It is through Rabbi Jonathan Cahn that I learned about the Hebrew word "mohar." For an ancient Hebrew wedding to take place, the groom had to pay the bride's family a dowry, a precious gift or large sum of money to show his love for his bride. Without the mohar there would be no wedding. No covenant could be made. There is Biblical precedence for this practice in several places in the Bible. Here are a few of them:
Genesis 24:53 - Eliezer, acting in the place of the groom's father, Abraham, gave precious gifts to Rebekah's family as a dowry so that she would come with him to be Isaac's wife.
1 Samuel 18:25 - Saul tells his servant to say to David, "The king wants no other price for the bride than a hundred Philistine foreskins, to take revenge on his enemies." David took Saul seriously and brought back 200 Philistine foreskins for Michal's hand in marriage.
Hosea 3:2 - At God's instructions, Hosea purchased Gomer the prostitute as his wife for "fifteen shekels of silver and about a homer and a lethek of barley."
Christmas is here, a time when we contemplate the precious gift that God sent from heaven to purchase a bride for His son Jesus. We must see this gift through to its conclusion. The love of Christ is demonstrated not only by His birth, but also by His death. The life and death of Jesus on earth was God’s mohar so that His bride, the Church, can live with Him for eternity. Rabbi Cahn asks a pertinent question about other religions who ask for extreme devotion from their adherents. When we look at Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, and Orthodox Judaism, "Where is the mohar?" A gift was not given to make covenant in these religions. It only happened for those who believe Jesus is the Son of God. The mohar could not be more valuable!
This season I have been touched by the words of a song sang by the group "Down Here," called "How Many Kings?" I encourage you to listen to it. Below you will find some of the words to the song. Please pay particular attention to the questions in the chorus. In essence, the questions can be summed up by asking, "Where is the mohar?"
Verse 1 - "Follow the star to a place unexpected. Would you believe after all we've projected, a child in a manger? Lowly and small, the weakest of all, unlikeliest hero, wrapped in his mother's shawl, just a child. Is this who we've waited for?" Chorus.
Verse 2 - "Bringing our gifts for the newborn Savior, all that we have, whether costly or meek, because we believe. Gold for his honor, and frankincense for his pleasure, and myrrh for the cross He will suffer. Do you believe? Is this who we've waited for?"
Chorus: "How many kings step down from their thrones? How many lords have abandoned their homes? How many greats have become the least for me? And how many gods have poured out their hearts to romance a world that is torn all apart? How many fathers gave up their sons for me? Only one did that for me."
Let us join in the worship of our God for being willing to be our Mohar.
The 400 years between the Old and New Testaments are known as the "silent years." It was during these years that Hanukkah took place. The Jews called the Greek-Syrian General who led the forces against them "Antiochus the Madman." His belief was that he was one of the Greek gods who had come to earth. He took the name Epiphanes, which means "God manifest" and expected the Jews to worship him. In the town named Modi’in, just outside of Jerusalem, a representative of Antiochus came to demand that the Jews bow down and worship a statute of Antiochus. The priestly family called the Maccabees was unwilling to compromise their faith and began a campaign of guerrilla warfare against the Greek-Syrian army.
A miracle was in the working! God honored the Maccabees and their small band of fighters for refusing to assimilate into the world around them by honoring the Word of God . They understood they would be put to death if they lost their battle. But they were “steadfast and immovable” (1 Corinthians 15:58) in their belief. They were “rooted and grounded” (Ephesians 3:17) in the Lord and would not be moved. On the 24th of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar, in the year 165 B.C., the three-year campaign waged by the Maccabees against their persecutors ended in victory. Antiochus the IV failed in his attempt to "Hellenize" (absorb into Greek culture) the Jews.
Because the Temple had been defiled by the Greek-Syrian soldiers, it had to be cleansed and rededicated. The Maccabees removed all the stones from the altar because it had been defiled by the sacrifice of a pig upon it. A new altar was built, and they set about to relight the seven-branched candelabra known as the Menorah. Once lit, the Jews realized that there was not enough sacred oil to keep the flame of the candles burning for more than one day. It took eight days to prepare more holy oil. The miracle of Hanukkah is that the Menorah oil burned for eight days without any oil being added to the original supply.
Today Hanukkah is celebrated for eight days in honor of the miraculous light that shown brightly in the Temple. The Menorah that is used today has eight branches to signify the eight days the oil burned in the Temple. There is a ninth branch in the center for the Shammas or Servant candle. It sits higher than the other candles and is used to light all the others. Christians may recognize that this candle symbolizes Jesus, "The Light of the World." (John 9:5) He is the Light that shines to show the way for a new beginning for all who come to Him.
Those of us who have been "lit" by Jesus have a responsibility to keep our "lights shining before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:16) Today we are faced with a society of people with immoral and alternative lifestyles that would like to snuff out our lights. Their scheme is to make us forget who we are as defined by God. They entice us to compromise our faith and encourage us to assimilate into their dark life patterns. We can see the erosion of a Biblical lifestyle. But, we can make a difference because we are the light of the world! (Matthew 5:14) Let the light of the Hanukkah candles remind us of our call to shine the light of Yeshua in the darkness. We have been set ablaze through His love, and the Holy Spirit provides us with an eternal supply of oil. Burn, dear ones! Burn!
On Tuesday, November 11, a bomb was remotely detonated near the entrance of the Jerusalem Bus Station killing two people and wounding 18 others, including a sixty-two-year-old man. Shrapnel penetrated several areas of the sixty-two-year old's body except for his heart. In his pocket he was carrying his Book of Psalms. (Tehillim in Hebrew)
The gentleman with the Book of Psalms was rushed to Shaare Zeder Medical Center which means Gates of Justice or Righteousness. He had to have a series of operations to remove shrapnel from his body. The Book of Psalms had been pierced by a shred of debris from the explosion. However, it stopped at Psalm 124 and pointed to verse 7. "Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken, and we have escaped." (NKJV) Not only did the Book stop the shard, but it gave a life message to this man that I believe comes from God.
Psalm 124 (NKJV): "'If it had not been the Lord who was on our side,' Let Israel now say: 'If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, when men rose up against us: Then they would have swallowed us alive, when their wrath was kindled against us; Then the waters would have overwhelmed us. The stream would have gone over our soul; then the swollen waters would have gone over our soul.' Blessed be the Lord, who has not given us as prey to their teeth. Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken, and we have escaped. Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth."
Psalm 124 is a Song of Ascent written by King David, who is praising God for His rescue and deliverance. David was encouraging the children of Israel to be thankful to God. He wanted them to recognize that the Lord is actively working on their behalf. The Lord is Immanuel, God with us! Many times, David experienced "when men rose up against them.” Hordes of Philistines came at them multiple times. The disasters that could have overtaken Israel were stopped by Yeshua alone. He was their Savior. "Bless be the Lord," David says. This is an expression of thanks and praise to Him. Satan is like the fowlers who have many ways in which to trap small birds. He attempts to ensnare us into unhealthy lifestyles and thoughts. But God is our Deliverer!
We can have confidence, as David says, that the Lord is our help. The mighty God who created heaven and earth is our protector, sustainer, and provider. Throughout Scripture, Jesus, who is the Living Word (John 1:1) is called our shield: "Every word of God is flawless. He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him." (Proverbs 30:5) "You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in Your word." (Psalm 119:114) God gave us a living example of His protection through the 62-year-old man from Jerusalem. He never changes! We are recipients of His protection and guidance. We must trust that "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." (Psalm 46:1) Let us use the Word as our shield against "the fowler's snare" and praise the Lord for the victory that is ours.
There is a special place in my heart for the prophet Isaiah. His book is packed with prophetic words that point us to truth. In difficult times of my life, I have found great encouragement in the chapters of this book and have declared them as mine during the seasons where they were most appropriate. In this season of advent, let us look at the revelation Isaiah had on the coming of our Messiah.
The meaning of Isaiah's name (Yahweh is salvation) points to God's assignment for him. To accomplish his God-given assignment, God placed multiple gifts in him. He was a prophetic seer, an intercessor for God's people, and a teacher. In addition, he was married to a prophetess. Even the names of his two sons spoke of the messages he was to carry to God's people. (She'ar-Ya'shuv = "A remnant will return." Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz" = "Quickly - to the plunder!” or "Hurry - to the loot!") John Wesley called Isaiah "The Prince of all the prophets."
To prepare and commission Isaiah for his call, God brought him into a supernatural encounter: "I clearly saw the Lord, He was seated on His exalted throne, towering above me..." (Isaiah 6:1 - TPT) A burning coal from the altar was brought to Isaiah, and one of the angels touched his lips with it so that his sin was "blotted out." He heard the Lord asking, "Whom should I send to my people? Who will go to represent us?" Isaiah responded: "I will be the one, Send me." (Isaiah 6:8 - TPT) His commissioning was completed; His ministry began!
I must share with you my amazement about the nature of some of Isaiah's prophecies spoken about the Messiah. Take, for example, Isaiah 7:14. "The Lord Himself will give you a sign. Behold--the virgin will conceive and give birth to a son and will name him God Among Us. (Immanuel)" (TPT) Do you understand the gravity of this prophecy? It told the people of Zion that their Messiah would come through a means that is impossible!
Isaiah gave the details of Messiah's characteristics in Chapter 9:6-7. "A child has been born for us; a son has been given to us. The responsibility of complete dominion will rest on His shoulders, and His name will be: The Wonderful One! The Extraordinary Strategist! The Mighty God! The Father of Eternity! The Prince of Peace! Great and vast is His dominion. He will bring immeasurable peace and prosperity. He will rule on David's throne and over David's kingdom to establish and uphold it by promoting justice and righteousness from this time forward and forevermore. The marvelous passion that the Lord Yahweh, Commander of Angel Armies, has for His people will ensure that it is finished!" (TPT)
The prophecy that comes from Isaiah 11 gives us great hope for the future. "A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse: From his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him—The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord...In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to Him, and His resting place will be glorious." (Verses 1-2, 10) This is the season of hope and the season to remember that the light of Christ shines in the darkness. All these verses from Isaiah declare the magnificence of the Lord and confirm that He will prevail!
Joan E. Mathias