Archive for the ‘Hanukkah’ Category

Hanukkah and Yerushalayim

From the days of Abraham,  Yerushalayim (Jerusalem in Hebrew) has been the center of the known world.  Malki-Tzedek, the righteous king who has no beginning or end, ruled from this city called “Shalem” meaning ‘complete, safe, and peace’ (Genesis 14:18).  Throughout Biblical history, proven through archaeological digs, Yerushalayim was the center of Israel, the capital, where the God of Israel dwells, the Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh, the I Am.  

“In the courtyards of Adonai’s house, there in your very heart, Yerushalayim. Halleluyah!” (Psalm 116:19).

“Blessed be Adonai out of Tziyon, he who dwells in Yerushalayim! Halleluyah!” (Psalm 135:21).

King Solomon built the first Temple in Yerushalayim.  It was destroyed by the Babylonians.  A second Temple was built in Yerushalayim at the command of the prophet Ezra. This is the one that the Syrians desecrated.  They knew and understood from history the significance of Yerushalayim and how the Temple was central to the Jewish faith.  It was for this reason that they forced the Jews to offer sacrifices elsewhere; then desecrated the Altar.  Their purpose was to destroy the Jewish faith and assimilate the Jewish people into their idolatrous worship.

Yet, a remnant of Jews remained faithful and fought for years with Judah Maccabee against assimilation into a foreign religious system and the destruction of their One-God centered faith.  The miracle of Hanukkah is that the faithful remnant had victory over the great oppression by the Syrians, who were part of the greatest empire on earth.  Because of these faithful Jewish men, women and priests, Yerushalayim remained central to Israel and the Temple was restored and rededicated.   More importantly, the Jewish people were not annihilated.  The result: Yeshua, salvation for Israel and the world,  could be born through a Jewish lineage, teach in the Temple courts in the city of Yerushalayim.

Yerushalayim is found 773 times throughout the Holy Scriptures, but only 9 times in the Koran.  This is a huge discrepancy between the two major religions, but one that the world refuses to acknowledge.  They would rather the two ideologies assimilate, or better yet, the one with the proven history in Yerushalayim disappear from the nations altogether.

“They say, “Come, let’s wipe them out as a nation; let the name of Isra’el be remembered no more!” (Psalm 83:4).

The enemy of God, Satan, knows that if he can remove Israel as a nation and Yerushalayim as its capital, then he proves to the world there  is no God of Israel.  If he can destroy the Jewish people and their millennia of faith, then he really prove to the world, there is no God at all.  He also knows that without the Jewish people, there is no one to welcome the Messiah back into the holy city and Yeshua cannot return to set up his Kingdom.  However, Satan’s plan has a flaw.

“This is what Adonai says, who gives the sun as light for the day, who ordained the laws for the moon and stars to provide light for the night, who stirs up the sea until its waves roar — Adonai-Tzva’ot is his name: “If these laws leave my presence,” says Adonai, “then the offspring of Isra’el will stop being a nation in my presence forever.

Unfortunately for Satan, who is ultimately the spiritual force behind chaos and destruction, he will not only lose this battle, he will lose the war.  Though he will continue to use the nations to fight against Yerushalayim and Israel as the ‘father of lies’ and deceptions, his destiny is already determined (Revelation 20:10). 

“Why are the nations in an uproar, the peoples grumbling in vain? The earth’s kings are taking positions, leaders conspiring together, against Adonai and his anointed” (Psalm 2:1-2).

“A prophecy, the word of Adonai concerning Isra’el — here is the message from Adonai, who stretched out the heavens, laid the foundation of the earth and formed the spirit inside human beings: “I will make Yerushalayim a cup that will stagger the surrounding peoples.  Even Judah will be caught up in the siege against Yerushalayim. When that day comes, I will make Yerushalayim a heavy stone for all the peoples. All who try to lift it will hurt themselves,  and all the earth’s nations will be massed against her” (Zechariah 12:1-3).

King Cyrus of Persia was used by God to deliver the Jewish people from their Babylonian captivity.  They returned to Yerushalayim and rebuilt their city and the second Temple.   With the help of a modern-day King Cyrus, Yerushalayim is  acknowledged to be, by the largest nation in the world, the eternal capital of Israel.  This modern-day King Cyrus has also called for the rebuilding of the Temple.  When that happens, the greater exodus of Jewish people from the nations will follow (Jeremiah 16:14) along with a great apostasy and a false messiah in sitting in the Temple. 

Hanukkah is not only a memorial to the miraculous events surrounding the Maccabean revolt, but is prophetic to our day.  As the return of Messiah Yeshua comes closer with each passing day, the shaking of the nations will escalate, but also will the promises of God to His people.  As the nations of the world continue to stand against Israel and fight about Yerushalayim, more and more Jewish people are accepting Yeshua as Messiah.  They are being prepared to cry out: “Baruch haba b’shem Adonai” and welcome Messiah back to Yerushalayim (Matthew 23:37-40).

“Adonai is rebuilding Yerushalayim, gathering the dispersed of Isra’el” (Psalm 147:2).

Soon, Yerushalayim will no longer be a city of assimilation of false gods, Greek, Roman, Baha’i, Muslim, and multiple religions.  It will be restored and rededicated to the glory of the LORD.  All the nations of the world will come as one to Yerushalayim and worship the God of Israel on the appointed Feast Days in the Temple of Messiah Yeshua, and Yerushalayim will become, as it should be, the city of our Great King.

“Look at Tziyon, the city of our festivals; your eyes will see Yerushalayim a secure abode, a tent that will not be removed, whose pegs will never be pulled out and whose guy-ropes will not be cut. But there in his splendor Adonai will be with us…” (Isaiah 33:20-21).

“Many peoples will go and say, “Come, let’s go up to the mountain of Adonai, to the house of the God of Ya‘akov! He will teach us about his ways, and we will walk in his paths.” For out of Tziyon will go forth Torah, the word of Adonai from Yerushalayim” (Isaiah 2:3).

Psalm 48

Great is Yahweh  and greatly to be praised,

in the city of our God, his holy mountain,

beautiful in its elevation, the joy of all the earth,

Mount Tziyon, in the far north, the city of the great king.

In its citadels God has been revealed as a strong defense.

For the kings met by agreement;

together they advanced.

They saw and were filled with consternation;

terrified, they took to flight.

Trembling took hold of them,

pains like those of a woman in labor,

as when the wind out of the east wrecks the “Tarshish” ships.

We heard it, and now we see for ourselves

in the city of Yahweh-Tzva’ot, in the city of our God.

May God establish it forever. (Selah)

God, within your temple we meditate on your grace.

God, your praise, like your name, extends to the ends of the earth.

Your right hand is filled with righteousness.

Let Mount Tziyon rejoice, let the daughters of Y’hudah be glad,

because of your judgment [on the enemy].

Walk through Tziyon, go all around it;

count how many towers it has.

Note its ramparts, pass through its citadels,

so that you can tell generations to come

that such is God, our God forever;

he will guide us eternally.”

©2017 Tentstake Ministries

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Hanukkah Word: Tradition

When I think of the word ‘tradition’, I immediately hear Tevye’s booming voice singing “TRADITION”, in “Fiddler on the Roof.” Along with singing the word ‘tradition’ over and over, he discourses during the song:
 
“Because of our traditions, we’ve kept our balance for many, many years. Here in Anatevka, we have traditions for everything: how to sleep, how to eat… how to work… how to wear clothes. For instance, we always keep our heads covered, and always wear a little prayer shawl that shows our constant devotion to God. You may ask, “How did this tradition get started?” I’ll tell you! … I don’t know. But it’s a tradition… and because of our traditions… Every one of us knows who he is and what God expects him to do.”
 
I remember hearing a statement years ago that went something like “It’s not that the Jews keep traditions; it’s that the traditions keep the Jews.” There is great truth in that statement because it’s not the only the Jews who have traditions. Some of us macro-tradition and follow the ways of our ancestors in how we carve a turkey, the ethnic meals we make or the educational institutions we choose. Some of us micro-tradition with how we launder our clothes, manage our hair or brush our teeth. Traditions not only help us order our daily lives, but they maintain a sense of family identity throughout the generations.
 
Tevye doesn’t know ‘where’ he got the traditions of keeping his head covered and his little prayer shawl. He doesn’t know ‘where’ the traditions of how to sleep, eat, work and wear clothes came from either. However, Tevye does know that they are expressions of who he is, who God is, and how he is expected to live in God’s design for life. His traditions bring balance to his life and, from what I can tell Tevye’s traditions do not break any of God’s commandments. In fact, they are expressions of those commandments in his life.
 
“He [Yeshua] answered, “Indeed, why do you break the command of God by your tradition?” (Matthew 15:3).
 
“Thus, with your tradition which you had handed down to you, you nullify the Word of God! And you do other things like this” (Mark 7:13).
 
According to many, celebrating Hanukkah is a manmade Jewish tradition, not a Biblical holy day, and therefore should not be celebrated. Their rationale is that all traditions, because they are manmade, are contrary to God’s commands. Yet, Yeshua is clear that not all traditions nullify the Word of God. If that were the case, Yeshua wouldn’t have fit into the basic Jewish culture in which he lived: what he ate, how he dressed, where he went to school, and how he passed his mother onto John with his dying breath.
 
Hanukkah is in the Bible. In John chapter 10, it is winter and the Feast of Dedication or Hanukkah has arrived. Yeshua is walking around in Solomon’s Porch. Solomon’s Porch was a covered area on the far eastern side of the Temple area. It joined with the Court of the Gentiles where non-Jews would come to the Temple to worship the God of Israel as God-fearers. It was in this area that Yeshua’s fellow Jews surrounded him and demanded that he reveal whether or not he is the Messiah.
 
This is a dangerous confrontation because they already know that Yeshua has no problem rebuking anyone when they are living or speaking contrary to the will of God. He chastised some Pharisees regarding the ceremonial hand washing. He called other Jewish leaders blind fools and white-washed tombs full of dead men’s bones. He completely discouraged the rich young man who wanted to follow him on his own terms. And, he told Peter, “Get behind me Satan.”
 
If Yeshua believed that Hanukkah was only a manmade tradition that nullified the commands of God, he would have spoken up at this very moment. He would have marched over to the Altar and rebuked the priests. He would have entered the Holy Place and overturned the Temple Menorah. He would have cried out in a loud voice for all of the men and women in the Temple area to hear, charging them with great sin in their idolatry and manmade traditions. He would have reprimanded them for celebrating the re-Dedication of His Father’s House when it wasn’t in Torah. Instead of acting like the anti-Messiah and a fanatic lunatic, he speaks to them of sheep hearing his voice, the miracles he has done in his Father’s name, and his Oneness with his Father. Whether he lit a menorah in his house or played dreidel, we don’t know. But we do know he did not rebuke anyone, including those in the Court of the Gentiles, for being in the Temple at Hanukkah.
 
Why?
 
Because Yeshua is Jewish. His own ancestral history is tied up in the miraculous victory of Judah Maccabee and his armies over the Greeks. Had the Jewish people been annihilated by Antiochus Epiphanes, he wouldn’t even be standing among his Jewish brothers and sisters. They would have all been destroyed.
 
Because Yeshua is the Son of God. The Temple is his Father’s House, the place where he spent his time instructing those in Jerusalem who had ears to hear. Had the Maccabees not fought off the Greeks, the Temple would have remained a desecrated and unholy place. There would be no account of young Yeshua teaching in the Temple nor would he have been able to call His Father’s house a ‘house of prayer for all nations’.
 
Because Yeshua is the Lamb of God. The re-dedication of the Altar has great significance to Israel and the world. Without an Altar there is no place for the burnt offering, grain offering, guilt offering, fellowship offering or sin offering. It is only through blood that there is forgiveness of sins and it came through the shed blood of the Lamb, not the blood of unclean animals like the pigs (Hebrews 10:22).
 
Because Yeshua is the Torah in the flesh (John 1:14). He is the Living Word that is a Menorah to our feet and a light to our path (Psalm 119:105). Whether one flask of oil lasted eight days is recorded or not, it is recorded that the Light of the World stood inside the Court of the Gentiles during the Feast of Dedication revealing his identity. That miracle in itself is worth celebrating!
 
Because Yeshua is God’s prophetic voice to mankind. He uses the very events of the Maccabean Revolt to allude to the time of the end and his return (Matthew 24:15). There will be an ‘abomination of desolation’ in the Holy Place of His Father’s House. It’s unfortunate that the books of Maccabees are only in the Apocrypha (removed from the Protestant canon) because according to Yeshua, we need to understand the ‘allusion’ which only comes from knowing the historical events surrounding the days and times of Judah Maccabee. Without that knowledge, we could very well become part of the great deception of the end times.
 
Traditions, as long as they do not nullify the commands of God are not an abomination to God; they are not going to be judged by God. Instead, they define us as individuals as well as join us together as family. As part of the commonwealth of Israel, lighting an eight-branched menorah unifies Jews and non-Jews as the family of God in a stand against those who would destroy our faith in the God of Israel. When we spin the dreidel and remember how many Jewish men, women and children were willing to die so that we could have the Hebrew Scriptures, “A Great Miracle Happened There” becomes our victory cry when we are persecuted for adhering to the Scriptures. Because Yeshua is our Jewish brother, our Savior, our High Priest, Our King, Hanukkah becomes part of our spiritual history and has great prophetic significance to strengthening our walk of faith in the days to come.

©2016 Tentstake Ministries

Hanukkah Word: Assimilation

“Many peoples will go and say, “Come, let’s go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob! He will teach us about his ways, and we will walk in his paths.” For out of Tziyon will go forth Torah, the word of Adonai from Jerusalem” (Isaiah 2:3).

Watching a documentary last night on the history of Hanukkah, it became so clear that the Jewish people did not want to assimilate into the Greek Hellenistic culture being forced upon them and lose their identity, their Biblical calling as the people of God and a light to the nations. My husband and I talked about how we had to come out of Rome and leave behind all the doctrines of Roman catholicism that the evangelical/protestant church has embraced. It was difficult leaving behind cherished family traditions that were actually contrary to the Word of God. Sometimes it felt as difficult as the rag tag Jewish army fighting the great and mighty Syrian military on elephants. Our families didn’t understand; moreover, our church brothers and sisters denounced us as legalists fallen from grace. Some said we even ‘left the fellowship of God’!

The documentary stated that the 4-year battle was more than a fight to regain the Temple in Jerusalem and the ordinances given by God of Sabbath and circumcision in the Torah, it was a battle for the existence of the state of Israel. Without an Israel, there could never have been the birth of the Messiah, Yeshua. Without an Israel today, there can never be his return. The battle still rages.

As we watched the documentary, we could see how Christiandom, by negating the history of the Jewish people from their canon of Scriptures, have lost the understanding of what Yeshua/Jesus meant when he spoke of the ‘abomination of desolation’ and the ‘man of lawlessness’ that is at work already in this world. They create their own prophetic western perspective rather than seeingNo automatic alt text available. that he was referring to the days before Hanukkah and the battle of assimilating into a world religious system that is contrary to the Hebrew Scriptures. It is much easier to assimilate and give rationalizations for assimilating into the culture around us and its expressed idolatry than to stand as Mattathias did against the Syrian generals who wanted him to sacrifice to a false god with a pig or to fight as the Maccabees did with few weapons, or to follow the Lion of Judah.

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