SHALOM

CHANUKAH: THE FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS


 


This message is the printed form of the radio transcript by the same title. Please note that the dates recorded within the text were current for the year when the message was first aired.


For the correct dating of Chanukah today, date revised for 2016)


 December 24th ,2016 at sundown (25th of Kislev, 5775)

To January 1st , 2017 sundown


 Beloved Jewish friends, peace and God’s blessings be upon you and yours!  May this program bring glory to God, the God of Israel, and gladness to you, both temporally and eternally!  The Hebrew Christian Witness,” which presents this program, each Sunday morning from over this superior station, is a non-denominational, unaffiliated and independent work to make known to Jewish people first the full truth of the Jewish Bible.  “The Hebrew Christian Witness” has no membership rolls or dues.  It does not make any solicitations; it does not make any charge for its services; it has nothing to sell.  It is a friend of the nation Israel and of Jewish people wherever they may be found.  The official mailing address of “The Hebrew Christian Witness” is: Post Office Box Two, San Bernardino, Calif.  909-883-3910.


          Sephardic Hebrew, the dialect of Israel and Yiddish (Jewish), shall be spoken in this radiocast.  The subject of this morning’s message is: The Festival of Lights, and the Light of Isaiah, Chapter Nine, Verses One and Two.


          This message is based on the Jewish Bible, in which appears this exhortation spoken by God, the God of Israel, quote: “To the Law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”

 (Isaiah 8:20).


          At this time, prayer by your speaker, Mike Perl, shall precede the message…(extemporaneous).


Beginning at sundown, December 8th, Saturday, and continuing for the next eight days until sundown on the 15th of December, Saturday , is the Festival of Lights.  Perhaps 20% of the Jewish people in the world—and there are hardly 15 million of us, will be celebrating Chanukah, The Festival of Lights.  The holiday commemorates the victory of Jewish soldiers over Gentile enemies who sought to eradicate Judaism.  The holy temple, which had been defiled by the invading troops, was cleansed and rededicated in the year one hundred and sixty five, prior to the Christian era.  Hence, the holiday derived its name of “Chanukah,” which means “dedication” or “The Feast of Dedication.”


          In connection with the dedication of the holy temple, there is a story told regarding the seven-branch lampstand, the light that was to burn perpetually in the temple.  It is said that only one small cruse of unpolluted oil bearing an unbroken seal of the high priest, was discovered.  It was thought that this would be sufficient oil for only one day, but the oil lasted for eight days!  By this time additional oil had been properly prepared.  During the eight days, songs and psalms  were sung in a spirit of celebration.  The following year it was instituted that every anniversary  be observed with the lighting of a Chanukah menorah, or lampstand, in every Jewish home.  Consequently, the holiday has become better known as “The Festival of Lights.”


          In accordance with traditions, at this time of year in many Jewish homes there is a candelstand which holds nine candles – one for the servant light, and one for each of the eight days of the holiday.  On the first evening of Chanukah, the first candle is lit – or in modern days, an electric candlestand is used and the first light is turned on.  Then on each successive night, the next candle or light in line is lit or turned on, and the following blessing is said: “Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who hast sanctified us with thy commandments, and commanded us to light the lamp of dedication.” End of quotation.  In this blessing, it is claimed that to kindle the Chanukah menorah, or Lamp of Dedication, is a commandment of the Lord God of Israel.  Every Jewish person ought to know that the commandments of the Lord God of Israel, are not found in tradition, or in the Talmud, or in the siddur, but the commandments of God are found in the Jewish Bible, and in it alone!  In our Jewish Bible, there is not any commandment to observe such a holiday as “The Feast of Lights” or “The Feast of Dedication!”  In the section of our Jewish Bible known as The Law, seven holy feasts are named and described, and commandments of the Lord God of Israel demand that they be observed, but “The Feast of Lights, or Dedication” is not one of them!  The exchange of gifts in connection with Chanukah is also out of order!  The use of  Christmas trees, renamed “Chanukah bushes,” of course, is also unauthorized!  The observance of Chanukah is not commanded by the Lord God of Israel.  This is an addition to the Word of God and is a sin against Him for He, the Lord God of Israel, said, “You shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall you diminish ought from it.”


          There is a true light of which The Lord God of Israel would have us to know for He writes of it through our Jewish prophets in His Holy Word.  Through our Jewish prophet, Isaiah, God foretells that darkness shall envelop the Land of Palestine because of a confederacy made with a human king by our Jewish people rather than with Him.  The Spirit of God anoints the prophet Isaiah, to say, quote: “The darkness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulon and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan in Galilee of the Gentiles, the people that walked in darkness will see a great light; they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them will the light shine.” End of quotation from the writings of Isaiah, chapter nine, verses one and two  A number of times our Jewish people sinned against the One, True and Living God, and in correction He chastised them either slightly or sorely.  Darkness was upon the Land of Israel approximately two thousand years ago in the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prediction made some seven centuries previously!  Did the people at that time see the great light, which was also prophesied by the same prophet?  Our Jewish Bible, does not reveal that they did.  The Holy New Testament, however, has something to say – in fact, it has a great deal to say about the light which Isaiah prophesied.  This is what it says to begin, quote: “Leaving Nazareth Jesus came and lived in Capernaum, which is along the sea coast, on the borders of Zebulon and the land of Naphtali.  He did so that what was spoken by Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled.  The Jewish people who sat in darkness saw a great light.  For them who sat in the region and shadow of death, The Light has sprung up.”  End of quotation.  Here then the Great Light which the people – our Jewish people actually beheld, is identified as Jesus the Nazarene!  Our Jewish Bible does not reveal that they saw the great light but the Holy New Testament, which is a continuation of it does!  Isaiah, the prophet, is a true prophet for the Great Light of which he spoke prophetically would shine, did shine, when Jesus walked the shores of Galilee!


          The Holy New Testament reports that there were some Jewish people of that day who did not believe that Jesus was the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy, but it also informs us that multitudes of our Jewish people, including many of the authorities, did believe that He was.  Therefore, even many of them became His disciples.  Jesus said of Himself, “I am come a light into the world.”  By these words, Jesus identifies Himself as being The Great Light – the True Light that was to come into the world!  Then He went on to say, quote: “Whosoever believes in Me shall not remain in darkness.”  On another occasion, Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of eternal life.”  End of quotation.  John 10:22-30


          Is there a person living in the world today who could make such statements?  Has there ever been another person who dared to make such claims – that whosoever would believe in and follow Him would neither remain nor walk in darkness but would have the very light of Eternal life?  How could Jesus speak so of Himself?  The Holy New Testament, explains why Jesus could make such declarations.  It says of Jesus that He was God manifest in the flesh – that He was God in human form!  The Holy New Testament further reveals that “God is Light, in Him is no darkness at all.”  Jesus, being God and man at one and the same time, thus could aver and avow that any person who would place his faith in Him and would follow Him would have his darkness dispelled and his life flooded with eternal light!


          This has been the testimony of countless millions of people down through the centuries.  They turned to Jesus and Jesus turned their darkness into light!  Their long night ended and their endless day began!  They found Jesus to be the True Light – the very Light of the World – the light that our Jewish prophet Isaiah said should come into the world!  These countless millions whose lives were illumined by Jesus included potentates and peasants; amateurs and artisans; the poor and the wealthy; the sick and the well; illiterate and educated; prisoner and freeman.  They have been black, white, red, yellow and mixed.  They have been and are Gentiles, Jewtiles, and Jews!


          Yes, beloved Jewish friends, Jesus was God in human form.  Our Jewish Holy Scriptures demand that He who would be our Jewish Messiah must be God in the form of man.  Jesus the Nazarene, was and is our Jewish Messiah.  Our Jewish Holy Scriptures demand that he who would be God in the form of man must be the Son of God.  Jesus the Nazarene, was and is the Son of God.  Our Jewish Holy Scriptures demand that He who would be the Son of God, must be the Light to lighten the Gentiles, and the Shekinah to shine upon His people Israel to enlighten!  Jesus the Nazarene, was that person and that personal light!  Coexistent, coequal, coeternal with God the Father, He – the Messiah, the Son of God, the Light, took upon Himself human form and came down to Earth.  He came a light into the world.  He shined in and on the darkness of the Land of Israel.  Those in darkness comprehended it not – did not lay hold of Him!  But as many as received Him, received the Light and became Children of Light – Sons of the Light!


          He went to the cross – voluntarily!  Jewish listeners, if you are without the Lord Jesus, The Messiah, you are without light and your life is full of darkness.  You stumble at noon day as if it were night.  You grope as if you had no eyes, and if you are physically blind and without the Lord Jesus Christ, your darkness is all the more dense!  Blind or able to see, you want brightness but you walk in darkness.  Your darkness can be turned into dazzling light!  Your night can be turned into brilliant day!  Your life can be filled with Light!  Jesus said, “While you have the light, put faith in the light so you may become sons of light.”  Believe the holy, historical Word of Holy God of Abraham—do so right now, if you have not already done so, and this will be the greatest true Festival of Lights – the happiest Chanukah you have ever known!  Do so right now as you are remembered in this closing prayer…


          

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   Psalm 122:6  /    Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.