The 8-day celebration of Hanukkah (Dedication) begins this next Sonday evening on the December 18, ending on Monday the 26. It is a remembrance of the victory of the Maccabees over the pagan Greeks and Hellenist Jews (it was both a war against foreigner invaders of the nation and culture, and also a civil war), after 3 1/2 years of a seven-year war, defeating an antichrist in the person of Antiochus Epiphanes, and rededicating the altar of the Temple in 164BC. The tradition of a miracle of one more day of the Temple menorah (the 7-stemmed lampstand) oil lasting for 8 days is not found in the original and primary source, the 1st and 2nd Books of Maccabees in the Apocrypha. But, from this, the expression, “A great miracle happened here!” has also become the traditional toast of the celebration. The current Hanukkah tradition began some centuries after the event.
There was a ‘miraculous’ victory to restore the then true worship of the God of Israel in the Temple. It did not take very long for the people to again forget who they were called to be. How much the Temple of the Holy Spirit is in need of a ‘miraculous’ intervention by God to re-dedicate spiritual and true worship to the Father!
However, Judah Maccabee told the people that the celebration was as “the days of Sukkot/Feast of Tabernacles and fire”, since the Jews could not celebrate that special holiday because of the war. The 9-stemmed hanukkiah (the menorah used for the holiday) certainly gives a picture with the primary and higher-placed light being lit first, then lighting each of the other lights on the succeeding evenings of the holiday: The elevated primary light is called the shamash (servant), and each night is lit first before it lights the other lights. Yeshua, of course, is the elevated primary Light and Servant — He is the light of the world — and gives light to each one who believes in Him — He says that we are the light of the world — until the full number of lights is reached. Of course, in Judaism, this interpretation of the symbolism is not recognized.
Merry Christmas! A truly great miracle did happen here in Israel! And it does appear in the original and primary sources: The Bible — in the Old and the New Testaments. For me, that the one, true, living God could resurrect the dead in a new, everlasting body (although still rationally incomprehensible!) was not difficult for Him for whom nothing is too difficult. (Gen 18:13-15; Lk 1:26-38; Ex 20:8-11) But that He — the Son of God — would be miraculously conceived, and born like the rest of us in a mortal body of flesh and blood, in order to die excruciatingly on a cross to bear our sins and allow us to be forgiven and made righteous in the sight of God — THAT is truly a great miracle! God the Father celebrated that birth, and sent the angels to celebrate that birth; and they proclaimed and sang to the Israeli Jewish shepherds in the field, who then celebrated that birth; those Israeli Jews who were waiting for the salvation of YHVH and for the redemption in Jerusalem celebrated that birth: The true uncreated Light, who gives light to every person who comes into the world, came into the darkness. The true Savior and King, to whom all will confess and bow the knee, has appeared, and is waiting for the Father’s appointed time to come again in great power and great glory! What a celebration THAT will be for those who have waited hopefully for Him — the Lord Yeshua the Messiah/Jesus Christ!
Celebrate a holy and merry Christmas, to the glory of YHVH God, and of the Lamb upon the Throne.
This article originally appeared on Streams in the Negev, December 12, 2022, and reposted with permission.