This study so showed me more of how God's Heart is to bind us closer together in understanding Him. To show us how He is hiding in between His Jewish and Christian people, and revealing Who He fully is - as we continue to "find each other" - Jew and Gentile - in faith in Him.
If you google "Chanukah" you'll find something like this: In 165 B.C.E., the Jewish Maccabees (a priestly family) managed to drive the Syrian army out of Jerusalem and reclaim their temple. It took a generation though, from father to sons. Sometimes it takes time to re-take what has been stolen. The temple then had to be re-dedicated, since the Syrians had taken it over as a temple to Zeus! When the Jews prepared to re-dedicate their temple by relighting the "Eternal Flame," they had just enough consecrated oil to burn for one day, but the oil miraculously lasted for eight days until new oil arrived to fuel the flame. This is why the Jewish people light candles or burn oil in a menorah for the eight days of Chanukkah, adding one candle each day.
Chanukah means "Dedication" because the Jewish people did something in faith to 're-dedicate' the Temple to the LORD God of Israel, cleansing it from Hellenistic influences. Chanukah is also called The Festival of Lights and a Time of Miracles (Zeman Shel HaNissim)
The "Eternal Flame" in the explanation above refers to the Temple Menorah. God commands that the fire in the Temple never go out (Lev 6.13). To this day, in every Synagogue in the world, there is a light that burns all the time - the eternal flame. (In some modern Synagogues it is an electric "flame").
Now, if you google "Menorah" you'll find two kinds of Menorah. A seven branched menorah and a nine branched menorah. The first is the most well known:
The Seven Branched Menorah is one of the most well-known symbols of the Jewish people:
Incidentally, the church teaches a lot on the Fruit of the Spirit but not very often on the Seven Fold Spirit of God found in Isaiah 11. But it's not just an Old Testament phrase. It's a Prophetic Phrase, which is used far more times in the New Testament than the Old - hidden in a book not often taught until more recently in the church - the book of Revelation. If the Seven Branched Menorah is based on the Seven fold Spirit of God, what is it?
It is the "The Spirit of the LORD, the Spirit of Wisdom, the Spirit of Understanding, the Spirit of Counsel, the Spirit of Might, the Spirit of knowledge and the Spirit of the Fear of the LORD." (Isaiah 11.2)
Revelation 5 verse 6 says this seven fold spirit is "sent forth into all the earth" - which is great news frankly as the church needs these qualities of discernment more than ever! I have found that in any organised religious body there is always the man-made version of all of these qualities. For example, just human wisdom, instead of the Spirit of wisdom from God. Or just fear of the LORD, instead of the Spirit of the fear of the LORD, which is by constrast beautiful, holy and can keep us safe from messing up! The human version leads to religion & control. The Spirit version leads to life & great peace, even in difficulties.
Revelation 1 verse 4 says the Spirit of the LORD is "before the Throne!" So maybe, if I would like to bow down in my heart before the Throne of God, maybe I need to ask for more of the Seven Fold Spirit of God, because this is where it is found! And I can see it hidden in the God-given design of the Jewish Menorah.
Revelation 4 verse 5 says there are Seven Lamps burning before the throne! Sounds like the true spirit of worship and this verse is directly referring to the Jewish menorah because Menorah means "lamp."
So, back to the beginning - during Chanukah we celebrate this Miracle, that the Temple Oil and Light burned for eight days and nights, not just one, and MOST IMPORTANTLY that the Temple was re-dedicated to the One True God, the God of Israel.
So now we move from exploring seven to exploring the number eight. Eight days of a miracle:
Eight in the Bible means "separation for holiness". For example;
Spring Feasts: Prophetically these show us what Yeshua the Messiah has already done:
1) Passover HE DIED. For a more detailed study of this Feast please go to the study on Passover here.
2) Feast of Unleavened Bread HE WAS BURIED. Jesus/Yeshua said He was the Bread of Life but without Sin, without Leaven. He was born in Beit Lechem, which means "House of Bread" in Hebrew.
3) First Fruits HE ROSE AGAIN. Jesus/Yeshua clearly calls Himself the First Fruits among many brothers in 1 Corinthians 15.20.
4) Shavu'ot (Feast of Weeks). It's where the Greek term Pentecost comes from meaning 50. Shavu'ot is always 50 days after Passover. THE HOLY SPIRIT CAME on Shavu'ot. SHAVU’OT IS ALSO CALLED THE FIRST HARVEST in the Jewish faith so it's kind of amazing that on the same day in the New Testament the first harvest of over 3000 believers happened (Acts 2.41). And amazingly, in the Jewish faith the religious still to this day count 50 days from First Fruits to the Spring Harvest of Shavu'ot. It's called Counting the Omer. So the Jewish disciples were probably not as surprised as the church thinks they were that something BIG happened on the 50th day! The first church was pretty much Jewish, so they were sitting there praying and counting the Omer down to the exact day God The Spirit turned up!
Autumn Feasts: Prophetically these show us what Jesus/Yeshua is coming back to do:
5) Feast of Trumpets THE TRUMPET WILL SOUND. This stands for a: REDEMPTION, WARNING, CALLING WORKERS IN FROM THE HARVEST. It is also used in the Old Testament to move the congregation on, to break camp and "go home to a place they haven't been before!" For a more detailed study of this Prophetic Feast please go to the study on Feast of Trumpets here.
6) Day of Atonement THE DAY OF REPENTANCE AND ASKING FORGIVENESS BEFORE THE HIGH PRIEST. THE ONLY DAY IN THE JEWISH YEAR WHEN JEWISH PEOPLE SAY THE NAME OF YHVH. Yeshua is called Our High Priest and He atoned for our sins. It is through Him that we as Believers can become familiar with the awesome Holiness of YHVH and then in His Grace say His Name like He's our Daddy. For a more detailed study of this Prophetic Feast please go to the study on the Day of Atonement here.
7) Feast of Tabernacles THE WEDDING FEAST. The Hebrew for "dwell with us" is literally "TABERNACLED WITH US". At the end of the Feast of Taberancles there is a Jewish Dance called the BRIDEGROOM OF THE TORAH! Who calls Himself our Bridgegroom over and over in the New Testament? :) Yet there's an actual dance named after Him as the Bridegroom today and through the centuries in the Jewish faith! It is also the day on which the religious finish reading the Torah and begin again - Jewish people literally understand this to mean the end of one age and the beginning of another! Sounds familiar doesn't it?! For a more detailed study on Tabernacles please go to the link here.
8) Shabbat – this binds the Spring feasts to the Autumn Feasts through the seasons, bringing a rhythm of regular REST between the two as we wait for our eternal rest. Shabbat is a bit like a weekly reminder of the promise that one day we will rest for eternity in the True Shabbat Bridegroom Presence. We even sometimes sing a Jewish song called Lecha Dodi on Shabbat which in English reads: "Come my beloved to greet the Bride, Sabbath Presence, we welcome You!" I wonder Who that is referring to?!
I believe Yeshua/Jesus is the fulfilled Prophetic message in each of the eight appointed times. To understand the appointed times is to understand Jesus the Jew more, which will keep the church from being deceived and unite her with her fellow Bride Israel. Yet this chasm between us has arisen precisely as the prophet Daniel foresaw. He said the spirit of the anti-christ would do three things: 1) speak words against the Most High, 2) try to wear out the saints and 3) CHANGE THE APPOINTED TIMES (Daniel 7. 25). This is why both sides of the One New Man (Jew and Gentile) haven't understood each other for so many centuries. But that is changing rapidly and it's beautiful.
I believe the LORD Yeshua said to me: "My Jewish people are witnessing about Me through the Appointed Times without realising it every year, through all generations. The church doesn't fully realise this either yet, but the Bride will come to see it together."
This is because I believe it is impossible to completely separate the LORD God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob from the LORD Yeshua, or by contrast to separate Jesus from the LORD God of Israel. Each side has tried to do this to its detriment. However, I have seen a sharp increase of Christians over the last five years, even since last Chanukah - when many crammed into our home - who have said to me "The LORD is prompting me to learn about His feasts. What does this mean?" A few years ago I equally had the joy of being asked in Israel by a secular Jewish lady "How do I get my prayers answered?" She was the aunt of a friend of mine and we were all in a hospital room, waiting for news of my friend's father who had just had a massive heart attack. My friend is Messianic and I would most accurately describe myself as a Christian with some Jewish heritage. So two out of a family of eight were Believers. This is not a coincidence and it is moving to see both sides drawing closer to Him and therefore each other, because of the times we are now in. We've never needed each other more - Jew and Christian together.
So back to why – if there are eight Appointed Biblical Times – are there nine candles on the Chanukah Menorah? When we light the Chanukah Menorah on each night we don't light the candles with a match. We first light the ninth candle, and then we light each Feast candle with the ninth candle. So what does this ninth candle mean which is lighting up each of the Feasts represented above?
In Hebrew the ninth candle is called Ha Shamash. It means "The Servant!" Jesus/Yeshua literally lights up the Feasts with Himself. He reveals more of Who He is through our understanding more of each of the Feasts. He called Himself the Light of the World and He meant it! He shows each one from Passover to Tabernacles is about Him, the Jewish Messiah.
The Hebrew word for light ('or') also means "shine" and "peace & relief from trouble". Jesus is our Light that makes us shine at times and is our peace & relief from trouble.
The LORD then went on to show me to my surprise that Jesus/Yeshua actually went into the Temple on Chanukah! I didn't even know Chanukah was in the New Testament! But there it is in John 10. 22 - 39. It's called the Feast of Dedication in English which means Chanukah in Hebrew. Here He is walking into the Temple, as the One True Light, the One Anointed with Oil, the One Who Sanctifies us back to the One True God of Israel, to clearly show Who He was:
Yet when He walked into the Temple in John 10 to show Who He was, the people said: "Go on then, tell us plainly who you really are?!" It's kind of funny when you think about it, as He couldn't have made it more obvious.
Then – at the very time of year known to all Jewish people as THE TIME OF MIRACLES - He discusses His miracles openly!!
On Chanukah the Jewish people say a blessing immediately after lighting the candles. The blessing is called "The One Who Works Miracles!" (she'asah nissim). Yeshua/Jesus couldn't be making it more obvious to His people Israel. Interestingly, they'd just asked Him to make it plain to them if He was the Christ/Messiah!
As a Jewish Messiah speaking to His Jewish people, this would make sense during a Jewish time of the year called "The Time of Miracles!". And it is the only time He speaks so openly about His Miracles and draws attention to them. Normally He told people not to tell others Who He was or speak so openly about the miracles He did. He usually went out of His way to keep a low profile. But during this Festival of Light He came out into the Light to show Himself a little bit more.
I pray these Hebraic and Prophetic revelations will do the same, that it will show Him a little bit more to us all. He is bringing His Light of Revelation of Who He is to His church and to His People. He has been hiding through history in the ancientness of His Jewishness. He is literally "hiding in plain sight" in the Centre Candle - as the Servant Messiah - of every Chanukah Menorah in every Jewish home in every country.
Please pray for the Jewish people in Israel and throughout the world, that they would know the LORD loves them more than words. Israel increasingly needs our prayers, commitment and love in a world that is going a little bit mad.
Interestingly, during Chanukah, each person in the Jewish home has their own Chanukah Menorah. Just like each person must have their own Light of Salvation, you cannot use someone else's. We also place the Chanukah Menorah in our windows facing outwards, it must be the right way round to someone looking in at our light. The Light of our Salvation must make sense to someone looking in at our lives. Thirdly, we are literally commanded to "gaze into the Light". Sounds just like Jesus/Yeshua commanding us to Keep our Eyes fixed on Him. And lastly, we are commanded not to use this special light for our own mundane purposes. We as believers, must try not to use Jesus to our own ends. Our relationship with Him is to be intimate but never casual, secure but never mundane.
I pray His Light illuminates our lives; a Continuous Time of Miracles for us and those we love.
Peace, love and hiddenness in Yeshua.
NB: Chanukah is not one of the 8 appointed times (feasts) given to Moses on Mount Sinai in Leviticus. Chanukah was prophesied by Daniel in 8: 9-14 and like other important times – such as Purim/Feast of Esther – the Jewish people keep these times of remembrance as well as the 8 appointed times.
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