♫ Sing this:
“Josuha fit the battle of Jericho, Jericho, JERICHO.
Joshua fit the battle of Jericho and the walls came tumblin down.”
We know, of course that Joshua is the Hebrew equivilent of the Greek name Jesus.
So really the song is only correct when we remember that Jesus fit the battle of Jericho, and Joshua the son of Nun was only following orders.
The account of what happens next can be found in the Book of Joshua. Chapter 4 would be a good place to look if you are interested in the official version.
This entire gob of people has just come across the Jordan river on dry ground because God was showing a new generation that what he did at the Red Sea for their Daddies and Moses – He was now doing for them and Joshua. The river heaped up the exact moment that the priest’s feet touched the brim of its already overflowing banks. Someone wise once said “We have to have the faith to get our feet wet before God lets us walk forward to fulfill His promise.” By the way; the flood waters of the Jordan stay heaped up as long as the priests are standing in the riverbed with the Ark. It is not until they all step out on the soil of the promised land that the waters return to their normal course.
Again we can recall that in God’s view – “Everyone knows”: seeing is believing, but it takes faith to know believing is seeing. Bibically speaking it goes like this:
For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? Romans 8:24
Joshua then selects 12 guys to set up the pillar of 12 stones. 12 guys, 12 tribes, 12 sons of Jacob, the son of Issac, the son of Abraham. The stones were taken from the river bed as the priest stood there with the Ark. And while God heaped up the water – the stones were heaped up into a pillar. The crossing of the Red Sea and the crossing of the Jordan are a type of baptism? Yes!
The Apostle Paul tells us that we are buried in baptism (Romans 6:4) so just possibly the stones that were buried in the bed of the river Jordan symbolize for the tribes a baptism and a standing up into the pilar. If you look up the word resurrection in a Strong’s Concordance it means: To Stand up again. That pilar becomes a memorial. Fathers were to tell their sons what God had done for them there.
Lets jump forward in time 1400 years to the Gospel of John. We are in Chapter One, and verse XXVIII (just kidding) verse 28.
These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing.
Now the Stong’s Concordance says that Bethabara is “Ferry House”. Actually Bethabara is composed of two Hebrew words. The first word is Beth which means house or family. Just like Bethlehem means House of Bread. The second word is Strong’s number H5679 and means “crossing place” not ferry. I submit to you that this crossing place where John is baptizing is the same crossing place where Joshua and the people crossed.
We read in Matthew’s gospel chapter 3 verse 7 that the Saducees and the Pharisees are snaking their way down the bank to where John is baptizing. John names their daddy and reveals that they are thinking within themselves: that they are the sons of Abraham, but John quickly puts them in rememberance of Father’s Day and probably points to the pillar of stones when he says:
And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
The fiery words in the verses following, spoken by John the Baptist, are burning images of coming judgement. When we get to verse 11 John tells them that he can baptize them with water, but there is one that is coming that will baptize them with fire. Most commentaries and scholars will tell you that this is symbolic of a “Holy Ghost Baptism.” I have an alternative for you to consider. John has already said “He” will Baptize with the Holy Ghost. I believe the fire baptism is picking up on what he has already said to them in verse 10 and will repeat in verse 12 – The judgement that the unrepentant should expect: An eternal fiery baptism from which there is no standing up again.