[Photo courtesy NASA]

The Mediterranean Sea  is the largest inland sea of the world.   The word Mediterranean is a latin word meaning “in the middle of the lands” and so forms a geographical basin to which a number of countries are associated.

The sea is more saline than the Atlantic, and has little variation with tides. Hot winds affect the sea, in particular the hot dry sirocco from the Sahara causes considerable winds to ply the sea to the south. The sea was to become a highway for the transport of people and goods, and this was harnessed by the sea-peoples that invaded the southern coast of Israel and the Nile delta. This early invasion created the Philistine nation. The other famous naval power was the Phoenicians whose influences were felt even outside the basin past Gibraltar into the south-western  U.K.

The sea is given as a symbol of nations.  The nations are as a troubled sea, which cannot rest, casting up mire and dirt. Isa 57:20 Great nations were to arise like beasts from the sea Daniel 7 and Christ would predict that there would be signs in the sun moon and stars (political leaders) distress in the nations with perplexity, the sea and waves roaring Luke 21:25.  Can there be any more predictive illustration in the world than the current dilemmas found in the fiscal and political challenges facing the west and the middle east? There is no doubt the return of Christ as predicted in this chapter is imminent!

The sea is called “the great sea” in Num 34:6; Joshua 1:4; 9:1; 15:12,47; 23:4;Ezek 47:10,15,19,20; 48:28 mainly in references to borders of inheritance. It is also styled “great waters” Ps 107:23. So why mention the sea as borders? The sea was a natural boundary in its geographical form. The sea in symbol was a reference to others nations. Israel was selected as a people of God in contrast to the others nations. This would naturally make the faithful man whether of Israel or outside of Israel enquire why the distinction between Israel and other nations. The distinction was pointed at the time of their exodus with the separation of some of the plagues to only affect those in Egypt to the exclusion of Israel at Goshen. The pinnacle of which was seen in the slaying of firstborn sons, displaying the selection of families was only by the sacrifice to be given by deity. The only firstborns to be saved that evening were those within the houses of Israel, and those circumcised; a token of their faith in the operation of God.  Ex 12:43-51 This idea of the boundary of Israel as a nation separate to others is expanded in Isaiah 9:1-3 where those who sit in darkness are described as those “by way of the sea, Galilee of the nations”.