For the Glory of the Lord Jesus Christ

Hanukkah

Scripture readings for the last day of Hanukkah


Torah - FacebookThank you Lord! The eighth candle has been lit and we rejoice that it stands for a new beginning. As we reflect on this last day of Hanukkah here are some Scripture readings to engage our hearts and minds.

Scripture readings for the last day of Hanukkah are these:

Genesis 41:1-44:17 from the Torah or the First Testament and it covers the account of Joseph being sold into slavery and how God established him or ‘settled’ him, even in the time of his imprisonment and the years of slavery that his brethren forced upon him. This account is told from the perspective of God bringing all things to a good ending or conclusion that favors all of His children. The readings from the Torah for this day are called, ‘Miketz,’ which means ‘At the end of.’ Even when dire circumstances arise in our lives or persecution comes upon us because of our walk with the Lord Y’shua because of our determination to walk righteously even as He did, we can know in our hearts that God has already ‘settled’ a goodly conclusion at the end of the tribulation. It is He that shall restore us. It is written in:

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

The entire second reading is this: 1 Kings 3:15-4:1 but we find in:

1 Kings 3:26-28

Then spake the woman whose the living child was unto the king, for her bowels yearned upon her son, and she said, O my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it. But the other said, Let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it. Then the king answered and said, Give her the living child, and in no wise slay it: she is the mother thereof. And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they feared the king: for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do judgment.

This speaks of the enemy who is sometimes camped out in our own encampment, who has partaken of the goodness of God; God Himself shall expose them and bring wisdom into even those situations that hinge on the edge of life and death even as He brought to light the real mother of the child in question.

The final reading for this first day of celebration concludes in:

1 Corinthians 2:1-5

And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power. That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

But God was with Joseph, giving him the wisdom to bring him once again to his Father who still grieved his loss. God even brought Joseph to the point to allow him to forgive those who sold him into slavery and falsified his death to his father, Israel. In the second account the two women were fighting over the one living child, both claiming that the child was theirs. God gave wisdom to King Solomon in order to determine the true mother. In this situation the true mother’s enemy was living with her, attempting to usurp her role as the mother of the living child. God cares enough about us to even be involved in every situation that we find ourselves dealing with on a daily basis.

This is what God our Father and Creator does for those who worship Him and Him only and who choose to live righteously. He delivers, lifts up and restores those who have been brought down through the unrighteousness of others. He gives wisdom to those who ask of Him and upbraids us not. If we rely on man’s wisdom we shall not prevail, but if we wait for the Lord and His wisdom, we shall stand “in the power of God.”

So think upon these things as you light your eighth candle tonight.


Can Christians celebrate Hanukkah?


Hanukkah_Menorah1

The history of Hanukkah was briefly covered in two previous articles so this brief history will not be covered.  Some of the questions that Christians ponder upon are the reality that when we became Christians we were grafted into the root system of the good olive tree which represents the Jewish side of the people of God. Let us look at:

Romans 11:24

For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?

Hence the question arises sometimes “can I participate in things that are Jewish?”  For example, participating in the Passover seder; Pentecost, Day of Atonement, Feast of Trumpets, or even Hanukkah.  Of course, you could always begin attending a Messianic Christian church which blends both Judaism and Christianity together or a Christian can simply participate on their own and still attend a traditional Christian church.

Hanukkah, or the Festival of Lights celebrates the rededication of the Temple that had been desecrated by Antiochus Epiphanes in 165 B.C.  While currently there isn’t any physical Temple of God in Jerusalem, as a Christian, this author celebrates on her own.  How do I do this?  For Christians the Temple has been re-established in each individual believer and has been made completely clean by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

The miracle that occurred in the rededication ceremony in 165 B.C. was that there was only enough oil left in the Temple to burn for approximately one day and yet God caused the oil to last and provided enough to last for eight days.  This is why the Jewish people celebrate the Festival of Lights by setting up a Menorah that holds eight candles and they light a new one each night until all eight have been lit.

Here is a link to a video:  Hanukkah Menorah

In the Bible, numbers constitute unique representations of truths that God wishes to highlight for our studies.  However, a word of extreme caution should be given here, a person can become so embroiled in the study of numbers found in the Scriptures that it can almost become a form of idolatry.  How so?  A person so studies the numbers that they become lost in them and hence the very reason that God employed them becomes lost as well.  God used numbers to show that He alone is God of the universe and therefore all numerical systems belong to HIM and therefore they were used to lead us to worship HIM.  When a person is led astray by them, they at first inadvertently begin to worship the creature more than the Creator.  In the end, the numbers become an idol in our hearts and we no longer are worshipping God, but the numerical system.

Now that I have pounded my pulpit…the number 8 represents a ‘new beginning’ and this is exactly what happened at the physical Temple in Jerusalem in 165 B.C. and when the Lord Jesus Christ began to shift the focus of the physical Temple and pointed to Himself as the new Temple of God.    The number shifted from 8 to 3; or in other words, ‘a new beginning’ to ‘completeness.’  We find this in:

John 2:18-20

Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?  Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.  Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?

The Lord Jesus knew that He was definitely called to be the Messiah for the Jewish people, but He also knew that He was going to be the Savior for the Gentiles as well. These particular Jewish people did not perceive what the Christ was really telling them, that He was the new Temple of God.

John 10:16

And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

Eventually, in the fullness of God’s timing, both Jews and Gentiles will be brought into one fold.  Of course, if you have accepted the Lord Jesus as your Messiah then you immediately enter into that ‘one fold.’  But what this author speaks about is that there will be a brand new and totally completed glorious Temple of God….all the people of God who have bowed our knees to the Son of the Most High God, the Lord Jesus Christ.  We know this to be truth because we find that “It is written!”

1 Corinthians 3:16

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

1 Peter 2:5

Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

So can Christians celebrate Hanukkah?  Yes!  It should be a reminder to every Christian that we have been grafted into the rootstock of Israel and that we are the Temple of God.  Amen.  Go ahead and light your candles!


Scripture readings for the first day of Hanukkah


Torah - FacebookHannukah is a celebration for the glorious restoration of the Temple of God in Israel in 165 B.C. when Antiochus Epiphanes attempted to force the Jewish people to worship false gods.  By the time that the Lord Jesus Christ began his ministry, Hanukkah was well established as a time of celebration.  The Lord Jesus also celebrated this time of thanksgiving as we find in:

John 10:22-28

And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch. Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.  Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.  But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:  And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

Scripture readings for the first day of Hanukkah are these:

Genesis 37:1-40:23 from the Torah or the First Testament and it covers the account of Joseph being sold into slavery and how God established him or ‘settled’ him, even in the time of his imprisonment and the years of slavery that his brethren forced upon him.  The readings from the Torah for this day are called, ‘VaYeshev,’ which means ‘And He settled.’  Even when dire circumstances arise in our lives or persecution comes upon us because of our walk with the Lord Y’shua because of our determination to walk righteously even as He did, we can know in our hearts that God has already ‘settled’ an end for our time of tribulation.  It is He that shall restore us.

The second reading is this:  Amos 2:6-3:8 which speaks of the enemy who has overtaken the people of God, God Himself shall bring them down even as He has done throughout the annals of history.  The swift shall not be able to deliver himself as in:

 Amos 2:9b – yet I destroyed his fruit from above, and his roots from beneath.

Which clearly represents the total destruction of any enemy that rises up against the people of God.  Even as Antiochus Epiphanes attempted to destroy and subvert the people of God, so God destroyed Him. The final reading for this first day of celebration concludes in:

Acts 7:9-16

And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him,  And delivered him out of all his afflictions, and gave him favour and wisdom in the sight of Pharaoh king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt and all his house.  Now there came a dearth over all the land of Egypt and Chanaan, and great affliction: and our fathers found no sustenance. But when Jacob heard that there was corn in Egypt, he sent out our fathers first.  And at the second time Joseph was made known to his brethren; and Joseph’s kindred was made known unto Pharaoh. Then sent Joseph, and called his father Jacob to him, and all his kindred, threescore and fifteen souls.  So Jacob went down into Egypt, and died, he, and our fathers, And were carried over into Sychem, and laid in the sepulchre that Abraham bought for a sum of money of the sons of Emmor the father of Sychem.

…But God was with him, and delivered him out of all his afflictions!  Yes and Amen!  This is what God our Father and Creator does for those who worship Him and Him only and who choose to live righteously.  He delivers, lifts up and restores those who have been brought down through the unrighteousness of others.

So think upon these things as you light your first candle tonight.


Celebrating Hanukkah – The Festival of Lights


Hanukah Menora photobucket.comHanukkah is almost upon us, it begins this year on the evening of December 8, 2012 with what is known as Feast of Dedication Eve, or Erev Chanukah.  The historical background for this holiday dates to the second century or 165 B.C. when Antiochus Epiphanes was attempting to destroy the Temple of God and His people.  He went so far as to profane the Holy Temple by sacrificing a pig on the altar thus making it unclean.  This was an attempt to divert the Jewish people from their worship of the One True God and turn them to a false-god worship system.

The Maccabees eventually won the war and then rededicated the Temple of God.  When they did so they found enough oil left in the Temple but it would only last one day.  The miracle that happened was that it lasted for eight days, thus Hanukkah is celebrated for eight days to commemorate the miracle of light provided by God.

The menorah is lit on Erev Chanukah, and only one candle is lit.  The following is taken from the book, “Walk with Y’shua Through the Jewish Year” by Janie-sue Wertheim and Kathy Shapiro.

Light your menorah!  The shamash candle is lit first. Shamash is Hebrew for ‘servant,’ and the servant candle brings light to all the rest.  It reminds us of Y’shua, who came as a servant to be the light of the world.  Place your candles from right to left in your Hanukkiah.  Light the shamash candle first.  Light your other candles from left to right so that you ae lighting the newest day’s candle first.

Traditionally, the Hebraic Blessings are then spoken.  Here are the words to Blessing #1, taken from aish.com.  The first two blessings are said with the Shamash already lit, but immediately prior to lighting the Chanukah candles.

Baruch ata Adonoy Eloheinu melech ha-olam asher kid’shanu be’mitzvo’sav ve-tzivanu lehadlik ner shel Chanukah.

Blessed are You, God, King of the Universe, Who made us holy with His commandments and commanded us to kindle the Chanukah light.

Blessing #2

Baruch ata Adonoy Eloheinu melech ha-olam Shi-asa nee-seem la-avo-seinu, Baya-meem ha-haim baz-man ha-zeh.

Blessed are You, God, King of the Universe, Who made miracles for our forefathers, in those days at this season.

Blessing #3

This blessing is said on the first night only.

Baruch ata Adonoy Eloheinu melech ha-olam Sheh-he-che-yanu vi-kee-yimanu Vi-hee-gee-yanu laz-man ha-zeh.
Blessed are You, God, King of the Universe, Who has kept us alive, sustained us, and brought us to this season.

This paragraph is said each night, after the first light has been kindled.

We kindle these lights for the miracles and the wonders, for the redemption and the battles which You performed for our forefathers in those days at this season through Your holy priests. During all eight days of Chanukah these lights are sacred, and we are not permitted to make ordinary use of them, but only to look at them — in order to express thanks and praise to Your great Name, for your miracles, Your wonders, and Your salvations.

Hanukkah is a time of celebration and fun for the family, to rejoice that God is the true King of the Universe and that He still provides for His people.  Below is a traditional recipe that is served during Hanukkah.  The recipe was found on foodnetwork.com.

Potato Latkes

Recipe courtesy of Michele Urvater

Ingredients 1-1/2 pounds russet potatoes peeled 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots 2 large eggs, lightly beaten 2 tablespoons flour (or more) or matzo meal (during Passover) 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and freshly ground black pepper Vegetable oil for frying

Directions

In a food processor grate the potatoes. Line a sieve with cheesecloth and transfer potatoes to the sieve. Set sieve over a bowl, twist cheesecloth into a pouch, squeezing out some moisture. Let mixture drain for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, pour off liquid from the bowl but leave the white potato starch that settles in the bottom of the bowl.

To that starch add shallots, eggs, flour, 1-1/2 teaspoons of salt and freshly ground pepper. Return drained potatoes to this mixture and toss to combine.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line a baking pan with paper towels. When you are ready to eat, in a large skillet heat 1/4 inch of oil over medium high heat until hot. Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of potato mixture and cook for 3 to 4 minutes a side; latkes should be golden and crisp on both sides. Eat right away or keep warm in oven. Serve with applesauce or sour cream or cottage cheese mixed with sour cream. (foodnetwork.com)

Happy Hanukkah!