Fourteen Candles: Hanukkah and Christmas

A Hanukkah Message for Christians

Fourteen candles.    DVD - Fourteen is a special number in Scripture.  It’s the number of the name David, and it stands for the authority of the Son of David to rule and reign over this world. 

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Listen to Rendelman's Hanukkah Message

Isaiah 9:6.  For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty El, the everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7.  Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of Yahweh Sabaoth will perform this.

   Today we have lighted fourteen candles – five for Advent and nine for Hanukkah.  (Today is the second day of Hanukkah.)  Advent candles mark the four weeks of waiting for the coming of the Anointed Child.  Hanukkah candles mark the eight days it took to rededicate the Jerusalem Temple after the Greeks had desecrated it – one candle for each day.  That accounts for thirteen candles.  I’ll tell you what the fourteenth candle represents in a few minutes. 

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   You may now be wondering what Hanukkah, a minor Jewish holiday, has to do with Christmas, and why we give it mention.  Besides the fact that Jesus celebrated it (John 10:22), it has a lot to do with awaiting a Savior, and special meaning for our time.  Before I get into that, let me relate a sad Christmas story that my friend wrote me.  He wrote: 

   It was sleeting as I loaded up my trunk with gifts outside the mall.  One of the receipts flew away in the wind.  I slammed the trunk and ran after it.  I came upon a boy sitting on a step sniveling.  He was wearing only a flannel shirt and clutching a hundred dollar bill in his little fingers.  I asked him what was wrong, and if I could help.  He said he was the oldest of seven children.  His mother worked three jobs to make ends meet and managed to save $200 for Christmas.  On the way to the job, she left him off at the mall with two hundred-dollar bills.  The boy would buy gifts for his family and save enough to take the bus home. 

   But before he could even get into the mall, an older boy yanked one of the hundred dollar bills out of his hand and disappeared.  I asked the boy, “Did you scream for help?”  He mumbled through his tears, “Yes, I did.  But nobody came.”  I asked him, “How loud did you scream?”  The boy looked up and hoarsely muttered, “Help me; help me ...”  Then I realized that no one could have possible heard the boy’s cry for help.  So, being a little short after all that shopping, I grabbed his other hundred and ran to my car.

   You didn’t know I had a friend like that did you – a powerful man who would steal what was left of Christmas from a child?  It should make you wonder who’s stealing Christmas from you.  And here’s where the meaning of Hanukkah comes in.

   When the pagan Greeks came into Israel, their intention wasn’t to destroy the land and its people like most conquerors, but assimilate it into Greek culture and religion.  There are four things the Greeks stole from the Jews by creating laws.  They:

   1. Outlawed circumcision.

Genesis 17:10.  This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.

Circumcision was the sign of the unique covenant, mission, purpose and relationship between Yahweh and his children.  The pagan Greeks stole the outward sign of a peoples’ relationship with Yahweh.

   2. Outlawed their keeping the seventh-day Sabbath. 

Exodus 31:17.  The Sabbath is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever: for in six days Yahweh made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.

The Sabbath was their weekly messenger that Yahweh created heaven and earth in six days and rested on the seventh; that it wasn’t some consortium of pagan gods or nature itself through which the world came to be.  The Greeks stole away their weekly messenger.

   3. Outlawed the Hebrew calendar

Daniel 7: 25.  (Speaking of the Greek king:) And he shall speak great words against the most High ... and think to change times and laws.

Without the calendar, the Jews could no longer rightly set the feasts and holy days commanded by Yahweh.  So the pagan Greeks stole their means of setting worship and fulfilling their covenant with the Almighty, who chose them and wanted to bless them as long as they’d keep his commandments.

   4. The Greeks outlawed the study of the Bible.

Psalms 119:105.  Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

   By legally outlawing the Torah, the Calendar and the signs of covenant with Yahweh, the Greeks stole Israel’s religious identity.  And though most didn’t like this, they just went along with the changes in law and customs.  Then, in addition to outlawing true worship, the Greeks introduced every kind of pagan practice, sports event, filthiness and exotic luxury to further steal the identity of the people of G-d and make Greeks of them.  And most of the people went right along, even to the taking of Greek names and gods, until the Temple itself was desecrated by the sacrifice of a hog to false gods. 

   Within one or two generations, the name of Yahweh, the law of the land, the sovereignty of the state and the identity of the Israelites would be lost.  The Greeks had taken everything else, now they were bound to steal the peoples’ ancient culture, religion and relationship with their creator.  They stole their land, they stole their faith; and with these, they also stole their blessedness.  And nobody cried out too loudly – for fear.

   Nobody but one family – the Maccabees.  The lonely stand they made eventually changed the course of the nation, expelled the Greeks and rededicated the Temple.  But you already know that story; you’ve heard it from me several times or read it in your Bibles  (1 Maccabees).

   How it applies to us today is in our celebration of the birth of Jesus, who was himself raised up in the spirit of the Maccabees to turn the hearts of his people back to Yahweh.  No, I’m not about to say there’s something wrong with celebrating Jesus’ birth on the 25th of December.  Worship is never wrong if it’s true.  But I wonder if we can objectively look at our ‘religious’ Christmas practices and realize that we’ve been almost totally assimilated into a secular and pagan society.  What is true and what is ours has been stolen from our little fingers, I fear. 

   We worship Jesus by setting up trees in our homes and churches in direct contradiction to the Scripture.  We fall into the frenzy of Christmas luxuries, feeling compelled by secular capitalism to buy, buy, buy instead of give, give, give.  We’ve allowed the children to steal half of Christmas and the Greeks of our time to steal the other half.  What does tinsel and electric lights and Santas and trees reindeer have to do with the birth of the King?  Yahweh finds these things abominable and makes that fact clear in his word.  But devils rejoice.

 

   Fourteen candles. 

Fourteen is a special number in Scripture.  It’s the number of the name David, and it stands for the authority of the Son of David to rule and reign over this world.  That son of David is Jesus.  All but one candle is accounted for.  That 14th candle stands for YOU.  Will you be ruled by him?  The little child, meek and mild, lying in a manger in our manger scenes is no more.  That Jesus is only a memory.  He’s now exalted above all.  His commandments are Law.  And you claim him as King?

   Take a bold step.  Show him your love by keeping his commandments.  Become unassimilated with your pagan culture.  Make Yahshua King of your life and live by his authority and commandments while you still have them, while the law of this land still allows you to; for if you set your mind on him and his commandments, all these other vestiges of pagan days will blow away like a receipt in a blizzard.

Jackson Snyder,  December 20, 2003

hanukkyah with the paleo sacred name

Hanukkah - Dedicate and Celebrate - for believers in Yahshua