A place of great spiritual significance situated 19 km N of Jerusalem. It means House of God. It was near here Abraham built an altar and called on the name of the Lord (Gen 12:8). Later again it was here his grandson Jacob was deeply impacted by a heavenly inspired dream. He stated, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven…He called that place Bethel, though the city used to be called Luz” (Gen 28:10-19). Jacob had yet another encounter with God here and re-enforced the name of Bethel (Gen 35:1-15). Later it became a place of idol worship and the prophet Hosea condemned its evil practices (Hos 10:40).
See also: altar.