This brief essay about the very special celebration of Hanukkah is cited from the Israel Prayer List that can be accessed and joined via email at ‘Israelemail@example.com‘. Our precious LORD’s provision for His beloved children, the physical and spiritual seed of Abraham knows no limits!
“Hanukkah is A Hebrew word meaning “dedication“. (It is used, for instance, in 2 Chron. 7:9 when Solomon dedicated the altar for the First Temple; it also occurs in the heading for Psalm 30, a dedication of a house.) The eight-day Jewish celebration bearing that name (it is also called the Festival of Lights) remembers the re-dedication of the “second” temple in Jerusalem after it had been recovered by the Jewish forces of Yehuda Maccabee in 164 BC. The Syrian king Antiochus IV Epiphanes (a forerunner of the Anti-Christ, and foretold in Daniel 11:21), seeking to coerce Jews into abandoning their religion and culture for that of Greece, had issued edicts forbidding circumcision, observance of Jewish Sabbaths and feast-days. He had defiled the Holy Temple by offering a sow on the altar and raising up in the Sanctuary a statue to the Greek god Zeus. As chronicled in the First Book of Maccabees (a respected historical account of Jewish history found in the Apocrypha), a revolt was launched by the priest Mattathias and later led by his son Yehuda (Judas) Maccabee. It resulted in the defeat of the Syrian forces, after which the defiled Temple was cleansed and re-dedicated.
Another account relates how during this cleansing there was only enough sanctified oil left to burn in the Temple menorah for one night-yet a miracle occurred and it continued burning for eight days. * The victorious warrior Yehuda ordained “that the days of the dedication of the altar should be kept in their season from year to year by the space of eight days, from the five and twentieth day of the month of Kislev, with mirth and gladness” (I Maccabees 4:59). The miracle has given rise to the tradition associating this holiday with oil and light (“Festival of Lights”)-from the eight-branched menorah (often fueled by oil), which has a new lamp ignited each evening of the festival, to the oil-fried jelly doughnuts available on every corner.
*[Within the Messianic community, some are skeptical as to the authenticity of the miracle story, many others assume it to be true.]
John records how Yeshua/Jesus was walking in the Temple on Solomon’s Porch during the Festival of Hanukkah in Jerusalem (John 10:22). It was during this season that he chose to speak of himself as “The Good Shepherd” who “lays down his life for the sheep.” And, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one” (John 10:27-30 ESV).
As mentioned earlier, part of the celebration includes the use of a special eight-branched menorah upon which a new oil lamp or candle is lit each evening. Each light is ignited from the flame of a separate “branch” called shamash-“servant“.Remarkably, the Haftarah reading for this Saturday within Hanukkah, besides containing, as might be expected, a menorah, also includes the following words, “Behold, I am bringing forth My Servant the BRANCH.” Although a different word for servant is used here, there is no doubt that it refers to the Servant-Messiah, sent by the Father-the Light Inextinguishable, who illumines all coming into the world (John 1:9).
Hanukkah-the Feast of Dedication-the Festival of Lights
is a season for
*Allowing the Holy Light of the Spirit to shine within ourselves, revealing any idolatry or uncleanness which may have defiled our bodies (which are the Temple of the Holy Spirit) and removing it. Of re-dedicating our bodies as a living sacrifice to God.
*Dedicating our ears to listen for the voice of our Shepherd (John 10 above).
*For surrendering ourselves anew to the infilling of the Holy Spirit whose anointing comes from an inexhaustible supply.
*For letting our “lights” shine brightly in the darkness-reaching out and joining with those of other believers.
A popular Israeli Hebrew Children’s song for Hanukkah is called Banu Hoshekh L’garesh (“We have come to drive out darkness”):
We have come to drive out darkness, in our hands light and fire:
Each of us is a small light, but together we are a strong, steady light.
Flee Darkness in the Blackness-Flee before the Light!
From Martin & Norma Sarvis
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For deeper insight into how GOD the Father sees His children; to better understand the elementary principles of Christ (Hebrews 6:1-3); the ‘mysteries’ of Christ’s Kingdom; and our individual and corporate calling, commission, and empowerment- please review my first published book and the Table of Contents on the Amazon website linked here via Book Title: “Thy Kingdom Come- Here and Now!”
Baruch Hashem Adonai- Messianic Praise