Posts Tagged ‘abomination of desolation’

Hanukkah: The Truth in the 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’ repeatedly, he explains the purpose of traditions:  “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 similar statement years ago: “It’s not that the Jews keep traditions; it’s that the traditions keep the Jews.”

The Jews aren’t the only people to have traditions. Some people macro-tradition and follow the ways of their ancestors in carving a turkey, ethnic meals or educational institutions. Some micro-tradition with how they wash their clothes, wear their hair, and brush their teeth. Traditions not only help order a daily life, but they maintain a sense of family identity throughout the generations.

Tevye doesn’t know from ‘where’ he received the traditions of keeping his head covered and his talit katan. He doesn’t know from ‘where’ the traditions of how to sleep, eat, work and wear clothes came either. Tevye does know, however, that the traditions express who he is, who God is, and how he is expected to live God’s way. His traditions bring balance to his life and, from what I can tell, Tevye’s traditions do not break any commandments; 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).

Hanukkah and the Temple

In John chapter 10, it is winter and the Feast of Dedication or Hanukkah has arrived. Yeshua is walking around in Solomon’s Porch, the covered area on the far eastern side of the Temple. It connected with the Court of the Gentiles where God-fears could come to the Temple and worship the God of Isra’el. It was in this area of the Temple that Yeshua’s Jewish brothers and sisters surrounded him and demanded that he reveal his identity.

This was a dangerous confrontation because they had already seen that Yeshua had no problem rebuking anyone who lives contrary to the will of God. He had already chastised some of the Jewish leaders 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 a man-made tradition, he would have spoken up. He would have walked 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 in the Temple area for everyone to hear, charging them with sin and idolatry in their man-made tradition of Hanukkah, He would have reprimanded them for celebrating the re-Dedication of the Altar when it wasn’t in Torah.

Instead of acting like a lunatic, Yeshua tells them that his sheep hear his voice. He reminds them of the miracles he has done in his Father’s name. Whether he lit a hanukkiah, played dreidel or ate latkes, no one knows, but he did not rebuke anyone for being in the Temple at Hanukkah.

Yeshua’s own Jewish ancestral heritage is tied up in the miraculous victory of Judah Maccabee and his small army over the Greeks. His own Jewish cultural history included the desecration and restoration of the Temple in which he was now standing. He knew that had Antiochus Epiphanes annihilated the Jewish people, he wouldn’t be standing in their presence speaking about his sheep and his Father. Had the Maccabees not had victory over the Greeks, his Father’s house would have remained a desecrated and unholy place. There would be no account of him teaching in the Temple at Passover nor would he have overturned the tables of the money changers. He would never have been able to quote the prophets that his Father’s house is a “house of prayer for all nations” (Isaiah 56:7, Matthew 21:13).

The re-dedication of the Altar had great significance to Israel and the Jewish people. Without an Altar there could be no place for the burnt offering, grain offering, guilt offering, fellowship offering or sin offering –– all offerings that brought fellowship with God. All of these offerings pointed to the coming One, the Messiah ben Yosef, the suffering servant written about in Isaiah 53.

Yeshua is the Menorah, the Light of the world, walking around the Temple in a human flesh body. Whether the Talmudic story of one flask of oil lasting eight days is true or not, John wrote that Yeshua stood inside the Court of the Gentiles during the Feast of Dedication and revealed to the ‘lost sheep of the house of Israel’ his identity: “I and the Father are One” (John 10:30).

Yeshua is God’s voice to Israel and the world. He uses the events from the days of Antiochus and the Maccabean Revolt to give prophetic vision for the time of his return and the end of days (Matthew 24:15). He says there will be another ‘abomination of desolation’ in the Holy Place of his Father’s House. We need to understand the prophetic vision which comes from knowing the historical events surrounding the days of Judah Maccabee. Without prophetic understanding, the coming darkness will envelope us until we fall into great deception of the end times.

The traditions surrounding Hanukkah do not nullify the commands of God. Traditions define us as individuals and join us as family. As part of the Commonwealth of Israel, lighting an eight-branched menorah unifies the family of Jew and God-fearing gentile as ‘one new man.’

World leaders wield great power to challenge and even subdue our faith in the God of Israel along with cherished traditions. As the dreidle spins with its Hebrew letters, it is important to remember how many centuries of Jewish men, women, and children lived, fought the forces of evil, and even died so “salvation could come from the Jews” (John 4:22). From their persecutions, traditions have arisen that have kept them alive and united as a nation for millennia.

Yeshua is Jewish. He celebrated Hanukkah with his Jewish brothers and sisters. With his words in Solomon’s Colonnade, the history and traditions around Hanukkah become part of our spiritual history and prophetic vision. Nes Gadol Haya Sham, ‘A Great Miracle Happened There!’ Yeshua, the Menorah, revealed himself to be One with his Father in the Temple in Jerusalem, the greatest miracle of all at the Feast of Dedication.

©2016 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.  

Hanukkah Word: Assimilation

Watching a documentary the history of Hanukkah, it became clear that the Jewish people did not want to assimilate into the Greek Hellenistic culture being forced upon them. They did not want to lose their identity as a nation. They did not want to lose the favor of Adonai.

The documentary stated that the four-year battle was more than a fight to regain the Temple in Jerusalem. It was more than a fight to maintain the Sabbath, circumcision, and dietary regulations. It was a battle for the very existence of the nation of Israel.

As I watched the documentary, I could see how Christianity, by removing the Jewish people, their land, their culture, and their history from their tenets, has lost a lot of Truth. They have no idea what Yeshua meant when he spoke of the ‘abomination of desolation’ and the ‘man of lawlessness.’ They don’t have eyes to see that Yeshua was referring to the days of the Maccabean Revolt and the four-year war fought to avoid assimilating into a pagan religious system. For the church, it has been easier to justify its separation from its Jewish roots than to stand for Truth as Mattathias did.

We are to be the light in a dark world. If we assimilate into the darkness, we will lose our witness to the world and be like the Jewish people who succumbed to the Greeks and their gods. Sha’ul warns the Corinthians about being yoked together with unbelievers. He tells them to separate from the temples of idols and not to even touch what is ‘unclean.’ He wants the Corinthians to embrace the promises of God, purifying themselves so they can be set apart for Adonai (2 Corinthians 6:17-7:1). This is what the followers of Judah Maccabee understood; this is what they fought for with their lives.

Hanukkah is more than just jelly-filled donuts, lights and candles, it is about purifying ourselves from everything that contaminates our temples and purify our walk with God.  Hanukkah is about standing firm in the Truth and not assimilating into the pagan culture around us. Hanukkah is about being willing to die for what we believe so we remain God’s holy people.

©2016 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. 

Is Hanukkah the alternative Christmas?

For numerous Biblical reasons, our family stopped celebrating Christmas many years ago.  Our relatives didn’t understand our reasons, but accepted the decision as best they could.  One side still sent Christmas presents that our children accepted with gratefulness because “every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of lights” (James 1:17).   The other side began wrapping Christmas gifts in Hanukkah paper.  Though that was their way of respecting our decision, Hanukkah is not a Jewish substitute, replacement or alternative to Christmas.  Hanukkah and Christmas have two very different historical, spiritual backgrounds and have nothing in common with one another.

The roots and traditions of Christmas can be found in the Roman celebration of Saturnalia on which the Catholic church sprinkled holy water. They incorporated the birth of a non-Jewish Jesus and created the Christ Mass (which ironically means ‘death sacrifice’).   Those who embrace Christmas believing it is Jesus’ birthday  are doing nothing more than acknowledging catholicism as the root of their faith, even if they are protestants who claim to reject everything catholic.   In fact, all of Christianity and secular society for this one day of the year become catholic in their celebrations and promote the idolatrous Saturnalia with a holiday of stars, wreaths, greenery, and gift giving.  

“Then came Hanukkah in Yerushalayim. It was winter …” (John 10:22)

The events surrounding Hanukkah, the Festival of Dedication, are found in the Apocrypha. It is rooted in Jewish history during the time when Alexander the Great wanted to Hellenize the world.  At the same time, the Emperor Hadrian changed the name of Judea to the Greek Palestine in order to expedite the destruction of the nation and people of Israel.

Alexander’s cohort, Antiochus Epiphanes meaning ‘antichrist manifest,’  went about ‘Palestine’  forcing the Jewish people to renounce their faith in the God of Israel or die.  He sought to destroy the people and the lineage through whom the Messiah would come. 

The Jewish people were not allowed to circumcise their children, celebrate Passover or any of God’s other holy days, or offer sacrifices in the Temple.  As Antiochus’ armies entered Jerusalem, they desecrated the Most Holy Place in the Temple with pig’s blood.  This is the same Temple that Muslim world leaders claim never existed; the same place where an Islamic mosque stand today.   

Our family is not nor ever was catholic so we do not celebrate Christmas by taking part in the Christ Mass.   Our children were raised to understand the historically pagan roots of Christmas and have never felt as if they were missing some great holiday.

After we read that the prophet Jeremiah warned God’s people about cutting down a tree and bringing it into the house, we stopped cutting down a Christmas tree and decorating it with all its lights, ornaments, and angels. We stopped following the customs of the church like Advent calendars and candle wreaths.

Instead, we taught our children about Hanukkah and the anti-semitism of the Greek/Roman world, the same anti-semitism that exists in the church because of its catholic-rooted heritage. We taught our children the anti-semitism and hatred of Israel in the growing ideology of the much-tolerated religion of Islam.  We taught our children that obeying the commands of God are more important than the traditions of men and the culture in which we live.

Our children are grown and have their own lives, but each still remembers the Maccabees and their fight to free the Jews from being Hellenized with paganism.   They light their menorahs for eight days to remember the re-dedication of the Temple Altar back to Adonai.  Each night with the candle light they remember the prophecies for when Yeshua returns and sets His feet on the Mount of Olives. He will enter the Eastern Gate of Jerusalem and will cleanse a newly-built Temple from the ‘abomination of desolation’ (Matthew 24:15-26, 2 Thessalonians 2:4). Yeshua will restore Jerusalem and the nation of Israel to the Millennial glory promised in the Scriptures.  

Hanukkah is not a Jewish alternative to Christmas.  Changing the wrapping paper on a present or saying “Happy Hanukkah” rather than “Merry Christmas” changes nothing about the differences between the two. One is a celebration with pagan roots and decorated to entice the world into idolatry; the other is a memorial to those who fought against anti-semitism and stood against the destruction of  their faith in the God of Isra’el and His Torah. Unlike the Christmas holiday, Hanukkah is a reminder from a century before the birth of Yeshua that no one, especially a modern antiochus can remove the Torah that comes out of Zion, and the Word of Adonai that comes from Jerusalem; including the Vatican or the pope (Michah 4:2).

©2015 Tentstake Ministries Publishing,  all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.