“For a commandment is a lamp and the Torah is light, and reproving discipline is the way of life.” Proverbs 6:23
As I put this Op together it is 9 December 2020 (I started putting this Op together yesterday), the day before Chanukah begins, the Festival of Lights or otherwise known as as the Feast of Dedication. How much more significant is this years Chanukah in relation to the darkness which consumes the world around us, more than ever before? We have unprecedented economic problems, a raging pandemic, a wholly divided country due to the corruption and fraud of the election, lockdowns, unprecedented restrictions placed upon the American people coupled with this year we are having to endure the sudden, unexpected deaths of our loved ones. And in the midst of all of this, the outlook for the next few weeks and months is not good!
Hope doesn’t seem to be in very abundant supply right now! The squeezing and pressures of the world around each of us is growing more intense by the day, yet we have to remember HaShem, the Elohim of Israel, told us the End of Days, just before The Day of HaShem which begins with the seven years of the Birth Pains of Messiah, would be VERY tough and literally unbearable, BUT when we BEGIN to see these things come to pass, to look up and rejoice because our redemption draws near! May it be so very, very soon in our days!!
This all said, tomorrow night, 10 December 2020, will begin the first night of Chanukah, Baruch HaShem! So in a world which is being ever consumed by darkness, HaShem will shine forth during this time of Chanukah (Means ‘Consecration’)!
This Op is not going to be a history of Chanukah, rather to help understand the significance of Chanukah in the midst of living in unprecedented darkness. The closer we choose to walk with HaShem, the more His Light will shine through us, Baruch HaShem! But it also means the more the adversary will target us! I will wholeheartedly admit things are very tough right now and my walk with HaShem has been rattled not just over things that have recently happened but also what could happen in the very near future should HaShem not intervene in time. It is a time of testing unlike anytime before, therefore we need encouragement but we also need resolve in that we have to dig deep down inside ourselves and decide, regardless of what it looks like around us, that we will not bow to the gods of this world, even if it costs me my life! I will bow only to One, HaShem, Master of Legions, Creator of all things, the Elohim of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Elohim of Israel!
Before we jump into this, always remember the following unchanging characteristics of HaShem:
- HaShem never changes per Num 23:19/Mal 3:6/Hebrews 13:8/James 1:17
- His Word is firmly established per Psalm 119:89
- He reveals the end out of the beginning per Is 46:10
- He does nothing without first revealing it to His prophets per Amos 3:7
- He says there is nothing new under the sun per Ecclesiastes 1:9
- He says His Torah is a tree of life and eternal per Proverbs 3:18-19 and Psalm 119:160
- He says His Torah is perfect and restores the soul per Psalm 19:7
- He says His Torah makes the simple one wise per Psalm 19:7
- He says His Torah Is freedom and liberty per Psalm 119:45 and James 1:25
- He says His Torah is the only good doctrine there is Proverbs 4:2
- He says His Torah will add length of days and years of life and peace per Proverbs 3:2
- He says all of the ways of His Torah are ways of pleasantness and peace per Proverbs 3:17
- He says His Torah is for our good and well-being per Deuteronomy 6:24
- He says His Torah is health for our lives per Proverbs 3:8
- He says His Torah is life to our soul and a graceful ornament for our neck per Prov 3:22
- He says His Torah is better than pearls and all desires cannot compare to it per Prov 8:11
- He says those who walk with His Torah are praiseworthy per Psalms 119:1
- He says observing His Torah is how we purify our path per Psalms 119:9
- He says His Torah is better than thousands in gold and silver per Psalms 119:72
- He says His Torah brings abundant peace to those who love Him and His Torah per Psalms 119:165
- He says there is one Torah for all per Exodus 12:49/Leviticus 24:22
- He says those who hate His Torah love death per Proverbs 8:36
- He says His Torah is the way of faith per Psalms 119:29-30
- He says His Torah makes us wiser than our enemies per Psalms 119:98
- He says His Torah is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path per Psalms 119:105
- He says one who finds His Torah has found life per Proverbs 8:35
- He says one who finds His Torah has found favor from HaShem per Proverbs 8:35
Since we know HaShem is unchanging and reveals the end out of the beginning, means if we want to know how the end will unfold, then we must go to the beginning! This said, as we enter into Chanukah here very shortly, it should be noted that Chanukah centers around the Temple of HaShem and therefore we must ask what does the Temple of HaShem primarily teach us? It is all about Kedusha (Holiness)! How do we as a unclean, sinful people approach a Holy Elohim and how do we live out our lives dedicated to being kadosh (Holy) in service to our Great King? His Temple teaches us these concepts, which is precisely why the adversary has worked so hard to convince people the Temple is the epitome of blasphemy, dung and has been tossed aside per the doctrine and theology of Replacement Theology!
What is the purpose of the Temple? Vayikra (Leviticus) 10:10-11 says “In order to distinguish between the sacred and the profane, and between the contaminated and the pure, and to teach the Children of Israel all the decrees that HaShem had spoken to them through Moshe.” The mandate HaShem placed upon the Levites and the Kohanim (Priests) is to teach Israel to know the difference between the kadosh (Holy) and the profane! Then Israel, as the chosen of HaShem, are to bring this to the world and draw the world to HaShem!
In Ezekiel 22, HaShem gives the reason why Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed by Babylon and Israel was taken into captivity. He says in verse 26 He says “Her kohanim have robbed My Torah and desecrated My sanctities. Between holy and profane THEY MADE NO DISTINCTION, and between contaminated and purified they did not make known. From My Shabbats they hid their eyes and I became profaned among them.” Does this not describe not only the time and society we live in today, but also aptly describes Replacement Theology? Replacement Theology, per its doctrine has robbed the people of the Torah of HaShem, desecrates not only HaShem’s Name but His sanctities; makes zero distinction between holy and profane by claiming it was all done away with. Then Replacement Theology hides its collective eyes from His Shabbat by again claiming it was all done away with and what happens is HaShem ends up becoming profaned, mocked and ridiculed! Very sad situation! I digress.
But, after what He says in Ezekiel 22, HaShem then issues a prophecy of hope in the End of Days and the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem in Ezekiel 44:21-24 says “Let no kohen drink wine when he enters the inner courtyard. Neither widow nor divorcee may they take themselves for wives, only a virgin from the offspring of the family of Israel. THEY ARE TO INSTRUCT MY PEOPLE CONCERNING THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN HOLY AND PROFANE. Let them inform them of the difference between contaminated and clean. Concerning a grievance, let them stand in judgment, and according to My laws are they to be adjudicated. My teachings and decrees regarding My appointed times they are to protect, and My Shabbats they are to sanctify.” Clearly these Kohanim serving in the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem are to fully embrace and teach the Torah of HaShem and by HaShem’s commandment and support and also shows they were NOT done away with, tossed aside or relegated as dung, further exposing and destroying Replacement Theology!
It is NOT my intention to focus on Replacement Theology in this Op, just simply pointing out how much has been lost and stolen because of Replacement Theology. The true message of this Op as it pertains to Chanukah is to focus these next eight days on examining our own lives in our service to HaShem and to purify ourselves as vessels used for service in His Temple must be purified.
For those who hold onto the thought that Chanukah should NOT be acknowledged because it was added by the rabbis and not something from HaShem, the message of Chanukah IS in the Word of HaShem and can be found in the Book of Haggai!
After 70 years of exile into Babylon, Israel allowed to return home. In Haggai chapter 1, it says “In the second year of King Darius, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the Word of HaShem came through Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Yehoshua son of Yehozadak, the Kohen Gadol (High Priest), saying: ‘Thus said HaShem, Master of Legions, saying: This nation has said, ‘The time has not yet come!’ But I say ‘It is time for the Temple of HaShem to be rebuilt!'” Interesting, just like today, Israel says it isn’t yet time to begin to rebuild the Temple and HaShem says just the opposite and says it is in fact time to rebuild the Temple!
HaShem further says in Haggai 1 “And the Word of HaShem came by the hand of Haggai the prophet saying: ‘Is this a time for you yourselves to sit in your houses with paneled roof, while this House (Temple of HaShem) is in ruins? So now, thus said, HaShem, Master of Legions: Set your heart to consider your ways! (Teshuvah/Repentance – Examine your lives) You have sown much but bring in little; eating without being satisfied, drinking without quenching thirst, dressing yet no one is warmed; and whoever earns money earns it for a purse with a hole. Thus said HaShem, Master of Legions: Set your heart to your ways (Teshuvah/Repentance – Examine your lives)! Go up to the mountain and bring wood and build the Temple; I will be pleased with it and I will be honored, said HaShem.” This sums up Chanukah!!
How did the people respond? “And so Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and Yehoshua son of Yehozadak, the Kohen Gadol, and the entire remnant of the people listened to the voice of HaShem their Elohim and to the words of Haggai the prophet, according to what HaShem their Elohim had sent him to prophesy, and the people feared before HaShem. And Haggai, the agent of HaShem, in the agency of HaShem, spoke to the people, saying, ‘I am with you, the Word of HaShem.'” So the people heard the Voice of HaShem which means they repented and returned to Him!
“HaShem aroused the spirit of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, the governor of Judea, and the spirit of Yehoshua the son of Yehozadak, the Kohen Gadol, and the spirit of the entire remnant of the people, and they came and did work on the Temple of HaShem, Master of Legions, their Elohim, on the 24th day of the month, in the sixth month, in the second year of King Darius.” Chanukah falls on the evening of the 24th day of the month of Kislev, however, here they began cutting stones and sawing trees on this day in the sixth month, but the actual construction of the Temple began three months later i.e. the Month of Kislev! Keep this in mind!
It should be noted they began to cut stones and saw trees for the rebuilding the Temple on the 24th day of the sixth month, which would be the month of Elul. This after HaShem calls for Israel to consider their ways i.e. Teshuvah/repent, which is significant because the month of Elul is known as the ‘Month of Reconciliation’. HaShem is always willing to hear someone who repents, but in the month of Elul, He is especially willing to hear. Elul then goes into the month of Tishrei in which the Feasts of Rosh HaShannah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot take place. Then the month of Cheshvan, which is the month the First Temple was completed. It is a month known for bitterness for there are no Feasts in this month. Then the month of Kislev, which is the month of Chanukah!!
Per an excerpt from The Book of Our Heritage by Rabbi Kitov, he states “When the Jews who returned from the Babylonian exile began to rebuild the Beit Ha-Mikdash (Temple of HaShem), their work was interrupted for twenty two years because of enemy intrigue and opposition. When the work was finally resumed, the foundation for the second Beit Ha-Mikdash was laid on the 24th of Kislev (First night of Chanukah).”
There is an allusion to Chanukah in the Torah which when counting from the word ‘Bereshis’ (Genesis), the first word in the Torah, the twenty fifth word is ‘Or’ which means ‘Light’ an allusion to the light of Chanukah when is lit on the twenty fifth day of Kislev.
How many days does Chanukah last? Eight days! Is this a coincidence? How many days of offerings does it take to consecrate the rebuilt Temple for use in service to HaShem? You guessed it, eight days! Remember, Chanukah i.e. Consecration, is all about purification, dedication to service to HaShem!
What is the significance of the number eight in HaShem’s Word? Per the book ‘Jewish Wisdom in the Numbers’ the number eight relates to everything that is above nature, rise above the limitations of the physical realm. It represents eternity! More importantly it represents ‘The 8th Era’ otherwise known as ‘Mashiach’. The excerpt from this book says “The miraculous oil of Chanukah is a harbinger of the anointing oil used to inaugurate the coming of the Messianic Era. This process can be traced to King David, who was the 8th of Yishai’s sons. The very name of the King, Messiah, refers to the anointing of the Davidic dynasty with oil. The oil used in the Menorah is related to the Messianic King who will illuminate the world with his light.” So, we can see again Chanukah points not only to the Torah of HaShem, but to His King Messiah i.e. Yeshua (Not the Jesus of Replacement Theology who rejects and teaches a doctrine against the Torah of HaShem). It is interesting that the harp used in the Bible has seven strings, but the harp that will be used in the Messianic Era will have eight strings as alluded too in Psalms 12:1!
Another excerpt from The Book of Our Heritage says “The eighth day of Chanukah parallels the festival of Shemini Atzeres, which follows the seven days of the festival of Sukkot. Just as Shemini Atzeres contains the essence of all the festivals that precede it, the atonement aspect of the Days of Awe and the joyous aspect of Sukkot, so too does the last day of Chanukah contain all of the aspects of happiness, salvation, praise, and thanksgiving of the previous days.”
Just very briefly I want to quickly include that Yeshua Himself kept Chanukah per what we read in John chapter 10! I would encourage you to check it out for yourselves. I digress.
Serving HaShem can be summed up by ‘It is the constant battle between purity and impurity!’ It is the war between Yehudah vs Greece/Rome, light vs darkness, Torah vs paganism, etc. As such it can get overwhelming at times due to the oppression and opposition of the adversary against HaShem and His people, but HaShem led me to a few verses to remind of one very important fact we need to remember:
2 Chronicles 32:7-9 says “‘Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid and do not be dismayed in the face of the king of Assyria and in the face of the entire multitude that is with him, for we have more with us than he has with him. With him is human might, BUT WITH US IS HASHEM, OUR ELOHIM, TO HELP US AND TO FIGHT OUR WARS!’ The people were reassured by the words of Hezekiah, king of Judah.” Very important we all, myself included remember this! As long as we constantly examine ourselves, strive for purity in our service to HaShem, strive to walk in His Torah, then He will be our shield, our high-tower, our place of refuge, provision and security!
Some may ask why He allows adversity and tribulations in our lives, well, the simple answer is simply because He is the Boss…He knows what’s best for each of us. Another explanation is from Hosea 5:15 which says “I will go, I will return to My place until they will acknowledge their guilt and seek My Face; IN THEIR DISTRESS THEY WILL SEEK ME.” Its in distress and troubled times that we will seek His Face!
So, in summary, this Chanukah especially in light of all that is going on around us today, is a time of great darkness and trouble, what better time to draw near to HaShem, light the Menorah and see the light banish the darkness as we strive to examine ourselves and purify our service to HaShem!
May it be so VERY, VERY soon in our days that our Messiah Yeshua gathers HaShem’s Own and takes us to that place of protection He has already prepared for the seven years of the Birth Pains! It may be sooner than we realize! Let’s examine ourselves and purify our walk with Him. Have a blessed Chanukah.
- The Milstein Edition The Twelve Prophets – Hosea by Artscroll
- The Writings I-II Chronicles by Artscroll
- Mishlei by Artscroll
- Tehillim by Artscroll
- The Book of Our Heritage by Rabbi Eliyahu Kitov
- The Jewish Wisdom in the Numbers by Artscroll