The region known in modern times as the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has more than 12,000 years of history. The eastern side of the Jordan River has a very rich and varied heritage of biblical history. Abraham, Job, Moses, Ruth, Elijah, John the Baptist, Jesus, Paul and many other holy men and women of the Bible carried out significant aspects of their divine missions right here in Jordan.
God showed himself to his people first in and around southern Jordan. Abraham, Job and Moses first encountered him there. As a result, the first covenant was sworn by Moses in southern Jordan and the Christian faith saw its beginnings by way of the second covenant, accomplished by John the Baptist and Jesus.
The area along the western shore of the Jordan River, and beside the Dead Sea is the spiritual heartland of the Bible. In the Old Testament, it was known as the Plains of Moab and in the New Testament, Peraea.
In southern Jordan, Moses exhorted his people to “love God” and to “pursue justice and only justice”. (Deuteronomy 16:20) Jesus started his earthly ministry here when he was baptized by John the Baptist and called his first disciples.
In Jordan, God often appeared as a whirlwind, a cloud of light or dust, an angel, or a voice speaking to the prophets. One of the Minor Prophets clearly says that God came from Teman, and the Holy One from Mount Paran. (Habakkuk 3:3). Another passage tells us that The Lord came from Sinai, and dawned down on them from Seir; He shone forth from Mount Paran. (Deuteronomy 33:2). Teman, Seir, and Paran are in the region of Edom, in southern Jordan.
Again and again, God named Jordan as a land of peace and refuge. Ruth, Elijah, David, Jesus, John the Baptist and the first Christian communities were among the many who found peace and security here.
Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Elijah, John the Baptist and Jesus are the best known people to make the journey from the “wilderness” of the east bank of the Jordan River to the promised Holy Land of the west bank; the Kingdom of God.
Most of the sites where the holy men and women of the Bible performed miracles, taught or ministered to ordinary people have been excavated and are readily accessible.
Some believe that the Garden of Eden was located in the northern Jordan Valley near Wadi Rayyan. The Bible distinctly calls that area the Garden of the Lord. (Genesis 13:10; Genesis 2:10) According to the old stories, when the first couple were thrown out of Eden, Adam stood in the waters of the Jordan River for forty days, praying for God’s forgiveness.
When Cain, the first murderer was banished (Genesis 4:16) he went to one of the three Cities of Refuge in eastern Jordan.
Noah was righteous and blameless. (Genesis 6:9, Ezekiel 14:14) His tomb and shrine are located in Kerak, in southern Jordan.
The city of Salt is home of the tomb and shrine of the prophet Job, author of one of the great masterpieces of religious literature. Job, from the land of Uz was gifted with nearly limitless patience that was rewarded with God’s blessings. (Job 1-3; 42:10; Ezekiel 14:14) Scholars debate whether the land of Uz was located in northern or southern Jordan.
The story of Job took place in southern Jordan. It is unique in that it contains the longest recorded speeches made by God, Himself, the most profound argument between a human and God, and the first explicit appearance by Satan in the Bible, when he asks permission to test Job.
The book of Job refers to God by five different names: El, Elohim, Shadday, Yahweh, and Eloah. Job may be the earliest manifestation of human progress toward monotheism, which puts Jordan at the very heart of the development of the three great monotheistic religions of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.
Visit some of the other bloggers in the A to Z Blogging Challenge here.