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Thursday, July 21 2011
The Salt Sea In History And Prophecy
The Dead Sea (as it is today known; the term is not used in the King James Version) is a large inland body of salt water that measures about 80 kilometers / 50 miles long and 16 kilometers / 10 miles wide. It is located about 19 kilometers / 12 miles east of Jerusalem. In Bible History, it is variously known as the Salt Sea, the Sea of the Plain, or the Eastern Sea. It today forms part of the international boundary between Israel and the Kingdom of Jordan.
The surface of the Dead Sea is 393 meters / 1,290 feet below the sea-level surface of the Mediterranean Sea, which is only about 80 kilometers / 50 miles to the west. The depth of the Dead Sea ranges from only 3 meters / 10 feet to an abysmal 396 meters / 1,300 feet. Although its primary source is the freshwater Jordan River that flows into the Dead Sea on its northern shore, the Dead Sea has no outlet, while the extremely high rate of evaporation from the heat of its wide-open, below sea level, desert location causes a high evaporation rate that removes water while leaving behind the salt and other minerals that are naturally found in fresh water. The result is that the "Salt Sea" has a very high salt level - about 5 times that of ocean water.
The first Biblical mention of the Salt Sea is in Genesis, "in the vale of Siddim, which is the salt sea."
"14:1 And it came to pass in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of nations; 14:2 That these made war with Bera king of Sodom [see also Abraham And The King Of Sodom], and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, which is Zoar. 14:3 All these were joined together in the vale of Siddim, which is the salt sea." (Genesis 14:1-3 KJV)
The LORD (see 'Before Abraham Was, I AM' to understand Who "the LORD God" actually was - and is) declared the Salt Sea to be one of the boundaries of the land of Israel.
"34:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses [see The Prophets: Moses], saying, 34:2 Command the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land of Canaan; this is the land that shall fall unto you for an inheritance, even the land of Canaan with the coasts thereof:
"Living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea"
Although the flow of the Jordan River was high at the time ("for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest"), the river was stopped upstream to permit the Israelites to cross the Jordan into the promised land (see Milk and Honey) on dry ground. The flow of the Jordan into the Dead Sea, which was just south of where the Israelites crossed the river, was also stopped at that time.
"3:15 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, 3:16 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.
The future of the Dead Sea is destined to be much brighter and productive, although some areas of salt will remain for useful purpose. Speaking of "the river of living waters" that will flow to both the Dead and Mediterranean Seas from Jerusalem after the return of Jesus Christ:
"14:4 And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south ... 14:8 And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea [RSV "the eastern sea" i.e. the Dead/Salt Sea], and half of them toward the hinder sea [RSV "the western sea" i.e. the Mediterranean Sea]: in summer and in winter shall it be. 14:9 And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one." (Zechariah 14:4,8-9 KJV)
This Day In History, July 21
356 BC: The original Temple of Artemis (also known as the Temple of Diana) in Ephesus, one of the "Seven Wonders of the Ancient World" (it took 120 years to build it) was destroyed by arson. The idol-worshiping Temple was rebuilt and is recorded in the New Testament (see The Riot At Ephesus).
365: An earthquake at Crete caused a tsunami in the Mediterranean Sea that struck Alexandria, Egypt. It killed over 5,000 people in the city and 50,000 more in the surrounding area.
1403: Henry IV defeated rebel forces at the Battle of Shrewsbury in England.
1542: In an increasing fight against Protestantism, Pope Paul III set up an "Inquisition."
1588: The first of 3 battles of the English fleet against the Spanish Armada (warships and thousands of European marines) that had been sent by the Papacy to invade England.
1667: The Peace of Breda ended the Second Anglo-Dutch War (1664-1667) and ceded Dutch New Amsterdam (today known as New York City) to the English.
1711: Russia and Turkey signed the Treaty of Pruth, ending the year-long Russo-Turkish War of 1711.
1773: Clement XIV issued his Dominus ac redemptor noster which officially dissolved the so-called "Society of Jesus" (the Jesuits).
1774: The Russo-Turkish War of 1768-1774 ended with the signing of the Treaty of Kuchuk-Kainarji between Russia and the Ottoman Empire (listen to our Sermon The Ottoman Empire).
1798: The "Battle of the Pyramids" took place in Egypt. The Mameluke army attempted to block Napoleon's march on Cairo but were repulsed and eventually driven into the Nile River, where many were drowned.
1831: Belgium gained independence from the Netherlands. Leopold of Saxe-Coburg (in Germany) was elected the first king of the Belgians.
1904: The 4,607 mile / 7,468 kilometer Trans-Siberian railway was completed after 13 years of construction.
1925: The "Scopes monkey trial" ended in Dayton, Tennessee when John Scopes was found guilty and fined $100.00 for teaching Darwin's theory of evolution in violation of a Tennessee statute enacted earlier in the year. Scopes' conviction was later overturned (listen to our Sermon Darwin's Theory of Evolution).
1954: The French signed an armistice with the Viet Minh that ended their war but divided the Vietnamese people into two countries. The result was a Vietnam civil war between the north and the south that the U.S. later involved itself in after the French withdrew from the divided Vietnam that they created.
1969: Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin lifted off from the surface of the moon, successfully completing the first manned lunar landing (the Russians were the first to make a successful unmanned lunar landing; first, a series of intentional crash landings beginning in 1959, then a controlled landing in 1966 from which scientific instruments transmitted data and video back to earth).
1970: Construction of the Aswan High Dam in Egypt was completed after 11 years.
1983: Martial law was lifted in Poland. It had been imposed in December 1981 by the communist government in a crackdown against Solidarity labor union.
1983: The lowest temperature ever recorded occurred at Vostok Station, Antarctica: -89.2 degrees Celsius / -128 degrees Fahrenheit.
1998: Alan Shepherd died at age 74. Shepherd was the first U.S. astronaut in space (a Russian was the first human in space) and the 5th man to walk on the moon.