What is the significance of these stones? Well, when all the people of Israel, under the leadership of Joshua, had just crossed over the Jordan River miraculously on dry land, the Lord commanded them to set up twelve stones of remembrance. In Joshua 4:3 we read,
Take for yourselves twelve stones from here, out of the midst of the Jordan, from the place where the priests’ feet stood firm. You shall carry them over with you and leave them in the lodging place where you lodge tonight.
Joshua 4:6–8 explains that these stones were to be a sign and a memorial to Israel,
That this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever. And the children of Israel did so, just as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones from the midst of the Jordan, as the Lord had spoken to Joshua, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, and carried them over with them to the place where they lodged, and laid them down there.
These twelve stones were to remind the next generation of what God did for the people of Israel so that they would fear the Lord and that all peoples of the earth would know of the mighty hand of the Lord.
Then he [Joshua] spoke to the children of Israel, saying: “When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, ‘What are these stones?’ then you shall let your children know, saying, ‘Israel crossed over this Jordan on dry land’; for the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed over, that all the peoples of the earth may know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever (Joshua 4:21–24).
But sadly, the next generation was not reminded of the might and power of the Lord as it should have been. Judges 2:11–12 says that “the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord . . . and they followed other gods.” They forgot God and quickly turned aside to other gods.
We want the Ark Encounter to stand as a visible reminder of the judgment and mercy of our Lord and the truth of His Word. We want young people to be encouraged to stand on the authority of God’s Word and not forget the Lord. These twelve stones of remembrance emphasize our purpose in building the Ark Encounter.
The massive Ark is so much more than a world-class tourist attraction! It’s a monument to the truth of God’s Word and a reminder that, just as there was a global judgment on wickedness in the past, so is there another coming judgment—the final judgment. But in His grace and mercy, God has provided a way of salvation. Just as everyone on board the Ark had to pass through the one door to be saved, so do we have to pass through the one Door, Jesus Christ, to be saved (John 10:9).
I encourage you to visit the Ark Encounter as a family. We need to remind the next generation of the great deeds of the Lord and of His mercy and grace toward us. Plan your visit to the Ark, south of Cincinnati, at ArkEncounter.com.
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.