Light and Mercy
When our Greek calendar converges with the Hebrew calendar it is time to pay attention. It has happened this year. December 1 is Kislev 1. Kislev is derived from the Hebrew word for trust and security. Consequently, this month is for us to have a greater trust in God and a time to enter His rest and peace. We should remember that God demonstrated His faithfulness to His people through the miracle of Hanukkah—a Jewish holiday that starts in the month of Kislev and ends in the next month--Tevet.
The first night of Hanukkah and Christmas even fall on the same night. I delight in thinking about how the Church will be lighting candles and singing "Silent Night" as the Jewish people will be lighting the first candle of the menorah. The message of both celebrations is the same: The Light will not go out! Also consider that the final day of Hanukkah (day 8) occurs on New Year's Eve.
The Eternal Light came to earth to declare and demonstrate the truth. In the midst of a dark and tumultuous time in history He came to bring hope and mercy. He said, "I am the Light of the World. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (John 8:12) The Light of the World could not be put out; the death of Jesus on the cross was not the end. His resurrection was witnessed by many. His light is still burning in those who have believed in Him. Miraculous!!
The Lord's miracle of perpetual light was demonstrated to the Maccabees when they defeated the armies of Antiochus in 164 B.C. after years of battle. When they entered the Temple they found that it had been defiled in every way imaginable. Cleansing the Temple became their priority. When it was time to rededicate it to the Lord by lighting the menorah the Maccabees could only find one jar of holy oil bearing the seal of the high priest. The menorah was lit in faith and trust. Much to their delight, the oil burned for eight days, the amount of time it took the priests to prepare more oil.
Today the miracle of Hanukkah is remembered through the lighting of a candle on the menorah for each of eight days. Eight is the number of new beginnings, sanctification and resurrection. The nine-branched menorah has a center candle called the "Shammas" or "Servant" candle. That center candle provides the light for the other eight candles. Is this not a prophetic picture of Jesus/Yeshua who came to the earth as the Servant who brought light to the world?
The Temple had been destroyed, but the Lord gave the Maccabees a sign of hope. The other message of this time period is that in the midst of destruction there is mercy. How appropriate this is for Israel today. She is surrounded by nations that want to destroy her. Last month over 2,000 fires blazed, some burning out of control. It is reported that 40 to 50 percent of them were set by terrorists. Dry conditions made it difficult to fight the fires. The good news is that other nations came to help battle the fires and the rains began to fall on Thursday.
This month is one where we should seek revelation on the development of warfare strategies. It is aligned with the tribe of Benjamin, the one gifted with the art of the bow. A reminder of this is in the night sky with the constellation Sagittarius, the archer. Israel will be developing strategies to battle those who want to destroy them. We should be doing likewise. They will also be looking for the best way to rebuild the homes that were destroyed, repair the infrastructures that were damaged and replant the forests that were burned to the ground in the fire. They need heaven to come to earth in order to move forward.
Along with Israel, we must remember the messages of this season: (1) There is mercy in the midst of destruction that will be imparted to build the future. (2) The light will never go out! With God nothing is impossible. (Luke 1:37) His grace is sufficient for us, for His power is made perfect in weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9) Let us give thanks to the Lord, for His love/mercy endures forever. (2 Chronicles 20:21)
Joan E. Mathias