Testimonies: Old Testament

beyond the jordanbeyond the jordan

The River Jordan and the area around it have long been considered sacred. The river features prominently in the history and stories of the Old Testament.  The following are references to the River Jordan and the area that is Bethany, as well as other biblical places nearby, which can be found in the Old Testament.

Moses servant of Yahweh

Moses led his people across the Sinai desert and arrived at Mount Nebo, Ras en-Siyaghah, which rises above the baptism site. Here on the top of Pisgah, God appeared to him as he did on Mount Sinai. From here Moses saw the Promised Land that stretched out before him, (Dt 34: 1-6). He looked at it with satisfaction before passing on his death over to the Heavenly Promised Land.

He saw before him the Jordan River flowing down from the heights of Mount Hermon, spreading out throughout the valley, giving life to plants and trees along it and quenching the thirst of animals and of men who will detect the flow of the history of salvation running along its banks.

"Proceed to cross the Jordan"

"After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord spoke to Joshua son of Nun, Moses' assistant, saying: "My servant Moses is dead. Now proceed to cross the Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the Israelites." (Jos 1: 1-2)

Here Joshua and his people crossed the river in a liturgical procession into the Promised Land: "When the people set out from their to cross over the Jordan, the priests bearing the ark of the covenant were in front of the people. Now the Jordan over-flows all along its banks throughout the time of harvest”

"Then the people crossed over opposite Jericho, While all Isreal were crossing over on dry ground, the priest who bore the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, until the entire nation finisher crossing over the Jordan." (Jos 3/14.17)

"Baptism is prefigured in the crossing of the Jordan River by which the People of God received the gift of the land promised to Abraham's descendants, an image of eternal life. The promise of this blessed inheritance is fulfilled in the New Covenant."

(§ 1222 Catechism of the Catholic Church) Joshua symbolizes Christ who led all of humanity from death to life and from slavery in sin to the freedom of God's children.