Sermons Series 3:69, 16 December 2006
Important Historical Note: Mishpachah Lev-Tsiyon abandoned the observance of Hanukkah at the end of 2006. For a full explanation as to why, please see the sermon, Our Last Hanukkah: The Gospel vs. The Sword (30.12.2006). This sermon has been retained, along with earlier ones, as an illustration of the process of investigation and discovery that finally led to that decision. We recommend that you read this later sermon first in order to get a proper perspective.
Shabbat Shalom and welcome to this first sabbath day celebration of Hanukkah or the Feast of Dedication. Starting on the 25th day of the 9th month, we commemorate for 8 days the rededication of the temple at Jerusalem after its defilement by the antichrist Antiochus Epiphanes. There followed a brief period of independence for the Judahite nation before its conquest and enslavement by Rome. This festival is not, as you know, one of the biblical mandated moedim or appointments of Yahweh but is one of the two 'extra' ones mentioned in the Bible - Hanukkah and Purim - that commemorate important historical events after the time when the Torah was written down by Moses. Both of these have undergone considerable modification by non-Messianic rabbis over the centuries. And as you know, we as a people have been sitting down and sifting through these various traditions and systematically cutting out all that is not biblical as we seek to get back to the pure roots of our faith. But before we can even do this, we must have a better understanding of what is permissible, and what is not, when it comes to the celebration of events or 'holy days' not specifically sanctioned by Yahweh in Torah so I want to first of all start today by having a look at a passage in Romans which has been used by anitinomians - those who reject the Torah - as giving believers the right to celebrate whatever they want to. Here's what he says:
"Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. One man's faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for Elohim has accepted him. Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Master (Yah'shua) is able to make him stand. One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to Yahweh. He who eats meat, eats to Yahweh, for he gives thanks to Elohim; and he who abstains, does so to the Master and gives thanks to Elohim. For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. If we live, we live to the Master; and if we die, we die to the Master. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Master" (Rom.14:1-8, NIV).
I have been digging into this passage for a long time now and have come to the same conclusions as, as I think most Messianic Israelites do, that this has nothing to do with religious observances but with personal things like food (which is what this passage is about) and things like wedding anniversaries, and so forth. Moreover, this passage concerns weak believers, whether gentile or Jewish, who have not yet grown sufficiently in their faith to have given up attachment to various ascetic practices and calendar observances. As Dr. David Stern observes:
"Their tie to these activities ... is not supported by a rational through mistaken ideology ... Rather it is irrational and emotional, linked to psychological needs, social pressures or superstition, or it may simply be a matter of habit. When their activities in these areas are questioned in "arguments over opinions" (v.1, JNT), they are not "fully convinced in their own minds" (v.5), no "free of self-doubt" (v.22), but rather easily "upset" or even "destroyed" (v.15) and thus able to "fall away" or "stumble" (vv.20-21). This is why Sha'ul (Paul) calls them weak" (Jewish New Testament Commentary, p.433).
There are three important things to realise here:
- (1) Yahweh wishes us to follow His appointments and not man-made ones; and
- (2) He allows space for new converts and those weak in the faith - and especially the heads of households - to come to the truth; and
- (3) We are responsible to lead new converts and those weak in the faith into 'all truth' gentley and carefully in areas of doctrine and practice which are not in direct conflict with Yahweh's commandments. You can't force people into the truth - you have to gently but firmly guide them.
Now at the time this letter was written, Judaism, as we know, was full of rabbinical additions. People like Paul himself followed all the Talmudic additions which were nowhere authorised by Yahweh. Indeed, there is a great deal of controversy in the New Testament about not only those Jews who felt that had to still follow the rabbinical additions but many far more dangerous people "who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan" (Rev.2:9, NIV). We have to make a distinction between those who in ignorance and with defiled consciences continue in old habits and practices, and those who are plain evil, as scripture also says: "those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars" (Rev.3:9, NIV) who, amongst other things, were trying to re-impose circumcision.
Nowadays there are many, influenced by New Age teachings, who are vegetarians who come to the Gospel of Yah'shua who feel that eating animals is wrong. We are not to stop them remaining vegetarians if they want to but to recognise they are weak in the faith. Indeed they will have problems when it comes, for instance, to Passover where the eating of lamb is mandated. I don't want to get into the vegetarian issue now as I have written about this extensively already other than to say that we have a responsibility to accept people like this and not force them. They have to work through these issues themselves with a clear conscience. I myself have had family members, as we have received investigators and new members, who were vegetarians. In some cases, the vegatarianism was caused by believing in occultic lies that led to demonisation, and in others it was based on health principles. In the case of the latter, a family member remained a vegetarian and at Passover ate a tiny token piece of lamb to be obedient to the commandment. So there are loving ways, requiring patience, that can be used to lead people into 'all truth'.
David Stern gives an example which is a another good illustration:
"I once met a musician who had been addicted to heroine and under its influence had used his guitar to express the anguish of his existence in desperate, despondent blues. On coming to faith he not only stopped using drugs but destroyed his record collection and his guitar; two years later he still felt himself too 'weak' in his faith to play his instrument. Makling music is obviously not a sin, but he was afraid that playing guitar might resuscitate his habits of the 'bad old days'. For the sake of his own soul and sanity he constructed this 'fence around the law' for himself (in avoiding the trappings of his former sinful way of life)" (Op.cit.).
I am sure you can think of lots of other examples. Ex-Catholics who think it is sinful eating fish on a certain day of the week, ex-New Agers who think yoga is harmless, and ex-Protestants and others who have tremendous problems cutting out Christmas, Easter and other neo-pagan celebrations. Finally, there are ex-Jews who don't realise that in coming to Yah'shua that the observance of Torah has to be on a completely different basis to that in Judaism, because when we come to the Messiah we start from the beginning again as new born babes - that's what it means to be 'born again'. Many are ultra-legalists who don't understand what salvation by grace is, many carry loads of Talmudic and cultural baggage. Whoever they are, they all need careful and diligent instruction in love. They need, as we practice here in Mishpachah Lev-Tsiyon, a transition time. Even after they are baptised, we usually require new converts to be discipled at least a year before they are admitted to full membership so that they can make the transition to Messianic Israel that is needed, and more than a year if necessary.
Hanukkah is one of two festivals that celebrates an important historical event that was prophesied in Scripture. And whilst, of course, we know that all of history is foreknown, and controlled, by Yahweh, this one was incorporated in the writings of the nevi'im or prophets as a part of the restoration of Israel, and in particular, the prophet Daniel:
"As I was thinking about this, suddenly a goat with a prominent horn between his eyes came from the west, crossing the whole earth without touching the ground. He came toward the two-horned ram I had seen standing beside the canal and charged at him in great rage. I saw him attack the ram furiously, striking the ram and shattering his two horns. The ram was powerless to stand against him; the goat knocked him to the ground and trampled on him, and none could rescue the ram from his power. The goat became very great, but at the height of his power his large horn was broken off, and in its place four prominent horns grew up toward the four winds of heaven. Out of one of them came another horn, which started small but grew in power to the south and to the east and toward the Beautiful Land. It grew until it reached the host of the heavens, and it threw some of the starry host down to the earth and trampled on them. It set itself up to be as great as the Prince of the host; it took away the daily sacrifice from him, and the place of his sanctuary was brought low. Because of rebellion, the host [of the saints] and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground. Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to him, 'How long will it take for the vision to be fulfilled - the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, the rebellion that causes desolation, and the surrender of the sanctuary and of the host that will be trampled underfoot?' He said to me, 'It will take 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary will be reconsecrated'" (Dan.8:5-15, NIV).
In this great prophecy Yahweh tells Daniel of the coming destruction of the Medo-Persian empire (the ram) by Greece (the goat), the horn representing Alexander the Great. The breaking off of the horn represents the death of Alexander whose empire was divided into four parts, represented by the four little horns. Of these four, one came to threaten the 'Beautiful Land', which is Israel, through an antichrist called Antiochus Epiphanes, whom you all know well, because he is a type of the end-time Antichrist to come. Indeed, this is a double prophecy about both antichrists. This Seleucid ruler banned the Torah, circumcision and sabbath observance, and tried to stamp out the Yahwist religion altogether, the final blasphemy being the sacrifice of a pig on the high altar and the errection of the statue of the pagan god Zeus. These pagan rulers also instituted the diabolical practice of nashim which compelled Jewish brides to spend their first night in bed with a Seleucid general before being allowed to be with her true husband, a practice Catholic monarchs imitated centuries later. (Those of you who have seen the film Braveheart will have come across this heineous practice in Catholic Scotland). 2,300 evenings and mornings, or 1,150 days later, or three years and a day later, after a rebellion known as the Maccabean Revolt, the sanctuary was reconsecrated or rededicated to Yahweh after the nation of Judah got its independence from the Seleucid Greeks, thus literally fulfilling the prophecy of Daniel. We believe, as I have said, that there is a dual nature to this prophecy and that the end-time beast government will ban Messianics from observing sabbath and rededicating their temple-bodies which we do during the various moedim. That over the next 8 days we shall be both commemorating an historical event fulfilled by the prophecy of Daniel as well as peparing ourselves for the Illuminist agenda that is even now being instituted and which will result in the impossibility of practicing the Messianic Israelite faith save in the end-time cities of refuge.
That Yah'shua, as our Creator, accepted Hanukkah as a valid festival in addition to the seven specifically commanded by Yahweh in Torah, is seen in the Gospel of John (10:22) where He attended the temple and the lighting of the candles, and used the feast as an illustration for some teachings. All over the world, non-Messianics go through a candle-lighting ritual which Messianic Jews and Israelites have copied without ever seriously questioning the possibility that what they are doing is anti-Torah. Last year, as you will remember, we corrected many of the prayers and traditions. This year we must make one further correction, not so much in what we do but in why we do it, because the candle-lighting ceremony that was done in Yah'shua's day was not the one that most Jews perform today. To understand what is actually going on, we need to go back to the Talmud where one of the non-Messianic Jewish sages claimed that the lighting of candles was an alternative to offering sacrifice! Jews and like most Messianics today, following as they do the rabbinical tradition, are - likely without knowing it - participating in an occult ceremony! The Torah does not provide for the lighting of a candle as an alternative to an animal sacrifice!
Now there is nothing wrong in lighting a wax candle - but what is wrong is if you do so for an ungodly purpose. The ritual lighting of candles belongs to all religions and for that reason some fundamentalist Christians tell us that we should not light candles at all. One Pentecostal ministry tells you that you'll get demonised if you light a candle, but then they also say playing Scrabble will demonise you too! They often point out that the lighting of candles in pagan religions is connected with sun-worship (e.g. Alexander Hislop, The Two Babylons, p.191) and whilst this is very true it doesn't mean that wax candles are suddenly unkosher any more than the sun is for worshipping it - we can still bathe in the sun for light and warmth. But in imitating Talmudic Hanukkah traditions we run the risk of finding ourselves unknowingly invoking dark spirits that have nothing to do with Yahweh as we enter the 'spirit' of the Talmudic system. As we saw last year, the traditional Hanukkah prayers contain lies, and lies are an open door to demons. And one of those lies is that Yahweh has commanded us to light Hanukkah candles. He hasn't! He hasn't even commanded us to observe Hanukkah so don't be deceived by anyone who tells you is is compulsory. Yahweh accepts Hanukkah as a permissive festival, as a memorial of the fulfilment of a prophecy made through Daniel and as an opportune means to instruct Messianic Israelites on some important spiritual principles connected with end-time persecution, personal re-dedication and the light of the Messiah. Therefore we have to be absolutely clear what we are doing when we light Hanukkah candles, and make sure everyone understands why we are doing it. And one thing we are not doing is offering a substitute for the Mosaic daily sacrifice.
Hanukkah is also a good time to remind ourselves of the dangers of worshipping sport. We are a sport-fixated culture and in many ways sport has replaced Christianity as a religious devotion. Did you know that physical competition, sporting events and the like had no place in Hebrew culture until Antiochus Epiphanes introduced it as part is his attempts for forcibly Hellenise the Judahites and destroy the faith revealed by Moses? In this he was almost successful.
Dr. Judd Biasiotto, former weight-lifting champion, asks a question which I think many in our sports-crazy society would answer in the affirmative, and it is this: if you had a pill that would make you a world champion in one year but dead in five years, would you take it? He then goes on to relate the story of one of the most brilliant basket ball players ever, called Brian Cox. Maybe some of you have heard of him. He was the prototype of the 21st Century super athlete. At 15 he was 6' 1" tall and weighed a rock hard 185 pounds. He possessed world-class speed, enormous dexterity and phenomenal strength. He was publicised as one of the greatest athletes to come out of the eastern United States. But Brian Cox wasn't only a super-athlete: he was a warm, loving human being with a good intellect, the sort of person that any young man of the world would like to be. And then one day he got seriously ill forcing him to abandon his career, and he sank into a deep depression. Dr. Biasiotto reminded Brian Cox that basketball was just a game, no more or less, and that there were more important things in life. Do you know what Brian Cox replied? He said: "To you it might just be a game but to me it's my entire life and nothing else matters. I might as well be dead." And do you know what? That's exactly what happened. He stopped eating and sleeping, and then went and hanged himself.
He would not be the first to do this. Bear in mind also the super salaries these sports stars are paid. Michael Jordan earns abour $486,000 a game. Mike Tyson makes about $25 million for a single boxing game! Even the President of the United States only makes $200,000 a year! Today's sportsmen and women are the highly paid heroes of our neo-pagan society just as the gladiators were in ancient Rome.
Can you imagine being so wrapped up in a game that you're willing to sacrifice your life for it? The same is true in the music and other professions today. And do you know, half the athletes Dr. Biasiotto asked that question to said they would take the pill and die 5 years later just for the fame. Just for fame!
The state religion of Antiochus Epiphanese was not much different from ours today. That is why at Hanukkah it is so important that we get a reality check and remind ourselves not only of what is about to come - and prepare for it - but to re-evaluate our lives to get our priorities right. What, then, is the error that is being repeated in this supposedly enlightened Western culture? What is the idolatry that is destroying lives and removing people's hearts far, far away from the only thing that matters - a relationship with Yahweh and a happy, stable and meaningful family and community life? It is the desire to win - to MAKE IT! It is the desire to conquer and live a lifestyle that only a small élite few could ever possibly enjoy and then at the expense of the the billions of poor.
The desire to win, to be famous, to have lots of money is the religion of selfishness and egocentricity. The average university professor earns about 17% of your average athlete. It doesn't take much genius to figure out that sport figures more in our society than anything else, the same thing that obsessed the pagan Romans and Greeks, and which infected Judah so badly that it nerarly destroyed both the true religion of Yahweh and His set-apart people. It is the same idolatry - along with others - which is threatening believers today who still don't understand how important it is to psychological sanity and spiritual health to be separate from this madness. And the kind of blind obsession people have with sports and similar things is even more insane when you consider the statistical probability of being successful.
Just consider the odds of making it to the pro ranks. Every year in the USA about 200,000 high school seniors participate in inter-scholastic basketball. Of these, 12,000 (about 6%) will receive college scholarships. Of that, about 200 will be drafted by the NBA (National Basketball Association) but only about 50 will be offered a contract. That's 0.025% of all the hopefulls - 50 out of 200,000! And of these 50, only about 5 will achieve stardom, and of those 5, only about 2 will stay in the NBA for 5 more seasons. So your chances of making it big are about 1 in 100,000. Yet the chances of being successful in business are about about 80% by comparison. So go and start a business!
Society treats these sportsmen and women as gods. It's the heart of our neo-pagan religion. And many of these champions believe, as a result, that they are above the law. Sexual misconduct amongst these stars is far higher than that of ordinary citizens, and those figures are bad enough! Look at the lifestyles of Hollywood actors and actresses, and of famous contemporary musicians. You can't even get in to these professions without living their extreme lifestyle of sexual immorality, hedonism and pagan behaviour in general. In Antiochus Epiphanes' time, of course, being a military hero was also important - and we know what his generals did with Jewish girls.
Our pagan culture, like the culture that tried to swamp Israel in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, threatens not just to darken the eyes of believers who have not broken away from it, but to render them totally blind and defenceless. Believers have to make a decision to have only one Master, Yahweh, and only one way of life as consecrated, decicated Messianic Israelites, because if they don't, they will go over the edge and into the abyss like the rest of the world.
As always, those who have one foot in the world system and one in the Gospel minimise the threat, make excuses and generally serve the interests of the prince of this world who by small increments is leading the world down to hell. Buoyant with success, he is now trying to accelerate the process, employing less and less persuasion and turning instead to more and more brute force. He fills the hearts of rebels like Korah's gang in the wilderness of Sinai, as we have been reading about in our Torah studies, and gets them to entice Yahweh's people to return to the fleshpots of Egypt by lying at critical moments - when the going is getting tough - and saying: "It was better in our days of slavery in Egypt because at least we had more to eat!" That is a very easy temptation for new believers to fall for - for the sake of an extra and transientory stimulus in the belly or other part of the body, many are willing to become slaves again. But believe me, slavery is never worth it! The world system never thanks you, it treats you as dung, and gets you to believe all sorts of lies about how wonderful it would be to become rich, famous or whatever, a statistical impossibility anyway for all but a handful of people who, to become successful, end up serving the Illuminati agenda anyway.
OK, I have spoken about sport. But sport was not the only way that the Seleucids went about destroying our Yahwist faith. When Satan comes against Yahweh's people, he has a large armoury of weapons. The Seleucid attack on the Faith of Yahweh did not begin with violent persecution - it ended with it. It started far more subtly. And he is using the samed method today. We need to look at it closely today. And we need to ask ourselves this question: what was it about the Hellenist or Greek culture that came close to exterminating Yahweh's chosen nation?
Hanukkah is essentially the celebration of the victory of Hebraic culture over Greek culture. It contains an object lesson that we dare not miss. In the West we live in an essentially Hellenic culture as well and it is destroying Messianic Christianity, infecting it at an early time and sowing destructive seeds. The driving force of this alien culture was demonic, and the demonic agenda - plain and simple - was to subvert the faith of our forefather Abraham and profane Yahweh's Holy of Holies and the sanctity of Ruach-mediated life.
Over the last 4,000 years, many ideologies and cultures have been used by Satan (who influenced their development, of course) to compromise believers' allegiance to Yahweh-Elohim, to Torah and in the last two millennia, to Yah'shua the Messiah. But there is something unique about the challenge posed by the Hellenist culture 21 centuries ago - something that marks Hanukkah as the ultimate triumph of spirit over flesh, and of light over darkness - and that 'something' is what I want to examine closely now to finish.
So let's start by asking ourselves some basic questions: what are the kinds of factors that undermine the integrity of an Israelite's faith and committment to Yahweh? What sorts of things split us inside and lead us to weaken our ties to our Creator? There are, I believe, just two kinds.
The first is materialism. As you look through the history of Yahweh's people you will soon discover a repeating theme: to survive and flourish spiritually requires that you suffer for your faith. And to suffer for your faith includes, in different ways and to differing degrees and at different times, humiliation, poverty, persecution and slaughter. The alternative to these things is to submit to the 'host' nation you are in. On an individual level, we are daily challenged through our interaction with the surrounding culture to serve our Elohim, Yahweh, and to fulfil the purpose for which we were created by Him. Operating against that calling - that divine power that beackons us - is that gravitation-like counter-force that urges us to pursue physical gratification and material gain.
But if that is not problem enough, consider the even more challenging ideological pulls - the many counterfeit doctrines and philosophies that lay claim to virtue and truth. What may be even more confusing to us is when these doctrines and philosophies lay claim to altruistic behaviour and transcendant aims, whose ends are totally alien to the revelation of Scripture. For there are many religious and political ideas which sound 'noble' on the surface - socialism, which offers to alleviate poverty by the fair redistribution of wealth, or the New Age dream of 'oneness' that calls for everyone to sacrifice self for the common good by transcending the bounds of the physical universe. The problem with these doctrines and philosophies is that they are just not true. Socialism, whilst having noble ideals, works on the basis of the validity of state-sponsorfed theft; and the New Age tells the terrible lie that all material is illusion, thus undermining the ultimate purpose of resurrection and the harmony between spirit and matter. It's all fantasy, a myth, because it contradicts Yahweh's reality.
The moment we become disconnected from our Hebraic scriptural roots, we become ignorant and unappreciative of the glory of what Yahweh is actually offering us. We start believing lies and listening to the deceptive enticements of demons. Once we disconnect from Yahweh's Word and His Reality we become easy prey for the foreign waters that offer to quench our spiritual thirst but leave us even more thirsty than ever before.
But there's a third category, even more noxious than materialism and false ideology - and they are the doctrines that combine the soil of materialism with the wellsprings of reason, creating a lethal muck.
A person buried in carnality can claw and dig his way out into the sunlight of Yah'shua's truth. A person sinking in a sea of spurious reason can struggle to the surface and swim ashore. But he who adds water to his soil - who saturates his materialism with intellectual fluid - creates a morass from which is it considerably more difficult to extracate himself from. When his soul is moved to reach beyond the pointlessness of materialism, a host of rationalisations arise to prevent him from escaping from his prison. And when his mind begins to awaken to the fallacy of the alien philosophy or creed, the grasp of the earth pulls him down again.What happens is that the person gets steadily sucked down, and the efforts of both his mind and will to rise above his bogged-down state are counteracted by the bog of idealised hedonism - the idealised pursuit of pleasure and self-gratification.
The Hellenic 'reformers' did more than entice and threaten the people of Israel to embrace the body-worship of Greece; they also sought to indoctrinate them with a philosophy that exalted the physical and made its worship a virtue and an ideal. The Greek was not merely pagan like the Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians or any number of pagan cultures that threatened Israel throughout her history: Greek paganism was made aesthetic by art, glorified by poetry and made sacred by reason. You see, the Seleucid Greek was not just a 'pagan', but cleverly combined his carnal lusts with a sublime intellect to form a sticky slime that fastened to the soul and drew it, inch by inch, and limb by limb, into the muddy quagmire of Javan. (Javan, one of the sons of Japheth (Gen.10:2; 1 Chr.1:5), was the forefather of the Greeks).
What was so very dangerous about this Greek way of life was not so much the individual elements that made it up but its combination. Mud is a mixture of soil and water. But even the purest water, when mixed with soil, still turns into mud. "A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud" (2 Peter 2:22, NIV) said the apostle Peter. Pigs bathe in mud, even if the water that originally made it was pure.
Now what am I trying to say here? The Greeks were brilliant thinkers and Yahweh has given us the gift of intellect. But combine that pure water with the pursuit of hedonism and materialism, what do you get? Mud. If you combine good with evil, you still get evil. You know that and I am sure you all remember the time I offered you a glass of sewage water and you refused it, and then another glass of water but this time with only a single drop of sewage and you still refused it. You had enough common sense to know that the only acceptable water is pure water. So why, then, do believers get fooled into mixing the doctrines of Yahweh's truth with the doctrines of men? Why do they mix truth with error and suppose they can end up with something good?
If a believer does not refine his soul through actively trusting in Yah'shua, applying the blood of atonement, and obeying Torah - if he does not sumbit his character to Yahweh to be cleansed from its baser, carnal, fleshy and unspiritual instincts inherited in the flesh from our forefather Adam - how can he expect the Word of Truth to become a delight to him? Instead, it will become a mudpit of depravity because he has mixed its waters with the soil of impurity. Just because someone believes in Yah'shua and accepts Torah does not make him pure and acceptable - he must hate, renounce and present himself before his Maker to be expunged of sin. Instead of buoying him and nourishing his soul as a personal relationship with Yah'shua and adherence to Torah should, his knowledge and wisdom simply feed his EGO, justify his iniquities, and aid his manipulation and distortion of the truth. There are a lot of very clever believers out there who grovel in sin and use their intellect to justify their sinning. They may fool a lot of people but they do not fool Yahweh.
This is one of the eternal lessons of Hanukkah - intellect may be one of man's highest faculties but it can also become the instrument of his degradation to the lowest depths. Remember Solomon, the genius-turned-fool. At Hanukkah we celebrate not only the cleansing of the Holy Temple from Hellenic corruption, but we also celebrate, remind ourselves of, and commit ourselves to, rededicating our physical bodies - the temples of the Ruach haQodesh - to the same act of purification. It is the celebration of a humble cruise of oil used to light the Menorah over the mud of Greece, which has become the mud of Western civilization. That is what we, as Messianic Israelites, are doing - returning to the pristine purity of the simplicity of Yahweh's ways, devoid of the crafty sophistries that men use to justify sin. All we need is that small cruise of oil - the Ruach haQodesh - a cruise humble in its appearance and size - and with it we can light the universe with a pure, inviolable light. It is this light - the pure Light of Messiah - that ensures that our search for the refreshing waters of life does not leave us mired in muck. This cruise of pure oil, so disdained by the world, contains the very secret of life and immortality. It lies above the rational because the rational cannot grasp it. It lies above the ego and it's endless desires because it is about what in Hebrew is called misirat nefesh - our self-sacrificial loyalty to Yahweh. It is altogether 'above' because it comes from above.
By nature, our natural, inherant powers may flare brightly but only fleetingly. Nothing that man does in his own strength ever lasts very long. Physical beauty and health soon fade. They say that by the time you are 30 you have reached your summit and it's downhill all the way after that. And that is certainly true in the natural dimension. But in the spirit - in the Ruach - it only gets better and better. Life is one continual ascent, no matter what negativity may impinge upon it.
Yah'shua came and challenged man's deepest self. And when He does that, the essential oil of his soul - the Light of Messiah - is stimulated so that no force on earth can still its flame. A true life in Yah'shua is no mere 'flash in the pan' - so long as you adhere to Yah'shua and continue obeying him with a true heart and not as some performance as so many do, thinking they can act their way into heaven, then you will shine a light that will penetrate into the deepest parts of the universe, because that light is divine and transcendant of the mere mortality of man. Moreover, it shines through time and into the generations to come.
At Hanukkah we simply light candles, and we light them from a central candle called the shammash or servant candle which represents Yah'shua. In this simple daily ceremony over eight days we demonstrate the simplicity of the Gospel - of going to Yah'shua and getting lit. We don't have to go to college or a yeshiva to get lit - we don't have to go to a seminary or sit at the feet of a great sage - all we have to do is go to others who are already lit and be inspired by them to go and get lit by Yah'shua.
Well, that sounds pretty simple, doesn't it? And actually, it is! It requires only the heart of a child to do it. It requires no sophisticated speech to be accepted, no elaborate ritual, no complicated set of gestures, no 'anything' - it requires only "a broken spirit - a broken and contrite heart" (Ps.51:17a, NIV). Please, if there is anything you learn to do this Hanukkah, learn to approach Yahweh in this way, for this He "will not despise" (v.17b). Then our outward acts will please Him, then He will by no means reject us, but delight in us. Amen.
|Glossary of MLT Hebraic, Greek and English Terms |
For other terms and full details please see the Micropedia
AGlossary Copyright ©2007 Mishpachah Lev-Tsiyon (MLT) - All Rights Reserved
Adon(ai) = Master, a pagan fertility god, Adonis; used by many Messianics but not MLT
(a)eon(ian) = 7 dispensation- or age-long time periods, not forever (see le-olam-va-ed)
Alef-Tav = Alpha-Omega, A-Z, first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet = Yah'shua
Amen = truly, let it be so, written Amein by some Messianics
Apocrypha = Hebraic Scriptures not a part of the Protestant canon (e.g. Baruch)
Anti-Messiah = Hebraic term for the end-time Antichrist or anyone opposed to the Messiah
antinomian = lawless Christian who disregards all or part of Torah/commandments
Ashkenazi Jew = East European Jew descended from the Turkic-Japhethite Khazars
Assembly = church, congregation, ekklesia, community, fellowship, koinonia, gathering
Azazel = the Yom Kippur scapegoat
Baal, Ba'al = any other master than Yahweh, usually demonic in MLT terminology
Bachor(im) = firstborn son(s)
Bar/Bat Mitzvah = Son/Daughter of Commandment, covenant to obey Torah at age 12
being = soul, the whole person (spirit and body), e.g. "my whole being"
Beit, bet, beth = house, e.g. Beit Yisrael (House of Israel), Beth Lechem (House of Bread)
Beit haMikdash = Yahweh's Temple in Yerushalayim
B'rit Chadashah = the New Covenant; B'rit Chadashah Scriptures = New Testament
B'rit Milah = circumcision - abolished in the B'rit Chadashah, replaced by Mikvah
canon = authoritative Scripture (Heb. qaneh, Gk. kanŰn = measuring instrument)
Catechumen = a serious, covenanted investigator seeking Mikvah or Baptism in MLT
Chag haMatzah = Feast of Unleavened Bread, second of the annual feasts of Yahweh
Chavurat Bekorot = MLT's Priesthood Order, Holy Order and Assembly of the Firstborn
Cohen = priest; Cohen Gadol = High Priest (also spelled Kohen)
Council of Yah's elohim = the heavenly Assembly of the Firstborn or Chavurat Bekorot
demon = fallen malek or angel in rebellion against Yahweh (Heb. shad; see l-Shaddai)
derech = the Way, Path or Road - Yah'shua and the Gospel are the Way
Drash = moral or homiletic interpretation of Scripture - see PaRDeS
Echad = One, Union of two or more in one (as opposed to Yachid) - see Elohim
Echad Godhead Doctrine = Father Yahweh, Son Yah'shua and Sevenfold Ruach (Mother)
Êl, Eloah, Elah = God the Father, Yahweh
Êl-Elyon = Most High God, Yahweh
Êl-Shaddai = Master/Lord over all shads or demons
Elohim = God, the Godhead (Father, Son & Holy Spirit), lit. 'Mighty One(s)', 'Ruler(s)'
elohim = Israelite judges, rulers, angels or gods (false deities, idols, demons)
emunah = faith, actively trusting, clinging or adhering to (especially Yahweh or Yah'shua)
emet = truth, Yah'shua is the Emet
Ephraimite = descendant of the patriarch Ephraim and head of Messsianic Israel
Feasts of Yahweh = the 7 annual Moedim (Pesach, Chag haMatzah, Yom haBikkurim, Shavu'ot, Yom Teruah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot)
Gan-Eden = Garden of Eden, Paradise and state of the purified heart in Messiah
goy(im) = nation(s), Israelites or gentiles not born in or converted to the Covenant
hallelu-Yah = praise Yah(weh)!
Heylel = proper name of Satan or haSatan = the Adversary, the devil
Sabbath = Yom Shabbat (Friday to Saturday sunset, add 1 day in IDL Zone)
Hochmah = Wisdom, title of the 7-fold Ruach haQodesh
IDL = International Date Line, false man-made time division in Pacific Ocean
IDL Zone = Area between the true Divine Date Line (Lake Van/Eden) and the false one
Israeli = citizen of the modern Edomite-Khazar Republic of Israel (not Biblical Israel)
Israelite = citizen of biblical state of Israel or a modern follower of the Messiah
Jew = post-biblical term describing descendants of Edomite and Khazar converts to Judaism
Johannine = pertaining to the Apostle Yochanan (e.g. Gospel of John)
Josephite = descendant of the patriarch Joseph, the head of Messianic Israel
Judahite = a person in direct descent from the patriarch Judah, forefather of the Messiah
Judaism = a Talmudic-based religion rejecting Yah'shua the Messiah
Judean = a citizen of the Kingdom or Province of Judah until the 2nd Century diaspora
Kadosh la Yahweh = set-apart or dedicated to Yahweh, 'Holiness to the Lord', MLT motto
Karaites = Jews (from 700 AD) who reject the Talmud and accept only the Tanakh
kashrut = keeping kosher, food laws of Yahweh and correspinding lifestyle
Ketuvim = Writings or Hagiographa of the Tanakh
Khazar = a Turkic convert to Judaism ~700 AD forming the Ashkenazi Jewish community
kosher = clean foods authorised by Yahweh for human consumption
Lashon Hara = evil-speaking, gossip or slander
legalism = false route to salvation through works (self-salvation)
le-olam-va-ed = dispensation- or age-long, aeonian, not eternal, forever or for eternity
Lev = heart, as in Lev-Tsiyon = heart of Zion
Lev-Tsiyon = Heart of the Fortress [of Yahweh], Hebrew name of MLT's founder
Master = Lord, Sir, Adon(ai) - (one in authority, a ruler - a king, husband, prophet, judge)
Malak(im) = Angel(s), heavenly supernatural messenger(s)
manna = wafers of honey, bread from heaven (lit. 'what is this?')
matzah = unleavened bread, see Chag haMatzah
Menorah = 7-armed candlearbra = the 7 annual Moedim and 7-fold Ruach haQodesh
Messiah = Christ; Anti-Messiah = Antichrist
Messianic Community = Body of Christ, sum total of all true believers; all true fellowships
Messianic Israel = all who worship Yahweh, trust in Yah'shua, obey Torah and overcome
Messianic Jew = Messianic convert from Judaism still clinging to Talmudic traditions
Midrash = aggadic interpretation of scripture vi‚ Drash, a scriptural discussion
Mikvah = baptism by immersion of convert into Yah'shua or of wife into husband
Mishpachah = family: nuclear, congregational, tribal or the whole of Messianic Israel
MLT = Mishpachah Lev-Tsiyon = family of the heart of the fortress [of Yahweh]
Mishpat = right-ruling or judgement
mitzvah/mitzvot = commandment(s)
moed(im) = appointment(s) of Yahweh, 7 Annual Feasts, Sabbath and Rosh Chodesh
Nefilim, Nephilim = giant offspring of materialised demons and human women
Nevi'im = prophetic writings of the Old Testament or Tanakh
New Birth = spiritual conversion in the Ruach haRishon, being 'born again' with new heart
Nidah = a woman's menstruation period during which no intercourse is permitted
Olive Branch = collection of revelations, prophecies and visions published by MLT
Paraclete = Comforter, Advocate (NEB), Counsellor, Ruach haQodesh (Gk. paraklÍtos)
PaRDeS = method of textual interpretation (homiletics) - see P'shat, Remez, Drash, Sod
Patriarch = a father who is head of his family, clan or tribe (lit. 'father-ruler')
Pentateuch = first five books of the Tanakh (Genesis-Deuteronomy), also called Torah
peribolaion = headcovering worn by daughters/wives in submission to fathers/husbands
Pesach = Passover, first of the annual feasts of Yahweh
Peshitta = an Aramaic version of the Bible
Prototrinitarianism = early, simplified MLT formulation of the Echad Godhead Doctrine
Prush(im) = Pharisee(s)
Pseudepigrapha = Non-canonical Hebrew writings additional to the Apocrypha
P'shat = literal, contextual, philological, exoteric, outer meaning of Scripture - see PaRDeS
Qadosh Qadoshim = Holy of Holies, most sacred set-apart room of the Beit haMikdash
Qodesh, Kodesh = set-apart, holy (see Ruach haQodesh)
Rabbi = Teacher, term used by Messianic Jews and some Messianic Israelites = Pastor
Refuge, the 12 Cities of = divinely protected MLT fortresses during the 7-year Tribulation
Remez = hint or allegorical level of Hebraic understanding of Scripture - see PaRDeS
Rosh Chodesh = monthly New Moon appointment of Yahweh
ruach = spirit of a person (lit.'breath')
Ruach Elohim = Spirit of God (the Spirit of the collective Godhead or Elohim)
Ruach haChamashee = 5th Ruach presides over Yom Teruah and Yom Chamashee
Ruach haQodesh = the Sevenfold Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost (lit. 'Set-Apart Breath')
Ruach haRevee = 4th Ruach presides over Shavu'ot, Yom Revee and Bar Mitzvah
Ruach haRishon = 1st Ruach presides over Pesach, Yom Rishon and the New Birth
Ruach haShanee = 2nd Ruach presides over Chag haMatzah and Yom Shanee
Ruach haSheshi = 6th Ruach presides over Yom Kippur and Yom Sheshi
Ruach haShleshi = 3rd Ruach presides over Yom haBikkurim, Yom Shleshi and Mikvah
Sabbath = Yom Shabbat (Friday to Saturday sunset, add 1 day in IDL Zone)
Satan = rebel archangel Heylel, father of lies, devil, chief demon (lit.'Adversary')
Sephardic Jew = West European Jew of mixed blood containing many Judahites
Septuagint = Greek translation of the Tanakh, LXX
Shegal haShabbat = 7th Ruach (Sabbath Queen) presides over Sukkot and Yom Shabbat
Shekinah = Divine Presence and Glory of Yahweh-Elohim
Set-apart = holy, sanctified, consecrated, dedicated, separated (to and by Yahweh)
Shabbat-Shabbaton = High Sabbath (e.g. Yom Kippur)
Shalom = heavenly peace, standard Hebraic greeting invoking Yahweh's peace
Shamash(im) = servant(s), deacon(s), attendant(s)
Shavu'ot = Pentecost or Weeks, fourth of the annual feasts of Yahweh
Sheol = grave or pit, euphamism for Hades or hell - also see Tartarus
shofar = ram's horn, blown during Yahweh's Moedim
simcha = joy, keynote of Sukkot
Sod = mystical, anagogic, inner or esoteric understanding of Scripture - see PaRDeS
Sukkot = Tabernacles or Booths, seventh of the annual feasts of Yahweh
Synagogue = Greek word used by Jews and Messianics (but not MLT) for a meeting house
talmid(a) = male/female disciple or student
Talmud = scriptures, teachings and commentaries belonging to non-Messianic Judaism
Tanakh = acronym for Old Testament Scriptures - Torah, Nevi'im & Ketuvim
Tartarus = place of imprisonment under the earth for rebellious angels and Nephilim
teshuvah = repentance, remorse and contrition leading back to Torah obedience
Torah = Yahweh's teachings or Law; New Covenant Torah includes Yah'shua's teachings
Tribulation, the Great = the final 7 years of the present aeon when Anti-Messiah rules
Trinity = Catholic Godhead formula - see Echad Godhead Doctrine and Prototrinitarianism
Tsiyon = Zion, a fortress, a name of Jerusalem and a prominent hill
Tzitzit/Tizitziyot = tassel(s) worn by men in remembrance of Torah
Universalism = salvation of all at the cosmic Yovel, with different rewards and punishments
Yachid = one, single person or item, as opposed to Echad (many in one, unity)
Yah'shua the Messiah = Jesus Christ (the Son)
Yahudah = Judah - see Judahite
Yahweh, Yah, YHWH = the true Name of our Heavenly Father, also carried by Yah'shua
Yahweh-Elohim = LORD God (the Father, Yahweh as Head of the Godhead or Elohim)
Yahweh haQatan = the sent Yahweh = Yah(weh)'shua, Malak of Yahweh's Presence
Yam Suf = Sea of Reeds, the true Israelite Exodus water crossing, not the Red Sea
Yarden = Jordan River (lit. 'meanderer')
Yerushalayim = Jerusalem
Yisrael = Israel (lit. 'ruling with l') = true believers under the New Covenant
Yom Chamashee = 5th day of the week (Thursday, Friday in IDL Zone)
Yom Din, Yom haDin = (the) Day of Judgement
Yom haBikkurim = Feast of Firstfruits, third of the annual feasts of Yahweh
Yom Revee = 4th day of the week (Wednesday, Thursday in IDL Zone)
Yom Rishon = 1st day of the week (Sunday, Monday in IDL Zone)
Yom Kippur = Day of Atonement, sixth of the annual feasts of Yahweh
Yom Shabbat = 7th day of the week and Sabbath Rest (Saturday, Sunday in IDL Zone)
Yom Shanee = 2nd day of the week (Monday, Tuesday in IDL Zone)
Yom Sheshi = 6th day of the week (Friday, Saturday in IDL Zone)
Yom Shleshi = 3rd day of the week (Tuesday, Wednesday in IDL Zone)
Yom Teruah = Day of Trumpets, fifth of the annual feasts of Yahweh
Yosef = Joseph - see Josephite
Yovel = Jubilee or Year of Jubilee
Zaqen(im) = elder(s) of an assembly or congregation, or senior members of a community
ZoŽ Life = Greek term for spiritual life in the Messiah
Commonly Used MLT Abbreviations
For additional abbreviations and explanations,
please see the Micropedia
Amp.V(er). = Amplified Version of the Bible
Aram. = Aramaic
AV = Authorised Version of the Bible - see KJV
BCAY = B'rit Chadashah Assembly of Yahweh - see NCCG
BoA = Books of Abraham (e.g. 1Abr., 2Abr., etc.)
cp, cf = compare with
CB(Q) = Chavurat Bekorot
CEV = Contemporary English Version of the Bible
ch. = chapter
CJB = Complete Jewish Bible
CLNT = Concordant Literal New Testament
CYe = Council of Yah's elohim
Eng. = English
ff. = and onwards/forwards
fn = footnote
Gk. = Greek
GNB = Good News Bible - see TEV
Heb. = Hebrew, Hebraic
HEM = Holy Echad Marriage, eternal marriage
HO = Holy Order - see Chavurat Bekorot
HOC = Holy Order Collection of revelations - see OB
HRV = Hebraic-Roots Version of the Bible
ibid. = ibidem (lit. 'in the same place'), referring to a book previously cited
ICJC = Independent Church of Jesus Christ, earlier name of NCCF
ISRV = Institute for Scripture Research Version of the Bible
JB = Jerusalem Bible
JBP/Phillips = J.B.Phillips translation of the New Testament
JNT = Jewish New Testament
KJV = King James Version of the Bible - see AV
LB = Living Bible
lit. = literally or literature
LXX = Septuagint, Greek translation of the OT
MLT = Mishpachah Lev-Tsiyon
Moff. = Moffatt translation of the Bible
MRC = Messianic Renewed Covenant Version of the NT
MS(S) = Manuscript(s)
NASB, NASV = New American Standard Bible/Version
NC&C = New Covenants & Commandments - see OB
NCCF = New Covenant Christian Fellowship, earlier name of NCCG
NCCG = New Covenant Church of God, earlier name of MLT - see BCAY
NCP = New Covenant Press, publishing arm of MLT
NCW = New Covenant Witness, MLT magazine
NEB = New English Bible
NIV = New International Version of the Bible
NKJV = New King James Version of the Bible
Nor. = Norwegian
NT = New Testament, B'rit Chadashah
NWT = New World Translation of the Bible, unreliable Jehovah's Witness version
OB = Olive Branch - see NC&C
op.cit. = opere citato (lit. in the work cited)
OT = Old Testament, Tanakh
p(p). = page(s)
pl. = plural - see s.
PWNC = Prophetic Words of the New Covenant, revelation cataloging system - see OB
QED = quod erat demonstrandum (lit. which was shown to be proved)
RCF = Restoration Christian Fellowship, earlier name of ICJC
RhQ = Ruach haQodesh, Holy Spirit
RSTNE = Restoration Scriptures True Name Edition of the Bible
RSV = Revised Standard Version of the Bible
RV = Revised Version of the Bible
s. = singular - see pl.
S&G = Smith & Goodspeed Version of the Bible
TEV = Today's English Version of the Bible - see GNB
Vulg. = Biblia Vulgata, Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible
WEB = World English Bible
This page was first created on 19 March 2007
Last updated on 19 March 2007
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