Happy Hanukkah! Merry Christmas!

by | Dec 20, 2011 | Purpose & Identity

donfinto_croppedChristmas is not a biblical holiday, but let’s use it to the
glory of God. Hanukkah is a biblical holiday, and let’s use it also to
the glory of God.

Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus even though he was
almost certainly not born on Christmas day (see below if interested in that
story).

If today, during this season, much of the world is
remembering the night of Jesus’ birth, singing, “Joy to the world, the
Lord is come!” then I will choose to join them, praying that tens of
thousands around the world will suddenly realize who this “Emmanuel,”
this “God with us” man is, and will accept Him not only as the
promised Messiah of Israel, but also their personal Redeemer and the Savior of
all mankind!  

Granted, it’s quite confusing mixing Rudolph, Frosty and
Santa in there, but let’s peel back the games, and get to the one who is Truth. 

Jesus was in Jerusalem during Hanukkah, the Feast of
Dedication (John 10:22). Hanukkah celebrates one of those times (there have been
many) when the Jewish people were being threatened with extinction. The prophet
Daniel had predicted a Greek king whose empire would be broken into four (Dan.
11:4), bringing a “contemptible ruler” (Dan. 11:21) who would
“desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then
they will set up the abomination that causes desolation” (Dan. 11:31),
“but the people who know their God will firmly resist him” (Dan.
11:32).

That Greek king was Alexander the Great, whose kingdom was
divided among four generals. Antiochus IV (Epiphanes) ruled over Israel, and
demanded that Jews give up the uniqueness of their faith and join the world in
worshiping the gods.  

A statue of Zeus was placed in the Temple in Jerusalem, and
a pig was offered on the altar. Torah observance was outlawed. Sons could no
longer be circumcised according to the covenant. It was a time of “join
the enemy” or be killed.

But a priestly family in Modi’in just outside Jerusalem
refused to bow to the gods. Mattathias and his four sons led the revolt that
overthrew Antiochus’ forces, took back Jerusalem and began to cleanse the
Temple. Son Judah became the leader and was known as the
“Macabee”—the “hammer.”  

The story goes that they could find only enough oil for one
day, but it would take eight days properly to purify oil. The Menorah was
lighted, but the oil miraculously lasted the full eight days. Thus the eight
days of celebration, and thus also the saying, “Without Hanukkah, there
would have been no ‘Christmas.'”

Let us use this biblical holiday to glorify the God of
deliverance and to resolve never to compromise our faith in the one true God
and His Son, Yeshua the Messiah.  

Don Finto is the founder of The Caleb Company (calebcompany.com),
a prophetic fathering ministry named after Israel’s fearless warrior whom the
Bible describes as a man with a “different spirit,” who was still
conquering territory into old age and whose descendants inherited the land. Don
was pastor of Belmont Church in Nashville, Tenn., for more than 25 years where,
during the height of the Jesus movement, his own personal encounter with the
Holy Spirit enabled him to be a leader for many who were turning to Jesus
during that time, including some of the early contemporary Christian music
artists and Jewish young people.

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