So here we are again, preparing for the Winter Holidays. This blog is mainly directed to the people of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel). Only because in this grouping of people there basically is only two main holidays that are observed. Chanukkah (Hanukkah) and Christmas.
Of these two holidays Christmas has been embraced by many of the world's nations. So this holiday is the more popular of the two holidays that we are focusing on. Chanukkah on the other hand has mainly been observed by the Jewish people of the world, so this makes it much less adhered to than Christmas.
So the question arises for the people of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob(Israel), modern Christianity and Judaism , the two main accepted religions, (There are many branches that stem off of these two), which do we observe? Or do we observe both? Or do we not observe neither? We will try and address this.
As for Me and My household we have made the decision many years ago to observe Chanukkah. There are many reasons why we decided to do this. I will list but a few. I will not get into the history of either holidays too much, only hopefully as needed. For as Christmas, I was brought up in a household that observed this holiday, so this is how I was raised.
If you are familiar with this website(olivetreebiblebook.com), you will know that we value the beginnings of a matter. Where did it all start, the Roots of the matter. For you see a tree might be known by it's fruit, but it's life comes from the Roots. Very important that the Roots are healthy. The Roots come from the seed, this is the beginning of the Tree.
In the Bible we read a parable taught by Rabbi Y'shua et Natzrati ( Teacher Jesus of Nazareth), The Messiah of Israel. In this parable He teaches about Wheat and Tares:
Mat 13:24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:
Mat 13:25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.
Mat 13:26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.
Mat 13:27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?
Mat 13:28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?
Mat 13:29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
Mat 13:30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.
I share this parable to demonstate that the Tares and Wheat look almost identical but they are different! Very important!
Back to the subject, the winter holidays. I am not going to go into Christmas too much. If you want to learn more about the Roots of Christmas you can click on this link: Christmas origins. And I know there are many good reasons why people celebrate Christmas. Totally understand this, really!
Over the years(past 26 yrs), I have found seeking Truth takes one on a long and winding path. It is a process that takes a lifetime for certain things to be revealed. That is why it is very important to stay Faithful and Trust in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob(Israel). Y'shua stated that if 'we seek we will find', He is faithful to His Word.
So Chanukkah, what is it, and why should we observe it? The Hebrew word 'Chanukkah' means 'dedication'. Mainly this word is applied to the story of the Maccabee's. (Excerpt from Historian Josephus - Antiquities of the Jews) - NOW at this time there was one whose name was Mattathias, who dwelt at Modin, the son of John, the son of Simeon, the son of Asamoneus, a priest of the order of Joarib, and a citizen of Jerusalem. He had five sons; John, who was called Gaddis, and Simon, who was called Matthes, and Judas, who was called Maccabeus, (19) and Eleazar, who was called Auran, and Jonathan, who was called Apphus. Now this Mattathias lamented to his children the sad state of their affairs, and the ravage made in the city, and the plundering of the temple, and the calamities the multitude were under; and he told them that it was better for them to die for the laws of their country, than to live so ingloriously as they then did.
The story goes like this: Antiochus King of the Medes and Persian Kingdom, took control of Jerusalem, made it a law that the Jewish people could not circumcise their children, could not keep Sabbath, could not follow the worship of YHWH at the Temple, etc... if anyone did break these laws, they would be punished even to death. Antiochus even desecrated the alter of the Temple and built a statue of Zeus and sacrificed a pig on the Alter of the Temple.
This did not go over well with Mattathias. He led a revolt against Antiochus, he died during this revolt, but his son Judas took over the fight, in the middle of the revolt he captured and seized control over the Temple. Cleansed the Temple and rededicated (Chanukkah) the Temple to YHWH, the GOD of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob(Israel). This is an abbreviated retelling of the story of Chanukkah.
Great story of how one Jewish family stood up and was faithful to YHWH, sacrificing much too preserve the customs, traditions, and commandments of YHWH for the Jewish nation. His dedication was honored by YHWH, even though they were out numbered they won. Great Story!
This is one reason to honor the Feast of Dedication(Chanukkah). But there is another reason. Y'shua (Jesus) honored and celebrated this holiday. Y'shua kept Chanukkah, He did not celebrate Christmas. To be honest there was no such thing as Christmas at this time. There was a holiday that was celebrated at this time Dec. 25 but it was not called Christmas, it was called Saturnalia. This was a Roman feast.This is what has been adapted into the holiday Christmas.
What I want to concentrate on here is Y'shua (Jesus). In the Gospel of John (King James vers.) we read:
Joh 10:22 And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication(Chanukkah), and it was winter.
And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch.
Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one.
( an interesting side note on this passage, in which we see repeated in other New Testament text, the people that are referred as Jews are the proxy leaders of Jerusalem at the time of Y'shua. At this time of history in the land of Judea, the Roman Empire was in control, and they placed their puppet government in charge in Jerusalem. So when one reads about the Jewish leaders of Judea at this time, it is usually Roman appointed leaders that claim to be Jewish. This is why John the Baptist was raised by the Community of the Essenes. These were a community of faithful believers that had to flee to the area southeast of Jerusalem, to seperate themselves from the corruption that was in Jerusalem at this time.)
You may say this does not say Y'shua celebrated Chanukkah, He was only there? But He would not be an observant Jewish Rabbi in Jerusalem if He was not a part of the celebration. He would not of been in Jerusalem at this time if He was not observing this Feast. But what I find amazing is that not only is He celebrating the Feast of Dedication(Chanukkah), which is also known as the Feast of Lights, but He declares that He and The Father are One! Amazing! Simply Amazing! In the Gospel of John chapters 8 and 12, Y'shua claims that He is the LIght of the world. That He also is The Resurrection. We can read all this in the same context of Chapter 10. Remember in the original writings there were no chapter divisions.
To conclude, this is why I and my household have decided to celebrate Chanukkah. Y'shua (Jesus) celebrated Chanukkah, He is The Light of the World, He is the Temple of YHWH, as He stated in John chapter 2. So in this Feast of Dedication(Chanukkah), let us dedicate our lives to the Redeemer of the world. Y'shua the Messiah of Israel. He did not come to condemn the world, but to save the world. To those who believe in His Name. Believing is following HIM, a Jewish Rabbi, that made the proclamation that He is The Son of the Living GOD, He is also The Son of David.
One interesting note on the winter holidays. December 25th is when the Temple was desecrated by Antiochus, and was then that he dedicated the statue of Zeus, sacrificed a pig on the alter, in the Temple of YHWH. Which is considered an abomination that leads to desolation. 3 years later on the same date is when Judas Maccabee rededicated the Temple to the GOD of His Fathers, YHWH, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob(Israel).
This is a story that all believers can relate to in our day, we are confronted with choices each and every day on who we will serve. There are 2 choices we make, serve the GOD of the Bible or serve the god of this world. Two choices, we make each and every day. It is these choices that we will all have to make an account for.
Please do not take my word for it, do your own research on this subject. This is my belief from over 20 years of research on this matter. Like I stated earlier, it is a process of learning. A life time of learning. This is the process known as Sanctification.
Much Shalom and Blessings to all as we look forward to the day of our redemption, which is closer now than it has ever been. Whatever holiday you choose to honor and remember. Please make HIM the focal point. Whatever the season, HE is the Reason! To the GOD of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob(Israel) through Y'shua our Rabbi , King, Redeemer, give all the Glory and esteem! HE is GOOD(TOV)!
Oh and by the way Happy Holidays!
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