40,000 to 50,000 Jews from around the world recently converged on the site of Sarah’s burial place in Hebron and its sister city, Kiryat Arba, in honor of Israel’s matriarch. The Cave of Machpelah is the burial place, and on it is built the “Tomb of the Patriarchs.”
She passed away some 3800 years ago. Today her descendants still honor her.
She was a beautiful woman even in old age. And at age ninety she brought forth her son, Isaac. Why? Was that just a quirk of nature? No, her son was the long-promised one who bore the seed of the covenant.
These forty to fifty-thousand celebrators acted as though that was a real, historic event. Bless them! God is great!...and brought forth this son through a woman that had long ago had her menopause. They really believed the biblical record. And there are about 300,000 visitors to this tomb and cave annually….who believe. Bless them!
To these Jewish folks, I say: “How wonderful to know your ancestral relatives! In contrast, I know nothing even about my great grandmothers on either side.”
One benefit of the gathered Chosen Ones being in the Holy Land is that they can once again celebrate the people and events of biblical history, experiencing them as historical and not just legendary tales. Caves and tombs, of course, are not the only connections between then and now in Israel. Manuscripts, pots, coins, seals and so much more which are found all the time now in Israel corroborate biblical stories.
Israeli control of the land has been helpful to archeology. And archeology has been helpful to Israel.
A foremost scholar of Hebrew history, John Bright, in his most well-known book says this:
“The patriarchal age has been has been illumined in a manner unbelievable.” So much “material and inscriptional remains have come to light and have been analyzed. We now have texts by the literal tens of thousands contemporaneous with the period of Israel’s origins.” (John Bright: A History of Israel, 1981)
Unbelief in the biblical narrative used to be the accepted thing in some circles, Jews included. There is now a gradual reversal. With Jews in control, the belief factor as regards the Bible’s history, is growing stronger. Evidence of biblical history is increasing through the uncovering of the place names, people names geography and artifacts.
So….Israelis are living their past.
The Biblical Account
At the death of Sarah, Abraham went to purchase the field and cave from Ephron the Hittite. Ephron graciously offered the cave as a gift, but Abraham refused and insisted on giving the full market price of 400 shekels of silver for it. Thus, he insured that there would be no doubts about the ownership of that land.
That was the first piece of land that became Israel's.
Subsequently, Abraham himself, Rebekah and Isaac, and Jacob and Leah were buried there.
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LET’S CHANGE DIRECTION HERE: QUESTION: What is the key spiritual principle of Abraham’s life?
ANSWER: It’s right there in the text of Genesis chapter 15. The Lord again appears to Abraham and repeats his promise of a son plus nations that will come after him. At first, Abraham questions the Lord. But then, after further explanation, it says this: “Abraham believed him [the Lord] and he [the Lord] counted it to him [Abraham] as righteousness.”
That is the key to being just before God—believing His Word. The Apostle Paul explains this in Romans 4 and Galatians 3.
That is the key.
The MESSAGE of the story of Abraham and Sarah is the MESSAGE of FAITH.
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The Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs above the Cave was built by King Herod over 2,000 years ago. Despite its Jewish history and its three rooms named after Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the tomb was declared a Palestinian World Heritage Site in 2017 by UNESCO. The largest of the three rooms is forbidden to Jews except for 10 days per year. Yet….
Hebron is mentioned 87 times in the Bible and is the world’s oldest Jewish community.
SO THIS BRIEF OBSERVATION:
The FAITH of Abraham was the key to his friendship with the Lord: HE BELIEVED GOD. But this property is now
largely controlled by Islamic officials whose religion is based upon the law, i. e. THEIR LAW—Sharia.
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