Last night, as I was on my way to the gathering of the brethren to inquire into the scriptures, I was listening to Johnny Cash on the car stereo. The album was 'My Mother's Hymn Book'. I was listening and singing along as I've often done with that particular CD. As I was singing and thinking about the words, I kept noticing references to "the shore" cropping up, and I racked my brain to think of what that was referring to in scripture. Where was heaven shown figuratively as another shore? It was until I was on my way home again that I realised. It was when I heard these words "On Jordans stormy banks I stand, And cast a wishful eye To Canaans fair and happy land, Where my possessions lie." that the penny dropped. The shore is, of course, a reference to the banks of the Jordan, and the doctrine in so many Christian songs and sermons which is so deeply, tragically flawed. So many of these songs about the Jordan and Caanan perpetuate that utterly false idea, namely that we do not come into the heavenly inheritance until our bodies die, until we're taken to be with the Lord, and that there's no present enjoyment of eternal life! It's truly awful to think that there will be many saved souls, many believers, who maintain that their position is as persons trapped on the wrong side of the Jordan, gazing wistfully at the blessings and joys of divine things, but not being able to enjoy them. This notion is totally and utterly refuted by the teaching of the Book of Joshua - blessedly, wonderfully so! If any believer is in any doubt at all as to the fact that they have died (as is shown in the figure of our baptism, and the type of the Jordan) and, as Colossians 3:1 tells us, they've been raised with the Christ, and that they're to enjoy heavenly things now (a foretaste of what we'll be fully occupied with in the eternal day!), then they should study the wonderful Book of Joshua. They should take up the exercises of the children of Israel, enter into the spiritual conflict which is necessary if we're really to possess and enjoy divine things now in an adverse scene. Let's not be like the children of Gad and Reuben, saying, "Bring us not over the Jordan" (Numbers 32:5). Let's not be ignorant of the truth, like the song-writers of centuries ago who wrote so longingly about Caanan, while not expecting to see it unless they died a bodily death first. Let's not be apathetic about our inheritance, and let's not be so attached to the things of the world that we're prevented from going in for divine things here and now. Note the words of the children of Gad and Reuben: "We will build sheep-folds here for our cattle, and cities for our little ones; but we ourselves will go with diligence armed before the children of Israel, until we have brought them to their place; and our little ones shall dwell in the strong cities because of the inhabitants of the land. We will not return to our houses, until the children of Israel have inherited each one his inheritance. For we will not inherit with them on yonder side the Jordan, and further, because our inheritance is fallen to us on this side the Jordan eastwards." (Numbers 32:16-19). What a tragic, heart-rending story! They would go over and fight with the children of Israel - they would share in the conflict of the people of God - but they wouldn't take up the blessed results of that conflict. They would fill out the responsibilities, but they wouldn't go in for the privileges. They feared the inhabitants of the land, they trusted in their strong cities for their little ones - they considered their own domestic arrangements to be a safer place than among the people of God. Going in for the inheritance requires conflict and exercise. There are many Jerichos, many strongholds which the enemy would like to raise in the way of the believer who goes in for the things of God. But, those walls will come down! "For the arms of our warfare are not fleshly, but powerful according to God to the overthrow of strongholds; overthrowing reasonings and every high thing that lifts itself up against the knowledge of God, and leading captive every thought into the obedience of the Christ..." (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). Coming away from that happy time with the brethren, I was blessedly conscious of having enjoyed eternal life - life of an eternal, heavenly character. This is enjoyed where divine principles are cherished and upheld, where there are holy conditions, where the Spirit of God is free in the assembly. We cannot take any of these things for granted, and we have to guard them, because the enemy hates these conditions and would try to interrupt them whenever possible. Yet, if we cast ourselves in complete dependence on the strong arm of the Lord, then there's no danger of failure.