THIS TIME OF CONVERGENCE: HANUKKAH AND CHRISTMAS2

December 15, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

THIS TIME OF CONVERGENCE: HANUKKAH AND CHRISTMAS
 

Shabbat Shalom everyone!
 

Zechariah the Prophet's proclamation of the LORD's words are the heart of the Hanukkah Shabbat Haftarah reading:
 

"Shout and be glad, Daughter Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,” declares the LORD. “Many nations will be joined with the LORD in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you will know that the LORD Almighty has sent me to you. The LORD will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land and will again choose Jerusalem. Be still before the LORD, all mankind, because he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.”
 

Although the LORD's words are directed toward His Chosen People living in Jerusalem after the Babylonian exile, the words themselves contain evidence that they are not meant for Abraham's physical descendants only; He says that, "Many nations will be joined with the LORD in that day and will become my people". We are among those Gentiles that He has joined to Himself.
 

HALLELUJAH!
 

So it is particularly exciting to me that at this time of the year our celebration of Hanukkah and Christmas coincide. I experience this excitement even though I know that the Church in the past deliberately chose December 25th, as the day to celebrate Christ's birth, to separate the Church from our Hebrew roots. It is, therefore, so ironic that the Pagan holiday they chose for this celebration happens to be at the time of the Jew's celebration of Hanukkah, the Maccabee's victory over Antiochus Epiphanes, and probably at about the time of the Angel Gabriel's visit to young Miriam in Nazareth and the conception of Yeshua.

So, as Joseph says to his brothers, "what you meant for evil, the LORD meant for good", and the Descendants of Jacob/Israel were saved from death by famine.

Interesting also, that Joseph's anguish gave rise to providing BREAD for the LORD's Chosen people at that time, and the Christmas story is all about the BREAD OF LIFE being born in BEIT LECHEM, the "House of Bread", that we know as Bethlehem.
 

Although we Christians do quote Micah 5,

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
    though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
    one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
    from ancient times.”

 

as a prophecy regarding the birth of the Messiah, we stop reading too soon; the remainder of the chapter indicates that there is much more to the Prophecy than simply the birth. The rest of the chapter, and the book, describe this "ruler", after the abandonment of Israel and their return to their ancient land, in this way:

"He will stand and shepherd his flock
    in the strength of the Lord,
    in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they will live securely, for then his greatness
    will reach to the ends of the earth."

That is, the Messiah has a great deal more to do than what we Christians believe He is doing among the Gentiles, the Church. Messiah, the "Good Shepherd", will come to Shepherd His people in their Land as He brings them back to live in the LAND Promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob/Israel.

Micah prophesies that Israel will, under their SHEPHERD, "live securely" in such a way that His, the Shepherd's, "greatness will reach to the ends of the earth". 

Another part of this word, found in Zechariah 2, that indicates a future fulfillment that we have not yet seen is:

 "‘Jerusalem will be a city without walls because of the great number of people and animals in it. And I myself will be a wall of fire around it,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will be its glory within.’"
 

Since we do not see that fulfilled yet, we can anticipate that His work is not yet completed and there is still time for us to rise up and participate in the work of the Lion of Judah.

Grace and I understand this as a challenge to us, as Gentile followers of Christ, to work with Israel as God draws Jews back to their ancestral LAND from all corners of the earth, particularly France and the Ukraine at this time, but also from Ethiopia, India, China and even from Canada and the USA. 

In Isaiah 49, the Sovereign LORD declares:

"See, I will beckon to the nations, [Gentiles],
    I will lift up my banner to the peoples;
they will bring your sons in their arms
    and carry your daughters on their hips."

When the Sovereign LORD, the Creator of the Universe, the God who called Abram, "beckons", we believe it to be more that just an option that we might want to consider. YHWH called Abram, and his obedience brought into existence His Chosen People through whom He will Bless all Nations; likewise we Gentiles are called to assist in the re-gathering of His people to their ancestral LAND, the LAND, of which it is said, "The Lord will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land and will again choose Jerusalem." 
 

This is the very LAND He chose as a Dwelling Place for His Holy Name.
 

When Israel declared itself a Nation and was re-established as such in 1948, the Temple Menorah was selected as the National Symbol:


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

The Menorah is seen above with the Knesset building behind it; and inscribed on the lower branch are the words from the Sovereign LORD to Zerubbabel in Zechariah 4: 

"This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty."
 

We PRAY that Israel will truly trust in that WORD; for the Sovereign LORD also promises, as quoted above:
 

"‘Jerusalem will be a city without walls because of the great number of people and animals in it. And I myself will be a wall of fire around it,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will be its glory within.’"
 

HALLELUJAH!
 


 


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