The word really means ‘the house of God’, but it is found as a divine name in Canaan. There is an identical place-name in the Old Testament (Genesis 31:13) which has certainly nothing to do with the nonBiblical god. On the other hand, the reference in Jeremiah 48:13 is probably to the god Bethel.
The term is still used by many religious institutions in North America.
Bethel Church Redding California
“Bethel is a community of worshippers in Redding, California. We exist to ignite individual hearts until Heaven meets Earth. We gather to encounter God’s presence, where personal revival starts.
The Lord has given us a mandate to be a resource center to impact cities and nations. What we experience in the culture of the local church and the local city, we want to export. We train, empower, and release people to take kingdom culture to the world.”
Bethel (Ugaritic: bt il, meaning “House of El” or “House of God”, Hebrew: בֵּית אֵל, also transliterated Beth El, Beth-El, or Beit El; Greek: Βαιθηλ; Latin: Bethel) was a border city described in the Hebrew Bible as being located between Benjamin and Ephraim and also a location named by Jacob. Under Israelite rule, Bethel first belonged to the Tribe of Benjamin, but was later conquered by the Tribe of Ephraim.
Eusebius of Caesarea and Jerome describe Bethel in their time as a small village that lay 12 Roman miles north of Jerusalem, to the right or east of the road leading to Neapolis.
Modern scholar Edward Robinson identified the village of Beitin in the West Bank with ancient Bethel in Biblical Researches in Palestine, 1838–52. He based this assessment on its fitting the location described in earlier texts, and on the philological similarities between the modern and ancient name, arguing that the replacement of the Hebrew el with the Arabic in was not unusual.
Ten years after the Six-Day War, the biblical name was applied to an Israeli settlement Beit El constructed adjacent to Beitin. In several countries—particularly in the US—the name has been given to various locations