Hanukkah

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” And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen HIS glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14 NRSV).

As we enter into the first full day of the Feast of Tabernacles, it is important for Christians to reflect on what these days of celebration should mean. Sukkot was ordained by God as a remembrance for His people. He did not want them to forget that His presence dwelt with them for 40 years in the wilderness.

God’s presence has never left the true believer since our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 6:19).  The Greek word Naos (Na- hos’) translates “temple or shrine”, “a place for God’s presence to dwell”. So the celebration of Sukkot is a perfect time to make sure that our bodily temples are pure so that we are ONE with the Holy Spirit. The birth of Jesus brought God physically and visibly to earth. Jesus’ coming in human form sets up the next stage in God’s plan of Salvation.

So what does Jesus’ birth have to with Tabernacles? Everything! We have shown on this website a major fundamental TRUTH: GOD uses the Feast Days of Israel to move His plan of salvation forward. Most bible scholars will tell you that Jesus’ birth was either in the spring or fall. So one of the spring or fall feast days would make sense for the birth of the Messiah. We have 2 witnesses from Scripture that reveals another name for Jesus  (Immanuel: Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew 1:23) which means: “God is with us.”

When we consider John 1:14 which said” the Word became flesh and lived among us”, the clues start falling into place. Living among us literally means: Pitched his Tent. This is the exact idea Yahweh was revealing when he ordained the Feast of Shelters (Tents) as a continual holy observance. Jesus came to earth in the temporary shelter of human flesh. He was wrapped in bands of cloth and laid in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 1:7). From Jesus’ name, Emmanuel to the way He was born, to the profession of Jesus’ closest disciple, John, it is clear that out of all the Holy Days of Israel, Tabernacles matches God’s plan to bring His SON to earth to save mankind from sin.

Our bodies are also temporary shelters until we enter into the eternal glory of a Resurrected body. Before that happens, this age has to come to an end and a major clue for that to happen is this: There WILL BE a 2nd outpouring of the HOLY SPIRIT on all nations. In part 3 we will look at the prophecies of Joel and see how part of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit was fulfilled in the book of Acts at Pentecost. We will also see why the 2nd outpouring has to be during the Feast of Tabernacles. EJ

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” He shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall make sacrifice and offering cease; and in their place shall be an abomination that desolates, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.” (Daniel 9:27 NRSV).

In the last post, it was noted that Jesus spoke with authority during the Festival of Lights (Hanukkah). He declared the Father and Son were one and it angered the Jewish authorities. Why would Jesus make such a declaration during this festive occasion? Hanukkah is not one of the Holy days that God ordained in the Torah so why should Christians care about it?

The Feast of the Dedication is documented in the historically accurate apochrypha book 1 Maccabees. It describes an evil ruler (Antiochus Epiphanes IV) who perpetuated much violence against God-fearing Jewish people. This sinful root (1 Maccabees 1:10) made a covenant with renegades from Israel to mislead many. The king authorized the rebellious of Israel to observe ordinances of the Gentiles (Greek culture). On the 15th day of the month of Kislev, a desolating sacrilege (statue of Zeus) was set up on the altar of burnt offering. Then on the 25th day an unclean(swine) sacrifice was offered and Antiochus Epiphanes claimed to be the incarnation of Zeus. Antiochus had Jewish families put to death for observing the covenant of circumcision (Genesis 17:10-11). The infants were hung on the neck of their mothers. (cf: 1 Maccabees 1:41-64).

A priestly family arose, and rebelled against this wayward king. God provided the victory and the Maccabee family cleansed and purified the temple. Early in the morning on the 25th day of the 9th month in 167 BC sacrifices according to the law were offered on the new altar. “At the very season on the very day that the Gentiles had profaned it, it was dedicated with songs and harps…..all the people fell on their faces and blessed the God of Heaven who prospered them. (1 Maccabees 1:54-55 NRSV).

Thus, Hanukkah (the Feast of the Dedication) was born. It was the near fulfillment of the prophecy in Daniel 9. In Matthew 24:15-28, Jesus tells of the end time fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy. With that, our Lord links the events that led to Hanukkah with the final desolation caused by the antichrist. In the next post, we will explore why Satan attacked on 25 Kislev and how it connects to an ancient prophecy in Haggai. EJ

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“My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.” (John 10:27-30 NRSV).

Eyeglasses help us see clearly when our eyesight is otherwise distorted. Scratches, smears and dirt on our lenses work against us. Clarity is essential to navigate our path, escape dangers and avoid obstacles.

It is the same way when we study Scripture. The lens of prophecy offers the gift of vision of the future. Observing “The 5 Basic Rules of Biblical Interpretation” (See our “Book Excerpts” section, Rules of Interpretation) is key to properly comprehending God’s Word.

Take Hanukkah for example. Today is the 5th day of the “Feast of Lights” which celebrates the Dedication of the Temple of God. Contrary to what many may believe, there are references to this feast in the Old and the New Testament. Note the reference from the New Testament’s Gospel of John: It was on the Festival of the Dedication that Jesus was in the portico of Solomon. There, in this area of the temple, he was asked if He was the Messiah (John 10:22-23).

Our Lord’s answer pierced his adversaries. ” I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me, but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep.” (John 10:25-26 NRSV).

Our King went on to declare that those who belong to him will hear his voice and will not perish (10:27-30). Because Jesus and the Father are One, the faithful cannot be snatched out of His hand. The Greek word that John’s Gospel employed is harpazo” (“to snatch”, “pluck”, “catch away”). It is identical to the word used in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 with regards to the rapture of the saints. (“Rapture” is taken from the Latin for “catching up” or “taking away in an upward direction”.)

Something amazing and prophetically significant is revealed, if we make the connection between the Feast Day and Jesus’ claim of authority. On Hanukkah, Our Lord not only affirms his oneness with the Father but alludes to his future coming. This is evidence the Festival plays a big role in the last days as well as in the age to come.

Hanukkah’s history will be explored in the next post, Part 2. EJ.

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