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Sunday, December 6, 2015

344: "A GREAT MIRACLE HAPPENED HERE"

The following post is dedicated to our friends who we are praying and fasting for this day.


Above is a photo of the candles we light in our home. 
 
Years before the birth of Jesus Christ, a false religion began to be practiced in many parts of the Holy Land. In 175 B.C. Antiochus Epiphanes became king of Syria and made a determined effort to change the Jewish religion. At first he met with considerable success, owing partly to a popular Greek movement among the Jews themselves.

However, on the eve of the 25th of the Jewish month of Kislev in 165 B.C., a small group of patriots known as the Maccabees stood up for their true religion and defeated Antiochus IV and those who followed his ways. This brave group of "preservationists" restored and rededicating their Temple which had been defiled due to improper worship of false gods and inappropriate rituals being performed within the Temple walls.
 
  •  “The sons of Israel (Maccabees) went up to the Temple and rebuilt its gates and purified the Temple from the defilement. And they sought after pure olive oil to light the lamps therewith, but could not find any, except one bowl that was sealed  from the days of Samuel the prophet and they knew that it was pure. There was in it [enough oil] to light [the lamps therewith] for one day, but the God of heaven whose name dwells there put therein his blessing and they were able to light from it eight days. Therefore, the sons of Israel made this covenant and took upon themselves a solemn vow, they and the sons of Israel, all of them, to publish amongst the sons of Israel, [to the end] that they might observe these eight days of joy and honor, as the days of the feasts written in [the book of] the Law; [even] to light in them so as to make known to those who come after them that their God wrought for them salvation from heaven.   (Excerpt from the Hebrew text with an English translation in the Scroll of Antiochus.)
An observance to remember this miracle that the one-day supply of oil burned for eight days, giving time for the preparation of new oil has been observed now for thousands of years since 175 BC. In the scriptures it is called the "Festival of the Dedication". We read in John 10:22

"And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. 
And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch." 

In the following verses, Christ speaking in the Temple to the Jewish priests and religious leaders on this memorable day, he said "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand."  However, the religious leaders did not like the words Christ spoke and tried to stone him.

This "feast of dedication" referred to in the New Testament is has now known as the "Festival of Lights", but more commonly referred to as Hannukah, which comes from the Hebrew word for “dedication,” or “consecration.” It has been observed from thousands of years since the day of the rededicating of the Holy Temple.

The lighting of  candles remains a central element of this celebration, with one candle being lit each night. Eight of the candles represent each night the temple oil burned; the ninth is a servant candle, known as Shamash, which is used to light the others. Three blessings are said during this time with a prayer honoring God as the one who "performed miracles for our ancestors in days of old."
 
A children games are also often played during this 8 day celebration, with the best known being the spinning of a dreidel, a pointed, four-sided top. The top has four letters representing the phrase "Nes gadol hayah sham," or "A Great Miracle Happened Here."

Tonight at sundown begins this eight day observance.

Next year in 2016, the feast of dedication or Hannukah will begin the evening of Saturday, Dec. 24 until the evening of Sunday, Jan. 1.

 

2 comments:

  1. What a wonderful time to be alive when such beautiful knowledge and light has again returned to the world! For those who see only the darkness around them, I say, turn your eyes to the Light for He has again come into the world. Follow Him and Him alone and be saved! Make straight His paths and walk in His ways!
    James Russell Uhl

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  2. I just don't understand why no miracles happen in our day. Nothing scripture-worthy happens to us in real time, that would be written down as scripture for future generations.

    Why is it that we have to rely on things so old that they cannot be verified as true or a hoax?

    The world is in turmoil because of belief is ancient books that were supposedly true.

    Thank goodness we at least have the Book of Mormon which has somewhat modern witnesses.

    But it remains an enigma with 7 billion people that no one, not one, can verify anything at all. Just vague 'i know's' and possible archeological finds that all contradict one another.

    Lord, won't you please come out of your hiding spot?

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