"It has generally been considered, that the passage of the Jordan by the Israelites is typical of death, and that Canaan is a fitting representation of heaven. We believe that in some sense it is true, and we do fondly cherish the household words of those hymns which describe our passing through Jordan's billows, and landing safe on Canaan's side; but we do think that the allegory does not hold, and that Jordan is not a fair exhibition of death, nor the land of Canaan a fair picture of the sweet land beyond the swelling flood which the Christian gains after death.
For mark you, after the children of Israel had entered into Canaan, they had to fight with their enemies. It was a land filled with foes. Every city they entered they had to take by storm, unless a miracle dismantled it. They were warriors, even in the land of Canaan, fighting for their own inheritance; and though each tribe had its lot marked out, yet they had to conquer the giant Anakim, and encounter terrible hosts of Canaanites. But when we cross the river of death we shall have no foes to fight, no enemies to encounter. Heaven is a place already prepared for us; out of it the evil ones have long ago been driven; there brethren shall await us with pleasing faces, kind hands shall clasp ours, and loving words shall alone be heard. The shout of war shall ne'er be raised by us in heaven; we shall throw our swords away, and the scabbards with them. No battles with warriors there, no plains besoaked with blood, no hills where robbers dwell, no inhabitants with chariots of iron.
It is "a land flowing with milk and honey;" and it dreams not of the foeman of Canaan of old. We think the church has lost the beauty of Scripture, in taking Jordan to mean death, and that a far fuller meaning is the true allegory to be connected with it. Egypt, as we have lately observed to you, was typical of the condition of the children of God while they are in bondage to the law of sin. There they are made to work unceasingly, without wages or profit, but continually subject to pains.
We said, again, that the coming up out of Egypt was the type of the deliverance which every one of God's people enjoys, when by faith he strikes the blood of Jesus on his lintel and his doorpost, and spiritually eats the paschal lamb; and we can also tell you now, that the passage through the wilderness is typical of that state of hoping, and fearing, and doubting, and wavering, and inconstancy, and distrust, which we usually experience between the period when we come out of Egypt, and attain unto the full assurance of faith.
Many of you, my dear hearers, are really come out of Egypt; but you are still wandering about in the wilderness. "We that have believed do enter into rest;" but you, though you have eaten of Jesus, have not so believed on him as to have entered into the Canaan of rest. You are the Lord's people, but you have not come into the Canaan of assured faith, confidence, and hope, where we wrestle no longer with flesh and blood, but with principalities and powers in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus—when it is no longer a matter of doubt with us whether we shall be saved, but we feel that we are saved".
Rob Rufus joins the list of my heroes who teach the same allegorical intepretation of the Land. We - the Church - are wandering around in the wilderness I believe! I have been listening to and transcribing Rob's sermon; "Do Our Diaries Reflect The Priorities Of Heaven?" - and Rob said this:
"Why did God hide some of His biggest and richest blessings among the biggest giants in the Promised Land? Because He did not want the casual pursuer of God, the coward, the self-pitying person, the self-centred person, the person of unbelief to have access to His greatest blessings.
So He hides His greatest blessings among the greatest challenges so that the people who are going to receive the blessings of God have to repent of all self-righteousness, all delusions of self-sufficiency, to throw themselves completely onto God and to come into the Presence of God every single day and make a choice that no matter demanding life is and no matter how many pressures come, I will make my calendar a priority that I am going to engage God on a daily basis.".
Amen! Let us head onwards towards the Promised Land!