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Celebrating the feast of Hanukkah: Proclaiming restoration and the miracles of God!

09.12.2016, Robert Heidler

Web: http://www.glory-of-zion.org

From the desk of Daniel Glimm:
 
The season we are in now is the season where at the outside the hours of darkness are increasing and the hours of light are decreasing. This fact is not a fact to become frightened or depressed.
God is pointing by this fact only to the increasing burning light within our “four walls” which is linked to more warmth!

As the one new man (note: the people of Israel and we as gentiles; see Ephesians 2:14-15) is in the season of Hanukkah and Christmas which is linked to the increasing light because the candles (“1”+ 8 candles) of the Hanukkiah (note: the special lamp stand for the Hanukkah feast) are getting every night over eight days one by one ignited and also the lamp stand of the Advent with “the four candles” is getting ignited week by week I want to make the teaching of Robert Heidler about the feast of Hannukah for us accessible which will help us to understand the time where we are in.
 
Daniel Glimm
 
The sentimental season of the year
 
We are in very special season of the year. It is the sentimental season of the year, where a lot of emotional things are attached to it and these are good things.
But God also wants us to know, that it is strong supernatural season, that shows the time table of God for miracles to take place.

As you go through the time of Hanukkah (note: It is a Hebrew word and means “dedication”.), enjoy the time with your friends and family but do not forget, that it is a supernatural season. Expect from God to break through in a supernatural way.

The time of Hanukkah is also touching the month in which also Christmas is celebrated.
Christmas is a time to remember God’s love by sending Jesus.
Some believers think, if we celebrate the biblical feasts we can´t celebrate Christmas. That is not true. Because, we are a one new man in Christ Jesus, we are allowed to celebrate the feats of God on both sides (note: see Romans 2:13-18; the messianic Jews and the gentile Christians).

Even if Jesus was not born in the time frame of the 24'th - 26'th of December it means not, that we are not allowed to celebrate Christmas. It is the time frame, where we remember the sending of Jesus to the earth by the Heavenly Father.
Jesus was normally born at the time of Sukkot (note: Tabernacles).
We as born again believers should be thankful for every opportunity of remembering God’s love- JESUS and to talk about it.

Christmas is a wonderful time to celebrate God´s love. It is a time to share His love with your friends, neighbors, family and to thank God, that He loved you so much that He sent His son!
As said before is December not only the month of Christmas but also the month of Hanukkah.
Many Christians don´t know much about Hanukkah. They think of it as just a Jewish holiday.
But if you really understand Hanukkah, it is also for Christians.
To celebrate Hanukkah is a great blessing.

Hanukkah is not an Old Testament feast, which is ordained by God.
Hanukkah is not even mentioned in the Old Testament but it is found in the New Testament in John 10.
Jesus gave at Hanukkah- the feast of dedication an important message in John 10:22-38.
 
John 10:22-38 (NIV):
22 Then came the Festival of Dedication (note: Hanukkah) at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade.
24 The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”
25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep.
27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.
29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.
30 I and the Father are one.”
31 Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, 32 but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”
33 “We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”
34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods” ’ (see Psalm 82:6)? 35 If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be set aside—36 what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’?
37 Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father.
38 But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.
 
This passage reflects, that Hanukkah was a special feast for Jesus.
He went into the temple at this time to identify himself with Hanukkah.
This shows, that if Jesus was celebrating Hanukkah, it is not just a feast for the Jews it is also a celebration for everyone, who knows the God of Israel.
 
The history of Hanukkah
 
In 167 BC the Greek ruler, Antiochus Epiphanes, decreed that all his subjects must convert to the pagan Greek religion.
At that time Israel was under the domination of the Greek Empire, which was a time of great testing for the Jews.
Antiochus outlawed Judaism & worship in the temple. He forced the Jewish people to convert by torturing and murdering many of them. Then he defiled the temple, setting up a statue of Zeus in the Holy of Holies and sacrificing a pig on the altar.

Finally a Jewish priest named Mattathias could take it no more. A Greek official had come to his town, set up an altar to a pagan god and ordered Mattathias to offer a sacrifice on it. Mattathias refused. He said: ”Though all the nations that are under the king's dominion obey him... yet will I and my sons walk in the covenant of our fathers." (see 1.Maccabees 2:19-20)

Then another Jew came forward to offer the pagan sacrifice and Mattathias took out his sword  and killed him.
Then Mattathias and his sons attacked the Greek official and killed him too.
When the rebellion begun, Judah, son of Mattathias, led a small band of Jews against the powerful Greek armies.
Judah had an interesting nickname “Maccabee”- “the hammer” Maccabee= acrostic said it was the sentence: “Who is like You, among the gods, oh Lord.” This was their battle cry.

Amazingly, Judah and his followers defeated the Greek armies in 165 BC, which was a miraculous victory.
By getting back the independence, Judah´s first goal was it to restore the temple. As the temple was restored and cleansed, they proclaimed a great feast to rededicate it to the Lord.
The people of Israel gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate it.

But as the time came to enlighten the menorah in the temple, they had only the measure of oil to shine for one day.  But a miracle happened at this feast and the oil was sufficing for eight, which was a miracle of multiplication.
It was a miracle like in the time of Elisha, where the oil of the widow multiplicated (see 2 Kings 4:1-7).
 
2 Kings 4:1-7:
1 The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the Lord. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.”
2 Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?” “Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.”
3 Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few.
4 Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.”
5 She left him and shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring.
6 When all the jars were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another one.” But he replied, “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing.
7 She went and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left.”
 
Hanukkah is a special celebration for several reasons:
 
It is a celebration of restoration: The temple was restored.
It is also a celebration of God´s miracles. Hanukkah is furthermore called the feast of lights, which is represented by a special Menorah, that is called Hanukkiah.
Instead of seven branches of the Menorah the Hanukkiah has nine branches. One lamp for each day as a sign for the remembrance of the miracle of the oil multiplication. The ninth light is called “shamash”, which means servant and is not counted, because it serves for the ignition of all the eight lamps of the Hanukkiah.
 
What is the message of Hanukkah?
 
1) God protects His people
2) God wants to restore His temple
Jesus Zeal for the House of the Father
 
Hanukkah is the celebration of the restoration of His temple. That’s another reason why Hanukkah was a special feast to Jesus, because the temple was a special place- the house of the Father for Jesus (see John 2:16).
Jesus honored the temple and called it “My Father´s House”, what reflects, that the restoration of the temple was close to His heart. It was the longing of Jesus to see the temple restored.
We can see this kind of longing in the beginning of Jesus ministry- John 2:14-17 and at the end of His ministry- Mark 11:15-17. Jesus cleansed/ purified the temple and had a zeal to see the Father’s house restored. It is still zeal today, because we are as believers an individual temple of the Holy Spirit but also a corporate temple (see 1 Corinthians 6:19; 1 Corinthians 3:16ff.).

One of the goals of Jesus in the world today is the restoration of God’s temple and to remove all sin/ impurity as well as restoring God’s glory to His temple.
 
3) We serve a God of miracles!
 
As Judah chose to honor God by restoring His temple, the glory of God came down and miracles were released! Remember, that Hanukkah is the celebration of God’s miracles.
The blessing of Hanukkah is this: “Blessed are You, Lord our God, king of the universe who performed miracles for our fathers, at this season.”
 
The “Dreidel”- a call to turn
 
At Hanukkah the Jews or young Jewish children are playing with the “Dreidel”, that is a spinning top and carries four Hebrew letters.: “Nun (50), Gimel (3), He (5), Schin (300)”, which carry the statement of “A great miracle happened there/here!” (note: The value of the Hebrew letters is “358”).
The same numerical value of „358“ has also the Hebrew word "maschiach"  which means Messiah (note: The word is made up of the Hebrew letters Mem-40/ Schin-300/ Jod-10/ Chet-8).
Furthermore the breastplate of the high priest which is called in Hebrew "choschän" has also the same numerical value of “358”.

Prophetically is this explanation saying: “Turn to your Messiah Jesus Christ to feel His heartbeat like John and shine with His love.” (see John 13:23-25 in conjunction with Exodus 28:15-21.28-30; Hebrews 3:1-2)
Because Jesus confronted the accusers of his time at the feast of Hanukkah with the works of his Heavenly Father, it should call us to proclaim God’s great miracles of the past, which releases faith in the hearer to trust God for miracles now (see John 10:25.32.38).
 
John 10:25.32.38:
25 Jesus answered, I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father's name speak for me, …
… 32 but Jesus said to them, I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?
38 But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.
 
4) Hanukkah- a celebration of light. It is the feast of lights.
 
The message of Hanukkah is, that light overcomes darkness (see John 1). The light shines in the darkness and the darkness could not hold it (see John 8:12; Matthew 5:14).
 
John 8:12:
12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.
 
Matthew 5:14:
14 You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.
 
Hanukkah is the season, where God wants to put His light on you, so that you shine more intense.
The Hanukkiah gives a picture of Jesus! The “first/ ninth” candle is called the servant candle (note: “shamash”), which directs to Jesus.

In the 7-branched Menorah the center lamp was called the lamp of the Lord but in 9- branched Hanukiah the central lamp is called the servant. This is Jesus.
Jesus is the Lord but He came as a servant to lay down His life and  release God’s blessing in the earth. This is what the Hanukkiah pictures.
The servant candle brings light to all the other candles!
Each night of Hanukkah an additional candle is added until all are lit, which pictures, that Jesus is the light, who is spreading through the world.
 
The second reason of the importance of Hanukkah for born again Believers
 
It exists a second reason why Hanukkah is important for us as Christians.
Jesus is normally not born on December 25'th, because the shepherds don't keep flocks in the fields in late December.
At Jesus birth time, the shepherds were outside and keeping their flocks.
In Luke 1:5 it is said, that Zechariah was priest at the time of king Herod and belonged to the priestly division of Abijah.
In 1 Chronicles 24:10 it is said, that the priests of Abijah served in the temple during the 12'th-18'th of Sivan (note: June, the priests served for about two weeks once in a year).
 
Luke 1:5:
5 In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron.
 
1 Chronicles 24:10:
… 10 the seventh to Hakkoz, the eighth to Abijah, ...
 
When was Jesus born?
 
The angel Gabriel appears to the priest Zechariah at the month of Sivan between the 12'th - 18'th and Elizabeth conceives at the 25'th Sivan and after 285 days pregnancy, John the Baptist was born at the 15'th of Nisan, which is the feast of Passover. At Passover it is in Jewish tradition, that people place a chair for the prophet Elijah for the possibility if he supposes to show up.
It is interesting that John the Baptist was walking in the spirit of Elijah and was born at the feast of Passover.
In Luke 1:36 Elizabeth was in the 6'th  month of her pregnancy, which was the 25'th of  Kislew. And the month of Kislew is the month in which Hanukkah begins.

This shows, that it was the time where Jesus was conceived by Mary.
After a normal pregnancy circa 285 days, Jesus was possibly born at the 15'th of Tishri, which is Sukkot, the feast of Tabernacles.
This reflects, that Jesus was probably not born at Christmas but He was probably conceived at Hanukkah- the feast of lights and dedication. Jesus was conceived by Mary in the midst of the celebration of the miracles of God  through the Holy Spirit, so that Mary could birth forth THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD!
 
The message of Hanukkah is:
  1. God cares for His people. Thank Him, that you are under His protection.
  2. God wants His temple restored. Thank Him, that we are His temple! Thank Him, that He is restoring His church.
  3. God is a God of miracles. Thank Him, that He is a living God, who works in power. Learn to expect miracles!
  4. Jesus is the light of the world. Hanukkah is a time to let His light shine.
At Christmas we celebrate that Jesus came. At Hanukkah we celebrate why He came.
This is why the Hanukkah is the key celebration for the church today.
Hanukkah celebrates what God is doing in His Church now.
God is in the process of restoring His temple. He is calling us to be an Oasis for the nations, to reveal His love and His care.

He wants us to demonstrate His power through the manifestation of miracles.
He is calling us to shine with His light into a world of darkness.
So be encouraged to celebrate the feast of lights in this year. You can get a real Hanukkiah or just use 9 small candlesticks. As you light the candles each night proclaim, that God’s great miracle happened at Hanukkah and that miracles happen today.

Praise God for Jesus, the light of the world.
 
Robert Heidler
Glory of Zion International Ministries




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