Messiah YESHUA and Hanukkah Celebrations
"It was winter, and YESHUA was walking in the temple in the porch of Solomon.”
The bible verses prove that YESHUA celebrated Hanukkah. But others feel they portray HIM as being on the sidelines, looking on from a distance, from Solomon’s porch which was left standing from Solomon’s Temple.
Regardless of HIS participation or lack thereof, we do know that YESHUA was there, at that same time, some from Judah asked HIM, “How long will YOU keep us in suspense? If YOU are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” In other words, “If YOU are the Messiah, when are YOU going to begin to lead us like a Messiah?”
To answer, YESHUA affirmed HIS oneness with YEHOVAH and claimed that HE was leading HIS people. But, HE spoke of an eternal kingdom, of personal deliverance, and of granting eternal life to those who would believe in HIM. He also told those who questioned Him, “You do not believe…because you are not of MY sheep.
MY sheep hear MY voice, and I know them, and they follow ME; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of MY hand. MY Father, who has given them to ME, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
When YESHUA said this, “the Jews picked up stones again to stone Him,” and they said that they were doing so “Because YOU, being a man, make YOURSELF out to be GOD”. YESHUA also told them that HE was “the light of the world” , but they refused to recognize Who HE was.
They were celebrating the “Feast of Lights,” yet refusing to acknowledge the “Light of the World” WHO was standing before them.
When questioned about HIS Messiahship at this time, why did YESHUA answer by telling of YEHOVAH’s divine protection over HIS sheep, and by declaring that HIS sheep hear HIS voice?
HE did so because the people were mistakenly putting great emphasis on physical deliverance from their oppressors. They wanted HIM to crush their Roman oppressors like the Maccabees did the Syrians. But, YESHUA wanted something more lasting for HIS people. Thus He affirmed that HIS flock was under HIS Messianic guidance, and that, in HIM, they were being protected by the HOLY ONE.
Sadly, HIS questioners could not understand the eternal things of which HE spoke, because they did not belong to HIM. If they had been given ears to hear, they would have known that the One standing before them wanted His people to first focus on cleansing their own temples, and to be built up by HIS HOLY SPIRIT RUACH HAKODESH. YESHUA wanted them to know that those who responded to HIM would be protected and even granted the gift of eternal life. But, those who stood before HIM mistakenly thought their greatest enemies were the Romans, when in truth man’s greatest enemies are most often found within.
We are called to be temples of the Living ELOHIM. Thus, we need to allow the RUACH HAKODESH, the HOLY SPIRIT, to cleanse our Holy of Holies – which is our hearts. When we allow HIM to have HIS way in our inner man, HE will pour in a goodly supply of oil, and we will be living examples to all the world of the eternal light, the protection and provision that is found only in YEHOVAH our ELOHIM.
Messiah YESHUA is the Servant Who also named “Israel.” HE came to raise up the scattered tribes of Jacob, to restore the preserved ones of Israel. HE is called “a light to the Nations,” sent to preserve those of Israel who were once destined to become the “fullness of the Gentiles.” YESHUA is the Shepherd. GOD of formerly scattered Ephraim Israel and his companions And, in this last day, He has a particular job assignment for Ephraim…
YEHOVAH promised to search for HIS scattered sheep and to “set over them one Shepherd – that came as a “Servant,” YESHUA. HE also said, “I will be their GOD and….they will live securely, and no one will make them afraid… Then they will know that I, YEHOVAH their GOD, am with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are My people… For, I will take… Ephraim and Judah and their companions… and make them one stick in MY hand… and they will be one nation in the Land…”
The sheep who follow the Good Shepherd do not need to fear oppressors but can trust in HIM and be filled with HIS light . That is the message the followers of Messiah YESHUA want to impart with their celebrations.
As for how we might want to honor this event we note that, when the prodigal son of returned home to his father, he went in the house and “celebrated” with him. It was celebration with the father that provoked the older brother to jealousy. This gives us a clue as to our older brother, Judah, and his reactions to, and the importance of, our latter-day celebrations with our Heavenly Father.
Messiah YESHUA is the most important “Temple” of all. HE is the “Sanctuary” over Whom “both the houses of Israel” continue to “stumble”. As the “Light of the World,” HE is the ONE WHO must be lifted up. And it is we who must lift HIM up.
Again, we read that, “At that time the Feast of the Dedication took place at Jerusalem; it was winter, and YESHUA was walking in the temple in the porch of Solomon” Our Father is very careful about the words HE uses in Scripture, and this verse does not necessarily indicate that YESHUA was “participating” in the event.
The Word reveals that HE was “walking” in the area of “Solomon’s Portico.” The indication is that HE was walking around, or treading about in a location that was off in the distance. But why would HE have been off to the side, pacing about?
YESHUA may have had reservations about this celebration – because, while HE appreciated true dedication in HIS people, HE knew that He was the true “Temple” HE also knew that the Jerusalem Temple that was being honored was destined to be completely destroyed. HE said, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it! Behold, your house is left to you desolate; and I say to you, you will not see ME until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is HE who comes in the name of YEHOVAH!'”
Hanukkah had become a symbol of Jewish perseverance .
However, the Hashmoneans the maccabee's were opposed by some because they wrongfully forced conversions and mandated its celebration . To mandate a celebration for Israel is to add to YEHOVAH’s commands. The Maccabees also began a Hashmonean Dynasty, which action took the kingly leadership from David’s House – and which was why the Lion from the Tribe of Judah was watching the celebration off to the side and treading about. Even so, Zechariah had foretold a separation and latter-day reunion between the people of Judah and David’s House: “YEHOVAH will save the tents of Judah first, so the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem will not be magnified above Judah”
Assuming all of this is so, what do we do about celebrating Hanukkah in our day?
To begin, we need to be very careful about our attitude in regard to the above bit of information. We must not gloat and think we are aligned with the House of David via its Messiah, and that Jewish Israel is no longer aligned with Him. We need to instead heed Zechariah’s warning that the House of David will not be magnified above Judah. Our GOD swore that He would again choose Judah and Jerusalem, and we need to be wise enough to work with HIM in the process.
YESHUA loves and plans to reunite, both the houses of Israel. He says of both of them: “‘Is Ephraim My dear son? Is he a delightful child? Indeed, as often as I have spoken against him, I certainly still remember him; therefore My heart yearns for him; I will surely have mercy on him,’ declares YEHOVAH'” And, “Thus says YEHOVAH Tza’va’ot YEHOVAH of hosts, ‘MY cities will again overflow with prosperity, and YEHOVAH will again comfort Zion and again choose Jerusalem…. YEHOVAH will possess Judah as HIS portion in the holy land, and will again choose Jerusalem’”
Most of the people at the time of Messiah YESHUA did not see and realize the truth of Who HE was. And now it is our turn to proclaim the truth about the eternal life, deliverance and protection that HE provides. We can help others to see this truth by being living examples of HIS Light and Love. With all of HIS being our Messiah loved HIS Jewish brothers and wanted them to know HIM. Again, it is now up to us to be a proper example to them of HIS goodness.
At this Hanukkah season, let us rededicate ourselves to our ELOHIM. Let us ask HIM to give us ears to better hear the voice of our Shepherd, to have RUACH HAKODESH cleanse us, and to empower us to be wholly dedicated to the restoration of HIS Kingdom over the whole house of Israel.
During this Season of Lights, let us acknowledge that the One to whom we belong does indeed give greater protection than even the courageous Maccabees. Let us remember that Messiah YESHUA is exactly WHO HE claimed to be: HE is the Light of the World, and the Shepherd GOD of Israel. Truly, “In HIM was life, and the life was the light of men”.