Archive for 2019

The Christmas Question

What are the roots of the Christmas season? Where did the traditions of Christmas originate? Why do wiccans and other pagans celebrate Christmas? Why does Santa Claus come down the chimney? Who is Krampus? Does God tell Christians to redeem the traditions of the world’s cultures? Is celebrating Christmas a sin for a follower of Messiah? How does someone who is redeemed from a life of sin respond to the love of God?

©119 Ministries

Fifth Night of Hanukkah

From the study guide, “Yeshua in His Father’s Feasts.”

Fifth Night of Hanukkah – Oil

“So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty” (Zechariah 4:6).

Family Study:

On the fifth night of Hanukkah, light the most separate candle on the Hanukkiah.  From the shamash, light the fifth night’s candle.  After you light your Hanukkiah, place it in a window to show that only through the Spirit of God does Israel have victory over her enemies.

In Scripture oil is symbolic of the Ruach HaKodesh or the Spirit of God and was used to anoint priests, kings and articles for the Tabernacle.  The main ingredient of the consecrated anointing oil was pure olive oil from the first pressing. Numerous spices were added to it to make it holy and fragrant for Temple purposes.

“Then the Lord said to Moses, “Take the following fine spices: 500 shekels of liquid myrrh, half as much (that is, 250 shekels) of fragrant cinnamon, 250 shekels of fragrant cane, 500 shekels of cassia—all according to the sanctuary shekel—and a hin of olive oil. Make these into a sacred anointing oil, a fragrant blend, the work of a perfumer. It will be the sacred anointing oil” (Exodus 30:22-25).

Once the Temple was cleansed and restored, a story in the Talmud says there was only enough oil to burn in the Menorah for one day.  While it took eight days to consecrate more holy oil, the one day’s portion lasted the eight full days allowing the Temple and its articles to be sanctified and re-dedicated to the God of Israel.

“Take the anointing oil and anoint the tabernacle and everything in it; consecrate it and all its furnishing and it will be holy” (Exodus 40:9).

1.  Research the different spices used in making the anointing oil. What do think were the reasons these spices were chosen by God?

a. myrrh

b. fragrant cinnamon

c. fragrant cane

d.  cassia

Dig Deeper:

God instructed the holy oil was not to be created and used for common purpose, however, it is possible to buy myrrh and frankincense candles or incense.  Purchase some and enjoy the aroma.

2.   What is the difference between ‘virgin’ olive oil and other olive oils?  Read Jeremiah 31:4, 21.  What is symbolic of  ‘virgin’ olive oil?

3.  Why did the Tabernacle/Temple articles need to be anointed with oil?  What did it signify?

4.  Some people doubt the miracle of the oil.  Read 2 Kings 4 and explain why the miracle of the oil at Hanukkah was possible.

5.  Read Matthew 25:1-13. In this parable there are lamps and oil.  Psalm 119:105 says the Word of God is the lamp.  What is the oil?  Why is it important to have oil in a lamp?

6.  What happened to the virgins with oil in their lamps?  What happened to those without? 

7.  Who do you believe the virgins represent? Why do you believe only half were prepared to meet their Bridegroom?

8.   Read John 4:24.  How does this verse apply to what happened to the virgins? Which ones were true worshippers of God?

Family Activity:

1. Eating foods made with oil are traditional for Hanukkah. Latkes or potato pancakes are fried in oil and eaten with applesauce. Sufganiot or jelly-filled donuts are also eaten at Hanukkah.  A recipe for latkes may be found in the Study Helps at the end of the study guide.

2. Research how olive oil is made and the different pressings.  Buy different grades of olive oil and taste them.  

3. Research to find the lifespan of an Olive Tree.  Why do you think Yahweh compares Israel to an Olive Tree?  (Jeremiah 31:34-36)

©2019 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.For a hard copy of this portion of the study guide or the complete study guide, please purchase “Yeshua in His Father’s Feasts.”©

Hanukkah Word: Hammer

The dictionary defines a ‘hammer’ as “a tool with a heavy metal head mounted at right angles at the end of a handle, used for jobs such as breaking things and driving in nails.”

The noun ‘hammer’ is found only a few times in Scripture. The first time is in Judges when Ya’el, the wife of Heber, uses a hammer to pound a tent stake into the head of Sisra piercing his skull and crushing his temple. With this act, she sets Israel free from God’s judgement for worshipping idols. The second time is in the book of First Kings where it is recorded that the stones for building the Temple were prepared at the quarry so that no ‘hammer’ was heard while it was being built.

Though the days of the Maccabean Revolt were before the days of King David, Psalm 74 reveals how the sanctuary of Elohim was destroyed when Israel was taken captive as judgement by God for disobeying His commands and worshipping idols. Hammers were used by the enemies of Elohim to destroy the Temple, specifically, to smash the intricately carved woodwork.

“If a prophet has a dream, let him tell it as a dream. But someone who has my word should speak my word faithfully. What do chaff and wheat have in common?” asks Adonai. “Isn’t my word like fire,” asks Adonai, “like a hammer shattering rocks?” (Jeremiah 23:28-29).”

The Word of God is like a hammer that shatters rocks. Through His Spirit, Elohim changes the heart of stone into a heart of flesh; He shatters the rock-hard heart so that it desires to obey His commandments. However, the prophet Jeremiah speaks about shepherds who lead the people of Adonai astray – shepherds like the false priests who succumbed to the Hellenization of their faith and began to worship many ‘other’ gods.

The Hebrew word for ‘hammer’ is maqqebeth or מקבות or in English, Maccabee. This word is significant to the celebration of Hanukkah as the leader of the revolt against the Syrian armies of Alexander the Great was called Judah ‘Maccabee’ or ‘the Hammer.’ As an army of ‘hammers,’ the Maccabees fought against the Syrian armies of Alexander the Great who wanted to Hellinize Israel.

Rather than assimilating into the Greek culture around them and the worship of foreign gods, Judah and his ‘hammer’ rebels fought for their freedom to worship the Elohim of Israel. With faith in the ‘Word’ of Elohim, and the help of the ‘Commander of Elohim’s Armies,’ they ‘hammered’ against the enemies Israel for four years in order to live as commanded by Elohim and regain control of the Temple in Jerusalem and restore it to its original glory and worship.

©2019 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. 

Yeshua in Hanukkah

First night of Hanukkah excerpt from the study guide, Yeshua’ in His Father’s Feasts available on amazon.com

Feast of Dedication – Hanukkah

“Then came the Festival of Dedication [footnote: Hanukkah] at Jerusalem. It was winter,and Yeshua was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade” (John 10:22). 

The Feast of Dedication or Hanukkah is not a designated Feast of the LORD, however Yeshua went to the Temple in Jerusalem during this festival and revealed himself to the people.  Hanukkah has its roots in anti-semitism and the leader of a great nation’s desire for the destruction of the Jewish people.  It is celebrated in November/December in the winter.  

The historical account of Hanukkah is found in the inter-testamental book of 1 Maccabees. There are numerous suppositions as to why Maccabees was not included in the canon of Scriptures, but 1 and 2 Maccabees are found in the Septuagint used by the Catholic church and the eastern Orthodox churches.  Whatever the reason for its exclusion from the canon, Yeshua was found in the Temple during the celebration of his nation’s victory over anti-semitism.  

In 167 BCE (Before Common Era), King Antiochus (Greek: anti-christ) of Syria desired to Hellenize (make everything Greek) the empire of Alexander the Great.    He made Judaism illegal.  This caused a conflict between the Greeks who had their own gods and culture and the Jews who worshipped the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and lived according to the Torah commands. 

Initially, Antiochus desecrated the Temple in Jerusalem by sacrificing pigs on the Altar and putting their blood all over the Holy Place.   He ordered the Levite priests to make sacrifices away from the Temple and demanded the Jewish people follow Greek sacrificial rituals and customs.  When the Jews continued to read Torah, keep the Sabbath, eat according to God’s dietary instructions and circumcise their sons, they became enemies of the state.  If they were caught following any of God’s commands, they had the choice to submit to the new governing authority or die.  

One Levite priest, Mattathias, was commanded to sacrifice to Zeus on an altar away from the Temple.  He refused.  A nearby Jewish man stepped forward and obeyed the soldier’s order.   Mattathias killed the man and the soldier.  Thus began what is known as the Maccabean revolt.  

Mattathias had a son named Judah.  He was given the nickname Maccabee, meaning ‘hammer.’  With the realization they would have to fight the Syrian armies in order to regain control of the Temple, maintain their customs and survive as a nation, Judah put together a small army that fought for years against the massive Greek armies.  After seven years of war, Judah and his army defeated the Syrians and regained control of the Temple in Jerusalem.  He located faithful Levite priests to restore the Temple and to rebuild the Altar.  Once everything was cleansed and restored, it was ready to be rededicated back to God.  According to the instructions in Torah,this process would take eight days.

There is a story in the Talmud (the oral law) that says when the priests went to light the great Menorah, they found only enough consecrated oil to last one day.  Miraculously, the oil lasted the full eight days, the time required for consecrating new holy oil, and thus came forth the miracle of the oil. It is from these events that the Feast of Dedication or the eight nights of Hanukkah came to be established.

Eight Nights of Hanukkah

Each evening of Hanukkah as the sun sets, a special menorah or Hanukkiah is lit.  A Hanukkiah can be bought online or simply created from 9 candles on a table; however make one significantly different to be the shamash or ‘helper candle.’    The activities for Hanukkah are designed for one topic every day for eight days, however, one topic can be developed to last the entire week of Hanukkah;  thus giving this section an eight-year outline of study.

First Night of Hanukkah – Anti-semitism & Persecution

“For you are a people set apart as holy for Adonai your God. Adonai your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his own unique treasure” (Deuteronomy 7:6). 

Family Study and Activity:

On the first night of Hanukkah, light the most separate candle or shamash on the Hanukkiah.  From the shamash, light the first night’s candle.  After you light your Hanukkiah, place it in a window to show your solidarity with the chosen people of God. 

Define shamash:

Persecution is not new to the Jewish people.  They have been persecuted since their time of slavery in Egypt! There will always be anti-semitic people like Haman, Antiochus, the Romans, the Crusaders and Hitler who want the destruction of God’s chosen people.  The greatest persecutions demand the Jewish people stop being Jewish by disobeying the instructions of Yahweh in the Torah.  This is not something they would ever do and, in spite of severe consequences, have faithfully guarded the Word of God throughout the millennia with their lives.  It is because of their steadfastness to the Torah and the Prophets that we have the Bible today.  It is because of the courageous actions of the Maccabees protecting the lineage of Judah that Yeshua, our salvation, could be born.

1. Read Matthew 5:10-12, James 1:2-3, 1 Peter 5:6-7, 2 Timothy 2:3, Revelation 13:10 and Revelation 14:12.  How did each of  these Jewish men deal with persecution from their own people?  People from the nations?

Peter:

James:

John:

Sha’ul:

Timothy:

Yeshua:

2.  Read Romans 11:16-20.  Discuss the warning Sha’ul gave to the church in Rome.  Did the Roman church heed the warnings?  Why or why not?

3.  How has Rome influenced the church today?  Are these influences easily recognized?  Why or why not?

4.  Should Roman influences be removed from a pure walk of faith?  Why or why not?

5.  Read Revelation 3:15-16. Hot and cold in these verses refer to mixing the holy ‘hot’ with the profane ‘cold’ as in the golden calf account in Exodus 32.  How has the influence of the Roman church made the Body of Christ ‘lukewarm’?

6.  Compare how the Maccabees dealt with the Hellenization of their faith with that of the Romanization of the faith the actions of believers.

7.  Read the requirements for being a saint in Revelation 14:12.  Are you a saint?  Why or why not?

8.  What does it mean for a saint to ‘patiently endure’?

9.  Have you ever experienced persecution for your faith in Yeshua/Jesus?  In what way?  By whom?

10.  What is the difference between a trial and persecution?  

Define trial:

Define persecution:

11.  If you celebrated Hanukkah do you think you would be persecuted by Jews? Friends? Christians? Why or why not? 

©2019 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. 

Archives

You are currently browsing the Tentstake Ministries blog archives for the year 2019.