Tonight is the eve of the Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah) that is celebrated for eight days. During this feast the story will be retold of how Judah Maccabee and his small band of soldiers defeated the Syrian Greek army and chased them out of the Temple they defiled. The Temple was cleansed and the Jews got ready to rekindle the menorah but only had enough purified oil to last one day. It would take eight days to prepare more oil. The wonder of Hanukkah is that the oil supply lasted eight days.
We see the supernatural manifestation of oil (the substance used in anointing) in order to bring forth light. The original menorah had seven branches. The menorah today has eight branches plus a central branch called the Shammas or Servant branch, which is used to light the other eight branches. The prophetic picture of this menorah can be clearly seen by those of us who know our Messiah. Jesus told the people of Israel, "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) Indeed, it was the Anointed One who came into the world as a light who lit the Temple menorah in the days of the Maccabees. Our Messiah is still the Light of World who comes to take people out of darkness and give them new beginnings--the meaning of the number eight. (John 12:46)
The Lord declared that His people would have the glory of the Lord rise upon them. His plan is for Believers to carry the light of His presence. Isaiah prophesied: "Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn." (Isaiah 60:3) In view of all of this, I find it fascinating to read the Hanukkah message that the president of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, gave to the people of Israel and the Jews across the world: "Today, hatred, incitement, and terrorism threaten the whole world. In the face of these threats we need to be firm and strong like a rock, like Maoz Tzur (Rock of Ages, a traditional Hanukkah song) in our beliefs in freedom, justice, in the values of our tradition and of democracy. So, this year as we gather with our families and communities and look at the wonderful lights it is my prayer that we will be reminded of the bonds that we all share and the important role we all have of being a light unto the nations."
Yes!! This is the call of God's people--to be a light to the nations. However, we must be lit by the Servant branch, Yeshua Messiah. He is the one who gives us the light of His Spirit and anoints us to carry the light to the nations.
The prophet Zechariah foretold of a day when the Servant of God would come. "I am going to bring my servant, The Branch...In that day, each one of you will invite his neighbor to sit under his vine (representing the Church) and fig tree." (representing Israel) (Zechariah 3:8-10) This is a picture of a time of abundant blessings, when heaven comes to earth. When we are in unity "it is like precious oil poured on the head and running down to Aaron's beard, down upon the collar of his robes...For there the Lord bestows His blessing, even life forevermore." (Psalm 133)
It is time for us to pray like never before! Pray that the blinders would be taken off of the Jewish people. Pray that they would know "The Light of the World," their Messiah. Pray that their Scriptures would come alive and that they would see that their Messiah came to the world as the Son of God. Pray for a spirit of unity between the Church and the Jewish people, and that the manifestation of the prophetic words in Scriptures concerning this subject would become a reality. Let us bless the Jewish people during their Festival of Lights and call them forth into their destiny.
Joan E. Mathias