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All Christians Should Celebrate Hanukkah.  (revised and updated 12/13/22) 

Please allow me, Br. Shawn Benedict, to explain why. 

Hanukkah (Chanukah and Hanukah) commemorates the miracle of the holy oil for the Light of Presence in the rededicated Second Temple, lasting eight full days.  However, it was only enough oil for one day.  The word Hanukkah is derived from the Hebrew verb meaning to dedicate.  Therefore, Hanukkah is the feast of the Rededication of the Temple.  It is celebrated on the 25th day of the month of Kislev because that is when the Jewish People stopped fighting their oppressors.  The battle occurred during the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire, a Greek Hellenistic state ruled by the Seleucid dynasty from about 312 BC to 63 BC.  

The Rose Guide To The Temple actually published the following: 164 B. C.  On December 25, Judas Maccabaeus restores Jewish ritual by cleansing and rededicating the temple (first Hanukkah) after a successful revolt against Seleucids.  (Rose Publishing- Rose Guide To The Temple, Dr. J. Randall Price, pg. 65 [http://www.rosepublishing.com/Rose-Guide-To-The-Temple-P1038.aspx]). 

The story is preserved in the books of First and Second Maccabees in precise detail, including the actual lighting of the menorah.  It is in 1 Maccabees 4:36-61 "The Rededication of the Temple.  There are multiple references to Hanukkah in the Mishna (Bikkurim 1:6, Rosh HaShanah 1:3, Taanit 2:10, Megillah 3:4 and 3:6, Moed Katan 3:9, and Bava Kama 6:6), though specific laws are not described.  The miracle of the one-day supply of oil miraculously lasting eight days is first described in the Talmud, committed to writing about 600 years after the events described in the books of Maccabees." (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanukkah)

Talmud, Shabbat 23b.: Commencing with the twenty-fifth day of the month Kislev there are eight days upon which there shall be neither mourning nor fasting.  For albeit the Greeks entered the temple and defiled the oil, it was when the might of the Hasmonean overcame and vanquished them that, upon search, a single cruse of undefiled oil sealed by the High Priest was found.  In it was oil for the needs of a solitary day.

         Then it was that a miracle was wrought.

         The oil in the cruse burned eight days.


The following is a summary found on line of the Traditional view of Hanukkah.


When the Second Temple in Jerusalem was looted and services stopped, Judaism was outlawed.  In 167 BC, Antiochus ordered an altar to Zeus erected in the Temple.  He banned brit milah (circumcision) and ordered pigs to be sacrificed at the altar of the temple.[23]


Antiochus's actions provoked a large-scale revolt.  Mattathias (Mattityahu), a Jewish priest, and his five sons Jochanan, Simeon, Eleazar, Jonathan, and Judah led a rebellion against Antiochus starting with Mattathias killing first a Jew who wanted to comply with Antiochus's order to sacrifice to Zeus and then a Greek official who was to enforce the government's behest (1 Mac. 2, 24-25[24]).  Judah became known as Yehuda HaMakabi ("Judah the Hammer").  By 166 BC Mattathias had died, and Judah took his place as leader.  By 165 BC the Jewish revolt against the Seleucid monarchy was successful.  The Temple was liberated and rededicated.  The festival of Hanukkah was instituted to celebrate this event.[25] Judah ordered the Temple to be cleansed, a new altar to be built in place of the polluted one and new holy vessels to be made.  According to the Talmud, unadulterated and undefiled pure olive oil with the seal of the kohen gadol (high priest) was needed for the menorah in the Temple, which was required to burn throughout the night every night.  The story goes that one flask was found with only enough oil to burn for one day, yet it burned for eight days, the time needed to prepare a fresh supply of kosher oil for the menorah.  An eight-day festival was declared by the Jewish sages to commemorate this miracle.

The version of the story in 1 Maccabees states that an eight-day celebration of songs and sacrifices was proclaimed upon re-dedication of the altar, and makes no specific mention of the miracle of the oil. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanukkah )


The Scroll of Antiochus concludes with the following words:

...After this, the sons of Israel went up to the Temple and rebuilt its gates and purified the Temple from the dead bodies and from the defilement.  And they sought after pure olive oil to light the lamps therewith, but could not find any, except one bowl that was sealed with the signet ring of the High Priest from the days of Samuel the prophet and they knew that it was pure.  There was in it [enough oil] to light [the lamps therewith] for one day, but the God of heaven whose name dwells there put therein his blessing and they were able to light from it eight days.  Therefore, the sons of ?ashmonai made this covenant and took upon themselves a solemn vow, they and the sons of Israel, all of them, to publish amongst the sons of Israel, [to the end] that they might observe these eight days of joy and honour, as the days of the feasts written in [the book of] the Law; [even] to light in them so as to make known to those who come after them that their God wrought for them salvation from heaven.  In them, it is not permitted to mourn, neither to decree a fast [on those days], and anyone who has a vow to perform, let him perform it. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanukkah)


Celebrations usually include lighting a unique candelabrum that has nine branches, called the menorah (Chanukia/Hanukiah).  Each night one more candle is lit for the eight days of the holydays.  Usually, there is an additional branch up and above the others, called the shamash, Hebrew for the attendant, with which the candles are lit.  There are two different traditions (Hillel and Shammai) on how to light the candles.  The Shammai custom starts with 8 and goes to 1, while Hillel custom starts with 1 and goes to 8 candles.  Jewish Law and practice decided on the custom of Hillel.

 In thinking about why we might celebrate this Miracle of God three reasons have come to mind. 

 My first reason to celebrate Hanukkah is this miracle is in Sacred Scripture.  The books of 1 and 2 Maccabees are not part of the Tanakh, the Palestinian Hebrew Jewish Bible, or canon.  These books, however, are included in the Alexandrian Jewish canon known as the Septuagint.  21st Century Jews of all traditions widely accept the Septuagint.  It is referenced and compared against the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Latin ancient manuscripts of Sacred Scripture by all those who work in the field of research for the most ancient and accurate texts of Sacred Scriptures.  We also know the King James Bible of 1611, revered as the Protestant Bible, was initially published with these books in it and that over time, printers dropped the so-called deuterocanonical and apocryphal books and thereby gave rise to the so-called Protestant  Bible being different than the so-called Catholic and Orthodox Bibles.  (Bruce M. Metzger)

 As you can see, this omission is not based on any actual difference in Theology but on the result of publishers omitting approximately 17  books and parts of books.  So, in reality, all Christians should celebrate this miracle that is recorded in the Bible.  We rejoice that the God Who is Light (1 John 1:5) demonstrated to the Jewish People after one of their captivity experiences the Divine real presence by sustaining the human-crafted Light of God lantern in the Temple for eight days with a one-day supply of oil.  Maintaining the light was an act of grace.  Perhaps we can hear the echo of the famous words, My grace is enough for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness, which Resurrected and Ascended Our Lord Jesus said to Paul in a vision.  (2 Cor. 12:9)

 My second reason to celebrate Hanukkah is it is a miracle of lights, a Festival of the Light of God coming into the darkness of the evil of the world of the destroyed Temple during captivity in the story of Israel, but also into the destroyed Temple of the Earth due the sinful and selfish choices of humanity, and a false desire to be like God (Genesis 3:4), and into the unique temple of each heart, mind, and soul that is in constant need of rededication to God and being filled with the Light of Christ and the powerful ministry of the Holy Spirit.  God is Light, and in God, there is no darkness at all. (1John 1:5).

 Now we know that Jesus is the Light to the Nations, Gentiles, and the glory of Israel, as Simeon declared in the Temple (Luke 2:32).  Jesus is the Light of the World, and He has promised that all who follow Jesus will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.  (John 8:12)  Having received the Light of Christ, we are now called to be that Light for all people everywhere.  (Matthew 5:14)

 Now Christ has commanded the Church to go to the ends of the earth as a light to the Gentiles, the Nations, to bring salvation to all nations.  (Acts 13:47 and Matthew 28:19)

My third reason to celebrate Hanukkah is a fresh understanding of why the miracle lasted eight days and why there are eight candles to be lit, with one more as the servant candle used to light the others.

 Back on December 24, in the year 2016, it occurred to me during some prayer time that there is another reason there are eight candles and one in the middle as the servant candle.

 When Peter discussed the time it is taking before Jesus returns to set up His Kingdom on Earth as it is in Heaven in 2 Peter Chapter 3, he referenced Psalm 90:4 where it says a thousand years are like a day come and gone.  So Peter writes: Remember this; one day before the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years are as one day. 

 Barnabas, in his Letter, explains and develops this further when he writes:

Barnabas 14:6
For it is written how the Father chargeth Him to deliver us from
darkness, and to prepare a holy people for Himself.

Barnabas 14:7
Therefore saith the prophet; I the Lord thy God called thee in
righteousness, and I will lay hold of thy hand and will strengthen
thee, and I have given thee to be a covenant of the race, a light
to the Gentiles, to open the eyes of the blind, and to bring forth
them that are bound from their fetters, and them that sit in
darkness from their prison house.
 We perceive then whence we were ransomed.

Barnabas 14:8
Again the prophet saith; Behold I have set Thee to be a light unto the Gentiles, that Thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth; thus saith the Lord that ransomed thee, even God.

Barnabas 14:9
Again the prophet saith; The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
wherefore He anointed Me to preach good tidings to the humble; He hath sent Me to heal them that are broken-hearted, to preach release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord and the day of recompense, to comfort all that mourn.

Barnabas 15:1
Moreover concerning the Sabbath likewise it is written in the Ten Words, in which He spake to Moses face to face on Mount Sinai; And ye shall hallow the Sabbath of the Lord with pure hands and with a pure heart.

Barnabas 15:2
And in another place He saith; If my sons observe the Sabbath then I will bestow My mercy upon them.

Barnabas 15:3
Of the Sabbath He speaketh in the beginning of the creation; And God made the works of His hands in six days, and He ended on the seventh day, and rested on it, and He hallowed it.

Barnabas 15:4
Give heed, children, what this meaneth; He ended in six days.  He meaneth this, that in six thousand years the Lord shall bring all things to an end; for the day with Him signifyeth a thousand years; and this He himself beareth me witness, saying; Behold, the day of the Lord shall be as a thousand years.  Therefore, children, in six days, that is in six thousand years, everything shall come to an end.

Barnabas 15:5
And He rested on the seventh day.  this He meaneth; when His Son shall come, and shall abolish the time of the Lawless One, and shall judge the ungodly, and shall change the sun and the moon and the stars, then shall he truly rest on the seventh day.

Barnabas 15:6
Yea and furthermore He saith; Thou shalt hallow it with pure hands and with a pure heart.  If therefore a man is able now to hallow the day which God hallowed, though he be pure in heart, we have gone utterly astray.

Barnabas 15:7
But if after all then and not till then shall we truly rest and
hallow it, when we shall ourselves be able to do so after being
justified and receiving the promise, when iniquity is no more and all things have been made new by the Lord, we shall be able to hallow it then, because we ourselves shall have been hallowed first.

Barnabas 15:8
Finally He saith to them; Your new moons and your Sabbaths I cannot away with.  Ye see what is His meaning ; it is not your present Sabbaths that are acceptable [unto Me], but the Sabbath which I have made, in the which, when I have set all things at rest, I will make the beginning of the eighth day which is the beginning of another world.

Barnabas 15:9
Wherefore also we keep the eighth day for rejoicing, in the which also Jesus rose from the dead, and having been manifested ascended into the heavens.

SOURCE: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/barnabas-lightfoot.html


Thus, taken together, Peter, and more specifically Barnabas put forth the idea that the Church age is the Sixth Day, and when it is over, the Seventh Day the Millennial Rest shall come in, and the Book of Revelation shows that to be for 1, 000 years, or One Day.  After the Seventh Day, the Sabbath Rest, the Millennial Rest, the Eighth Day will begin, the New Heavens and the New Earth are brought in, and God is All In All as stated in 1 Corinthians 15:24-28 where Jesus hands over the Kingdom to God.


1 Corinthians 15:24-28. -- "Then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule, and all authority and power.  For He must reign till He hath put all enemies under His feet.  The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.  For He hath put all things under His feet.  But when He saith, All things are put under Him, it is manifest that He is excepted, which did put all things under Him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him, that God may be all in all."


Once again, we will see the perfect manifestation of their being one God of all, who is over all and through all and in all.  (Ephesians 4:6) In the glory of the Eighth Day Revelation Chapter 21 gives a detailed description of what we should expect, including; And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with humanity, and God will dwell with them, and they shall be God's people.  God will personally be with them and be their God.  (Revelation 21:3)

Here is what I have come to understand today, now December 25.  There are eight candles on the menorah, one for each day, each Dispensation and the tall candle in the middle, the shamash, Hebrew for the attendant, is God the Light passing that Light to each and every age of the human story through presenting the Divine Self in service to the creation.  Look at this analogy:

the First candle represents the First Dispensation = Innocence (to the fall of Adam and Eve)    (Genesis 1:26 to 2:23)

the Second candle represents the Second Dispensation = Conscience 

                                    (Genesis 3 to 7)   (to the flood of Noah)

the Third candle represents the Third Dispensation = Human Government

                  (Genesis 8:1 to 11:9)   (to the building of the Tower of Babel)

the Fourth candle represents the Fourth Dispensation = Promise - Abraham

                  (Genesis 11:10 to 15:21) (to the falling into Egyptian slavery)

the Fifth candle represents the Fifth Dispensation = Law  - Moses

                             (Sinai -  Exodus 19:1-8 to Jesus declaring It is finished

                                    while He was speaking from the Cross)

the Sixth candle represents the Sixth Dispensation = Church

                  Pentecost to the coming of Christ in the air, the resurrection of

                  the believing dead and the transformation of the believing living,

                  to meet the Lord in the air and the revealing of the Man Of Sin

                  and the Tribulation period of seven years to the Return Of

                  Christ to the earth to judge the living nations.

the Seventh candle represents the Seventh Dispensation = The Millennial                       Rest, the Kingdom of Christ on Earth until the Great White Throne Judgment, also called The Second Death in Scripture

the Eighth candle represents the Eighth Dispensation = New Heavens and New Earth, Creation renewed and restored to holiness.

With these three reasons, 1) Hanukkah is in Sacred Scripture and therefore a miracle for all of the People of God, 2) It is the celebration of God's presence of Light in the world, and we know Jesus is the manifestation of The Light of God has come into the world, and 3) my personal newly understood parallel between the eight candles with the eight dispensations with the 9th being the very God Who is Light serving us as God's own created creatures as an act of Love to smash the rule of sin and darkness and bring all creation to the very Being of the Loving God as an act of salvation; it is clear to me we are called to celebrate Hanukkah.

Signed: Rev. Br. Shawn F. Benedict, Pastor  12-13-2022 revision




1st night 12/7/23
1st Dispensation
2nd Night 12/8/23
2nd Dispensation Conscience
3rd Night 12/9/23
3rd Dispensation
Human Government
4th Night 12/10/23
4th Dispensation
5th Night 12/11/23
5th Dispensation
6th Night 12/12/23
6th Dispensation
Church / Grace
7th Night 12/13/23
7th Dispensation
8th Night 12/14/23
8th Dispensation
New Heavens
New Earth
God is "All in All"
Page updated
7:40 p.m.

From Pastor Benedict in the hour of the shooting in the Tree Of Life Synagogue in Pittsburg, PA today, October 27, 2018. My heart is hurting for the Jewish Community today. My mind is telling me to be involved in political action and do all I can to protect and advance liberty and justice for all. I can do this by being constantly active in conversation, and by being active in voting. VOTE please VOTE for liberty and justice for all. God, please comfort the families of these martyrs of faith, as well as those in law enforcement who risked their lives to protect the innocent. These people have died because they love and worship you, God. They were murdered during their weekly worship. Eleven people have died and many more have been injured. God, we ask you to comfort those who have suddenly been left behind tonight, those who will have someone missing from their home as of this afternoon. Comfort those family and friends of those voices that will not be heard again, whose arms will not hold again, whose hands will not touch again, who were taken from the Earth today while they were at worship. Oh God, help us learn how to respect each other and realize we are all equal members of your Creation. Any hate crime is a hateful assault on you, God. Forgive our hate that is all self-centered. Teach us to live in respect and sacred Love. Lord, hear our prayer.  Shalom aleichem on all who are hurting.

October 31 update:
Last evening Tuesday, October 30, we participated in a community memorial  for the eleven victims murdered in the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. The memorial was at 7:00 p.m. in the Congregation Kol Ami synagogue, which is at 1008 West Water Street, Elmira, NY 14905. Here is the text of the prayer I was honored to lead at the service:  "How abundant are Your works, Adoni; with wisdom You have made them all; the earth is full of Your possessions."  Avinu Sh'bashamayim, Master of the Universe, Have mercy on all who suffer from terrorism and wars, in Israel and the world over.  Protect all of Your creatures against violence; weaken the hands of villains, and lead them to the path of goodness and complete repentance.   Prevent natural disasters: earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, raging fires and tornadoes.  Have compassion on all the displaced, homeless, and starving people in Your world.  Have mercy on your creations.  Comfort the mourners, and heal the injured.  Open our hearts to all human beings in all four corners of the earth.  Eradicate evil from among all the inhabitants of Your world.  A is written:  "You allowed people to subjugate us; we went through fire and water and You brought us out to a place of abundance." (Psalms 66:12)  This prayer was provided by Rabbi Steinitz.

Please continue to remember the grieving and frightened.


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Read a short article explaining that the original King James Version of 1611 did in fact contain all of the books designated as Apocryphal / Deuterocanonical by some traditions.  This shows there should be no distinction between a so-called "Catholic" and a so-called "Protestant" Bible based upon the presence of the absence of these books.  To read this article Click Here.
    See the recording of the short service RIGHT CLICK HERE.

    See the recording of the short service RIGHT CLICK HERE.

    See the recording of the short service RIGHT CLICK HERE.

FOURTH NIGHT Service 12-10-23 5:00 p.m.  Right Click Here.
    See the recording of the short service RIGHT CLICK HERE.

    See the recording of the short service RIGHT CLICK HERE.

    See the recording of the short service RIGHT CLICK HERE.

    See the recording of the short service RIGHT CLICK HERE.

EIGHTH NIGHT Service 12-14-23 5:00 p.m.  RIGHT CLICK HERE.
    See the recording of the short service RIGHT CLICK HERE.
Kaiden Rae Benedict, formerly known as Kenneth Richard Ryan, is seen here lighting the eight candles of the Hanukkah Menorah on December 17, 2020.

See the recording of the First Night Service RIGHT CLICK HERE.

See the recording of the Second Night Service RIGHT CLICK HERE.

See the recording of the Third Night Service. Right Click Here.

FOURTH NIGHT Service  Right Click Here
See the recording of the Fourth Night Service. RIGHT CLICK HERE.

See the recording of the Fifth Night Service.  RIGHT CLICK HERE.

See the recording of the Sixth Night Service.  RIGHT CLICK HERE.

See the recording of the Seventh Night Service.  RIGHT CLICK HERE.

See the recording of the Eighth Night Service. Right Click Here

The Second Annual Prayers At Noon Together
on the International Holocaust Remembrance Day
was held on Friday, January 27, 2023 at Noon, online, and was a virtual event. 
The prayers were three psalms, a Scripture reading, and a closing prayer.
Psalms were sung congregationally and led by Pastor Br. Shawn Benedict of Ray Of Hope Church.  Download the Order of Worship Right Click Here.  In the short sermon the colors of the triangles sewn to the prisoner identification patches was presented.  You may view the chart of the triangle color patches in the Nazi prison camps:Right Click Here.  View the Facebook video recording Right Click Here.

The Third Annual Prayers At Noon Together on the International Holocaust Remembrance Day will take place Saturday, January 27, 2024 at NOON.  It will be in-person and virtual.  Mark your calendar and plan to attend.