Monday, December 3, 2012

Biblical Holy Days - The Feast of Dedication and Lights

I love history!  And that makes the celebration of Hanukkah particularly exciting to me!!  In reality, all the biblical feasts have such historical significance and a rich tapestry of meaning.  But the history of Hanukkah, also known as the Feast of Dedication and the Festival of Lights, is particularly fascinating to me.

The basic story is that around 167 BCE Antiochus was ruler over Israel.  He replaced the High Priest, took the holy items from the temple and had swine sacrificed inside the temple, defiling it in an outrageous display of hatred towards the Israelites and their God.

Family of the true High Priest and others joined and drove out this oppressor.  The temple now had to be cleansed and purified.  This was a process that took seven days.  But they only had enough oil to light the lights for one....

They proceeded in faith and prayer.  Miraculously the oil burned for eight days, at which point they had new oil prepared for the temple.

I encourage you to read the history from other sources, as I just skimmed the barest surface of it here.  I was blessed to have sat in on a college lecture on this historical event and it is STILL vivid and amazing to me.

It reminds me of two important lessons that Followers of Yeshua must build our lives upon.

1.  Our worship of Yahweh is non-negotiable.  WE must make it a priority.  We also need to approach it THRU the Torah, to make a 'pleasing aroma' to Him.

2.  When we proceed in faithful worship of Yahweh, HE will meet our needs.

The bible has a few stories where oil played a prominent role....

Such as the maidens who were waiting for their master's return.  Five maidens let their wicks burn out and ran out of oil before he came, Five maidens kept their wicks low and had oil when he came.
And the story of the widow who made bread for Elijah from her last bit of flour and oil.
And the story of the prostitute who saved and saved to purchase costly oil, only to pour it out on Yeshua's feet.

Oil is an integral part of life.  We need fats regularly in our diets.  It is a staple, albeit in small quantities, in many foods, such as bread and broth.  It can be used to light and heat our homes.  It can be used to power our vehicles.

If we consider oil to be 'that which we need daily,' we can learn much from this story.

We all need food and shelter.

1 Timothy 6:6-8 says, "Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content."

We all have concerns for our well being and future.

Matthew 6:25-34 says, "Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
“So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."

But when we step out in faith, and give.... even that little that we have....

Mark 12:42-44 says, "Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.”"

We will receive His reward....

Matthew 25:21 says, "His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’"

Here are some links where you can learn more about this holiday and how it is celebrated....

And here is where Yeshua was celebrating the Feast of Dedication and when approached by the Pharisees, told them He was the Son of Elohiym. - John 10:22-39

This year's Feast of Dedication begins this Saturday!


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1 comment:

  1. The Roots of Historic Hanukkah -

    Some more historical context, as I was not aware that circumcision had been outlawed and that the circumcised children were murdered and mothers tortured in such a manner. How horrific.