As mentioned before, names and places mean things in the Scriptures. The Lord is communicating something whenever specific names are mentioned. We encourage you to look up names and places, pay attention to the time of year and what festival is near and things like that to get a deeper meaning into what is taking place. We are going to look at an example of this concept and look into the spiritual meaning of why he spent so much time teaching in the Galilee and the Sea of Galilee. This “sea” is no more than a lake and it is often called Lake Galilee.
It is also called the Sea of Tiberius, but there is another name that has spiritual connections. It is called the Sea of Kinneret (Num 34.11; Josh 13.27). The name Kinneret (sometimes spelled Chinnereth) derives its name from the Hebrew word “kinnor” which means “harp” because the lake is shaped like a harp. Galilee means “circuit” and comes from the word “gal” which means “circle or circuit” and “to roll” and the circle also carries the idea of “eternity” and this is tied in with the concept of eternal life. Galilee is also related to the word “Gilgal” where Joshua circumcised Israel after crossing the Jordan River. The Mishkan (Tabernacle) was placed there and it was the traditional place where the Kingdom was renewed in the time of Samuel and David (1 Sam 11.14). So Gilgal and Galilee are connected by the concept of the “rolling away” of the reproach of sin.
In Isaiah 9.1-2 it talks about Galilee dwelling in darkness and in the shadow of death, but now it sees a great light. This area was the first to go into Assyrian captivity and they will be the first to hear the Basar (gospel) through Yeshua. The New (means “renewed” in Hebrew) Covenant is alluding to the fact that the Kingdom of God is being renewed and this was first preached in Galilee. So, being in Galilee fulfills many prophecies. But, there are deeper meanings to these names and places. In Psalm 3.2 it talks about praises being sung to God on a harp of ten strings. The harp is a type in Hebrew thought of the heart and the ten strings allude to the Ten Commandments.
In Prov 20.27 it says that the “spirit (harp) of man is the lamp of the Lord” because the Torah is written on our hearts (desires) and we want to obey his word. Remember, the Torah written on our hearts is a provision and promise of the New (renewed) Covenant. The harp is the only instrument whose strings can be played by the wind/breath or “ruach” which is another name for “spirit” in Hebrew. The heart is also aroused and stimulated by the Ruach ha Kodesh, the Holy Spirit, in the same way.
In Rev 14.2-3 it says that the 144,000 Jewish men who are anointed to preach at the beginning of the Day of the Lord play “harps” but that is not literal of course. What this means is that they are “born from above” by the “wind” of the Spirit of God (John 3.3-8) who “plucks” their hearts (desires) to follow the Lord wherever he goes (Rev 14.4). The Spirit has written the commandments on their hearts, fulfilling the promise of the New (renewed) Covenant. They sing a “new song” which is alluding back to Psa 33.2-3 again.
So, Yeshua teaches in Galilee about the “rolling away of our reproach” (sin) by a lake shaped like a harp because the wind of the Holy Spirit will “pluck” the heart strings of the people whom he has called to hear his word and obey it. This brings us to another concept.
In Mark 3.28-39 it talks about the unpardonable sin. This confrontation takes place in Galilee, around the Sea of Galilee (3.7) and some Scribes from Jerusalem have accused him of casting out demons by the power of Satan. He says that all manner of sin will be forgiven except the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Blasphemy is simply defined as the calling of something holy as unholy, and the calling of something unholy as holy.
In John 3.5 Yeshua teaches that a person must be born from above through the Spirit of God who is likened to the “wind” which blows when and where it please. So, the Ruach (Spirit) plucks the heart strings and man is born again. Rom 8. 29-30 explains the process. God declares us sinners, helpless and dead. He proposes to save us so he reaches for us and the “wind” blows and it touches the heart (harp) while we are yet dead in sin. We had no thoughts of God in our hearts before that and we had no desire for salvation and God (Rom 3.9-12, 5.8; John 1.13). Saving faith is planted by the Holy Spirit, plucking our heart strings, bringing conviction. It looks like we were searching for God when in reality this “seeking” is the first sign that we have eternal life (the circle=Galilee) already planted. The Lord uses some human agent who comes along bearing the Basar (gospel, good news) and faith is stirred and we are born again, but he has been drawing us all the time and the process is entirely from God.
Now, by the Scribes calling this process “blasphemy” and attributing his works and miracles (something holy) to the devil (unholy), the Spirit (holy) is blasphemed. So, unbelief is the one sin that cannot be forgiven. All of these concepts were taught by Yeshua in Galilee and around the Sea of Kinneret (harp) and were physical allusions to spiritual realities.