|CHAYE SARAH - THE LIFE OF SARAH
Chaplain's Corner, A Teaching Ministry of The ICEJ
|SHABBAT SHALOM FROM JERUSALEM!
During recent weeks, there have been several notable demonstrations for and against Israel worldwide. After all, I cannot under-stand why Christians are taking part in Anti-Israel campaigns, speaking against Israel on TV shows or writing against Israel in the print media.
Today we will take a look at a Torah portion, which makes clear to us; that if we stand against Israel, we essentially shoot our-selves in the foot, that is, we oppose our own inheritance.
Before you read the commentary below, please read the following passages in your Bible. They are the passages of the Torah portion called "Chaye Sarah" (the life of Sarah).
Please read first the Torah reading from Genesis 23:1-25:18 and then the Haftara reading from 1 King 1:1-31.
Blessings from Jerusalem
|CHAYE SARAH - THE LIFE OF SARAH
Torah: Genesis 23:1-25:18; Haftara: 1 Kings 1:1-31
|In The beginning of this parasha, Sarah, the wife of Abraham and mother of Isaac dies (23:2). Through her death the first of three important contracts are made which are sealed in the Word of G-D.
Those three contracts are:
a.) Abraham buys the cave of Machpela in Hebron for 400 shekels of silver.
b.) Jacob (Israel) buys a field in Shechem for 100 pieces of money and builds the L-RD an altar and names Him "G-D, the G-D of Israel" (Genesis 33:19-20).
c.) David buys the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite (Arauna in II Samuel 24) for 600 shekels of gold
(I Chronicles 21:25) and builds an altar there. This is the spot where his son Solomon later builds the first temple.
The question for us now, is: Where is the connection between these ancient contracts and modern time? What does this have to do with us?
Alot in every respect, as the first contract was made with our "father" Abraham. Paul makes clear to us that Abraham is the
father of us all. The father gives his property, his inheritance to his children, and according to the Bible; we who believe are amongst these children. We are the heirs of Abraham, of all his property. Therefore, we are obliged to take care of this property in every respect and we should care about what happens to it.
"Romans 4:16-17a -- Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all as it is written, "I have made you a father of many nations".
Galatians 3:29 -- And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Abraham's promises were basically connected to two physical blessings: first, that his descendants will number as the sand of the seashore and second; that he will inherit a specific land.
In this particular reading we learn that Abraham came into possession of the land not through stealing or occupation, not via murder or blackmail, but rather by a legal action. He bought the land to bury his wife. As his descendants (according to Paul in the above mentioned verses) it is indeed important to know what happened to our inheritance. What happened to this piece of
And what happened to the other two places; which were bought by Abraham's descendants Jacob and David? Shouldn't we be interested? Both of the places were specific real estate bought to build an altar for our Heavenly Father. The first altar was called, as we already said above, "G-D the G-D of Israel." The second altar, built by David, stood on the same ground where later the first and second temples were erected. It is the place where Abraham wanted to sacrifice his son Isaac and where G-D revealed Himself as "YHVH - Yireh" - "The L-RD sees" (Genesis 22:14).
None of these three places were ever sold or given away. Today, however, not one is in the hand of its rightful owner. Let's take a look:
1.) The Machpela Cave in Hebron is covered by a structure built by Herod the Great shortly before Jesus lived. Presently this building is called Ibrahim Mosque. Jews are allowed to enter only a small part of it for prayer. The Palestinian Authorty (PA)
rules about 80% of Hebron. Of 100,000 people living there, only 400 are Jewish. In past centuries Jews were repeatedly massacred or cast out by Islamic mobs.
2.) About 300 years after Jacob bought the field in Shechem, when Joshua led Israel into the Promised Land, Jacob's son Joseph was buried there (Joshua 24:32). Even though Jacob's descendants were physically absent for centuries, they were still recognized as the legal owners of the field. Shechem, which was renamed Nablus by the Arab population, is presently inhabited solely by Arabs, most of whom are Muslims. They have control over the tomb and the field of Israel (Jacob). In October 2000 Muslim Arabs invaded the Tomb of Joseph, slaughtered a Rabbi, destroyed the tomb and erected another mosque at its place. Even before this present conflict, the Muslims had been harassing and refusing entrance to Jewish visitors in violation of several signed agreements guaranteeing them free access.
3.) On the property of David's threshing floor, where the First and Second Temples later stood, the famous Dome of the Rock
and the Al-Aqsa mosque stand today. In control of this little piece of land in the heart of Jerusalem, is the Waqf, the fundamenta-list Islamic group which guards the property of the "holy Islamic ground." Every prayer of a non-Muslim on this piece of property is strictly forbidden and is terminated immediately if performed, if necessary with brutal force. At the place where Jesus taught his disciples the Dome of the Rock proclaims through a written statement in its "sanctuary" -- Allah has no son." (so much for the issue of religious freedom under Palestinian rule.)
I do not believe that we are able to solve this complex political situation, but I do believe that it is important for we who are Christians to understand that spiritual connection between the land of Israel, and the people of Israel and the present conflict and wave of Anti-Semitism around the world. And in this conflict, we as Christians have to stand with the truth and nothing but
The truth is, the land of Israel belongs to Israel and to no one else. G-D gave it to His people for an eternal possession. And to make His point clear, G-D Himself confirms this by a document -- the Bible. It is a part of G-D's covenant between Him and Israel. So the matter is fully spiritual and not natural.