El Bethel: The God of the House of God

We cannot fully know God. But through His Names, we can begin to know about His character. The Name of God reveals the Nature of God.

Today, we will look into the Name, “El Bethel.”  “El” means “God.” “Bethel” is from the Hebrew, “Beth-el,” from “beth” which means, “house,” and “el,” which means, “God.”  Bethel therefore means, “house of God.” “El Bethel” then literally means, “God of the House of God.”

Now Gen. 35:1 looks back to Gen. 28:19, where Jacob encountered God. One day, Jacob stopped by a certain place on the way to Haran. Tired and wanting to sleep, he got a stone and made a pillow out of it. He went to sleep.

Then God appeared to him in a dream. In that dream, he saw a ladder or staircase set up on the earth. The staircase must have looked like stairs on the side of a mountain. The top of this staircase reached to heaven. It was a staircase to heaven.

On this staircase to heaven, he saw the angels going up and down on it. Yahweh was standing on top of this staircase (Gen. 28:13). When Jacob awoke from his sleep, “he was afraid and said, ‘This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven’” (Gen. 28:16, ESV). Then he took his stone pillow and set it up as a monument. He poured oil on top of it. He consecrated it to God as a memorial and called the place, “Bethel,” the house of God.

We go fast forward to Gen. 35:1. “God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there. Make an altar there to the God who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau.” Jacob obeyed God and returned to Bethel, the house of God.

That is God’s Word for us today. You and I need to return to Bethel. Maybe we are in a place where God wants you to get out and go back to Him. Maybe the Spirit is telling you to get out from where you are now. We need to go back to God—back to the place where we first encountered God.

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