Weekly Drash - Chayei Sarah
Compliments of First Fruits of Zion
Chayei Sarah – חיי שרה : “Life of Sarah”
Thought for the Week:
“The last enemy that will be abolished is death.” (1 Corinthians 15:26)
As her family sent her off to Canaan, they offered Rebekah a blessing:
you, our sister,
The blessing of Rebekah seems closely connected to the blessing offered to Abraham after the binding of Isaac. In that passage, God said, “I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies” (Genesis 22:17).
This particular blessing is appropriate to Rebekah because she can be understood symbolically to represent the Assembly of Yeshua. Isaac was the sacrificial “seed of Abraham,” the son of the promise. Thus he can be, at one level, understood as a clear and certain prefiguring of the ultimate sacrificial seed of Abraham. It therefore stands to reason that Isaac’s bride can be spoken of as symbolizing the bride of Messiah. This is not to suggest that we should set aside the literal meaning of the Torah in pursuit of allegorical interpretations and wild tangents. Rather, it illustrates the Talmudic dictum that “the deeds of the forefathers are portents for the sons.”
Thus Rebekah can be understood on a symbolic level as a type of the Bride of Messiah. How appropriate then that her seed should possess the gates of their enemies.
Possessing the gates of one’s enemies speaks to the art of ancient warfare. A walled city was most vulnerable, of course, at its gates. To possess the gates of one’s enemies means to defeat one’s enemies. Similarly, in Matthew 16:18, Yeshua tells us that the Gates of Hades will not overcome his Assembly.
Hades is a Greek term for a mythological underworld of the dead, but it is only being used as a Greek translation for the Hebrew שאול, Sheol. When we think in terms of Hades or Hell as the capital city of Satan’s empire wherein his demon’s live and torture the souls of the deceased, we have accidentally borrowed the Greek mythological meaning. The Hebrew Sheol does not have Satanic connotations at all. It is a term for the place of the dead, used interchangeably with “the grave.” It is not the place from which Satan operates or launches his strategies. Contrary to Dante, Hell is not Satan’s realm, it is his destiny.
From a Jewish reading, Sheol is simply the grave and the place of the dead. For example, consider Isaiah 38:10 where Hezekiah begs God to spare his life when he prays, “Must I go through the gates of sheol and be robbed of the rest of my years?”
The Gates of Sheol are the gates of the grave. They are the gates that keep the dead dead. Yeshua tells us that those gates will not be able to stand up against his assembly. His assembly will overcome the grave. His assembly will break through the gates of death and return to life.
Shavuah Tov! Have a Good Week!
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