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Christmas, Hanukkah and the Antichrist PART 4: Hanukkah Traditions

 

We’ve learned much in the first three parts of this series.

We started in Part 1 with the historical account of Hanukkah and discovered the incredible story of how one man, with God’s help, stood up to evil, triumphed against all odds, and saved an entire people in the process.

In Part 2 we learned how the Messiah kept this festival in the first century and how we could calculate his conception as taking place during it, resulting in His real birth during the Feast of Tabernacles (our September/October).

In Part 3 we brought in the connection to Christmas and the antichrist and learned where celebrating it on December 25th came from. In this final part, I would like to share some of my family’s traditions with you and discuss how we transitioned into celebrating the Festival of Lights.

Celebrating Christmas was a major focus of my family’s when I was growing up. From the mistletoe to sitting on Santa’s lap to waking up on Christmas morning to the mountains of presents that buried that little two-inch baby Jesus in his ceramic manger, Christmas was my holiday of choice as a growing boy.

But all that changed in the years following 2002 as the Father began to draw me back past my Protestant roots, past my Catholic roots, past the days of the Roman Emperors, and even past the Gentile Church Fathers, all the way back to my real forefathers, the disciples and followers of the Jewish Rabbi Yeshua.

Once I learned about what they did and why they did it, it all began to make sense that somewhere down the line, we Christians had been ripped off where holidays were concerned.

Hanukkah in all its beauty had been replaced by the much more commercialized and popular Roman day of Christmas.
When our family learned more about the Feast of Dedication, the time when Yeshua was conceived, we decided to “rebirth” it in our own family.

In doing so, we’ve developed a few traditions of our own that I would like to share:

DECORATIONS

First of all, we decorate our house with white and blue lights of all kinds. After all, the Messiah, The Light of the World, was conceived during this week and light is the official purpose of this holiday.

Just like the menorah lit up the temple in ancient Jerusalem, we fill our temple home with bright lights and decorations.

We also take pictures of the family each year and cut them into or glue them onto stars or snowflakes.

To do this yourself, simply take some pictures and blow them up large enough so they can be cut into snowflakes or stars. You can paint the other side blue or other colors and can laminate them to make them stronger. Once we’d made our stars we hung them by multi-colored strings from our ceiling in different parts of the house. It’s a lot of fun to pull the stars out each year and visit those memories all over again.

We also bake sugar cookies in the shape of shofars, hanukkias (the nine-branched menorah created especially for Hanukkah), snowflakes, Hebrew letters, dreidels and snowmen, and the kids spend hours decorating them. (When you have six daughters, there’s never a shortage of baking.)

We always do craft projects with the little ones that we use to decorate the house, as well. Making placemats for the dinner table and laminating them is also a fun way to preserve memories or letting them decorate a t-shirt with puffy paint.

The ideas are endless and with a little creativity you’ll begin to see how fun it is to start your own family traditions.

Whatever you decide to do will no doubt be passed down from generation to generation to generation. With this in mind, I would recommend having a family heirloom that can be passed down, as well.

Maybe it’s a special menorah or a special Hanukkah blanket with everyone’s names embroidered on it that only comes out during this time of year. It really doesn’t matter what it is so long as it’s special to you and your family.

Memories and traditions are really important. And because this holiday has so much richness built into it and is laced with so much spiritual depth, I encourage you to make it your own and have fun with it.

THE MENORAH

Our family also has menorahs everywhere. There are two different kinds of menorahs.

There’s the normal seven-branched menorah that was found in the temple and then there’s the nine-branched menorah that was created especially for Hanukkah, called a hanukkia.

The seven-branched menorah is really a six-branched candlestick with a center Shamash (servant) candle that is used to light all the other lights. Along with other deep meanings, it represents the six days of creation and the seventh day of rest.

Similarly, the hanukkia is really an eight-branched candlestick that also has a servant candle. The eight lights representing the eight days of Hanukkah and the Servant candle representing Yeshua Himself.

We place various menorahs all over the house and it’s traditional to place them in every window sill so everyone can see. Unless your curtains are fireproof, I would recommend the electric ones. There are literally thousands of different kinds available to choose from online.

OUR FIRST HANUKKAH

In an effort to make our first Hanukkah special, I decided to make our main hanukkia from scratch. We found a really cool base and painted it gold, then filled it with blue sand. From there, we took plastic oil lamps that we purchased at a craft store and wrapped them in construction paper with the words of what each light represented. It was fun to make with the kids and made for some great memories.

We lit the Shamash candle each night and then one candle for each of the eight nights until the eighth night when all the candles were lit. Because the entire holiday is about redeeming the light, I decided that I was going to teach my children a different facet of what light was in the bible each night. I did this by making the eight nights connect to the history of light in the biblical timeline.

On each day I read scripture that correlated with that topic along with another scripture or two about light. Here’s what it looked like:

TEACHINGS ON LIGHT

DAY ONE: On day one, the first candle was called the Light of Creation. We read from Genesis and show how the Light of Messiah was brought into our existence and how the physical lights in the universe were also created. We talk about how Adam and Eve were given the first light and how they were supposed to pass it to the next generation. I talk about how from one light will come all the other lights throughout time.

DAY TWO: The second candle we made the Light of Noah. Much like Judah Maccabee and his father, Noah was one man who stood up to the evil of his day. The torch was passed from Adam to Noah’s family, as Noah’s father would have been alive during Adam’s life. Pretty amazing to think about. There were eight people in the ark and I connect it to the eight days of Hanukkah. I explain how the eight “lights” in the ark were not meant to stay in the ark but are meant to be shared with the world. We can’t keep our light under a bushel!

DAY THREE: The third light is Abraham, the Father of the people of God. This is where the light was reintroduced to the people of earth and where obedience through faith really begins to come to the forefront when Isaac is bound to the altar. We talk about how the beautiful picture of Abraham preparing to sacrifice his son is a picture of Yeshua offering Himself as a substitute for all of us.

DAY FOUR: Day four is Israel, with Moses at the head. The light was reintroduced to him at the burning bush and there’s the miraculous story of the people of Israel being redeemed from Egypt. We talk about the Exodus story and how it foreshadows our Lord Yeshua, who “Passed Over” us and our sins because we put His blood over the doors of our hearts. Then we talk about how the Light came in the form of the Torah commandments and read scriptures that talk about His Law being a light unto our path.

DAY FIVE: The sixth candle is when the Light of Messiah was passed to His disciples. They were told to take that light to the rest of the world.

DAY SIX: After the light was given to the Jewish people, the Father gave the instruction for them to take it to the Gentiles. So the seventh light is the Gentiles. We read Acts 10 and explain how God called Peter to go give the gospel to Cornelius but how Peter resisted, thinking that the Gentiles were unclean. I talk about how the Spirit finally opened his eyes and he realized that the sheet of unclean animals were representative of the Gentiles and that the vision was not about animals at all. He then took the Light to the Gentiles.

DAY SEVEN: From there, the Jewish and Gentile believers spread the light together for 2000 years until they came to us. So the eighth candle is us. We read the scriptures that talk about us being the light of the world and how we are not to hide our light under a bushel.

DAY EIGHT: Finally, we come to the end of time as we know it where the Messiah comes back to usher in the final candle, the Light of the Millennium. This is the thousand-year reign of Messiah where He will be the Light coming directly from the new temple.

You can do as little or as much as you want with each of the above days. Whether you have small children or teenagers, you can create your own traditions.

For instance, on day four when I’m talking about the commandments, I’ve turned off all the lights and taken my younger children and blindfolded them, making sure they can still see their feet. Then I give them a small flashlight and they have to follow my voice as I lead them to a small gift or some candy. This illustrates how His Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our paths. We’ve also played flashlight tag in the dark house. That’s always fun, even for the older girls.

You could also take construction paper and paint it with black light paint and then cut it out in different shapes, one of which should be an arrow. Have your kids hide their eyes as you put the shapes on the floor throughout your house. Then with all the lights off and just a black light on, they have to follow the signs that lead to a surprise. The black light represents the written Word and the Spirit. This teaches them to follow only the signs of God.
From making miniature arks for Noah’s flood to doing science experiments with light, the sky’s the limit when it comes to creating fun traditions for your family.

The great part about this holiday that sets it far apart from Christmas is that it’s not just one day, it’s eight! For eight days we get to invite people over for dinner, go to other people’s houses, eat lots of candy, watch family movies, and really focus on the Light of the world.

One of the games that kids of every age enjoy is the dreidel game. The dreidel is a small top that has four different Hebrew letters on each of its four sides. When you spin it and it lands, each letter tells you to do something different. The game starts with everyone putting a chocolate coin in the middle of the playing space. This is the “pot.” Players take turns spinning the dreidel and do whatever the letter they land on says to do. Whether you get to take half the pot, the whole pot, get nothing, or have to add to the pot, depends on which Hebrew letter the dreidel lands on. It’s a fun game that ends with someone getting a lot of candy! You can buy dreidels online or in stores like Party City or Hobby Lobby, and there are full game instructions online, as well.

So there you have it! A few of the traditions we Staleys have during the Hanukkah season!

Happy Hanukkah!

Jim

 

 

 


Questions And Answers

Valerie HeinrichsThe Hannukiah would be a counterfeit of a Menorah. The 7 branch Menorah is Scriptural; instruction from YaHWeH. Where as the Hannukiah is a creation and tradition of men…it is not in Scripture. Hannukah and Purim both are not part of YaHWeH’s instructions in Leviticus 23! He instituted Passover long before the Passover Lamb shed His blood. Then surely if YaHWeH wanted us to keep Hannukah and Purim; He would have included them in Leviticus 23!  YaHWeH gives strong words about following the traditions of men!Isaiah 29 :13, Matthew 15 :8-9, Mark 7 :6-9.
Selah.Shabbat Shalom!
 
Jim StaleyWe have to be careful to not demonize all traditions. Yeshua had no problem with traditions as long as they didn’t go against His word. Any tradition that points to the word, puts focus on the word or supports the major tenets of it is no issue. His issue was with all the commandments of men and their traditions that DISPLACE the commandments of God. Mark 7 is a great example of that where He says, “you put aside the commandments of God for your traditions…” It’s not the traditions that he has a problem with. It’s the traditions that put aside His. Also, we know that Yeshua wore a talit and operated within the customs of the Jews his whole life without stating any issues with them..except for those that came in conflict with the Torah. Paul even paid for others as well as himself to take a Nazarite vow in Acts 21 if my memory serves me right, to prove that he kept both the law and the traditions of the elders. Yeshua loved Jerusalem and His Temple. For Him to not celebrate what was equivalent to our Independence day, a day where His Temple was taken back from evil men when it was His Father that supernaturally helped them do it, is to have him protesting against the very thing He helped liberate! And yes, we don’t need a Hanukkia as they didn’t use one early on. It was only chosen because their are 8 nights and a Hanukkia is a great tradition to add to it since it doesn’t break the scriptures and it is a great tool. Some say we shouldn’t celebrate it because it’s not a commanded feast. If we use that logic, then we can’t celebrate Thanksgiving, birthdays, wedding anniversary’s, the fourth of July, New Years on Rosh Hashannah, or make latke cakes, use balloons or decorations to decorate because all of those are traditions…the list is obviously endless.
 

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Jim Staley Christmas, Hanukkah and the Antichrist

jim-staley-hanukkah

What is Hanukkah ? The Whole Truth by Jim Staley

Jim Staley – Christmas, Hanukkah and the Antichrist

 

jim-staley-hanukkahHow to celebrate Hanukkah – Passion for Truth Ministries

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Jim Staley
Jim Staley leads Passion for Truth Ministries in Saint Charles, MO. Passion for Truth Ministries- Youtube Jim Staley has dedicated his life to understanding and sharing the truth of the bible. Jim studies biblical texts from the perspective of the original writers, thereby enabling believers to understand the truth of the scriptures and improve their relationships with God. After a supernatural experience led him to focus on the Hebraic, or original authors', point of view when studying the scriptures, Mr. Staley decided to devote his life to sharing this perspective with others. A major blow came to Jim Staley and his family when in June of 2014 when Staley was indicted on 11 counts of wire fraud. He got into trouble in 2007 while working as a financial adviser, more than three years before he became a full-time pastor. He began selling a life-insurance product that he says he was told was fully insured against loss, except it was not. When the market crashed in 2008, the investment was wiped out. And along with it went more than $3.3 million from investors who bought the product through Staley. He was sentenced to seven years in federal prison. Jim put together a statement on youtube talking about his response to pleading guilty. There are countless websites that have bad mouthed Jim Staley, but myself and my husband will not be one of them. Jim Staley has produced some of the best leading edge materials defending the gospel to date, and we encourage him to press into the mysteries of the bible and keep publishing more of his finds. He is a tremendous teacher and gifted speaker. The very best men in our faith have gone to prison, - Jim Bakker, Andrew Brunson, Saeed Abedini, Pastor Kong Hee, Pastor Yang Rongli, Kenneth Miller, Pastor Chinh, Gu Yuese, Kent Hovind and of course Paul, and John. Jim updates his facebook page which you can find here. Jim Staley- Official Facebook Page Jim Staley has appeared on many Christian television networks such as God's Learning Channel and Sky Angel TV, and multitudes of radio programs nationwide. Jim Staley has a beautiful wife and five children who love him very much. We hope to re-publish many of his notes that he shares on facebook with permission given to us by Pam Staley.
  • MotivatedinOhio

    We have a Chanukkia that we light. While we light it we sing (in Hebrew) Blessed are you Oh Lord our God, King of the Universe who has given us Yeshua the Messiah our Lord, Light of the World.

    • Meranda Devan

      That sounds so special. We have kept the feasts for many years… but this year was our first with Hanukkah. We decorated with white and blue….and put snowflakes up on our walls. I am excited to get back into decorating for these holidays,

      • MotivatedinOhio

        I love Hanukkah! We usually make Latkes. (love them). Plus Turkey is a great Hanukkah meal. We were going to have a party this year, but got a terrible cold, so we canceled so our guests wouldn’t get sick. I go around singing Neis Gadol Hayah Sham around the house ( A great miracle happened there) I love the Feasts of Adonai. It is wonderful that more followers of Yeshua are discovering them. I look at them as a road map for God’s plan of Salvation. The perfect Lamb of God is slain to protect us from Death (Passover) He was without sin (Unleavened Bread) and is the First Fruits of those Risen (First Fruits). The counting of the Omer until Shavuot (Pentecost) where God pours out His Spirit. Then there is the Fall feasts Yom Teruah (Trumpets) Yeshua Returns, Yom Kippur (Atonement) Day of Judgement and Sukkot (Tabernacles) Millenial Reign Wow! God is Awesome.