Exodus and Entrance
The Red Sea exodus and the Jordan entrance are complementary in their spiritual significance. They are closely related in their meaning. This is suggested in Psalm 114 where no mention is made of the 40 year period of desert wandering. “When Israel went out of Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of strange language; Judah was his sanctuary, and Israel his dominion. The sea saw it, and fled: Jordan was driven back. The mountains skipped like rams, and the little hills like lambs. What ailed thee, O thou sea, that thou fleddest? thou Jordan, that thou wast driven back? Ye mountains, that ye skipped like rams; and ye little hills, like lambs? Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob.”
The Red Sea and Jordan are listed as separate events, but they are recorded here as though they followed each other without any interval. In each case it was the presence of the God of Jacob who wrought the miracles. Though they are complementary, there are significant differences in the two events. The crossing of the Jordan was more than mere repetition of the crossing of the Red Sea.
The opening up of the Red Sea provided a way out of Egypt. On the other hand, the heaping up of the waters of Jordan opened the way into Canaan. Spiritually speaking, these two miracle experiences present two distinct aspects of the Christian’s experience. The one speaks of a going out, the other of a going in. The older generation made an exit from the house of bondage, whereas the new generation was about to enter the Land of Promise. The older generation did not have to fight and conquer the army of Egypt, for the Lord destroyed Pharaoh and his host in the sea. But in order to possess the land of Canaan, the younger generation had to conquer their enemies before they could take possession. It was with one master stroke that the Red Sea swallowed up Israel’s enemies and God brought his people out of bondage. However, the conquest of Canaan was not accomplished in a moment. The time was long and the going was hard.
The new generation under Joshua had to fight before they could possess the land.
In type, the crossing of the Red Sea pictures to us what Jesus Christ did on the cross when He brought us out from under the bondage of sin and broke the power of Satan. We had no part in this initial phase of our salvation. It was all the work of Jesus Christ. We do however, bear special responsibility to obey and closely follow our Leader as we enter into warfare against the powers of evil, seeking to possess our spiritual Promised Land. The victory lies in Christ, but we must fill the capacity of spiritual warriors who are totally surrendered to our Captain.
The older generation faced a barren wilderness after their escape from Egypt. The new generation under Joshua had for their goal a land flowing with milk and honey. The method used to open up the Red Sea was quite different from that of opening up the Jordan River. At the sea, Moses stretched out his hand and the Lord caused the waters to go back. He brought a strong wind which parted the waters and provided a safe path for His people.
At the Jordan, neither a wind nor staff were used. God used the Ark of the Covenant to open the way for the Israelites. In both places however, divine power was necessary. It was used differently in each case, yet it was indispensable. At the Red Sea, God freed His people from slavery. At Jordan, He gave them an entrance into a land where their possessions lay.
So far as our Lord’s work in redemption is concerned, the entrance into Jordan can be likened to what He did when He ascended on high after He completed His work here on earth. Not a great deal is taught in the Scriptures concerning the ascension of our Lord and its meaning for us. We usually sum it up for ourselves as knowing that He went to the right hand of the Father after having ascended from earth. We must remember however, that He first came from above, from heaven to the earth and became man so that He might die for our sins. After His death, burial and resurrection, He ascended on high to sit at the right hand of the Father and was placed above all principalities and powers. His present work is to make intercession for us, to provide a life of victory while we are here upon this earth. “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us” (Romans 8:34).
In our identification with Jesus Christ, we have been made to sit with Him in the heavenlies. “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6). This is a very important truth for us to grasp. We are down here on this earth so far is our physical body is concerned. Yet in our spiritual position before God, we are in heavenly places in Christ Jesus and in Him overpowering all of the satanic evil forces.
We wonder if something of this is not noted in Psalm 114 where the statement is simply made that at the Red Sea the waters fled as though there was no opposition—“When Israel went out of Egypt…the sea saw it, and fled…” (Psalm 114:1, 3). But with reference to the Jordan language is: “the waters were driven back” (v. 3). The difference may simply be what we have pointed out with regard to Satan. There were powerful enemies opposing the crossing of the Jordan, but these could not withstand the power and the purpose of God. They were driven back. So it is in our crossing over to our seat in the heavenlies. The principalities and powers drawn up against us were driven back.
“…And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion…” (Ephesians 1:19)