Posts Tagged ‘Maccabees’

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. 

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.