|Posted by kelvinbueckert on January 20, 2019 at 4:40 PM|
We have just celebrated the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Before He was born God prepared the way. Consider the connection between Hanukkah and Christmas.
Isaiah wrote, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold a virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name”…. what? “Immanuel” means God with us! Now in Jewish tradition God could not become flesh because this was tantamount to idolatry…any image of God is idolatry, contrary to the first and second commandments (Exodus 20).
Antiochus 3rd began a program of Hellenization that threatened to force the Jews into Greek paganism, abandoning their monotheistic religion. Antiochus 4th outlawed central tenets of Judaism such as Sabbath and circumcision, defiling their holy temple by erecting an altar to the god Zeus, allowing the sacrifice of pigs as well as opening the temple to non-Jews!
By turning Jews into idol-worshiping Greeks who tossed out their holy scriptures in favour of man-made thought, Satan would have made it impossible for the Messiah to come in fulfilment of God’s promise to His own chosen people. In fact, without the Jewish scriptures, no one would be watching for the coming of the Jewish Messiah; they would not have known to look for this virgin birth. Enter the Maccabees into history: This family of Jewish warriors saved their people from the Greek leader Antiochus. Hanukkah celebrates their glorious victory! This Feast of Dedication, mentioned by John (10:22), was celebrated by Jesus Himself, in the temple.
The Maccabees were used by God to bring back temple worship in the midst of pagan idolatry. Into this religious milieu, Jesus was born. To Him being Jewish was vital! His lineage was the fulfillment of prophecy (Genesis 12:3, 2 Samuel 7:16 - to name a couple). About 200 years after the Maccabean revolt, Jewish people gathered around Jesus in the temple court, asking if He was indeed the Messiah. His answer? “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).
Only God could orchestrate such a sequence of events, ensuring the fulfillment of prophecies He made hundreds of years before. As we go into a new year, let us celebrate with confidence, that this same God is bringing about events in our world today which will bless His people with the ultimate fulfillment of prophecy, when Jesus comes again!