As a part of the covenant that God made with Israel, the land of Israel was given to him and to his descendants forever. In the past I have considered this part of the covenant as a reward to Abraham for his participation in the covenant. This would be like a piece of property awarded to a favorite son or daughter as an inheritance. Further consideration of this issue has led to the belief that there is something involved concerning the land beyond a simple reward. The specific land of Israel is important in its own right. Indeed, this very special land has been entrusted to the covenant people as an important aspect of the covenant and has a significant role in the process of redemption.
Significance of the Land of Israel
In order to establish the significance of the land of Israel, we will review some important events associated uniquely with this land. It is in the land — and a unique portion of it — that the patriarchs met the Lord. This phenomenon began with Abraham and continued through Isaac and Jacob. When Abraham first entered the land, he built altars, called on the name of the Lord, and God revealed Himself to him there. This occurred at Shechem (Genesis 12.6-7), between Bethel and Ai (Genesis 12.8) and Hebron (Genesis 13.18, 15.18, 17.1-21). Later he built an altar on Mt. Moriah in Jerusalem (Genesis 22.9-18). Isaac experienced the same thing at BeerSheva (Genesis 26.23-25). Jacob met the Lord at Bethel (Genesis 28.10-19) and anointed a stone to mark the spot. Later he would return to this spot and build an altar (Genesis 35.1-7,13-14). Jacob also built an altar at Shechem(Genesis 33.18-20). The specific sites where the patriarchs built altars and met God are shown in the map.
Bethel is about 10 miles north of Jerusalem. Jacob called this site “Bethel” meaning the “house of God”. More significant is the fact that Jacob called the place (the Gate to Heaven) (Genesis 28.17). We could summarize these names for this small geographical area as: (1) the gate to heaven and (2) the house of God where (3) God will see. The vast majority of the revelation of God has occurred at or near this site. No other place on earth has anything like this same significance.
In addition to the names associated with this area, the Hebrew prophet Ezekiel described the actual function of this area. Ezekiel was taken into exile to Babylon. From there he saw visions of what was happening in Jerusalem. He described a supernatural event associated with the Babylonian destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem in 586 BC/BCE. He saw the Glory of God depart from above the ark in the Most Holy Place in the Temple and move to the threshold of the Temple (Ezekiel 10.4). From the threshold, the Glory of God moved to the eastern gate of the Temple compound (Ezekiel 10.18-19) and, finally, to the Mt. of Olives to the east of the city (Ezekiel 11.22-23). We are left to assume that from the Mt. of Olives, the Glory of God ascended into heaven. Later, Ezekiel prophesied that the Glory of God would descend and enter the rebuilt Temple in the same way that it departed (Ezekiel 43). From the record of the early church, Messiah Jesus ascended from this same site (Acts 1.9-12) and the promise was given that He would return in just the same way.
Also, Elijah was taken up into heaven from a site across the Jordan opposite Jericho (2 Kings 2.1-14). Although the site of the event is not known with precision, it lies approximately 30 miles east of Jerusalem.
As a result of the activities associated with this general area around Jerusalem (the watershed from Shechem, 30 miles north of Jerusalem, to Hebron, 30 miles south of Jerusalem, and possibly extending to BeerSheva, another 30 miles to the south, and possibly across the Jordan), we conclude that this area is the “crossover site” between heaven and earth. As human beings, we have our primary manifestation in the physical realm (space-time continuum). Based on what we know from the Scriptures, there is, in addition to the physical realm, a spiritual realm called heaven. The Lord declared, “Heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool” (Isaiah 66.1). Therefore we conclude that heaven is a multi-dimensional space comparable to the space-time continuum. The area around Jerusalem is the crossover point between these two realms. The Bible supports this thesis although it does not give us much insight as to how or why this is true.
The center of the greatest struggle on earth is just precisely the geographical area discussed in this article. The real foundational issue of the “War on Terrorism” is the issue of control of this real estate. Indeed, the struggle between Western free-market democracies and Islam is centered here. The Hebrew prophets foresaw just such a struggle. Zechariah prophesied that all the nations would be gathered against Jerusalem (Zechariah 14.2). The spiritual forces of this age (Paul called them the “world forces of this darkness”, Ephesians 6.12) are engaged in a most violent struggle to deny God’s will of establishing His covenanted people, Israel, in the position to control the “Gate to Heaven.”
When we consider the Islamic demand (voiced through the so-called ‘Palestinian’ people) to control this area, we must understand what the real issue is. In like fashion, when we see the U.S. administration insisting on implementing the most recent plan (the so-called ‘Road Map’ set forth by the “Quartet) to insure that this area is not in Jewish hands, we must understand what the issue is. The “world forces of this darkness” (principally, the U.S. and Islam) are unwittingly working together to resist the implementation of God’s redemptive plan.
It is time that real believers, real disciples, understand what the struggle is about and stand and enter the battle.
To read further about this subject see Israel: Gods Interdimensional Portal , by Kenneth Garrison at Amazon.com.
Originally published in The Tzemach Letter (November-December 2002)