Jacob, after his extraordinary encounter with God at Ha Makom, had named it Beyt-El, House of God—the place of connection between God and man, and which God had chosen as the place for his word and presence to ultimately reside permanently among the people he had also chosen to represent him among the nations, prior to the arrival of Messiah.
That name, in the providence of God, should alert us to God’s intention. Jacob’s Beyt-El or House of God, is the original, the genuine Bethel which signals God’s plan. It becomes the ‘ground zero,’ the geo-positioning system we defer to in our search for the Temple and for the true Bethel. In the Patriarchal narratives, God lays the foundations. We should not treat them dismissively…
...The importance and purpose of this place, HaMakom, had become embedded within the heart and soul of those who loved Yahweh and who were committed to following him. The fact that others of colder heart and disposition failed to grasp its importance—as many today fail to lay hold of things of spiritual significance—should not deflect us from the place it held in God’s purpose and plan for the ages. Failing to see its strategic importance and the important typology of that life-giving River that was to flow physically—and then spiritually—at and from that place, Ha Makom, impoverishes us and our understanding of God’s plan for the ages.
The naming of Ha Makom as ‘Bethel’ by Jacob, is of huge significance. It is just as important spiritually as the other events of his life which Christians make much of; his cheating of his brother Esau of the birthright; his sojourn in Haran; his return to Canaan; his contest with the Angel and his coming away with a limp and so on. The pronouncement (twice) by the one in whose loins lay the chosen nation, that this was the House of God, is momentous, prophetic, and ordained. The author’s view is that to think otherwise or to make the true Bethel another place, clearly and tragically, misses God’s point!
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