The staying away of the water depends on where the ark is. If the ark enters it, the water gives way. If the ark leaves the river, the water flows back. The safety of the people depends on the position of the ark. When the water flows back, it seems as if death has not been conquered at all. In the application to us we can see this from the fact that people are still dying, even believers.
Has not the Jordan been conquered then; keeps death its power? The question is answered, in picture, when the people see themselves on the bank of the Jordan in the presence of the ark. Thus death no longer has any power over those who are connected with Him, but only over them alone. For all unbelievers, death is and remains the enemy of whom they will sooner or later be the victims, if they do not repent before that moment. The believer died and is raised with Christ. Death has been conquered. The stones make that clear.
The crossing takes place “on the tenth of the first month”. This reminds us of the day the lamb was taken in the houses of the Israelites at the Passover (Exo 12:2-32“This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year to you.3Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying, ‘On the tenth of this month they are each one to take a lamb for themselves, according to their fathers’ households, a lamb for each household.). Through the Passover, the memory of Christ’s death under the judgment of God as our Substitute is kept alive in the hearts.
God brings them in Canaan five days before the forty years are completed (cf. Num 33:3,383They journeyed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the next day after the Passover the sons of Israel started out boldly in the sight of all the Egyptians,38Then Aaron the priest went up to Mount Hor at the command of the LORD, and died there in the fortieth year after the sons of Israel had come from the land of Egypt, on the first [day] in the fifth month.; Deu 8:22You shall remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.; 29:55I have led you forty years in the wilderness; your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandal has not worn out on your foot.). God has appointed it this way that they enter Canaan four days before the annual feast of the Passover, on the day that they must begin to prepare themselves for it. He wants to remind them immediately when they enter the land of their liberation from Egypt. That is where the origin lies. When they think about this, they will certainly glorify God as “the Alpha and the Omega” (Rev 22:1313I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”) of their well-being and happiness.
Passover, Red Sea and Jordan represent all three Christ in His work on the cross. In the Passover God freed His people from the judgment that came upon the lamb instead of upon the people (1Pet 1:18-1918knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers,19but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, [the blood] of Christ.). The Passover is the beginning of God’s liberating action. His liberating action is followed by the passage through the Red Sea, where God judges the enemy of His people.
The Lord Jesus in His death on the cross “disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him” (Col 2:1515When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.) and thereby freed God’s people from their captivity. His liberating act has been completed in the passage through the Jordan. There God acted with the ark as a picture of His Son, both in the judgment of death and in the resurrection (Psa 114:33The sea looked and fled;
The Jordan turned back.
They camp in Gilgal. This place will get its name after the circumcision has taken place there (Jos 5:99Then the LORD said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” So the name of that place is called Gilgal to this day.). But it has already been mentioned here because they are on the right ground for carrying out the circumcision: on the territory of the resurrection. The sign of circumcision comes in Joshua 5.