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That Fine Hill Country in Lebanon

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Now in our ongoing mapping of The Promised Land, all brought to our attention by the many Biblical names littered throughout Southern Africa, oral traditions and praying to SoNiNi for guidance. We should now be able to put down a very often used saying and common phrase in the Bible, Beyond the River Jordan. As we have pointed out, we believe that the Jordan River is the Orange River and going up the Vaal River as marked blue on the map.

Now this phrase `Beyond The River Jordan` figures often in Scripture, so much so it may even be confusing. Because which side is actually being talked about here? We find the phrase to the East of Jordan sometimes, to say that the location in question was going out of the Promised Land. In other words, going to across the Orange River on the map, from South to North (or depending on your compass from West to East, therefore Bible often says East of The Jordan). This pinpointing of Jordan and Lebanon will be important to understand to get other Biblical locations down.


Now, as we read in the Old Testament, we see that Lebanon was a place best known for trees and mountain ranges. 71 times we find mentions of Lebanon, however it is referring to the place of natural features and not a specific state or nation itself. But a place within the ancient Kingdom, known for its natural resources and beauty. Now if we take the modern meaning of Lebanon, (Lebone in Sotho) which is white even in todays Hebrew, we think it is a reference to snow-capped mountain ranges (lebone thaba). Which in our opinion would be the mountain ranges going in and around Lesotho cutting through KwaZulu Natal, Eastern Cape and Free State. Lets read Jeremiah 18,14:

14 ‘Does the snow of Lebanon forsake the rock of the open country? Or is the cold flowing water from a foreign land ever snatched away?

So we can see, this place got cold and snowy. There is few other places in Southern Africa that will met the criteria for all these conditions, then that of those that you will find in and around Lesotho.


Now all through Scripture this place called Lebanon, was talked about as being within the Promised Land. Both Moses and Joshua mentions Lebanon when talking about the Land and its boundaries (you can double check these in Deuteronomy 1,7 and 3,25, also in Joshua 1,4).


Now Deuteronomy 11,24 coincides with these, where it says:

“Every place where you set your foot will be yours: Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the Euphrates River to the Mediterranean Sea.”

Later on, we see that When Joshua made his way through his conquests in The Promised Land, we find the Valley of Lebanon included within the Promised Land, a region that Joshua took (Joshua 12,7).

This area was home to famed forests and beautiful mountain ranges, and a source of valuable Timber for the Bantus. Solomon used cedars from Lebanon to construct the Temple in Jerusalem, but also in Solomon forest Palace called The Palace of the Forest of Lebanon (1 Kings 5,5-6 and 7,1-3). To collect the massive amounts of Lumber needed for Jerusalem and Solomons palace, 30,000 men was sent to Lebanon for one month at a time (1 Kings 5,13-14). We remember Hiram, The King of Tyre, made his workers cut trees and haul the logs to the sea and float them to a place where Solomons men could collect them (1 Kings 5, 8-9).


Now these trees would have served as a trademark and powerful symbol of the ancient world. And these forests, just like the forest today in KZN and parts of Eastern Cape, are flourishing and abundant. A blossoming and lush place on earth, it is the symbol of SoNiNis blessings being present (Psalm 92,15 and Hosea 14,5-7).


We can read more into this image of Lebanons flourishing in Psalm 104,16:

“The trees of the SoNiNi are well watered, the cedars of Lebanon that he planted”.

We see that when SoNiNi declared judgement of Assyria, he compared the Nation to the lofty trees of Lebanon. And SoNiNi promised that Assyria would fall (Isaiah 10,33-34):

“See, the SoNiNi, SoNiNi Almighty, will lop off the boughs with great power. The lofty trees will be felled, the tall ones will be brought low. He will cut down the forest thickets with an ax; Lebanon will fall before the Mighty One”

And in Ezekiel 31,3-17 (the whole thing now):

3 Consider Assyria, a cedar of Lebanon (Lebone), with fair branches and forest shade, and of great height, its top among the clouds. 4 The waters nourished it, the deep made it grow tall, making its rivers flow around the place it was planted, sending forth its streams to all the trees of the field.
5 So it towered high above all the trees of the field; its boughs grew large and its branches long, from abundant water in its shoots. 6 All the birds of the air made their nests in its boughs; under its branches all the animals of the field gave birth to their young; and in its shade all great nations lived. 7 It was beautiful in its greatness, in the length of its branches; for its roots went down to abundant water.
8 The cedars in the garden of SoNiNi could not rival it, nor the fir trees equal its boughs; the plane trees were as nothing compared with its branches; no tree in the garden of SoNiNi was like it in beauty. 9 I made it beautiful with its mass of branches, the envy of all the trees of Eden that were in the garden of SoNiNi.
10 Therefore thus says SoNiNi naNiNi: Because it towered high and set its top among the clouds, and its heart was proud of its height, 11 I gave it into the hand of the prince of the nations; he has dealt with it as its wickedness deserves. I have cast it out. 12 Foreigners from the most terrible of the nations have cut it down and left it. On the mountains and in all the valleys its branches have fallen, and its boughs lie broken in all the watercourses of the land; and all the peoples of the earth went away from its shade and left it.
13 On its fallen trunk settle all the birds of the air, and among its boughs lodge all the wild animals. 14 All this is in order that no trees by the waters may grow to lofty height or set their tops among the clouds, and that no trees that drink water may reach up to them in height.
For all of them are handed over to death, to the world below; along with all mortals, with those who go down to the Pit. 15 Thus says SoNiNi naNiNi: On the day it went down to Sheol I closed the deep over it and covered it; I restrained its rivers, and its mighty waters were checked. I clothed Lebanon in gloom for it, and all the trees of the field fainted because of it. 16 I made the nations quake at the sound of its fall, when I cast it down to Sheol with those who go down to the Pit; and all the trees of Eden, the choice and best of Lebanon, all that were well watered, were consoled in the world below. 17 They also went down to Sheol with it, to those killed by the sword, along with its allies, those who lived in its shade among the nations."

Now this is a sobering read. Lebanon would be cast out, and foreigners of the most terrible nations would cut them down. Indeed has it not happened just like He said it would. Going down to the depths of Hell. And all we have left are but the leaves of the ones GREAT Trees that would have littered the Southern African Coast.


Now Lebanon (Lebone) is also significant because we do find mentions of this place in the Coming Kingdom of Christ, when Christ comes back and sets up His rule for a thousand years (Revelation 20). We also se that Jerusalem is promised its restoration (Isaiah 60,13):

"The glory of Lebanon shall come to you, the cypress, the plane, and the pine, to beautify the place of my sanctuary; and I will glorify where my feet rest."

So its resourceful area, which has been feeding the nations for thousands of years, will again be fruitful and contribute to beauty and richness in The Coming Kingdom. What is just as interesting is the word, KADISHA which means SHEPHERD in SeSotho. And we do find more mentions of the Cedars of SoNiNi being located in Kadisha Valley, and supposed to be one of the last strongholds of these once extensive and massive forests that grew plentiful around Mount Lebanon.


So then, digging into historical records (where we usually trust nothing new but tend to go for older sources) we are not quite sure what to make of the ones we have found. The earliest source we could find is in the Epic Of Gilgamesh, that says in Tablet 4-6 that the Cedars of SoNiNi was found a 6 day walk from Uruk. This makes sense then to put Assyria in and around what is today called Angola.

We do see in Gilgamesh that there was a battle between the demigods and the humans for the beautiful and divine Cedar Forest areas near of southern Mesopotamia, Makes you wonder of the placement of Mesopotamia itself, Abrahams birthplace. So in Gilgamesh we see that the forest was ones protected by Sumerian god Enlil, used to be barred with no trees. That changed and Gilgamesh used cedars to build his city. And these thick cedar forests (perhaps Yellowwood trees) was exploited by all the great civilisations we read about in the Bible. Phoenicians used it for their fleet of ships, which made them the first sea trading nation. Egyptians used resin from the trees as part of their mummification process, but also the papyrus rolls came from cedar. We see a comment from the emperor Hadrian saying that the forests was considered an imperial domain of the Romans. As we know the Romans were in charge when Immanuel walked the earth.

Now these old sources are one of the better ones, rest are modern sightings of Lebanon being of the continent and a small collection of trees, that if anything looks nothing like the Cedars of SoNiNi. Remember The Phoenicians, Egyptians, Bantus, Babylonians, Persians, Romans and Arabs alike ALL used timber from this region. Shipbuilding, housing and railways. All made by African timber. So Africa has truly always been the main supplier of resources and minerals to the Nations. Nothing has changed there, and now more than ever the outside of the Promised Land forces are helping themselves of its richness to feed Wall Street pockets and greedy families of old. As our Scriptures mention the greed of these people, we know it is just one of many things coming to pass (James 5,3):

Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days.

So lets see some examples of Scripture mentioning Lebanon, not historical and very easily corruptible sources (Deuteronomy 3,21):

21 At that time I commanded Joshua: “You have seen with your own eyes all that SoNiNi na NiNi has done to these two kings. SoNiNi will do the same to all the kingdoms over there where you are going. 22 Do not be afraid of them; SoNiNi himself will fight for you.”
23 At that time I pleaded with SoNiNi:24 “Sovereign SoNiNi, you have begun to show to your servant your greatness and your strong hand. For what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do the deeds and mighty works you do? 25 Let me go over and see the good land beyond the Jordan- that fine hill country and Lebanon.

So we see here again, the use of the phrase, beyond the Jordan, that fine hill country and Lebanon. Beyond The River Jordan is the phrase that (we know) if the Jordan is/was the Orange River (Senqu River) - you only have two options, going into South Africa or up and into Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. If you go down you can easily find remnants of An area which would once have been covered in thick forest, with massive trees. Long before the persistent deforestation reduced it to the mere memories of old we are left with today. Sad but true.


If anyone was to travel to these areas we write about, instead of sitting in the west or the East of the this world - and judging our writings solely on that...our writings and simple words. Anyone who makes such a judgement without taking the time to investigate any of these sites or clues, are missing out. A South African that has traveled, would not have any problem with giving an account of the diversity you will find here. Its like nowhere else on this green Earth. Microclimates and ancient sites that will rock your very foundation when you go see them. The very Words of Elia and Jeremia ringing in your ears when you climb the mountains of Lebone... The Land is here. And people will know, all will know and talk about these things in time. Then it will be a given, all these sites we talk about in here. People will flock to them. And The Gospel will be preached to all men, for them to make the decision their ancestors could not. To come to the right side of the line drawn in the sand. And to follow sin no more, and become a follower of Immanuel and the Ways of His Father.


All to the Glory of SoNiNi

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