IV. THE RIVER JORDAN—DEATH
(VERSES 7 THROUGH 14)
The Jordan signifies the power of death. Crossing the Jordan is overcoming death. This is to be raptured.
This is especially related to the Lord. The Lord was baptized in the river Jordan. The Lord’s baptism signifies death, and coming out of the water signifies resurrection. By the power of resurrection, the Lord overcomes death. The greatest power of Satan is death. The Lord seems to have said to the enemy, "Try your best to do what you can to Me." Satan exhausted what he could do; but God resurrected Him. Satan wanted the Lord to die, but the Lord has a life which death cannot touch or hold down. The Lord passed through it on dry land!
There is no power other than the Lord’s resurrection which can overcome death. We obtained this resurrection life at regeneration. The power of the resurrection life will wash away all death and everything that is of death.
There is a difference between crossing the Red Sea and crossing the river Jordan. The crossing of the Red Sea was forced upon the Israelites at that time. They had no alternative but to cross over because there were enemies pursuing. But crossing the river Jordan comes out of man’s willingness and is man’s own choice. There are some who will not cross the river Jordan. Many do not want the power of resurrection. Paul regarded the power of resurrection as important, and he pursued it (Phil. 3:10-12). Many people have already resurrected with the Lord, yet they still do not know the power of the Lord’s resurrection. Therefore, they do not have the experience of overcoming death.
At this hour when the rapture is imminent, the last enemy that believers should overcome is death. Whether it is the death of the body, the death of the mind, or the death of the spiritual life, everything should be overcome. The present world is truly filled with the atmosphere of death. On the one hand, many who are used by the Lord often experience weakness and sickness in the body. On the other hand, the mental ability of many seems to have grown so numb that their thoughts, memory, and concentration are not as focused as before. Moreover, many seem to have their spirit surrounded by death. They are not lively but, rather, are powerless and impotent. They seem to be paralyzed and unable to control or deal with the demand of the circumstances upon their spirit. While preparing to be raptured, the believers must learn how to cross the Jordan and overcome death. They must learn to resist the power of death that exists in them and in their environment and must manifest the power of resurrection in all things. We should prove more and more that our Lord is resurrected. At the same time, we should demonstrate that we are joined to Him and have also been resurrected.
If we want to receive the rapture of Elijah and the outer garment of Elisha (the Holy Spirit), we must start from Gilgal and continue until we cross the river Jordan. The Holy Spirit can only descend upon those who are full of the resurrection life. We must not think that since we are born again, we will surely be raptured. God cannot rapture those who are not prepared. We must pass through Gilgal, Bethel, Jericho, and the river Jordan. We must pass through all these places before we can be raptured, just as Elijah did in that day. God has told us that we will be raptured. Now we need to follow our course. We should start from Gilgal and go on until we cross the Jordan. God is waiting for us there!
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 09: The Present Testimony (2), Chapter 10, by Watchman Nee)