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Friday, 19 December 2014

Jesus and Chanukah - a message from the 1st Century to the 21st Century

My re-postings on Chanukah (see links below) are, I pray, of interest and a blessing to my readers. However, the Word of God is ever new and here is fresh insight - to me - from John 10:22 - 23.

I also wish to write a little on how my wife and I celebrate Chanukah, as well as the difficulty of getting a Chanukah card for some Jewish colleagues of my wife.

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22 At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon (ESVUK)

In these strange days, we are often told many lies, most often about Jesus, Israel, Judaism and Christianity.

For example: 

Jesus was a Palestinian Arab.  I know, but some people say it. If you must, Google it.

There was never a Temple in Jerusalem. As above, but some Muslim scholars assert that the Qur'an recognises the Temple in Jerusalem as Jewish. Sadly, they are not being heard.

Christianity has replaced Judaism. This is much harder to deal with briefly, but Paul in the Letter to the Romans is clear. The Gentile believers have been grafted into Israel (Personified in Yeshua Ha Moshiach). Some Jews have been removed, but the Gentile Church must beware of getting above itself. He got that one right.

So...

What was Jesus doing celebrating Chanukah?  In case you think that this might be some other feast, John states that it was winter. None of the Seven Feasts/Fasts appointed by God occur in winter. It is only the late-comer Chanukah that is a winter feast. Jesus hallowed it with His presence in the Temple and His incarnation. (See my other posts on Chanukah.)


John specifically mentions that it was winter. Commentators have speculated that the weather was particularly wintry because Dedications takes place in Kislev (December) so why else mention it? I think the Holy Spirit wrote that for us and not for them. He knew that there would be a time when the existence of both Temples would be denied. John is leaving us in no doubt that this was Chanukah. A Jewish festival, in Jerusalem - again why mention that? Where else would the Temple be? Again, it was not for them but for us. In effect, these facts have been double-underlined.


He is in the Temple and John records the link with Solomon's Temple.  He states that Jesus was in Jerusalem. It follows that the First and Second Temples were in Jerusalem and had been a places of worship for nearly a thousand years, at that time

If Christianity replaces Judaism, what was the Jew Jesus doing celebrating the inter-testamental feast of Chanukah? There is no law requiring Him to do this. He was celebrating the re-dedication of His Father's House. He was being a Jew. The Jew into which every Gentile believer is grafted. The Jew who fulfilled the Law so that we don't have to - but we do have to Holy like Him.

In two verses;

Jesus was and is a Jew.

There was a Temple in Jerusalem.

Judaism and Christianity stand together.

It's as if God planned it that way. How did John know that we would need answers to these lies? 

From the First century comes a Cruise missile aimed squarely at those who would deceive us with lies. Two thousand years later it doesn't miss the target. Beat that for accuracy. And they say that there is no God.

There is. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, The God of Israel and of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

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I searched Birmingham for a Chanukah card. Nothing at Tesco's in West Bromwich. Nothing at W.H. Smith's. Nothing at Clintons - even though their website says that they stock them. Nothing at Card Factory or Unit 7 ( who used to have them). It tells its own story, doesn't it? It was too late to contact the Lubavitcher Rebbe on the far side of Birmingham from us.  So we made our own, and not for the first time. 

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When my wife and I first decided to celebrate Chanukah it was partly because we knew that it was His Incarnation (See here) and because God had begun to show us some of the secrets of the Chanukah menorah - see my assorted postings on Chanukah. (Search my blog - not Google+, it's easier!).

When we first lit the candles, exactly as the Jews do, we were struck by a palpable sense of Peace and of His Presence. We use the time of the burning of the candles as a time of prayer and , like the Jews, praying for miracles.

Since the revelation of the Chanukiah (Chanukah menorah) structure hidden in the Gospel of John, we pray and meditate on each one, in sequence, on each day. We remember the Father's gift of His Son at the Incarnation and we are sure that there is much more that we will learn as we pray and meditate on the Scriptures.

We find that it gives us a scriptural antidote to the crass commercialism that has overtaken Christmas. It is a welcome space from the craziness of what is Saturnalia in all but name.

About half an hour of peace and quite mediating on His Word and praying for miracles for others and ourselves, especially the Peace of Jerusalem.

What's not to like?

Shalom, Maranatha, Come Lord Jesus, Blessed is He Who comes in the Name of the Lord.








 

3 comments:

  1. Hey enjoyed reading your post, I did find it informative. Thank you.

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  2. Shalom, Ian. I found this post most informative. I was not previously aware that Hanukkah was mentioned in the New Testament.

    Happy New Year.

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    Replies
    1. You are not alone. Once Christianity became separate from Judaism, what was once obvious now has to be explained as far as Christians are concerned. Jews are only beginning to be aware of just how Jewish the New Testament is. It's only in recent years that I have have become aware of much of this. There is much to be learned on both sides.

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