Christians Should Celebrate Hanukkah. (revised
and updated 12/13/22)
allow me, Br. Shawn Benedict, to explain why.
(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.
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]).
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."
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
it was that a miracle was wrought.
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.
Antiochus's actions provoked a large-scale revolt. Mattathias
(Mattityahu), a Jewish priest, and his five sons Jochanan,
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). 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. 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)
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
thinking about why we might celebrate this Miracle of God three reasons have
come to mind.
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)
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).
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
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)
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.
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.
in his Letter, explains and develops this further when he writes:
For it is written how the Father chargeth Him to deliver us from
darkness, and to prepare a holy people for Himself.
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.
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.
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.
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.
And in another place He saith; If my sons observe the Sabbath then I will
bestow My mercy upon them.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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)
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:
candle represents the First Dispensation = Innocence (to the fall of Adam and
1:26 to 2:23)
candle represents the Second Dispensation = Conscience
(Genesis 3 to
7) (to the flood of Noah)
candle represents the Third Dispensation = Human Government
(Genesis 8:1 to 11:9) (to the building of the Tower of Babel)
candle represents the Fourth Dispensation = Promise - Abraham
(Genesis 11:10 to 15:21) (to
the falling into Egyptian slavery)
candle represents the Fifth Dispensation = Law - Moses
(Sinai - Exodus 19:1-8 to Jesus declaring It is
while He was
speaking from the Cross)
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.
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
candle represents the Eighth Dispensation = New Heavens and New Earth, Creation renewed
and restored to holiness.
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.
Rev. Br. Shawn F. Benedict, Pastor
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.
* Scroll Window→
New feature added 12-8-2023. Read this article in PDF format and not have to scroll through Click Here.
From the ABOUT page: My Jewish Learning is all about empowering Jewish discovery for anyone interested in learning more. We offer thousands of articles, videos and other resources to help you navigate all aspects of Judaism and Jewish life - from food to history to beliefs and practices.
Our site is geared toward all backgrounds and level of knowledge. So whether you're a Hebrew school dropout seeking a refresher on how to light the Hanukkah menorah or a synagogue president looking for a new perspective on the week's Torah portion or a newcomer contemplating converting to Judaism - we have something for you.
If you like what you see, sign up for our daily newsletter.
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.
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.