1. Lesson One of the Book of Daniel, Introduction to the Book of Daniel

 

Lesson 1: Geography Study Concerning the Scriptures, The Holy Land and its Surroundings

 

Psalm 95:3-7a,  For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.  In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also.  The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land.  O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.  For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.

 

The Holy Land and its

Surroundings

 

The Physical Geography of the Holy Land 

 

Geographic Overview of Palestine As a Component of the Fertile Crescent

Borders of the Promised Land

Old Testament Districts

New Testament Districts

Modern Political Boundaries

Physical Topography

Elevation of Palestine

Geology of Palestine

Soils of Palestine

Mountains and Rivers of Palestine

Rainfall of Palestine

Atmosphere-Summer

Atmosphere-Winter

Cities of Palestine

Archaeological Sites of Bible Lands

Archaeological Sites of Palestine

Transportation Systems of Bible Lands

Roads of Palestine

 

The Historical Geography of the Holy Land

 

Garden of Eden

Nations of Genesis 10

Patriachís Journeys

Abrahamís Travels in Caanan

Patriachs in the Promised Land

Israelís Exodus from Egypt to Caanan

Journey of the Spies

Israelís Conquest of Transjordan

The Battles of Jericho and Ai/Bethel

Joshuaís Southern Campaign

Joshuaís Northern Campaign

Tribal Distribution of Palestine

Levitic Cities and Cities of Refuge

Extent of the Conquest

The Judges and their Homelands

Journeys of the Ark

Battles During Saulís Reign

The Kingdom of Saul

David and Goliath

Davidís Flight from Saul

Death of King Saul

Battles During Davidís Reign

The Kingdom of David and Solomon

Solomonís Wealth and Power

Solomonís Enterprises 

Redistricting Under Solomon

Kingdoms of Israel and Judah

Judahís Fortified Cities

Attacks Upon Judah and Jerusalem

Assyrian Conquest of Qarqar

Jehuís Exploits Against the House of David

Ministries of Elijah and Elisha

Renaissance in the Divided Kingdom

Israelís Prophets

Assyrian Campaigns Against Israel and Judah

Palestine After Northern Kingdom

The Assyrian Empire

Babylonian Conquest of Carchemish

Babylonian Conquest of Jerusalem

Jewish Deportations and Returns

Kingdoms of Babylonia, Media, and Lydia

Jeremiah's Route to Egypt

Ezekielís Vision of the Promised Land

Post-Exilic Judea

The Persian Empire

Alexanderís Route

The Greek Empire

Greek Cities in Palesine

The Maccabean Revolt

Growth of the Maccabean Kingdom

Old Testament Jerusalem

New Testament Jerusalem

Modern Jerusalem

Roman Territories

Herodian Campaigns

Kingdom of Herod the Great

Jesus Early Travels

Jesus Move to Capernaum

Jesusí Ministry in Galilee

Jesusí Ministry in Palestine

Jesusí Journeys to Jerusalem

Jewish Diaspora at Pentecost

Ministry of Peter and Philip

Paulís Early Travels

Paulís First and Second Journeys

Paulís Third Journey

Paulís Trip to Rome

The Churches of Asia

Roman Campaigns

The Spread of Christianity Throughout the Roman World

Early Christian Communities

Development of Modern Israel

 

Geo means the earth, graphy meaning form so geography means the form of the earth.

 

Geography is the science dealing with the area differentiation of the earthís surface, as a shown in the character, arrangements, and interations of such elements as climate, elevation, vegetation, population, and land use.

 

History is inseparably bound by and subject to the limitations of geography. 

 

Geography is an impelling force that both initiates and limits the nature and extent of political history, what we might call geopolitics.

 

Factors of geography dictate where and how geopolitics will occur. 

 

Ancient civilizations emerged on the banks of rivers. 

 

Ancient Egypt owed its existence to the Nile, Mesopotamia drew its life sustenance from the Euphrates, Habur, and beginning with the Seleucid period, the Tigris.

 

The Indus valley civilization was located along the river by the same name, the Hittite empire rested astride the Halys. 

 

Old Indian culture sprang to life in the Brahmaputra and Ganges valleys. 

 

Ancient China had its Hwang-Ho and Yangtze. 

 

And European culture emerged on the banks of the Tiber, Danube, Rhine, and Meuse.

 

Even in our own history virtually all major commercial and industrial cities have outlets to rivers, oceans, or the Great Lakes network. 

 

Other factors of geography that dictate human activity are earthquake or volcano prone areas. 

 

Vast areas of the earth have been so deformed by lava flow and surface deformation, deserts, or other inhospitable things as to make human habitation impossible.

 

Mountains, deserts, caves and oceans always have their say concerning the location or nature of history. 

The Andes mountains have kept much of South America from becoming a blazing desert. 

 

The Assyrain, Babylonian, Persian, Greek, and Roman empires were all bordered in part by impassable mountain barriers or unnavigable desert wastelands.

 

The peoples of the northern and the southern shores of the Mediterranean Sea struggled for political and cultural superiority in the centuries of early history.

 

But once that barrier was broken by Christopher Columbus and Vasco da Gama, the rule by those of the Mediterranean was broken and history moved westward.

 

Where God has place his resources is also a determining factor of civilization. 

 

Tin came from Iran, Cedars from Lebanon, Silver from Assyria, Copper from Anatolia, and gold and ivory from Spain. 

 

Today Godís resources of oil play a big part in history and were kept in store until God allowed them to be needed.

 

So our God given geography actually establishes the boundaries within which history must operate. 

 

Or at least it establishes many of the needs that must be met in order to populate the environment. 

 

Are the right animals available to provide the skins to protect against the cold? 

 

Will the area provide for grazing animals? 

 

The God given barriers on manís activity that has been provided by geography have been and are being broken down by manís development of technology. 

 

Technology looses man from Godís direction and when that happens the distance away from Godís will grows greater. 

 

Deserts can bloom by irrigation. 

 

Oppressive heat can be endured by air conditioning. 

 

Rivers are tamed by vast hydro-electric dams. 

 

Distances are erased by air travel. 

 

Mountain barriers are no longer barriers when manís power equipment moves mountains not by faith but by might.

 

So today we do not have the sensitivity to the effects of geography as the peoples of Bible days did. 

 

In those days geographic limitations were well defined and limited all activities on all areas of life.

 

We can go anywhere we can afford and at any time we wish. 

 

We can have all manner of foods at most any time, we can wear any kind of clothing we wish, or have any temperature, hot or cold, in our houses.   

 

We even know what weather to prepare for, we know when and where a hurricane will strike or when rain is expected or not expected. 

 

Most geographic limitations have been eliminated or minimized in our time. 

 

So we may study the Bible with a different mind set. 

 

We live in a different millennium and on a different continent. 

 

When we interpret and apply the scriptures we must as much as possible recognize the environment in which the activities recorded in the Bible took place. 

 

So geography cannot be divorced from Biblical interpretation.

 

Israel is a definable geographic domain in which even the soil is divinely consecrated and is why it is called the holy ďlandĒ. 

 

The land is contained in covenantal promises and prophesy. 

 

Much of Old Testament faith was concerned with events that occurred in this world.  

 

The arena in which God acted was the land. 

 

The call and the covenant to Abraham concerned the land. 

 

He brought the children of Israel out of Egypt into the land. 

 

He brought them back to the land from Babylonian captivity and He will bring them back to the land at the beginning of his millennium kingdom.

 

There is a bond between God and the children of Israel in which the land is central.

 

Israelís identity, security, and prosperity were all the direct results of being in the land.

 

And for a Jew to be out of the land brings a sense that faith had become meaningless. 

 

Being out of the land is being out of Godís will. 

 

In the mind of the Jew landlessness equates with hopelessness.

 

All Godís acts took place in the land. 
 

God displayed his mighty acts and all his promise were to take place in the land.

 

So in order to understand the scriptures and Godís dealing with his chosen people, who were people of the land, we must have a knowledge of the geographical realities of Israel and its surroundings. 

 

What does it mean when we read of the:

former and latter rains,

the strong east wind,

the scorching effect of Israelís hot sun,

the importance of dew for crop survival,

the implications of no rainfall,

the concentration of Fertility Worship in the land of promise,

the nature of Egyptian, Canaanite, and Mesopotamian deities,

the character of extra Biblical creation myths,

the migrations of Abraham, Moses, and Nehemiah

the close correlation between the terrain Joshuaís forces could conquer but over which the Philistines could not run chariots,

the astounding success of David in eluding Saulís manhunt,

the ministry of John the Baptist,

the motivation behind Jesus move from Nazareth to Capernaum

and the staggering distances undertaken by the Apostle Paul.

 

Knowledge of the Geography of the region is a must if we are to accurately understand the scriptures.  

 

One example concerns the direction that we know of as north.  

 

The scripture refers to the army of the north, or the enemy of the north. 

 

We would think of this as a nation north of Israel. 

 

But at times the Bible identifies such armies of the north as Assyrians, Babylonians, or even Persians. 

 

These are peoples that lie to the northeast or even due east. 

 

But this seeming disparity is explained by geography. 

 

There are physical barriers that prevented an enemy from coming from any direction but the north, mountain ranges, rivers, and deserts.

 

Accordingly, the Bibleís use of the expression ďnorthĒ denotes the direction from which a foe would normally approach, and not the location of its homeland.