I Prayed have prayed
Lord Jesus, you are the Light of the World. This Hanukkah, we humbly ask for your glorious light to shine within our lives so it serves as a lighthouse that leads people to truth.

Anne Frank once said, “Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness.” How true this statement becomes when we see the world around us descending into darkness. Yet within the shadows, a marvelous flame glows, and its warmth spreads to every corner of the earth. We can see this light reflected in a holiday that has been celebrated since the Second Temple period.

Hanukkah is here, and its arrival heralds eight nights of burning lights that illuminate the menorah. Fashioned after the burning bush that Moses saw in the desert, this lamp represents God (Jesus) revealing himself through fire. Each candle of the menorah reminds us that there is always light in the darkness if we follow the Light of the World–Jesus.

This year the burning candles of the menorah take on great significance because so much hangs in the balance with our nation. One’s mind quickly goes to the December 1, 2021 hearing, where the Supreme Court heard arguments in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health case. Interestingly enough, arguments were heard on the third day of Hanukkah, bringing to mind this powerful verse from Psalm 119:105-106–“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow all your righteous laws.”

This case highlights the struggle of those who seek to shine light into the darkness by placing a brilliant lampstand of truth within the nation’s highest courtroom. This symbolic menorah is made up of intercessors, advocates and patriots for life, who have become branches on the glorious lampstand, shining in the midst of the Judicial Branch. Standing up for God’s laws, which protect the unborn, is the oath these warriors take, and they will not let the light be snuffed out.

The fight against evil, taking place in the courtroom, isn’t so different from the story of Hanukkah, which means dedication. As you read the history of this miraculous festival, see if you can find similarities to the battle we are facing when it comes to abortion.

This holiday, featuring the menorah, celebrates the re-dedication of the Jewish Temple after it was desecrated by a diabolical Greek ruler named Antiochus Epiphanes. Reigning from approximately 175 BC to 164 BC, this tyrannical leader had no respect for the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He expected all citizens in his realm to follow pagan Greek traditions, which violated the laws in the Torah. During his rule, there were two factions within Judaism. The Hellenized Jews assimilated into the Greek lifestyle and took on the customs and rites within the culture. The Traditional Jews resisted assimilation and would not offer sacrifices to idols, or participate in pagan festivals and activities.

As time continued, more pressure was placed on the Traditional Jews to adhere to the Greek religion, causing violent protests to break out. Antiochus’ pride raged when he saw that the Traditional Jews would not comply. After all, he saw himself as a god, even adding the name Epiphanes to his title. This word means “god manifested,” and he was determined to force the Jews to recognize this.

So, what did he do? He decreed the Jews could no longer worship God and offer sacrifices in the Temple. He forbade circumcision, as well as honoring the Sabbath and reading the Torah. In addition, he demanded the worship of Zeus and would not allow the Jews to follow kosher dietary laws. Many Jews were slain as they fought to keep the worship of God alive.

But then Antiochus the Madman did something that shocked the Jewish community to their core. In an attempt to scrub out all traces of “Jewishness” and their faith to the one true God, he set up an image (statue) of Zeus in the Temple, and then sacrificed pigs on the altar of the Lord. The Temple was desecrated and the people were devastated.

But hope was not lost. This is where the Maccabees came in. They were fierce Jewish fighters led by Judas Maccabeus. It took three years of bloody fighting, but eventually the Maccabees (which means hammer) were able to drive out Antiochus’ army. They reclaimed the Temple and brought back the worship of God. And here’s where we see the Miracle of Lights. The Temple had been desecrated by the pagan sacrifices and altars, so it had to be cleansed. There were many things to do, but restoring the light of the menorah was crucial. As detailed in the books of 1st and 2nd Maccabees, as well as Jewish history, they made a menorah out of cheaper metal, since the golden menorah had been stolen. In order to light it, they needed consecrated olive oil, but they were only able to find a small amount, sufficient for one day. They lit the menorah anyway, and to their astonishment, it continued to burn for eight days.

Because of the miracle of lights, Hanukkah continues to be celebrated each year, beginning on the 25th of Kislev on the biblical calendar. This translates to November and/or December on the Gregorian calendar, depending on the year. In 2021, Hanukkah began at sundown on November 28 and lasts through sundown on December 6th.

As followers of the Light of the World, we fight to keep God’s commands, even when the world around us demands that we stop. Laws are enacted which hold up pagan traditions, such as killing the unborn. But like the traditional Jews and the Maccabees (“the hammers”) we don’t assimilate into this culture of death. Instead, we pray, protest, and fight with spiritual weapons that penetrate the darkness. As we push against the culture, it pushes back with great force. Governments “play God” like Antiochus Epiphanes by forcing their will upon us, even demanding that we fund the slaughter of the innocent. We will not bow down to Molech, the god of child sacrifice. We will not stay silent while leaders and activists desecrate what God deems as precious–Life.

Jesus said, “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light” (Matthew 6:22). Jesus is saying that our eyes are an entrance to our soul. If we have “good eyes” then we will not just see well, but WE WILL PERCEIVE WELL. We will be able to discern truth from lies, and we will obey his commands. By contrast, if we have “bad eyes” then we will have poor perception. As a result, we will go along with the culture, or whatever is “on trend.” Ultimately, “bad eyes” will lead us away from God’s commands and his truth.

Isaiah 5:20 says, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” This is what Antiochus Epiphanes did, and this is what we are seeing in our nation, and around the world.

In Revelation 1, we see Jesus standing in the midst of the seven golden lampstands, which represent the churches. Jesus’ charge is for his churches to BE THE LIGHT. Like the story of Hanukkah, we cannot allow evil agendas to prevail. The eight branches of the Hanukkah menorah point to some amazing things. Symbolically, the number eight represents new life because circumcision happened on the eighth day. God saved eight people on Noah’s Ark and they went on to start a new life. The Feast of Tabernacles, which celebrates Jesus dwelling with man, is celebrated for eight days, with the eighth being referred to as the Great Day. It foreshadows the time when Jesus will return to earth, bringing restoration and new life to this dark world. There’s also a 9th branch on the Hanukkah menorah, known as the shammash. This is the servant branch because it’s the candle that lights all the others.

Life in the womb is NEW LIFE and it begins when God says. And recently scientists have discovered that life begins with a flash of light at fertilization.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderfuI, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be,” Psalm 139:13-16.

As the Supreme Court judges deliberate during the season of Hanukkah, let’s pray they SEE THE LIGHT and BE THE LIGHT, by recognizing that NEW LIFE is precious. Whether the world chooses to believe this truth or not, we will stand by it as a LAMPSTAND that will not be hidden.

Matthew 5:14-16 says, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

 

How will you let your light shine for new life? Share your thoughts….

 

Angela Rodriguez is an author, blogger and homeschooling Mom who studies the historical and biblical connections between Israel and the United States. You can visit her blogs at 67owls.com and 100trumpets.com. Her latest book, Psalm 91: Under the Wings of Jesus, was released in June 2021. Photo by Evgeni Tcherkasski on Unsplash.

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nancy henderson
June 22, 2022

Shalom. Today is Wed, June 22, 2022. I just discovered 100 Trumpets & shared website w/a friend who closely follows Israel. As a southern Baptist, I pray for & financially support Israel by giving to “One for Israel”. Prayers for protection of our Supreme Court Justices & their families, for the imminent decision & against projected violence in the land. We know God had heard our Appeal to Heaven a we sought His face, humbled ourselves, repented & prayed. He will heal our land.

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