At that time the Lord said to Joshua, “Make flint knives and circumcise the Israelites again.” So Joshua made flint knives and circumcised the Israelites at Gibeath Haaraloth … Then the LORD said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” So the place has been called Gilgal to this day. Joshua 5:2-3, 9
There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. Matthew 28:2
That day in Gibeath Haaraloth, when Joshua circumcised the Israelites, the Lord proclaimed, “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” Over a thousand years later, an angel rolled the stone away from Jesus’ tomb and he rose triumphant over sin and death. I never saw the connection before today. The “reproach of Egypt” was slavery. We are set free from slavery to sin by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And as we are raised with him through faith, the stone is rolled away from the tombs of our dead hearts and we are circumcised with a circumcision made without hands.
In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. Colossians 2:11-12 (ESV)
Got Questions describes the connection this way:
“Egypt has a tremendous symbolic significance in the Bible. Israel’s redemption from Egypt is a picture of our deliverance from sin and death through faith in Jesus Christ. (Galatians 3:13; 4:5; Titus 2:14). While initially seen as a place of refuge in famine or threat, Egypt becomes a place of oppression and slavery. For New Testament believers, Egypt represents our old life of slavery to sin. All people are, by nature, slaves of sin, and Satan is a much harsher taskmaster than the Egyptian overseers.” — Got Questions
As the stone was rolled away from the tomb when Jesus rose from the dead, the stone is rolled away from our dead hearts if we are raised with him. This is the circumcision of Christ – we were raised with him. By faith in Jesus, our stone of reproach, of shame, is rolled away and we are set free from our old life of slavery to sin, or, as Charles Spurgeon wrote, “set free from the prison-house of the sepulchre.”
“Behold the person of your risen Lord! He was your hostage till the law had been honoured and divine authority had been vindicated: that being done, an angel was sent from the throne to roll back the stone, and set the hostage free. All who are in him— and all are in him who believe in him— are set free by his being set free from the prison-house of the sepulchre.” — Charles Spurgeon, The Power of His Resurrection, sermon given April 21, 1889.
Release from “prison-house of the sepulchre.” This is something we cannot do for ourselves. We cannot roll the stone away for ourselves. Like Lazarus, before Christ calls us forth from the grave, we are dead in sin.
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh a and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus … Ephesians 2:1-6
Jonathan Edwards identified the stones that must be rolled away as our old hearts:
“And it appears, that every man in his first or natural state is a sinner; for otherwise he would then need no repentance, no conversion, no turning from sin to God. And it appears, that every man in his original state has a heart of stone; for thus the Scripture calls that old heart, which is taken away, when a new heart and new spirit is given. (Ezek. xi.19. and xxxvi. 26.)” — Jonathan Edwards1
We are laying there dead without His power to call us forth. We cannot roll the hard stones of our hearts away ourselves, but we can respond to His voice calling our names. Take away the stone, Jesus commands, and death is defeated. The chains of sin and addiction are broken. With a loud voice He calls forth life and nothing can resist Him. Though dead and decaying we walk out new, resurrected, reborn. The grave clothes are taken off, the old sinful me is left there moldering on the ground.
Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. Mark 16:2-4
“Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”
What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7:24-25
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you … Ezekiel 36:26-27
1The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. One, Chapter 11, “The Evidence of the Doctrine of Original Sin from What the Scripture Teaches of the Application of Redemption” (emphasis mine) https://ccel.org/ccel/edwards/works1/works1.vi.v.ii.html
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