Sunday, December 29, 2019

8 Gifts of Chanukah - Day 8

This post is part of the series 8 Gifts of Chanukah.

Tonight the eighth candle is lit.

Gift #8 of Chanukah -YESHUA'S PRESENCE

It may surprise you to know that Yeshua observed Chanukah.  We know this from John 10:22: "Then came Chanukah in Yerushalayim. It was winter, and Yeshua was walking around inside the Temple area, in Shlomo’s Colonnade (Solomon's Porch).  

He also said this of Himself:  “I am the LIGHT of the world; whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the LIGHT which gives life.” (John 8:12)
Yeshua is the LIGHT.  He is the Holy One of Israel, Elohim, Adonai.  He is also the One who gave us the Torah, which is our road map for life here on Earth.  Look at this comparable verse :  

Adonai is my LIGHT and my salvation: whom should I fear?
(Psalm 27:1)

Let's don't miss the application of this.  Yeshua is the same LIGHT in the New Testament as in the Old Testament.  When we say we have decided to follow Yeshua, we are committing to follow the Torah.  Remember this verse:

Yeshua the Messiah is the same yesterday, today and forever.
(Hebrews 13:8) 

If you believe, as I do, that Yeshua was G-d in the flesh, then He is the same G-d in both Testaments.  He has never changed.  

Recently I have read through the gospels, observing where Yeshua went, what he did and didn't do as a Jewish man.  He said to follow Him, and He left us an example to follow. I encourage you, Gail-Friends to do this, too.  He said this of His followers:

“You are light for the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Likewise, when people light a lamp, they don’t cover it with a bowl but put it on a lampstand, so that it shines for everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before people, so that they may see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven."
 (Matthew 5:14-16)

Each week, our Sabbath prayers remind us that Yeshua is the LIGHT of the world, and we are to take that LIGHT to the world around us. I pray that I, my family and all followers of Yeshua will follow the LIGHT of the World.

Be blessed, and I hope you'll enjoy this song:

You can learn more about Chanukah in this series from last year:  8 Days of Chanukah
This is how we combine Chanukah with a celebration of Yeshua's birth:  Christmas Unplugged

Saturday, December 28, 2019

8 Gifts of Chanukah - Day 7

This post is part of the series 8 Gifts of Chanukah.

Tonight the seventh candle is lit.

Gift #7 of Chanukah -LIGHT

Imagine the magnificent sight of the giant menorah blazing from Mount Zion.  That light had been out for a long time, but now it could be seen for miles and miles.  It was a testament to the presence of the G-d of the Universe. 

The Temple of ADONAI sat on top of a big hill in the city of Jerusalem.  This is why Bible passages speak of going "up" to that place.  I've been to the Temple mount twice, and it is a unique experience.
photo from

The photo above is a current-day version of the Old City in Jerusalem at night. I like to imagine what is must have looked like back then, especially if seen from the Mount of Olives, just across the Kidron Valley. It must have been an inspiring sight to see that blazing menorah.

The Scriptures show us that the LIGHT in the Temple was to burn continually, not just at night. You can read this in Exodus 27:20-21 and Leviticus 24:1-4.  If ADONAI says something twice, it must be very important, right?  The LIGHT had to be maintained both morning and at night, with oil refilled and the wicks trimmed.  Plus, the holy oil had to be in production continually.  Maintaining the LIGHT in the Temple was an important responsibility.

Have you ever thought of what a gift LIGHT is?  In the first chapter of B'resheet (Genesis), we read that LIGHT was one of ADONAI's first creations.  Think about what life is like when your LIGHTS go out.  Everything stops, right? 

In the story of Chanukah, we are reminded that LIGHT is important to G-d.  He doesn't want us to live in darkness, physically or spiritually.  When the Temple was restored, He provided the LIGHT because it is central to worship of Him.  LIGHT drives out darkness.  LIGHT enables us to see clearly.   

LIGHT is a symbol, or type, of the Ruach Hakodesh (Holy Spirit).  Yeshua (Jesus) celebrated Chanukah, and while attending that celebration at the Temple in Jerusalem, declared Himself to be the LIGHT of the World.  I'll talk about that tomorrow and how this relates to Chanukah today, as well as the spiritual lessons of LIGHT in our lives.

You can learn more about Chanukah in this series from last year:  8 Days of Chanukah
This is how we combine Chanukah with a celebration of Yeshua's birth:  Christmas Unplugged


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Friday, December 27, 2019

8 Gifts of Chanukah - Day 6

This post is part of the series 8 Gifts of Chanukah.

Tonight the sixth candle is lit.

Gift #6 of Chanukah - DEDICATION

For eight days, ADONAI performed the miracle of the oil.  Even though there was only enough oil for one day, it burned for a full eight days.  While it was burning, the Jews were preparing and consecrating a new supply of oil.  When that oil was ready, the Temple was DEDICATED to ADONAI.

Stop and think about this:  what if they had decided to just continue to let the oil burn and decided not to prepare and consecrate more?  But they did not.  They knew that ADONAI had instructed them to do things a certain way, and they obeyed without hesitation.  They also set an example for us to follow.

Each year at Chanukah, I'm reminded that ADONAI demands, and well deserves, holiness. He has certain ways of doing things that often don't make sense to us.  For instance this "strange fire" incident in Leviticus 10:

"But Nadav and Avihu, sons of Aharon, each took his censer, put fire in it, laid incense on it, and offered unauthorized fire before ADONAI, something he had not ordered them to do.

 At this, fire came forth from the presence of Adonai and consumed them, so that they died in the presence of AdonaiMoshe said to Aharon, “This is what Adonai said:

‘Through those who are near me I will be consecrated,
and before all the people I will be glorified.’

Yes, Aharon's sons had their own idea about how to do the Temple service, and it ended in their deaths.   Why?  Because ADONAI had told them how to do it, and He was serious.

Today, ADONAI has somehow become disassociated from the belief and worship of many people.  His holiness righteousness have been replaced with a "feel-good, anything- goes" message.  This message is all about "you" and your success and future and destiny.  This message is fleshly, self-centered and deadly. Like the strange fire incident, it is not ADONAI'S way of doing things.

ADONAI is full love love, mercy and grace.  He also full of holiness, righteousness and truth.  This verse is important to remember:
Mercy and truth are met together; 
righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
(Proverb 85:10)

Chanukah reminds us that the oil was prepared and consecrated according to ADONAI'S instructions, and our lives are to be the same.  We are to live our lives according to His laws, which He has so lovingly recorded for our good.  It is from this concept that we say, "L-Chaim" which means "His Ways are Life!".

As the Jews RE-DEDICATED the Temple, Chanukah is our reminder to RE-DEDICATE our lives, our homes, and our service to Him in accordance with His holy, loving will and ways.

You can learn more about Chanukah in this series from last year:  8 Days of Chanukah
This is how we combine Chanukah with a celebration of Yeshua's birth:  Christmas Unplugged