Weekly Bracha #4 – Hanukkah Edition

News flash: The pagans have lost. The God of Israel emerged triumphantly victorious. (Again!) Israel came out alive, despite the intentions of mad-man emperors.

Even though the enemy tried to assimilate us. Dominate us. Force us into the ways of the world. Shove paganism down our throats. Make us abandon the God’s Law. Make us abandon our faith in the God of Israel. Even though the enemy conquered Israel. Desecrated the Temple. Killed thousands of us…

…despite all this, God won. The living God, the only one that actually exists and preserves His people, won.

The enemy is dead, his empire crumbled, his descendants cut off and forgotten.

Through God’s hand, and the actions of a small but zealous band of Israelites, Israel was reclaimed, the Temple was purified and rededicated to the God of Israel, and it was decreed that every year, for 8 days, all of Israel should remember God’s great acts of salvation for His people.

That’s what the Feast of Hanukkah (Hebrew for “dedication”) is all about. You might also know Hanukkah as the “Festival of Lights”.

~200 years after these events, Messiah himself honored Hanukkah by going to the rededicated Temple, where he revealed himself as Messiah, and being one with God:

It was now winter, and Jesus was in Jerusalem at the time of Hanukkah, the Festival of Dedication. He was in the Temple, walking through the section known as Solomon’s Colonnade. The people surrounded him and asked, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”

Jesus replied, “I have already told you, and you don’t believe me. The proof is the work I do in my Father’s name. But you don’t believe me because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.”

-John 10

Hanukkah starts tonight (Friday, December 11th, 2009) and lasts for 8 days.

Here are a handful of Hanukkah-related posts from the Messianic blogosphere.

  • Yeshua, the Light of the World, in the Festival of Lights – Messianic Jewish psalmist Marty Goetz writes how Yeshua, the light of the world, kept Hanukkah, and how this Hanukkah we are to rededicate ourselves, our temples, to the service of the Lord.

  • Hanukkah and the Disciples of Yeshua – First Fruits of Zion has released a free e-book that reads easy and demonstrates why the celebration of Hanukkah is relevant and important for all believers. I particularly enjoyed their “5 reasons to keep Hanukkah”:

    1. Hanukkah is in the Gospels, and Yeshua went to the Temple for Hanukkah. If Hanukkah was important to Yeshua, it ought to be important to us, his disciples.

    2. Hanukkah is a story of religious persecution. A story of standing up for faith in God. Yeshua tells us we can expect persecution, but He also tells us that we must stand firm in our faith. If that’s what the story of Hanukkah is about, shouldn’t it matter to us?

    3. Hanukkah is the festival of the light of the world. It celebrates the relighting of the menorah lamp that burned in God’s Holy Temple. In rabbinic terminology, the menorah was called the “light of the world.” Yeshua said, “I am the Light of the world,” and another time He told His disciples, “You are the light of the world.” If Hanukkah is the Festival of the Light of the World, shouldn’t it matter to us?

    4. Yeshua talked about Hanukkah. He warned His disciples that the things that happened in the story of Hanukkah would happen again (Mark 13:13–16, Matthew 24:15–18). To understand what He was saying, His disciples had to know the story of Hanukkah. If Yeshua talked about the story of Hanukkah, and His disciples knew the story, shouldn’t it matter to us?

    5. Hanukkah commemorates the dedication of God’s Temple. Hanukkah means “dedication.” It is a remembrance of when the Jews rededicated God’s Holy Temple to serve only the Lord. The Apostolic Scriptures tell us that we are God’s Temple. If Hanukkah is a festival about the dedication of God’s Temple, and we are God’s Temple, shouldn’t it matter to us?

  • The Hanukkah Story, Messianic Judaism style – Messianic rabbi Derek Leman sees Hanukkah in light of Yeshua as the redeemer of Israel.

  • A bissel of Hanukkah How-To’s and Inspiration, Messianic Judaism style - “There are so many people who do not know how to properly celebrate Hanukkah. I will include a few links here to help you.”

  • Hanukkah and the Prophet Daniel, Part 1 and Part 2 – The book of Daniel foretells the events that happened during the first Hanukkah, and perhaps shadows events to come at the end of days.

  • Why We Should Celebrate Hanukkah – Messianic apologist John McKee writes why Messianics – both Jew and gentile – ought to celebrate the Feast of Dedication. Does Hanukkah pass the test of Scripture? Did Jesus really celebrate it? Did the miracle of Menorah oil lasting 8 days really happen? McKee also touches on whether Messianic families ought to celebrate Christmas with Christian family.

  • The Impact of the Maccabees on First Century Judaism – An interesting look at the historical context of the Hanukkah events and its impact on the Judaism of Messiah’s day.

  • The Festival of Dedication – The Yinon blog looks at Hanukkah’s aspects of redemption, hope, salvation, and covenant faithfulness.

    Video blogs

  • Messianics Handling the December Holidays – John McKee talks frankly about some of the difficulties for Messianics during the holidays of Jewish Hanukkah & Christian Christmas. I can relate to this!


  • John 10 Scripture reading – Jewish Christian Aviad Cohen has posted a Scripture reading of John 10, where Yeshua identifies himself as Messiah and son of God during Hanukkah:

  • Hanukkah Song – A beautiful song for Hanukkah by Messianic psalmist Marty Goetz:

Happy Hanukkah, fine blog readers! And shabbat shalom.


  1. Just wondering if I could cross post this with links to you, for my own and my readers education...

  2. Enjoy this feature of your blog. Always like the J. Mckee stuff.

    Ran across this book (I am this blog's "honorary" catholic I think) and thought some of your reader's might be interested. Haven't read it myself. But probably will. "Crucified Rabbi". There continues to be interest in the Catholic Church in certain quarters in our Jewish root.



  3. Stuart, by all means.

    Todd, glad you like the weekly bracha. Thanks for the link, I'll have a look.

  4. Just writing to say I enjoy your blog and find the things you write here and your comments on other peoples blogs, are always very encouraging. We are a gentile believing family who love G-d and His Torah. The last few months have been very confusing. We are not trying to be Jews, we are happy with who G-d made us to be. Jew and Gentile both have a place in G-ds family. Why do they try to keep us out? Anyway, may the L-rd bless you and your precious family.Happy Hanukkah,

  5. Louise,

    Glad to hear that. I'm glad I'm not the only one in this fight.