Here’s the promise: “And thou shalt command the priests that bear the ark of the covenant, saying, When ye are come to the brink of the water of Jordan, ye shall stand still in Jordan. And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, Come hither, and hear the words of the LORD your God. And Joshua said, Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you, and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Hivites, and the Perizzites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Jebusites. Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth passeth over before you into Jordan … and it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand upon an heap “ Joshua 3:8-11 and 13
Here’s the fulfillment: “And it came to pass, when the people removed from their tents, to pass over Jordan, and the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people; and as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, (for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest,) that the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap very far from the city Adam, that is beside Zaretan: and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, failed, and were cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho. And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm ON DRY GROUND in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan.” Joshua 3:14-17
A miracle, indeed!
But where did this “passage” occur?
It seems to me that the Old Testament is purposely “vague” on the answer to this question! “Very far from the city Adam, that is beside Zaretan …” Though two locations are given, they are hardly prominent!
But wherever … that “crossing” occurred!
At the very place where God “magnified” Joshua, as discussed in the last two Lessons I have written. “On that day the LORD magnified Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they feared him, as they feared Moses, all the days of his life.” Joshua 4:14, spoken specifically at this great “crossing.”
Now … let’s mentally go to the New Testament. To another “Joshua!” (The Names Joshua and Jesus are identical in meaning, both having a Hebrew background, essentially the same “root” word!)
Let’s go to the Jordan, with Jesus.
In John chapter 1, John the Baptist is at the Jordan.
Baptizing those who have repented.
Our Lord comes there, to be baptized. “Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness.” Matthew 3:15
And John (finally) did Baptist Jesus!
But … where was John baptizing, on the Jordan, actually “in” the Jordan?
“These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing.” John 1:28, King James Version. (I must say KJV because all the so-called “newer” Bibles change that word “Bethabara.” And my Lesson today hinges on it remaining the same!)
So … what does Bethabara mean? The place of “crossing!” More literally, the “house” of “crossing!”
I believe we are being told that Jesus was baptized at the exact place where Israel crossed the Jordan River. At “the place of such a great crossing!”
In Hebrew, “Bethabara” blends the noun “beth” (“bayith) meaning “house” and “abar,” a verb meaning “to cross over,” or “to pass over!” (In fact, it is the great “Passover” verb of Exodus!)
Jesus and Joshua closely identified … once again.
But here’s my question today.
Was Jesus “magnified” that day? the day He went to the “crossing” place?
As was Joshua?
John the Baptist writes: “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that THIS IS THE SON OF GOD.” John 1:32-34
That’s being “magnified,” all right!
“THIS IS THE SON OF GOD!”
Now, here’s Matthew’s account: “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: and lo a voice from heaven, saying, THIS IS MY BELOVED SON, IN WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED.” Matthew 3:16-17
Jesus is our greater Joshua!
— Dr. Mike Bagwell
There’s more, tomorrow, Lord willing!