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

Lesson 17: Geography Study Concerning the Scriptures, Physical Topography - The Jordan Rift Valley


Zechariah 14:1-8, Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.  For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.  And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. 5And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee. 6And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark: 7But it shall be one day which shall be known to the LORD, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light.  8And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be. 

So let us now look at the Jordan Rift Valley in particular.   

At an altitude of 9232 ft. above sea level, Mt. Hermon receives as annual precipitation of 60 inches and remains snow covered much of the year.   

The rains of Mt. Hermon forms hundreds of springs that join in three streams to form the Jordan River’s headwaters. 

These three streams merge to form a single water course at Lake Hula and at that point the water is already decended to an altitude of not more than 300 above the level of the sea. 

During biblical times Lake Hula was a shallow marsh which produced papyrus and was simply a swampy obstruction to travel.   

After Israel became a state the Hula basin was drained and the water of the river was diverted along its western flank. 

This resulted in a rich agricultural region, similar to that found on the coastal plain.   

Today the soil of the Hula region is capable of yielding up to ten crops per year at places.   

But the draining of the Hula has created an ecological imbalance in the Sea of Galilee.   

The Hula wetlands were there as a natural filter that strained out certain algae, as well as chemicals pumped up through the fault chasm.   

Be careful when you change God’s natural order of things because because you usually do not take all things into consideration. 

The Sea of Galilee – known by several names 

Matthew 4:18,  And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. 


Deut. 3:17, The plain also, and Jordan, and the coast thereof, from Chinnereth even unto the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, under Ashdothpisgah eastward.




Luke 5:1, And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret,




John 6:1, After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias.


The Sea of Galilee is a fresh water inland lake measuring approximately 13 miles north/south, 8 miles east/west and 165 feet in depth.  


Its name is derived from the geopolitical territory contiguous to its northwestern shores. 


The Sea of Galilee is flanked by the highlands of lower Galilee and the Golan Heights, which drop off steeply to its shore land. 


The Sea rests in the caldera or crater of an extinct volcano. 


That volcano spewed lava over the adjacent countryside, thereby creating that black basaltic rock found on the surface of the surrounding terrain. 


Situated at some 700 feet below sea level on the floor of this crater, the Sea of Galilee is the lowest body of sweet water on earth.


It was in the Roman era of Biblical times that activity around the Sea of Galilee reached its peak.


Herod Antipas, who condemned our Lord, constructed along its shores the city of Tiberias with its castle, its temple, its bathhouses and theaters. 


In the time of Jesus the region surrounding the Sea was experiencing relative affluence.


Jesus parable about the rich fool who thought it advisable to tear down his barns and to build larger ones was preached along the shores of the Sea. (Luke 12:16-21)


The parable of the wheat and the tares was predicated upon the affluence of a householder who possessed barns and servants. (Mark 13:24-37)


As part of the Sermon on the Mount Jesus addressed the subjects of giving many alms and of laying up earthly treasures. (Mark 6:1-13)


And Jesus’ famous words spoken to the multitude in the vicinity of Caesarea-Philippi –“What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and to lose his own soul?” were addressed to Galilean listeners, some of whom undoubtedly had experienced great gain. (Mark 8:27-37)