Recently, the feast of Hanukkah was celebrated in Israel and around the world. As Jews and Israelis who celebrated this feast many years, and as believers in Yeshua, we would like to express a few of our thoughts concerning this feast.
Yeshua commanded us in His word to spread His light in this dark world.
God never commanded us to celebrate the feast of Hanukkah (Feast of Dedication) and of course never commanded us to kindle the Hanukkah candles. God sanctified us in the blood of Yeshua the Messiah and commanded us to be the light of the world.
The whole story of Hanukah about the oil which was enough to kindle the menorah in the temple for 8 days (after the Maccabees released the temple from the Greeks) is only a fairy tale.
This story is mentioned for first time in the Babylonian Talmud (which was written much latter from the Maccabees time, after the completion of the Mishnah between the beginning of the third century AD and until the end of the fifth century AD). It’s not mentioned in the books Maccabees 1 and 2, which were written in the time of the Maccabees and not in the history books which were written by the historian Josephus. So, this story is completely an invention of the rabbis.
The hanukkiah (the menorah for Hanukkah) of 9 candle sticks is also an invention of the rabbis which came to perpetuate the miracle of the small oil cruse (which never happened) by kindling one candle per each day of the 8 days that the oil was enough.
The 7 sticks menorah is a symbol for Yeshua when His name in Hebrew bold letters is in the menorah sticks – see illustration:
Adding 2 sticks to the 7 sticks abolish the name of Yeshua inside the menorah. Isn’t it possible that one of the reasons of using the hanukkiah was to distance the Jewish people as much as possible from Yeshua the Messiah?
The claim of the rabbis is that the menorah was located in the temple, so therefore it is holy and we, the Jews, are forbidden to use it out of the temple. Today we, the Messianic ones (Jews and non-Jews) are the temple of God in the Spirit, so, therefor there is not any reason for not using the menorah in relating to the feast of Hanukkah specifically and in any other time generally. Today we can see the menorah in many of the congregations in Israel and around the world.
So, why we, as believers in Yeshua, kindle today the hanukkiah instead of the menorah?
In the gospel of John 10: 22-31 the Feast of Dedication is mentioned but it is not mentioned there that Yeshua Himself celebrated this feast. He came to the temple for one reason – to deliver a message to the Jews, who were there, a very strong and hard message. He said to them: “But you believe not, because you are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.” (Verse 26) And then as a response: “Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.” The same Jews who celebrated the Feast of Dedication of the temple wanted to stone Yeshua. This opposition toward Yeshua and us, His followers, has continued all the generations until today. Even though, the rabbinical Judaism tried in the past and still is trying today to move away the Jewish people from Yeshua.
So, what is the connection between the Feast of Dedication in the past and the feast of Hanukkah today?
The Jews who are celebrating the feast today, are glorifying the Maccabees as the cause for the victory over the Greeks. They are expressing it in most of the Hanukkah songs which glorify the Maccabees, the oil cruse and the candles and nearly don’t mention God who made a miracle and helped the few overcome the many.
We, the believers in Yeshua, are called to be transformed in our mind and not to be like the world around us, as it’s written in Rom. 12:2: “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
So, why shall we not celebrate the feast in a Messianic way: to be focused on the true light with the menorah, to put God in the center with praise songs and to tell the miracle when few of warriors overcame their many enemies by God’s help and not by the great power of the Maccabees. In that way we’ll give Him the glory and honor that He is worthy for.
As then the minority received power from God and overcame the many, so we, the believers will overcome in the future, by God’s help, the enemy of our souls, as it’s written in Revelation 12:11: “And they overcame Him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”
By the way, we as a family kindle the 7-branched menorah, which symbolizes Yeshua.
Few points to think about:
- If we, as believers, know God’s truth and the historic facts about this feast, why shall we not choose to focus on what gives glory to God instead of men’s traditions.
- If we know that most of the feast’s customs don’t glorify God, shall we continue to choose those customs, or shall we choose to put God in the center?
- As believers, God has given us the ability of spiritual discernment and He warns us in His word not to be mindless, but to know His will and to discern everything (Eph. 5: 15-17, 1 Tes. 5: 21-22). Certainly, the written above is touching every aspect of our life including also feasts and traditions which we choose to adopt.
Therefore, it was on our heart to write this article in order to encourage all of us to choose what is good and in line with God’s word.