Chag Samech Chanukkah! (Happy Hanukah!)
“Then came Hanukkah in Yerushalayim. It was winter, and Yeshua was walking around inside the temple area, in Shlomo’s colonnade. So the Judeans surrounded him and said to him, ‘How much longer are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us publicly!’ Yeshua answered them,’I have already told you, and you don’t trust me. The works I do in my Father’s name testify on my behalf, but the reason you don’t trust is that you are not included among my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice, I recognize them, they follow me, and I give them eternal life.‘” (John 10:22-28a CJB)
Tonight is the first night of Chanukah, let your light shine before men, do not hide it, be a city on a hill not a night light under a lamp stand. During the month of Kislev we celebrate with great Simkah (Joy). Rabbeinu Yeshua was in Jerusalem for Chanukah when He said I am a light of the world, and spoke of us being a light and shining in this world of darkness. The word Chanukah come from Chanuk which means dedication or education. Chanukah is the Feast of Dedication of the temple a time to educate people of the miracles that Adonai did during the “inter-testimental” period as some call it. In bible college I was taught that G-d was silent for 400 years until Messiah came. I guess protestants and evangelicals who reject the dueter-canonical books assume G-d didn’t speak the funny thing is that the Gospels mention Chanukah being celebrated by Yeshua a miraculous act of Adonai done 150 or so years before Messiah.
The interesting spin on the Driedel of the Hanukah story is the big question why don’t “Christians” observe Hannukah? The Deuterocanonical books of first and second Maccabee is found in the Greek Septuagint as well as a part of the Canon of some Christian bibles including Catholic, Orthodox and Coptic churches. The original Hebrew is lost to antiquity. While Hanukkah is observed by the Jewish people the book has no official religious status thought it maintains great historical interest. In the book of John, Yeshua is in Jerusalem during Chanukah, one of His messages during this time period is that He is the Light of the world. There is also anecdotal evidence that during Yeshuas speech he answer the disciples prayer and even answering questions in Mathew 24:3. Even suggested that 2 Thessalonians 2:3-8 and Revelation 22:20 point to future fulfillment of Chanukah in Yeshua.
So should in the light of the biblical and historical narrative should we as “Christians” or Messianics observe Hanukkah? I as a “G-dfearer” can not observe the Hedonic-Pagan holiday of X-mass due to its fertility tree with sprinklings of male seed symbolized by tinsel, or the seeds of gifts to the ovum or bussom of the woman laid at the foot of the tree, or the five point star of Egyptian Humanistic Deism, or the blatant consumer greed.
Even Catholics admit the Immaculate conception was on December 6th making Yeshua birth most likely during the fall feast namely Sukkot. And if as is believed that John the Baptist was born 6 months before Yeshua during Passover then Sukkot is Yeshua’s most likely time of conception. On the eight day of Sukkot he came to the temple to be dedicated while his family was in Jerusalem for Sukkot, he was redeemed and circumcised like all Jewish boys, even greeted by some Essene’s who belived him to be Messiah.
Miraculous works are a theme of Hanukkah, cited in the blessing, “for the miracles, the redemption, the mighty deeds, and the victories in battle which You performed for our ancestors in those days, at this time” – Koren Siddur.
Everyone is looking for Super Hero‘s these days whether its TV series like Smallville’s ten year run or the upcropping of Super Hero tales to the silver screen. During Chanukah we tell the story of Jewish Hero Judah Maccabee. The recent television series Smallville (who was originally written as a Jewish hero during the Holocaust) which covered Superman’s rise from high school angst to super hero and undercover news reporter, to all the Marvel and DC Comic characters to make it to the silver screen.
X-Men’s Magneto, is a survivor of the Holocaust who was separated from his parents and watched his own mother die and the Superman have Jewish origins their authors wrote them as Hero’s who saved the Jews from the Holocaust or rose from the Holocaust’s story.
Another super-hero story is that of a Jewish hero that is being worked as a script is the story of Judah Maccabee by Mel Gibson who has been accused of making anti-semetic statements. I don’t know if this is his attempt to apologize or keep his on-going series of movies done in their ancient context from Apacalypto‘s tale of Mayan-Ican demise to the Orthodox-Aramaic-Latin tale of Yeshua’s crucifixion.
On the other hand its no surprise that Gibson a devote Catholic is considering doing a Hanukkah movie since the books of Maccabee’s is in the bible as Canon, unlike their Jewish and Christian counterparts who accept the historical story however the text is not included in Protestant or Jewish Bibles. Judah Macabee, the Hebrew Hammer, is the super Hero of the Hanukah story.
I heard someone mentioned recently a lot of the comic books movie should get back to the Hebraic Context fighting against assimilation and oppression. Many Comic books and their characters were written during the Holocaust, World War II and the Cold War and where at first Jewish Hero’s and later, world hero’s. Later Comics started to include “gods” and “aliens” of ancient myths and comparative religions.
I do feel comic should drop characters like the Marvel Comic character of Thor in the Avengers series and the Egyptians dieties such as Scarab and others portrayed in DC Comic series the Justice League. I would prefer a return to the Judeo-Christian characters and foundations of many of these comic series.
Here is the story of Hanukah courtesy of JewishTreat.org:
“Around the year 167 B.C.E., the Syrian-Greek rulers of Judea tried to force the Jews to assimilate into Hellenic culture. They summoned the Jews to the town squares where they were forced to worship idols or to sacrifice a pig before the idol.
When the Syrian-Greek soldiers demanded that the Jews of Modiin sacrifice a swine to one of their gods, Mattitiyahu, a priest from the Hasmonean family, refused to allow this desecration to take place and slew the Jewish heretic who volunteered. Mattitiyahu, together with his sons, also attacked the Syrian-Greek soldiers. They won that battle, but they were forced to take refuge in the hills. Mattitiyahu’s sons became known as the Maccabees.
Under the leadership of Judah the Maccabee, the Jews launched a guerilla war for freedom. In 165 B.C.E., the Maccabees finally succeeded in routing the vastly superior Syrian-Greeks forces and retook the Temple, but by then the Syrian-Greeks had thoroughly desecrated the holy site. The Jews immediately set to work removing the alien idols, rebuilding the altar and performing the many tasks necessary to rededicate the Temple.
Unfortunately, there was no undefiled oil left with which to light the golden menorah. The Jews searched for sealed jars of pure, consecrated oil, and finally found a single flask with its seal intact. They rejoiced and hurried to light the Menorah and rededicate the Temple.
But it was only one flask of oil, good for only one day. It would take at least another week for fresh pure olive oil to be prepared and consecrated. Not wanting to postpone performing the mitzvah, they decided to light the Menorah with what they had–and the miracle of Chanukah occurred. Despite the small quantity of oil, the menorah remained lit for the entire eight days, proclaiming to the world that God’s presence had returned to the Temple.” – JewishTreats @JewishTweets
Chanukah is another Feast Dedicated to remember so Great a Salvation by the hand of Adonai from a wicked people as well as the re-dedication of the temple. According to Jewish tradition some claim Chanukah isn’t ordained by Adonai in the Torah however it can be found in the Tanakh (in the LXX-Greek Septuagint) along with the book of Esther and the Festival of Purim. Though these two Biblical may not be found in Leveticus 23, that doesn’t mean they aren’t ordained or Adonai blessed. Yeshua’s participation in Chanukah and John’s record of it in the Gospels lend support to it being a Brit Chadasha Holy Day.
The Festival of Light-Dedication is one Yeshua spoke prophetically about Himself being the Light of the World, letting our lights shine before men and proclaiming His body to be the new temple that will be destroyed and resurrected on the third day. Yeshua had much to say to His disciples, His sheep who know His voice about Chanukah.
Do you have an ear to hear Yeshua speaking to you about being a light and letting it so shine before mankind? Do your hear Messiah speaking to you about the dedication of the new Temple in His body and the renewed Melki-tzedek priesthood.
The Pharisee’s wanted Yeshua to declare He was Messiah because once again Helenism was sneaking in, Herod had broke the paternal lineage of the High Priest and the Greeks and Romans were everywhere. They wanted another Judah Maccabee while yet another group the Essene’s of which the early followers of Yeshua have been accused of being apart of that sect were awaiting for the suffering servant to come first and then in the future return as conquering king.
Many times when we read the Brit Chadasha without this historic context or other Jewish writings we miss the point being made because we do not know the context. Context is everything without it you have nothing. Yeshua declares that He and the Father are one (Echad) in John 10:30. Yeshua showed He was of Adonai because of the Miracles. Chanukah is about miracles. Yeshua is the embodiment of Chanukah, the rebuilding-re-dedication of the temple, the Light (Ori) that is a city on a hill not a village in darkness.
Hannukah is an eight day festival patterned after The Festival of Unleavened Bread, and Sukkot another eight day celebration. The Maccabee’s convened a Bet Din (Sanhedrin) or ruling judges to establish the Temple and rule that the Jewish people honor the celebration of Chanukah. There are many things that the Levite’s and Pharisee-Rabbi-Teachers brought to Second Temple Judaism, Synagogues for study of torah, prayer and seeking to establish all Israel as prophets as Adonai declared was his original intent for Israel however Israel rejected this in favor of Moshe, prophets and rulling judges and later a king, a united kingdom and then two kingdoms. They also instituted reading through the Torah Portions and Parasha. If it wasn’t for these “dueter-canonical acts” we would never have Ekklesis-Synagogues-Congregations-Churches, teaching of scripture, or organized worship and prayer whether Jewish or Gentile Christian.
On the other hand like many festivals Chanukah is a bittersweet moment in which we remember the cruel persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes who made study torah illegal and any caught obeying Adonai’s commands was killed. Much like Passover’s flight out of the belly of Egypt, or Moshe and Yeshua near annihilation experiences around birth and early childhood. Even the Holocaust and many other Jewish Holidays remember Adonai’s real deliverance and history of great tragedy. There are times that bitter rejoicing that let us remember the brevity of life the hatred of those who serve fallen angels towards the chosen people of Adonai, whether natural born or grafted in.
“Two thousand three hundred evenings and mornings, after which the sanctuary will be restored to its rightful state.” Daniel 8:13-14 (CJB)
Is Hanukkah only about Eating latkes (potato pancakes), Giving Chanukah gifts or gelt (money or chocolate coins), Playing Dreidel, the miracle of the oil that lasted 8 days, and The Maccabee Revolt? Does it hold significance for Christians as it does for Messianics and Jewish people? Should it and why?
One of the main themes of Maccabeen revolt is against Jewish assimilation to culture. Whether it be Babylonian or Helenistic influence Judaism should never embrace the modern culture. Family life should be focused around Shabbat, The Festivals, performing Mitzvot and fellowshipping with other believers regularly for encouragement and teaching. The Maccabee’s got fed up with the pagan influences from Babylon to Roman assimilation tactics. The Maccabeen revolt is a puritan-esque revolt and cry for seperation and not assimilation. As Ress Resnick continues to point out that even:
David Stern points out, the holiday “has become a Jewish refuge and defense against absorption into and assimilation by the Gentile majority: ‘We don’t celebrate Christmas; wecelebrate Hanukkah because we’re Jewish’” (Jewish New Testament Commentary”
I am proud to be assimilation free. To stand for Right-Just-Ness to seek to be a light on a hill not a dim night light under a lamp stand. A lamp stand is meant to have a lamp on it not under it. As I got fed up with the consumerism and pagan influences upon Halloween, Christmas and Easter
For those who observe Hanukkah and other Jewish-Hebrew-Biblical traditions it is wonderful when we find a treasure that speaks about the miracle of the Hanukkah Menorah or the battle of Judah Maccabee against the Greek-Assyrians such as Shalom Sesame, Phineas & Ferb, Special Agent Oso, Clifford, The Wiggles, even movies like Joseph King of Dreamers, Moses Prince of Egypt, Fiddler on the Roof, The Hebrew Hammer, Ushpazin, and others. There is very little that speaks to us who are anti-assimilation during the consumer season, this festival of pagan hedonism and self-interest called X-mass.
The time of Chanukah is the time we shine out light on a hill and in the window for all to see. The festival of lights as we celebrate Yeshua the light of the world and Chanukah. The Shumash, servant candle lights the other candles. Yeshua came not to be served but to serve he required his disciples
The joys (Simcha) of Hannukah along with its Brachos (Blessings), Driedel Games, Gelt (Chocolate coins), Fried Latke’s, Menorah and the story of the Maccabee Revolt bring back a time when things were simpler and the people of G-d had once again taken back their homeland from the hands of foreign oppressors by a miracle outnumbered 85 to 1 the Jewish people once again found themselves defended by the Arm of Adonai.
This is a significant time of joy for Messianics and Christians alike, the false idea that Adonai was silent during the inter-testamental or deuter-canonical periods that Adonai stopped talking and working with mankind. To say that for four hundred years Adonai hand nothing to do with Deism the idea that Adonai isn’t involved in the affairs of men. The same false logic claims that Adonai who spoke through prophet throughout the Tanakh and Besora and Epistles, yet doesn’t now. To advocate such lunacy is to be a deist, what I’ve called Deistic Christianity. I wrote an article “Is Modern Christianity Simply A Form Of Deism?” Things to consider. Its time to live assimilation free and seek to be like the Maccabee’s and Yeshua our true Super Hero’s to stand out and truly be lights in this world of darkness..