Cave of Machpelah, Tomb of the Patriarchs

May 3, 2011

This morning my wife and I safely arrived in Genk, Belgium, where I am to conduct a biblical lectureship focusing on Acts through Revelation. This is an opportunity to make use of photos of Bible lands in which the events of Scripture transpired as we survey this exciting portion of the New Testament.

This past March we were able to go to Hebron and take a few photos there, including the site of the Cave of Machpelah, featured in this photo:

Site of Cave of Machpelah in Hebron. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

When Sarah died, the inspired narrator (Moses) tells us that “Abraham went in to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her” (Gen. 23:2). This was at Hebron. Abraham had to procure a burial place for his beloved wife. The Promise Land was to be possessed by his descendants, but Abraham owned no land in Canaan. Therefore he purchased the cave of Machpelah with its field from Ephron the Hittite. This transaction was duly made “before all who went in at the gate of his city” (Gen. 23:3-19).

“After this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field at Machpelah facing Mamre (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan” (Gen. 23:19). Later, Abraham himself was buried here by his sons Isaac and Ishmael (Gen. 25:9). In Egypt, when Jacob was near death he called his twelve sons to hear his last words (Gen. 49:1). He commanded (ESV, Gen. 49:29) that he be buried at Machpelah also (v.30), and stated, “There they buried Abraham and his wife Sarah, there they buried Isaac and his wife Rebekah, and there I buried Leah” (v.31).

Herod the Great was a politician. To gain the favor of the Jews he lavishly renovated the temple in Jerusalem. Likewise, he built an impressive edifice around the cave of Machpelah, the tomb of the Patriarchs, using the same architectural style as that of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, with similar sized stones, masonry and pilasters (engaged columns). In March we were able to visit Hebron and see the traditional burial site of the Patriarchs, featured in our photo.

Regarding these Patriarchs, centuries after their deaths, God said, “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (Matthew 22:31-32). Jesus said, “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living,”—these men, though dead and buried, were still very much alive, and God was/is still their God! The soul lives on after death; on the last day all will be raised from the dead (John 5:28-29; 1 Cor. 15:57).


You Ought To Say, “If the Lord wills…”.

May 1, 2011

To say that our schedule has been altered since this past Wed. would be a bit of an understatement. We are among the thousands w/o electrical power since Wed. AM. We are thankful to have been spared personally from injury as well as property damage. The area of Hanceville and Cullman Alabama looks like a war zone. In Cullman, entire blocks in the downtown area were destroyed and in some cases leveled. You’ve heard of the hundreds of fatalities in AL & our border states.

This morning in a short while we are to have worship services where I preach here in Hanceville. We are fortunate and blessed to be able to do so.

This event has put me in mind of James 4. I frequently use the expression, “the Lord willing,” or something similar, but these events have reinforced and deepened the impression of that text:

13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; 14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” 16 But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin (vv. 13-16).

Thanks for following our blog. We hope to be back on schedule soon.

My friend Ferrell Jenkins is currently directing a tour in Israel. See his Travel Blog–you can click on our blog roll to your right on this page.


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