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Friday, January 31 2014

Joshua 4: Beachhead In The Promised Land

"The people came up out of Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and encamped in Gilgal, in the east border of Jericho"

The Israelite crossing of the Jordan River was accomplished under the command and direction of the LORD (Who was and is Jesus Christ - see Genesis 1: In The Beginning Was The Word and The Kingdom Of The LORD God). It was a fulfillment of a promise that the LORD made to Abraham, centuries before the Israelites themselves existed (see The Exodus Prophecy; see also the complete series of studies for Abraham beginning with A Biography Of Abraham: The Genealogy Of Abram).

"4:1 And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over Jordan, that the LORD spake unto Joshua, saying, 4:2 Take you twelve men out of the people, out of every tribe a man, 4:3 And command ye them, saying, Take you hence out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the priests' feet stood firm, twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging place, where ye shall lodge this night." (Joshua 4:1-3 KJV)

The Ark Crossing The Jordan

Memorials of stones marked the crossing and the landing of the Israelites, led by those who carried the Tables of Stone in the Ark of the Covenant (see The Constitution Of The Kingdom Of God; see also Turning The Tables).

"4:4 Then Joshua called the twelve men, whom he had prepared of the children of Israel, out of every tribe a man: 4:5 And Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of Jordan, and take ye up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel: 4:6 That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones? 4:7 Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever.

4:8 And the children of Israel did so as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones out of the midst of Jordan, as the LORD spake unto Joshua, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, and carried them over with them unto the place where they lodged, and laid them down there.

4:9 And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests which bare the ark of the covenant stood: and they are there unto this day." (Joshua 4:4-9 KJV)

The eastern tribes (Reuben, Gad and half of the tribe of Manasseh) accompanied the other tribes across the Jordan to assist them in claiming the land of Canaan, just as the other tribes had helped them to obtain their inheritance east of the Jordan - where, as it happened, Moses died and was buried (see Numbers 32: The Israel Of East Jordan and Deuteronomy 34: The Passage Of Moses).

The Jordan River

"4:10 For the priests which bare the ark stood in the midst of Jordan, until every thing was finished that the LORD commanded Joshua to speak unto the people, according to all that Moses commanded Joshua: and the people hasted and passed over.

4:11 And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over, that the ark of the LORD passed over, and the priests, in the presence of the people.

4:12 And the children of Reuben, and the children of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh, passed over armed before the children of Israel, as Moses spake unto them: 4:13 About forty thousand prepared for war passed over before the LORD unto battle, to the plains of Jericho." (Joshua 4:10-13 KJV)

The crossing of the Jordan River established Joshua as the Prime Minister of Israel and as the human commander-in-chief of Israel's army. Notice the definitive separation of Joshua's responsibilities from those of the Levite priesthood (to understand why, see Numbers 18: The Inheritance Of The Levites).

"4:14 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.

4:15 And the LORD spake unto Joshua, saying, 4:16 Command the priests that bear the ark of the testimony, that they come up out of Jordan.

4:17 Joshua therefore commanded the priests, saying, Come ye up out of Jordan.

4:18 And it came to pass, when the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD were come up out of the midst of Jordan, and the soles of the priests' feet were lifted up unto the dry land, that the waters of Jordan returned unto their place, and flowed over all his banks, as they did before." (Joshua 4:14-18 KJV)

So it was then that Israel made its first encampment in the Promised Land - just a few days before Passover i.e. "the people came up out of Jordan on the tenth day of the first month."

"4:19 And the people came up out of Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and encamped in Gilgal, in the east border of Jericho. 4:20 And those twelve stones, which they took out of Jordan, did Joshua pitch in Gilgal. 4:21 And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones? 4:22 Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land. 4:23 For the LORD your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red sea, which he dried up from before us, until we were gone over: 4:24 That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the LORD your God for ever." (Joshua 4:19-24 KJV)

Fact Finder: What would have happened if the original borders of Israel, on both sides of the Jordan River, had been re-established in 1948? Why weren't they? What effect did the Second World War have in what became Israel today?
See the map and its explanation in the last two paragraphs of the study A History Of Jerusalem: The British Mandate


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This Day In History, January 31

1504: France ceded Naples to Aragon.

1606: Guy Fawkes was executed for his involvement in the "Gunpowder Plot" - an attempt by English Roman Catholics to blow up the British Houses of Parliament and assassinate King James I (for whom the King James Bible was named). As a well-deserved end for any treasonous rebel, Fawkes was hanged, drawn, and quartered.

Hydrogen Bomb 1788: Charles Edward Stuart (popularly known as "Bonnie Prince Charlie" and the "Young Pretender") died in Rome at age 67. He was the leader of the Jacobite rebellion against the English (1745-46).

1915: During the First World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars), Germany used poison gas on the Russians at Bolimov. On the same day in 1917, Germany announced that it was beginning a policy of unrestricted submarine warfare in the Atlantic Ocean.

1918: In the Soviet Union, January 31 under the Julian calendar system was the last day of its use (the Julian calendar was named after Julius Caesar; see also A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars). The next day was designated February 14 under the Gregorian calendar - the dates in between were simply skipped (see Pope Gregory's Calendar and The Antichrist Calendar).

1929: Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky was expelled from the Soviet Union after losing a struggle for leadership of the country with Joseph Stalin.

1930: Britain, the U.S., France, Italy and Japan began the London Naval Conference. The purpose was to halt the arms race and prevent war. The Second World War followed only nine years later.

1943: The Battle of Stalingrad ended with the Russians victorious over Hitler's invasion army.

1950: U.S. President Harry Truman (the only man to ever order the use "weapons of mass destruction") announced that he had ordered the development of hydrogen bombs that would greatly surpass the destructive power of the U.S. atomic bombs that he used to incinerate the civilian populations of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Russia responded to Truman's increase of military power with the development of their own "H Bomb," beginning the nuclear arms race.

1953: 2,000 people were drowned when hurricane-force winds flooded the Netherlands.

1958: James van Allen discovered the solar system's radiation belt that is now named after him - the Van Allen Belts.

1968: During the Tet offensive of the Vietnam War (which was actually a civil war between the Vietnamese people whose single country had been partitioned in 1954, by the French at the end of the First Indochina War, into North and South Vietnam), a captured Vietcong soldier was summarily shot in the head on a Saigon street by the chief of South Vietnam's police, General Nguyen Ngoc Loan. The execution caused international outrage after it was seen around the world in newspapers and TV news.

1976: Ernesto Miranda, famous from the U.S. Supreme Court ruling "Miranda Rights" reading to an accused person ("You have the right to remain silent etc."), was stabbed to death in Arizona.

1996: Comet Hyakutake was discovered by Japanese amateur astronomer Yuji Hyakutake.



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