From Jonathan Bernis, JVMI
There is a hidden truth inside the celebration of Chanukah and the progressive lighting of the special “Chanukiah,” the eight-branched menorah. It’s a truth that can be a powerful help to you in these chaotic, volatile days in which we’re living. I write today to share that truth with you, and tell you about two very exciting new Messianic resources we have developed just in time for the holidays.
So please take a few moments right now and get ready to receive something important! In a season in which darkness seems to be spreading across the world, we need the light of Chanukah’s hidden truth more than ever before!
The origins of Chanukah date back to the conquest of Judah by the Greeks — specifically, the demands by the Greek ruler Antiochus IV that all Jews be “Hellenized” — that is, absorbed into Greek culture. That meant forcing the Jews to abandon many of the practices and prohibitions that made them a distinct people. Of course, the most devoted among the Jewish People refused. The final straw for the resisting Jews came around the year 165 B.C. when Antiochus erected an image of Zeus in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. He then demanded that a Jewish priest sacrifice pigs on the altar in the Holy of Holies, and that all the priests bow down to the idol. Most of the priests refused, saying they’d rather die than desecrate the altar with pig blood. Among those stubborn priests was a man named Mattathias; his son, Judah; along with four other sons.
Judah and his brothers ultimately led a successful military uprising that drove the Greeks out of Jerusalem. The Temple was reclaimed and cleansed. And an eight-day festival of celebration and consecration was declared.
It became the annual observance we know as Chanukah, also called the “Feast of Dedication” because it marked the rededicating of the Temple and restoration of sacrifices there.
As you may know, that first eight-day celebration was marked by a miracle of provision. The Greeks contaminated nearly all of the Temple lamp oil and only a one-day supply of oil for the Temple’s menorah remained. Yet the lamp continued to burn throughout the entire event.
A key lesson of Chanukah is the assurance that God can, and does, offer miraculous provision to His people as they carry out His redemptive plans and purposes in the Earth.
It’s just as true for you and me today. But this is not the only important truth we find in this event.
The Jewish People’s stubborn resistance to assimilation is one of the key reasons they have survived as a distinct people through the millennia.
One of the overlooked lessons of Chanukah is that, in the days in which we live, we all need this kind of stubbornness — a supernatural resolve to say no to the encroaching forces of darkness all around us.
In describing the coming of Yeshua, the Gospel of John declares:
- The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overpowered it (John 1:5).
Throughout John’s Gospel, Yeshua speaks of light and the Believer’s victorious battle over darkness. For example, in John 8:12 He declares:
- I am the light of the world. The one who follows me will no longer walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.
The Apostle Paul had this same truth in mind when he wrote:
- But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness (1 Thessalonians 5:4-5).
The “day” Paul refers to in this passage is the “Day of the Lord.” He makes that clear in verse one of that same chapter.
The signs indicate that day is rapidly approaching. And as it does, both Jews and Believers in Yeshua find themselves in need of that stubborn resistance to assimilation that we celebrate at Chanukah.
Yes the days are dark. Which means it’s our time to shine. And we shine brighter and more powerfully together.
Right now, Jewish Voice is pushing back against the gathering darkness in so many different ways.
That means your support has never been more needed.
Because time is short, we must . . .
- Expand the frequency and reach of the Jewish Voice broadcast. It is reaching households all over the world with the Good News of Yeshua while combatting anti-Semitic and anti-Israel hate.
- Continue to minister physically and spiritually to the poorest and most oppressed among “the outcasts of Israel” (see Isaiah 56:8).
- Intensify our efforts to bring Jewish People into an eye-opening encounter with Yeshua. Hearts are softening. We must move now!
- Increase our compassionate outreaches to the poorest among Israel’s fragile Holocaust survivors.
And as with the miracle of Chanukah, we too are seeing miracles happen.
Thank you Jonathan.