Chanukah

“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light (the Lord Jesus Christ), that all through him might believe. He (John) was not that Light (Jesus), but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world” (John 1:6-9)

Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter. (John 10:22)

This coming week our Jewish friends will be celebrating the feast of Chanukah (various spellings). It recalls a historical event that took place around 165 B.C. The Jewish people were under the foreign domination of the Syrian king by the name of Antiochus Epiphanes (Seleucid Empire), who forced his pagan culture on them. He erected idols in their Temple and proclaimed himself to be God. Then he desecrated their Temple by sacrificing a pig on its altar.

A small group of Jewish men, the Maccabees, took action to defeat Antiochus, and it is this holiday that perpetually celebrates this great event.

Maccabean revolt

In the middle of the Temple was a lamp-stand with seven branches called a Menorah. According to tradition, as the Maccabees purified the Temple in their victory, they found only a one day’s supply of oil for the Menorah. One writer observes, “It would take another eight days to make fresh oil. The word Chanukah means ‘dedication.’ In their zeal to re-dedicate the Temple, they rekindled the menorah with the oil they had. That one day supply of oil miraculously lasted eight days according to tradition” (R. C. Burris, “The True Light of Channukah & Christmas,” Ariel Ministries).

This writer elaborates, “As a result, Chanukah is celebrated for eight nights with a miniature nine-branched menorah. Each night the “servant” candle or shamash is lit first, and it, in turn, lights all the other candles. On the first night only one candle is lit. On the following nights, another candle is lit, until all eight candles are lit on the eighth night.”Our world is a very dark place, and only the true light of Jesus the Messiah will bring life and light to the one who will place his trust in Him, and in Him alone. In John 8:12 Jesus speaks saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

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