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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."

Jordan River

"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:

34:3 Then your south quarter shall be from the wilderness of Zin along by the coast of Edom, and your south border shall be the outmost coast of the salt sea eastward: 34:4 And your border shall turn from the south to the ascent of Akrabbim, and pass on to Zin: and the going forth thereof shall be from the south to Kadeshbarnea, and shall go on to Hazaraddar, and pass on to Azmon: 34:5 And the border shall fetch a compass from Azmon unto the river of Egypt, and the goings out of it shall be at the sea.

34:6 And as for the western border, ye shall even have the great sea for a border: this shall be your west border.

34:7 And this shall be your north border: from the great sea ye shall point out for you mount Hor: 34:8 From mount Hor ye shall point out your border unto the entrance of Hamath; and the goings forth of the border shall be to Zedad: 34:9 And the border shall go on to Ziphron, and the goings out of it shall be at Hazarenan: this shall be your north border.

34:10 And ye shall point out your east border from Hazarenan to Shepham: 34:11 And the coast shall go down from Shepham to Riblah, on the east side of Ain; and the border shall descend, and shall reach unto the side of the sea of Chinnereth eastward: 34:12 And the border shall go down to Jordan, and the goings out of it shall be at the salt sea: this shall be your land with the coasts thereof round about." (Numbers 34:1-12 KJV)

"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.

The Salt Sea

"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.

3:17 And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD [see also Christ's Mercy Seat] 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 3:15-17 KJV)

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)

"47:1 Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house [see also Moriah: Separating The Wheat From The Chaff]; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront of the house stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under from the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar. 47:2 Then brought he me out of the way of the gate northward, and led me about the way without unto the utter gate by the way that looketh eastward; and, behold, there ran out waters on the right side.

47:3 And when the man that had the line in his hand went forth eastward, he measured a thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the waters were to the ankles. 47:4 Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through the waters; the waters were to the knees. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through; the waters were to the loins. 47:5 Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over. 47:6 And he said unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen this?

Then he brought me, and caused me to return to the brink of the river. 47:7 Now when I had returned, behold, at the bank of the river were very many trees on the one side and on the other. 47:8 Then said he unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed. 47:9 And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh. 47:10 And it shall come to pass, that the fishers shall stand upon it from Engedi even unto Eneglaim; they shall be a place to spread forth nets; their fish shall be according to their kinds, as the fish of the great sea, exceeding many. 47:11 But the miry places thereof and the marishes thereof shall not be healed; they shall be given to salt. 47:12 And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine." (Ezekiel 47:1-12 KJV)

Fact Finder: What will the world be like when the fresh water flows?
See Living Waters and Desert Waters

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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.


Copyright © Wayne Blank