Previously, we saw that the purpose of God’s calling is to bring His chosen people into the good land (Exo. 3:8; link to post), which is a type of the all-inclusive Christ (link to post). God’s chosen people left Egypt by means of the passover and the crossing of the Red Sea. After journeying through the wilderness for forty years, the children of Israel came to the good land and were ready to enter and possess the land (Josh. 1:11). In this post we will focus on the significance of entering into the good land by crossing the river Jordan.
Joshua 3 and 4 are a record of the children of Israel crossing the river Jordan. This portion reveals a great miracle performed by the living God. When the priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant set foot into the waters of the Jordan, the waters were cut off upstream and stood and rose up in a heap so that the entire nation could cross over on dry ground. Twelve representatives of the tribes of Israel took up stones from the middle of the Jordan and brought them to the place where they were to lodge. Joshua then erected twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan where the priests had stood. These two groups of twelve stones signify that the tribes of Israel in their old life and nature were terminated in the Jordan, and the new Israel crossed over to the other side of the river to enter into the good land.
In Romans 6:4 and 6 Paul writes, “We have been buried therefore with Him through baptism into His death, in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so also we might walk in newness of life…knowing this, that our old man has been crucified with Him.” The Israelites’ experience in Joshua 3 and 4 typifies the believers’ identification with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection (Rom. 6:3-11; Eph. 2:5-6, 10, 15). By being joined to Christ in His death and resurrection, our old man is left in the waters of baptism, and we are raised to walk in newness of life in Christ as our good land. In addition to being baptized, we should exercise to daily “cross the Jordan” by experiencing Christ’s death and resurrection in the Spirit as our entrance into the good land. Once we enter into Christ in this way, we can daily labor on Him in order to produce material out of our experience for the building up of the church, as typified by the Israelites’ labor on the land and the building of the temple. The following excerpts from two hymns are related to the application and experience of Christ’s death and resurrection:
The chorus of Hymns, #631 says,
If no death, no life,
If no death, no life;
Life from death alone arises;
If no death, no life.
The chorus of Hymns, #279 says,
Through the Cross, O Lord, I pray,
Put my soul-life all away;
Make me any price to pay,
Full anointing to receive.
In forthcoming posts we will look into how God’s people occupied and took possession of the good land, aspects of the riches of the good land, and the building up of the temple in the good land.
(Most references in the Further Reading can also be viewed on www.ministrybooks.org.)