Sunday, December 9, 2012


Today was the first day of Hanukah, which means we lit the menorah for the first time last night.  Each night we add a candle, until the feast is over.
Here are lessons for each day.

Old Testament Lessons for Chanukah

25 Chislev: I Maccabees 1:41-64
26 Chislev:  II Maccabees 8:1-7
27 Chislev:  II Maccabees 8:8-29
28 Chislev: II Maccabees 8:30-33
29 Chislev: II Maccabees 8:34-36
30 Chislev: II Maccabees 9:1-17
1 Tevet: II Maccabees 9:18-29
2 Tevet: II Maccabees 10:1-8

While it is tempting to turn Hanukkah into kind of a Jewish Christmas, that is not the point.  The word Hanukah is Hebrew for dedication, and the word in this case refers to the re dedication of the Jewish temple after it was desecrated by the Greeks under Antiochus Epiphanies and the Hellenist Jews.  While we often think that the main point of the celebration is that one day's worth  of oil lasted for 8 days, it totally misses the point of the celebration.  Antiochus Epiphanies was out to destroy the Jewish religion from the world.  He forbade circumcision,   and made illegal sacrifices and forced the Jews to eat pork.  Many were killed resisting him, and the four books of Macabees describe some of this. 

But the real story of Hanukkah is that a small band of Jewish warriors fought for their right to worship according to Torah, and that this small band overcame the Greek Empire.  The story is one we should all read, and I suspect one that the founding fathers of the United States were familiar with.  As government and world come out more and more against the church, we need to look at the Maccabees and remember that we too need to fight for our freedom to worship.  We need to remember that when Yeshua entered into the world, that it was morally bankrupt as it is today, and the church made a difference.  We can do so again today, if we are willing to work together and fight for what we believe in. 

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