Land of Palestine in
New Testament Times Map

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The ministry of John the Baptist, which preceded Jesus' by six months, ran from 26 to 29 A.D. It was his calling to prepare the people for the literal appearing of the anticipated Messiah. John's ministry ended when Herod Antipas, who ruled part of Palestine as one of the sons of Herod of Great, beheaded him. The ministry of Jesus ran for three and one-half years, from the Fall of 26 A.D. to the Spring of 30 A.D. He lived in Capernaum, located on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee, during the entire period of his preaching and spreading the good news of God's kingdom.

Galilee, which the Romans considered the northern part of the land of Palestine, was the focal point of many miracles and events in the life of our Savior. At least five of his twelve disciples were living in the region when He called them to be apostles. Nineteen out of the thirty-two parables Jesus gave were spoken in Galilee. Twenty-five of Jesus' thirty-three great miracles were performed in the area. Jesus' very first public miracle was at the wedding in Cana of Galilee, as well as his last one performed on the shore of Galilee's sea after his resurrection. It was from Galilee that Jesus gave his well-known message known as "the sermon on the mount" (Matthew 5-7; Luke 6:20-49).

How did the region get its name?

The region's name and borders of have varied throughout history. Palestine originally denoted only the seacoast of the land of Canaan inhabited by the Philistines. It is in this sense exclusively that the Hebrew name Pelesheth (translated "Philistia" in the King James Version Bible) occurs in the Old Testament. In 68 B.C., what would later be called the land of Palestine, was reduced by Pompey the Great to a Roman province.

The name of Palestine (Palaestina) was given to this area by the Roman Empire in about 135 A.D. Before this time the Romans had divided up the region into four pieces.

  • Judea, the southern portion of the country.

  • Samaria, the middle province, whose northern boundary ran along the hills to the south of the plain of Esdraelon (valley of Jezreel).

  • Galilee, the northern province.

  • Perea (a Greek word which means "opposite country"), an area that lies east of the Jordan and the Dead Sea.

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Land of Palestine
under the Maccabees
 
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under Herod the Great
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