Christians Should Celebrate Hanukkah. (revised and updated 12/4/2018)
allow me, Br. Shawn Benedict, to explain why.
(Chanukah and Hanukah) commemorates the miracle of the holy oil for the Light
of Presence in the rededicated Second Temple lasting for eight full days,
though it was only enough for one day.In fact, the word Hanukkah is derived from the Hebrew verb meaning to
dedicate.This is the feast of the
Rededication of the Temple.It is
celebrated on the 25th day of the month of Kislev because that is
the day the Jewish people stopped fighting their oppressors.This happened during the time of the
Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire, a Greek Hellenistic state ruled
by the Seleucid dynasty from about 312 BC to 63 BC.
Guide To The Temple actually published the following: 164 B. C. On December 25,
Judas Maccabaeus restores Jewish ritual by cleansing and rededicating the
temple (first Hanukkah) after a successful revolt against Seleucids. (Rose
Publishing- Rose Guide To The Temple, Dr. J. Randall Price, pg. 65 [http://www.rosepublishing.com/Rose-Guide-To-The-Temple-P1038.aspx]).
is preserved in the books of First and Second Maccabees in precise detail,
including the actual lighting of the menorah.It is found in 1 Maccabees 4:36-61 "The Rededication of the Temple.There are multiple references to Hanukkah in the Mishna (Bikkurim
1:6, Rosh HaShanah 1:3, Taanit 2:10, Megillah 3:4 and 3:6, Moed Katan 3:9, and
Bava Kama 6:6), though specific laws are not described. The miracle of the
one-day supply of oil miraculously lasting eight days is first described in the
committed to writing about 600 years after the events described in the books of
Talmud, Shabbat 23b.: Commencing
with the twenty-fifth day of the month Kislev there are eight days upon which
there shall be neither mourning nor fasting.For albeit the Greeks entered the temple and defiled the oil, it was
when the might of the Hasmonean overcame and vanquished them that, upon search,
a single cruse of undefiled oil sealed by the High Priest was found.In it was oil for the needs of a solitary
it was that a miracle was wrought.
oil in the cruse burned eight days.
The following is a summary
found on line of the Traditional view of Hanukkah.
When the Second
Temple in Jerusalem was looted and services stopped, Judaism was
outlawed. In 167 BC, Antiochus ordered an altar to Zeus erected in the
Temple. He banned brit milah (circumcision) and ordered pigs to be
sacrificed at the altar of the temple.
Antiochus's actions provoked a large-scale revolt. Mattathias
(Mattityahu), a Jewish priest, and his five sons Jochanan,
Jonathan, and Judah
led a rebellion against Antiochus starting with Mattathias killing first a Jew
who wanted to comply with Antiochus's order to sacrifice to Zeus and then a
Greek official who was to enforce the government's behest (1 Mac. 2, 24-25).
Judah became known as Yehuda HaMakabi ("Judah the Hammer"). By 166 BC
Mattathias had died, and Judah took his place as leader. By 165 BC the Jewish
revolt against the Seleucid monarchy was successful. The Temple was liberated
and rededicated. The festival of Hanukkah was instituted to celebrate this
Judah ordered the Temple to be cleansed, a new altar to be built in place of
the polluted one and new holy vessels to be made. According to the Talmud,
unadulterated and undefiled pure olive oil with the seal of the kohen gadol (high priest) was needed for the
menorah in the Temple, which was required to burn throughout the night every
night. The story goes that one flask was found with only enough oil to burn for
one day, yet it burned for eight days, the time needed to prepare a fresh
supply of kosher
oil for the menorah. An eight-day festival was declared by the Jewish sages to
commemorate this miracle.
The version of the story in 1 Maccabees states that an
eight-day celebration of songs and sacrifices was proclaimed upon re-dedication
of the altar, and makes no specific mention of the miracle of the oil.(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanukkah
The Scroll of
Antiochus concludes with the following words:
...After this, the sons of Israel went up to the Temple
and rebuilt its gates and purified the Temple from the dead bodies and from the
defilement. And they sought after pure olive oil
to light the lamps therewith, but could not find any, except one bowl that was
sealed with the signet ring of the High Priest from the days of Samuel the
prophet and they knew that it was pure. There was in it [enough oil] to light
[the lamps therewith] for one day, but the God of heaven whose name dwells
there put therein his blessing and they were able to light from it eight days.
Therefore, the sons of ?ashmonai made this covenant and took upon themselves a
solemn vow, they and the sons of Israel, all of them, to publish amongst the
sons of Israel, [to the end] that they might observe these eight days of joy and
honour, as the days of the feasts written in [the book of] the Law; [even] to
light in them so as to make known to those who come after them that their God
wrought for them salvation from heaven. In them, it is not permitted to mourn,
neither to decree a fast [on those days], and anyone who has a vow to perform,
let him perform it. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanukkah)
usually include lighting a unique candelabrum that has nine branches, called
the menorah (Chanukia/Hanukiah).Each
night one more candle is lit for the eight days of the holydays.Usually there is an additional branch up and
above the others, called the shamash, Hebrew for attendant, with which the
candles are lit.It should be noted that
there are two different traditions (Hillel and Shammai) on how to light the
candles.The Shammai custom starts with
8 and goes to 1, while Hillel custom starts with 1 and goes to 8 candles.Jewish law and practice decided on the custom
thinking about why we might celebrate this Miracle of God three reasons have
come to mind.
reason to celebrate Hanukkah is this miracle is in Sacred
Scripture.The books of 1 and 2
Maccabees are not part of the Tanakh, the Palestinian Hebrew Jewish Bible or canon.These books, however, are included in the
Alexandrian Jewish canon known as the Septuagint.The Septuagint is widely accepted by 21st
Century Jews of all traditions and is referenced and compared against the
Hebrew, Aramaic, and Latin ancient manuscripts of Sacred Scripture by all those
who work in the field of research for the most ancient and accurate texts of
Sacred Scriptures. We also know the King James Bible of 1611, revered as the
Protestant Bible, was originally published with these books in it and that over
time printers dropped the so-called deuterocanonical and apocryphal books and
thereby gave rise to the so-called ProtestantBible being different than the so-called Catholic and Orthodox Bibles.
(Bruce M. Metzger) This omission, as you can see, is not based on any actual
difference of Theology but on the result of publishers omitting 17 or so books
and parts of books.So, in reality, all
Christians should celebrate this miracle that is recorded in the Bible.We rejoice that the God Who is Light (1 John
1:5) demonstrated to the Jewish People after one of their captivity experiences
the Divine real presence by sustaining the human crafted Light of God lantern in
the Temple for eight days with a one day supply of oil.This was an act of grace.Perhaps we can hear the echo of the famous
words, My grace is enough for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness,
which Resurrected and Ascended Our Lord Jesus said to Paul in a vision. (2 Cor.
reason to celebrate Hanukkah is it is a miracle of lights, a
Festival of the Light of God coming into the darkness of the evil of the world
of the destroyed Temple during a captivity in the story of Israel, but also
into the destroyed Temple of the Earth due the sinful and selfish choices of
humanity, and a false desire to be like be like God (Genesis 3:4), and into the
individual temple of each heart, mind and soul that is in constant need of
rededication to God and being filled with the Light of Christ and the powerful
ministry of the Holy Spirit.God is
Light and in God there is no darkness at all. (1John 1:5).
know that Jesus is the light to the Nations, Gentiles, and the glory of Israel
as Simeon declared in the Temple (Luke 2:32).Jesus is the Light of the World and He has promised that all who follow
Jesus will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life. (John 8:12) Having received the Light of Christ we are now
called to be that Light for all people everywhere. (Matthew 5:14)
has commanded the church to go to the ends of the earth as a light to the
Gentiles, the Nations to bring salvation to all nations. (Acts 13:47 and
reason to celebrate Hanukkah
is a fresh understanding as to why
the miracle lasted eight days, and why there are eight candles to be lit with
one more as the servant candle used to light the others.
Back on December
24, in the year 2016 it occurred to me during some prayer time that there is
actually another reason there are 8 candles and one in the middle as the
was discussing the length of time it is taking before Jesus returns to set up
His Kingdom on Earth as it is in Heaven in 2 Peter Chapter 3, he referenced
Psalm 90:4 where it says a thousand years are like a day come and gone.Peter writes: Remember this; one day before
the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years are as one day.
in his Letter explains and develops this further when he writes:
For it is written how the Father chargeth Him to deliver us from
darkness, and to prepare a holy people for Himself.
Therefore saith the prophet; I the Lord thy God called thee in
righteousness, and I will lay hold of thy hand and will strengthen
thee, and I have given thee to be a covenant of the race, a light
to the Gentiles, to open the eyes of the blind, and to bring forth
them that are bound from their fetters, and them that sit in
darkness from their prison house. We perceive then whence we were ransomed.
Again the prophet saith; Behold I have set Thee to be a light unto the
Gentiles, that Thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth; thus
saith the Lord that ransomed thee, even God.
Again the prophet saith; The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
wherefore He anointed Me to preach good tidings to the humble; He hath sent Me
to heal them that are broken-hearted, to preach release to the captives and recovery
of sight to the blind, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord and the day
of recompense, to comfort all that mourn.
Moreover concerning the Sabbath likewise it is written in the Ten Words, in
which He spake to Moses face to face on Mount Sinai; And ye shall hallow the
Sabbath of the Lord with pure hands and with a pure heart.
And in another place He saith; If my sons observe the Sabbath then I will
bestow My mercy upon them.
Of the Sabbath He speaketh in the beginning of the creation; And God made
the works of His hands in six days, and He ended on the seventh day, and rested
on it, and He hallowed it.
Give heed, children, what this meaneth; He ended in six days. He meaneth
this, that in six thousand years the Lord shall bring all things to an end; for
the day with Him signifyeth a thousand years; and this He himself beareth me
witness, saying; Behold, the day of the Lord shall be as a thousand years.
Therefore, children, in six days, that is in six thousand years, everything
shall come to an end.
15:5 And He rested on the seventh day. this He meaneth; when His Son shall
come, and shall abolish the time of the Lawless One, and shall judge the
ungodly, and shall change the sun and the moon and the stars, then shall he
truly rest on the seventh day.
Yea and furthermore He saith; Thou shalt hallow it with pure hands and with
a pure heart. If therefore a man is able now to hallow the day which God
hallowed, though he be pure in heart, we have gone utterly astray.
But if after all then and not till then shall we truly rest and
hallow it, when we shall ourselves be able to do so after being
justified and receiving the promise, when iniquity is no more and all things
have been made new by the Lord, we shall be able to hallow it then, because we
ourselves shall have been hallowed first.
Finally He saith to them; Your new moons and your Sabbaths I cannot away
with. Ye see what is His meaning ; it is not your present Sabbaths that are
acceptable [unto Me], but the Sabbath which I have made, in the which, when I
have set all things at rest, I will make the beginning of the eighth day which
is the beginning of another world.
Wherefore also we keep the eighth day for rejoicing, in the which also Jesus
rose from the dead, and having been manifested ascended into the heavens.
together, Peter, and more specifically Barnabas put forth the idea that the
Church age is the Sixth Day, and when it is over, the Seventh Day the
Millennial Rest shall come in, and the Book of Revelation shows that to be for
1, 000 years, or One Day.After the
Seventh Day, the Sabbath Rest, the Millennial Rest, the Eighth Day will begin,
the New Heavens and the New Earth are brought in and God is All In All as
stated in 1 Corinthians 15:24-28 where Jesus hands over the Kingdom to God.
Corinthians 15:24-28. -- "Then cometh the end, when He shall have
delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down
all rule, and all authority and power. For He must reign till He hath put all
enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For He
hath put all things under His feet. But when He saith, All things are put under
Him, it is manifest that He is excepted, which did put all things under Him.
And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also Himself
be subject unto Him, that God may be all in all."
we will see the perfect manifestation of their being one God of all, who is
over all and through all and in all. (Ephesians 4:6) In the glory of the Eighth
Day Revelation Chapter 21 gives a detailed description of what we should
expect, including; And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, Behold, the
tabernacle of God is with humanity, and God will dwell with them, and they
shall be Godís people.God will
personally be with them and be their God. (Revelation 21:3)
what I have come to understand today, now the 25th of December.There are EIGHT candles on the menorah, one
for EACH DAY, each dispensation and the tall candle in the middle, the shamash,
Hebrew for attendant, is God the Light passing that Light to each and every age
of the human story through presenting the Divine Self in service to the
creation.Look at this analogy:
candle represents the First Dispensation = Innocence (to the fall of Adam and
1:26 to 2;23)
candle represents the Second Dispensation = Conscience
to 7)(to the flood of Noah)
candle represents the Third Dispensation = Human Government
(Genesis 8:1 to 11:9)(to the building of the Tower of Babel)
candle represents the Fourth Dispensation = Promise - Abraham
(Genesis 11:10 to 15:21) (to
the falling into Egyptian slavery)
candle represents the Fifth Dispensation = Law - Moses
(Sinai -Exodus 19:1-8 to Jesus declaring It is
was speaking from the Cross)
candle represents the Sixth Dispensation = Church
Pentecost to the coming of
Christ in the air, the resurrection of
the believing dead and the
transformation of the believing living,
to meet the Lord in the air
and the revealing of the Man Of Sin
and the Tribulation period of
seven years to the Return Of
Christ to the earth to judge the
Seventh candle represents the Seventh Dispensation = The Millennial Rest, the Kingdom of Christ on Earth until the Great White
Throne Judment also called
The Second Death in Scripture
candle represents the Eighth Dispensation = New Heavens and
New Earth, Creation renewed
and restored to holiness.
three reasons, 1) Hanukkah
is in Sacred Scripture and therefore a miracle for all of the People of God, 2)
It is the
celebration of God's own presence of Light into the world and we know Jesus is
the manifestion of The Light of God has come into the world, and 3) my personal
newly understood parallel between the 8 candles with the 8 dispensations with
the 9th being the very God Who is Light serving us as God's own
created creatures as an act of Love to smash the rule of sin and darkness and
bring all creation to the very Being of the Loving God as an action of
salvation; it is clear to me we are called to celebrate Hanukkah.
From Pastor Benedict in the hour of the shooting in the Tree Of Life Synagogue in Pittsburg, PA today, October 27, 2018. My heart is hurting for the Jewish Community today. My mind is telling me to be involved in political action and do all I can to protect and advance liberty and justice for all. I can do this by being constantly active in conversation, and by being active in voting. VOTE please VOTE for liberty and justice for all. God, please comfort the families of these martyrs of faith, as well as those in law enforcement who risked their lives to protect the innocent. These people have died because they love and worship you, God. They were murdered during their weekly worship. Eleven people have died and many more have been injured. God, we ask you to comfort those who have suddenly been left behind tonight, those who will have someone missing from their home as of this afternoon. Comfort those family and friends of those voices that will not be heard again, whose arms will not hold again, whose hands will not touch again, who were taken from the Earth today while they were at worship. Oh God, help us learn how to respect each other and realize we are all equal members of your Creation. Any hate crime is a hateful assault on you, God. Forgive our hate that is all self-centered. Teach us to live in respect and sacred Love. Lord, hear our prayer. Shalom aleichem on all who are hurting.
================================================================ October 31 update: Last evening Tuesday, October 30, we participated in a community memorial for the eleven victims murdered in the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. The memorial was at 7:00 p.m. in the Congregation Kol Ami synagogue, which is at 1008 West Water Street, Elmira, NY 14905. Here is the text of the prayer I was honored to lead at the service: "How abundant are Your works, Adoni; with wisdom You have made them all; the earth is full of Your possessions." Avinu Sh'bashamayim, Master of the Universe, Have mercy on all who suffer from terrorism and wars, in Israel and the world over. Protect all of Your creatures against violence; weaken the hands of villains, and lead them to the path of goodness and complete repentance. Prevent natural disasters: earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, raging fires and tornadoes. Have compassion on all the displaced, homeless, and starving people in Your world. Have mercy on your creations. Comfort the mourners, and heal the injured. Open our hearts to all human beings in all four corners of the earth. Eradicate evil from among all the inhabitants of Your world. A is written: "You allowed people to subjugate us; we went through fire and water and You brought us out to a place of abundance." (Psalms 66:12) This prayer was provided by Rabbi Steinitz.
Please continue to remember the grieving and frightened.