Understanding The Baptisms – Part 5

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BAPTISMS DECODED

Please read the previous parts to get a complete understanding of this continuation. The Lord Himself caused the Jordan River to become dry.

Joshua 4:23 — For the LORD your God dried up the water of the Jordan before you while you crossed over. It was just like when the LORD your God dried up the Red Sea before us while we crossed it.

Even though God could have sent someone else or an angel to dry up the waters of Jordan so that the Israelites might cross over, the Lord did not do so. Instead, the Lord rescued them by having them walk on dry land across the rivers of Jordan using His extended hands and powerful arm.

This is a representation that only the Lord is able to create a path across the rivers of death and open another door for us to live when we are in the middle of the process of dying. Death and life are reconciled in His Son, Jesus Christ, by means of the atoning sacrifice that was made on the cross also known as the “judgement of the cross.”

When Jesus went down into the Jordan River, He was demonstrating to us that in the same way that God Himself parted the waters of the Jordan River to allow the Israelites to cross into the promised land, we too must cross over from the realm of death into the realm of life through Christ and Him alone.

PASSING THE MANTLE

Next, we discover that Elijah passed the mantle of leadership to Elisha at the Jordan River, which occurred after both men had walked together on dry land.

The prophet Elijah tells Elisha that he is going to the Jordan at the instruction of the Lord, and he asks Elisha to stay behind.

2 Kings 2:6 — Elijah said to him, “Stay here, for the LORD has sent me to the Jordan.” But he replied, “As certainly as the LORD lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So they traveled on together.

However, Elisha would not let Elijah go, and when Elijah struck the waters of the Jordan, the waters were parted, and the two of them crossed together on dry ground.

2 Kings 2:8 — Elijah took his cloak, folded it up, and hit the water with it. The water divided, and the two of them crossed over on dry ground.

JESUS AND JOHN

There are some striking similarities between Jesus and John the Baptist in this regard. In the same way that John changed his mind about baptising Jesus and informed Him that He should be the one to baptise, so too here Elijah forbids Elisha from joining him in Jordan; yet, in both of these instances, a refusal of this kind did not work out as planned.

Both of these events took place along the Jordan River, and they illustrate how Elijah and Elisha foreshadowed the ministry of John the Baptist and Jesus. When it came to Elijah, it was he who separated the waters, and the two of them were able to cross the Jordan River at the same time.

When it comes to John the Baptist, it is John himself who pours the water over Jesus in order to baptise Him. Only Elisha made it back over the Jordan River, therefore he became known as Elijah’s successor when he was carried away by a whirlwind shortly after they reached the other side of the river.

It was in the waters of Jordan that the transition from Elijah to Elisha began, and in precisely the same manner, the transition from John to Jesus was advanced here at the baptism of Jesus by John at the Jordan. Both of these transitions took place in the waters of Jordan. After the spirit was passed on to another vessel, Elijah was taken away in a whirlwind and disappeared from the scene.

Similarly, shortly after John baptises Jesus, Herod has him assassinated in order to fulfil the lusts of his unfaithful wife. John’s death marks the beginning of the end for both Jesus and John. In a sense, Elijah was designating Elisha to take over from him with twice the measure of his spirit. In the same manner, John was stepping aside to make room for Jesus, who would serve with a much bigger anointing. Both of these events occurred at the same time.

MIRACLES ABOUND

This is the reason why we do not see John doing any miracles, but Jesus accomplished so many miracles that people were astonished and said,

John 10:41 — Many came to him and began to say, “John performed no miraculous sign, but everything John said about this man was true!”

ABSALOM AND DAVID

If Elijah was swept away in the whirlwind and did not return, then we see that Absalom and David have a situation that is quite comparable. In 1 Samuel 17:22, we see David crossing the Jordan River, and we see that he is followed by his son Absalom.

2 Samuel 17:22 — So David and all the people who were with him got up and crossed the Jordan River. By dawn there was not one person left who had not crossed the Jordan.

2 Samuel 17:24 — Meanwhile David had gone to Mahanaim, while Absalom and all the men of Israel had crossed the Jordan River.

However, in 1 Samuel 18:14-15, the death of Absalom is recorded, and David alone returned to Israel after escaping the jaws of death. Furthermore, David did so victoriously, as the threat to his throne posed by Absalom had been eliminated.

2 Samuel 18:14-15 — Joab replied, “I will not wait around like this for you!” He took three spears in his hand and thrust them into the middle of Absalom while he was still alive in the middle of the oak tree. Then ten soldiers who were Joab’s armor bearers struck Absalom and finished him off.

ELISHA AND NAAMAN

In the case of Elisha, we find that he asks Naaman, the commander of the army of the king of Syria through a messenger to go and wash in the river Jordan seven times for him to be healed of his disease of leprosy. Naaman refuses Elisha’s request, citing Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus to be superior to that of Israel.

He complies with the requests of his slaves and travels to Jordan, where he dips himself in the water seven times and is healed. This again brings the symbol of death and resurrection into focus before our eyes once more. Naaman, who had been ill, is healed, demonstrating how the river Jordan may bring life where there once was death.

Elisha does not go to Jordan but instead enlightens Naaman there. However, in the gospels, we see Jesus travelling to Judea, which is located beyond Jordan, in order to teach and heal.

Matthew 19:1-2 — Now when Jesus finished these sayings, he left Galilee and went to the region of Judea beyond the Jordan River. Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there.

Mark 10:1-2 — Then Jesus left that place and went to the region of Judea and beyond the Jordan River. Again crowds gathered to him, and again, as was his custom, he taught them. Then some Pharisees came, and to test him they asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”

We read the account of Jesus crossing the Jordan River to proceed to the location where John the Baptist had been baptising people.

John 10:40-42 — Jesus went back across the Jordan River again to the place where John had been baptizing at an earlier time, and he stayed there. Many came to him and began to say, “John performed no miraculous sign, but everything John said about this man was true!” And many believed in Jesus there.

Many people came to Jesus at that particular location and testified that even though John did not perform a sign, what John claimed about this man, Jesus, was genuine, which caused many people to believe in Him.

Aside from this, we do not come across any additional mentions or allusions to the Jordan River. It does not occur in any of the remaining books of the New Testament even a single time since death ultimately came to an end in Christ and its time and purpose came to an end in Jesus Christ. Because of this, it does not appear in any of the other books of the New Testament.

Blessings,

Godwin.


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Godwin Shon Sequeira
Godwin Shon Sequeira
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