At sundown today Sunday, December 22nd 2019, on the Hebrew Calendar is the 25th Day of Kislev, which is Chanukah–-The Feast of Dedication. We celebrate Chanukah in remembrance of the cleansing of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem. Judas Maccabeus, Hebrew: יהודה המכבי, (Yehudah ha-Makabi) was a Jewish priest (kohen) and a son of the priest Mattathias. He led the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire (167–160 BC). A pig had been put on the altar of the Temple for sacrifice (known as the abomination of desolation). The Maccabees returned the LAMB to the altar for the sacrifice–-which was our sin offering.
There was enough oil remaining in the Temple to light the Menorah for one night; but the oil lasted eight nights. Chanukah is also known as The Festival of Lights. Yeshua (Jesus) said, “I Am the LIGHT of the world.”
The 25th Day of December we celebrate the birth of Yeshua (Jesus), beginning in the evening, for the King of the Jews was born Who is called the Son of God:
“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
Jesus Asserts His Deity
“At that time the Feast of the Dedication took place at Jerusalem; it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple in the portico of Solomon. The Jews then gathered around Him, and were saying to Him, ‘How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ (the anointed One, the Messiah), tell us plainly,’ Jesus answered them,’ I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me. But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, 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.’”
“And now says the LORD, who formed me from the womb to be His Servant, to bring Jacob back to Him, that Israel might be gathered to Him—for I am honored in the sight of the LORD, and my God is my strength—He says, ‘It is not enough for you to be My Servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the protected ones of Israel. I will also make you a light for the nations, that you may bring My salvation to the ends of the earth‘. Thus says the LORD, the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel, to him who was despised and abhorred by the nation, to the servant of rulers: ‘Kings will see you and rise, and princes will bow down, because of the LORD, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.’”
“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’”
On the 25th Day of December the birth of Yeshua (Jesus) is celebrated, beginning in the evening – for the King of the Jews was born who is called the Son of God. Is it not interesting that Jesus asserted His Deity during the time of Chanukah? If there was no Chanukah and the Jewish people were assimilated into the Greek culture, could this assertion have even taken place? Chanukah was a historical event as well as a prophetic foreshadow of the last days.
Bless the Lord for Mattathias, the Maccabean who declared, “Though all the nations within the king’s dominions obey him and forsake their ancestral worship, though they have chosen to submit to his command, yet I and my sons and brothers will follow the covenant of our fathers. Heaven forbid we should ever abandon the law and its statutes. We will not obey the command of the king, nor will we deviate one step from our forms of worship” (The Apocrypha from the New English Bible: 1 Maccabees 2:19-22).
When Mattathias died, his son Judah led the small band of Israelites and ultimately defeated the Syrian army. On the 25th Day of Kislev, the Maccabees entered Jerusalem, cleansed and rededicated the Temple.
What lessons can we learn for our lives today from this Historic Event?
1) As followers of Yeshua (Jesus) we are called to be separated unto Him and not compromise or assimilate into the cultures of the world. Assimilation dulls us to the radicalness of the Gospel. I John 2:15 “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him,”
2) Many of the Israelites were apathetic at that time and were willing to go along with the Greco mandate. The question we need to ask ourselves is: Are we apathetic? Are we zealous for the Lord and His Word? Romans 12:11 “Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.”
3) The Maccabees stood up for righteousness despite the odds against them.
4) Jesus said you are the light of the world. Is your light shinning before others so that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
5) The Maccabees rededicated the Temple because it was defiled. If you have defiled your temple turn to Jesus, ask forgiveness and rededicate your life to Him. I Corinthians 3:16,17 ”Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the spirit of God dwells in you. If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.”
Chanukah is a prophetic picture of the end of this Age. The abomination of desolation took place in the Temple causing the Maccabees to defeat the Syrian army, cleanse the Temple and rededicate it. The Book of Daniel and Matthew declares the abomination of desolation taking place again. It is a picture of anti-Christ declaring himself to be God: Matthew 24:15; Daniel 9:27; 11:31; 12:11.
May we learn these lessons well and may The Festival of Lights shine brighter and brighter in our lives.
Shelly & June