The Light, Love and Joy of Christmas is Yours
During this holiday season we see lights everywhere. Businesses, homes, churches, and synagogues are filled with special light. It is a joyful time. There is such an overflowing spirit of generosity and giving. Most people, even though they may have had a rough year, will still find ways to be a blessing and show others how much they are loved.
As Christians, most of us focus exclusively on Christmas. We celebrate Jesus’ birth as God’s greatest gift to all who would receive Him. And we should! Jesus is the reason for the season! But did you know there is a beautiful and powerful biblical holiday that’s celebrated at this very time! It’s called Hanukkah and is an eight day celebration of the miracle power of God over all of our enemies. It’s also a celebration of God’s miracle provision in our lives.
Yes, it’s a Jewish holiday, but it’s also a biblical holiday and one that the Lord will use as an appointed time to release a fresh wave of miracles. The reason God has this on His divine calendar is to connect us to His miraculous presence, His miraculous power, provision and His miraculous victory. It’s definitely your season for miracles!
Several years ago, Pastor Larry was invited to teach at a Dallas synagogue during the time of Hanukkah, which is also known as the Feast of Dedication and the Festival of Lights. As the Rabbi opened the service, he lit the eight-branched menorah. Then he turned to Pastor Larry and explained the significance of what he had done. What he didn’t fully understand at the time was that Pastor Larry already knew the history behind this special holiday.
After being introduced by the Rabbi to a large and captivated audience, Pastor Larry said, “I sincerely appreciate the Rabbi lighting the Hanukkah candles tonight. I would like to ask you something? How many of you before you left home to come here, lit the Hanukkah candles? Please raise your hands.” Not surprisingly, everyone in the synagogue raised their hands.
Then he said, “Who can tell me where in the Bible that it talks about Hanukkah?” No one said a thing. It was then that Pastor Larry gave everyone including the Rabbi the surprising news.
There is One Place Christmas Isn’t Mentioned – Do You Know It?
There’s only one place in all the Bible where Hanukkah is mentioned, and Jesus is the one talking about it in the New Testament. This revelation is not only a surprise to most Jews, it is also a surprise to most Christians.
Look at what the Bible says in John 10:22: “Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter. 23 And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch.”
The Feast being mentioned here is none other than the celebration of Hanukkah. It’s the Feast of Dedication. Amazingly, what has been traditionally thought of as only a Jewish Feast is actually only mentioned in the New Testament. There’s no mention of it anywhere in the Old Testament.
This tells us something phenomenal. It is meant for Christians, just like all the other biblical holidays. So we have the distinct opportunity to connect with the revelation of Hanukkah…and not only that we can also tap into the celebrations of every Old Testament Feast of the Lord. Yes they are Jewish Feasts but God says in Leviticus 23 that they “are My Feasts.”
Every one of these feasts have incredible biblical revelation and biblical truth that will enrich and empower your life. So if you want to elevate your spiritual life to another level follow us through-out the year for the wisdom that is hidden in the Bible Holidays. It will bless you greatly.
It’s so interesting to note that John 10:22 specifically mentions Hanukkah is in the winter. Why is this important? Because this is exactly the time we celebrate Christmas and the birth of our Messiah and Savior. It’s when we put up the lights, decorate the trees and exchange wonderful gifts.
But why all the lights? The menorah is the key symbol for Hanukkah. It represents the anointing of God and His wisdom. It goes back to the history behind Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights and the lighting of the menorah. Couple this with what Jesus said, that He is the light of the world. And that as Christians He admonishes us to let our lights shine.
It’s not a coincidence that when you tie all this together it adds up to the concept that you are called by God to be a difference makers in this world. You can get your own menorah here, along with instructions and join us during Hanukkah, as you light the candles. We have also have a free Hanukkah prayer card that includes eight days of scriptures to meditate on as you bring light and miracles to the world around you.
You Can’t Sit This One Out – What Would You Have Done?
In addition to these amazing spiritual themes, there is also some historical background to Hanukkah that is important to understand. In a nutshell, Hanukkah celebrates the Jewish victory over the Syrian-Greek army under the reign of Antiochus. The Greeks attempted to Hellenize the Jews and abolish many Jewish practices, and unfortunately many Jews willingly conformed. But a small and loyal remnant, led by the Matitiyahu, the Priest, and his son Judah Maccabee, led a successful rebellion against assimilating into a pagan culture and against the desecration of the things of God. The miracle victory they experienced over these enemies is symbolic of the miracle victory God wants to bring to you over your enemies today.
Once they recaptured the Temple and relit the Menorah, a vial of pure oil sufficient to burn for one day only burned for eight days straight. These are now the eight days of Hanukkah and once again symbolic of the miracle provision of God.
When you study this story through the eyes of the great Jewish teachers, many point out that the greatest battle the Jews faced, wasn’t the massive army of oppressors and occupiers, but it was an ideology called Hellenism.
Hellenism was the Greeks, followed by the Romans, who lived with all their focus on a secular, pagan culture that worshipped worldly philosophy, literature, poetry, theater, architecture, and human anatomy. They had multiple ‘gods’ and were not interested in learning about and serving the One True God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
During this time of spiritual and cultural warfare, God had a High Priest named Yochanan. He caused a great upheaval among the Hellenist Jews who did not want to follow God’s Word – the Torah. They wanted to be secular. They wanted to fit in and be accepted by the Greeks.
So they sided with the Hellenists who kept saying, “Why be so dogmatic? Why not just go with the flow. What’s the harm with watering down the Torah? Why can’t we include some of these Greek ideas into our faith? We should be able to stop circumcising our children. We should be able to quit eating kosher.” But Yochanan was immovable. He stood fast on the principles of the Torah.
Stealing Money From God – Is It Worth the Price?
The Hellenists were furious so they stepped up their strategy. Finally, under the cruel reign Antiochus IV they did the unthinkable. Not only did he continue to give directives that would stop the Jews from worshipping the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but on the 25th of the Hebrew month of Kislev, which on our calendar is December 25th, he brought a pig into the temple in Jerusalem and sacrificed it on God’s holy altar.
On their New Sun Day, they desecrated God’s temple and forbid the Jews from worshipping God, sacrificing in the temple, and reading the Torah. The High Priest, Yochanan, was removed and replaced with his brother Joshua, who changed his Hebrew name to the Hellenistic version, Jason.
What to Do When Doing Right is Wrong?
Yochanan started his new administration by bringing Hellenistic customs into the priesthood. He removed the Torah scrolls and burned them. He forbade worship on the Sabbath. Jews could no longer be circumcised, eat kosher, or honor any laws in the Torah. If they disobeyed, they would be put to death. Jason and his priesthood went from town to town, and city to city forcing the Jews to worship pagan gods.
In the city of Modin, Rabbi Eliezer, highly regarded by the entire community, was confronted. “We want you to come out. We have sacrificed a pig on the altar in the town square. Eat it and your town and you will be spared.” Rabbi Eliezer refused. They whispered in his ear. ”All you have to do is pretend you’re eating the pig so that the rest of the Jews will do the same. You don’t have to actually do it. The key to stopping this is for all of us to come to the middle. Don’t be so one-sided. Don’t be so dogmatic. Just pretend to eat the pig.” The Rabbi responded. “No, I will not lead the people astray.”
As they were about to kill Eliezer, an elder from the village stepped forward. He refused to eat the pig. Another leader passed by them, grabbed a piece of the pig and ate it. A crowd of elders killed him as he ate. As the Roman and Syrian soldiers closed in to kill the elders, the rebel army arrived and defeated them by a miracle of God.
The Jews were outnumbered one hundred to one, but God gave them a tremendous victory. Mattathias, one of the elders who fought declared to all, “We are not going to bow down to the pagan occupiers. We are not going to assimilate. We are children of God.” His son was nicknamed Maccabee, which meant, “Who is like You, Almighty God?”
Believe It – You Can Beat All the Odds With God on Your Side
In the end, after many battles and challenges, history shows that tens of thousands came against a small band of several hundred farmers who refused to bow their knees to Rome. The army of rebels who refused to bow down, were the Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego’s of their day.
If they lived in our time they would be declaring, “We don’t care what a secular government says. We don’t care what Hollywood and the media says. We don’t care what big tech or big corporations say. We are going to serve the one and only living God!”
They eventually marched into Jerusalem, took back the Temple Mount and walked straight to the altar. It had been defiled with pig’s blood. So they built a new one and dedicated it to God on the same day it had been desecrated – on the 25th of Kislev. Because the menorah had been stolen, they also built a temporary one; but when it was ready to light, they could only find a small jar of consecrated oil that would last for just one day. Even though they needed a minimum of eight days of oil to keep it from going out, they chose to light the menorah anyway.
You Won’t Be Disappointed – Another Miracle is On it’s Way
The next morning, they returned to a miracle. The menorah was still burning and kept burning for eight straight days until more oil could be produced. It was symbolic of God’s mighty presence and God’s miracle provision for His people. It sent the message that light always triumphs over darkness.
This is part of the message of hope in Hanukkah. Even when it looks like the enemy is winning, never give up and never give in. The same God that brought a miracle victory to that rebel band of Jews, is still the God of miracles for you today. Whether it’s defeating the enemy of sickness and disease, divorce, depression or any negative circumstance that the devil may be bringing against you, God is there to help you overcome.
The same God that brought the miracle provision of oil when that small band of Jews stepped out in faith and lit the temple menorah to restore God’s presence, is still the God of miracles for you today. Whether it’s defeating the spirit of poverty, experiencing a miracle debt cancellation or anything that is causing you lack or shortage, God is there to help you overcome.
Aren’t you glad that we serve a good God of miracles! This is the season of supernatural! So no matter what you’ve been going through and no matter what opposition you are facing – God is with you. He promises that He will never leave you or forsake you. By the power of His Word and through every blood bought promise, what the enemy has meant for evil, the Lord is going to turn it around and use it for your good.
Be The Light of Christ To The World
As we celebrate Hanukkah this year, may the lights remind all of us of the miracles and blessings that God has placed upon our lives and how together we have helped many Jews in need through our Israel outreaches. Just as Jesus is the Light of The World, He charges us too to be light. Matthew 5:14-16 in the Amplified Bible reads,
“You are the light of Christ to the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good deeds and moral excellence, and [recognize and honor and] glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
If you would like to be a light in this holiday season, we have incredible opportunities through our featured Israel Outreaches.
The wide-ranging impact of your support will save lives, feed the hungry, protect the vulnerable, and bring hope to the hopeless in the nation of Israel.
Hanukkah is meant to be a wonderful celebration of faith and an opportunity for God’s miracle power, provision, and promises to be released upon you and all of your loved ones. We trust that these insights into the eight nights of celebration and remembrance will enrich your life both personally and spiritually during this joyous, Jewish holiday. Be sure to watch this video as Pastor Larry shares about Hanukkah.
From all of us at Larry Huch Ministries, we send you Happy Hanukkah blessings and may God continue to use you as you let your light shine and may God’s miracle power, provision and presence flow in you and through you at the highest levels.