Chanukkah
Junior Level

Life is hard and sometimes we fall but God is faithful and willing to forgive us when we go to Him earnestly in repentance.  Today we will be studying what it means to rededicate ourselves unto the LORD.  I pray you will be encouraged and blessed as we venture into God’s word together.  God Bless you all.

Handout: Chanukkah

We learn in 2 Samuel 7, that in the time of King David, he wanted to build a Temple for The LORD, however, God would not allow him to because David had been a warrior.  God did tell David that his son Solomon would build The Temple and God did allow David to make the plans and preparations for the building.  We will be going now to 2 Chronicles where the Temple has been built and now it was being sanctified, dedicated, or Set Apart for the dwelling of God’s Spirit.  The people of Israel were preparing to worship their God…The one true GOD.

2 Chronicles 7:1-10   1Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the house. 2And the priests could not enter into the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD had filled the LORD's house.

 3And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the LORD upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever. 4Then the king and all the people offered sacrifices before the LORD.
 5And king Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty and two thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep: so the king and all the people dedicated the house of God. 
6And the priests waited on their offices: the Levites also with instruments of musick of the LORD, which David the king had made to praise the LORD, because his mercy endureth for ever, when David praised by their ministry; and the priests sounded trumpets before them, and all Israel stood. 7Moreover Solomon hallowed the middle of the court that was before the house of the LORD: for there he offered burnt offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings, because the brasen altar which Solomon had made was not able to receive the burnt offerings, and the meat offerings, and the fat. 8Also at the same time Solomon kept the feast seven days, and all Israel with him, a very great congregation, from the entering in of Hamath unto the river of Egypt.
 9And in the eighth day they made a solemn assembly: for they kept the dedication of the altar seven days, and the feast seven days.10And on the three and twentieth day of the seventh month he sent the people away into their tents, glad and merry in heart for the goodness that the LORD had shewed unto David, and to Solomon, and to Israel his people.
So here we see that the Temple is so important to the Jewish people because it was the symbol of God’s presence and it was the place set apart for worship and prayer to HIM.  It was everything to them.  The Temple was the spiritual center of the whole nation because GOD’S Spirit dwelt there.

If you will notice in the scriptures we just read, it states that they dedicated the Temple unto the LORD.  That word Dedicate in the Hebrew is Chanuk.  We all have seen this word before in Chanukkah or Hanukkah.  Chanukkah is celebrated by the Jewish people in the month of Kislev on the Jewish calendar which usually happens on our calendar in the month of December. 

During the period between when the old days ended and new testament days began, there were a number of rulers that oppressed the Jewish People and Jerusalem…There were about 13 Monarchs that ruled from the area of Syria over a period of about two and a half  centuries all called Antiochus but there was a particular one who was the worst.  His name was Antiochus Epiphanes…Antiochus IV.  He too was a Syrian ruler who oppressed the Jewish people but Antiochus IV thought himself to be God and he wanted to be acknowledged as divine.  It was about the year 167 B.C., he came barreling into Jerusalem, slaughtered Jews and set up an idol of Zeus.  Being Greek, he worshipped Zeus and thus commanded everyone stop the worship of God and to begin Greek worship there in Jerusalem.  This specific ruler did some major things that were horrific to the Jewish people when he came into power.

  1. He exchanged Hebrew priest for Greek Priests in the temple.
  2. He forbid the offerings and sacrifices to GOD.
  3. He stopped the Sabbath Day.
  4. He stopped the circumcision of new born sons.
  5. He stopped the celebration of the Feasts.
  6. He sacrificed pigs on the alter to Zeus.
  7. He built alters and shrines to Zeus.
  8. He sent the Jewish People into hiding because he was out to kill them.

 

Can you image how the Jewish people must have felt when he used the alter of the LORD MOST HIGH, to offer pigs…pigs of all things to a pagan god, in the Temple of the MOST HIGH.  They were HORRIFIED!  The Temple was the abode of GOD’S Spirit in those days.  It was EVERYTHING to them.  Then some heathen ruler comes in and tells them they cannot worship The TRUE GOD…The ONE who brought them out of Egypt, who had provided for them and cared for them.  HE had commanded them to never have other god’s before HIM…This was devastating to the Jewish people.  More than we can even imagine. 

Eventually, a revolt started from a Jewish family known as the Makabim.  There was a Jewish priest named Mattathias in those days and one day a Greek official tried to force him to sacrifice a pig on the alter to Zeus.  Mattathias refused and ended up killing the official.  When Antiochus IV Epiphanes heard of this he began reprisals, however the Jews rose up with Mattathias and his five sons and fought for their freedom. 
The family of Mattathias became known as the Maccabees, from the Hebrew word, “Hammer”, because they were said to have struck hammer blows to their enemies.  After a period of three years passed, the Jewish people eventually over threw the Greek rule over them.  The Makabim came into power defeating the Greeks and they went back to Jerusalem to cleanse the temple.  This is where Chanukkah comes from.  It’s the celebration of the cleansing and rededication of the Temple unto the LORD GOD. 

They cleansed the temple inside and out and sanctified it and rededicated it to The LORD.  When they went to light the Menorah, or the seven branched candle stick they noticed that they only had enough oil to last for one day.  They had to have a special kind of oil…It had to be oil that had the priestly seal on it, which was the first pressing of the olives and a sacrifice to the LORD.  They decided to light it anyway. 

Now normally one jug of oil would last one day.  Then, the next morning when the oil had burned up they would add more oil to keep the Menorah lights burning.  On this particular instance, on the next day , when they went back, the one and only jug of oil that they had, kept lasting.  It had more oil in it and it lasted for 8 days!  This gave the priests time to go and crush the olives and present new fresh oil that were sanctified by God through the hands of the Priests.  This was the miracle of Chanukkah. 

The original Menorah that God told Moses to build had seven branches…the Central branch with three branches on each side.  Today, a Chanukkah Menorah has nine branches, the central branch and then four on each side to represent the eight days God provided the oil. 

But we see that Chanukkah or Hanukkah is a celebration of the rededication of the Temple…the place set apart for God’s presence and for worship and prayer to HIM.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “ 19What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.”
 Just as in the days of Antiochus IV…Satan is trying to defile the Temple.  When we accepted Christ as LORD and Savior, God’s Holy Presence set up abode in our hearts.  That is why Paul wrote that our bodies are a Temple.  Satan wants so badly to defile us and get us to do horrible sins against our own bodies because he is trying to desecrate the dwelling place of The Almighty.  That’s why he comes at a believer with every temptation he can think of.  That is why it is a war between evil and good in our minds and hearts.  It’s why Paul wrote in Ephesians 6 that we should arm ourselves with the armor of God to protect us from satan’s schemes and in the battle.  Without Christ, we are no match for him. 

The enemy comes at our minds and tries to tear us down.  Has he ever told you that you are no good?  Has he ever tried to make you think you are worthless?  Has he ever told you that you can’t do anything for God?  Dear One, he is a liar.  There is no truth in him.  (John 8:44)  The truth is that you are wonderfully made.

Psalm 139:14 “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”

When you repent of your sins, believing that Jesus is the Son of God, and asking HIM to be the LORD of your life, He sanctifies you and comes to live and therefore you are made worthy…Praise the LORD!!!

Has life crushed you?  Have you been beaten down by the battle?  Have you ran in surrender?  Have you fallen in to a pit of sin and been defiled by satan?  Have you committed the same sin over and over again for years and you don’t know how to stop?  Has your temple been desecrated?  Oh Beloved!!! Do not Despair!  You can have a Chanukkah!!!  Praise The LORD…You can rededicate yourself to our FATHER!  He longs for you to do that. 

2 Peter 3:9 “The LORD is not slack concerning HIS promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”   Thank YOU LORD :O)

You can rededicate your life and your heart to The LORD.  He has never left you, but if you have left HIM, you can return.  You can have a Chanukkah.  You may be thinking, but I’ve done that already many times…how many times can I?  I say to you with all honesty…as many times as it takes!  God knows your heart and if you are sincere in your repentance…and if you are trying your best, HE will cleanse you and help you to turn away from that sin that defiles your Temple.  You can return to the true lover of your soul. 

I urge you today, if life has broken you down, go to your FATHER…rededicate yourself, have a Chanukkah and feel the presence of Your God again.  Return to Your home and live in the plans God has for you.  He is waiting for you to come home because He loves you so.  Happy Chanukkah!!!

Dear Righteous, Holy Father…

Thank You so much for Your love and mercy.  Thank You for loving us so much that You are longsuffering and patient with us.  Thank You for forgiving us and cleansing us and letting us start over again until You complete that work that You have started in us.  Help us to rededicate ourselves to You for as many times as it takes to walk in Your perfect will.  We will ever love You and Praise You…In Jesus name…Amen.

~*Cindygirl*~
December 5, 2010