This is the time of year for christians to remember the birth of Jesus, Jews to remember Hanukkah and all of those that truly believe in the God of Israel to find deeper reason for this season is found in our dedication to our God. What will come as more of a surprise than not is this direct correlation of what was tradition (then and now) with the Israelites is also found true with the newer understanding held today with believing christians- the importance for the dedication of the Temple. The Temple was the most important place for the Jewish people, as it was where they would worship their God, the God of heaven, according to the law.
To truly know this season upon us is to understand the change implemented by the thoughts of the temple implied by Jesus Himself. To those of the scribes and the Pharisees the temple meant the physical building… the temple itself. They could not think anything other than this as this was their truth but the very meaning of truth, the embodiment of truth, was to be found in Jesus and His teaching. The foundation and structure of the temple was to be given a new view… a new paradigm was to forever alter the need for such a sacrifice to be made again. This shift of a need for a physical temple would be one to include all of mankind… and the living temple would be the human body.
Hanukkah: A lesser Jewish festival, lasting eight days from the 25th day of Kislev (in December) and commemorating the rededication of the Temple in 165 BC by the Maccabees after its desecration by the Syrians. It is marked by the kindling of eight lights.
As always, I would request that you pray first… prior to reading the scripture provided, that you might be granted a deeper understanding of God’s word and find the truth of God within your heart when it is over.
1 Maccabees 4:36 Then said Judas and his brethren, Behold, our enemies are discomfited: let us go up to cleanse and dedicate the sanctuary.
1 Maccabees 4:59 Moreover Judas and his brethren with the whole congregation of Israel ordained, that the days of the dedication of the altar should be kept in their season from year to year by the space of eight days, from the five and twentieth day of the month Casleu, with mirth and gladness.
Zechariah 6:15 And they that are far off shall come and build in the temple of the LORD, and ye shall know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto you. And this shall come to pass, if ye will diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God.
Matthew 26:59 Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death ; 60 But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses, 61 And said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days. 62 And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? 63 But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. 64 Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.
John 2:21 But he spake of the temple of his body.
Matthew 27:50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. 51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; 52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, 53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. 54 Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.
1 Corinthians 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
2 Corinthians 6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Matthew 12:6 But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.
1 Corinthians 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
Ephesians 2:21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
Mark 13:13 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 14 But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains: 15 And let him that is on the housetop not go down into the house, neither enter therein, to take any thing out of his house: 16 And let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take up his garment. 17 But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 18 And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter. 19 For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be. 20 And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect’s sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days. 21 And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not: 22 For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. 23 But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.
Revelation 3:12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.
You can read Ephesians 2 here http://www.biblestudytools.com/kjv/ephesians/2.html or listen to Ephesians 2 here. http://www.biblestudytools.com/kjv/ephesians/2-audio.html
This is coming to the forefront of our minds, and of our spirits, that we might know true the importance of the dedication required of us this day to be able to say plainly and devotedly… we are the children of the living God, the God of Israel. To see Jesus for who He really was… the Ancient of days, living among us, and instructing us to see the truth He presented us with was to be learned and lived out. To accept Jesus as the Savior He is… to acknowledge Him for what He did for us all (whereby knowing He gave His life for us and shed His blood [as the sin sacrifice required of God] for us), and then to ask Him into your heart is to grant the Spirit to come and live inside you. To know this as an experiential way of living… to then tell the world this “Good News” comes from the: birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Messiah of the whole world. It is my prayer this Christmas season and Hanukkah… you might see again the truth of God Himself, the light of the world, and to share this story of His birth with renewed dedication to spreading the story of glory that still lives with man… if man will only first believe God lives- and the temple today is you. Invite God in today… won’t you? (D.V.)
Your Brother in Christ Jesus,