Posts Tagged ‘antiochus epiphanes’

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.  

Anti-semitism

“I will bless those who bless you, but I will curse anyone who curses you; and by you all the families of the earth will be blessed” (Genesis 12:3).

Many years ago I was listening to a Messianic Jew and gentile discuss the Biblical roots of the Christian faith on a talk radio show. A woman called in and stated, “If I had known Jesus was Jewish, I would not have become a Christian.”

Anti-semitism.

When our family began celebrating the Feasts of the LORD in Leviticus 23 along with Purim and Hanukkah, we were asked if we were becoming ‘Jewish.’ What is wrong with becoming ‘Jewish’ when all of our Scriptures were written by Jews and our Savior is Jewish? What’s wrong with looking ‘Jewish’ when Sha’ul commended the Thessalonians for being imitators of those Jewish congregations that are united in Messiah Yeshua (1 Thessalonians 2:14).

Anti-semitism.

In the past few years I hear many say that we shouldn’t listen to the rabbis, the sages or the Jewish people because they added to Torah, they created the Talmud, and they don’t know Messiah. I often wonder if these same people realize from where these Jewish men developed their rules and regulations. They had a heart to obey Adonai even in the smallest ‘jot and tittle’ so they spent hours, days, months, and years studying God’s commandments. Their intention was not to add burdens, but to honor God. Unfortunately, when their rules were considered equal to God’s commandments, they did become burdensome. But, they were just men trying to obey Adonai to the best intent of their heart, mind, and soul.

Anti-semitism.

Anti-semitism is a disease lurking in the darkness of this world, but when it appears in the lives of those who carry the Light of Yeshua, it needs to be dealt with however subtle it may appear to be. It is anti-semitism to believe that the myriads of Christian denominations, Hebrew Roots groups, Torah Observant groups, and the plethora of other religious delineations have greater understanding of the God of Israel than the Jewish people (John 4:22).

The Word of God says the Jewish people have a veil over their eyes (2 Corinthians 3:14-16). It needs to be removed, not judged. The only One who can remove the veil is Yeshua. For those who know his salvation, it is anti-semitism to keep that salvation from even one of ‘lost sheep of the House of Israel.’

Without the Jewish people, there would be no covenants, no promises, no Word of God written on pages between leather covers or on iPhones. To read the Bible and not love the people who wrote it and gave their lives to protect it is: anti-semitism.

Anti-semitism

Anti-semitism in the heart of Antiochus Ephiphanes led to the near destruction of the Jewish people, their Torah and their Temple. But our great God, Adonai Elohim, empowered a mighty deliverer. Judah Maccabee, along with a small army of courageous, spiritual men, brought his brothers and sisters victory over anti-semitism and restored them to their Land, their Biblical traditions, and their Temple.

Anti-semitism in the heart of Haman, a descendant of the Amalekites, led to the near destruction of the Jewish people and their culture. But our great God, Yahweh Elohim, through the faithfulness of the humble Persian Queen Esther, along with everyone in the city of Susa who prayed and fasted for three days and nights, gave His people victory over death and anti-semitism. He eventually returned them to their Land where Nehemiah and Ezra rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem and the restored the Temple.

Anti-semitism in the hearts of those who claim to follow Yeshua will bring about the same desire for the destruction of God’s people. Never forget “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God!” (Hebrews 10:31).

©2016 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of 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. 

Modern Maccabean Revolt

“What has been will be again; what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).

In the days of Judah Maccabee, there was an attack on the Jewish people by the Greeks. Not just on the Jewish people themselves, but on everything the God of Israel had commanded them and promised them in the Scriptures. Everything –– Jewish.

Every king, emperor or leader throughout history who has done anti-semitic things has been considered an enemy to Israel and the Jewish people: Pharaoh of Egypt, Haman in Persia, Caligula and Nero of Rome, Miguel de Morillo and Juan de San Martin of the Spanish Inquisitions, and Hitler. Each of these leaders set themselves up as gods and tried to snuff out the lives of God’s chosen people. There is still one more evil leader to come: the ‘man of lawlessness’ who will oppose every that is of God. Everything ––– Jewish.

“The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. … And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him” (Daniel 9:26-27).

“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand—  then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains” (Matthew 24:15-16).

“Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4).

Today the same battle rages and could be called the modern Maccabean revolt. Since the first century, Greek and Roman ideologies have created a religious system contrary to Biblical commands. This system teaches the Torah is nullified, the Temple is unnecessary, the Levitical priesthood is obsolete, the dietary laws are cancelled, circumcision is unnecessary, the Sabbath is changed, and the Jewish people are rejected by God. Everything –– Jewish.

These doctrines transform the worship of the God of Israel into an institutionally designed church-god. Jesus is misrepresented as part of a Greek-based three-in-one godhead rather than the King of the Jews, the Messiah of Israel. Many who could come to accept Yeshua are driven away through these false and misguided teachings. Those who present these teachings are not giving the lost and dying world the good news of salvation; they are twisting the truth and giving the father of lies a platform on which to proclaim his message of lawlessness. These subversive doctrines are the work of the Adversary, the antichrist, the ‘man of lawlessness’ prophesied by Daniel, Yeshua, and Paul.

According to King Solomon in Ecclesiastes 1:9, there is nothing new under the sun. There will always be lawless men who want to destroy the Jewish people and their Biblical heritage. There will also be men and women, Jews and gentiles, like Judah Maccabee and his father, who will fight against such destruction and assimilation. They will place a Hanukkah menorah in their window to show they stand with the Jewish people and the God of Israel. They will light the eight candles on the hanukkiah each night to proclaim to the world that they will never assimilate into a Hellenized Roman religious system that advances the theology of the ‘man of lawlessness.’

The Syrians didn’t win the war against the small Maccabean army; Antiochus Epiphanes didn’t destroy the Jews or the Torah. Modern-day Christiandom won’t have victory over the remnant royal priesthood that stands against the lies and deceptions established through centuries of anti-semitic church fathers. The modern-day Romans in Vatican City won’t stop the “Torah from coming out of Zion and the Word of the LORD from Jerusalem” (Isaiah 2:3, Micah 4:2). The battle is Yeshua’s and he stands on the Mount of Olives and returns to Jerusalem as High Priest, everything Biblical will be restored: the Torah, the Levitical priesthood, the Altar of Sacrifice, circumcision to enter the Sanctuary, and the Temple described by the prophet Ezekiel. Everything –– Jewish.

©2013 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 article,  please purchase Journey with Jeremiah: Nourishment for the Wild Olive.