The celebration of Hanukkah is also called the Feast of Dedication, mentioned in John 10:22-30 of the New Testament; however, there are no details about the Feast in this brief mention, except that Yahoshua attended this feast, and he taught in parables there. Hanukkah usually falls in the winter months near or around Christmas. However, this year, the first day of Hanukkah fell in the time of Thanksgiving celebrations in the United States, causing more people to inquire about this Hebrew celebration.
Because there are no details to be found in neither the Jewish Bible nor the protestant Christian Bible, people are searching the internet for information. Many blogs are loaded with misinformation about this celebration, creating more questions than answers. In this post you will find information on where to find the details of Hanukkah and why this information is not in the Protestant Christian Bible.
Many of the stories told by Jewish people for generations, about the reason for this celebration, refer to a miracle of lights that occurred when the Jews repossessed the Temple in 164 BC. We are told that Hanukkah is called the Festival of Lights because a miracle happened there that kept the menorah in the temple burning, producing light in the temple for eight days, even though there was only enough oil in the menorah to provide light for one night; and that my friend is why Hanukkah is celebrated for eight days, and for Hanukkah, there are eight branches for candles on the menorah (not including the servant candle).
Well, I have a theory about where that story came from but I will reserve my opinion about that. But suffice it to say, no such thing happened. I encourage you to learn for yourself what the 8 days of celebration were all about, and what the miracles were that happened there. The account of the events can be found in First and Second Maccabees books. These books can also be found in the
“The Antiquity of the Jews” Book 12 (First Maccabees) and Book 13 (Second Maccabees), written by the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus; the Roman Catholic Bible and the Greek Septuagint. You can also find it on the internet under the search terms, Apocrypha, and Maccabees. Purchase as a hard copy or an electronic download. By reading the books for yourself you will understand the events leading up to the celebration, why the feast was celebrated for eight days and what the true miracles were.
The history surrounding why the books of Maccabees are not in the protestant Christian bible has its roots in the Protestant Christian Reformation movement. Here is a short account of how it all happened. In 382 AD Pope Damasus at the Church Council of Rome, approved the cannon of 73 divinely inspired books that make up the current Roman Catholic Bible. The cannon of 73 Books were later ratified in 393 AD and 397 AD at Church Councils held at Hippo and Carthage respectively.
Since that time, all future Popes reaffirmed the ratification of the cannon of 73 books; and the reaffirmation continued all the way to the year 1546 at the council of Trent. The books, Maccabees I &II are found in the Old Testament of the cannon of 73 Books.
Martin Luther, the leader of the Protestant Reformation, became disgruntled with the Roman Catholic Church and sought to remove 9 Old Testament books, and 4 New Testament books from the cannon. The books that he sought to remove are: Tobit, Judith, Baruch, Wisdom, Sirach, First Maccabees, Second Maccabees, Daniel, and Esther from the Old Testament. He did not like the some verses in Daniel and Esther because those verses in these books did not meet the approval of his doctrine. Well, he lost this battle with the Roman Catholic Church.
The reformer also wanted to remove the following books from the New Testament: James, Hebrews, Jude and Revelation also because they too did not support his doctrine. The Roman Catholic Church did not give into his demands and they maintained those books in the cannon of 73 books. Martin Luther lost another battle with the Church.
To get his point across while promoting his agenda against the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, Luther targeted the church’s teachings on indulgences as a platform from which to launch his protest against the cannon of 73 books. In 1517, in protest to the Church’s practice of indulgences, Martin Luther nailed his bulletin, “95 Theses of Contention” to the door to the entrance his church and it ignited many debates about the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, leading to The Great Schism of 1521. This led the Catholic Church under Emperor Charles V, to put Luther on trial, and through executive council, declared Luther a heretic, his literature was outlawed, he was excommunicated from the church and a death sentence was placed on him by The Edict of Worms following his trial. This drove Luther into hiding, fearing for his life.
From the date of the establishment of the Latin Vulgate Cannon in 382 AD and throughout the protestant movement all the way to the 1880’s, the Roman Catholic Church held proprietary rights to the Cannon which they had translated from Greek to Latin. The Church threatened to kill anyone who read the Bible in any other language other than Latin, even though Greek scholars noted that the Latin was a poor translation from the Greek. The Protestants contended that all people should be able to read the Bible in their own language causing the Latin Vulgate to be translated into many other languages, in spite of the ban on translations into other languages declared by the Roman Catholic Church. Still, the only legal cannon was the Latin Vulgate.
With copies of the Latin Vulgate translated into other languages, the protestant reformation movement picked up pace in 1522 while Luther was in hiding. By 1526 the Roman Catholic Church realized they were losing the battle against the Protestants, in spite of the many protestant martyrs they had created, due to The Edict of Worms. Finally, the church decided to loosen their reigns and annulled The Edict of Worms, giving Protestant Christians the right to worship freely without obligation to the Papal Bull. Up until this time, the protestant Christian scholars, though they had translated the Latin Vulgate into other languages, they had not printed their own protestant Bible based on their desired cannon, in their protest of the cannon of 73 Books.
Due to the annulment of the Edict of Worms in 1526, many protestant Christian scholars all over the world were now free to publish their papers, challenging the Church’s interpretation of Bible passages, and the church’s doctrine. By 1529 the worldwide Protestant Christian reformation movement had attracted many scholars publishing their many opinions. This worldwide debate now challenged the protestant beliefs, leading to conflict of many opinions within the protestant Church. Some of the topics of contention focused on the meaning of the elements of the sacrament of Holy Communion; salvation by grace versus salvation by works; the ideas of once saved always saved; and the ability to lose ones salvation, just to name a few.
As more scholars worldwide began to participate in the doctrinal debates stemming from Luther’s “95 Theses of Contention”, other schools of thought sprang up under the protestant movement leading to more separations and denominations within the protestant Christian movement. Now, the once united and uniformed protestant beliefs began to splinter based on the varying opinions, giving rise to protestant denominations. In 1534 in England, The parliament delivered The Act of Supremacy to King Henry VIII of England giving him supreme authority over the Roman Catholic Church in England. King Henry VIII quickly exercised his authority and power over the Church and converted the Roman Catholic Church in England forming the Church of England (the Anglican Church), giving rise to first official Protestant Christian church. In spite of the many Bibles translated into other languages and printed by protestant Christians, Protestants all maintained the official use of the Roman Catholic cannon of 73 books. Though the printing press was already invented in 1448, the cost of mass production printing was cost prohibitive.
However, by 1611, the technology of the printing press was upgraded from that of 1448. Therefore, King James had a better technology at his disposal to mass produce Bibles for all English speaking households. Therefore, in 1611, in keeping with the mission to have the Bible available to the common man, woman and child in his own language, King James I, authorized the first complete cannon of 73 books into the King’s English. Surprisingly, that same year, another King James Bible was printed with only 66 Books. This second printing of the King James Bible became what is now the standard or cannon for the Protestant Christian church. Today these printings of 1611 are both referred to as originals. This is because the first original printing had 73 books; but the second original printing had 66 Books.
If you were a Protestant Christian living in the year 1611 and owned the first printing of the King James English Bible, you would have known about the Feast of Dedication or Hanukkah, because that printing of the first version of the King James Bible that year included the Apocrypha, which includes Maccabees I & II where the event of Hanukkah is recorded. So search the internet for the original or first printing of the King James Bible of 1611, or the Apocrypha. When you do, please leave a comment to let me know if you believe the Maccabees should be included in the cannon of divinely inspired scriptures of your Bible.
By the very nature of the True Faith once delivered, the Messianic Believer is a leader. This rather audacious statement flies contrary to the classic portrait of the Christian who is often viewed as demure and rather passive. How many so-called Christians do you know with fire in the belly and a boisterous disposition that is ready to confront the injustices of life? Not very many huh? Let’s face it: most Christians are taught to be meek and lowly, or should I say, most Christians are taught to be weak and pitiful. Generally, verses such as [Rom 13:1 KJV] 1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God...are interpreted and taught to the masses in such a way as to engender a more subdued attitude and disposition that we’ve all come to expect of Christians in our society. And then there is: [Tts 3:1 KJV] 1 Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, [1Pe 2:18 KJV] 18 Servants, [be] subject to [your] masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.
[1Pe 5:5 KJV] 5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all [of you] be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. All excellent lessons from the Apostles Paul and Peter when read and interpreted at face value. But these lessons become even better lessons when they are considered and read in context and when we look at the example of the life of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (a.k.a. Yeshua Hamaschiach) who indeed was under subjection to the Romans as well as the Jewish religious establishment of His day. He did not lead an insurrection nor did He seek to undermine the extant governmental and religious hierarchy. Yet He operated masterfully under both oppressive systems and He in no way behaved like the traditional-ideal Christian of the 21st century. When the purpose of the Gospel was to be accomplished, He did not let takanot prevent Him from doing what needed to be done (e.g., healing on the Sabbath and gleaning for food in a field on the Sabbath when He and His disciples were hungry). The Master was indeed a leader in every respect of the word. In fact, I would go so far as to say that our Master defined the entire concept of leadership, especially as it relates to Servant Leadership.
This morning I was once again privileged to teach the second part of a Servant Leadership course that was designed for County workers. I’ve personally adopted the principles of Servant Leadership as the guiding principles that I follow in my everyday life, in addition to Torah living. Why? Because I sincerely believe that the whole concept of Servant Leadership was brilliantly displayed and practiced by Yeshua our Master. The whole concept of Servant Leadership is serving those who are for whatever reason placed in our lives; and by serving, one naturally becomes a leader. It should be readily apparent that a servant operates fully from within and seeks to do the right thing for all the right reasons, even when no one is watching or is aware. Serving is a way of life. The decision to serve must be made at the deepest core of one’s being. When realized, the servant lives according to the mantra that it’s all about the people we serve and not about us. Consequently, one serves because it is who he or she naturally is: a servant. Interestingly, the concept of being a servant has a negative connotation as depicting one who is forced to do menial work and be subjected to harsh working conditions and who is prevented from saying anything about his or her plight out of fear of being harmed by the powers to be. We are not necessarily talking about being a servant in the classic sense, but one who serves because he or she desires to serve and it defines who he or she is.
Interestingly, Paul, James the brother of Yeshua, Peter, and Jude another brother of Yeshua, all referred to themselves in their writings as “servants.” of the Master. Despite their humble references to themselves as servants, there should be absolutely no question in anyone’s minds that they were individually apt leaders in their own right. And that is the whole thought behind being a Servant Leader. If we become sold-out, obedient, and selfless servants of the Master, we will by default become leaders.
There is, however, a drought of leaders in the Faith today, especially in the Messianic Faith. I perceive the reason for this has to do with a lack of:
- True servants’ hearts in the Faith. It is clear to me that the Messianic today has significantly more knowledge of Scripture than the average fundamental Christian simply by virtue of the fact that one who becomes a Messianic must understand much of the Bible in order to make the move over to the True Faith once delivered. Yet, many of the people who I’ve met in this Faith lack any sense of humbleness or a mindset of serving as a way of being. There is almost this sense of haughtiness and snootiness that is palpable. In their case, knowledge and understanding replaces love and the desire to serve. I recall being at the Feast of Sukkot celebration in Denver Colorado this past September with Michael Rood and the Rood Crew and seeing several believers abruptly leave the forum when Arthur Bailey stood up and admonished each of us to seek out those in need and offer for them prayers and supplications and the laying on of hands. The look on their faces as they made the decision to leave was as if they were appalled at being asked to be of service. I was truly sad to see that. I understand as well, that some of those people, with indignation, wrote letters to Michael Rood complaining of Arthur Bailey’s instructions during that service. Praise Yehovah, Michael Rood stood on firm ground and backed Arthur Bailey fully and supported the mindset of being of service to those in need. If believers like these refuse to become servants of Yeshua, they can not be true leaders.
- The Desire to Serve and Thus Lead. It seems equally clear to me that most Believers of Messiah are afraid to be leaders at any level. I recall when I was active in the United Church of God. UCG is not a Messianic group, but they do believe and practice almost everything held sacred and Biblical to Messianics with the exception of a handful of issues (e.g., it’s okay to eat out on the Sabbath, Yeshua is God of the Old Testament, and a distaste of the use of sacred names). Being active, I often led Sabbath services and as part of that responsibility, I was tasked with finding men in the congregation to pray during the service. Well, most of the men in the Church were veteran UCG members who were steeped in the knowledge of the Truth. Yet, when it came down to me asking them to pray, they would find every reason in the book to say no. Granted, this is one minor example, but it was part and parcel of the bigger problem that was the mainstay of the UCG church, and that was that most of the men in the congregation were resistant to standing up and leading and in many cases, some of these men were simply terrified of being asked to lead. It goes without saying, most anywhere else where Believers are assembled, most are reluctant to lead and for that matter even less likely to serve.
- Understanding of the End Product. Indeed, there must be a lack of understanding as to what the end product of our Faith is going to be. All indications are that we, the chosen of Messiah, redeemed and transformed when the Master returns to the earth and takes us to the sea of fire and glass. When the Savior does return to this earth to assume His rightful kingship and millennial reign, we His chosen will become perpetual Servant Leaders. It will be up to us to carry out the plans of the Father and our Redeemer to educate those millions of people who remain upon the earth. We will be given assignments and areas of responsibility that will entail showing the Peoples of this earth how to live God’s way as well as assisting in the rebuilding of fallen earth back to its Edenic status. Until that time, we have daily opportunities to serve those whom the Father brings within our circle of influence. And by serving those who exist in our circle of influence, we become leaders. We become leaders through living lives that provide those around us with divine examples how man is supposed to live-thus leading by example. We become leaders by seeing the needs of those around us and ensuring that those needs are met. We become leaders by building those around us up and by taking a back seat and not seeking praise.
The creator and developers of the Servant Leadership Course that I was so blessed to facilitate made it clear that the precepts of Servant Leadership were not built upon Biblical teachings. These same developers, however, admitted that many if not most of the principles of Servant Leadership have undeniable Christian overtones. Indeed, they are correct. More so, I would go so far as to say that the creator of Servant Leadership–Robert Greenleaf–could not have developed Servant Leadership without significant Biblical crossover of Messianic principles. Yeshua was the ultimate Servant when He came to this earth and taught us how to live Torah the proper way, served and did the will of the Father, and died for our sins that we most sinful creatures may have eternal life. Currently He serves the Father and us as High Priest while leading as He sits at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. When He returns to this earth, the concepts of Servant Leadership will indeed be spotlighted as He will reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords and we, His chosen, will reign with Him and serve the Father and Yeshua, as kings and priests–reference Revelation 20: 4-6: CJB Revelation 20:4 Then I saw thrones, and those seated on them received authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for testifying about Yeshua and proclaiming the Word of God, also those who had not worshipped the beast or its image and had not received the mark on their foreheads and on their hands. They came to life and ruled with the Messiah for a thousand years. 5 (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were over.) This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is anyone who has a part in the first resurrection; over him the second death has no power. On the contrary, they will be cohanim of God and of the Messiah, and they will rule with him for the thousand years. It’s not entirely certain just what the Father has in mind for us during the Millennial Reign of the Master, but verse six of this chapter clearly places upon us the roll of being priests of the Most High. What do priest do: they serve. By virtue of their serving, they become leaders as verse six also says that we will rule with the Mast for a thousand years.
I am so happy to have had this wonderful opportunity to facilitate this class and share many of my perceptions of Godly service and leadership. I saw this opportunity as an opportunity to practice up and get my “servant” on if you will and by virtue of serving, be the leader that our Master is calling for in these last and evil days. Until next time, be most blessed fellow Saints in Training.