Posts Tagged ‘festival of lights’

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 recently on 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 to be a light to the nations, their Biblical calling as the people of God.

My husband and I discussed how we had to come out of ‘Rome’ and leave behind all the doctrines of Roman catholicism that the modern-day evangelical, protestant church has embraced. It was difficult to drop cherished family traditions that were contrary to the Word of God. Sometimes it seemed as insurmountable as the rag tag Jewish army fighting the great and mighty Syrian military on elephants. Our families didn’t understand this change. 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 four-year battle was more than a fight to regain the Temple in Jerusalem and the ordinances given by God of Sabbath and circumcision, it was a battle for the very existence of the nation of Isra’el. 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 even among those who have embraced the Biblical holy days, but deny the foundation for the Feast of Dedication.

As we watched the documentary, we could see how Christianity, by negating and removing much of the history of the Jewish people from their Scriptures, has 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. Without the foundational prophets, they must create their own prophetic perspective rather than having eyes to see that Yeshua was referring to the days before Hanukkah and the battle of assimilating into a world religious system contrary to the Hebrew Scriptures. It is much easier to assimilate into the world and its culture and create rationalizations than it is to stand as Mattathias did against the Syrian generals who wanted him to sacrifice to a false god or fight as the Maccabees did with few weapons, or to follow the Jewish Jesus, the Lion of Judah.

Yeshua said it clearly in Matthew 5:14-16:“You are light for the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Likewise, when people light a lamp, they don’t cover it with a bowl but put it on a lampstand, so that it shines for everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before people, so that they may see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven.”

We are the lights of the world.  As lights in a dark world, we cannot join the darkness, but must shine in the darkness. We must set our Hanukkah lights on by a window for everyone who passes by to see.   We cannot assimilate into the darkness or we will lose ‘the light’ and be no better than those Jewish people who succumbed to the Greeks and became Hellenized.   Sha’ul told the non-Jewish followers of Yeshua in Corinth how important it is to remain separate and full of light; what the result is of remaining righteous in a world of lawlessness – a concept that was new to them living in an unclean and blasphemous culture.

“Do not yoke yourselves together in a team with unbelievers. For how can righteousness and lawlessness be partners? What fellowship does light have with darkness? What harmony can there be between the Messiah and B’liya‘al? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?  What agreement can there be between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God — as God said,

“I will house myself in them, . . . and I will walk among you. I will be their God, and they will be my people.” Therefore Adonai says, “‘Go out from their midst; separate yourselves; don’t even touch what is unclean. Then I myself will receive you’ says Adonai-Tzva’ot.”  Therefore, my dear friends, since we have these promises, let us purify ourselves from everything that can defile either body or spirit, and strive to be completely holy, out of reverence for God.”  (2 Corinthians 6:17-7:1).

Hanukkah is more than just jelly-filled donuts, lights and candles, it is about purifying ourselves from everything that contaminates our Temples and purifying our walk with God.  It is about standing firm in the faith and not assimilating into the culture around us. It is about being willing to die for what we believe in order to remain ‘set apart’ for Yeshua and His coming Kingdom.

It is about the miracle of Yeshua becoming the Temple of the Living God. It is about the miracle of the Spirit of God living in us as we become living stones of His Temple. It is about allowing His light to shine through us in the darkness around us.  It is about lighting a symbolic lamp, placing it in a prominent place to show the world that your light in the Jewish Messiah continues to shine brightly in the darkness.

“Likewise, when people light a lamp, they don’t cover it with a bowl but put it on a lampstand, so that it shines for everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before people, so that they may see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:15-16).

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