Entering the Promised Land

Delivering the Israelites from Egyptian bondage fulfilled God’s promise to Abraham that he would make his descendants into a great nation and lead them to a land flowing with milk and honey. God was also delivering them from the bondage of slavery.—Exod. 3:8

When they came to enter the promised land, Moses sent spies from the 12 tribes. All the spies reported that it truly was a wonderful land. However, the majority frightened the people with an evil report.—Num. 13:33,34

When two of the spies, Joshua and Caleb, tried to encourage the people to put their trust in God, the people sought to stone them. The Lord became angry and determined that the people were not worthy to enter the land. Instead, they would remain in the wilderness for forty years until that generation, who lacked faith and obedience in God, died off. It would be their children who inherited the promised blessings of the land.—Num. 14:1-35

Forty years later, when the people were gathered near Shittim, God allowed Moses a glimpse of the promised land. Moses would not be permitted to enter because of his personal disobedience. Instead, authority over the nation was turned over to Joshua. Joshua gathered the people to the Jordan River and commanded the priests carrying the ark to cross the raging river. (Josh. 3:1-4) It was harvest time and the river overflowed the banks. Miraculously, the waters were dammed up twenty miles north in the city of Adam. When the priests’ feet touched the waters, the waters dried up and the people crossed on dry land.—Josh. 3:15-17

With this crossing of the Jordan, the Lord pictured mankind crossing into the righteous kingdom ruled by Christ Jesus. Jordan means “judged down” and the overflowing water illustrated the condemnation of death now resting on mankind. The damming of the waters at Adam shows how the curse of death, put upon mankind due to Father Adam’s disobedience, will be stopped by the ransom provided through Jesus’ obedience and sacrifice. (1 Cor. 15:22) The people crossing on dry ground shows us the favorable conditions the Lord will provide for men to enter into his Kingdom and gain everlasting life.