Tonight at sundown, Hanukkah began. Most people think Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday, but John 10:22-23 tells us that Jesus was at the temple for the Feast of Dedication, which is Hanukkah. If He is our Head, then the Body should follow His lead. So as Christians, it is important for us to understand the significance of this feast. Over the next eight days, we’ll take a look at various aspects of Hanukkah. For this first day, the focus is MIRACLES.
Hanukkah is an eight-day celebration that centers around lighting candles each night. The candles are put in a hanukkiyah instead of the traditional seven-branched menorah. The hanukkiyah has nine branches, the middle one is called the shamash, or the servant candle. This candle is used to light all the others, from right to left. One candle is lit the first night, the second night two candles are lit and so on. The candles represent the miracle-working power of God. Hanukkah is the season for miracles!
In 167 BC, the tyrant ruler, Antiochus IV, of Greece outlawed Jewish religious observances and forced the Jews to conform to Greek culture. He desecrated their temple by offering a pig on the Lord’s altar and filling it with pagan idols.
The Jews rose up under the initial leadership of Matityahu and then by his son, Judah the Maccabee, and fought a three-year battle. Against all odds, the Maccabees finally defeated Antiochus’ armies and reclaimed Jerusalem in 164 BC. The Jews had regained their right to worship God and be who God created them to be. Their victory was reason to celebrate. They set to work rebuilding and purifying the Temple, but before they could hold a worship service they would need oil to light the lamp. They found only enough oil to light the lamp for one day. It would take eight days for oil to be consecrated, but they did not want to wait. They were eager to rededicate the Temple and worship God so they committed themselves and their resources to God and decided to go ahead anyway. The miracle came when the lamp did not go out for eight days until the next supply of oil was prepared. For this reason, Hanukkah is an eight-day celebration of God’s miracle-working deliverance and provision.
As you light the first candle, it’s a good time to remember the miracles God has already performed in your life and in the nation. Spend some time meditating on His goodness and faithfulness. This stirs up thankfulness, and thankfulness creates an atmosphere of faith that produces future miracles. Two years ago, Thanksgiving and Hanukkah started on the same day. This had never happened since Abraham Lincoln established Thanksgiving as a national holiday in 1863. They will not coincide again for another 79,000+ years. I believe this was a sign from God specifically to America. Starting in 2013 and continuing today, He is sending a strong message of His Love and Desire to bless this nation. He is sending a reminder of Who He is – Deliverer and Provider – for His people. He is calling us to return to our covenant roots and remember why we live in this nation. It is His doing! He established this Nation for His purpose. No government or worldly system can deliver us from the mess we are in, but He alone can. He has proven Himself faithful time and again. His promise in 2 Chronicles 7:14 is still available:
“If My people, who are called by My name, humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
He is inviting us to believe for His miracle-working power to invade our lives and our land and bring the healing only He can bring. He has promised at this time that He will pour out His Spirit on all flesh. He’s going to do it! Stir up your faith and believe for the miracles!