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Can a Feast that is not mentioned in the Bible
be of equal significance as the Feasts of the Lord?
Is there any relevance to modern Christianity?
Is it any more than a Jewish national celebration?
Hanukkah in 2017 is from 12 through 20 December
Understanding by experience and revelation
When it comes to God and the Bible, we cannot understand anything by the natural intellect, except the Lord Himself “give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation” (ref. Eph.1:17) so that the eyes of the heart be enlightened to “see” what God wants to reveal.
In His Light, we see light, when His Light shines in the Darkness of this world!
That is true from the very first step of our salvation; no one can understand or explain intellectually how we can be saved from the wrath of God by grace through faith in the redeeming sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. Understanding our own ‘salvation by grace’ comes by experience, as the Holy Spirit comes to indwell our heart.
He opens up our understanding to comprehend what God has done for us. That happens when we believe that Jesus paid the ransom for us by His Blood, to redeem us from the grip of Death and give us life overflowing in this world, and life eternal after death of the flesh. After we have the experience of salvation, we understand what was written.
When His Light shines, our eyes can see His salvation that is freely given to us!
After we have entered God’s Kingdom through the gate of salvation by faith (as many of us as have believed in the grace through Jesus Christ), there are so many more things that God wants to reveal to us about His Kingdom, and how He wants it to manifest in our lives here on Earth, while we are still “in the land of the living” (ref. Psalm 27:13).
Many of the things of God’s Kingdom are about us and our lives; but many more are not about us, but about His Kingdom and “God’s eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus” (ref. Ephesians 3:9-11), which is the calling/work of the Ecclesia on Earth.
His Light in us exposes the works of Darkness so that we can destroy them!
The commemoration of the Feasts does not really serve our own carnal needs and wants literally, even though we receive the blessing of rest and celebration with loved ones. Even though all that we do for God is good for us and causes His blessings to come upon us, the purpose of commemoration of the Feasts is primarily spiritual.
Same as with salvation by grace, His Truth about the Feasts cannot be discerned through the natural intellect and logical reasoning; it can only be revealed by God’s Spirit, when He gives us the understanding – and that comes also through the route of experience.
His Light is shining in the Darkness and the Darkness did not overcome it!
The Message of Hanukkah is that the Light of God has come to the world
John 1:1 IN the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.
5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name [was] John. 7 This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but [was sent] to bear witness of that Light.
9 That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.
10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
The commemoration of the Feasts
Same as with all normal Christians who are not related to Israel or the Jewish traditions, I did not have a clue about Hanukkah, or that it is the Hebrew name of the Feast of Lights, or why the Hellenic Orthodox Church celebrates annually the “Day of Lights”, or why in the book of Revelation there are so many references to the “golden lampstands”, or what Jesus meant when He said to the Church of Ephesus through John “repent or I will remove your lampstand from its place” (Revelation 2:5).
Moreover, I certainly did not have a clue what “the Feast of Dedication” was all about in the following text, as there was no such Feast mentioned in the Bible: John 10:22 Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter. 23 And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch. And, quite naturally, I could not possibly connect in my mind the Feast of Lights or the lampstands to this scripture reference…
None of these things pertained in anyway to my own needs, desires or aspirations in life, so, quite naturally, I did not care… why would I care about the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, or about the Feast of Ligths that the Jews celebrate? It was enough for me that Jesus paid for my sins on the cross to redeem me from Death! It was sufficient that now I was a new creation in Christ (or at least, so I thought…)!
What I was missing was the fact that God made me a new creation in Christ for a purpose, and that is to walk in the good works which He prepared from before. Many of such good works, which we are called to walk in, are not directly related to our own needs, desires, ambitions or aspirations in life – but they pertain to God’s Kingdom!
Jesus said that we ought to pray “Father in Heaven, Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven” – that is not an abstract, general concept or empty words to recite in prayer. Jesus meant exactly what He said: that we should seek God’s Kingdom to come on Earth in our own, and through our own, lives – and that is done when we obey God’s specific will and do what He wants of each one of us.
That is different from person to person, and from season to season, but there are certain principles which apply to everyone who serves God’s Kingdom in Christ Jesus, as shown in the Bible – one of such universal principles is the commemoration of the Feasts.
There is no doubt that in the Bible God has commanded that we commemorate the Feasts. We, the Christians in the New Testament, are not bound by religious obligation to commemorate the Feasts, yet we have integrated Passover, Pentecost and Christmas in our Christian Church life (even though Christmas is not one of the Biblical Feasts).
The commemoration of the Feasts serves a divine purpose, as it is a testament to the Gospel of the Kingdom of God on Earth, and a means by which God’s Kingdom manifests and prevails over the spirit of the world (when the believers uphold the Feasts properly).
The commemoration of the Feasts which exalt God’s works on Earth causes the Light of God to shine in the Darkness of this world!
Each Feast carries a Message of God; the Feast is the testament of what God did!
The commemoration of the Feast is the carrier of the Message which exalts God!
Every Feast that exalts the works of God is a declaration of His Power and Glory!
The story of dedication of Shalom Center Athens on Hanukkah, 12 Dec. 2003
Even though I knew nothing about Hanukkah and that it was the same as the Feast of Lights, and how that was the same as the Feast of Dedication in John 10:22, and the historical reason why the Orthodox Church celebrates the Day of Lights as part of the official liturgy, and that it is all about the lampstand of God that shines His Light in the Church, the Lord wanted to reveal His Truth and teach me to commemorate it every year!
After we received the specific instruction to start a House of Prayer in the center of Athens, my wife and I rented the place He showed us on Oct. 1, 2003. Then He gave us the name of the House of Prayer (‘Shalom Center’) and instructed us to dedicate it to Him on the Feast of Hanukkah that year. The dedication took place on Sat. 12 Dec. 2003.
Since that time, the Lord has given us the understanding of the spiritual significance of the Feasts that exalt His Name, His works, His Kingdom, His Message on Earth… He has given us the calling to teach others about the significance of the Feasts, the purpose they serve for God’s Kingdom, and the message they carry which declares God’s Word!
The Feast of Lights, Hanukkah, is a prophetic celebration of the Light of the world, Jesus, and a declaration that the Lord will overcome the forces of Darkness of this world which try to eradicate the worship of God in Jerusalem, Israel, and throughout the world.
For more on The Prophetic Significance of Hanukkah please read last year’s article (click image or below)
In this article (above, of Dec. 2016) there is more extensive teaching (see sections):
-> The Light of God that shines in a world of Darkness
-> Hanukkah means “dedication”
-> Why is Hanukkah significant?
-> What is Hanukkah?
-> What is the “Hanukkiyah” or “Hanukkah-Menorah”?
-> The prophetic message of Hanukkah
-> Hanukkah declares the defeat of the Prince of Greece!
-> A personal testimony (more details on the prophetic role of ‘Shalom Center’ Athens)