“The swelling of Jordan”—words of solemn import, calculated to convey to the believing mind a gloomy idea of death. That there are swellings of Jordan in the Christian’s experience we doubt not. For example, there are the fears with which the child of God anticipates the last enemy—there are the sad recollections of all his past sins crowding around his pillow—there are the suggestions of unbelief, perhaps more numerous and powerful at this moment than ever—and there is the shrinking of nature from the final wrench, the last conflict, the closing scene—the last glance of earth, the last look of love, the loosing of those fond and tender ties which entwine us so closely with those we leave—these are some of the swellings of Jordan.
But oh, what are these in reality to the believer in Jesus? Nothing but the gentle ripple on the surface! Let me cite, as illustrating the groundlessness of your fears in anticipation of death, the history of the passage of the Church in the wilderness over Jordan. We read that God commanded that twelve priests, representing the twelve tribes, should bear the ark of the Lord before the people, and that the moment the soles of the feet of the priests that bore the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, the waters rose up on either side; and then we read that, “the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan.”
Now here we have a beautiful representation of the passage of the children of God through death into heaven. Take each particular. There was present, first, the ark of the covenant. Upborne upon the shoulders of the priests, it went before and led the march of the advancing hosts. That ark was an especial and glorious type of the Lord Jesus. Christ, our divine Ark, has already cleaved the waters of Jordan, for He has passed through death in advance of His people. And still the Ark is with them. Never was there the departure of a believer unattended by the presence of Jesus. Delightful thought!
Christ our Ark will divide the dark waters as we pass, will go before, will go with us, will be our rearward, and thus encircled by Christ, amid the swelling of Jordan, we will fear no evil. What more is needed than the sensible presence of the Savior to raise the heart superior to the fear of death, and to bear the soul tranquilly across the river? Fear not, then, believer—you will see His smile, you will hear His voice, you will feel His hand, and His conscious presence will enfold you as you pass.