December 15, 2011

Sardis in Obadiah

The book of Obadiah is a vision given to the prophet Obadiah by YHWH about Esau's destruction. Verses 17-21 say this:
 "But on Mount Tzion there shall be an escape, and they shall be set-apart. And the house of Ya'aqob shall possess their possessions. And the house of Ya'aqob shall be a fire, and the house of Yoseph a flame, but the house of Esaw for stubble. And they shall burn among them and they shall consume them, so that no survivor is left of the house of Esaw. For YHWH has spoken. And they shall possess the South with the mountains of Esaw, and low country with the Philistines. And they shall possess the fields of Ephrayim and the fields of Shomeron (Samaria), and Binyamin with Gil'ad, and the exiles of this host of the children of Yisra'el possess that of the Kena'anites as far as Tsaraphath, and the exiles of Yerushalayim who are in Sepharad possess the cities of the South. And saviors shall come to Mount Tzion to judge the mountains of Esaw. And the reign shall belong to YHWH."

It was very interesting to me that it is not the people of YHWH who are in the Land that defeat Esau and His cohorts. Rather, it is the exiles who are returning to the Land with sword in hand that destroy Esau. It is the exiled tribes who take back the land of Yisra'el. Judah, at this moment is a remnant- as mentioned in verse 17 they just made an escape on Mount Tzion. Something happened, some escaped, and at the moment I would imagine that they are in no condition to destroy YHWH's enemies.

Something that stuck out to me is the place which these exiles are said to come from- Sepharad. This is the only place where this name is given in Scripture. What is it?

According to the Strong's number- H5614, Sepharad is a region in Assyria. So I looked it up online, to see if I could find anything more specific. I found out that Sepharad is most likely to be based on a Persian word, "Saparda" which is a reference to two places. One of these is in Media, and the other is in Asia Minor. It is thought that it could be a reference to Sardis.

http://www.bible-history.com/eastons/S/Sepharad/

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=Sephardim&allowed_in_frame=0

Sepharad is also the name from which "sephardic" is derived. Sepharad is the name which was designated to the Iberian peninsula (Spain) by Hebrews living there in the 2nd century BC. (http://www.sephardicstudies.org/intro.html) Seeing as Obadiah lived long before this, we can safely say that it is not specifically Spanish Judah which we are speaking of. However, in the greater picture, I believe that Hebrews in Spain are included here, as having been exiled.

Revelation speaks of Sardis as being one of the seven cities of Asia. The word Sardis comes from the Greek “Sardios”, or Latin “Sarda”, and means a “(specifically red) jewel” or “remnant”. In speaking to the remnant of the hidden ones, we read in Revelation 3:1-6,

"And to the messenger of the assembly in Sardis write, ‘He who has the seven Spirits of Elohim and the seven stars, says this, "I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete before Elohim. Remember, then, how you have received, and heard. And watch and repent. If, then, you do not wake up, I shall come upon you as a thief, and you shall not know at all what hour I come upon you. Nevertheless, you have a few names in Sardis who have not defiled their garments. And they shall walk with Me in white, because they are worthy. He who overcomes shall be dressed in white robes, and I shall by no means blot out his name from the Book of Life, but I shall confess his name before My Father and before His messengers."

Being one of the seven cities which are representative of the believers in exile, Sardis seems to fit the description in Obadiah quite well. As the remnant returns to the land of YHWH and of our forefathers, the land will be restored and the enemies of YHWH destroyed from it. Hmm…

I’m still looking into this. Most of the information that I have found online is cut-and-paste from various old dictionaries or commentaries. Not that I have anything against such things, it just doesn’t provide much variety in the information gathered. So, like I said, I’m still looking. If I find anything, maybe I’ll update on it. Hopefully. At least that’s the plan. J

Shalom!

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