The Authenticity of the Torah through the Chanukkah Story
Tonight we are going to talk about the concept of authenticity as it relates to G-d, the Torah (Bible), and the attitudes of today’s society. I hope this message will give you reason to pause and consider how everything in G-d’s Torah has application in more than one realm.
Let’s begin by referring back to a time in history equivalent to the events of today. G-d gave His instructions, the Torah on Mt. Sinai. Moshe wrote the 10 commands on the two tablets given by G-d on the mountain and brought them down to the people who would become known as the Jews. Herein lies the first misunderstanding by those who are ignorant of Scripture either knowingly or unknowingly. The common teaching is that the instructions explicitly written in detail in the Old Testament such as the dietary laws and Shabbat are “only for the Jews.” Yet, Christians portend to adhere to the 10 commandments. So, is the Old Testament authentic in its entirety, or are parts of it outdated? How can one say that some of G-d’s instructions are authentic but others were “nailed to the cross?”
In Judaism, the following are the basic beliefs adhered to by Torah –observant Jews:
- G-d exists (He is authentic)
- G-d is One and there is no other
- G-d is eternal
- God is omniscient (all knowing) omnipotent (all powerful), omnipresent (in all places at all times)
- Prayer is to be directed to G-d alone and to no other
- The words of the prophets are true
- Moshe received the written Torah
- There will be no other Torah
- G-d will reward those who obey Him and punish the wocked
- The Messiah will come
- The dear will be resurrected
G-d is considered to be the Creator of the universe. Even Albert Einstein, a non-observant Jew, compared the universe to a clock, with G-d as the “Clockmaker,” who cannot be envisaged or understood. The Jews know that G-d is incorporeal. He has no lims or parts. He has both male and female characteristics. Some say this is blasphemy but this is again a statement based on a lack of knowledge about the Hebrew Name of G-d that incorporates both male and female characteristics. The following explanation may help to clarify this truth.
G-d made us in His image. In Gen. 1:26 He said “Let US make humankind in our image, in the likeness of ourselves…” In verse 27 we read “so G-d created humankind in his own image; in the image of G-d he created HIM: male and female he created THEM.” We have both male and female characteristics after our Creator. Remember the first account of creation is the male that has both male and female characteristics (Gen.2:7). Even when Chava is pulled from man’s side (Gen. 2:22), each human has characteristics of both genders such as estrogen and testosterone. Hard to believe? Just wait until you are old enough to see the biological changes that take place with age! The characteristics of justice, dominant physical strength, and logic were given to the man who is supposed to be the spiritual leader of the home. The characteristics of emotion, nurturance, and gentleness were given to the woman. Only when man and woman are united in marriage as one do they become “Echad,” a complex unity as in G-d’s image.
Next, Judaism is not only a set of ideas about the world, but an entitre way of life. It is more than contemplating, praying, demonstrating faith, and believing in a Supreme Being or afterlife. Following the dictates of Judaism means taking action. The entire Hebrew language is a language of action. Jews cannot excuse themselves from this requirement by claiming that one person cannot possibly make a difference in the world. G-d hold people responsible for their actions sooner or later and teaches us to follow His standards of ethical behavior. Get it? His standards; not those of any popular TV hosts or evangelists; not authors of the best sellers on self-help. G-d’s expectations; the blessings for following His instructions and the curses for choosing to ignore them apply to ALL mankind. But how do we know it is authentic?
First, let us make clear that G-d’s Torah and all that is within its pages applies to Jews and non-Jews. First we have the 10 commandments. I introduce this point with this statement because this is supposedly common ground between Christians and Jews. But believe it or not, unless we study the original Hebrew, we can misunderstand and mistranslate the true meaning of the commandments and the rest of the Bible. This is what has happened over the years with multiple translations actually written to “soften” or paraphrase G-d’s instructions to make them more “palatable” to our society that no longer knows or seeks the truth of G-d’s Torah. The original Old Testament was written by Jews (Deut. 7:7) validated even in the B’rit Chadashah (“New” Testament) in Romans Chapter 3. The B’rit Chadashah was written in Greek by the Jews. The point is that G-d intended for these instructions, called “laws” by the Christians because this serves their agenda for throwing them out, to be followed by everyone. Remember, Abraham, a Hebrew but not a “Jew” was commanded to leave his country, his home, and his father’s house, and to leave all distractions behind that might impair his ability to be a blessing to everyone who came in contact with him. He was sent on this journey to emphasize that fact that he as we, are temporary residents on this earth and we must forsake the comfort of the familiar to make G-d’s purpose for our lives the priority. Jews are forbidden to walk away from society, from the rest of the world, and to strive to be the best they can be for G-d’s glory; not their own. This mandates a life of progressive self-nullification. It does not mean we cannot enjoy G-d’s blessings and abundance or that we must go around flogging ourselves in total silence and seclusion. It does mean that instant self-gratification must take a back seat and that we must develop a concern for the welfare of others and follow G-d’s Torah as we learn what is expected of us. Just check the records and see how many Jews have won the Nobel Peace Prize for medicine alone! The goal of glorifying G-d and promoting the welfare of ones fellow man is ingrained in the very fabric of the obedient Jewish soul. Narcissism is disdained by Jews, unlike the Greek and Roman counterparts of old and the American society of today that embraces the Greek mentality that idolizes the human form and intelligence.
There are some Christians reading this who may be saying to themselves “Jews this and Jews that. I believe and do everything she says observant Jews do and I am a Christian!” Let me interject what G-d says beginning in Exodus 12:14 speaking about the Passover and the day it is to be celebrated: “This will be a day for you to remember and celebrate as a festival to Adonai; from generation to generation you are to celebrate it by a perpetual regulation.” He repeats it is verse 17. In verse 19 He goes further and says these instructions apply to both the “foreigner and the citizen of the land.” He repeats his instructios again in verse 24 of the same chapter. In verse 49 He says, “ The same teaching is to apply equally to the sitizen and to the foreigner living among you.” This means that if you consider yourself a true believer, or as G-d puts it, “ a foreigner living among you,” then these instructions apply to YOU. Moving on to Shabbat (Sabbath), G-d states that the Sabbath is to be observed on the 7th day; not the first as was changed by Constantine. G-d said “you are to keep my Shabbat, because it has been set apart for you. This is a sign between me and you through all your generations; so that you will know that I am Adonai, who sets you apart for me.” G-d states throughout the Torah how we are to conduct our lives and observe his commands, regulations, statutes, and rulings. He carefully lays out the specific designated times and the time to observe them. You will NOT find Christmas or Easter among them. Forget trying to hang your hat on the King James Bible as a reliable translation of G-d’s word. It is one of the most inaccurate translations in circulation today. That is a message in itself but I want to mention it for those who want to argue from that perspective.
Moving on to Leviticus we find G-d’s commands against getting involved with necromancers, sorcerers, psychics and diviners. He reinforces observation of His regulation lest we be cut off from Him. He repeats these statements many times throughout the Torah so that we may get it; that we may come to understand how important our obedience and separateness from secular society is and must remain. In Leviticus 20:22 He says “You are to observe all my regulations and rulings and ACT on them. A true believer does not ride the fence between religions and belief systems any more than the people had to choose between G-d and the Golden Calf. WE are fooling ourselves if we think we can justify our participation in pagan practices followed by a religion or cult and call ourselves a true believer. Who do we think we are fooling? Judaism is a moving, intellectual and spiritual faith system with the G-d of Avraham, Isaac, and Jacob as its only G-d. We move as did Avraham and take our direction from G-d as we go through life.
The designated times and festivals are repeated in Lev. 23 and 26. The dietary laws are given in Lev. 11. I want to add that even Noach who was not a Jew knew which animals were clean and unclean, so Christians cannot get by believing that only the “Jews” follow the dietary laws. Yahshua who Christians profess to follow never ate ham or shellfish so what makes them think it’s ok now? It is also important to understand that as the designated times and dietary laws were given , they were given to the “children of Israel” that in this context means all true believers; Jew and the foreigner or Gentile who lives among the Israelites or biological Jews. The definition of a true believer is found seven times in the Book of Revelation stated by Yahshua himself. The true believer is defined as “one who carries the testimony of Yahshua, and one who guards the commands of HaShem. That is, one who recognizes that we must be reconciled to G-d through Yahshua’s faithfulness to death on the execution stake, and one who obeys the rulings of G-d. In Hebrews 4 we read. “ Therefore, let us be terrified of the possibility that, even though the promise of entering his rest remains, any one of you might be judged to have fallen short of it; for Good News has also been proclaimed to us, just as it was to [those in the wilderness] them. But the message they heard didn’t do them any good, because those who heard it did not combine it with trust (trust is defined as obedience, action, and worship). Those who disobeyed G-d were not allowed to enter into Caanan. For it is we who have trusted who enter the rest. In Galatians 3:6 we read that Avraham trusted G-d AND was faithful to obey; this was accounted to him as righteousness. “Be assured then that it is those who live by actively trusting and being faithful who are really Children of Avraham. Also the Tanakh (Old Testament), foreseeing that G-d would also consider Gentiles righteous IF they live by trusting and being faithful, told Avraham in advance by saying, “ In connection with you, all the Goyim will be blessed.” So then, those who rely on trusting and being faithful are blessed along with Avraham, who trusted AND was faithful. This is a true Jew according to G-d. In Romans 2:28 we read “For the real Jew is not merely Jewish outwardly: true circumcision is not only external and physical. On the contrary, the real Jew is one inwardly; the true circumcision is of the heart, spiritual not literal; so that his praise comes not from other people but from G-d. Yes, physical circumcision is commanded, but the act is done out of love for G-d and not merely for a legalistic motive. Those are listed repeatedly in the Old Testament. I must remind you that everything in the New or “refreshed” covenant is based on and found in the “Old.” The “Old Testament” was not eliminated or made null and void when Yahshua died for us. Only the sin sacrifice was done away with. Matt. 5:17 and Psalm 119 among many other scriptures teaches us that the Torah is still valid. In Matt. 5:17 we read “Don’t think that I have come to abolish the Torah or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete. Yes indeed! I tell you that until heaven and earth pass away, not so much as a yud or stroke will pass from the Torah- not until everything that must happen has happened.” The word abolish or “destroy” as it is sometimes translated actually means “to show and incorrect interpretation of.” Complete or fulfill as it is written in some translations actually means “to show a correct interpretation of.” Yahshua came to physically show us how to live what had been written. He is the living manifested Torah. James 1:21 tells us to receive meekly the Word 9Torah) and implant it in ourselves so that we might be saved. He tells us not to just hear what the Word says, but do it. If a person looks closely into the perfect Torah which gives freedom, and continues, becoming not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work it requires, then he will be blessed in what he does.
With this background in some of the basic tenants of Judaism and the applicability of G-d’s entire Torah to all who choose to follow Him in love AND obedience, we will now take a closer look at the Chanukkah story.
The descendants of Israel were exposed to many pagan gods and practices, but none posed a greater threat or allure than the Greek culture because of its aesthetic and intellectual nature. The Greeks were not only military and cultural imperialists. Greek soldiers and settlers brought their way of life, language, art, architecture, literature, and philosophy to eht Middle East. When Greek culture merged with the culture of the Middle East, it created a hybrid-Hellenism (Hellas is the Greek word for Greece)- whose impact would be far greater and last far longer than the brief period of Alexander’s empire. Hellenism’s influence on the Roman Empire, Christianity, and the West was monumental. But it is the interaction between the Jews and the Greeks and Hellenism on Judaism on which we direct our attention.
During his military campaign against Persia, Alexander took a detour to the south, conquering Tyre and then Egypt via what today is Israel. There is a fascinating account about Alexander’s first encounter with the Jews of Israel who were then subjects of the Persian Empire. This encounter is recorded in the Talmud (Yoma 69a) and in the Jewish historian Josephus’s Book of Antiquities (XI, 321-47). In both accounts, the High Priest of the Temple in Jerusalem, fearing that Alexander would destroy the city, went out to meet him before he arrived. Alexander, upon seeing the High Priest, dismounted and bowed to him; something Alexander rarely did for anyone! When asked by his general, Parmerio, to explain his actions, Alexander answered, “ I did not bow before him, but before that G-d who has honored him with the high Priesthood; for I saw this very person in a dream, in this very apparel.” Alexander interpreted the vision of the High Priest as a good omen and thus spared Jerusalem, peacefully absorbing the Land of Israel into his growing empire. As a tribute to his benign conquest, the Sages decreed that the Jewish firstborn of that time be named Alexander. This remains a very common Jewish name to this day. The date of this encounter was the 25th of Kislev, was declared a minor holiday. This corresponds to the first day of Chanukkah strangely enough, but should not be surprising considering how G-d orchestrates the workings of men for His purposes. Thus began one of the most interesting and complex cultural relationships in the ancient world. The Greeks had never met anyone like the Jews; the world’s only monotheistic nation who had a unique concept of an infinite G-d who cares about creation and acts upon it. They had literacy rates and a social welfare infrastructure that was envied and unrivaled in the ancient world and would be envied by the American culture today. So fascinated were the Greeks with the Jews that they became the first people to translate the Bible into another language when King Ptolemy II (c. 250BCE) forced 70 Rabbis to translate the Bible into Greek, known as the Septuagint which means “70” in Greek. The Bible had to be translated for another reason. The Greek-speaking Jews were no longer able to read the Bible written in the original Hebrew. The Rabbis who disapproved of this translation did so with well-grounded fears. In the Talmud it is said that this translation “was as intolerable for Israel as the day the golden calf was made, because the Torah cannot be translated adequately” (Soferim I). The fear was that unfriendly eyes would read the Bible without the knowledge and understanding of the original context and Jewish commentary and that the enemies of the Jewish people would attack various passages. Indeed this has come to pass, even from Christianity. The attitude of these Rabbis may be summed up as follows: “be careful of Greek wisdom, which bears no fruit but only flowers”; that is, the culture of the Greeks produces beauty but not moral truth.
Two Greek Empires emerged in the Middle East after the death of Alexander, who by the way, died of syphilis at the age of 32. The Ptolemies in Egypt and the Selucids in Syria. The Land of Israel was the border between these two warring empires. Initially, the Jews were under the control of the Ptolomies, but after the battle of Panias in 198 BCE, Israel found herself in the domain of the Selucids and their king, Antiochus. While much of the upper crust of Jewish society readily embraced Hellenistic culture, some to the point of denouncing their Jewish identity, most of the rest of the population of the Mediterranean world also embraced this culture. However, the vast majority of Jews remained loyal to Judaism. Those who became assimilated felt that the Greek culture and assimilation was a positive and modernizing influence and they welcomed the release from obedience to Torah and G-d’s instructions and values. This paradigm of living is easily observed in American society today. The G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob has been kicked out of every corner of post- modern humanistic thinking and we are just beginning to reap the consequences. Just as back then where those who turned their backs on G-ds Torah saw the system of the Greeks saw this change of values and philosophy as the way to success and acceptance, much of modern society embraces and teaches values clarification and the disappearance of a belief in the fundamental truths of G-d’s Torah. Unfortunately, this is what happened prior to the Holocaust and is happening today. A Jew with ambition during the time of the Greeks had no choice but to join the local gym. Those who rejected assimilation and clung to the Torah of G-d and of their Fathers were viewed with great hostility by many Greeks and were seen as people who were rebelling against the Greek system. They were seen as uncivilized, for Judaism remained the one intellectual, religious, and cultural tradition that refused to submit to the authority of the New World Order. Unlike barbarians, who could lose their inferior status by accepting Greek culture, the Jews continued to believe in one invisible G-d. Their counterculture which set them apart from the pervasive Hellenistic civilization set the stage for what is known as classic anti-Semitism. Again, this scenario was repeated during the Holocaust, and will be repeated once more before the Messiah returns. Look around; those who are observant of G-d’s Torah need be aware of what is going on in our society and the world today. Businesses, stores, and major corporations that once prided themselves in their independence are now consolidating into mergers of colossus proportion. It does not take a great deal of thought to envision the events written in the Books of the Prophets such as Daniel, Isaiah, and Ezekiel or in Revelation. The Book of Esther will also enlighten you on the formulation of Jewish hatred and the power of G-d behind the scenes for a people who pray together and follow G-d’s Torah, just as did Esther in the most dire of circumstances.
The exotic differences between Greeks and the Torah-observant Jew which had once served as the source of attraction between the cultures, now created the flashpoint for a cultural war. Remember, hasatan does not lure us with a pitchfork, red suit, and horns. He attempts to seduce us with that which he knows is our weakest areas. For Chava (Eve) it was the lust of the eyes, the pride of life, and pride of the intellect. Narcissistic attractions that lured and continue to lure people away who let their guard down and believe they are spiritually stronger than they are will be the downfall for many from a path toward salvation to one of damnation. However, it is not correct to perceive the view of conflict as purely Greece versus the Jews. Internal tension within the Jewish community also contributed to the strife. Hellenized Jews took it upon themselves to “help” their more traditional brethren by “dragging” them away from what the “progressives” perceived as primitive beliefs into the “modern” world of Greek culture. This scenario is not hard to imagine if we just examine the contrast between Orthodox Judaism and the Reform movement. Study this for yourselves. Now study the Messianic movement whose adherents follow the Torah of G-d, not the traditions of men, and strive to emulate Yahshua as both Messiah ben Yosef and Messiah ben David to come. This group is considered apostates by the Orthodoxy and “completed Jews” by Christians, neither of which are accurate. In the end, the Jewish war against Greece at the time of Chanukkah would prove not only a war of Jew against Greek, but also a war of Jew against Jew; fought over the heart, soul, and future of the Jewish people. To aid them in their efforts, the Hellenized Jews enlisted the help of their Greek allies, ultimately bringing the king himself, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, into the conflict.
In the mid-second century BCE, Antiochus issued a decree which, until that time was unheard of in the multicultural and religiously tolerant ancient world, as is ours today. He outlawed other peoples’ religion. He banned the teaching and practice of Judaism. Brutal Greek persecutions of the Jews included the torture of Hanna’s seven sons. She was a righteous woman and told the last of her sons to remember the G-d of his Fathers and not to give in to the Greeks. Her sons were tortured before her eyes, one by one. These acts of brutal torture and persecution triggered the first religious/ideological war in history- the Maccabean revolt. A priestly family of Mattathias and his five sons, the most famous of whom was Judah, led the revolt.
The matter came to a climax in Modi’in. Greek soldiers came one day and demanded that the Jews sacrifice a pig to the pagan god Zeus, of whom a statute was placed at the head of the Temple, and the Temple renamed for this pagan god. A Hellenized Jew stepped forward to commit this blasphemous act. Mattathias stabbed him and the Greek official that was present. He turned to the crowd and announced: “Follow me, all of you who are for G-d’s law and stand by the covenant.” (1 Maccabees 2:27).He them took his five sons to the hills and launched a guerrilla war against the armies of the empire. After three years, the Jews re-conquered Jerusalem although the Greeks outnumbered them with professional soldiers and war elephants, which were the tanks of the time. The Jews were outnumbered, out-trained, and poorly equipped. But what they lacked in training and equipment, they made up for in spirit and the trust and faith that G-d was and is with them as He promises to remain with those who follow His Torah out of love and obedience.
The Temple was defiled and turned into a pagan sanctuary where pigs had been sacrifieced on the altar. The first thing that was done upon recapturing the Temple was to try to light a make-shift menorah (the gld one had been melted down by the Greeks). However, only one vial of pure lamp oil with the special seal was found. They used this vial to light the menorah and miraculously it stayed lit for eight days, by which time fresh pure olive oil had been pressed and delivered to the Temple. The Maccabees then purified the Temple and rededicated it on the 25th of Kislev, when Chanukkah begins each year. Chanukkah means “inauguration/dedication.” It is also a contraction of “cahnu kof hei”, they rested on the 25th (of Kislev). The Chanukkah lights were to be lit and set in the windows for a public display of the miracles and to reaffirm the Jews’ faith in G-d. Chanukkah represents many miracles and has some very profound meanings. It was established to commemorate the very opposite of cultural assimilation. It represents the military victory of a vastly outnumbered band of Jews against the Greeks, and the spiritual victory of Jewish values over those of the Greek (today’s values). The light of Chanukkah is symbolic of the survival of the spiritual light of Judaism. Its survival enables the Jews to have a monumental impact on the world that has far exceeded the miniscule number of Jewish people, giving the world the concept of One G-d and the values of the sanctity of life, justice, peace, and social responsibility that WERE the moral and spiritual foundations of Western civilization until the 1960’s. But most of all, Chanukkah, the festival of lights, commemorates the conception of the Light of the world; Yahshua HaMashiach; represented by the Shamash candle from which all other candles (men) are lighted. We can know that Yahshua was conceived during this time and NOT born as celebrated in Christianity simply by reading the Torah, the Levitical rotation, the account of John’s birth, and several other scriptures that inform us without a doubt that Messiah was born during the designated time of Sukkot (G-d’s provision)!
The name Maccabee means “hammer” and is also an acronym for the Torah verse “Who is compared to You among the mighty, oh L-rd” (Ex. 15:11). Chanukkah is the only Jewish “holiday” not found in the Tanakh per se and the only one rooted in a military campaign. However, the Tanakh reveals that Chanukkah is predicted in later prophetic writings. The vision given to the prophet Daniel is an amazing detailed description of the events surrounding Chanukkah. Daniel chapter 8:21 speaks about Alexander the great and his conquering Persians. Verse 23 speaks of Antiochus who desecrated the Temple. Antiochus Epiphanies, Greek for “G-d manifest” has come to typify the anti-messiah of the latter days who will be the one responsible for the “abomination of desolation” referred to in Daniel 8:11-13 and by Yahshua Himself in Matt. 24:15. It all fits; we cannot disregard either the Tanakh or the B’rit Chadashah; Law OR Grace. Both sections of the Sefer Torah are necessary, valid, and reliable. The miracle of Chanukkah is mentioned in the Hebrew Scriptures with so much detail that some scholars suggest that Daniel was writing after the fact and not prophetically. In John 10:22-23 we read, “Then came Chanukkah in Jerusalem. It was winter, and Yahshua was walking around inside the Temple area, in Solomon’s Colonnade…” Read this passage and see for yourselves. You will not see Christmas here or anywhere else in the Bible except where G-d speaks of HaSatan changing the times and the seasons.
The focus of Chanukkah is almost entirely spiritual and not physical. The lack of a physical aspect is unusual but appropriate. The light of Messiah must burn brightly, constantly, and always forward just as in the directions for lighting and keeping the Temple menorah lit. This is our reasonable service as a way of thanking G-d for His provision and deliverance through Messiah through our actions. It is no wonder that eight days of light were provided with one day’s worth of oil. The festival of Sukkot (G-d’s provision) also lasts eight days. Yahshua was born during Sukkot again, perfect timing to reflect G-d’s provision. This time it was the Messiah. This means Yahshua was conceived during Chanukkah which provides us another beautiful illustration of G-d’s provision through the Light of the world; Messiah. The Shamash candle in the menorah is the servant candle, from which all others are lit. So it is with us. We cannot obtain true light from any other source than from the Light of the servant candle that represents the Messiah. Yahshua was G-d manifest who served his Father and came to physically show us how to live the written Torah of G-d. The eight candle foreshadows Sh’aul’s treatise in Romans 11:17-18 where he speaks of the wild olive tree (Gentiles) being grafted into Israel. The Shamash candle plus the eighth candle equals nine, which denotes finality. In Revelation 1:16, Yahshua is described standing in the middle of a Menorah in the position of the Servant Lamp and Yochanon described, “his countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.” In Hebrew numerology, eight is a transcendent number and represents deity and a new beginning. Seven represents spiritual perfection. The Chanukkah Menorah features eight candles (deity) and one candle (the servant candle). Spiritual perfection, represented by the number seven, obtains life only after the Servant Candle lights them. Having seven candles contained within the nine candled Menorah may be interpreted as “perfect humanity” or imputed righteousness by virtue of the work of the Servant Candle who is also YHVH (Incarnate Deity represented by the number eight). The number eight can be associated with the eighth day after birth on which Jewish infants are circumcised, the eight different garments worn by the High Priest, and the eight days of Pesach (Passover) and Sukkot. The 25th of Kislev is also the date the Tabernacle was finished in the wilderness and the day YHVH blessed Noach with a rainbow. The nine candles of Chanukkah may also symbolize the nine blessings of the Beatitudes (Matt. 5:3-11) and the none-fold “fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22). Even hasatan, the adversary whose named Lucifer means “light bearer,” suggesting his desire to usurp Yahshua in His role as he Servant Candle.
The most explicit reference to Chanukkah is in the Brit Chadashah “New” Testament. This is actually a misnomer because this half of G-d’s Torah is actually called the “Renewed, or Refreshed: Covenant. This is why all true believes in Messiah Yahshua may want to learn about and celebrate this festival. Messiah celebrated it. Not only did He celebrate it, He observed it in the same Temple that had been cleansed and rededicated just a few centuries earlier. Even the miracle of the oil is representative of the Messiah in the role of Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit). Why oil? Oil does not blend with any other liquid and will rise to the top of the container. In this respect, oil is symbolic of the Ruach HaKodesh. Like oil, the Ruach does not mix with un-believing nations but rises to a higher plane.
Finally I want to discuss the Shield of Israel that consists of a seven-lamp Menorah with two olive branches that make an additional two lamps. The leaves of the olive branches are 12 in number, respectively. In Revelation, we read of the 24 elders representing the elders of Israel. This also represents the 12 patriarchs and the 12 apostles. As we can see, even the Shield of Israel carries the message of Chanukkah. Jew and Gentile believers; one, under the covering (Kippur) of the blood of Yahshua.
The war for the Temple resulting in the establishment of the Chanukkah celebration was against a worldview that elevated the physical above all that venerated beauty, not holiness; the body rather than the soul. This is the Greek philosophy that has permeated and taken over our society to its continued denigration. The Jews fought and still fight to preserve a different worldview; one with G-d and not man at the center. The Bible, Both the Tanakh and the B’rit Chadashah (Refreshed, Renewed Covenant) are G-d’s certificate of authenticity; Grace and Law, verified and authenticated by Yahshua who gave up His place in heaven for a time, and lowered Himself to the physical realm to teach us G-d’s Torah and the fact that our earthly existence is only a training ground; a place of refining for the human spirit and soul to prepare those who dare to choose G-d and His Torah over all else to ascend to a saving relationship with G-d. This requires separating ourselves from the re-Hellenized society in which we live , just as the Jews separated themselves from the idolatrous nations during Biblical times. If we love G-d; really love Him, we will do as He instructed in the Old and “New” Testaments. We must carry the testimony of Yahshua, and guard the commands of G-d. This id the definition of a true believer stated by Yahshua in the book of Revelation. The Tanakh is replete with G-d’s instructions that are just as applicable and valid today as they were the day He spoke them to Moshe and the Children of Israel. Furthermore, in John Chapter 14 Yahshua reiterates G-d’s instructions. Romans Chapter 1:18-22 informs us that G-d has made Himself manifest to all men and there is no excuse for not developing a saving relationship with G-d. We must remain true to Him as our first love, possibly even to the point of persecution and/or death. Remember, man can kill the body, but only G-d can kill the soul. Our Messiah is coming again and soon. We arm ourselves with the knowledge of Torah, wisdom from above in order to understand and apply knowledge as G-d would use us, and develop a love for Him, forsaking anything that would distract us from serving Him first. This is the only way we can overcome and remain separate from assimilation into the soulless value system of hasatan that is rampant in our world today.
May you all be blessed as you learn to celebrate Chanukkah with new insight.
Baruch HaShem, Eloheynu Melech HaOlam,
Rabbi Tamah Davis
Perpetuating Rabbi Phil Davis’ teachings of G-d’s Torah and his love for YHVH/Yahshua. Blessed be his memory.