02/12/2010

Happy Hanukkah!

This morning as I was listening to Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks on thought for the day (BBC 4) and I thought that I should do some more reading on this Jewish holiday.  During the 2nd century BC a Greek ruler tried to force Mattathias, a Jew from the priestly class, to offer a sacrifice to a pagan god. Not only did Mattathias refuse, he murdered the Greek official. The Greek king Antiochus launched a series of reprisals, including desecrating the Holy Temple in Jerusalem by filling it with statues of Greek gods. Mattathias and his five sons rose up against these actions and fought for Jewish liberation of Judea. Mattathias' sons can to be known as the Maccabees, which comes from the root of the Hebrew word for "hammer" since the band of insurgents were said to strike hammer-like blows against their enemies. The patriarch Mattathias was killed shortly after the fighting against the Greeks began. His son Judas took over as the leader of the rebels and is credited with great tactical ability and unparalleled bravery. By the end of the war against the Greeks, the only brother to have survived was Shimon (Simon). The heroes of the Chanukah story, the Macccabees, guided by their fierce and steadfast belief in God. The Maccabees rededicated the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, which had been desecrated by the polytheistic Greeks during their rule of the city.
Did you know the only biblical reference to Hanukkah is in the New Testament? John 10:22-33
  • Did you know that Jesus celebrated Hanukkah?
  • Did you know that Hanukkah is the feast of lights and the feast of dedication?
  • Did you know that Jesus Christ completely fulfilled this celebration by being our Light of the world? Many aspects of this holiday point to Jesus as the promised Messiah.
  • Here's a short excerpt from the "Jews for Jesus" website blog. The article is entitled "The Light of Hanukkah" and it's a good summary of the spiritual significance of Hanukkah and how it relates to Jesus as our Messiah:
    The Hanukkah candles are traditionally lit by a special candle called the shammash. Shammash is Hebrew for "servant." In the shammash candle, we can see a symbol of our Messiah Jesus, for as the Gospel of Matthew says,
    "The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many." Matthew 20:28
    The shammash serves the other candles by bringing light to them. In the New Testament, Jesus is frequently referred to as "the Light," and Jesus Himself once said,
    "I am the Light of the World. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8

    Blessings. Yours in Jesus-Christ.

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