Thursday, December 18, 2014

Light in the Darkness

This is my 200th post! I thank God for His Grace in seeing me through this journey and I trust that He will see me through many more. Tonight is the third night of Hannukah and I am writing this as its three candles are burning nearby. I am also watching a video (the Book Thief) that brings home the frailty of life, the evil that can so easily invade a society, and the endurance of the Jewish people. I have also been reading Joel Rosenberg's Auschwitz Escape, which has added to my frame of mind...

The three candles are consuming themselves; their colored wax, dripping down the Hannukiah, as the servant candle gives its life as well, shine as witnesses in this Festival of lights. They are witnesses to the great miracle that Daniel prophesied about and to which Jesus gave homage: “It was the Feast of the Dedication in Jerusalem. It was winter, and Yeshua was walking to the Temple in the portico of Solomon (John 10:22-23.
In the book, Light in the Darkness, a First Fruits of Zion Anthology, there are five points as to why to keep Hannukah, and I would like to add a sixth:

1. Did you know that Hannukah is in the Gospels? Hannukah is not mentioned in the Hebrew scriptures because the story of Hannukah happened after the last book of the Tanakh had been written. However, Hannukah is mentioned in the Apostolic scriptures. Yeshua went to the Temple for the Feast of Hannukah. If Hannukah matters to Yeshua, shouldn’t it matter to us?

2. Did you know that Hannukah is a story of religious persecution? Hannukah is a story of religious persecution and standing up for faith in God. Yeshua tells us we can expect persecution, but He also tells us that we must stand firm in our faith. If that’s what the story of Hannukah is about, shouldn’t it matter to us?

3. Did you know that Hannukah is the Festival of the Light of the World? Hannukah is the Festival of Light. It celebrates the relighting of the menorah lamp that burned in God’s Holy Temple. In rabbinic terminology, the menorah was called the “light of the world.” Yeshua said, “I am the Light of the world,” and another time  He told His disciples, “You are the light of the world.” If Hannukah is the Festival of the Light of the world,  shouldn’t it matter to us?

4. Did you know that Yeshua talked about Hannukah? Yeshua talked about Hannukah. He warned His disciples that the things that happened in the story of Hannukah would happen again. (Mark 13:13-16, Matthew 24:15-18). To understand what He was saying, His disciples had to know the story of Hannukah. If Yeshua talked about the story of Hannukah, and His disciples knew the story, shouldn’t it matter to us?

5. Did you know that Hannukah commemorates the dedication of the Temple? Hannukah means “dedication.” It is a remembrance of when the Jews rededicated God’s Holy Temple. If Hannukah is a festival about the dedication of God’s Temple, and we are God’s Temple, shouldn’t it matter to us?

6. My sixth: The bad guy in the Hannukah story is Antiochus Epiphanes who conquered Israel and forced Hellenism on the Jewish people. He forbade the Jews, at the pain of death, from studying the Torah. He also forced them to eat unclean foods, from keeping the Biblical holidays, and in doing anything that was Jewish. To top it all, He sacrificed a pig on the Holy Altar in the Temple (the Abomination of Desolation that Daniel and Yeshua wrote about.) Against this oppression, the Maccabees rebelled and after many months, finally succeeded in liberating Jerusalem from the Seleucid occupation. In celebrating the rededication of the Temple, they gave us the elements of Hannukah.

The ironic (and sad) thing is that the Gentile church has "forced" on the Jews all of the same things. We have reinterpreted the scriptures through Greek thinking, relegated the Torah to something that has been “done away with” in the OLD testament, declared through shallow interpretation that He made “all foods clean,” thus excusing the serving of pork at church breakfasts. Rather than follow the Biblical holidays, the church created its own set of days. And the list goes on.

If the Father orchestrated that Yeshua would be born on the Feast of Trumpets, die on Passover, be buried on Unleavened Bread, raised on First Fruits, and poured His Spirit on Shavuot then shouldn’t we act like Jesus and not like Antiochus? I think so.

Anyone for a game of Dreidel?

1 comment:

  1. Hope you had a joyous Hanukkah. I enjoy your blog and am glad one more is awakened to the need for a continuing of the 'Reformation'. Shalom in Yeshua/Jesus