Chanukah

Hanukkah is the celebration of the rededication of the Temple and the Miracle of God concerning the Menorah.

The Temple held the presence of God on earth – the Place where Sacrifices were offered – Place Where atonement might be found- Testimony of God on earth.

Menorah in Holy Place – Light of the Lord. Illustrations 1-5 power point

The prophet Daniel spoke of one who would come in the future and defile the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem. He would be the offspring of one of the four horns described in Daniel 8. Slide 6

Slide 7. Daniel 8:23–25 23“In the latter period of their rule, When the transgressors have run their course, A king will arise, Insolent and skilled in intrigue. “His power will be mighty, but not by his own power, And he will destroy to an extraordinary degree And prosper and perform his will; He will destroy mighty men and the holy people. And through his shrewdness He will cause deceit to succeed by his influence; And he will magnify himself in his heart, And he will destroy many while they are at ease. He will even oppose the Prince of princes,

But he will be broken without human agency.

Slide 7 This man was Antiochus a descendent of Seleucas one of the 4 generals who took over Alexander’s kingdom. He was the leader of the Seleucid Empire.

The events of Hanukah occurred after Old Testament was completed and before the New Covenant had come. They are recorded in the Apocryphal Books of the Maccabees, which record historical events but were not deemed to be Scripture by the Jews and Protestants.

Slide 8 This is from Apocryphal book 1 Maccabees 1:41-50 Then King Antiochus sent word throughout his entire kingdom that everyone should act like one people, giving up their local customs. The Gentile nations all readily accepted the king’s command. Many Jews also willingly adopted the king’s religion. They sacrificed to idols and violated the Sabbath. The king sent messengers carrying letters to Jerusalem and the surrounding towns of Judah. He directed Jews to follow customs that had been unknown in the land.

Slide 9. He banned the regular practices of entirely burned offerings, sacrifices, and drink offerings in the sanctuary. He banned the observance of sabbaths and feast days. The sanctuary and its priests were to be defiled. They should build new altars, together with sacred precincts and shrines for idols. They should sacrifice pigs and other ritually impure animals. Jews were no longer to circumcise their sons. They were supposed to make themselves repulsive to God by doing unclean and improper acts. All of this was intended to make them forget the Law and change its regulations. Whoever didn’t obey the king would die.

Slide 10 If Chanukah never happened there would have been no Christmas.

Slide 11 In 171 B.C. Antiochuscame to power over the Syrian Empire, He called himself Epiphanes, which means the manifest God. His goal: to unify his kingdom, including Judea, into one monolithic Hellenistic (Greek) culture. To revive Alexander’s empire.

And so, a massive struggle began Greek culture and faith vs. The God of Israel. The God of heaven and earth vs. Gods of Olympus and Greek Mythology.

The events of Hanukkah occurred in 167 B.C. when Mattathias a Kohen, or priest and his 7 sons, led a revolt against Antiochus and Hellenism. Antiochus’ armies were forcing the Jewish people to forsake God and Torah and assimilate to the gods of Hellenism.

Slide 12. Antiochus erected an image of himself in the Temple Sacrificed a Pig on the Altar boiled the remains and then poured broth on the altar and Holy place, thus polluting, and defiling the Temple. These events foreshadow events yet to come prophesied in Revelation.

Antiochus then sent his armies from town to town throughout Judea forcing the people to sacrifice to the God’s of Olympus. Forsaking the God of Israel

Mattathias and his sons rebelled and overthrew the garrison that came to their village just outside of Jerusalem, where they lived. They fled to the mountains of Judah where they began a guerilla type war.

When Mattathias died in 166 B.C. his son Judah led the revolt. They would pounce on the Syrians and came to be known as the Maccabees “hammerers” in Hebrew.

Because of war in the Eastern part of his Empire in Persia, Antiochus left Israel to lead that battle and He died of some disease.

With the king dead, and the Syrian army in turmoil, The Maccabees recaptured the Temple, cleansed it, and dedicated it on of the 25th Kislev 165 B.C. It was at this time that the Miracle of the Menorah occurred.

The word Chanukah is Hebrew for dedication and refers to the dedication of the Temple in 165 B.C. after it’s desecration by Antiochus.

Slide 13. The Menorah in the Holy place was to continually burn in the Temple. Antiochus defiled everything that was exposed when he sacrificed the pig on the altar.

The oil used in the Menorah had to be pure olive oil, which had been consecrated in a procedure outlined by the Scriptural guidelines in Leviticus which would take 8 days.

When the Maccabees retook the Temple, they were only able to find one sealed undefiled jar of oil. It would supply the seven bowls of the Menorah for one day.

According to the Temple procedure it would take one week to prepare more. The miracle according to tradition was that the oil lasted for eight days, long enough to prepare new oil.

Slide 14. On Chanukah we light an 8 stemmed menorah to commemorate each day of the miracle. In John 8:12 Jesus declared Himself to be the Light.

Slide 15 “Again, Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”

The Light of the World came to bring God’s Light to mankind (John 1:4-5) “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it”. Jesus said in Matthew 5:14 that we are to be the light of the world.

The events of Hanukah were orchestrated by the Lord and Yeshua chose to be in the Temple on Hanukah as we read in John 10:22-23.

Slide 15 “At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. So, the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly”

Here was the light of the world on the anniversary of the rededication of the Menorah Light in the Temple.

When the children of Israel kindle the Chanukah menorah, they light first the Shammas the most prominent candle and then with the Shammas they light the rest of the candles.

The word Shammas means servant. Just as the Shammas lights the lamps of Hanukah so God sent His Shammas, His servant to illuminate those who receive Him.

If we earnestly desire to bring God’s light into a dark world we must first be illuminated by God’s servant and then go and do likewise.

Slide 17 (Phil 2:3-7). “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men”

As we said Chanukah means dedication. It is a day we celebrate the victory of the Maccabees, and the dedication of the Temple for service unto God.

There are some Bible scholars who believe that Christmas Day, the 25th of December, may be related to Chanukkah.

Here is the relationship: Jesus described himself as the Temple Slide 19John 2:19 where Jesus said “destroy this temple and I will raise it again in 3 days.

The Temple was the place chosen by the Lord for the Presence of His Spirit in the Holy of Holies. The body of Jesus was where the Spirit of God dwelt.

It is very possible that the “greater Temple” was dedicated (born) on the 25th Kislev which corresponds to our month of December.

So the Temple in the days of the Maccabee’s was dedicated or (hanukahed) on the 25th of Kislev which corresponds to our December, after it had been defiled.

Perhaps Jesus was born on Chanukah the 25th of Kislev we don’t really know what day he was born. As believers we should be reminded of God’s call to sanctify or dedicate ourselves to the Lord.

One of the Promises that God made through His prophets was that when the Messiah would come, He would pour out His Spirit on all who would receive Him (Jer 31:31-33; Ezek 36:24-27)

When Yeshua died on the cross, God’s Spirit was removed from the Temple symbolized by the veil being rent in two. 50 days later on the day of Pentecost the Spirit came to rest in those who believed in Him. We see this event occurring in Acts 2:1-4.

What made the Temple Holy was the presence of God’s Spirit. That presence resided in the Holy of Holies in the Temple where the Ark of the Covenant and the Mercy Seat were located.

But on Pentecost 2000 years ago the Spirit of God that was in the Temple entered God’s People and the New Covenant describes God’s People as the Temple of the Lord (1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 6:19-20).

When we come to faith in Messiah, we become God’s Temple. As we consider Hanukkah, we should understand that as the Maccabees of Old laid down their lives so that the Temple of God might be Holy to the Lord, so too Yeshua laid down His Life and so also God calls us.

Antiochus sought to defile the Temple with his image to desecrate the Temple and to further his Hellenistic or ungodly agenda. His spirit of defiance to God lives today in the world.

When we live in worldly ways, we desecrate our Temples and thwart the Work of God’s Spirit in and through us. This Chanukkah may we sanctify God in our hearts. May we offer our lives afresh and anew so God’s light might be seen in our lives.

May we present our bodies as a living sacrifice that God’s Spirit may burn brightly in us.

Hanukkah is a reminder that a little with God is much and that by His Spirit miracles happen. God once again is taking a little oil and causing a bright light to burn.

If the events of Chanukah did not happen The Temple would have ceased its work and the Lord would not have come to the Temple. But that small band of priests in Modin began a revolution that brought revival to Israel and set the stage for the coming of the Messiah.

We are a part of a miracle that God is doing in these last days. Building His Temple and filling it with His light with the Oil of His Spirit. It is small but don’t despise the little things of the Lord.

Are you so overwhelmed by the obstacles before you that you doubt, you’ll achieve much? Are you so aware of your weakness, or lack of resources that you think you’ll never make it? That’s one of our greatest temptations, I think.

Sometimes as a church we think, we just can’t do what God expects of us and that We’ll never have the impact that God would have us to have. That We’ll never succeed with so few people to share the load.

Well in times like these we, need to hear the word of the Lord: “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, says the LORD of hosts.” God used those few Maccabees to begin a revolution, and He can use us.

“Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in His Holy Congregation and in Messiah Yeshua to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Eph 3:20-21)

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