Saturday, December 24, 2005

Hanukah begins at Sundown Dec 25th


To Those celebrating the Feast of Dedication (Hanukah), Blessings and Shalom to you.

The Feast begins Dec 25th at Sundown, the Shamash candle & candle 1 are to be lit.

Remeber load the Hanakiah (9 candle menorah used for Hanukah) from right to left, but lite the candles from left to right.


Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Hanukah or Chanukah


A Messianic Believers we seek to pracitce as the Talmidim (Disciples) of Yeshua (Jesus) did in the early days after His resurection. As such, we celebrate Hanukah (Chanukah) not Christmas. This is for 2 primary reasons: 1. we believe there is sufficent evidence to show Yeshua was born on or about Sukkot (Sept - Oct) not December, and 2. Scripture commands many feasts to be held, and Yeshua Himself celebrate these Feasts so we celebrate the Feasts He celebrated. G-d never commanded man to celebrate Messiah's birth.

Having said that, Hanukah is not "Jewish Christmas" but a totally wonderful celebration of G-d's deliverence from the forces of evil and saving His people Israel!

Hanukah - The Feast of Dedication!
Bringing of Light, the festival of Hanukah is held in December. On each day of the festival a new candle is lit on the menorah, a nine branched candlestick. Candles are place into the menorah from right to left, with the center "Shamash" (servant) candle and the right most candle being used the first night. The candles are lit left to right, so the Shamash candle is lit first, then all other candles. It is tradition to light the candles before the festive meal each night.

History (compliments of Beth Adonai)
Hanukah or Chanukah means “dedication”, referring to the rededication of the Temple after a great Jewish military victory in 165 BCE This feast did not originate with Moses, nor is it even mandated in the Bible. It is found in the books of First and Second Macabees in the Apocrypha, the books written in the 400 year “silence” between the Tenach (Old Testament) and B’rit Hadashah (New Testament). God was not silent in these years however. He was still at work fulfilling His promises and preserving His people. Furthermore, there are good Biblical reasons to celebrate this feast. The first is that Yeshua observed this holiday:

John 10:22-23 “Then came the Feast of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter and Yeshua was in the Temple area walking in Solomon’s colonnade.”

Secondly, the events at Hanukkah were prophesied centuries before by Daniel:

Daniel 11:3-4 “Then a mighty king will appear, who will rule with great power and do as he pleases. After he has appeared, his empire will be broken up and parceled out toward the four winds of heaven. It will not go to his descendants, nor will it have the power he exercised, because his empire will be uprooted and given to others.” The “mighty king” was Alexander the Great. Then Daniel goes on to describe another person who would succeed Alexander...

Daniel 11:21-28 “...a despicable person....and his heart will be set against the Holy Covenant...”

Daniel 11: 31 “His forces will desecrate the sanctuary and do away with the regular sacrifice, and they will set up the abomination of desolation.” This prophecy accurately describes Antioch IV who reigned 175 - 164 BCE. His reign was one of many throughout history that tried to wipe out the Jewish people. The survival, however, of the Jewish people is a firm testimony of God’s faithfulness...

Genesis 12:3

“...All peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Yeshua, the Messiah of all mankind, would come through the Jewish bloodline.

Antiochus wanted everyone to be united under Greek Hellenism, thus he was not at all tolerant of the Jews.

Daniel 11:36 “Then the king shall do according to his own will. He shall exalt and magnify himself above all gods and speak blasphemies against the God of Gods.”

The king called himself “Antiochus Epiphanies” which means “visible god”. He made people bow down to his statues and if they didn’t comply.....the consequence was death! Social and political pressures caused some Jews to follow Antiochus and they actually bowed down to his statues (doesn’t sound Jewish to me).

Daniel 11:32 “ smooth words he will turn to godlessness those who act wickedly toward the Covenant, but the people who know their God will display strength and take action.”

Many Jews took the easy way out and tried to “go Greek”. Others understood that assimilation and elimination of Jewish worship, sacrifices and traditions would be the destruction of Judaism itself...making God a liar! The Jewish people faced persecution. Antiochus’ heavily armed soldiers were sent out to force people to worship the king and make sacrifices (pigs) on the holy altar. This was the “abomination” that Daniel spoke of. The penalty for resistance was death. Antiochus’ actions foreshadowed Hitler’s axiom toward the Jews:

First: “You can’t live among us as Jews.”

Then: “You can’t live among us.”

Finally: “You can’t live.”

In 167 BCE soldiers came to Modin outside Jerusalem to force Greek worship on an influential Jewish family led by Matathias and his 5 sons. Matathias would not forsake his faith. He tore down the Greek altar and drove off the soldiers with the battle cry, “Whoever is for the Lord, follow me!” This was the beginning of the Jewish rebellion. The Jewish people knew they were up against great odds, but their banner was “Who among the mighty is like Thee, o God?” (“Mee Kamocha B’aleem Adonoi!”) The name for the Jewish heroes of Hanukkah comes from using the first letters of these Hebrew words to form “Macabee”. Matathias’ oldest son was nicknamed “Judah Macabee”....the hammer....because he fought so hard. The battle was difficult for untrained Jewish farmers against the well equipped Syrian soldiers.

Daniel 11:32 says: “...the people who know their God shall be strong and carry out great exploits.”

The real miracle of Hanukkah is that a few, with God on their side, triumphed over a multitude of powerful enemies. Remember: “God’s people + God = VICTORY!

Zechariah 4:6 “...not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.” (Haftorah reading for Hanukkah Shabbat)

On the 25th of the Hebrew month of Kislev, the date we celebrate Hanukkah, the Macabees won back Jerusalem and the Temple that had been desecrated by Antiochus. This date was also prophesied by

Daniel 8:13-14 “How long will it be until the daily sacrifice is restored again? How long until the desecration of the Temple is avenged and God’s people triumph?’ He replied: “For 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the Holy Place will be properly restored.” This is a great confirmation that God’s word is true: Historically accurate from the start of Antiochus’ persecution of the Jews in 171 BCE until the restoration of the Temple in 165 BCE......

6 years, 3 1/2 months = 2,300 days!!

How did the tradition of the 8 days and lighting 8 candles begin? When the victorious Macabees began cleaning up the Temple, they found only one small jar of oil for “ner tamid”...only enough for one day. They sent a messenger for more. Meanwhile, the small amount of oil burned miraculously for 8 days. Another explanation for the 8 day observance is that some Rabbis believe it was a delayed celebration of the fall feast of Sukkot, which also lasts for 8 days.

During the time of Yeshua (in John 10:22), people’s minds were focused on themes of deliverance and rededication, oil and light.

John 10: 27-28 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand.” Yeshua was promising His people deliverance from sin and death...not just for a season, but for eternity!

Earlier in John 8:12, Yeshua proclaims “I am the light of the world...he who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” The people listening to Yeshua understood what He was saying...they knew what God had promised through the prophet:

Isaiah: (9:2) “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined.”

Psalm 27:1 “The Lord is my light and my salvation.” (“Yeshua” in Hebrew means salvation.) Hanukkah is referred to as the “Festival of Lights” (Hag Haorim) and it was during this season that Yeshua described Himself as the” light of the world”.

A future Hanukkah is described in 2 Thessalonians 2: 3-8 where Paul writes about the second coming of the Lord:

1. Many will turn away from God (as some Jews did who followed Antiochus’ Hellenism).

2. The “son of perdition exalts himself above God” (as Antiochus Epiphanies did).

3. But the Lord will destroy him with the “brightness of His coming”... ( this victory we can all think of when we gaze at the lights of our Hanukkah menorah).

4. The Lord will usher in His millennial kingdom with the overthrow of the “lawless one” in a miraculous way. (A miracle to think about when we retell the Hanukkah story.)

The shamash or “servant” is the candle used to light the other candles of the Hanukkah menorah. Yeshua is our shamash...


Matthew 20:28 “...the Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many...”

Other traditions:

1. Display your menorah in the window to show God’s miracle to the world.

2. So eat some latkes and donuts already! Oil (the symbol of the Ruach) is associated with the Hanukkah miracle. Fry the latkes in oil and don’t think about the calories....think about the miracle!

3. The draydel: The four Hebrew letters mean “a great miracle happened there”. (nes gadol haya sham) Children play a game with the draydel and each letter has an assigned value: nes (nothing), gadol (all), hayah (half), and sham (put in).

Monday, December 12, 2005

Origins of Christmas


To my Christian Borthers & Sisters who endeavor to celebrate the incarnation of the Word of G-d on earth, blessings an joy for a wonderful celebration. We seek only to challenge believers to remove pagan elements that have entered into certain celebrations & return to faith in G-d and His Messiah.

Origin of Christmas - The Tradition

For today's Believer, Messianic or Christian, Christmas has taken on a traditional meaning, the birth of Jesus Christ as recorded in the Bible. However, most of what we witness on December 25th each year has absolutely nothing to do with that blessed day (probably in late summer or early fall at the feast of Sukkot).

In fact, most of the customs and traditions of Christmas actually pre-date the birth of Yeshua (Jesus), and many of them are deceptive in their meaning and origin.

The Early Church

Christmas was not celebrated, commemorated, or observed, neither by the apostles nor in the early church. It was sufficient for the early Messianic believers that Yeshua, their Lord and Savior, had come in the flesh, the day and the time of His birth had no relevance to them, because Yeshua had returned to heaven. It was the risen, exalted Messiah (Christ) whom they looked to, not to a babe laid in a manger. Yeshua Ha'Mashiach (Jesus the Christ) is no longer the "Christ-child," but the exalted Lord of all.

Hislop, in The Two Babylons, noted the rejection of pagan traditions in the early church:

"...within the Christian Church no such festival as Christmas was ever heard of till the third century, and...not till the fourth century was far advanced did it gain much observance. How, then, did the Romish Church fix on December 25th as Christmas-day? Why, thus: Long before the fourth century, and long before the Christian era itself, a festival was celebrated among the heathen, at that precise time of the year, in honour of the birth of the son of the Babylonian queen of heaven; and it may fairly be presumed that, in order to conciliate the heathen, and to swell the number of nominal adherents of Christianity, the same festival was adopted by the Roman Church, giving it the name of Christ." The Two Babylons, p 93

Vine, in The Collected Writings of W.E. Vine, noted:

"Christianization" of Pagan Customs, Symbols, and Terminology — Christianity had to undergo a transformation so that pagan Rome could "convert" without giving up its old beliefs and rituals. The actual effect was to paganize official Christianity. "'A compound religion had been manufactured, of which ... Christianity furnished the nomenclature, and Paganism the doctrines and rights.' The idolatry of the Roman world, though deposed from its ancient pre-eminence, had by no means been demolished. Instead of this, its pagan nakedness had been covered with the garb of a deformed Christianity" Volume 5. Glasgow, Scotland, 1986, pp.436-439

Where did Christmas Come from?
According to a Roman almanac, the Christian festival of Christmas was celebrated in Rome by AD 336. In the eastern part of the Roman Empire, however, a festival on January 6 commemorated the manifestation of God in both the birth and the baptism of Jesus, except in Jerusalem, where only the birth was celebrated. During the 4th century the celebration of Christ's birth on December 25 was gradually adopted by most Eastern churches. In Jerusalem, opposition to Christmas lasted longer, but it was subsequently accepted. In the Armenian Church, a Christmas on December 25 was never accepted; Christ's birth is celebrated on January 6. After Christmas was established in the East, the baptism of Jesus was celebrated on Epiphany, January 6. In the West, however, Epiphany was the day on which the visit of the Magi to the infant Jesus was celebrated. Encyclopedia Britannica

In pagan Rome, 300 years after the resurrection of our Lord, there was a yearly feast celebrating the Roman god Saturn. This time of celebration was always situated around the December 17th - 23rd time frame, which was also called the Winter Solstice.

The pagan year is a period of days, months and times that revolve around the seasonal changes of the earth (winter, spring, summer and autumn). The Winter Solstice is a day or period of days in the winter when the days are shortest (light) and the nights longest (darkness prevails). This is usually a time in their festivities of drunkenness, revelry and debauchery (perversion).

The Pagan Romans called this celebration "The Feast of Saturnalia," in honor of their god Saturn. Notice how close the name and sound of SATAN and SATURN are. This festival was celebrated the from the 17th to the 23rd of December. It was a time of merrymaking, and on the last two days exchanging "gifts" from house to house in honor of Saturn.

"Saturnalia"—was the name of an ancient Roman festival given in honor of Saturn, the Roman harvest god. The festival began on Dec.17th and lasted for seven days. On the first day, public religious ceremonies honoring Saturn took place. On the second day, many families offered sacrifices of young pigs. The Saturnalia festival was a gay occasion. Schools closed and all public business stopped. Courts of law closed their doors, and no criminals could be punished. Families held their banquets and even slaves were free to attend the festival. The last days of the festival were spent visiting and exchanging presents. Some of the gifts were little clay images called "sigillaria", which means small images (idols) World Book Encyclopedia

Then on the 25th of December, they began the new Celebration of "The birthday of the unconquerable Sun" (Natalis Solis Invicti). The ancient pagans believed that the sun would die during the winter solstice and then rise again from death as the solstice ended and the days of light began to lengthen, with the sun climbing higher in the sky, regaining its dominance. December 25 was also regarded as the birth date of the Persian/Iranian mystery god Mithras, the Sun of Righteousness, the god of light, the Grand Deliverer. The Sun God Mithras was a popular deity in the Old Roman Empire, whose cult penetrated the Roman world in the first century B.C.

"This festival has been commonly believed to have had only an astronomical character, referring simply to the completion of the sun’s yearly course, and the commencement of a new cycle. But there is indubitable evidence that the festival in question had a much higher influence than this--that it commemorated not merely the figurative birthday of the sun in the renewal of its course, but the birth-day of the grand Deliverer...the Sun-God and great mediatorial divinity." Alexander Hislop, The Two Babylons or The Papal Worship, Loizeaux Brothers, 1916, pp. 94, 97

Mithra was known as Horus in Egypt, Tammuz in Babylon and various appellations in other ancient mythologies:

"In Egypt, the son of Isis, the Egyptian title for the queen of heaven, was born at this very time, ‘about the time of the winter solstice.’ The very name by which Christmas is popularly known among ourselves - Yule day - proves at once its Pagan and Babylonian origin. ‘Yule’ is the Chaldee name for an ‘infant’ or ‘little child’ and as the 25th of December was called by our Pagan Anglo-Saxon ancestors, ‘Yule-day,’ or the ‘Child’s day,’ and the night which preceded it, ‘Mother-night,’ long before they came into contact with Christianity, that sufficiently proves its real character. Far and wide in the realms of paganism was this birth-day observed." The Two Babylons, pp. 93, 94

"Mother night", which today is called, "Christmas Eve", has nothing to do with Mary, the mother of our Lord, it was observed centuries before Jesus was born. Semiramis (Nimrod's wife) was the inspiration for "Mother night," and "Child's day" was the birthday of her son (Tammuz), the sun-god.

Obviously Satan knew that Jesus would leave heaven and be born of a virgin to become the Saviour, and mediator between God and man, so he created a counterfeit Virgin and child, to confuse the people and take away their worship from God. The counterfeit Virgin was a beautiful witch named Semiramis.

Constantine used religion as a political tool, and started to introduce the Babylonian mystery religions in 313 A.D. which then established a foothold with the holding of the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D.

In 375 A.D., the Church of Rome under Pope Julius I merely announced that the birth date of Christ had been "discovered" to be December 25th, and was accepted as such by the "faithful." The festival of Saturnalia and the birthday of Mithras could now be celebrated as the birthday of Christ, even though the early church fathers, including Origen, stated for the record that it was blasphemous to celebrate this festival. Following the lead of Rome, the Church at Jerusalem commenced the celebration of Christmas, around 440 A.D.

As Messianic believers we should seek G-d's will in all we do. Adonai commanded that we abstain from idols, this includes practicing pagan traditions and calling them "Christian".

Both Christmas and Easter are pagan celebrations and are not the actual days they propose to celebrate. We celebrate the actual days of the birth (Sukkot) and resurrection of Yeshua (First Fruits), which were already G-d ordained Feasts of Israel.

Blessings in Messiah

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Yom Kippur & Rosh Hashanah Pictures


The pictures from Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur are now online.

Yom Teruah \ Rosh Hashanah

Yom Kippur


Thursday, December 08, 2005

Sukkot 2005 Pictures


The pictures from Sukkot & Simchat Torah have been posted, enjoy!

Sukkot 2005

Simchat Torah