To Chanukkah or not to Chanukkah?
Shalom, friends. Instead of the Torah teaching this week, I'm sending an excerpt from the BEKY Booklet,
Truth, Tradition, or Tare? Growing in the Word. The question of whether Chanukkah or Purim are "additions to" the Torah is a hot topic in the winter, and Yeshua said we should pray that our flight be not in winter or on Shabbat. This is an important warning to his disciples.
Although the excerpt is only the briefest of explanations illustrating the process of defining Truth, Tradition, or Tare in the booklet, I thought you'd like to know that I'm speeding up the work on a related BEKY Book:
The Seven Shepherds: Chanukkah in Prophecy. In the process of researching the holiday in Jewish tradition, I uncovered something astounding in the one direct mention of Chanukkah in the Gospels.
Yeshua was challenged to say plainly if he really were the Messiah. His answer is pregnant with prophecy and Jewish expectation concerning Messiah and his mission. It explains why a certain sect of the Pharisees would have become enraged and accused him of blasphemy. It also explains why Yeshua asked Peter three times if he loved him and commanded him to feed his sheep. The seed and roots of Chanukkah in the Torah and Prophets are deep. The non-Jew returning to the Covenant from the nations has EQUAL CAUSE TO REJOICE as the Jew at Chanukkah. Parts of the Book of Revelation are explained.
If you've ever been confused about the place of Chanukkah in the life of a disciple, the upcoming booklet will give you solid Scripture with which to work in your study.
Here is your
Truth, Tradition, or Tare excerpt:
The examples of tares are easy to identify, for in order to do them, a clear commandment not to do it is easy to find. When a tradition transgresses a clear commandment, then it is a tare. A tradition, though, may be hard to research. For instance, what about the biblical holidays of Purim in the Book of Esther, Channukah, or the additional fast days listed in the Prophets?
The Eight-day celebration of Channukah starting on Kislev 25 is one example that requires a bit of research, but briefly, the Seed pattern is found in the Torah in the example of the Second Passover for those unable to celebrate at the appointed time, and Leviticus 23 intentionally gives two sets of instructions for the celebration of Sukkot, one for a seven-day celebration, and one with eight days.
Later, two kings of Israel observe double feast celebrations, one a double Passover, and one a double Sukkot. The Prophet Haggai prophesies of an event that will begin in the Ninth Month (Kislev 24), but it is based on something that happened before, when the foundations of the Temple were laid:
Set now your heart from this day and before, from the twenty-fourth of the ninth month, back to the day when the foundations of the Sanctuary were laid; set your heart: is there any more seed in the silo? Even the grapevine and the fig tree and the pomegranate tree and the olive tree have not borne their fruit. But from this day on I will provide blessing.
When King Solomon celebrated the inauguration of the First Temple Sanctuary, he declared a double Sukkot celebration . The Prophet Haggai plants clues that demonstrate the link between the Seed of the Torah and the [future] celebration of Channukah by posing a question of the priests concerning what is "clean" or "unclean":
Then Haggai said, 'If one who is unclean from a corpse touches any of these, will the latter become unclean?' And the priests answered, 'It will become unclean.'
If a man had become unclean because of a corpse, then this was the Seed criteria for establishing a second celebration of Passover in Numbers 9:9-10.
Historically, Channukah was a late eight-day celebration of Sukkot because the Sanctuary, the Temple, had not been cleansed from unclean things after the war with the Greeks. This second Sukkot was known as the Feast of Dedication, and the celebration continued every year as a minor holiday. Although the historical celebration was relatively minor (John 10:22), it has taken on more significance in less pious modern Jewish families who feel that they need something to compete with Christmas.
The simple answer is that these holidays must pass the rules concerning the Seed, the tare, and the tradition grown from the Seed. Here are some great questions to ask:
* Is there a Seed Word of the Torah that allows for a commemorative celebration in a day of great deliverance?
* Does the celebration of this day directly violate a "Thou shalt..." or "Thou shalt not..."?
* Does the celebration entwine itself around a Seed of the Word, yet its origin can be definitely placed within a pagan practice?
* Do those who celebrate this day understand that it can never replace the commanded moedim of Adonai?
* Do those who celebrate this day understand that it is not as important or weighty as the commanded moedim?
* Does the celebration draw the glory away from the Holy One of Israel and divert it onto an individual our group of individuals?
* Does the holiday become a point of competition or comparison of one's personal holiness?
* Are there any confirming Scriptures found between the Books of Joshua and Revelation?
You may develop your own questions to get to the root of the celebration or run a soil (heart) test.
ISRAEL STUDY TRIP
We still have three seats available on the March 19-30, 2017, Israel tour. Our focus is preparing for Passover as we walk in the ancient paths of our forefathers' faith. We're looking for spiritual renewal, and studies will focus on both the observance of Passover in the First Century as well as its spiritual and prophetic place in our lives and apocalyptic prophecies.
Cost is $2100 plus your airfare. For more information or registration, go to
and view the Pennington/Alewine tour: Standing With Israel: the Revelation.
If you are unable to go, but you'd like to assist someone else, we do have a person in need. Those who contribute
any amount toward this pastor's trip will be given access to an extended video teaching on Chanukkah and the Seven Shepherds, so
be sure to include an email address to receive the link.
The teaching points include:
- Why did Yeshua say that we should pray that our flight be not in winter or on Shabbat?
- What did the Prophet Chaggai prophesy about Chanukkah? How did Zechariah extend this Chanukkah "blessing" to the nations?
- Where is the First Mention of chanukkah in the Torah, and how does it relate to the time Yeshua walked in the Temple at Chanukkah?
- What was the context of the Pharisees' challenge to Yeshua at the Feast of Dedication, and how was his answer prophetic of the "other flock" and how he would accomplish the task of bringing them to the House?
- When was the "real" Chanukkah, and what does it have to do with Passover Sheni in the Torah and the Chanukkah celebrated today?
- What do Yared, Enoch, and Methuselah have to do with Chanukkah and the 1,000-year reign? What about the loosing of the Adversary after 1,000 years?
If you can help, click
to donate by
. Please put "Shepherd" in the Comment section so we can know who the donation is for. Alternatively, you can send a check (memo line: "Shepherd") to
PO Box 846
East Bernstadt, KY 40729
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Truth, Tradition, or Tare: Growing in the Word
Readers of the Newer Testament can find its treatment of tradition confusing. Many of the customs in its pages are Jewish, and therefore foreign to non-Jewish believers. Yeshua (Jesus) sometimes corrected those observing religious customs, yet at other times he said they should have observed them. Paul does the same in his letters, and twice he instructs non-Jewish believers to keep the Jewish customs he passed on to them.
Among believers in Yeshua today, some enjoy incorporating tradition into their worship. Some dismiss all customs as "man-made," and therefore extraneous at best or the sin "adding to" the written Word at worst. There is a way to determine the relationship of the written Word to tradition, for the Word would not leave us without comfort on such an important question. Our Father wants His children to grow in wisdom, maturity, and favor before Him as well as their communities.
The methods used by the prophets of the Older Testament (TANAKH) as well as the writers of the Newer Testament (Brit HaChadasha) did leave readers guidelines to divide the Seed of truth from tradition, and then to separate a tradition grown from truth from a "taredition" grown from a different seed. Additionally, it is just as important to the disciple of Yeshua to test the goodness of the soil on which the practice of the Word grows. The most important consideration in the Older Testament's, Yeshua's, and the apostles' instructions is the sincere heart that holds justice, mercy, and faithfulness as the weightier matters of any religious custom.
By evaluating the traditions that one chooses to observe or not observe, the individual can avoid the lament:
"O Lord, my strength and my stronghold, my refuge in the day of trouble, to you shall the nations come from the ends of the earth and say: 'Our fathers have inherited nothing but lies, worthless things in which there is no profit.'"
By applying the instructions in the Word, every believer is encouraged in his or her growth. A careful examination of Yeshua's instructions lifts a nuance that is frequently lost in discussions of truth and tradition. The first step is to identify whether that tradition is a tare. By throwing all tradition into a mental trash bin labeled Man's Tradition, it is possible that one could throw good plants and fruit into the bin with the tares. This is a logical fallacy called oversimplification. Yeshua's parables encourage his disciples to learn critical thinking skills so that growth in the Word is abundant life.
When a disciple of Yeshua examines his or her walk in the Word, there may be times that he or she feels that there is not enough growth. The very fact that we question our growth is a sign of readiness to grow. The next step is to allow the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh) to teach us how to bear good fruit. To do that, every disciple can identify beliefs and practices that either stimulate healthy growth in the Word, or they stunt it. Welcome to the living fields of the Father's Garden!
Don't be alone this December! Come fellowship with friends, believers, and family at HRN's 2016 "Lord You Are My Light" Hanukkah Conference.
Enjoy teachings by Bill Cloud, Hollisa Alewine, Tony Robinson, Daniel Botkin, & more! Experience heartfelt worship and join hands with hundreds of people who share your faith.
We weren't meant to be alone - we were created to be in community with one another. Space is limited so register for this exciting event today! You'll be glad you did.
Walk-in registration is still available.
DATES: December 23-25, 2016
LOCATION: Nashville, TN
HOTEL: Sheraton Music City
REGISTRATION: $30 per individual or $50 per couple or $75 per family.
LaMalah Children's Centre
Thank you for your faithful donations! We hope to be able to take in two more youngsters on the waiting list soon.