Bethel – a heaven on earth

Bethel or the “House of God”, was a border city described in the Hebrew Bible as being located between Benjamin and Ephraim.
Eusebius of Caesarea and Jerome describe it in their time as a small village that lay 12 Roman miles north of Jerusalem, to the right or east of the road leading to Neapolis.
Ten years after the Six Day War, the biblical name was applied to an Israeli settlement Beit El constructed adjacent to Beitin. In several countries – particularly in the US – the name was given in various locations
Bethel is mentioned several times in Genesis.
It is first mentioned in Genesis 12, but the best-known instance is probably Genesis 28, when Jacob, fleeing from the wrath of his brother Esau, falls asleep on a stone and dreams of a ladder stretching between Heaven and Earth and thronged with angels; God stands at the top of the ladder, and promises Jacob the land of Canaan; when Jacob awakes he anoints the stone (baetylus) with oil and names the place Bethel.
Another account, from Genesis 35 repeats the covenant with God and the naming of the place (as El-Bethel), and makes this the site of Jacob’s own change of name to Israel. Both versionstates that the original name of the place was Luz, a Canaanite name.
Bethel was again inhabited and “fortified by Bacchides the Syrian in the time of the Maccabees.”
Josephus tells us that Bethel was captured by Vespasian. Robinson notes that after the writings of Eusebius and Jerome, he found no further references to Bethel in the written historical record.
However, he notes that the ruins at Beitin are greater than those of a village and seem to have undergone expansion after the time of Jerome, noting also the presence of what appear to be the ruins of churches from the Middle Ages.
Bethel is a must to visit place, as witnessed by many.

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