“Hanukkah For Dummies”
The story of Hanukkah (also spelled Chanukah), is one of tragedy, fierce injustice and overcoming enemies. It is an iconic story of stubborn resistance to Evil, and of a stubborn, intentional, hard-won opportunity to see the restoration of Good. It has many intrinsic faith lessons in it. It also has a very special meaning to me, but I will get to that in a bit.
The "short version" of the Hanukkah story is that the leaders of the nation of Syria decided that they wanted to utterly destroy the people of God, and the nation of Israel. They very nearly succeeded. They had killed a large majority due to the resistance of the people to trade their own God for Syrian idols.
Once they captured Jerusalem they thoroughly desecrated the Temple, thinking that this would break the spirit of the Jews, . They slaughtered unclean animals and poured that blood all over the altar. They stole all the gold vessels, used in the Temple service of sacrifice, and just generally trashed the place. Unfortunately for them this had the exact opposite effect on a few of the Jews!
One of the priests at that time, whose name was Mattathias Maccabee, decided that enough was enough! They had already killed off most of the Jews who had objected or attempted to rebel against, their vile idol-ridden religion, and the barbaric government.
Mattathias and his sons, the foremost of whom we know as "Judah The Maccabee", and a small band of dissenters had fled to the hills to survive the slaughter, and to make a plan. After seeking God they decided to take on the Syrian army. And surprisingly, to the Syrians especially, they won!
But then, for them, the real work began. They looted the dead army to recover the Temple treasures. But now they had to clean up that blasphemous mess, and restore their place of Worship to its former glory! And what a job that was.
The barbarians had poured out most of the holy oil, which had been set apart for lighting in the Temple. It was made according to specific instructions which God had given them in The Torah. This oil was a special recipe which took eight days to make, in order for the purification process to be complete. But they soon discovered that they only had enough oil to burn for one day!
One of the miracles celebrated at Hanukkah is that this one cruze of oil burned the whole eight days. Which is why we have a special candelabra, called a Menorah, that has Eight arms off the central "Servant Candle", instead of the usual six.
But,of course, THE REAL miracle was that this tiny band of rag-tag priesthood beat the entire Syrian army!
Still, that is why we celebrate Hanukkah for eight days, because the light burned on miraculously. That, and also, the number eight in Hebrew is known to represent new beginnings, which this definitely was for those who remained.
But "Hanukkah" actually means “Dedication”, because the purpose of refining the oil, and all the other clean up they did, was for the rededicating of their Temple to their God. To rid it of all the idolatry and insult, and to make it pure again for His service. That was their job. That was their drive. That is how devoted they were to pleasing God, and keeping His Worship going to His satisfaction.
There are SO many lessons here for disciples of Yeshua found in this story. We, in the westernized “Church” have been robbed of our Jewish ancestry. The bigoted, antisemitic Romans who desecrated Christianity under Constantine (making it a “state religion”, forcing people to sign up or sign off) once again turned God's Worship, now "The Church" (Ekklessia, Set Apart ones...) into a pagan entity. A complete hijacking of "The Christian Faith", turning it into a tragically deceived mess of idol worship.
Freely exchanging God's appointed times for religious holidays which covertly (or blatantly) celebrated idols, setting their "religious holidays" on the date of that idol's creation or “birth”.
Deliberately, deceptively, keeping us from the rich history of the Jewish people. Filling our heads with doctrinal deception, which has convinced most of the “Church” that celebrating the Jewish Holidays, or obeying the Laws set forth in the “Old Testament”, or “Old Covenant”, is “legalism” and “dead works”. And thereby contrary to the work of Grace. Misconstruing Grace to mean that anything goes, because one can be forgiven! Thereby reducing or eliminating one's need to avoid sin and obey God's Law!
This "new theology" was and is constantly twisting the “New Covenant” to suit their idolatry and manipulation of folks' flesh. So that instead of becoming disciples of Yeshua – who DID keep Torah, by the way – we've become religious idiots who would barely recognize Him if He shows up!
I tell the “anti-legalism” group (who are, by the way, just as legalistic about THEIR own misguided religious “laws”), those who shake their heads at me in disapproval because I actually prefer celebrating Hanukkah over the idol-laden “Christmas” of man's making, that if there had been no Hanukkah, there would indeed BE no “Christmas”, because there would have been no Jews for “The Christ” to come through!
So, though Hanukkah is a “civil” holiday, and not one of God's "Appointed Times" (Moedim), still Yeshua celebrated it. This is recorded in the Gospel of John, 10:22-23 (“And it was the feast of the dedication at Jerusalem: it was winter; and Jesus was walking in the temple in Solomon's porch.”)
The reason Christmas was set in the winter, on the date which the heathen of that time celebrated the “birthday” of their idol "Jupiter" (the Hebrew of which translates to "Yaweh"), is because their intention was to replace Hanukkah with their idol worship. Hiding it behind the birth of The Christ, who was most likely born around Yom Teruah, since the shepherds were in the field with sheep, heading to Jerusalem for the sacrifices at the upcoming Yom Kippur.
(Note: There were Shofars (Trumpets, and Angelic shouting which announced His birth ... another indicator. And also it is noted that those will announce His second coming as well ... )
This is consistent with the same way they hijacked Pesach (Passover) with “Easter”. A word that is a derivative of Ashtar, the goddess of seduction! A totally blasphemous mockery of one of the highest Holy Days on God's Calendar! T
To make a religious celebration which ignores the prophetic implications of the Moedim, the Holy, Set Apart Day which GOD set aside as the beginning of the year, and as the beginning of HIS calendar of eternal events is a totally demonic undertaking. And, sadly, we, most of the westernized religious world have bought it hook, line and sinker! Which is why the Jews mock our "faith in God". They are wondering which god we mean?! There are so many represented in our holidays!
Our religion, our means of "Faith", like the Temple in the time of the Maccabees, has been tragically desecrated with idols! And, if that weren't bad enough, we've thrown God's Torah (The Law He meticulously gave to Moses at Mt. Sinai, for the well-being of His people) aside for a lot of man made doctrinal rot! And we are told that the rot we are being peddled is less restrictive than God's Law! I think not!
It is time we – who are now the Temple of God, by virtue of the work of The Messiah, The Christ – The Anointed ONE – it is time we cleaned up this place, and got ourselves back GOD's Holy days and set apart times! It is time that we re-instituted HIS Feasts and Fasts, and put HIS LAW – which Yeshua amended by His very existence (in that daily sacrifices of animals are no longer necessary … and we don't just stone offenders anymore … etc.) - but it is time that we put The WORD OF GOD, the WHOLE WORD, back into place as THE RULE OF LAW in our lives, and in our nation!
It is time that we begin to aim our intentions in the direction of “being Holy as He is Holy”. (Which is ONLY possible because of Yeshua, and His invaluable sacrifice.) His Spirit is The One who is now aiding US in recovering what the barbarians have desecrated, and The One who is redeeming what is left by ridding us of all those idols, and The One who is purifying our doctrine as we renew our minds in The Word, with His help.
Ezekiel 36:25-27 is a prophetic promise of God, detailing how God made a promise to Israel that He would send them the help of His Spirit to guide them out of idolatry, and into a deeper walk with Him! This is significant to ME, because it came to me in prayer as His personal promise to me, when I had reached the end of my efforts, and was totally frustrated and put out with the religious fraud that paraded as "Christianity"! This Scripture led to my being filled with His Spirit, as it promises that directly to all who will receive Him. It literally saved my life!
Because it made it clear to ME that now WE are part of Israel - by virtue of the work of The Anointed One. Again, IF we have been grafted in, by accepting the sacrifice which made that possible, through Yeshua. If we long for Him, if we want Him, He will fill us with His Spirit!
And then that Spirit WILL lead us into ALL His Truth! Even the stuff that has been hidden from us in the pile of doctrinal manure we've been served!
However, (thanks to the ludicrous doctrinal deficiencies of most institutions which go by the name of “Christian” or “Church”) most sincere, God-loving, spiritually starving, church-goers have even been robbed of the infilling of His Spirit! Due to doctrines which imply or outright insist that this possibility is “not for today”. Who brain wash us into believing that the ability to be filled with The Spirit, as they were at Pentecost/Shavuot in the book of Acts, was “just for the disciples, so they could get the Word out to the rest of the World”! Really?! So how are WE supposed to do it?!
Listen people, we can't possibly have true discernment of the deeper things of God without the infilling of The Holy Spirit. Speaking in tongues IS for TODAY! Don't buy that deceiving hog-swill! It is time for God's people to "come to", to wake up, to realize that we've been religiously hornswaggled out of our spiritual inheritance! And, like the prodigal in the story, starving from eating hog-swill, to make the epic decision to RETURN to our Father!
Now, mind you, listen to the spiritual disclaimer/warning here, for whatever God institutes the devil will always find a sub par substitute! So there are other spiritual forces out there which are NOT of God! Remember 1/3 of the angels went with Satan! So we do need to be careful. The enemy does mock the gift of tongues, and he usually uses Hebrew to do it. We must have discernment.
But please be aware that one can have little true discernment without the aid of The Spirit of God, The Ruach Ha KO-Desh, whom HE, Yeshua, SENT to US to fill HIS place in us until HE can get back here!
It is the job of His Spirit to instruct us, to guide us, to help us, to purify US, the new Temple where The PRESENCE of our Holy God wants to hang out now!
We are the ones now who are making sacrifices for His Work. Meaning simply that we are the ones who are doing the work of redeeming sinners, of drawing them back to relationship with their God. As the priesthood in the Temple used to do, by receiving and properly applying the sacrificed brought by the people. Now we lead the people TO THE SACRIFICE of The Lamb of God, Yeshua, who takes away the sins of the world!
That is . . . IF we are “woke” to the whole point of “SALVATION”. It isn't just our personal “get out of hell free card” people! It isn't our ticket to “pie in the sky, in the sweet bye and bye”! It is our opportunity to delight the Creator of the Universe by cooperating with HIM in the redemption of the rest of His creation!
Like Judah Maccabee, Yeshua has routed the entire foe, which was arrayed against the survival of HIS People Israel, into which WE have been grafted, IF we have accepted His kind invitation to join Him!
The mission now - if we choose to accept it - is purifying the new Temple of God – which is US – and anyone who will call upon His Name! So now, with His help, we are re-dedicating His Temple, purifying it day by day, as His Word exposes idols, and provides the pure oil of the Spirit to keep our lamps burning bright for HIM.
We are all – if we are truly His Disciples – miniature Hanukkah Menorahs. We are all part of the lamp-stand of the Light of the World. We are all called to take His Word, which is “a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path”, unto the rest of the world – to call them out of the darkness which destroys them. We are living Hanukkah.
But Hanukkah is still a ways off. Actually, the next Holy Day (the next Moedim, or Feast day which is set apart by God Himself) is Yom Teruah – the Feast of Trumpets or Shouting (again, spiritually proclaiming HisBirth and His Return)!
SO. Are we ready to loudly proclaim HIS LORDSHIP over our nation?! Are WE ready to make as much noise as the "peaceful protesters" and lift up our voices to join in a glad shout – “OUR GOD REIGNS”!? And to warn the lost that “HE IS COMING SOON!”!?
We need to get back into The Word of our Living God, which Yeshua brought alive to us and IN us. We need to study to show ourselves approved, a workman unto God, who needs not be ashamed, RIGHTLY DIVIDING (Discerning and Teaching) THE WORD OF TRUTH...” II Timothy 2:15. It is time God's people stepped up and began doing and being who He has redeemed us to be. To His Glory.
How else will His Work get done? Who else will bring in His harvest of souls? He is waiting on us to re-dedicate His Temple, This Temple, each one of us, to His Worship.
So I guess the question we should be asking is …. “Just how dedicated is our Temple?”