Hanukkah Service Guide

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Posted by Truth Ignited on Monday, December 11, 2017

 

          This is a simple guide to conducting a daily service of lighting the Hanukkiah (the nine-branched candelabra used in the celebration of Hanukkah) with instructions for lighting the candles, devotional passages focused on themes of light, devotional passages for the Shammash (servant) candle, and the traditional blessings recited prior to lighting the candles each evening of Hanukkah. While this guide is prepared for those who are new to celebrating this festival, many who have celebrated Hanukkah for years may find the devotionals useful as well. The first day includes opening comments with a brief overview of what Hanukkah is all about. The last day includes closing comments. The remaining six days in between will include readings from select Christian and Jewish authors about the significance of Hanukkah. These devotionals, readings, and blessings can be read by the leader of the Hanukkah service each night or divided up among the family members or congregation where this material is being used. Before we get to the nightly readings for the candle lighting ceremony, I want to provide some general instructions to assist those conducting the service.

Candles

Candle Lighting Instructions

          It is customary to light the candles at sunset and allow them to burn for at least 30 minutes. Some will say that on the Shabbat (Sabbath Evening) that falls within Hanukkah the candles should be lit prior to sunset to avoid kindling a fire on Shabbat, which is commanded against in Torah. However, contextually this Torah instruction does not appear to be about fire in general, but about fire used for purposes of work. After all, it would stand to reason that the Tabernacle/Temple priests of Israel maintained the fire within the branches of the Menorah and the Brazen Altar even on the Sabbath Day. A standard set of Hanukkah candles should have 44 candles. This allows you to use new candles each evening as all candles should be at the same height when lighting them begins. It is also customary to allow the candles to burn all the way down each evening and Rabbinic teachings state that you should allow the candles to burn for at least 30 minutes at a minimum. There are various retail stores and ministries—Christian and Jewish—where you can purchase a Hanukkiah and Hanukkah candle sets in the weeks leading up to the celebration.

          Candles are placed starting to the far right of the Hanukkiah but lit starting with the candle furthest to the left each night (the last candle placed). If you are conducting a service facing an audience and standing “behind” the Hanukkiah, reverse this so that the candles are placed starting to the far right of the audience. Always light the Shammash candle first (with a match or a lighter) and then use the Shammash candle to light the other candles each evening. On the first night you will start with two candles: the Shammash and the first candle on the far right of the Hanukkiah. Each night you will add one more candle until the last evening when your Hanukkiah is full.

The First Evening

Opening Comments

guide1          Hanukkah, also called The Feast of Dedication and The Festival of Lights is an eight-day celebration that commemorates the victory of a group of Jews called the Maccabees over Greek oppression under Antiochus Epiphanies, who many consider a foreshadow of the anti-Messiah, and the rededication of the Temple to Yahweh. They were men who refused to submit to their oppressors and were willing to die rather than reject God’s Torah. Some were tortured and even killed because they refused to worship the pagan idols of the Greeks or to eat pork. This is the type of faith that is genuine; it is the type of faith that we must possess today as Believers. Hanukkah is a time to reflect on this and assess our own dedication to our God.

          There is also a legend (called “legend” because there is not enough proof that this event happened, although there are ancient documents that refer to it) that during the rededication of the Temple there was only found enough oil still sealed by the High Priest to keep the Menorah (the candelabra used in the Tabernacle and the Temple, sometimes referred to among English-speaking Christians as the “Golden Candlestick”) burning for one day and that it would take eight days to prepare more oil. According to the story, they used this oil and it miraculously burned for the full eight days until more oil could be supplied. For this reason, many say “There Happened A Great Miracle” and consider Hanukkah a season of the miraculous.

          For Christians and Jews who hold a Messianic belief Hanukkah also represents numerous aspects of our Messiah, Yeshua ben Elohim (Jesus the Son of God). Yeshua was a servant above all, as foretold by the famous “Suffering Servant” passage in Isaiah 53. Yeshua was also sent to be the “Light of the World”. Both of these characteristics are seen in the Shammash—the servant candle—that is used to light the other candles. It is also recognized that Yeshua was most likely born during the general season of Sukkot (The Feast of Tabernacles), which would mean that He was conceived in the womb of Miriam around Hanukkah. In this way, also, “There Happened A Great Miracle” as a virgin conceived by the Ruach HaKodesh (Spirit of Holiness).

          Yeshua also appears to celebrate Hanukkah, as recorded in the Gospel of John:

Then came Hanukkah; it was winter in Jerusalem. Yeshua was walking in the Temple around Solomon’s Colonnade.
~John 10:22-23 (TLV)

          Messianic Jewish author and teacher Sid Roth makes the following remarks in his book The Incomplete Church: Bridging The Gap Between God’s Children:

“Yeshua used the Feast of Dedication (see John 10:22) to proclaim Himself as the Good Shepherd (see John 10:1-18). In the Jewish writings, shepherds frequently represented the leaders of Israel, both good and bad. (The Maccabees, for example, would have been considered among the good shepherds.) Yeshua, therefore, announced Himself as the Good Shepherd par excellence.

Hanukkah is a story of miracles, sanctification, and salvation. What a fantastic time of year to share Yeshua. It is no accident that the Savior of the world was miraculously conceived during the Festival of Lights.”

          Hanukkah has a great deal of Messianic and Prophetic significance to the follower of Yeshua as their Messiah. Let us celebrate our Messiah in a fresh and exciting way this year as we begin to kindle the lights of Hanukkah and commemorate God sending us His Son to be the Light of the World.

The Light of Creation

Genesis 1:3 Tree of Life Version (TLV)
Then God said, “Let there be light!” and there was light.

          The very first words uttered by a Holy God. He announced, “Let there be light,” and light was. Where did the light come from? He had not yet created the sun, the moon, and the stars. Yet there was light.

          Where God is, there is light and there is no darkness in Him. Let us remember that He provides light even when there seems to be no other source of light.

The Shammash

Take the Shammash candle in your hand while reciting the following:

Matthew 20:28 Tree of Life Version (TLV)
…just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”

          Yeshua is the true Shammash and came to serve both God and men. He is our Messiah who laid down His life to provide for us the fullness of life. With the Servant Candle we remember that He served us so that we will serve Him.

The Blessings

First Blessing: “Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us by His commandments, and has allowed us to kindle the lights of Hanukkah.”

Second Blessing: “Blessed are you, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe, who wrought miracles for our fathers in days of old, at this season.”

Third Blessing: “Blessed are you, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe, who gave us life and kept us and delivered us to this time.”

Light the Shammash candle and then proceed to use it to light the first night’s candle on the right side of the Hanukkiah.

The Second Evening

guide2          Reading – adapted from Perry Stone’s book The Prophetic Future Concealed In Israel’s Festivals

There is a saying used at Hanukkah: MADLIKIN SHEMONAH YEMEI HANUKKAH which means, “We light eight days of Hanukkah.” In Hebrew, the first letters of these four words are mem, shin, yud, and chet. These letters spell the Hebrew word Mashiach, again illustrating that Messiah is indeed hidden within the lights of Hanukkah. In fact, one Jewish commentator, speaking of the Messiah says, “Whose coming we hasten by this act [lighting the Hanukkah lights].” For hundreds of years, Jewish mystics have regarded the Hanukkah lights as a manifestation of the hidden light of the Messiah.

So then, to preserve the tradition of kindling these special lights, Judaism developed a nine-branched menorah (Hanukkiah). Eight of these branches represent the eight days of Hanukkah. The additional branch, which typically stands above the other eight branches, is called the shammash or servant. This is the first lamp kindled each night and the one from which the light is extended to all of the other branches on their appointed days. Thus, the shammash branch serves the others by giving them light.

The Light of Torah

Exodus 24:12 Tree of Life Version (TLV)
Then Adonai said to Moses, “Come up to Me on the mountain and stay there, and I will give you the tablets of stone with the Torah and the mitzvot, which I have written so that you may instruct them.”

          God, our Creator and King, gave His Torah to His servant Moses for it to be given to all of humanity—everyone willing to receive it. Torah literally means “instruction” and what is written in the Torah are the instructions pertinent to all life on Earth.

          Ecclesiastes 12:13 (CJB) says we are to, “fear God, and keep his mitzvot; this is what being human is all about.” A mitzvot is a word that refers to an instruction found in the Torah. Another translation says, “Fear God and keep His mitzvot! For this applies to all mankind.” The whole purpose of being alive on this planet is to fear (reverence) God and obey His Torah. On this night let us remember the light of Torah and the place it holds in our life.

The Shammash

Take the Shammash candle in your hand while reciting the following:

Mark 9:35 Tree of Life Version (TLV)
Sitting down, He called the Twelve and said to them, “If any man wants to be first, he shall be least of all and the servant of everyone.”

          Our Messiah tells us here that we, like Him, must be humbled to the point of being the least of all and the servant of everyone. We do this through submitting to Him and His Word first, because we cannot properly serve others if we are not fully submitted to serving Him and living in obedience to His Torah.

First Blessing: “Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us by His commandments, and has allowed us to kindle the lights of Hanukkah.”

Second Blessing: “Blessed are you, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe, who wrought miracles for our fathers in days of old, at this season.”

Light the Shammash candle and then proceed to use it to light the second night’s candles on the Hanukkiah, starting with the candle furthest to the left.

The Third Evening

Guide3Reading – adapted from Michael Lerner’s book Jewish Renewal: A Path To Healing And Transformation

Jewish-renewal communities supplement the candle lighting and gift giving with rituals designed to get us back in touch with the holiday. So after the lighting of the candles, Jewish renewalists try to tell the real story of Hanukkah, reclaiming its powerful message.

It is this message that should become the center of Jewish-renewal Hanukkah observance. There’s nothing wrong with giving children gifts, eating potato latkes, and making Hanukkah into a lovely eight-day holiday of family celebration. Yet the key is to build into the practice a way of telling the real story and of conveying the message that we must not get discouraged even though the craziness and evil in the world seem overwhelming at times, because they can be overcome through our activity as partners with God.

The Light of The Priesthood

Leviticus 24:3-4 Tree of Life Version (TLV)
Outside of the curtain of the Testimony, in the Tent of Meeting, Aaron is to keep it in order from evening to morning before Adonai continually. It is to be a statute forever throughout your generations. He is to keep the lamps in order on the pure gold menorah before Adonai continually.

          God Himself established a priesthood to stand as the bearers of light among the people. One of the roles of the Levites was to maintain the furnishings of the Tabernacle and later the Temple. Part of this duty included the light of the Menorah, which was to remain burning continually.

          We can apply this same principle to our lives and our homes today. In the home structure of a Biblical family the dominant male figure—the husband and father—is likened unto a priest in his home. He has the responsibility to live an uncompromised life chasing after the things of God. The wife/mother of the home is called to submit to her husband’s authority and stand beside him in support of his vision for the family. When this happens and a family lives in full commitment to God, following what He commanded in His Torah, the children will be raised with a foundation to serve God as well. Let us remember the light of the Priesthood.

The Shammash

Take the Shammash candle in your hand while reciting the following:

Philippians 2:7 Tree of Life Version (TLV)
But He emptied Himself—

taking on the form of a slave,
becoming the likeness of men
and being found in appearance as a man.

          Yeshua gave all; he held nothing back. In America there is a saying used to honor Military Veterans who paid the ultimate sacrifice in their death on the battlefield: “All gave some, some gave all”. This is because all who serve in the Armed Forces give something toward American freedom, but those who lost their life in service gave all that they had. Yeshua, likewise, gave all for us. In return, we who love Him should give all we can back to Him, even though our entire life pales in comparison to what He did for us.

First Blessing: “Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us by His commandments, and has allowed us to kindle the lights of Hanukkah.”

Second Blessing: “Blessed are you, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe, who wrought miracles for our fathers in days of old, at this season.”

Light the Shammash candle and then proceed to use it to light the third night’s candles on the Hanukkiah, starting with the candle furthest to the left.

The Fourth Evening

Guide4Reading – adapted from Kevin Geoffrey’s book The Real Story Of Chanukah: Dedicated To The Death

When I gaze upon the Hanukkah lights, my thoughts are not of miracles and merriment, but of the fire that still blazes in the heart of God, returning for my people to return wholeheartedly to Him. I think of those of my kin who fought and died for His Name, refusing to forget that ADONAI set them apart for a purpose… and I think of those who dwell today in presumed safety and freedom—to live as we please—having forgotten who God made us to be.

Are we willing to face arrest and torture; whipping and scourging; scalping and maiming? Are we prepared to have our tongues cut out, our hands and feet lopped off, our skin and hair ripped from our bodies? Could we bear being seared in a boiling caldron, our life billowing out of us in a cloud of smoke, fried away as steam from our mangled bodies? Would we still praise our Maker while being forced to watch out loved ones tormented and made sport of… every single one of our children butchered before our eyes?

…or can we as disciples of Messiah barely endure a harsh word or a nasty look for the sake of our convictions?

They (those oppressed by Antiochus Epiphanies) “died undefiled”. The question is…

…would we?

The Light of Praise

2 Samuel 22:29 Tree of Life Version (TLV)
For You are my lamp, Adonai.

Adonai shines in my darkness.

          This text comes from a song of David, the king of Israel who was known for his musical ability and his psalms of praise to ADONAI. Praise toward our God creates an atmosphere that expels darkness and brings the presence of the Almighty.

          When we praise demons tremble. When we praise we charge the atmosphere for miracles to happen. Hanukkah is a celebration of the miraculous. From the victory of the Maccabees to the legend of the Menorah light to the conception of our Messiah in the womb of a virgin girl, there happened a great miracle. When we praise, great miracles continue to happen here.

The Shammash

Take the Shammash candle in your hand while reciting the following:

Luke 22:25-27 Tree of Life Version (TLV)
And Yeshua said to them, “The kings of the nations have mastery over them, and those exercising authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’ But with you, it is not so. Rather, let the one who is greatest among you become like the youngest, and the one who leads like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who reclines or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines? But I am among you as one who serves.”

          Here again we see Yeshua present the example of servanthood. He tells us that the one who reclines is greater, and yet He, the greatest of all, says that He is among us as one who serves. True greatness is found in the example of serving others regardless of how great others may think we are.

First Blessing: “Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us by His commandments, and has allowed us to kindle the lights of Hanukkah.”

Second Blessing: “Blessed are you, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe, who wrought miracles for our fathers in days of old, at this season.”

Light the Shammash candle and then proceed to use it to light the fourth night’s candles on the Hanukkiah, starting with the candle furthest to the left.

The Fifth Evening

Guide5Reading – adapted from Perry Stones book Breaking The Jewish Code

Some Christians are surprised to discover that Yeshua (remember He was Jewish) went to Jerusalem to celebrate Hanukkah (John 10:22-23).

In Messiah’s day, the celebration was called the Feast of Dedication. Since Hanukkah is celebrated on the twenty-fifth of Kislev, and Kislev falls around the winter months (often in December), Jesus was at Jerusalem during winter. At that time, four large menorahs were placed outside the Temple’s outer court. Priests would ascend large ladders and pour fresh oil in the branches to keep the Temple compound bright. It was said that a person could stand upon the Mount of Olives and read a scroll at night because of the brightness of the lights.

It was also during this setting when Messiah announced He was the “light of the world” and then proceeded to cure a blind man. Just as Hanukkah is a celebration of oil and light, Yeshua was the light of the world, using the oil of the Spirit (anointing) to bring light to a blind man (John 9).

The Light of the World

John 8:12 Tree of Life Version (TLV)
Yeshua spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. The one who follows Me will no longer walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

          One of the great aspects of Hanukkah for the follower of Yeshua as their Messiah is that He was sent to be the light of the world. What more can even be said about Yeshua than that He is the light of the world and the light of life?

          Had He not come, the world would be in utter darkness and humanity would have no hope. He is the greatest of all the lights. He is the brightest of all the lights. His light is eternal, it can never be snuffed out. Let us remember tonight that Yeshua, our Master and Messiah, is the light of the world and the light of life.

The Shammash

Take the Shammash candle in your hand while reciting the following:

Acts 3:26 Tree of Life Version (TLV)
God raised up His Servant and sent Him first to you, to bless you all by turning each of you from your wicked ways.

          God sent His Son to be a servant to us, but with a purpose. His mission in this world was to become the ultimate sacrifice for sin. How can we say we love Him if we do not abandon sin—defined in 1 John 3:4 as the transgression of Torah—and serve Him in return with everything in our being? 1 John 2:4 says that if we claim to know Him and yet do not obey His Torah we are a liar and the truth is not in us. His service to us was to deliver us from our wicked ways… our sin. Let us not disgrace His atonement by claiming a false salvation where sin is allowed to continue.

First Blessing: “Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us by His commandments, and has allowed us to kindle the lights of Hanukkah.”

Second Blessing: “Blessed are you, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe, who wrought miracles for our fathers in days of old, at this season.”

Light the Shammash candle and then proceed to use it to light the fifth night’s candles on the Hanukkiah, starting with the candle furthest to the left.

The Sixth Evening

Guide6Reading – adapted from Sid Roth’s book The Incomplete Church

Hanukkah reminds us of the victory won by the Maccabees in 165 B.C., which insured the purity of the worship of God and preserved the distinctiveness of Israel and the Jewish identity. After God granted this tremendous victory, the people cleansed and rededicated the Temple. The Syrian ruler, Antiochus, had defiled the Temple [by sacrificing a pig on the altar] and turned it into a heathen shrine. Therefore, Hanukkah originated as a festival of the dedication or cleansing of the Temple.

The Book of Daniel predicted the rise of Antiochus and his defiling of the Temple (see Daniel 8; 10). Daniel also used Antiochus to represent a figure in the future whom Christian theologians call the anti-Messiah. He will also defile the Temple (in this case, the third Temple, which is not yet built). The anti-Messiah will cause great persecution for the Jewish people, a time known as Jacob’s trouble (see Jeremiah 30:4-7; Zechariah 13:8-9). At this time, Yeshua the Messiah, as the great Shepherd-leader, will come and win a tremendous victory greater than that won by Yehudah the Maccabee (see Zechariah 12-14; 1 Peter 5:4). He will save Israel and establish His worldwide rule.

Hanukkah looks back to a victory and the preservation of the Jewish people when they were in the land. For us, it looks forward to a time when our Jewish people will be preserved despite intense suffering. This preservation, again while the Jewish people are in the land, will culminate in the victory won by the Great Shepherd Yeshua.

The Light of the Apostles

Matthew 5:14-16 Tree of Life Version (TLV)
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they put it on a lampstand so it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men so they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

          The disciples received light from the Messiah. From there they took the light and began to do great and mighty works to carry on the legacy of Yeshua’s work in the Earth.

          These men who followed Yeshua as disciples would go on to become the Apostles, with the exception of one who betrayed his Master and Messiah. They did mighty exploits and carried the message of the cross to the known world, where it began to spread first to the Jewish communities and then to the Gentile nations. Many were brought into the commonwealth of Israel under Yeshua. Gentile peoples began to abandon the pagan ways of their fathers and embrace a new way of life: the Hebrew way. The Apostles came to know that all people were to be offered salvation through Yeshua and that Gentiles (non-Jews) were to be grafted into the “olive tree” of Israel. There is no such thing as a “Gentile Christian”, rather there are those who have become Hebrew—literally, set apart to God—and those who follow a counterfeit religion. Let us remember the light of the Apostles and the Hebraic roots of our faith that was established by these men in the latter part of the first century following the life and ministry of Yeshua the Messiah.

The Shammash

Take the Shammash candle in your hand while reciting the following:

John 13:12-15 Tree of Life Version (TLV)
So after He had washed their feet and put His robe back on and reclined again, He said to them, “Do you understand what I have done for you? You call Me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Master’—and rightly you say, for I am. So if I, your Master and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example—you should do for each other what I have done for you.

          One of the most humbling acts of servanthood displayed in the Scripture, our Messiah took on the task of washing the feet of His disciples. Many today have made this into a ritual practice and conduct “feet-washing services”, and there is nothing wrong with that. But during this time in history this was no pleasant task. Washing of feet was a common practice as people walked through unpaved streets with the feet covered only by open sandals. Upon entering a home they were offered the ability to wash their feet, but here the Messiah chose to take the task onto Himself to do this for His friends.

First Blessing: “Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us by His commandments, and has allowed us to kindle the lights of Hanukkah.”

Second Blessing: “Blessed are you, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe, who wrought miracles for our fathers in days of old, at this season.”

Light the Shammash candle and then proceed to use it to light the sixth night’s candles on the Hanukkiah, starting with the candle furthest to the left.

The Seventh Evening

Guide7Reading – adapted from Perry Stone’s book The Prophetic Future Concealed In Israel’s Festivals

It is possible that December 25, or at least that time of year, may have a connection to the birth of Messiah, but perhaps not in the way most people think. It is very likely that, instead of marking His birth, it is possibly the season when Miriam was visited by the angel and when she, shortly thereafter, conceived by the Ruach HaKodesh. In other words, her conception may have taken place at or around the time of Hanukkah, which begins on 25 Kislev.

This is especially noteworthy because, for centuries, Jewish mystics have argued that the Hanukkah lights should be seen, ultimately, as a hidden manifestation of the Messiah. If Miriam was visited at this time of year, this would put the birth of Messiah around the time of Yom Teruah (Feast of Trumpets) also known as Rosh HaShanah (literally, “head of the year”), or possibly the Feast of Tabernacles.

The Light of the Nations

Acts 13:47 Tree of Life Version (TLV)
For so the Lord has commanded us,

‘I have placed you as a light to the nations,
so that you may bring salvation to the end of the earth.’”

          From the first moment that God said, “Let there be light” and light was there has been a progression of light passed down. First the light of creation, then the light of Torah, the light of the priesthood, the light of praise, Yeshua the light of the world, and then the light of the Apostles. From there the light is given to all who will call upon the name of Messiah and truly serve Him with all their being.

          When you become a true follower of Messiah Yeshua, a true recipient of the Ruach HaKodesh, you have the lights of creation, Torah, priesthood, praise, Messiah, and the Apostles burning inside of your life. You become the shining example to the world of what the Scripture has to offer. People are tired of the counterfeit religion that has been delivered; they are looking for something real. Let us remember all of the lights we have remembered to this point and let us become a light to our world showing forth the true majesty of our faith.

The Shammash

Take the Shammash candle in your hand while reciting the following:

John 6:38 Tree of Life Version (TLV)
For I have come down from heaven not to do My own will but the will of the One who sent Me.

          Yeshua came not to do his own will, but the will of the Father. Today the Christian faith is plagued with a humanist mentality. People defy God by doing what is right in their own eyes, despite the commandment against this. They embrace ungodly things with the attitude of “That’s not what it means to me!” But as a true servant of Messiah we must not do our own will, whatever is right in our own eyes, but the will of Him who sent us. Yeshua served us that we might in return serve Him through obedience to His Torah. He is the living Torah (John 1:1, 14), and if He is alive in our life (Galatians 2:20) then our life will reflect this through obedience to His Torah.

First Blessing: “Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us by His commandments, and has allowed us to kindle the lights of Hanukkah.”

Second Blessing: “Blessed are you, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe, who wrought miracles for our fathers in days of old, at this season.”

Light the Shammash candle and then proceed to use it to light the sixth night’s candles on the Hanukkiah, starting with the candle furthest to the left.

The Eighth Evening

Closing Comments

Guide8          The world and the Christian Church, for the most part, has become much like the society of Hebrew people described in Judges 17:6, “In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.” Hanukkah marks a time in history when the people of God had a king, but that king was evil and forced God’s people to violate the Torah. But there was a family that stood firm in their faith, refusing to eat the flesh of swine, worship idols, break the Sabbath, or violate the Torah in any other way. They were willing to die rather than conform to the ways of the world around them.

          2 Corinthians 6:17 tells us, “Therefore, come out from among them, and be separate, says Adonai.” Who is them? It is anyone and everyone who lives differently than the way the Torah of God tells us to live. That includes all the people who go to Church faithfully but still live in opposition and open defiance to The Bible.

          Hanukkah provides a unique way to fulfill this in modern society. We live in a world where both secular society apart from God and the majority of the Christian Churches celebrate a holiday called Christmas, a celebration connected heavily to pagan traditions and has no direct connection to the message of the Bible. As Pastor Rod Parsley says in his book God’s End Time Calendar: “The beginning of God’s year is not January 1, the birthday of His Son is not December 25, and Resurrection Day is not Easter.” While the rest of the world and even most of the Christians are celebrating this counterfeit anti-Messiah holiday, Hanukkah offers Believers the opportunity to really “come out from among them, and be separate” by celebrating something that even Yeshua Himself appears to have participated in (John 10:22-23).

          The Greek king Antiochus Epiphanies that oppressed God’s people, to whom the Maccabees resisted against, is viewed as a depiction of the coming anti-Messiah. Today Hanukkah stands as a celebration that continues to be a choice to follow God’s Torah over an anti-Messiah celebration that has become masked as a Christian holiday.

          Hanukkah is also believed by some to have started as a late celebration of the Feast of Sukkot (aka Tabernacles) because the Maccabees and those who stood by them did not want to wait another year to celebrate this great Feast time. The Feast of Sukkot is all about abandoning the world around us and separating ourselves to God through dwelling in temporary structures. It is no wonder that Hanukkah has also become a celebration that provides Believers the option to truly “come out from among them, and be separate” by celebrating something that is mentioned in the Bible instead of something that is not, regardless of what’s popular or what everyone else is doing. So, let us conclude our celebration with rejoicing as we commit to be dedicated wholly to God and serve Him alone.

The Light of Eternity

Revelation 21:23-25 Tree of Life Version (TLV)
And the city has no need for the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God lights it up, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations shall walk by its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory into it. Its gates shall never be shut by day, for there shall be no night there!

          The final night of Hanukkah has come, and we are reminded that in time all things will come to an end and something new will begin.

          There is coming a day when Heaven and Earth will pass away and a new Heaven and Earth will emerge. In that day the Eternal Kingdom of God will reign.

          This passage from the Book of Revelation speaks of the city of God where those who serve Him in this lifetime will dwell with Him forever. In this place it is said that there will be no need for light structures such as a sun or a moon, the glory of God Himself will fill the place with eternal light. There will be no day or night, for light will be and will never diminish. During the celebration of this Festival of Lights we have observed numerous lights to remember, but now let us look forward to a light that is set in our future. Let us look toward the light of eternity and eternally dwelling in the presence of the God of Light.

The Shammash

Take the Shammash candle in your hand while reciting the following:

Mark 10:45 Tree of Life Version (TLV)
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”

          We end where we began, with Yeshua coming to serve humanity and give His life as a ransom for many. God is eternal; He has no beginning and no ending. When we choose to lay down our life—our own desires, whatever we think is right in our own eyes, whatever we have dreamed up something “means to us” despite what the Word of God says regarding the matter—then and then alone do we truly embrace the fullness of our Messiah in our life. He served us with His life; let us also serve Him with our whole life.

First Blessing: “Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us by His commandments, and has allowed us to kindle the lights of Hanukkah.”

Second Blessing: “Blessed are you, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe, who wrought miracles for our fathers in days of old, at this season.”

Light the Shammash candle and then proceed to use it to light the sixth night’s candles on the Hanukkiah, starting with the candle furthest to the left.

To learn more, CLICK HERE and check out all of the Truth Ignited articles.

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