Khag Khanukah is coming! And we are beginning our preparations.
This year has been SOOOOO different from any other year, for everyone, I’m certain.
My wife and I both learned later in life we were Jewish, yet both of us grew up in traditional, protestant homes. And we observed the ‘feasts’ that everyone else does at this time of year for the first half of our lives. But, some twenty-seven years ago, we began to bow out, because of a desire in us to do what Yeshua did, to live our lives the way the Son of G-d lived His.
But, before that, when I first turned back to G-d in my early twenties, after having wandered aimlessly for eight years [14 years to 22 years old], my love for this season had not abated. I was on board the U.S.S. Ohio, SSBN 726(G), a Trident Ballistic Missile submarine. It was an extremely long patrol, that began in the fall of that year, and took us up to mid-December. In the middle of that patrol, I said the first truly sincere prayer to G-d my Father in my forward, top bunk in bunk-room 5. “Father, I want to know what Yeshua [I still called Him by His English name then] would say to me if He were standing here.” And I began to read Matai [Matthew] 5 through 7. I don’t quite know why/how I turned there, but I remember those first words, what most call the ‘beatitudes’, piercing my heart, showing me how I was none of those things then. Then, how the rest of those chapters were clearly Yeshua teaching the scriptures more ‘clearly’. And I began, midway through that long, cold-war patrol, to devour the rest of scriptures.
Because I was a health nut already, when I read Leviticus 11, I decided then that G-d must know better about what ‘food’ is than man, and I began to eat a simply kosher life. I stopped eating pork, shrimp, and the other meats that He said were not ‘food’.
But, as I said, that season was upon us. Our captain had us getting the ship ready for a big inspection of the engineering spaces. A torpedoman, named Webster, and I were assigned to taking out the screws in all the deck plates in Engineering middle-level, scrubbing them with wire brushes, and putting them back in with the screw head aligned ‘fore and aft’ with the ship. The monotony of it had us bored, down on our hands and knees undoing, scrubbing, and fighting with screws, and we began to sing carols. All of them. It put me in such a mood that I wrote one myself. And it is beautiful. I taught it to my new wife a few years later. But, all the while, there was this realization that Yeshua never would have known anything about this day. And, there was the realization that He could not have been born at this time of year, according simply to scripture, which had recently become the anchor of my life, my ‘guidance system’.
The further I delved into the scriptures, the less I saw of the customs I had grown up in, with the exception that certain of those customs were forbidden in scriptures, and the Jewish people had ‘tried them on for size,’ and had been sorely punished for them. Many of the customs of the season were in ancient Israel, but they just went by different names; Hebrew versions of the same customs and deities.
Right after I got off the boat, G-d began to do actual miracles in my life. But, to me, in retrospect, the biggest thing HE did in my life at that time, was actually a very tiny seed. Just a month or so after having left the boat, I was driving to Seattle on Highway 16 [our base was in Bangor, Washington]. My Navy buddy, Dave, who served on the U.S.S. Michigan, had just passed me on the right, and introduced me to his fiancé as we were driving down the road. I turned the radio back up after that conversation through our windows, and pushed the seek button. I was near Gig Harbor, Washington. The first radio station that the receiver found was out of Tacoma, and it was playing Hebrew-sounding music. I had, for some reason, always been drawn to Jewish music and tradition. I listened to that song play out, and then a speaker began to speak, and I heard him say “Yeshua”. Another song came on, and that name was throughout the Hebrew song. My heart leaped inside of me, and I didn’t even know why.
Shortly after that, I got orders to shore duty in Georgia, which was unheard of, after having only done three of the seven to eight patrols I was supposed to make. I did not have to re-enlist for that shore duty because of a clerical error that happened two years before! The Navy messed up when I finished “A-school”, and because of their trying to fix that error, they made ANOTHER clerical error, and I got shore duty for only two years, without having to extend for two more years, like so many others had to do.
I experienced a ‘vision’ and a ‘prophecy’ for the first time just before I transferred, after someone took vengeance on me. I did not realize what was going on, but the short of it is, the Creator used me to rescue a young sailor, to bring him to Messiah instead of killing himself, after I ‘saw’ his whole life in my mind, and spoke to him about it. There is an old post on here from about a year ago that tells this story, if I remember right.
After settling down in Georgia, I ran across a teacher from Port Arthur, Texas, teaching about Rosh HaShanah” and how it models the return of Messiah. I somehow ended up in a “Messianic Synagogue”, a startup in Jacksonville, Florida. And my pursuit of a pure, “Messiah-like” walk took root that Shabbat.
Because I began to ‘see’ how the ‘feasts’ that G-d created were ALL pointing to Messiah’s first AND second comings, I began to see how the feasts that catholics created and protestants inherited from catholics all pointed AWAY from Him, in spite of the great efforts of the faithful to ‘try’ to ‘keep christ in x-mas’. What they were [and are] in fact TRYING to do is “PUT MESSIAH in x-mas”. I realized HE had never been ‘in’ that feast, nor any other that the Catholic church had given us.
It is for THIS reason that I began to change my life. NOT for a hatred of ‘all things christian’, but for a LOVE of ALL THINGS BIBLE. G-d had given His people seven yearly feasts that modeled, FOR ALL PEOPLE, His Son’s first AND second comings, His WHOLE ministry of Salvation to mankind. This is what Yeshua meant when I read in Mat 5:17-19 that He said “I did not come to abrogate the Torah, but to confirm/fulfill it”. Yeshua has yet to fulfill the last three of the seven feasts. There is more to do.
I won’t go into all the details of the transition from a traditionally protestant life to a traditional life in Messiah Yeshua. What I wanted to convey this year about Khanukah is that it is a symbol of “The Tree of Life”.
The Menorah is the TREE OF LIFE. It is alluded to in Genesis 2:9. It is spoken of as The Torah in Proverbs 3:16-18. It is manifested in Yeshua, when He was executed on an OLIVE TREE, after having carried a beam up the hill. He was ‘nailed to the TREE‘. [ 1 Peter 2:24, Acts 5:30, 10:29].
The Menorah’s seven lamps are filled with OLIVE OIL. Yeshua was ANOINTED [Messiah] with the Ru’akh of the Creator, and the ‘oil’ is what was used to ANOINT kings and priests, and Messiah. He hung on an OLIVE TREE, on the Mt. of Olives. When we come to the base of that TREE, where Messiah died, we receive LIFE. Incidentally, while hanging on the tree, Yeshua quoted Psalm 22, and just a few verses from what He quoted [vs 2] while hanging there have these words: “I am a tola’at, and not a man”. A ‘tola’at’ is a particular worm born white. It is red, however, ‘scarlet’, and the female bores itself into an olive tree and bears its young; when she does, she dies, and her blood spills onto her young and turns them scarlet. They are ‘washed’ in her blood.
The “khanukiah”, what most people call a “Channukah Menorah”, is a lamp very similar to the Menorah. During the Maccabean revolt in 165 B.C., the Maccabees, 12 Jewish brothers, overthrew the Greeks. The Greeks had come into Israel, they had sacked the Temple, sacrificed a pig, erected a statue of Zeus, and Antiochus Epiphanes, their king, the ‘fourth king’ of the Book of Daniel, stood in the Temple and declared himself to be god. He forbade the declaration of the Name יהוה , circumcision, the teaching of the Torah, and speaking Hebrew. Judah Maccabee [The Hammer] and his sons revolted. They miraculously won the war. It was the 25th Day of the NINTH [Biblical] MONTH, the ‘tenth’ month of the Roman/Greek calendar. The Maccabees and Israel decided to hold a “DEDICATION [ חֲנֻכָּה / khanukah ] OF THE HOUSE” [Psalm 30], in much the same way Moshe and Shlomo had, and Ezra [Exodus 40, 2 Chron 5-7, Ezra 6]. Only this time, not in the first or seventh months, but the ninth. “Out of season”.
The Menorah has to be lit first, before any sacrifices can go on. [Ex 40:3]. Similarly, we must confess faith in Yeshua, who hung on the Tree, before we have anything to offer G-d in truth.
After the dedication of the house during the time of the Maccabees, a tradition was born, that of lighting a lamp with EIGHT LIGHTS. Because they celebrated SUKKOT, the EIGHT DAY FEAST of G-d, “Out of Season”, to DEDICATE the House of G-d again, after it had lain dormant and polluted for three and a half years, during which time keeping the faith of G-d had been illegal.
The FIRST CENTURY HISTORIAN, Josephus, writes of this. He was a Jewish priest as well:
“Now Judah celebrated the festival of the restoration of the sacrifices of the temple for eight days, and omitted no sort of pleasures thereon; but he feasted them upon very rich and splendid sacrifices; and he honored God, and delighted them by hymns and psalms. Nay, they were so very glad at the revival of their customs, when, after a long time of intermission, they unexpectedly had regained the freedom of their worship, that they made it a law for their posterity, that they should keep a festival, on account of the restoration of their temple worship, for eight days. And from that time to this we celebrate this festival, and call it Lights. I suppose the reason was because this liberty beyond our hopes appeared to us; and that thence was the name given to that festival.”
Today, small “Khanukah Lamps” with eight lights have been found in Israel that date from the first century.
This was the darkest time of the year. This was a very dark time in the History of Israel. It was a mere 162 years before Yeshua’s birth. 162 years after the Menorah was lit for Sukkot in ‘december’, Yeshua was CONCEIVED.
It is His CONCEPTION that is the miracle! Yeshua, the LIGHT OF G-D, was announced to Miryam by Gavri’el on the first night of Khanukah! Yokhanan HaMatbil [John the Immerser] had been conceived right after his father’s first two weeks of yearly service in the Temple, when he burned the incense in the “Order of Avi-Yah”. That order was the EIGHTH ORDER of the priests [1 Chron 29]. They were divided into 24 ‘orders’, to serve for two weeks out of the year in the Temple. The other weeks that make up the year are the FEASTS, when ALL orders served. But, this was HIS ORDER serving.
Zekhar-Yah returned home after HIS service, and Elisheva CONCEIVED. this was June. We know by when the order of Avi-Yah served. SIX MONTHS LATER Yeshua was conceived, and Miryam went and visited her cousin Elisheva, and Yokhanan ‘felt’ Yeshua nearby. He was warmed by His light! Yokhanan had the Ru’akh during his time in the womb, as did Yeshua. They ‘knew’ each other. Six months after Zekhar-Yah left and Yokhanan was conceived was Khanukah. Yeshua was conceived at this time of year, in the WOMB of a VIRGIN, MIRACULOUSLY, the LIGHT of G-d was lit in human flesh!
Thirty-three and a half years later, Yeshua hung on the tree during Pesakh [Passover], the FIRST of the SEVEN FEASTS. He began lighting each lamp of the Menorah of prophecy. He lit Pesakh’s first lamp of the Menorah by dying on the tree. He lit the second lamp of Matzot by being put in the grave [Matzot is “Unleavened Bread”, that is baked, after the dough is pierced]; he lit the third lamp of the First Omer of Bikkurim by rising from the dead and ascending to Heaven, being ‘lifted up’ as the first fruits to G-d; he lit the fourth lamp by sending the Ru’akh, “Ko’akh”, power from On High, on Shavu’ot, the SEVEN WEEK festival that started on the First Omer.
He has not yet fulfilled the remaining three feasts: Yom Teru’ah [Rosh HaShanah], Yom Kippur, and Sukkot. He will, when He calls away His Bride, disciplines the Jewish People [causing them to return to G-d through Him], and returns to earth to JUDGE THE WICKED.
So, why are there NINE lamps now on the Khanuki’ah? Our Jewish people cannot help but declare Yeshua in their customs! Even ones they have created LONG AFTER Messiah was sent to Israel! In the middle ages, some Ashkenazi Jews ordered Khanuki’ah “lamps” with EIGHT BRANCHES. But, perhaps their smith was a gentile? Somehow, the NINTH LAMP was added to them by accident. So, the Rabbis decided simply to add a NINTH LIGHT to the customary eight, and called it the “Shammash“, the “Servant Candle”. It would be used to light all the other eight lights.
Khanukah is a Sukkot held out of season. It is an EIGHTH FEAST. AFTER the original Maccabean dedication [khanukah], the traditional eight lamps were lit to commemorate the season. Almost 1,000 years later, a NINTH lamp was added quite by accident.
There are actually NINE celebrations in the scriptures. Chronologically, according to TIME, they are the first seven already named, then, two and a half months after the seventh one, SUKKOT, ANOTHER Sukkot is held in the ninth month, called Khanukah. Then, three months later, in the 12th month, “Purim” is held, where we celebrate Israel being saved from destruction by a BRIDE QUEEN hidden away in the palace.
The Khanuki’ah, then, is indeed a prophetic picture of ALL the celebrations mentioned in Scripture. Yeshua went to Jerusalem during “Khanukah”, and while there, he preached about the false shepherd, while Antiochus Epiphanes would have been on the minds of Jews.
22It was Khag Khanukah [Feast of Dedication] at Yerushalayim, and it was winter. 23And Yeshua was walking in the Heikhal in Shlomo’s porch. 24Then the Y’hudim surrounded Him and said to Him, “How long do you vex our soul with uncertainty? If you are the Mashi’akh [Anointed], tell us openly.” 25Yeshua answered, saying to them, “I have told you, but you do not trust; yet the works which I do in the name of Avi [My Father] testify of me. 26But you do not trust, because you are not of my sheep, just as I told you. 27My own sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; 28and I give to them Khayei Olam [Eternal Life]; and they will never perish, and no man will snatch them from my hands. 29For Avi who gave them to me is greater than all; and no man can snatch anything from my Father’s hand. 30I and Avi are unified.” 31Then the Y’hudim again took up stones to stone Him. 32Yeshua said to them, “I have shown you many good works from Avi; for which one of them do you stone me?” 33The Y’hudim said to Him, “It is not because of the good works that we stone you, but because you blaspheme; for while you are only a man, you make yourself Elohim.” 34Yeshua said to them, “Is it not so written in your Torah, “I said, you are elohim [gods]?” 35If he called them gods because the D’var HaElohim [Word of God] was with them, and the scripture cannot be broken, 36why to the one whom HaAv [The Father] consecrated and sent to the world, do you say, ‘You blaspheme,’ just because I said to you, ‘I am Ben HaElohim.’ [The Son of God] 37If I am not doing the works of Avi, do not believe me. 38But if I am doing them, even though you do not trust in me, trust in the works, so that you may know and believe that Avi is in me, and I am in Avi.”
39And they wanted again to seize Him; but He escaped from their hands. 40And He went away to the Yarden crossing, to the place where Yokhanan was, where He first immersed; and He remained there.
Yeshua returned, after again declaring Himself to be the Son of G-d, to the place where He had been declared the Son of G-d BY G-D THE FATHER, on the day He became THE ANOINTED, and began declaring ETERNAL LIFE to Israel. He did THIS AT KHANUKAH!
That is why this season has so overshadowed the other feast in our lives during this time of year. G-d forbade Israel to adopt the religious practices of those around them. He loathed the fact that they mixed the worship of Ba’al and Asherah with His worship. That was the sin of Jezebel. She polluted Israel’s worship, through the king of Israel. The same happened to “christianity”, the faith that was created by MIXING the Roman version of Ba’al and Asherah with Messianic faith, when x-mas was CREATED as a ‘christian’ holiday, some three-hundred years AFTER the Jews had given the gospel to the world.
Yeshua was NOT born at this time; he was conceived. He was born NINE MONTHS LATER, during SUKKOT! In a Sukkah! He was circumcised on the EIGHTH DAY of His life, the EIGHTH FESTIVITY of Sukkot, when Israel “Rejoices in the Torah”.
G-d is calling ALL of HIS sheep back into the Sheepfold of Yisra’el. Can you hear HIS VOICE? Or, are you content to be mixing His faith with the world. Are you trying to stuff your walk with Yeshua somewhere were He NEVER walked?
Do you KNOW Yeshua? If not, know this: He WANTS to know you! He died on the tree 2,000 years ago, to rescue EVERY ONE of us from sin. Return to G-d, and DO GOOD. Do what GOD says to do with your life, because you LOVE Him who first loved you!