Exploring the Land of the Story: Unlocking Biblical Geography

Exploring the Land of the Story: Unlocking Biblical Geography


TIM: WELCOME TO OURDAILY BREAD
MINISTRIES
WEBINARS. I’M YOUR HOST TIM JACKSON,
AND THANKS FOR JOINING US TODAY. THE WEBINAR WE’RE GOING TO
TALK ABOUT TODAY IS…EXPLORING THE LAND OF THE STORY:
UNLOCKING BIBLICAL GEOGRAPHY.
NOW, I KNOW MANY OF YOU
PROBABLY THINK THAT’S KIND
OF A DRY AND DUSTY TOPIC, BUT TODAY I HAVE WITH ME
OUR GUEST, DR. JACK BECK.
JACK, WELCOME TO THE SCENE. JACK: THANK YOU, TIM.
IT’S A PLEASURE TO BE WITH YOU. TIM: YOUR BACKGROUND IS
IN THEOLOGY AND HEBREW, AND YET YOU ALSO HAVE
THIS PASSION FOR GEOGRAPHY.
TELL US HOW THAT DEVELOPED. JACK: YEAH. WELL, I… I’VE
ALWAYS BEEN AN OUTDOOR PERSON.
I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THE OUTDOORS: HIKING, BACKPACKING,
CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING,
SNOWSHOEING, BUT THAT PART OF MY LIFE LIVED
SEPARATE FROM MY BIBLE READING
FOR A VERY, VERY LONG TIME. IT WASN’T TILL I WAS IN GRADUATE
SCHOOL AND ACTUALLY TOOK A CLASS
IN THE BIBLE AND GEOGRAPHY… THAT THOSE TWO LOVES
OF MINE CAME TOGETHER, AND
I’VE NEVER BEEN THE SAME SINCE. TIM: AND… AND NOW
YOU TEACH CLASSES IN ISRAEL
ON BIBLICAL GEOGRAPHY? JACK: YEAH, THAT…
THAT’S CORRECT. I… I WORK AS AN ADJUNCT
PROFESSOR AT JERUSALEM
UNIVERSITY COLLEGE, AND IT’S MY HIGH PRIVILEGE TO
SPEND, WELL, ABOUT 25 PERCENT
OF MY YEAR IN ISRAEL, WALKING PEOPLE ABOUT
THE LAND AND HELPING THEM
BUILD A BRIDGE WITH THE BIBLE. TIM: AND YOU’VE AUTHORED…
AUTHORED THE NEWDISCOVERY
HOUSE BIBLE ATLAS
FOR US, SO WE’RE GOING TO DELVE
INTO SOME OF THAT TODAY
IN OUR… IN OUR WEBINAR. LET’S
TALK ABOUT GEOGRAPHY. WHAT’S SO
IMPORTANT ABOUT GEOGRAPHY, JACK? JACK: WELL, GEOGRAPHY IS
ESSENTIAL IN MANY RESPECTS
TO WHO WE ARE, TIM. WHO WE ARE AND
HOW WE THINK AND HOW WE MOST
NATURALLY COMMUNICATE… IS ANCHORED IN WHERE WE’RE FROM. TIM: OKAY. GIVE ME AN EXAMPLE
OF WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT. JACK: YEAH.
I’M FROM SOUTHERN WISCONSIN,
AND FOR ME, GOING “UP NORTH”… IS GOING TO
GET AWAY FROM IT ALL. IT’S SYNONYMOUS WITH RECREATION
AND FUN AND THE OUTDOOR LIFE. IT’S A CARDINAL COMPASS HEADING,
BUT IT ALSO IS SYNONYMOUS WITH
ALL THAT’S FUN IN MY LIFE. TIM: YEAH, FOR THOSE OF US
WHO LIVE HERE IN MICHIGAN,
AND IN SOUTHERN MICHIGAN, WE TALK ABOUT “UP NORTH,”
WE’LL MAKE A REFERENCE
TO LIKE THE U.P. AND WHEN WE MAKE THAT REFERENCE,
MOST PEOPLE QUESTION, “WHAT IN THE WORLD DO YOU
MEAN BY THE U.P.?” WE MEAN THE
UPPER PENINSULA OF MICHIGAN. SO THE TOPOGRAPHY OF A
LOWER PENINSULA AND UPPER
PENINSULA SHAPES THE WAY WE… WE REFER TO THINGS AROUND HERE. JACK: IT’S HOW WE TALK TO ONE
ANOTHER AND… AND HOW WE TALK
TO ONE ANOTHER MOST NATURALLY. TIM: SO WHEN WE TALK ABOUT
THE IMPORTANCE OF GEOGRAPHY, WHAT ABOUT WHEN WE READ
THE BIBLE? THIS IS AN ATLAS
ON BIBLE GEOGRAPHY. JACK: YEAH, WE’RE JUST ON
THE NEXT PAGE OF THE SAME STORY. YOU AND I COMMUNICATE
WITH ONE ANOTHER MOST
NATURALLY GEOGRAPHICALLY. AND WHEN THE FOLKS
WHO WROTE THE BIBLE
COMMUNICATED MOST NATURALLY, THEY WERE GEOGRAPHICAL
COMMUNICATORS, TOO. AND RATHER THAN REMOVE THAT
FROM THE INSPIRATION PROCESS, THE LORD CHOSE TO
LEAVE GEOGRAPHY IN OUR BIBLES. IT MEANS THAT GOD
SPEAKS GEOGRAPHICALLY. TIM: GOD SPEAKS GEOGRAPHICALLY.
I DON’T KNOW IF I’VE EVER HEARD
THAT STATEMENT SAID BEFORE. SO THE INFORMATION
THAT IS IN THE BIBLE, THOSE ARE REALLY CLUES
THAT WE NEED TO KIND OF
UNLOCK AND EXPLORE, TO UNDERSTAND BETTER
WHAT’S GOING ON IN
SCRIPTURE, AREN’T THEY? JACK: YEAH. IF… IF WE…
IF WE HONOR THE FACT THAT…
THAT IN THE HOLY BIBLE… WE HAVE PRESERVED FOR US
THE VERY THOUGHTS OF GOD, EVERYTHING THAT WE HAVE THERE
IS WORTHY OF OUR ATTENTION
AND CONSIDERATION. AND THERE’S GEOGRAPHY
IN MY BIBLE. TIM: THE PROBLEM
IS THAT WE DON’T PAY
ATTENTION TO THE DETAILS. WE TEND TO THINK OF IT AS, WELL,
WHEN I CAN’T READ IT WELL, OR I
CAN’T MAYBE ARTICULATE IT WELL, OR PRONOUNCE IT WELL,
I JUST KIND OF SKIP OVER IT. JACK: YEAH, AND… AND I CAN
IDENTIFY WITH FOLKS WHO MIGHT BE
LISTENING IN OR WATCHING… WHO HAVE HAD THAT EXPERIENCE,
‘CAUSE THAT WAS ME FOR A VERY,
VERY LONG TIME IN MY LIFE. I THINK YOU AND I TEND TO…
TO READ PAST LANGUAGE
IN THE BIBLE… THAT WE DON’T UNDERSTAND
OR THAT’S UNFAMILIAR TO US, AND CERTAINLY
THE GEOGRAPHICAL REFERENCES
FIT THAT CATEGORY OF THINGS. TIM: SO GIVE ME…
GIVE ME A LITTLE EXAMPLE OF
WHAT THAT WOULD LOOK LIKE, TO BE DISCONNECTED
FROM SOMETHING LIKE
THAT IN THE SCRIPTURES. JACK: YEAH. WELL, HOW ABOUT
MATTHEW 4:13. JESUS… MATTHEW TELLS US JESUS LEFT
NAZARETH AND WENT TO CAPERNAUM. IT… IT’S JUST
A FEW WORDS ON THE PAGES
OF OUR… OF OUR BIBLES, BUT IT… IT INTRODUCES
A PRETTY BIG CHANGE IN A BIG
STORY IN JESUS’ LIFE. IF WE DON’T PAY ATTENTION TO
THOSE DETAILS, WE’RE GOING
TO MISS SOMETHING. TIM: SO IF WE DON’T
PAY ATTENTION TO WHERE HE WAS
FROM AND WHERE HE WAS GOING, AND THE IMPACT THAT HAD
ON HIS MINISTRY, WE’RE GOING TO MISS THE RICHNESS
OF WHAT THE WRITER IS TRYING
TO COMMUNICATE THERE, AREN’T WE? JACK: PRECISELY SO. TIM: IF WE TEND TO BE
DISCONNECTED FROM THE GEOGRAPHY,
SOMETIMES EVEN OF OUR OWN LIVES, AND THEN WE COME TO
THE SCRIPTURES A LITTLE
DISCONNECTED FROM, ESPECIALLY, A GEOGRAPHY
THAT IS REMOTE TO US. HOW DO WE BEGIN
RECONNECTING THAT? JACK: YEAH, WELL, I…
I THINK ONE OF THE… ONE OF THE REALITIES
THAT MANY OF US FACE IS THAT
WE SPEND LESS TIME OUTDOORS. EVEN SOMEONE LIKE ME, WHO SPENDS
A LOT OF TIME OUTDOORS, SPENDS LESS TIME OUTDOORS
THAN THE BIBLICAL AUTHORS DID. TIM: NOW, WHAT DOES THAT HAVE TO
DO WITH SPENDING TIME OUTDOORS
AND THE GEOGRAPHY THING? JACK: YEAH, YOU KNOW, THE LORD
CREATED THIS WORLD TO SHAPE US, AND IT’S THAT NATURAL WORLD
THAT, IN VERY, VERY POWERFUL
WAYS, REPOSITIONS OUR THINKING. JOHN MUIR, WHO IS ONE OF
MY FAVORITE WRITERS, NINETEENTH
CENTURY CHRISTIAN ECOLOGIST, MADE THE OBSERVATION THAT HE
WOULD GO OUT IN ORDER TO GET IN. HIS OUTDOOR EXPERIENCES
WERE REALLY HELPING CHANGE
WHO HE WAS INSIDE. TIM: SO SOMETHING WHERE
HIS LOCATION WAS, WHEN HE WOULD
GET INTO THE NATURAL WORLD, SOMEHOW IT SPOKE TO HIM. JACK: YEAH,
IT SPOKE TO HIM, AND…
AND I THINK I UNDERSTAND… I THINK I UNDERSTAND HOW.
WHEN I AM CAPTURED IN MY
INDOOR ENVIRONMENT, EVERYTHING AROUND ME
HAS A MORTAL CONNECTION. THE THINGS THAT ARE AROUND
ME WERE MADE BY HUMAN BEINGS. THE COMMUNICATION IS VERY,
VERY MORTAL SURROUNDING. TIM: SO ALL THE TECHNOLOGY OF
TODAY KIND OF GOES AGAINST THIS. JACK: YEAH, AND…
AND WE… WE… WE CONNECT
WITH THE IDEAS AND THINKING. AND WE CAN EVEN COME
TO THE CONCLUSION THAT…
THAT THAT’S ALL THERE IS. WHEN I GO BACK OUTDOORS AND…
AND I LOOK AT THE WONDER
OF GOD’S CREATION, IT DRIVES ME TO THINK ABOUT
A DIFFERENT SET OF THINGS.
THE MATRIX CHANGES FOR ME. I… I LOOK AT THE…
THE BEAUTY OF GOD’S CREATION,
THE ARTISTRY OF HIS HANDIWORK. I LOOK AT THE INCREDIBLE WISDOM
THAT’S EVIDENT IN THE IN…
INTRICACY OF HIS WORK, AND… AND I LOOK AT THE POWER,
AND THAT RESETS ME IN A WAY
THAT MY INDOOR LIFE DOESN’T. TIM: AND SO THAT CAUSES YOU TO
HAVE MORE OF A SENSITIVITY… TO GEOGRAPHICAL DETAILS
AROUND YOU THAT SHAPE
YOU ON THE INSIDE. SO WHEN YOU COME TO THE BIBLE,
ONE OF THE THINGS I READ
IN YOUR ATLAS WAS… THAT THE BIBLE
IS UNIQUE ABOUT… UNIQUELY DIFFERENT THAN OTHER
SACRED WRITINGS OF THAT ERA. JACK: YEAH, IF WE… IF WE LOOK
AT OTHER LITERATURE THAT’S
ROUGHLY CONTEMPORARY – ANCIENT NEAR-EASTERN
LITERATURE – TO THE BIBLE, AND WE LOOK AT THE RELIGIOUS
LITERATURE IN THAT SUBSET, WE BEGIN TO SEE MUCH,
MUCH LESS INTEREST IN
GEOGRAPHY OF THE EARTH. THERE’S GEOGRAPHY,
BUT IT’S OFTEN OF THE PAGAN
DEITIES AND THEIR COSMIC WORLD. TIM: SO WHAT MAKES
THE UNIQUENESS OF
THE GEOGRAPHY OF THE BIBLE? JACK: WELL, THE GEOGRAPHY
OF THE BIBLE IS MUCH MORE
EARTHBOUND AND EARTH-FOCUSED. AND I THINK THAT THERE’S
AN IMPORTANT REASON FOR THAT. GOD TIED HIS PLAN TO
SAVE THE WORLD, WHICH IS A CORE
MESSAGE WITHIN SCRIPTURE FOR US, HE TIED THAT MESSAGE TO A FAMILY
THAT LIVED IN A SPECIFIC PLACE. WHEN HE CAME TO ABRAHAM AND
SAID TO HIM, “YOUR FAMILY
WILL BECOME A NATION,” HE ALSO SAID, “YOUR FAMILY
THAT BECOMES A NATION WILL
HAVE THIS LAND TO LIVE IN. “AND FROM THAT FAMILY ON THAT
LAND, THE ONE PERSON WHO CAN
FIX THE BROKENNESS WILL ARRIVE.” TIM: NOW, WHEN YOU SAY THAT,
WHAT… WHAT COMES TO MY MIND
IS THAT GEOGRAPHY, OR THE STORY OF REDEMPTION,
HAS A GEOGRAPHY TO IT. JACK: IT DOES.
IT MOST CERTAINLY DOES, FROM ONE
END OF THE BIBLE TO THE OTHER. TIM: SO IF WE’RE LOOKING AT
THE UNIQUENESS OF THE BIBLE,
ONE OF THE THINGS THAT, AS I READ YOUR ATLAS
AND EXPLORED THAT IN
PREPARATION FOR ALL THIS, YOU HAVE A UNIQUE TWIST
IN YOUR… YOUR ATLAS, TOO, BECAUSE YOU TALK ABOUT TWO
DIFFERENT KINDS OF GEOGRAPHY: ONE THAT I’M FAMILIAR WITH,
AND ONE THAT WAS A BRAND
NEW TERM TO ME. YOU TALK ABOUT HISTORICAL
GEOGRAPHY AND THEN YOU TALK
ABOUT LITERARY GEOGRAPHY. EXPLAIN WHAT EACH OF
THOSE ARE AND THE DIFFERENCES
BETWEEN THEM, WOULD YOU? JACK: YEAH. HISTORICAL GEOGRAPHY
IS THE WAY IN WHICH GEOGRAPHY
AND BIBLE HAS BEEN CONNECTED… FOR A VERY, VERY, VERY
LONG TIME. IT ASKS THE QUESTION,
HOW DOES PLACE IMPACT EVENT? AND BECAUSE THE BIBLE
IS SO RICH IN EVENTS,
IT’S A VERY, VERY NATURAL WAY… OF LOOKING AT THE RELATIONSHIP
BETWEEN BIBLE AND SCRIPTURE. HISTORICAL GEOGRAPHY: HOW DO…
HOW DOES PLACE IMPACT EVENT? BUT I MEET THOSE EVENTS,
AS WELL AS A LOT OF OTHER
THINKING OF GOD IN SCRIPTURE, IN LITERARY FORM.
I MEET STORIES, I MEET POETRY,
I MEET LETTERS, I MEET PROVERBS, AND IN EACH OF THOSE CASES,
GEOGRAPHY BECOMES PART OF
THE COMMUNICATION PROCESS. LITERARY GEOGRAPHY ASKS
THE QUESTION: HOW DO THE
BIBLICAL AUTHORS AND POETS… USE GEOGRAPHY IN ORDER
TO SHAPE ME AS THEIR READER? TIM: I KNOW I’VE HEARD YOU
USE A TERM ABOUT YOUR TRIPS. YOU SPEND TIME IN ISRAEL,
ABOUT 25 PERCENT OF YOUR
TIME, CORRECT? JACK: YEAH, THAT’S CORRECT. TIM: AND… AND YOU TEACH
CLASSES OVER THERE, BUT YOU
TEACH THEM IN THE FIELD. AND YOU TALKED ABOUT
TEACHING VIA LANDSCAPE. JACK: YEAH. YEAH, IT IS THE WAY
IN WHICH PEOPLE OF BIBLE TIMES
LEARNED THEIR BIBLES. BEFORE THERE WAS THE BIBLE
IN WRITING, AVAILABLE LIKE
IT IS TODAY FOR US, FOLKS WHO WERE LIVING
IN THE BIBLE LANDS LEARNED
THEIR BIBLE STORIES, THEY LEARNED THE POETRY OF THE
BIBLE BY LOOKING INTO LANDSCAPE. WHEN THEY WALKED A RIDGELINE
ON THEIR WAY TO JERUSALEM FOR
ONE OF THE THREE HIGH FESTIVALS, THEY WOULD BE LOOKING OUT
AT VALLEYS AND RIDGES THAT
HELD BIBLE HISTORY. SO THEY WOULD SEE
MORE THAN TOPOGRAPHY,
THEY WOULD SEE BIBLE EVENTS. AND DEUTERONOMY 6:6-7 SAYS
THIS IS A TEACHING MOMENT. THE SCRIPTURE SAYS,
“TEACH THESE THINGS TO
YOUR CHILDREN,” HERE IT IS, “AS YOU WALK ALONG
THE ROAD.” GEOGRAPHY BECOMES
A TEACHER OF THEOLOGY. TIM: AND THOSE BECOME
MEMORY MARKERS. YOU KNOW,
YOU WALK PAST THAT LANDMARK, AND IT GIVES YOU
THE OPPORTUNITY TO RETELL
THE STORY OF WHAT GOD DID HERE. AND… AND… BUT SOMETIMES
THEY PROBABLY ALSO ERECTED… I REMEMBER WHEN THEY CROSSED
FROM THE JORDAN… OVER THE
JORDAN RIVER INTO THE LAND, THEY ERECTED A MONUMENT WITH
STONES TO COMMEMORATE THE EVENT. JACK: YEAH. CERTAINLY
THE LANDSCAPE CARRIED THE
MEMORY OF MANY OF THESE EVENTS, BUT THE ONES THAT WERE
PARTICULARLY IMPORTANT… TO THE HISTORY OF GOD’S
PEOPLE OF THE PAST… WERE OFTEN MARKED IN SOME WAY
BY A… A, WELL, BY THE ERECTION
OF A MEMORIAL ALTAR, A TOMB, AND THESE BECOME NATURAL
STOPPING POINTS FOR PEOPLE,
JUST LIKE THE ROAD SIGNS, HISTORICAL MARKERS,
ARE AS WE TRAVEL ABOUT AND SEE
THEM ALONG OUR HIGHWAY SYSTEM. TIM: NOW, IF… YOU KNOW,
LET ME BEG THE QUESTION HERE. IF I DON’T PAY ATTENTION
TO THE GEOGRAPHY OF THE BIBLE,
IS IT REALLY THAT BIG A DEAL? JACK: THAT’S KIND OF A DANGEROUS
QUESTION TO ASK A GUY… WHO’S SPENT 18 YEARS AROUND
THIS TOPIC, ISN’T IT? AND… AND YOU’VE SOFTENED
THE QUESTION, BECAUSE YOU MIGHT
EVEN ASK, ISN’T THIS TRIVIA? HERE’S THE REALITY… TIM: TRIVIA…
TRIVIAL INFORMATION. JACK: YEAH. YEAH,
THE TRIVIA’S GONE FROM
THE COMMUNICATION EVENT. WHEN THE BIBLICAL AUTHORS
COME TO SHARE A STORY WITH US, WHEN THEY MOVE THE EVENT INTO
STORY FORM, WHEN THEY MOVE THE
THOUGHTS OF GOD INTO POETRY, THE EXTRA STUFF, THE STUFF THAT
DOESN’T COUNT, THE TRIVIA, THAT’S GET LEF…
THAT ALL GETS LEFT BEHIND.
WE GET THE ESSENTIALS. AND IT’S THE ESSENTIALS
THAT I’M INVITING US TO
PAY CLOSER ATTENTION TO. TIM: OKAY, SO THE… THE TRIVIA
HAS BEEN DISTILLED OUT ALREADY, SO THAT WHEN THE AUTHORS
OF THE SCRIPTURE, INSPIRED
BY GOD HIMSELF, SAY THESE ARE PLACES
AND EVENTS THAT YOU NEED
TO PAY ATTENTION TO, AND HERE ARE THE GEOGRAPHICAL
MARKERS, THOSE ARE MARKERS
THAT WE DARE NOT IGNORE. JACK: YEAH. WE… WE CAN IGNORE
THEM, BUT WE… WE GONNA… WE’RE GOING TO IGNORE THEM
AND PAY THE PRICE. TIM: AND WHAT’S THE PRICE? JACK: WELL, THE… THE PRICE IS,
TO… TO THE DEGREE THAT THOSE
ELEMENTS OF THE COMMUNICATION… NOW, WHETHER IT’S IN
THE POETRY OR THE PROVERBS
OR THE LETTER OR THE STORY, THOSE ARE PART OF
THE COMMUNICATION OF THE EVENT. AND IF WE REMOVE THEM, WE MISS
A PART OF THE COMMUNICATION. TIM: NOW, YOU KNOW, SOMETHING
I WANT TO TALK ABOUT IS, AS WE TREAT
GEOGRAPHY AS NOT TRIVIA
BUT ESSENTIAL INFORMATION, WHAT… GIVE ME AN EXAMPLE OF
SOMETHING WHERE WE WOULD IGNORE
WHAT WE ASSUME IS TRIVIAL… AND MAKE IT…
AND LOOK AT SOMETHING
THAT IS MORE ESSENTIAL. JACK: YEAH. WELL, CAN I GO BACK
TO MATTHEW 4:13, BECAUSE I THINK
THAT’S A VERY POWERFUL… IT WAS ONE OF THE FIRST
PASSAGES THAT KIND OF OPENED
THIS DOOR FOR ME… TO SEE HOW ESSENTIAL
LITTLE THINGS ARE IN
THE TEXT GEOGRAPH… LITTLE GEOGRAPHICAL
THINGS ARE IN THE TEXT. MATTHEW 4:13 SAYS,
“JESUS LEFT NAZARETH
AND MOVED TO CAPERNAUM.” AND ON THE PAGES
OF MY BIBLE, THOSE TWO PLACE
NAMES LOOK A LOT ALIKE. IF I GO TO THE BACK OF MY BIBLE
AND I LOOK AT MY BIBLE MAP,
THEY LOOK VERY MUCH ALIKE. BUT WHEN I BEGIN TO LOOK MORE
CAREFULLY AT THE CHARACTER
OF THOSE TWO PLACES, YOU CAN’T IMAGINE TWO
PLACES MORE DIFFERENT. NAZARETH
WAS SMALL AND INWARD LOOKING. CAPERNAUM WAS A LARGE OUTWARD
LOOKING PLACE. AND JESUS’ MOVE
FROM NAZARETH TO CAPERNAUM… SIGNALED A DIFFERENT…
A VERY DIFFERENT ENVIRONMENT
IN WHICH HE WAS LIVING. TIM:
WELL, AND YOU’RE ALSO TALKING
ABOUT A DIFFERENT POPULATION. JACK: YEAH. YEAH, ABSOLUTELY.
IN NAZARETH YOU… YOU HAVE A VERY INWARD LOOKING,
OBSERVANT JEWISH COMMUNITY
THAT’S BEEN FORMED, WHO’S ACTUALLY USING
THE GEOGRAPHY IN ORDER
TO CREATE SOME ISOLATION… FOR THEMSELVES FROM
THE GRECO-ROMAN WORLD. CAPERNAUM IS ALSO
USING ITS GEOGRAPHY, BUT IT’S USING IT NOT
TO ISOLATE, BUT TO CONNECT
TO THE LARGER WORLD. IT IS A TOWN OF JEWS
AND GENTILES, A CHI…
A… A COMMUNITY, A TOWN OF INTERNATIONAL
TRAVELERS AS THE… AS THE
CARAVANERS MOVED THROUGH. IT WAS A HAPPENING PLACE
COMPARED TO NAZARETH. TIM: SO IN ONE SENSE,
NOT DISRESPECTFULLY,
JESUS WAS KIND OF… A HICK FROM THE STICKS
UP IN NAZARETH, WHO MOVES
JUST 30 MILES, BUT MOVES TO WHAT WOULD
BE CONSIDERED MORE OF
A METROPOLITAN AREA… NEXT TO AN INTERNATIONAL
HIGHWAY, SO THAT WHEN
HE BEGAN HIS MINISTRY, IT WOULD SPREAD
THROUGHOUT ALL THE AREA. JACK: YEAH, IT… IT’S HARD
TO IMAGINE THAT JESUS DID
MOST OF WHAT WE KNOW… IN AN AREA THAT’S TWO MILES
BY TWO MILES BY THREE MILES. BUT WHEN YOU TAKE THOSE EVENTS
AND YOU LOCATE THEM CORRECTLY, YOU CREATE THE OPPORTUNITY FOR
NEWS OF WHAT HE SAID AND DID… TO SPREAD LIKE WILDFIRE,
WELL BEFORE PENTECOST. TIM: WELL, WHEN WE THINK OF…
THEN OF NOT SKIPPING
OVER THE DETAILS, AND WE WANT TO START
PAYING ATTENTION TO THEM, YOU SAID THERE’S
THREE THINGS WE NEED TO DO. YOU SAID WE NEED TO NOTICE, TO
LEARN, AND TO ASK. WHAT IS IT
THAT WE NEED TO NOTICE, JACK? JACK: WELL, YOU KNOW, WHEN…
WHEN WE READ SCRIPTURE, WE TEND TO IGNORE THE THINGS
THAT WE DON’T UNDERSTAND OR
THAT ARE UNFAMILIAR TO US. SO IT TAKES A BIT OF
DISCIPLINE TO CHANGE THAT HABIT. IT’S… IT’S COMING TO
UNDERSTAND WHAT GEOGRAPHY IS, THAT GEOGRAPHY IS MORE THAN
JUST MAPS, THAT IT’S MORE
THAN JUST PLACE NAMES, THAT IT’S ACTUALLY THE
TOPOGRAPHY, IT’S THE GEOLOGY, IT’S THE CLIMATE,
IT’S THE RAINFALL CYCLES. AND ALL OF THOSE THINGS
ARE PART OF THE… OF THE
FEATURES OF THE EARTH, AND THE FORCES THAT…
THAT IMPACT THEM. IF I ACTIVELY MAKE A POINT
OF LOOKING FOR THOSE, I’M GOING TO FIND THEM
ON VIRTUALLY EVERY
PAGE OF MY BIBLE. TIM: EVERY PAGE? JACK: I’M SAYING FOR EVERY PAGE.
IT’S VERY HARD FOR ME TO
FIND A PAGE ON MY… IN MY BIBLE THAT DOESN’T
CONTAIN AT LEAST ONE REFERENCE
IN ONE OPEN PAGE TO… TO GEOGRAPHY, AND INCLUDE IT
IN THE COMMUNICATION. TIM: OKAY. SO THE FIRST THING
WE NEED TO DO IS WE NEED
TO NOTICE WHAT’S THERE. AND WHAT DO…
WHAT DO WE NEED TO LEARN THEN? JACK: YEAH. WHEN WE…
WHEN WE START NOTICING
THINGS, WE’RE GOING TO… WE’RE GOING TO REALIZE
WE DON’T KNOW ENOUGH ABOUT
THAT TO MAKE THE NEXT STEP, WHICH IS UNDERSTANDING
HOW IT PLAYS OUT IN…
IN A LITERARY WAY. SO THERE’S THE OPPORTUNITY
TO USE ATLASES, ENCYCLOPEDIAS,
OTHER RESOURCE TOOLS, INCLUDING TRIPS TO ISRAEL,
BY THE WAY, IN ORDER TO…
TO FLESH THAT OUT, IN ORDER TO BETTER
UNDERSTAND THAT PARTICULAR
GEOGRAPHICAL REFERENCE. AND ONCE WE’VE GOT THAT IN HAND,
ONCE WE’VE NOTICED IT, AND ONCE
WE BETTER UNDERSTAND IT, WE ARE WELL POSITIONED
TO INTEGRATE IT INTO
OUR READING OF THE TEXT, TO ASK THE QUESTION,
WHY WOULD THE BIBLICAL
AUTHOR INCLUDE THAT DETAIL… WHEN SO MANY OTHERS
ARE LEFT OUT? HOW AM I BEING SHAPED
AS A USER, AS A READER,
BY THAT PARTICULAR DATA? TIM: SO ASKING THE QUESTION,
THEN: WHY IS THIS HERE
IN THIS PASSAGE? WHY DID THE AUTHOR
BOTHER TO… TO PICK
UP ON THIS LITTLE DETAIL? AND KIND OF UNDERSCORE IT,
HIGHLIGHT IT IN PINK, AND… AND MAKE IT KIND OF
GLOW TO US, THAT WE SHOULD
BE PAYING ATTENTION TO THAT. JACK: YEAH, IT IS A…
REMEMBER, IF WE… IF WE
OPERATE WITH THE ASSUMPTION… THAT THE TRIVIA IS GONE,
IF THE EXTRAS ARE LEFT OUT, THEN THE ESSENTIALS ARE LEFT
FOR US TO WEIGH AND TO CONSIDER. AND I DO MYSELF
A DISSERVICE AS A BIBLE READER,
AS A BIBLE INTERPRETER, IF I DON’T ENGAGE THOSE
GEOGRAPHICAL FEATURES. TIM: SO WHEN… WHEN YOU TAKE
SOMEBODY ON ONE OF YOUR FIELD
EXPEDITION TEACHING TRIPS… JACK: THEY’LL LIKE THE WAY…
THE FACT THAT YOU CALLED IT
AN EXPEDITION, BECAUSE MANY OF MY
STUDENTS FEEL LIKE THIS
IS FAR FROM A WALK. IT’S AN EXPEDITION OR
A TREK IN THEIR MIND. TIM: ‘CAUSE YOU…
YOU TREK HOW… HOW FAR IN… JACK: WELL, IN…
IN 11 DAYS WE’LL HIKE
BETWEEN 85 AND 100 MILES. TIM: SO YOU’RE
COVERING SOME GROUND. JACK:
IT BECOMES A MATTER OF SOME
PRIDE FOR THESE FOLKS… THAT THEY’VE COVERED
THAT MUCH GROUND. TIM:THAT THEY’VE COVERED MORE
OR LESS THAN THE NEXT GROUP
THAT’S COMING, PROBABLY. BUT WHEN YOU TALK
ABOUT THAT, YOU KNOW,
I KNOW WHEN I’M HUNTING, I… I GET A… A MENTAL MAP.
I CAN TELL YOU EXACTLY LOCATIONS
AND WHERE I’M GOING TO BE, AND GIVE A REFERENCE POINT TO MY
BROTHERS OR OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS
THAT I’M HUNTING WITH THAT, “HEY, I’M GONNA BE
HUNTING OFF THE KNOB.
YOU’RE OFF THIS POINT,” AND ALL THAT, BECAUSE OF
THE LAY OF THE LAND. IS THAT THE SAME THING
THAT… THAT THE PEOPLE
WOULD DO IN ANCIENT TIMES? JACK: ABSOLUTELY.
AND THE IDEA OF THE MENTAL MAP
IS… IS ONE THAT WE ALL HAVE. I MEAN, ALL OF US
MAKE MANY TRIPS… MANY, MANY TRIPS A DAY
USING THAT MENTAL MAP, WHETHER IT’S TO THE STORE,
OR TO WORK, OR TO SCHOOL. WE’RE NOT HAULING OUT THE GPS,
WE’RE NOT USING A MAP TO
GET… TO GET US THERE. AND WHAT WE HAVE TO REALIZE
IS THAT, FOR THE FOLKS
WHO WROTE THE BIBLE, AND THE FIRST FOLKS WHO
READ THE BIBLE, THEY KNEW
WHERE BETHLEHEM WAS. THEY KNEW WHERE THE DEAD SEA
WAS. THEY KNEW JERICHO WAS. AND THAT MENTAL MAP
THAT THEY CARRIED IS
ONE THAT WE CAN BEGIN… BUILDING FOR OURSELVES
AS BIBLE READERS, AS WELL. TIM: AND JUST REMEMBER THEIR
MODE OF TRANSPORTATION, TOO. THEY SLOWLY
WALKED BY EVERYTHING.
MAYBE THEY RODE A DONKEY, BUT MOST OF THEM
WALKED ON FOOT PAST ALL THESE
PLACES. IT WAS A SLOW PROCESS. JACK: YEAH. AND… AND REALIZE
THAT, EVEN THOUGH I TALK ABOUT
WALKING SEVEN OR EIGHT MILES… DURING THE DAY WITH MY…
WITH MY STUDENTS IN ISRAEL, THE AVERAGE TRAVEL
DISTANCE IN BIBLE TIMES, DURING A DAY’S TRAVELS,
WAS ABOUT 18 TO 23 MILES. TIM: 18 TO 23 MILES? JACK: 18 TO 23 MILES. TIM: AND A LOT OF IT’S UPHILL,
ISN’T IT? ESPECIALLY IN
THE JUDEAN HILL COUNTRY. JACK: WELL, IT SEEMS LIKE
IT ALL GOES UPHILL. TIM: SO TALK TO ME,
THEN, ABOUT, YOU KNOW,
IF WE DEVELOP THIS MENTAL MAP. I KNOW WHEN I COME TO THE LAND
OF ISRAEL, I LOOK AT THE MAP, AND I ORIENT MYSELF
BY THE BODIES OF WATER. THE… THE SEA OF GALILEE
IN THE NORTH, THE RIBBON OF BLUE
THAT GOES TO THE SOUTH, AND THEN THE DEAD SEA, AS
A KIND OF A QUICK REFERENCE. BUT YOU TALK ABOUT THAT,
ONCE YOU HAVE THE MENTAL MAP, THEN YOU NEED TO TALK ABOUT
DISTINCTIVE CONNOTATIONS. WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY
DISTINCTIVE CONNOTATIONS? JACK: YEAH, AGAIN,
SOMETHING WE DO ALL THE TIME, BUT WE DON’T CARRY IT
OVER INTO OUR BIBLE READING. AND WHEN WE THINK
ABOUT A PLACE, IT’S…
IT’S NOT JUST A… A DOT ON THE LANDSCAPE
OR A POSITION ON A MAP. A PLACE HAS THE ABILITY
TO RECALL EVENTS FOR US, TO…
TO SOLICIT EMOTIONS FROM US. TIM: GIVE ME AN EXAMPLE. JACK: WELL, A… LET ME
JUST ADD, A CONNOTATION
IS… IS WHAT WE… IS WHAT WE THINK ABOUT WHEN
WE’RE IN A PLACE. IT’S HOW
WE FEEL WHEN WE’RE THERE. SO LET’S TAKE AN EXAMPLE.
HOW ABOUT GETTYSBURG? IT WAS A POWERFUL MOMENT FOR ME,
AS A 13-YEAR-OLD BOY, TO WALK
THAT BATTLEFIELD IN GETTYSBURG. IT WAS VERY DIFFERENT
FROM HAVING STUDIED THAT
IN MY CLASSES… TO SUDDENLY BE IN THAT PLACE
AND HAVE THE PLACE DRAW IN THE
MEMORIES AND THE FEELINGS… THAT WERE IM…
INTIMATELY LINKED TO PLACE. GETTYSBURG COMMUNICATES
A CONNOTATION. TIM: SO… SO GETTYSBURG, THAT
PLACE WHICH WAS A PIVOTAL BATTLE
IN THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR, IN PENNSYLVANIA. THAT…
WHEN YOU THINK OF THAT, YOUR MIND GOES TO
CERTAIN EVENTS AND THINGS. JACK: YEAH. YEAH. TIM: SO IF I WERE
TO SAY TO YOU, “NORMANDY”… JACK: YEAH, ABSOLUTELY.
OR HOW… HOW ABOUT THE… THE WALL THAT EXISTED
BETWEEN EAST AND WEST
GERMANY, THE BERLIN WALL? THESE PLACES HAVE A POWER
IN AND OF THEMSELVES THAT…
THAT WE DARE NOT MISS. AND IT’S A VERY POWERFUL TOOL
IN THE HAND OF A WRITER, BECAUSE IF WRITERS
ARE THE TOOLS… WITH WHICH I GET TO
MANIPULATE YOUR FEELINGS AND
THINKINGS… THINKING, AND I CAN USE A PLACE
NAME IN SERVICE TO THAT,
I’M GOING TO DO IT. TIM: OKAY. NOW, YOU JUST USED
A… A REAL STRONG WORD THAT, FOR ME AS A COUNSELOR,
MANY TIMES I HEAR:
“IF I USE TO MANIPULATE…” YOU TALK ABOUT WRITERS
MANIPULATING THEIR AUDIENCE. JACK: YEAH. TIM: WHAT DO YOU… SAY MORE
OF WHAT YOU MEAN BY THAT, BECAUSE I KNOW YOU’RE BIG
INTO THE LITERATURE OF THIS. JACK: YEAH. I’M A WRITER. OKAY?
AND SO WHEN I… WHEN I SIT AT
MY DESK AT HOME WRITING… AND IMAGINING MY AUDIENCE, I’M
THINKING, HOW CAN I CHANGE YOU? HOW… HOW CAN I CHANGE WHO
YOU ARE THROUGH THE LANGUAGE
CHOICES THAT… THAT I MAKE? AND IF GEOGRAPHY HAPPENS
TO BE ONE OF THE… ONE OF
THE TOOLS IN MY ARSENAL, YOU CAN BE SURE THAT
I’M GOING TO PUT IT TO WORK. TIM: SO WHEN WE THINK OF A PLACE
LIKE, WOW, THE GRAND CANYON, THAT CAN ENGENDER SOME
FEELINGS, ESPECIALLY IF YOU
TRAVELED THERE AS A KID. JACK: IF IT’S YOUR VACATION
SPOT, I MEAN, THERE’S ALL SORTS
OF FEELINGS THAT RUSH UP… THAT ARE DIFFERENT
ABOUT THAT, MAYBE,
THAN THE OFFICE YOU WORK IN. THAT HAS A WHOLE DIFFERENT
FEEL OR CONNOTATION TO IT, WHICH IS DIFFERENT THAN
YOUR GRANDMA AND GRANDPA’S
HOUSE THAT YOU VISITED. THAT HAS A CONNOTATION,
A FEELING, AND MEMORIES
ASSOCIATED WITH IT. PLACES ARE NOT JUST COLD,
SULLEN DOTS ON A MAP. THEY LIVE AND BREATHE
EMOTION AND… AND THOUGHT. TIM: SO IT’S NOT JUST GEOGRAPHY.
IT’S ALSO WHAT TOOK PLACE THERE. BUT YOU ALSO TALK
ABOUT FORGOTTEN CONNECTIONS. JACK: YEAH, YEAH. THE…
THE CONNECTEDNESS THAT…
THAT EXISTS HELPS DEVELOP. I MEAN, CONNOTATIONS
CAN BE DEVELOPED IN
A NUMBER OF DIFFERENT WAYS. THE VERY NATURE OF A PLACE
CARRIES CERTAIN CONNOTATIONS. THE EVERGLADES HAVE
A CERTAIN PERSPECTIVE THAT’S
CARRIED GEOGRAPHICALLY… TO OUR MINDS WHEN WE HEAR…
HEAR THE… HEAR THE LABEL. BUT HISTORY CAN CHANGE THE WAY
WE THINK ABOUT A PLACE, TOO. FOR THOSE OF US OF
A CERTAIN AGE, AND I WON’T
SAY WHAT THAT AGE IS, BUT DEALEY PLAZA,
WHERE JFK WAS ASSASSINATED, IS A PLACE THAT CARRIES
A MEMORY AND A FEELING. MORE RECENTLY THE WORLD TRADE
CENTER FOOTPRINT IS A PLACE… THAT CARRIES MEMORIES AND
FEELINGS THAT ARE DIFFERENT
THAN GRANDMA’S HOUSE, AND IT’S WHAT HAPPENED
THERE BEFORE THAT CAN ALSO
INFLUENCE CONNOTATION. TIM: SO WHEN YOU’RE
TALKING ABOUT BUILDING THAT
MENTAL MAP OF OUR LIVES, OR MENTAL MAP OF A NEW PLACE,
ESPECIALLY IN THE SCRIPTURES, FOR MANY OF US A PLACE
THAT WE’VE NEVER VISITED, YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT
A WHOLE DIFFERENT LEVEL
OF CONNECTEDNESS, CONNOTATIONS, AND
UNDERSTANDING THAT BEGIN TO
ENHANCE OUR ABILITY TO READ… WHAT HAVE BECOME VERY
FAMILIAR STORIES IN MANY WAYS. JACK: YEAH. STORIES CAN GO FLAT
ON US BY FAMILIARITY, AND POETRY
CAN LOSE ITS ZIP FOR US. BUT IF WE BEGIN
TO SEE THE GEOGRAPHY,
IT’S OFTEN THE GEOGRAPHY, AND THE CONNOTATIONS ASSOCIATED
WITH THE GEOGRAPHY IN A TEXT, THAT ALLOW IT TO
PERCOLATE UP OFF THE PAGE, TO MOVE FROM BLACK AND WHITE
INTO HIGH-DEFINITION COLOR. AND IT ALLOWS US TO… TO
GAIN INSIGHTS AND CONNECTIONS WE
MAY NOT HAVE SEEN THERE BEFORE. TIM: SO LET ME ASK YOU THIS.
ON THE STUDENTS THAT YOU TAKE
WITH YOU ON THE TREK, “THE BECK TREK”,
AS THEY’VE LABELED IT AT TIMES, WHAT ARE THE CHANGES YOU SEE IN
THEM AS YOU LIFT THIS MATERIAL
OFF THE PAGES OF A BIBLE ATLAS, AND YOU PLACE THEIR FEET
ON THAT GROUND? WHAT ARE
THE CHANGES YOU SEE? JACK: WELL,
THE MOST FREQUENT COMMENT
THAT I HEAR FROM FOLKS IS, “I DIDN’T REALIZE THERE WAS
SO MUCH GEOGRAPHY IN MY BIBLE.” WHICH IS WHAT HAPPENS
WHEN YOU BEGIN TO NOTICE IT. THE SECOND COMMENT
I HEAR AN AWFUL LOT IS, “I… I JUST WILL NEVER
READ MY BIBLE THE SAME WAY
AGAIN. I CAN’T GO BACK.” ONCE YOU HAVE TASTED
THE DEPTH AND THE INSIGHT… THAT YOU CAN FIND IN ENGAGING
THE GEOGRAPHY OF THE TEXT, IT’S VERY DIFFICULT TO RETREAT
AND TO STOP SEEING WHAT YOU
ARE NOW SEEING IN THOSE TEXTS. TIM: AND IT ENHANCES YOUR
ABILITY TO UNDERSTAND THE STORY, AND TO BE ABLE TO RETELL THAT
STORY FOR OTHERS WITH A WHOLE
LOT MORE VIVID DETAIL, ISN’T IT? JACK: YEAH, AND WE’RE GOING
TO USE A COUPLE OF EXAMPLES
IN JUST A LITTLE WHILE HERE… THAT I HOPE WILL
SHOW THAT EVEN THE MOST
FAMILIAR BIBLE STORIES, THE ONES THAT WE THINK
WE KNOW SO WELL, MAY BE STORIES THAT HAVE
GEOGRAPHY WE HAVEN’T CONSIDERED. TIM: OKAY. LET’S JUMP
TO THAT RIGHT NOW. LET’S JUMP INTO
ONE OF THOSE. IF I THINK OF
AN OLD TESTAMENT STORY… WE’RE GOING TO DO ONE IN THE
OLD TESTAMENT, ONE IN THE NEW. I THINK OF THE OLD TESTAMENT
STORY IS… IS THE ONE THAT
JUST ABOUT EVERYBODY KNOWS, WHETHER THEY’RE A CHRISTIAN
WHO CAME UP THROUGH SUNDAY
SCHOOL OR NOT. IT’S THE DAVID
AND GOLIATH STORY. JACK: YEAH, AND IF YOU ASK
FOLKS FOR… TO, FROM MEMORY,
START TELLING THAT STORY, THEY’LL USUALLY START
BY DESCRIBING GOLIATH. AND WHAT THEY’VE DONE
IS THEY’VE SKIPPED THE FIRST
THREE VERSES OF 1 SAMUEL 17, WHICH CONTAIN THE GEOGRAPHICAL
INTRODUCTION TO THE STORY. TIM: OKAY, SO LET’S TAKE A LOOK
AT THAT STORY. LET’S KIND OF
UNPACK THAT FOR FOLKS, THE… THE DAVID AND
GOLIATH STORY THAT TAKES
PLACE IN THE ELAH VALLEY. JACK: THAT’S CORRECT. TIM: LET’S LOOK AT A PICTURE
OF THE ELAH VALLEY HERE. DESCRIBE FOR THE FOLKS WHAT
THEY’RE SEEING AND WHO’S WHERE. WHERE ARE THE ARMIES
OF ISRAEL? WHERE ARE
THE ARMIES OF THE PHILISTINES? AND… AND WHERE ARE THEY ALL
SITUATED IN THIS SCENE? JACK: YEAH. THE… THE BIBLICAL
AUTHOR OF 1 SAMUEL 17… VERY INTENTIONALLY BEGINS
WITH SEVERAL PLACE NAMES, AND AS WE LOOK AT THIS PICTURE,
WE’RE STANDING ON ONE OF THEM. WE CAN’T SEE IT.
IT’S UNDER OUR FEET. THAT
IS THE LOCATION OF AZEKAH. THE ELAH VALLEY IS THE LONG
RIBBON OF VALLEY THAT FIRST… FIRST OF ALL CROSSES
LEFT TO RIGHT IN FRONT OF US, AND THEN CIRCLES BACK
BETWEEN THE… THE TWO
RIDGES IN THE FOREGROUND, AND CONTINUES ALL THE WAY TO THE
EAST, TO THE JUDEAN MOUNTAINS… THAT ARE THE
MOST DISTANT THING THAT I CAN
SEE IN THE… IN THE PHOTOGRAPH. WHEN WE LOOK AT THE WAY
THE BIBLICAL AUTHOR SETS
UP THE PLAYERS ON THE… ON THE… ON THE BOARD HERE,
WE SEE THAT THIS AREA IN FRONT
OF US IS FULL OF PHILISTINES. THAT’S AN UNEXPECTED PLACE TO
FIND PHILISTIDS… PHILISTINES. ACTUALLY, IT’S A TROUBLING
SPOT TO FIND PHILISTINES,
BECAUSE BEHIND US IN THIS FOR… IMAGE IS WHERE WE HAVE
THE COASTAL PLAIN LEADING
OUT TO THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA. THAT’S THE PHILISTINE
HOMELAND AT OUR BACK. SO TO SEE PHILISTINES
DRIFTING ALL THE WAY
THROUGH THIS VALLEY SYSTEM, ALMOST TO THE MOUNTAINS
IN THE BACKGROUND WHERE
THE ISRAELITES HAVE A HOME, CREATES A PROBLEM. TIM: AND… AND SO WE SEE THIS
VALLEY THAT KIND OF SNAKES, DOES AN S-TURN
AROUND THAT LITTLE KNOLL
IN THE CENTER THERE, AND… AND HEADS UP AS
WE’RE LOOKING EAST TOWARDS… THAT’S THE JUDEAN MOUNTAINS
THERE ON THE HORIZON, CORRECT? JACK: THAT IS CORRECT. TIM: SO AS WE LOOK AT THAT…
THAT LITTLE SECTION BACK
THERE IN THE CENTER… THAT LOOKS LIKE
SOME AGRICULTURAL
FLAT LAND BACK THERE, UP AGAINST THOSE HILLS,
THAT’S WHERE THE ISRAELI
ARMY WAS ENCAMPED. JACK: YEAH. THAT…
YOU HAVE IT EXACTLY CORRECT. THE BIBLICAL AUTHOR TELLS US
THE PHILISTINES WERE ENCAMPED… IN THE ELAH VALLEY
BETWEEN AZEKAH AND SOCOH. AND THAT TAKES THEM ALL
THE WAY THROUGH THAT LEFT
TURN IN THE VALLEY… TO THE BOTTOM OF THE…
OF THE RIDGE. AND ALL THAT’S LEFT
FOR THE ISRAELITE ARMY
IS THE TINY CORNER, THAT TINY BROWN CORNER,
BACK UP AGAINST THE MOUNTAINS. TIM: SO… SO AT THIS POINT,
IT’S FAIR TO SAY THAT
SAUL AND HIS ARMY, THEY HAVE THEIR BACKS
TO THE WALL HERE. JACK: ABSOLUTELY. TIM: ‘CAUSE IF THE PHILISTINES
BREAK THROUGH HERE, THEY HAVE
COMPLETE RUN OF THE LAND. JACK: IF WE CAN TAKE A LOOK
AT A MAP, I’LL SHOW YOU
WHAT THAT LOOKS LIKE. WE KNOW FROM A… AN EARLIER
STORY, AND THAT’S ILLUSTRATED
IN THE GREEN LINE ON THIS MAP, WE HAVE A SENSE OF WHAT
THE PHILISTINES WERE UP TO. THIS IS WHEN SAUL WASN’T PAYING
ATTENTION LIKE HE NEEDED TO BE, AND WHAT THE… WHAT THE
PHILISTINES HAD DONE IS THEY HAD
PENETRATED VERY, VERY DEEPLY… INTO THE CENTRAL MOUNTAINS.
YOU SEE THAT THEY’RE ALL
THE WAY INTO MICMASH, AND… AND THIS IS WHERE SAUL’S
SON JONATHAN TAKES THE LEAD
IN A VERY COURAGEOUS ATTACK, AND IS ABLE TO LEAD THE SOLDIERS
AND DRIVE THE PHILISTINES
BACK DOWN THAT GREEN LINE. NOW, COMING TO THIS STORY,
TAKE A LOOK AT THE ORANGE LINE. THAT ORANGE LINE THAT GOES FROM
GATH TO SOCOH IS THE DIRECTION
THAT THE PHILISTINES ARE… ARE COMING.
THE PURPLE LINE IS THE ROUTE
THAT DAVID WOULD’VE TAKEN… FROM BETHLEHEM DOWN INTO
THE… TO THE BATTLE FRONT
WHERE THE ELAH VALLEY IS. NOW, WHAT THE PHILISTINES
ARE DOING IS THEY’RE
DOING EXACTLY… WHAT THE GREEN LINE SUGGESTS
THEY HAD DONE EARLIER. THEY’RE GOING TO TRY TO BREAK
THROUGH THE ISRAELITE ARMY LINE, AND PENETRATE ALL THE WAY INTO
THE INTERIOR, TO THE RIDGE
ROUTE, AND TO BETHLEHEM. TIM: SO DAVID’S COMING DOWN FROM
BETHLEHEM, BASICALLY HE’S…
HE’S A SUPPLY BOY AT THIS TIME, JACK: HE’S A SUPPLY BOY. TIM: TAKING…
TAKING FOOD AND… AND
THINGS DOWN TO HIS BROTHERS, WHO ARE WITH SAUL AND
THE ARMY THAT ARE PARKED
UP IN THAT LITTLE… LITTLE SECTION OF
THE ELAH… ELAH VALLEY, WHICH IS ALL THAT’S LEFT
OF IT BECAUSE THE PHILISTINES
FILLED THE REST OF IT. JACK: AND THINK OF HOW
THAT WOULD’VE IMPACTED… THE PEOPLE WHO ARE LIVING IN
THE HILL COUNTRY OF JUDAH ABOVE, BECAUSE THAT’S HOW
THIS GEOGRAPHY IS SUPPOSED TO
STRIKE US AS BIBLE READERS. FIRST SAMUEL 17 STARTS OFF BY
ESTABLISHING THIS GEOGRAPHY… BECAUSE IT ARTICULATES
THE NATIONAL CRISIS, A NATIONAL CRISIS
OF SUPREME PROPORTIONS. THIS VERY, VERY RICH
AGRICULTURAL VALLEY HAS BEEN
LOST TO INVADING PHILISTINES, AND THE PHILISTINES
HAVE POSITIONED THEMSELVES
AT JUST THE RIGHT POINT… TO MAKE THE INVASION
BY THE HUSAN RIDGE INTO
THE… INTO THE INTERIOR. AND ONCE THEY HAVE
GOTTEN TO THE INTERIOR,
TO THE RIDGE ROUTE, THEY HAVE THE RUN OF THE PLACE
NORTH AND SOUTH. AND EVERY
VILLAGE ALONG THAT RIDGE ROUTE, AND THERE ARE A LOT OF THEM,
ARE GOING TO BE AT RISK. TIM: SO ALL THOSE PLACES
THAT ARE CONNECTED FROM,
AS YOU SEE ON THE MAP THERE, FROM HEBRON CLEAR UP
TO SHILOH. ALL THOSE
LITTLE TOWNS ALONG THERE… ARE AT RISK IF SAUL AND THE ARMY
DON’T STOP THE PHILISTINES HERE. JACK: YEAH. AND…
AND THAT’S THE WHOLE POINT. BEFORE WE EVER HEAR ABOUT
THE GOLIATH CHARACTER
AND HIS… HIS ARMOR, WE ARE BEING TOLD ABOUT HOW
SERIOUS A MATTER THIS IS. IF… IF THERE WAS A TIME
FOR A LEADER TO STEP FORWARD
AND DEMONSTRATE THAT… THAT THAT PERSON COULD HANDLE A
NATIONAL SECURITY CRISIS OF SUCH
EXTREME PROPOR… IMPORTANCE, THIS GEOGRAPHY SUGGESTS
THE TIME HAS COME. TIM: AND SAUL,
THE CHOSEN ONE OF THE PEOPLE… THEY WANTED A KING
WHO WOULD FIGHT FOR THEM,
WE’RE TOLD EARLIER… DIDN’T FIGHT FOR THEM. JACK: HE DOESN’T EVEN COME CLOSE
TO MATCHING THE JOB DESCRIPTION.
HE INSPIRES NO COURAGE. IN FACT, WE’RE TOLD THAT
HE AND HIS SOLDIERS FEAR.
NO ONE HAS A BETTER IDEA, AND NO ONE HAS A DIR…
A DIRECTION TO FOLLOW IN TAKING
ON THE CHALLENGE OF GOLIATH. AND IT’S ONLY WHEN
DAVID COMES INTO THE ARENA
THAT THAT BEGINS TO CHANGE. TIM: AND YOU SEE THIS
MASSIVE CHANGE EVEN WITH
THE… THE ISRAELI ARMY, THAT ONCE DAVID DEFEATS GOLIATH,
THEY, TOO, GAIN SOME COURAGE
AND PURSUE THE PHILISTINES. AND IT’S A VERY
DIFFERENT PICTURE AT
THE END OF THAT CHAPTER… AS WHEN IT GOT
STARTED, ISN’T IT? JACK: IT IS. IT’S A TERRIBLY
DIFFERENT PICTURE THAN WHAT
WE HAD BEGUN WITH. AND IT’S TOLD WITH GEOGRAPHY,
BECAUSE AS THE GEOGRAPHY
BEGINS THAT STORY, AND ESTABLISHES A…
AN ELAH VALLEY THAT’S FULL
OF MENACING PHILISTINES, THE END OF THE STORY,
VERSES 52 AND 53, CLOSE
WITH THE SAME GEOGRAPHY, BUT IN EXACTLY
THE REVERSE FASHION.
NOW THIS VALLEY THAT WOULD… THAT HAD BEEN SO FULL
OF THREATENING SOLDIERS
WAS EMPTY BUT OF… OF ALL THOSE
BUT THOSE WHO HAD DIED. TIM: SO THAT’S A PRETTY DRAMATIC
SITUATION THAT CHANGES FROM THE
LITTLE VALLEY I HAD PICTURED, THAT DAVID AND
GOLIATH HAD A SKIRMISH,
TO A MAJOR EPIC BATTLE… THAT REALLY IMPACTED THE
HISTORY OF THE NATION OF ISRAEL
AND ESTABLISHED A NEW LEADER. JACK: THE DIFFERENCE
IS THE GEOGRAPHY. IT’S NOT INCIDENTAL BUT INTEGRAL
TO THE TELLING OF THE STORY. TIM: SO… SO LET’S TAKE A LOOK
AT ONE IN THE NEW TESTAMENT. IF I THINK OF A…
OF A POPULAR STORY OR
A LOCATION: BETHLEHEM. JACK: YEAH. YEAH. TIM: TELL ME ABOUT BETHLEHEM. JACK: WELL, BETHLEHEM IS A PLACE
THAT’S SO WELL KNOWN BECAUSE
OF THE BIRTH OF JESUS, HUH? BUT THERE’S MORE TO
BETHLEHEM THAN THAT. BETHLEHEM IS A PLACE
THAT’S VERY, VERY RICH
IN POSITIVE CONNOTATIONS. AND THAT STARTS WITH
A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF THE
AGRICULTURE AROUND BETHLEHEM. TIM: IF WE LOOK AT
A PICTURE THERE, WE SEE
A PICTURE OF THE… THE TREES. AND THIS IS… THIS IS
SOME FERTILE SOIL WHERE MUCH
GROWS THERE, ISN’T THERE? JACK: YEAH, AND IT’S…
IT’S NOT JUST THE FERTILITY
OF THE SOIL, TIM. IT’S THE TOPOGRAPHY.
IT’S THE LAY OF THE LAND. JUDAH’S HILL COUNTRY
CHARACTERISTICALLY IS
COMPOSED OF… OF STEEPLY SIDED, NARROW,
V-SHAPED VALLEYS. AND WHEN YOU HAVE
AN ARCHITECTURE LIKE
THAT IN THE GEOGRAPHY, THERE’S VERY LITTLE
FARMING THAT YOU CAN DO
AT THE BOTTOM OF THAT VALLEY. IN FACT, THE ONLY OPTION
YOU HAVE IS TO CONSTRUCT, TO BUILD YOUR OWN FARMLAND
BY BUILDING TERRACES UP
THE… UP THE STEEP SLOPES. IT’S A LABOR-INTENSIVE JOB TO
JUST GET A FARM FIELD IN PLACE. WHAT’S DIFFERENT ABOUT
BETHLEHEM IS THAT THE TER…
TOPOGRAPHY CHANGES. IT OPENS UP, AND
YOU HAVE NATURAL FARM FIELDS… JUST WAITING FOR YOU TO PLANT
GRAIN, NOT TO BUILD TERRACES. TIM: AND THAT GAVE US THE NAME
OF BETHLEHEM, DIDN’T IT? JACK: YEAH, IT’S… IT’S WHEAT
GROWING COUNTRYPAR EXCELLENCE.AND THE… THE PLACE NAME,
BETHLEHEM, IS REFLECTIVE OF
THE HEBREWBET LECHEM,“HOUSE OF BREAD,”
A BAKERY PLACE. TIM: SO A PLACE WHERE
THEY COULD FIND HOPE, BECAUSE THERE’S
A LOT OF FOOD THAT THEY
WOULD GAIN FROM THIS AREA. JACK: YEAH, IT PROVIDED A
SOLUTION TO THE TOPOGRAPHICAL
PROBLEM OF JUDAH’S HILL COUNTRY, WHICH CREATED THE… THE
DIFFICULTY IN… IN FARMING.
BUT THERE’S MORE TO IT. TIM: WELL, BECAUSE
I ALWAYS THINK OF BETHLEHEM,
AND I THINK MOST OF US DO, AS WE LOOK AT A MAP,
WE… WE CAN SEE THAT BETHLEHEM
IS OBVIOUSLY ON THAT RED LINE… WHERE MARY AND JOSEPH
MAKE THE TREK FROM NAZARETH… DOWN TO BETHLEHEM
FOR THE BIRTH OF JESUS. WE THINK OF BETHLEHEM AS THE
BIRTHPLACE OF JESUS, PROBABLY
MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE. JACK: YEAH,
BUT IF WE’RE REALLY GOING TO
UNDERSTAND BETHLEHEM, TIM, WE NEED TO TAKE A STEP BACK
INTO THE OLD TESTAMENT, BECAUSE HOW PEOPLE
THOUGHT ABOUT BETHLEHEM,
HOW THEY FELT ABOUT IT, THE CONNOTATIONS ASSOCIATED
WITH BETHLEHEM REACH BACK, FIRST OF ALL,
TO THE TIME OF RUTH AND NAOMI. TIM: HMM. EXPLAIN A LITTLE
BIT MORE ABOUT THAT. JACK: WELL, RUTH AND NAOMI
HAD BEEN IN MOAB. THEY UNFORTUNATELY
LOST THEIR HUSBANDS AND NOW
WERE COMING TO BETHLEHEM, A… A FAMILY AT REAL
HIGH RISK BECAUSE THEY HAD
LOST THE CONNECTIONS… TO THE EXTENDED FAMILY
THAT HAD… THAT… THAT HAD BEEN IN PLACE
WHEN THEIR HUSBANDS WERE LIVING. THEY WERE A PRETTY HOPELESS PAIR
WHEN THEY ARRIVED IN BETHLEHEM. BUT THIS FAMILY IN CRISIS FOUND
BETHLEHEM TO BE A SOLUTION SPOT. A KINDLY MAN BY
THE NAME OF BOAZ, WHO IN NO WAY NEEDED TO ADD MORE
HUNGRY MOUTHS TO HIS HOUSEHOLD, MARRIED RUTH, BROUGHT NAOMI
AND RUTH INTO HIS HOUSEHOLD. AND SO AT THE LEVEL OF FAMILY,
THIS PROVIDED A SOLUTION. TIM: OKAY. SO AT THIS
KEY MOMENT THIS ONE WOMAN,
RUTH, A MOABITESS… SHE WASN’T EVEN AN ISRAELITE,
A MOABITESS WHO GETS ADDED INTO
THE LINE AND LINEAGE OF DAVID, WHICH IS THE NEXT STORY
ABOUT BETHLEHEM, ISN’T IT? JACK: YEAH, IT…
IT SURE IS, BECAUSE THIS… THIS VILLAGE THAT HAD PROVIDED
A SOLUTION FOR THE FAMILY… NEEDED TO PROVIDE A SOLUTION
FOR A NATION IN CRISIS. THAT CRISIS WAS
PRECIPITATED, AGAIN, BY SAUL’S
FAILURE TO BE THE LEADER… GOD HAD WANTED HIM TO… TO BE.
AND WHEN SAUL FAILED, THE LORD WENT ON THE LOOKOUT
FOR A MAN AFTER HIS OWN HEART. HE SENT SAMUEL TO THE VILLAGE OF
BETHLEHEM, AND IT’S IN BETHLEHEM
THAT SAMUEL FOUND DAVID. THE VILLAGE THAT HAD PROVIDED
A SOLUTION FOR THE FAMILY
OF NAOMI AND RUTH IN CRISIS… NOW PROVIDED A SOLUTION
FOR THE NATION IN CRISIS
AT THE TIME OF SAUL. TIM: AND THAT TIES BACK
INTO OUR OLD TESTAMENT STORY
OF THE DAVID AND GOLIATH. HE HAD ALREADY BEEN CHOSEN,
AND HE BECAME THE SOLUTION TO
BECOME THE LEADER OF THE NATION. AND THAT WAS PROVEN
IN THE DAY OF… DAVID
AND GOLIATH INCIDENT. JACK: IF WE’RE FOLLOWING
THAT TRAJECTORY, IF WE’RE
FOLLOWING THAT ARROW, WE’LL BE LESS SURPRISED
BY THE LANGUAGE OF MICAH 5:2. TIM: OKAY.
EXPLAIN MORE ABOUT THAT. JACK: YEAH. THIS IS MICAH
GIVING US ONE OF THE MOST
INTERESTING DETAILS… THAT WE HAVE IN
THE OLD TESTAMENT ABOUT
THE COMING MESSIAH. HE SAYS, “BUT YOU, BETHLEHEM
EPHRATHAH, THOUGH YOU ARE
SMALL AMONG THE CLANS OF JUDAH, “YET OUT OF YOU WILL COME
THAT ONE WHO WILL BE FROM
OF OLD, FROM EVERLASTING.” MICAH SAYS,
“WHEN YOU LOOK FOR THE MESSIAH,
LOOK FOR HIM IN BETHLEHEM.” TIM: AND TO USE
THE WORD BETHLEHEM,
YOU KNOW, I WOULD EXPECT THAT, OH, HE’D MAKE MENTION OF THE
PLACE, THAT… THAT MATTHEW AND
LUKE WOULD MAKE MENTION THAT, OKAY, THERE’S
A PLACE, BETHLEHEM, AND THAT’S
JUST WHERE THEY’RE HEADED, BECAUSE JOSEPH WAS OF
THE HOUSE AND LINEAGE OF DAVID. JACK: YEAH, AND HERE’S WHERE
LITERARY GEOGRAPHY COMES IN. LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT THIS,
BECAUSE IF MATTHEW AND LUKE
WERE ONLY INTERESTED… ONLY INTERESTED IN MAKING
SURE I MADE THE CONNECTION
BETWEEN MICAH’S PROPHECY… AND THE FULFILLMENT
IN THE BIRTH OF JESUS, ALL THEY’D HAD TO DO IS
MENTION BETHLEHEM ONCE. LUKE MENTIONS IT
FOUR TIMES, MATTHEW FIVE TIMES. TIM: NINE TIMES! JACK: BETWEEN THOSE
TWO GOSPELS, WE HAVE NINE
MENTIONS OF THIS VILLAGE. TIM: WHY SO MUCH? JACK: “WHY SO MUCH?”
IS THE QUESTION, ISN’T IT? TIM: YEAH,
THAT’S WHAT YOU NOTICE. JACK: THAT’S THE LITERARY
GEOGRAPHY QUESTION, YOU SEE? IT’S NOT JUST
COMMUNICATING INFORMATION. IT’S USING THE NAME OF THE
VILLAGE AND ITS CONNOTATIONS
TO CREATE A FEELING, A SENSE OF OWNERSHIP IN…
IN THIS BIRTH OF THE CHILD. YOU… YOU PUT THE MANGER
IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PICTURE, AND YOU SURROUND IT
WITH THE LABEL “BETHLEHEM”.
ALL THE GOOD FEELINGS, ALL THE SOLUTION-ORIENTED
THINKING THAT YOU’VE COME TO…
TO ASSOCIATE WITH BETHLEHEM… NOW ENCIRCLES THE MANGER.
I THINK IT’S A LITERARY TOOL. TIM: SO WHEN I THINK
OF THAT CHRISTMASTIME,
CHRISTMAS CARD PHOTOGRAPH… THAT HAS A MANGER
WITH THIS GLOW AROUND IT, YOU’RE SAYING THAT
IT WAS REALLY THE INTENTION
OF THE BIBLICAL WRITERS… TO PAINT THAT GLOW, TO SAY WHAT
MAKES THIS TOWN SO IMPORTANT… IS THAT IT HAD BEEN PREPARED
FOR YEARS TO WELCOME MESSIAH… THAT WAS GOING TO BE
A SOLUTION FOR THE WORLD. JACK: YEAH, AND… AND FOLLOW
THAT ARROW ALL THE WAY THROUGH, AND IT CREATES THIS VERY,
VERY BEAUTIFUL MATRIX. IT PROVIDES A SOLUTION
FOR A FAMILY AT THE TIME
OF RUTH AND NAOMI, FOR A NATION AT THE TIME
OF SAUL, AND FOR THE WORLD WHEN
THE CHRIST CHILD WAS BORN THERE. TIM: SO RIGHT NOW,
YOU KNOW, THIS HAS BEEN GREAT.
I’VE ENJOYED THIS SO MUCH. WE HAVE SOME QUESTIONS.
CONNIE ASKS THIS QUESTION: “I AM INTERESTED
IN GEOGRAPHY, BUT I DO
NOT HAVE ACCESS TO GOOD MAPS. “WHAT WOULD BE A WAY THAT I CAN
GET INTO GEOGRAPHY MORE?” JACK: YEAH, MAPS ARE
A GREAT STARTING POINT, AND IT’S ONE OF THE REASONS
WHEN WE DID THEDISCOVERY
HOUSE BIBLE ATLAS…
I FEEL LIKE I’M RUNNING
A COMMERCIAL HERE, BUT… TIM: THAT’S OKAY. WE’LL LET
YOU DO THAT A LITTLE BIT. JACK: AS LONG AS I’M IN-HOUSE
HERE, RIGHT? THE… ONE OF THE SIGNATURE ITEMS
IN THIS ATLAS WAS THE CREATION
OF AN ENTIRELY NEW MAP SET. I’M NOT SURE THAT EVERYONE
WILL REALIZE JUST HOW
IMPORTANT THAT IS. THE MAPMAKING SCIENCE OF…
OF CARTOGRAPHY MIGRATES. IT GETS BETTER
AND BETTER AND BETTER. AND WE WERE ABLE
TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SOME OF
THOSE ADVANCES IN CARTOGRAPHY. AND I WORKED TO…
WITH FOLKS OUT ON
THE EAST COAST IN ORDER TO… TO CREATE THE MAPS THAT
WE HAVE HERE. SO I… I THINK
WE HAVE SOME OF THE BEST… CURRENT MAPS AVAILABLE
IN THIS ATLAS. TIM: OKAY. MAPS WILL
BE A GOOD STARTING PLACE,
BUT… BUT WHAT ELSE? IF SHE SAID SHE DOESN’T
HAVE ACCESS TO REALLY GOOD MAPS, WHAT ABOUT GOOGLE
AND THINGS LIKE THAT? DID…
IS THAT HELPFUL AT ALL? JACK: IT CAN BE,
BUT LIKE SO MANY OTHER THINGS, GOOGLE CAN HAVE INFORMATION
THAT’S HELPFUL AND… AND NOT
SO HELPFUL ABOARD. SO IT… IT CAN
BE A RESOURCE FOR YOU,
BUT… BUT I THINK I’D… I’D PREFER TO
DIRECT FOLKS TOWARDS
PUBLICATIONS OR WEBSITES… THAT FOLKS HAVE PUT UP
WHO… FOLKS WHO HAVE SOME
CREDENTIALS IN THE AREA. TIM: AND A MAP KIND OF
GIVES THEM THE OPPORTUNITY
TO HAVE A LAY OF THE LAND. JACK: YEAH. YEAH, MAPS…
MAPS HELP… HELP US VISUALIZE. REMEMBER THEY DON’T
TAKE YOU THE WHOLE WAY. AND… AND I WANT TO
MAKE SURE THAT I… THAT I…
THAT I SAY THAT AGAIN. MAPS ARE GREAT, BUT THERE’S
MORE TO THE COMMUNICATION
PROCESS THAN JUST MAPS. IT’S DETERMINING WHAT THOSE
CONNOTATIONS ARE, FIGURING OUT
WHAT HAPPENED IN A PLACE BEFORE. THOSE ARE THE SORTS OF THINGS
THAT CAN REALLY FILL OUT… THE LITERARY GEOGRAPHY
WE’RE TALKING ABOUT. TIM: WELL, AND WHEN YOU
SAY THAT, I KNOW ONE OF
THE COMMENTS I’VE HEARD… FROM OTHERS THAT HAVE READ
YOUR PARTICULAR ATLAS WAS, “IT
READS MORE LIKE A COMMENTARY.” JACK: YEAH, AND I APPRECIATE
HEARING THAT, BECAUSE IT
SHOULD SOUND DIFFERENT. MOST BIBLE ATLASES HAVE
BEEN BUILT ON THE FOUNDATION
OF HISTORICAL GEOGRAPHY, AND SO THEY’LL
BE VERY EVENT-ORIENTED
IN EXPLAINING THE… THE NATURE OF THE EVENT ITSELF.
A LITERARY GEOGRAPHY, WHICH I’M ADDING
TO THE PROCESS HERE,
IS ENGAGING THE COMMUNICATION. AND SO I’M TRYING TO UNDERSTAND
HOW GEOGRAPHY HAS BEEN CO-OPTED
BY THE BIBLICAL AUTHORS… AS THEY SHAPED
THEIR MESSAGE. IT SHOULD
SOUND MORE LIKE A COMMENTARY, BECAUSE IT’S…
IT’S HANDLING THE TEXT
MORE LIKE A COMMENTARY WOULD. TIM: OKAY. CAROL ASKED THIS
QUESTION. SHE SAID SHE WOULD
LIKE YOU TO EXPLAIN… WHEN SHE READS IN THE BIBLE,
IT TALKS ABOUT IT AS BEING
THE LAND OF MILK AND HONEY. WHAT… I MEAN, SOME OF
THE PICTURES WE LOOK AT IN HERE, IT LOOKS LIKE A PRETTY
ROCKY AND AUSTERE PLACE. JACK: YEAH. YEAH, IT SURE DOES.
AND I APPRECIATE THE QUESTION, BECAUSE IT’S THE QUESTION
A LOT OF PEOPLE ASK WHEN THEY
GET OFF THE AIRPLANE IN ISRAEL. THEY GO, “WHERE’S THE… WHERE’S
THE LAND OF MILK AND HONEY?” BECAUSE IT IS A MORE AUSTERE
LOOKING PIECE OF REAL ESTATE. REALIZE THAT WHEN WE COMMUNICATE
GEOGRAPHICALLY, WE’RE ALWAYS
CONTEXTUALIZING THAT. AND WHEN THE ISRAELITES
HEARD THAT, THEY WEREN’T
IN THE CONTEXT OF ISRAEL, THEY WERE IN THE CONTEXT
OF WILDERNESS. IN FACT, THEY HAD
BEEN IN WILDERNESS FOR 40 YEARS, AND THEY KNEW NOTHING
EXCEPT THE… THE DRY, ALMOST GREEN-FREE LANDSCAPE
OF THE SINAI, THE PARAN,
AND ZIN WILDERNESSES. SO ANYTHING THAT WAS
GOOD FOR GROWING FLOWERS,
FOR GROWING WHEAT, FOR PASTURING ANIMALS
WAS GOING TO BE A VERY
DESIRABLE LAND. TIM: SO THAT’S THE WHOLE IDEA
THAT IT’S… IT’S… SOMEHOW
IT’S A PRODUCTIVE LAND. IT’S A DESCRIPTION OF
A PRODUCTIVE LAND… THAT WAS GOING
TO PRODUCE SOMETHING
THAT WOULD SUSTAIN THEM. JACK: AND IT… AND IT ALSO
CONTRASTS, IN MY MIND, THE PRIMARY PRODUCTS
OF NORTH AND SOUTH. IF YOU RUN A LINE
EAST-WEST THROUGH JERUSALEM,
NORTH OF THAT LINE, GENERALLY, THERE’S ENOUGH
ANNUAL PRECIPITATION FOR WHEAT
AND FOR FLOWERS TO GROW. BEE HONEY IS GOING TO BE
HARVESTED IN THAT NORTHERN AREA.
THAT IS THE LAND OF HONEY. MILK IS MOST LIKELY
GOAT’S MILK. THAT WAS THE… THE COMMODITY THAT WAS THAT MILK
COMMODITY THAT WAS CONSUMED. AND SOUTH OF THAT EAST-WEST
LINE FROM JERUSALEM, WHEN THE AGRICULTURE
BECOMES MORE DIFFICULT, WE SHIFT TO MORE OF A PASTORAL
ECONOMY AND THE GOAT’S MILK. SO THE LAND OF MILK,
THE SOUTH, THE LAND OF
HONEY TO THE NORTH… IS A WAY OF SPEAKING
ABOUT THE LAND IN ITS ENTIRETY
THROUGH ITS PRIMARY COMMODITIES. TIM: OH, THAT’S A REFERENCE
I’VE NEVER REALLY HEARD BEFORE, BUT THE COMMODITIES WERE USED
TO GIVE THE… THE NORTHERN AND
THE SOUTHERN BORDER OF ALL THAT. JACK: YES. YES. AND… AND WE’LL JUST ADD,
BRIEFLY, THAT IF YOU READ THAT
TEXT CAREFULLY IN DEUTERONOMY, THE LORD HINGES
THAT PROMISE ON A CONDITION.
HE SAYS, “IF YOU OBEY ME, “THEN THIS WILL BE A LAND
THAT FLOWS WITH MILK AND HONEY.” AND AS WE…
AS WE WATCH THE ECOSYSTEM
GO UP AND DOWN IN THE BIBLE, IT’S GOING UP
AND DOWN OFTEN IN RHYTHM TO
THE OBEDIENCE OF GOD’S PEOPLE. TIM: OKAY. CARRIE ASKS
THIS QUESTION: SHE FEELS
OVERWHELMED ANY TIME SHE… TAKES A LOOK AT THIS
KIND OF MATERIAL AND HEARS
ABOUT ALL THE DETAILS. ANY RECOMMENDATIONS ON
WHERE TO START WITH THIS
TOPIC OF GEOGRAPHY? JACK: YEAH. START SMALL.
START SMALL. START WITH
THE FAMILIAR STORIES. AGAIN, I BELIEVE THIS
ATLAS ALLOWS YOU TO…
TO PUT YOUR FIG… PUT YOUR FEET IN THE WATER
WITH THIS, WITHOUT JUMPING
ALL THE… ALL THE WAY IN. YOU CAN SEE WHETHER OR NOT
THIS… THIS MAKES SENSE TO YOU. I FIND THAT OFTEN WHEN
THE IDEA BEGINS TO MAKE SENSE, PEOPLE FEEL LIBERATED
FROM THE TEXT AND BEGIN
TO SEE THINGS ON THEIR OWN. TIM: WELL, ONE OF THE THINGS
WE’RE GOING TO DO, THAT WE’RE OFFERING TO FOLKS
PARTICIPATING IN THIS WEBINAR, THEY’RE GOING TO BE ABLE
TO DOWNLOAD A FREE PDF OF
THE INTRODUCTION… AND THE FIRST CHAPTER OF
THE ATLAS. SO WE’RE GOING
TO GET THEIR FEET… THEIR TOES IN THE WATER AND GET
THEIR FEET WET A LITTLE BIT, TO SEE HOW THEY
ARE ABLE TO TAKE THIS IN
AND BEGIN PROCESSING THAT. JACK: YEAH. AND… AND LIKE
THE LEARNING OF ANYTHING, YOU… YOU START
WITH BIG PICTURE BEFORE
YOU MOVE TO SMALL PICTURE. AND IN THE ATLAS,
IN THE SECOND CHAPTER,
I TRIED TO DO EXACTLY THAT. I START WITH THE LARGEST
PICTURES, WITH THE… THE LAND PAINTED WITH
THE BROADEST BRUSHSTROKES. AND THEN WE EVENTUALLY
MOVE DOWN INTO TINIER
AND TINIER STROKES… TO UNDERSTAND THE…
THE NUANCES OF THE LAND. TIM: OKAY. JOHN WANTS TO ASK
THIS. HE SAYS, “PLEASE SHARE
YOUR PERSONAL REFLECTIONS… “ON WHAT IT MEANS TO WALK THE
SAME TERRAIN THAT JESUS WALKED.” JACK: YEAH, IT IS…
IT IS AN AMAZING EXPERIENCE. IT… IT ALLOWS ME TO DO
SO MUCH OF WHAT JESUS DID, TO FEEL THE ELEVATION CHANGES
IN MY THIGHS AS THEY BURN
WHEN I’M GOING UPHILL, TO FEEL THE WIND AND
THE WIND DIRECTION CHANGE. AND REMEMBER THAT WIND DIRECTION
CAN HAVE AN IMPACT ON… ON THE
WEATHER AND EXPECTATION. JESUS TALKED ABOUT THAT
IN HIS… IN HIS MINISTRY. THE SCENES THAT UNRAVEL
BEFORE OUR EYES, OR UNFOLD,
RATHER, BEFORE OUR EYES… BECOME THE VERY IMAGERY
THAT JESUS PICKS UP AS HE…
AS THIS ITINERANT TEACHER, AND MOVES THROUGH THE LANDSCAPE
AND TALKS ABOUT FISHING, AND TALKS ABOUT AGRICULTURE
AND TALKS ABOUT RAINFALL. IT IS… IT IS A SENSE-SURROUND
EXPERIENCE THAT YOU GET. TIM: SO AS HE’S WALKING THROUGH
THE LAND, BECAUSE THAT WAS HIS
PRIMARY MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION, HE’S PULLING FROM WHAT
HE’S SEEING AROUND TO USE THOSE
AS TANGIBLE, GEOGRAPHICAL, TOPOGRAPHICAL, CLIMATIC
ILLUSTRATIONS, TO ILLUSTRATE
THE TRUTH THAT HE’S TEACHING. JACK: YEAH, AND I WANT YOU
TO REALIZE THAT’S HOW
HE LEARNED THE BIBLE. JESUS’ PRIMARY WAY OF LEARNING
THE BIBLE WOULD’VE BEEN THE WAY
PEOPLE LEARNED THEIR BIBLE… IN THE NEW TESTAMENT ERA.
IT WAS FROM THEIR PARENTS WHILE
THEY WERE WALKING THE LAND. HE LEARNED BY LANDSCAPE. HE,
IN TURN, TAUGHT BY LANDSCAPE.
IT’S A WONDERFUL SYMMETRY. TIM: I THINK PARTICULARLY OF THE
PSALMS WHERE IT TALKS ABOUT… THERE’S CERTAIN “PSALMS OF
ASCENT”, PSALMS THAT TALK
ABOUT GOING UP TO WORSHIP. AND THAT’S THAT JUDEAN
HILL COUNTRY YOU TALKED
ABOUT, ISN’T IT? JACK: YEAH, IT… IT IS. THE…
THE CHALLENGE OF GOING UPHILL, THE CHALLENGE OF TRAVEL
TO JERUSALEM BECOMES AN
OPPORTUNITY FOR REFLECTION, ON MY OWN MORTAL LIMITATIONS
AND WHAT’S WAITING FOR ME
AT THE END OF THE JOURNEY. AND GETTING OUT AND WALKING
THOSE SAME PLACES, IT… IT CAUSES THE SAME
THOUGHTS TO ERUPT. TIM: YEAH. STEPHANIE ASKS
THIS QUESTION. IT’S KIND OF
A UNIQUE QUESTION, ON TWITTER. SHE SAYS THIS:
“ARE WE ACTUALLY CHANGING
THE MEANING OF THE STORY… “BY LEAVING OUT THE GEOGRAPHY?” JACK: YEAH. THE… I…
I THINK IT’S IMPORTANT FOR
EVERYONE TO KNOW AND REALIZE… THAT THE ESSENTIAL MESSAGE
OF THE BIBLE IS NOT LOST, THAT THE KEY WORDS OF…
OF FORGIVENESS AND HOPE AND
LOVE CAN BE FOUND IN THE BIBLE, I KNOW IT’S FOUND BY MANY
PEOPLE IN THE BIBLE, EVEN WHO AREN’T WEIGHING IN
THE GEOGRAPHICAL COMPONENTS. WHAT I’M SUGGESTING IS THAT
THERE ARE ENHANCEMENTS TO OUR
UNDERSTANDING OF THAT MESSAGE, CLARITY THAT COMES
WHEN WE INCLUDE GEOGRAPHY
IN THE PROCESS. WE’RE MISSING SOMETHING
IF WE DON’T. TIM: SEE, I WAS
ASKED THE QUESTION WHEN
I FINISHED SEMINARY, BECAUSE I KNEW
GREEK AND HEBREW, HOW DID
I READ THE BIBLE DIFFERENTLY, BY ONE OF MY FRIENDS.
AND MY RESPONSE TO HER WAS, “IT… WE BOTH HAVE
THE SAME BIBLE, WE BOTH
HAVE THE SAME STORY. “ALL THE SAME CONTENT
IS THERE. IT’S THAT… WELL,
MAYBE YOU’RE WATCHING IT… “IN STANDARD DEFINITION
BLACK AND WHITE, AND I GET
TO WATCH IT IN HIGH-DEF COLOR.” JACK: YEAH. YEAH.
THAT’S A GREAT ANALOGY THAT
COULD BE APPLIED HERE, AS WELL. TIM: OKAY, LET’S SEE.
JANINE ASKS THIS QUESTION: “WHEN I SEE PICTURES TODAY
OF BETHLEHEM, IT’S MOSTLY
OLIVE TREES AND FIELDS. “IS IT STILL
A BREADBASKET TODAY?” JACK: ACTUALLY, THE…
BETHLEHEM, THE VALLEYS THAT WERE
SO RICH IN GRAIN AGRICULTURE, HAVE INCREASINGLY
FILLED WITH HOMES. THIS IS REALLY COUNTER TO
THE WAY IT WOULD HAVE
BEEN IN BIBLE TIMES. IN BIBLE TIMES
PEOPLE BUILT THEIR HOMES
ON THE INFERTILE HILLSIDES, AND FARMED THE VALLEYS, AND TODAY WE SEE MORE AND
MORE OF THOSE VALLEYS
CONSUMED WITH HOMES. BUT THERE ARE STILL
WONDERFUL AGRICULTURAL FIELDS
THERE AROUND BETHLEHEM. TIM: OKAY. LET’S SEE.
SARAH ASKS THIS QUESTION: “WHAT IS YOUR OPINION
ON GOLGOTHA AS A PLACE
OF THE CRUCIFIXION?” JACK: YEAH. WHEN THE… WHEN THE
GOSPEL WRITERS REPORT ON WHERE
THIS AMAZING EVENT OCCURRED, AND… AND THAT DESERVES
ANOTHER SENTENCE, DOESN’T IT? THERE’S NO PLACE ON EARTH
THAT HAS A BIGGER IMPACT ON MY
ETERNAL DESTINY THAN THAT PLACE. IT WOULD BE A PLACE I’D WANT
TO VISIT, AND THINK ABOUT
AND… AND REFLECT ON. I… I THINK WHAT MAY BE
BEHIND THE QUESTION… IS THAT THERE ARE ACTUALLY TWO
LOCATIONS IN JERUSALEM THAT… AND “COMPETE” IS TOO STRONG
A WORD… THAT HAVE A CLAIM
ON BEING THAT PLACE OF THE… OF THE… PLACE OF CRUCIFIXION
AND PLACE OF RESURRECTION. THE GARDEN TOMB, GORDON’S
CALVARY TO THE NORTH, AND THE
CHURCH OF THE HOLY SEPULCHRE, WHICH IS A LITTLE BIT
SOUTH OF THAT LOCATION. AND WHILE I CAN’T BE
ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN AND CLOSE
THE DOOR ON EITHER ONE, I THINK THE GREAT WEIGHT OF
EVIDENCE GOES TO THE AREA OF THE
CHURCH OF THE HOLY SEPULCHRE. TIM: HAS MODERN
CIVILIZATION MADE CHANGES
IN THE GEOGRAPHY OF THE LAND? JACK: YEAH. IT… IT’S ONE
OF THE THINGS THAT CHALLENGES
ME AS A TEACHER IN THE LAND. MY GOAL AS A FIELD
EDUCATION INSTRUCTOR FOR
BIBLE STUDENTS IN ISRAEL… IS TO HELP THEM SEE THE LAND AS
THE PEOPLE OF THE BIBLE SAW IT. AND WHAT HAPPENS IS, AS
URBANIZA… URBAN SPRAWL SPREADS
OUT FROM THE COAST INLAND, SOME OF THE VIEWS
THAT I HAD COUNTED ON USING
ARE NO LONGER AVAILABLE. SO IT’S DEFINITELY AN…
AN ISSUE, NOT… I’M… I’M THANKFUL THAT
THERE ARE QUITE A NUMBER OF
NATIONAL PARKS IN ISRAEL… WHERE THE LANDSCAPE AND VIEWS
ARE PRESERVED AND, INCREASINGLY,
I TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THOSE. TIM: OKAY. HAROLD ASKS
THIS QUESTION. I THINK WE CAN
SQUEEZE THIS IN YET. SAYS, “CAN YOU EXPLAIN THE WORD ‘EN,’
E-N, THAT GOES BEFORE A LOT OF
THE CITY NAMES IN ISRAEL?” JACK: YEAH, ABSOLUTELY.
EN KEREM,
AND SO ON.
AN “EN” IS A SPRING. IT’S ONE OF THE…
IT’S ONE OF SEVERAL
TYPES OF WATER SOURCES… THAT WERE AVAILABLE TO PEOPLE
IN THE ANCIENT WORLD. IT WAS THE MOST DESIRABLE
OF ALL THE WATER RESOURCES, BECAUSE IT REQUIRED THE LEAST
AMOUNT OF… OF DEVELOPMENT, AND HAD THE MOST NATURALLY
FRESH AND FILTERED WATER. SO WHEN SOMEONE FOUND
THAT DESIRABLE WATER SOURCE, THEY MIGHT GIVE IT
THE LABEL “EN” AND THEN
SOME ADDITIONAL IDENTIFIER.EN KEREM,THE… THE SPRING
OF… NEAR THE VINEYARD, THE…KEREMIS A…
IS A VINEYARD. TIM: OKAY.
SO IDENTIFYING THE WATER SOURCE
IS A PRETTY IMPORTANT THING… IN A LAND THAT VERY… VERY MUCH
IS DEPENDENT ON RAINFALL. JACK: YEAH, THIS… THIS
IS ONE OF THE MOST SIGNIFICANT
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN US, WHO LIVE IN THE MODERN
WESTERN WORLD, AND THOSE WHO
LIVED IN THE BIBLICAL WORLD. WE… WE… WE HAVE TO REDUCE
OUR FRESH… PER CAPITA
FRESH WATER POTENTIAL… TO ABOUT THREE PERCENT
OF WHAT WE THINK OF IN
ORDER TO ARRIVE AT… THE CONDITIONS OF PEOPLE
IN BIBLE TIMES ISRAEL. TIM: THREE PERCENT. JACK: THREE PERCENT. TIM: WOW! WELL, LET
ME ASK YOU THIS LAST… SEE IF
WE CAN SQUEEZE THIS LAST ONE IN. WHAT WAS THE GEOGRAPHIC
REGION LIKE FOR EPHRAIM AND
MANASSAH BACK IN THAT DAY? JACK: MANASSAH AND EPHRAIM?
DIFFERENT GEOLOGICALLY, AND
DIFFERENT TOPOGRAPHICALLY, AND DIFFERENT HYDROLOGICALLY.
SO WE COULD SPEND
SOME TIME TALKING ABOUT THAT. TIM: AND I DON’T THINK
WE HAVE THAT MUCH TIME. JACK: YEAH.
LET ME SAY THIS, THE NAME
EPHRAIM… “TWICE FRUITFUL”, IS WHAT THE HEBREW
EPHRAIM
MEANS… IS THE PLACE WHERE YOU HAVE THE
BEST COMPOSITION OF TOPOGRAPHY
TO GIVE YOU SECURITY, THE BEST GEOLOGY
TO GIVE YOU THE AGRICULTURAL
QUALITY OF THE SOILS, AND THE BEST RAINFALL.
IT IS TRULY ANEPHRAIM,A TWICE-BLESSED,
TWICE-FRUITFUL PLACE. TIM: WELL, THANKS, JACK,
FOR TAKING THE TIME TO BE
WITH US AND EXPLAINING A LOT. AND FOR THOSE OF YOU
WHO ARE JOINING US, I SURE HOPE YOU WILL TAKE
ADVANTAGE OF THE MATERIALS
WE HAVE AVAILABLE FOR YOU. YOU WILL FIND
ALL THE INFORMATION
WE HAVE AVAILABLE FOR YOU. SEVEN DAYS FROM NOW
YOU’LL GET THE VIDEO OF
THIS ACTUAL WEBINAR… THAT YOU CAN WATCH AT WHATEVER
TIME IS GOOD FOR YOU. YOU’LL ALSO GET THE AUDIO THAT
YOU CAN LISTEN TO, AS WELL AS
DOWNLOAD THE POWERPOINT. DON’T FORGET YOU CAN ALSO
GET ACCESS TO A PDF… OF THE INTRODUCTION
AND THE FIRST FULL
CHAPTER OF JACK’S ATLAS. AND THEN, FINALLY, YOU’LL ALSO
FIND A LINK THERE, IF YOU WISH
TO PURCHASE JACK’S ATLAS. WE WOULD ENCOURAGE
YOU TO TAKE A LOOK AT THAT:
DISCOVERY HOUSE BIBLE ATLAS.
AND I HOPE THIS HAS
BEEN HELPFUL TO YOU. YOU KNOW, WE TEND TO THINK
OF THE LAND OF ISRAEL AS
A FAR-OFF, DISTANT PLACE, BUT THERE’S GEOGRAPHY
THAT IMPACTS ALL OF IT. AND OUR FAMILIARITY
WITH THE LAND CAN HELP US
BETTER APPRECIATE AND ENJOY… WHAT IN THE WORLD WAS GOD DOING
IN THAT TINY LITTLE SPACE… ON THE EASTERN SIDE
OF THE MEDITERRANEAN… THAT HAS BASICALLY CHANGED
THE COURSE OF HUMAN HISTORY.
IT HAS CHANGED THE WORLD. AND GOD, IN HIS SCRIPTURES,
HE EMBEDS THOSE GEOGRAPHICAL
CLUES FOR US TO DISCOVER. SO I HOPE DURING THIS
TIME THAT YOU’VE BEEN
ABLE TO, ALONG WITH US, DEVELOP A… MAYBE A…
A NEW LENS TO LOOK AT
THE SCRIPTURES. I HOPE YOU READ
THE SCRIPTURES DIFFERENTLY
THAN WHAT YOU HAVE BEFORE, THAT YOU’LL PICK UP ON SOME OF
THOSE CLUES. TURN TO THE MAPS
IN THE BACK OF YOUR BIBLE, AND IF YOU WANT SOMETHING
MORE TO DELVE INTO, YOU CAN
TAKE A LOOK AT JACK’S ATLAS, BECAUSE I THINK IT REALLY
IS A DIFFERENT APPROACH
THAT YOU WILL APPRECIATE, THAT WHOLE LITERARY GEOGRAPHY
COMPONENT THAT I FOUND VERY
INTERESTING MYSELF. AND OBVIOUSLY, ONE OF OUR
GOALS IS NOT JUST TO HELP YOU
UNDERSTAND YOUR BIBLE BETTER, BUT HELP YOU TO GROW IN YOUR
RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST,
THE GOD OF THE DETAILS. AND THAT’S THE THING
THAT IMPRESSED ME IN
TALKING WITH JACK, THE GEOGRAPHICAL DETAILS
IN SCRIPTURE REFLECT THE… THE GOD OF THE DETAILS
WHO PAYS SO MUCH ATTENTION, NOT ONLY TO HIS PHYSICAL WORLD,
EMBEDDING THOSE CLUES, BUT HE PAYS SO MUCH
ATTENTION TO US INDIVIDUALLY
THAT HE SENT HIS SON, IN THAT PLACE OF BETHLEHEM, TO
BECOME THE SAVIOR OF THE WORLD. SO, FOR ALL OF US HERE AT
OUR DAILY BREAD MINISTRIES,
I’M YOUR HOST TIM
JACKSON. THANKS FOR JOINING US.

5 thoughts on “Exploring the Land of the Story: Unlocking Biblical Geography

  1. I always believed this….The geography of the bible plays an integral part of fully understanding the word in its entirety….Judea was geographical…not biological. Jesus was Judean of Hebrew ancestry…what is a "JEW" the Jew we know today I believe have no connection to the Judean King… The word Jew is no relation to its geographical origin. The Jews we know today don't even believe Yeshua is the Messiah….apart from Jews for Jesus, messianic Jew's…. Seek and you will find saints….The word Jew is a modern term. Judea was a physical place. This is very important. I never knew how to explain this truth…This professor hits it in the head!…The geography the language and the people. Why is he ignoring the people of that geography.This too is very important. The people of that region. YESHUA LIVES!

  2. Thanks for the info. I also invite Bible students to visit:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKc02BDRczc

  3. As examples, this video delves into the meaningfulness to the narrative of the of the "scene" and situation of the confrontation of David vs. Goliath; of Bethlehem, where Messiah was born, and of the "move" he made from Nazareth to Capernaum at the outset of his ministry — underscoring the value of not "skipping over' the not understood "details"!

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