Channukah is a Jewish festival that Jesus himself celebrated. Just as the Jews rededicated the Temple after its desecration, so we are invited to rededicate ourselves to Yeshua this Channukah.
As I was preparing for our Celebrate Israel November meetings, I asked the Lord for His theme for this time. These are the words He spoke to me:
“Come forth My Beloved Chosen people, and show forth your light.”
During the month of November, we had a special speaker, Trevor Harris, who gave us a presentation on Nazareth. His background is architecture and urban planning, but now he shares presentations about Israel. This presentation was prophetic mapping about Nazareth.
As we travelled through Nazareth with Trevor via his presentation, he mentioned that the Lord often confirms his topic to him through a Scripture passage in the meeting.
“Ye are the light of the world, a city set upon a mount is not able to be hid.” (Matthew 5:14 YLT)
This is the Scripture that I had presented to our face-to-face meeting as part of our theme of showing forth God’s light.
Trevor explained that in the area of Nazareth where Yeshua lived, there was a hill that would have had different buildings on it. These buildings possibly shone in the sunlight during the day, but at night, the dwellings would have been filled with oil lamps used at the time and would have sent forth a golden glow.
As Trevor shared about this image, we saw afresh the meaning of Matthew 5:14, where Jesus says, “You are light for the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.”
Channukah: a Light in These Dark Times
Right now, we are living in a very dark time which most of us have not experienced before. The previous generation experienced World War II. But from that time, most of us have lived in relative peace and have not been personally exposed to the horrors of war, even though wars do continue to this day.
Now more than ever before, our community needs to hear our message of the Father’s love. They must hear afresh of the light of Yeshua in our current dark world, which brings hope to the hopeless.
Channukah this year runs from the 28th of November to the 6th of December. On the 25th day of Kislev in the year 165BC, Judah Maccabee rededicated the Temple and mounted a huge celebration where they lit the restored menorah.
We know this event as Channukah – otherwise called the Feast of Dedication in the Gospel of John. Jesus celebrated this holiday:
“And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.” (John 10:22 KJV)
Channukah is also known as the Festival of Lights (‘Chag HaUrim’).
You may wish to read my previous article about Channukah where I explain more of the historical context. Today, however, I would like to share how much the light that we carry from Yeshua is needed in these dark days.
The Desecration of the Temple
Antiochus IV Epiphanes (in Greek, “God Manifest”) was the Seleucid king of the Hellenistic Syrian kingdom. He was born around 215BC and died in 164 BC, reigning from 175–164BC. He was also called Antiochus Epimanes, which means “the Mad”. As a ruler, Antiochus was best known for his encouragement of Greek culture and institutions. His attempts to suppress Judaism brought on the Wars of the Maccabees.
The Jews of Israel lived for many years under oppressive Greek-Syrian rule. The Seleucids respected Jewish culture and protected Jewish institutions. Antiochus drastically reversed this policy, resulting in harsh persecutions of the Jews in Judea and Samaria, which resulted in the Maccabean Revolt.
Antiochus determined to unify the region’s religions by compelling everyone to worship him as the paramount God—the Greek God Zeus—in human form.
This blasphemous king ascends the steps of the Temple in Jerusalem. He conquered the nation of Israel and then wanted to eradicate the Jews by abolishing Judaism. Antiochus entered the Temple and declared himself to be god manifest on earth. He then sacrificed a pig upon the holy altar. In this act, all the holy vessels of the Temple were destroyed.
The ultimate breaking point came when Antiochus erected an altar to Zeus on top of the altar of burnt offerings, and sacrificed a pig on the 16th of December, 167BC. He then required every Jew to present Torah scrolls for burning.
After he profaned the Second Temple, Antiochus contracted a most painful wasting disease while on a military campaign in the east. He died in agony.
Rededicating Ourselves Today
We can see how these actions reflect what is happening today in our society. Lockdowns have forced believers to stay away from fellowship gatherings. Laws are being introduced into our society that are contrary to Father God’s ways. Not only are our buildings and meetings under siege, but also our very beliefs.
Are we expected to lay everything down to powers who do not respect or acknowledge the God of Heaven and His Holy Son Yeshua?
A great polarisation has begun. I know without a shadow of a doubt that true believers will always find a way to get together, worship the Lord, and fellowship.
However, now that lockdowns are easing and believers are permitted to again attend church gatherings, many are still staying home. It is possible that some will never return.
The Lord is doing a deep work in all of us. Just as the Second Temple needed to be cleansed, purified and rededicated, it is also time for us, the Body of Christ, to be purified by His holy fire. We must be cleansed and rededicated so that the Father can do His inimitable work through each one of us.
Yeshua: The Oil in Our Lamps
After the desecration of the Temple, there was only enough holy oil found to light the Temple menorah for one day. But miraculously, this oil lasted for eight days so that the Jews could complete the purification process.
May God’s holy oil come upon us in this season, so that, through the season of cleansing, purification and rededication, we will come out into a new day.
Eight symbolises the new day. Yeshua rose on the first day of the week, the eighth day, indicating a new era.
Channukah represents a time of joy and victory. Even though, as New Covenant people, we do not need to celebrate the Jewish holidays, I like to reflect on them and learn what the Holy Spirit is doing at these times.
Our victory is complete because of the cross of Yeshua. However, each of us needs to apply His victory to our own situations to enjoy the breakthrough.
Yeshua is the light produced by the oil. Unlike the blue light that we are familiar with through the gas flame, the light produced from the oil lamp would have had a golden glow which in my mind indicates Jesus’ glory shining through the flame.
My prayer would be for His holy oil to be our portion. May Jesus be our oil in our lamps to keep us going until we come into a new day. The Bridegroom is coming. It will be a time of unprecedented victory and joy.
As the Holy Spirit continues to do His miraculous work in us in this season of Channukah, we can truly be the light of the world, like Yeshua was:
“A city set on a mount that is not able to be hid.” (Matthew 5:14 YLT)
Each of us is a light-bearer into our various communities. We are called to shine forth God’s light in this dark season, so that people will again recognise Yeshua as the true Light of the World, and find hope to move forward into a new day – a day of hope and light.
“Bo Yeshua. Come Jesus”.