Christ in obedience to Him. Baptism was and is both a public declaration of faith and a separation from sin.
The Baptism in the Holy Spirit saw huge revival and the onset of the Pentecostal churches such as the Assembly of God, Apostolic, Elim and many others. People started speaking in tongues and doing miracles, prophecying and other wonderful things as led by the Holy Spirit.
At this stage the Israelites were still wandering in the Wilderness. In fact the Wilderness journey continued right through to the Jordan River (all of the area in blue). I believe that on the map, 4 represents the birth of the Pentecostal Church. Pentecost is a wilderness experience!
The Jordan, translated The Desender is, according to the New Bible Dictionary, the deepest depression on the face of the earth. This is very significant because crossing the Jordan is the deepest experience that mankind has to face. When God asked me what the deepest experience we had to face was I answered Him death. Crossing the Jordan is a death experience. Not a physical death, but a death of the identity or soul. It is only through enduring death that you can be raised by the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead into the glorious ressurection. It is this death and ressurection experience that takes us from the wilderness of Pentecost to the wonderful Promised Land.
If you haven't seen the PowerPoint presentation called Beyond Pentecost, which is found on the page Beyond Pentecost, can I suggest you take 10 minutes to have a look at it. In the presentation I share personal testimony of how God took me through the Jordan and what He taught me about the experience. It also shows the amazing truth about the 23rd Psalm and how it ties in with this teaching.
If you have any questions about this or want further information, please don't hesitate to ask. Email me at Les@all4god.net
I believe the churches are like monuments that show what God has done in the past. They show the different moves of God. This is why it is my personal opinion that the Pentecostal churches will not receive this teaching, but God will raise up a new church. I also believe that the message needs to go first to the existing church before God raises the new one.