THE CROSSING of the Jordan River by the Israelites was more than preparation for the conquest of Canaan. It represented God breaching the veil between the spirit realm and the land of the living.
We discuss the mission of the two spies sent by Joshua and more examples of the “third day” in the Bible. It was on the third day after the spies visited the inn run by Rahab that the Israelites crossed the Jordan, and it was the third day after the circumcision of the men of Israel that the assault on Jericho began (which we’ll discuss next week).
We also explain why the Jordan River crossing was significant: We found during our research for our book Veneration that the Jordan was believed to be a boundary between the realm of the living and the land of the dead. Hence, the mountains of Moab east of the Dead Sea were called the “mountains of Abarim” (Num. 33:47), which, according to the 1899 Encyclopaedia Biblica, means mountains of “Those-on-the-other-side.”
Other definitions are similar: “regions beyond,” “going across a space or a dividing line,” or “crossing over.” But until recently, when scholars recognized the existence of a cult of the dead among the ancient Canaanites, these definitions were assumed to refer to geography—the other side of the Jordan River.
In fact, scholars now recognize that the equivalent term was used by the neighbors of the ancient Israelites to refer to spirits that “cross over” from the spirit realm into the land of the living. This was used to describe the spirits of the Rephaim, who were summoned to a ritual feast in their honor to the threshing-floor, sanctuary, or tabernacle of El—the summit of Mount Hermon—where “the blessing of the name of El” would revivify (resurrect) “the heroes” after their arrival at dawn of the third day.
Interestingly, abarim, translated into English as “travelers,” appears in Ezekiel 39:11 as a reference to the soldiers of Gog of Magog, and was used by Ezekiel to describe the valley “east of the [Dead] sea”—in other words, the very place from which the Israelites crossed the Jordan to begin the conquest of Canaan.
Derek’s novels The God Conspiracy and Iron Dragons are available in paperback and Kindle! See the official trailers and learn more at the website for Rose Avenue Fiction (www.roseavenuefiction.com).
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