Messianic Hanukkah

Are you a Christian or completed Jew trying to figure out how to celebrate Hanukkah with a Messianic focus? I am, and I know there are many like me. Over the past few years, I’ve scoured the Internet for information about what others do, but I’ve ultimately discovered that observing the Festival of Lights in worship of the Light of the World need not be forced or cut-and-pasted. Like other Jewish holidays (even though it’s not a Torah festival since it began in the Intertestamental Period), Hanukkah is really about Yeshua. Rather than throwing together a patchwork of repurposed traditions, all it takes is a deep study of the identity of Yeshua and the account of His words at Hanukkah in John 10. Do that and you’ll have plenty to celebrate. To make this even easier for you, I’ve included a devotional guide I’ve developed during my journey. Feel free to use it, modify it, and make suggestions. Happy Hanukkah!

Hanukkah Night 1

Chanukkah (or Hanukkah) is the Jewish Festival of Dedication, also known as the “Festival of Lights.” It is an eight-day festival beginning on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev, which typically falls in November or December on our calendar. The holiday of Chanukkah celebrates the events which took place over 2,300 years ago in the land of Judea, which is now Israel. It begins in the reign of Alexander the Great, who conquered Syria, Egypt, and Palestine, but allowed the lands under his control to continue observing their own religions and retain a certain degree of autonomy. Under this relatively benevolent rule, many Jews assimilated much of Hellenistic culture, adopting the language, the customs, and the dress of the Greeks, in much the same way that Jews in America today blend into the secular American society. More than 100 years after Alexander, Antiochus IV rose to power in the region. He began to oppress the Jews severely, placing a Hellenistic priest in the Temple, massacring Jews, prohibiting the practice of the Jewish religion, and desecrating the Temple by requiring the sacrifice of pigs (a non-kosher animal) on the altar. One of the groups which opposed Antiochus was led by Mattathias (Matisyahu) the Hasmonean and his son Judah Maccabee (“The Hammer”). This small band of pious Jews led guerrilla warfare against the Syrian army. Antiochus sent thousands of well-armed troops to crush the rebellion, but the Maccabees succeeded in driving the foreigners from their land. According to historical accounts, Jewish fighters entered Jerusalem in December 164 BC. The Holy Temple, the Jewish religious center, was in shambles, defiled and desecrated by foreign soldiers. The Maccabees cleansed the Temple and re-dedicated it on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev. When it came time to re-light the Menorah (the multi-branched lampstand), they searched the entire Temple, but only one small jar of oil bearing the pure seal of the High Priest could be found. Miraculously, the small jar of oil burned for eight days, until a new supply of oil could be brought. From then on, Jews everywhere have observed a holiday for eight days in honor of this historic victory and the miracle of the oil. The observance of Chanukah features the lighting of a special Chanukkah menorah with eight branches (plus a helper candle), adding one new candle each night. (Adapted from http://www.gotquestions.org/Hanukkah-Christian.html)

When we light the menorah, we remember that He is the Vine and we are the branches. The center candle which sits higher than the others is the “servant” candle, and we use it to light the others. It represents Yeshua, who is the source of light who “did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life —a ransom for many.” – Mark 10:45

Tonight we can observe the rededication of the Temple by recognizing we are the Temple of the Holy Spirit. When Yeshua took His last breath on the cross, the veil of the temple was torn to show that He is our Emmanuel, God with us.

Matthew 27:51- “Suddenly, the curtain of the sanctuary was split in two from top to bottom; the earth quaked and the rocks were split” 

Because Yeshua fulfilled the Law and defeated sin and death, we no longer need the temple system, but we should glorify Him with our bodies.

1 Corinthians 10:31- “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for God’s glory.” 

Blessings

1. Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam Asher Kidashanu Al Y’Day Emuna B’Yeshua HaMeshaich Or Ha-Olam Uv-veesh-mo Mad-lick- keem Ha-nair Shel Chanukah.

Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who has sanctified us through faith in Yeshua, the Messiah, the Light of the World. And it is in His Name we kindle the Chanukah lights.

2. Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam she’asa nisim la’avoteinu b’yamim ha’heym b’zman hazeh.

Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the universe, who performed miracles for our ancestors, in those days, in this season.

Hanukkah Night 2

 In John 10, Yeshua was there celebrating the Feast of Dedication.

22 Then the Festival of Dedication took place in Jerusalem, and it was winter. 23 Jesus was walking in the temple complex in Solomon’s Colonnade. 24 Then the Jews surrounded Him and asked, “How long are You going to keep us in suspense? If You are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” 25 “I did tell you and you don’t believe,” Jesus answered them. “The works that I do in My Father’s name testify about Me. 26 But you don’t believe because you are not My sheep 27 My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish—ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 The Father and I are one.”

His words were in reference to Ezekiel 34, which the Jews read at Hanukkah during that time. That passage reminded the Jews of the unfaithful rulers of the past and the God who would watch over His people all the time. It portrays Israel as sheep and YHWH as the Good Shepherd. Just before this, in verse 11, He said,  “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

Yeshua clearly and plainly claimed to be YHWH during that Hanukkah feast so long ago. Tonight we celebrate Yeshua’s protection and salvation of His people as we remember His sacrifice and look forward to His return and reign.

Blessings

1. Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam Asher Kidashanu Al Y’Day Emuna B’Yeshua HaMeshaich Or Ha-Olam Uv-veesh-mo Mad-lick- keem Ha-nair Shel Chanukah.

Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who has sanctified us through faith in Yeshua, the Messiah, the Light of the World. And it is in His Name we kindle the Chanukah lights.

2. Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam she’asa nisim la’avoteinu b’yamim ha’heym b’zman hazeh.

Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the universe, who performed miracles for our ancestors, in those days, in this season.

Hanukkah Night 3

Ezekiel 34 –

11“For this is what the Lord GOD says: See, I Myself will search for My flock and look for them. 12 As a shepherd looks for his sheep on the day he is among his scattered flock, so I will look for My flock. I will rescue them from all the places where they have been scattered on a cloudy and dark day. 13 I will bring them out from the peoples, gather them from the countries, and bring them into their own land. I will shepherd them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the land. 14 I will tend them with good pasture, and their grazing place will be on Israel’s lofty mountains. There they will lie down in a good grazing place; they will feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15 I will tend My flock and let them lie down.” [This is] the declaration of the Lord GOD . 16 “I will seek the lost, bring back the strays, bandage the injured, and strengthen the weak, but I will destroy the fat and the strong. I will shepherd them with justice.

25 “I will make a covenant of peace with them and eliminate dangerous animals in the land, so that they may live securely in the wilderness and sleep in the forest. 26 I will make them and the area around My hill a blessing: I will send down showers in their season—showers of blessing. 27 The trees of the field will give their fruit, and the land will yield its produce; My flock will be secure in their land. They will know that I am the LORD when I break the bars of their yoke and rescue them from the hands of those who enslave them. 28 They will no longer be prey for the nations, and the wild animals of the land will not consume them. They will live securely, and no one will frighten [them]. 29 I will establish for them a place renowned for [its] agriculture, and they will no longer be victims of famine in the land. They will no longer endure the insults of the nations. 30 Then they will know that I, the LORD their God, am with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are My people.” [This is] the declaration of the Lord GOD . 31 “You are My flock, the human flock of My pasture, and I am your God.” [This is] the declaration of the Lord GOD.”

The biggest miracle of Hanukkah is how YHWH protected His people even when they were unfaithful. Though Israel strayed away to practice idolatry, then repented, then strayed and repented over and over again throughout their history, He kept His covenant promises to them. Even when they were conquered and exiled, He was good on His word. We see this demonstrated in the Hanukkah story. Even though prophecy had been silenced for about 250 years and many Jews turned to Greek gods and goddesses, He gave the small band of Maccabees victory over their oppressors who profaned His temple so they could restore worship to the One True God.

Like a shepherd to His flock, like a father to His children, and like a husband to His wife, YHWH pursues and protects His people even when they stray. Aren’t you glad?

Romans 5:8 – But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us!

Blessings

1. Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam Asher Kidashanu Al Y’Day Emuna B’Yeshua HaMeshaich Or Ha-Olam Uv-veesh-mo Mad-lick- keem Ha-nair Shel Chanukah.

Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who has sanctified us through faith in Yeshua, the Messiah, the Light of the World. And it is in His Name we kindle the Chanukah lights.

2. Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam she’asa nisim la’avoteinu b’yamim ha’heym b’zman hazeh.

Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the universe, who performed miracles for our ancestors, in those days, in this season.

Hanukkah Night 4

 Last night we talked about how YHWH protected the Israelites to show His love, receive their worship, and keep His promises. The greatest promise of all was His rescue plan: that a Messiah would come from the line of King David.

Isaiah 9 – 

6 For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on His shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. The dominion will be vast, and its prosperity will never end. He will reign on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish and sustain it with justice and righteousness from now on and forever. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will accomplish this.

Part of the daily temple function was sacrificing lambs for the atonement of sins. Because the Good Shepherd sustained His people, the Perfect Lamb and final sacrifice was born. He was one of them. He was a Shepherd, but also one of the sheep – the only one of them who never strayed. Because He was perfect, He was able to pay for all their sin. In fact, the lambs sacrificed at the temple really just pointed to Him, anyway.

When John the Baptist saw Yeshua for the first time, he said, “Here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” – John 1:29

Isaiah 53 – 

6 We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way; and the Lord has punished Him for the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth. Like a lamb led to the slaughter and like a sheep silent before her shearers, He did not open His mouth.

Blessings

1. Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam Asher Kidashanu Al Y’Day Emuna B’Yeshua HaMeshaich Or Ha-Olam Uv-veesh-mo Mad-lick- keem Ha-nair Shel Chanukah.

Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who has sanctified us through faith in Yeshua, the Messiah, the Light of the World. And it is in His Name we kindle the Chanukah lights.

2. Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam she’asa nisim la’avoteinu b’yamim ha’heym b’zman hazeh.

Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the universe, who performed miracles for our ancestors, in those days, in this season.

  

Hanukkah Night 5

John 10 – 

31 Again the Jews picked up rocks to stone Him. 32 Jesus replied, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. Which of these works are you stoning Me for?” 33 “We aren’t stoning You for a good work,” the Jews answered, “but for blasphemy, because You—being a man—make Yourself God.” 

During this great season of remembering miracles, Yeshua pointed out to His listeners that the miracles He had done authenticated His claim that He is, indeed, the long-awaited Jewish Messiah. His works and His true character clearly demonstrated who He is.

Throughout His ministry, He showed that He has power to drive out demons, make the blind see, make the deaf hear, make the lame walk, cleanse lepers, cure diseases, multiply food, and raise the dead. He also has power over nature.

Matthew 14 (AMP) –

 26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified and said, “It is a ghost!” And they screamed out with fright. 27 But instantly He spoke to them, saying, “Take courage! I AM! Stop being afraid!” … 33 And those in the boat knelt and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God!”

The phrase, “I AM” in verse 27 is often translated “I am here” or  “It is I“), but in the original Greek, it is ἐγὼ εἰμι (egō  eimi). That  literally means, “I AM“. Here, Yeshua was claiming and demonstrating the identity of YHWH, and these Jewish disciples knew exactly what He meant.  I’d bet that they were reminded of Job 9:8 – “He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea.” 

His greatest miracle, of course, was “rebuilding the temple” – rising from the dead! His sacrifice as the Perfect Lamb was not the end of the story. Those who believe in this miracle, hear His voice,  and call upon His name are His sheep.

Blessings

1. Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam Asher Kidashanu Al Y’Day Emuna B’Yeshua HaMeshaich Or Ha-Olam Uv-veesh-mo Mad-lick- keem Ha-nair Shel Chanukah.

Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who has sanctified us through faith in Yeshua, the Messiah, the Light of the World. And it is in His Name we kindle the Chanukah lights.

2. Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam she’asa nisim la’avoteinu b’yamim ha’heym b’zman hazeh.

Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the universe, who performed miracles for our ancestors, in those days, in this season.

Hanukkah Night 6

Here’s a story of another miracle of Yeshua from Luke 5:

On one of those days while He was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea, and also from Jerusalem. And the Lord’s power to heal was in Him.18 Just then some men came, carrying on a mat a man who was paralyzed. They tried to bring him in and set him down before Him. 19 Since they could not find a way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on the mat through the roof tiles into the middle of the crowd before Jesus. 20 Seeing their faith He said, “Friend,your sins are forgiven you.” 21 Then the scribes and the Pharisees began to think: “Who is this man who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 22 But perceiving their thoughts, Jesus replied to them, “Why are you thinking this in your hearts? 23 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk ’? 24 But so you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins ”—He told the paralyzed man, “I tell you: Get up, pick up your mat, and go home.” 25 Immediately he got up before them, picked up what he had been lying on, and went home glorifying God.

Among His other miraculous powers, Yeshua forgives sin because He is YHWH and the Spotless Lamb who was sacrificed and rose again to defeat sin and death. If you are one of His sheep, ALL of your sins are forgiven and forgotten. Your sinful flesh has been crucified with Him and you’re a new creation. You have been given everlasting life and your body will be resurrected, redeemed, and glorified when He returns.  There is no condemnation for you and nobody can snatch you from His hand.

Blessings

1. Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam Asher Kidashanu Al Y’Day Emuna B’Yeshua HaMeshaich Or Ha-Olam Uv-veesh-mo Mad-lick- keem Ha-nair Shel Chanukah.

Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who has sanctified us through faith in Yeshua, the Messiah, the Light of the World. And it is in His Name we kindle the Chanukah lights.

2. Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam she’asa nisim la’avoteinu b’yamim ha’heym b’zman hazeh.

Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the universe, who performed miracles for our ancestors, in those days, in this season.

 Hanukkah Night 7

Hanukkah is known as a “festival of lights”.

Yeshua created light.

John 1-

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 All things were created through Him, and apart from Him not one thing was created that has been created. 4 Life was in Him, and that life was the light of men. 5 That light shines in the darkness, yet the darkness did not overcome it.

2 Corinthians 4:6 – For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ.

Yeshua said, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life” – John 8:12

He also said, 14 You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5

His Word is light.

Psalm 119:105 – Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.”

Tonight we celebrate our opportunity to bring Light to the world.

Blessings

1. Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam Asher Kidashanu Al Y’Day Emuna B’Yeshua HaMeshaich Or Ha-Olam Uv-veesh-mo Mad-lick- keem Ha-nair Shel Chanukah.

Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who has sanctified us through faith in Yeshua, the Messiah, the Light of the World. And it is in His Name we kindle the Chanukah lights.

2. Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam she’asa nisim la’avoteinu b’yamim ha’heym b’zman hazeh.

Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the universe, who performed miracles for our ancestors, in those days, in this season.

Hanukkah Night 8

 Yeshua’s statement in John 10:30 – “The Father and I are one” – echoes the Shema, the basic confession of Judaism. 

“Hear, O Israel! YHWH is our God. YHWH is one.”

Shema Yisra’el YHWH Eloheinu YHWH Ehad

This statement in itself was a claim of deity. It also points toward the unity Yeshua prayed for in John 17:

 I pray not only for these, but also for those who believe in Me through their message. 21 May they all be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You. May they also be one in Us, so the world may believe You sent Me. 22 I have given them the glory You have given Me. May they be one as We are one. 23 I am in them and You are in Me. May they be made completely one, so the world may know You have sent Me and have loved them as You have loved Me. 24 Father, I desire those You have given Me to be with Me where I am. Then they will see My glory, which You have given Me because You loved Me before the world’s foundation. 25 Righteous Father! The world has not known You. However, I have known You, and these have known that You sent Me.26 I made Your name known to them and will make it known, so the love You have loved Me with may be in them and I may be in them.

As we have acknowledged and celebrated throughout this week, Yeshua is a miracle worker, the Light of the World, the Good Shepherd, the Spotless Lamb, the King of Kings, Emmanuel (God With Us), the long-awaited Messiah, and of course YHWH Himself.

“Hear, O Israel! YHWH is our God. YHWH is one.”

Shema Yisra’el YHWH Eloheinu YHWH Ehad

Blessings

1. Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam Asher Kidashanu Al Y’Day Emuna B’Yeshua HaMeshaich Or Ha-Olam Uv-veesh-mo Mad-lick- keem Ha-nair Shel Chanukah.

Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who has sanctified us through faith in Yeshua, the Messiah, the Light of the World. And it is in His Name we kindle the Chanukah lights.

2. Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam she’asa nisim la’avoteinu b’yamim ha’heym b’zman hazeh.

Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the universe, who performed miracles for our ancestors, in those days, in this season.


Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s