Hanukkah (The Festival of Light) - 400yr Gap!

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Posted by Julie Edensor on 20 December 2015 | Comments

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As we celebrate Hanukkah (The Festival of Light) we thank the Lord for his precious SON the Bringer of heaven’s OIL.

Many ask me what Hanukkah is. Hanukkah is one of the few Jewish holidays not mentioned in the Bible. The story of how Hanukkah came to be is contained in the books of 1 and 2 Maccabees, which are not part of the Jewish canon of the Hebrew Bible.

Hanukkah (which in Hebrew means 'to dedicate') is also referred to as the Festival of Lights or the Feast of Dedication. It is a holiday, lasting eight days, that celebrates the rededication of Jerusalem's temple in 164 B.C. after it was defiled by a pagan ruler.

In 175 B.C., Antiochus Epiphanes (type of the coming Anti- Christ) becomes ruler of the Seleucid Empire. His goal was to unite the Greek-related elements of his empire and to FORCE, if necessary, those who do not live based on the Greek culture (e.g. Judea) to do so.

Antiochus (type of the coming Anti- Christ) orders, in 167 B.C., that a pagan altar be placed inside the temple in Jerusalem that is dedicated to the false god Zeus. Unclean animals like pigs are brought to the new altar and sacrificed. Right after this occurs a man named Mattathias, who is a descendant of Israel's first High Priest, who begins a revolt against the Seleucids by refusing to worship the Greek gods forced on Judea by Antiochus.

Although Mattathias soon dies after the revolt starts, his son Judas assumes his father’s leadership role and continues the rebellion as its military commander. He is so zealous and ferocious in battle that he earns the name Judas Maccabaeus (or Judah the Maccabee), which when translated means "Judah the Hammer."

Judas eventually leads the people to a stunning victory over the Seleucids. He enters Jerusalem after Judea wins back its independence. He has the pagan altar erected by the Seleucids removed from the temple, has the temple itself religiously purified, and restores the worship of the true God. The rededication of Jerusalem's temple happens on the twenty-fifth day Kislev (or Chislev, which is roughly our month of December). Tradition states that although only one day worth of oil can be found for the Temple's menorah (which burned all through the night), it somehow burns for a total of 8 days. This period was the same as the time it took to prepare and dedicate new oil for the Temple.

The Rabbis recount the miracle of Hanukkah in these terms,

On Kislev 25 begin the Hanukka days, eight of them....When the Greeks entered the Temple Sanctuary, they contaminated all the oil. When the Hasmoneans defeated them, they searched and found only one cruse of oil bearing the High Priest’s seal. The cruse had enough oil for only one day’s burning, but a miracle came to pass and it lasted eight days. The following year, these days were declared a holiday to be celebrated with the saying of Hallel [a recitation from Psalms 113–118] and thanksgiving prayers” (Megillat Taanit).

The centerpiece of the Hanukah celebration is a nine-branch candelabrum. The first candle is called the “servant” candle (Type of Christ) and is used to light one additional candle each night to commemorate the eight days of the miracle.

John 10 v 22-23 records, "Then came the Feast of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the Temple area walking in Solomon's Colonnade."  As a Jew, Jesus most certainly would have participated in the Feast of Dedication.

The miracles we celebrate at Hanukkah – the defeat of an enemy army, the oil lasting for eight days – show how God keeps His light burning in the hearts of His people, even when they face what seem to be impossible odds or situations. With God, all things are possible. His light cannot fail, or go out.

When we think of the miracle of God's Presence expressed through the eternal flame of God burning for the Maccabees, Jesus became the incarnate, physical expression of God's Presence, the Light of the World, who came to dwell among us and give us the eternal light of God's life.

We know that as believers in Yeshua we are not bound by law or tradition to celebrate the Feast of Lights, however our Christian faith is tightly rooted in Hebraic tradition. We, along with our Jewish friends, worship the one true God–the God of many miracles!   While we celebrate the birth of our Immanuel this Christmas, we also thank God for His provision in our lives, as witnessed in the miracle of the oil. We are now the temple of the Spirit, may we rededicate ourselves again to Jesus, the perfect and everlasting Light of the World.

The Maccabees arise during the 400yr gap between the Old and New Testaments.

The period of 400 years between the Old and New Testament was known as the age of ‘WORLDLY WISDOM’. The Apostle Paul refers to this ‘wisdom of the world’ in 1 Corinthians 1 v 20 “Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.”

There is no question that the interval between the two Testaments was specially a time of WORLDLY WISDOM.

All today’s Fathers’ of REASON and WORLDLY WISDOM arose during this period – see below:

HERODOTUS - The Father of HISTORY Born 484 BC

SOCRATES  - Athenian PHILOSOPHER Born 469 BC

HIPPOCRATES - The Father of MEDICINE Born 460 BC

PLATO - Greek PHILOSOPHER Born 429 BC

ARISTIDES - Greek ARTIST Born 400 BC

ARISTOTLE - PHILOSPHER Born 384 BC

ALEXANDER THE GREAT - CONQUEROR Born 356 BC

ZENO -  PHILOSOPHER Born 355 BC

ARISTOXENUS – MUSICIAN AND POET Born 350 BC

EPICURUS - Greek PHILOSOPHER Born 342 BC

APELLES  - The greatest Greek ARTIST Born 340 BC

EUCLID - The Father of MATHEMASTICS Born 300 BC

CLEANTHES – PHILOSOPHER (Acts 17 v 28) Born 300 BC

ARCHIMEDES - The Father of MECHANICS Born 287 BC

CHRYSIPPU -  Greek HISTORIAN Born 204 BC

HIPPARCHUS -The Father of ASTRONOMY Born 150 BC

CICERO - Roman ORATOR Born 106 BC

JULIUS CEASAR – DICTATOR OF ROME Born 100 BC

VIRGIL -  Roman POET Born 70 BC

AUGUSTUS – Roman EMPEROR Born 63 BC

HORACE -  POET Born 65 BC

Although we do not despise the work of these ‘Fathers’ of REASON and WORLDLY WISDOM they did nothing to contribute to God’s message to man.

The 400 years of silence was broken when the angel Gabriel (Luke 1) declaring the birth of both John the Baptist (in Hebrew meaning Favour of God) and Jesus Christ (in Hebrew meaning Jehovah Saves, Victory, Deliverance, Prosperity and Welfare).

As we celebrate incarnation of the WORD that tabernacle (moved) among us – John 1 v 14. We think of our Immanuel, The Prince of Peace. It is Christ that came giving up his divine privileges; taking the humble position of a slave, being born as a human being and ultimately offering His life that the sons of man may no more die. 

The 400yr silence only brought about the foolishness of man’s Wisdom. We see in the jubilation of the Angelic host’s proclamation that the silence is broken. The message upon their lips (from heaven) is FEAR NOT! We have GLAD TIDINGS... (Good News)... We should have JOY... we have been given GLAD TIDINGS....

Luke 2 v 8 / 19 ( v 10 “Bring you good news” - GK= G2097)   “Behold, I evangelize to you great joy " (JOY = 5479 GK – ‘Cheerfulness, Gladness of HEART’).

The Angels were proclaiming rejoice the silence is broken THIS IS HE who Adam, Abraham, David, Isaiah all LOOKED for, the long awaited CHRIST! THE MESSIAH!

A ‘JOY’ that is not carnal, but spiritual; not fake, but real; not temporary, but lasting, that cannot be taken away, nor interfered with;  not small, but great, even joy unspeakable, and full of glory!!

LOOK AT WHAT IS SAID Luke 2 v 11 "There has been born for you a Saviour" - NOT A LAW GIVER, NOT A JUDGE - A SAVIOUR!!! LOOK what else is said "CHRIST THE LORD" – this is the only place in Scripture where these words are mentioned together!

I pray that as we celebrate the JOY of the birth of our Immanuel – we will remember that the heavens are no longer silent. During the silence of God there was the Wisdom of man and the defilement of the temple, however God had a remnant (The Maccabees)! The silence was broken by the declaration of the birth of The Messiah of Israel – Jesus Christ the Lord!!!

JulieSignature

 

 

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