JOSHUA - Chapter 3 - Crossing Jordan Print E-mail

JOSHUA – Chapter 3

Carrying the Ark Across Jordan

Tuesday Morning Bible Study – June 13, 2016, the Year of Our Lord

Pastor Carolyn Sissom


The central figure of the Lord’s drama in chapters 3 and 4 is the Ark (the Presence of the Lord).  It represents Jesus Christ in His Lordship: our Risen, Exalted, and Overcoming Head!  The Ark denotes His Government, Power, Glory, Presence and Throne. 


When you see God-ordained and sanctified ministry uphold and carry the Ark toward the impossible, then set out from where you are and follow it.  Leave all else.  Abandon your fear, unbelief, resentment, bitterness and move forward.


The rending of the Jordan corresponds to the rending of the Veil.  The nation of Israel had been baptized into Moses in the Red Sea.


  1. Cor. 10: 1-11: “I would not have you ignorant how our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized to Moses in the cloud and in the sea…”


This is the first baptism of water.  In the cloud is the Holy Ghost Baptism.  Now they were to move out of the Feast of Pentecost and into the Feast of Tabernacles.  Now they were to experience a third baptism:  a baptism into Joshua, which is a baptism of fire that brings God’s people into a new dimension of spiritual warfare and the overcoming life.


Moses the shepherd gives way to Joshua the soldier.  We see both the qualities of organization and the ability to hear the voice of God in Joshua at this time.


3:1: “Joshua rose early in the morning (new day).  They moved from Shittim, the comfortable land of Pentecost and came to Jordan (the veil and the full identification with Christ’s death).  They stood still and lodged there before passing over.”


Here in  three days, God gives this new generation ample time to contemplate the impossible.  Don’t close your eyes, Look at it until you see your helplessness to cope with it.  Then trustingly turn unto Him who is capable of dealing with it.  When the Lord gives me a challenge of Faith, it has always taken me three days to come to grips with it.


 Jordan has been estimated at this flood state to be as wide as a football field up to a mile in width and rushing down at ten miles per hours!


There would also have been a burnt, peace, and meal offerings sacrificed during these three days.  – Count your costs, burn your flesh, burn all your exits, and sacrifice your life up to that point.   After this proving time, the officers gave the orders to go.


3: 2-4:  After three days, the officers went through the host.  They commanded the people, saying, when you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God and the priests the Levites bearing it, then you shall remove from your place, and go after it.  Yet there shall be a space between you and it of about two thousand cubits.  Do not go near it, that you may know the way by which you must go: for you have not passed this way before.”


The space 2000 cubits = 3000 feet or ½ a mile, 1000 yards:  We know the story that men are not to touch the Ark.  However this “space” teaches us many truths:


  1. The Presence of the Lord is Holy.
  2. The Ark is a type of the Mercy-Seat (sin-bearer).
  3. To stay on course, we must look to Jesus, the author and Finisher of our Faith.
  4. To see Him who left us an example to follow in His steps.
  5. He is the head of this Overcoming Army.
  6. He opened the heavenlies and rent the veil.
  7. As a prophetic metaphor 2000 years later the nation (Kingdom of God on earth) crossed the Jordan and entered into the realm of the Third Day.


You have not Passed this Way Heretofore.”  This not only refers to the unfamiliar new territory, but also teaches we have not moved in this manner before.  The Hebrew word is “Derek” and means “a road (as trodden); a course of life or mode of action.”


It is the same word in Genesis 3:24 where the Cherubim and flaming sword guard the way of the tree of life.


Psa. 77:19: “Your way is in the sea, and Your path in the great waters, and Your footsteps are not known.”


This is a new Kingdom Order for a New Day (Ro. 8:14) “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God.”  I believe we are again marching into a new Kingdom Order.  The Lord has not brought us this way before.


3:5: “Joshua said to the people, sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you


The call is to be set apart unto Jehovah.  Our hearts cry out for the Lord to do wonders among us again.  We see a trickling of “wonders”.  Certainly there are many ministers who are “trying by faith.”  Yet, we are seeing few actual wonders.


3:6: The people were commanded by Joshua to follow the Priest as far as they carried the Ark, but no father.  We follow the ministry only as they follow Jesus upholding and exemplifying the Ark (His Presence).  These are first fruits unto God and the Lamb.  There is ministries who are trailblazers.  These are pioneers.  These are fore-runners into a new realm and a new Day in the Spirit.


The old order will no longer satisfy, these continually press into that New Day.


Job 28: 7-8: “There is a path which no fowl knows, and which the vulture’s eyes has not seen.  The lion’s whelps have not trodden it, nor the fierce lion passed by it.”


This path comes at a cost of “no compromise.”  I have had many opportunities to make this ministry prominent and large.  The cost would always be compromise and throw someone under the bus.  They might throw me under the bus, but I know if I did that, I would miss God’s best.  I believe I have been given God’s best.  I would rather have that than all the other put together.


3:6-8: “Joshua spoke to the priests saying, Take up the ark of the covenant, and pass over before the people.  They took the Ark of the Covenant, and went before the people.  The Lord said to Joshua, This day I will begin to magnify you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with you.  You shall command the priests that bear the ark of the covenant, saying, when you come to the brink of the water of Jordan, you shall stand still in Jordan.”


It is God who magnifies.  Do you feel like you don’t get the recognition that you deserve?  It is God who magnifies.  Look Jesus, not to someone you esteem as prominent.


The priests are to stand still at the brink of the Jordan.  This is the attitude one must take at the threshold of the Most Holy Place. 


The crossing of the Red Sea terminated the exodus from bondage and the escape from the Egyptians.   The crossing of the Jordan initiated the entrance into the liberty of the Holy Spirit and the power to conquer the Canaanites.


At the Red Sea multitudes were slain.  At the crossing of the Jordan, not one perished.


There was a similarity between crossing the Red Sea and crossing Jordan:


  1. Both miracles were connected with water.
  2. Both were witnessed by the whole nation.
  3. Each was preceded by an act of faith by the servant of God.
  4. Each was the removal of a formidable barrier in Israel’s path.
  5. Each had the design of authenticating Israel’s leader.
  6. Each presented a sever test unto Israel’s faith and obedience.
  7. In each case they passed over dry-shod.
  8. Both miracles were wrought in silence (no shouting or ram’s horns).
  9. Afterward both bodies of water returned to their normal state.
  10. Each inaugurated a new period or paradigm shift in Israel’s history.
  11. There was a display of God’s power to overcome God’s enemies.
  12. Both miracles were celebrated by songs.


(Above thoughts are from “Gleanings in Joshua” by Arthur Pink.)


3: 9-10:  Joshua said, You shall know that the living God is among you, and He will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and the Jebusites.


The living “God” is “El” in the singular, contrasting with the polytheism of the Canaanites.


Canaanites --- All unclean sex spirits, merchant, pirate, trafficker in materialism.

Hittites – Violence, dismay, terror, dread.

Hivites –  Human effort, beastiality, animation, life born of effort.

Perizzites – Lack of vision

Gigashites – Ignorance, dense, condensed, marshy ground.

Amorites – Pride – dwellers of the summits, highlanders.

Jebusites – Fear – “trodden down, trampled under foot, a threshing floor, conquered, subjected, utterly subdued or laid waste.”


3:11: “Behold the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord of all the earth passes over before you into Jordan.”


The word here for “Lord” is “Adown”.  This is stating His dominion and sovereignty over the Jordan and over the Promised Land.


3:12-13: “Take twelve men out of the tribes of Israel, out of every tribe a man.  It shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests who bear the Ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above.  They shall stand upon a heap.”


Twelve is the number of government.  The work for “men” is “ish” and means men of high degree---statesmen.  The feet of the Priests who bear the Ark are the key.  We must step by Faith.  The word “Rest” means “settle down.”  The waters were moved, agitated, heaped up and collected together.  The waters congealed.


 The Jordan was overflowing its banks at the time of Barley Harvest in the Spring of the year.  This would have been the 10th day of the first month, four days before the Passover. (Josh. 4:19).


3:15-16: When the feet of the priests who carried the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, (for Jordan overflows all its banks all the time of harvest.)  The waters which came down toward the sea of the plain, even the Salt Sea, failed, and were cut off.  The people passed over right against Jericho.  The priests who bare the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people has passed over Jordan.”


Jesus Christ the Ark has cut off every hindrance back to Adam.  The city of Adam has been placed 16 miles up the river from Jericho.  Probably 20-30 miles of the river bed was left dry (including the portion between Jericho and the Dead Sea). 


The secret of entrance to Canaan is the Ark, which is the victorious life of Jesus Christ.  We have been brought into Canaan by the Life of Jesus.  We are saved by His Life.  He is Lord over all enemies.  Let us rest and know His glorious victory until all the people pass over! 


Hebrews 12:2: “Looking to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”


Next Study will be the Memorial Stones.


Carolyn Sissom, Pastor

Eastgate Ministries Church

Scripture from K.J.V. – I entered into the labors of Principles of Present Truth by: Kelly Varner.  Comments and conclusions are my own and not meant to reflect the views of Rev. Varner (1949-2009). 

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