Thursday, December 02, 2010

Hanukkah thoughts

The Hanukkah story is about a group of people, all zealous for the One True God, who would not bow down to an evil king who would have them forsake the commandments of their God for the religion of the king. King Antiochus Epiphanes was a very powerful ruler, he commanded the greatest army known to man at that time, the Syrians. They were feared by all who knew of them. They were powerful.

The king had set his eyes on the holy city of Judea, as it was known at this time. He wanted the people of God to worship him, he saw the incredible love and devotion these people had for their God. He coveted their adoration and determined to have it be his own. He set forth some laws beginning with a conversion from being Hebrews to becoming Greeks. And this is some of what the laws entailed:
  • worship statues of Antoichus
  • speak Greek
  • learn the way of the Greeks, customs and holidays etc.
  • circumcision forbidden
  • do not observe the Lord's Sabbath
  • do not keep a kosher diet
  • do not study the Torah
  • do not keep the Festivals of the Lord
As the story continues, the Maccabees, meaning hammer, rose up and gathered others who were zealous for God and His ways, they were a regular group of people from everyday walks of life. They turned anything they had into weapons, they prayed, they trained and they took on the most formidable army in the world. And by the grace of God, they won.

When they had won, they restored the temple, replaced all of the defiled instruments, and re dedicated it back to the Lord. That is where we get the name Hanukkah, it means dedication. This feast is also called the "Feast of Dedication" and you will find Yeshua celebrating it in John 10:22-23. As the traditional Hanukkah story goes, the Israelites found a single cruse of oil and it burned in the menorah for 8 straight days until more oil could be pressed. Sadly, there is not written documentation of this miracle. So for me, it is a fun story, but traditional.

However there really was a miracle at this time that should be celebrated and remembered! This band of regular everyday people, just like you and I, overcame the most powerful army in the world! They had full faith in their God and with His mighty hand, they WON! This is a promise for us to hold onto for today as well as for the future.

Just as in the past, this story is destined to be relived. There is coming a time, when a ruler will require people to live by rules that are against God's ways. Antiochus is a picture of the future anti-christ, what he did, the future anti-christ will do again (and I am sure a great deal more) ....refer to the laws mentioned above. Another one will sit on the throne of God and proclaim himself deity, just as Antiochus did. Can you see a relation between this story and the prophecy in the book of Daniel? Read Daniel chapter 11.

God says in Isaiah 46:10 I make known the end out of the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.

If we look to the past, we will better know how to be prepared for the future. We will have better discernment of what is God's way and what is man's way. We can walk boldly into this future, with confidence as we remember His awesome acts in the past as they are a promise and a reminder of a God who does not forsake His people.

During this season, it is a good time to rededicate your life to God and His ways. To discern between what is man's idea of loving God and with God's idea of loving Him. (Deut. 5:32, John 14:15, John 1) It is a good time to let go of the traditions of man and embrace the life giving path of the One True God.(Deut 30:19) Choose this day who you will serve, choose life.

Happy Hanukkah!

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