Josephus hints to his people that even during the period in which non-Jews succeeded in forcing the Jews of Syria to work on the Sabbath, thus concealing the physical Sabbath River, they did not succeed in concealing the spiritual Sabbath River.
The road from Babylon to the Land of Israel passes through Syria, and many of the returning exiles got stuck there, beyond the Sambatyon River. Though largely unobservant, they were protected from assimilation by the observance of the Sabbath.
On being told that his goats were doing damage R' Hanina ben Dosa exclaimed, 'If this is true may bears devour them, but if not may each of them bring home a bear on its horns at evening.' In the evening each of them brought home a bear on its horns
“All the gates in the Sanctuary were changed for golden ones with the exception of the Nikanor's because of the miracles wrought with them.” Nikanor provides the gate through which the redemption will come, and his two doors together are opened.
Our forefather Jacob understood the need for "the righteous whose property is dearer to them than their body," people who do not engage much in Torah but instead prefer to deal with the material, financial aspects of the nation of Israel.