We have historical accounts that support this celebration, a prophecy of it in the Tenach and references to it in the Apostolic Scriptures1, a good basis for continuing the tradition. But how can this time be a catalyst that effects change in me, in how I perceive the God I serve and the world He created? And since the holy days (moedim in Hebrew) that YHVH established on the forth day of creation don’t include this one, can it even serve such a purpose?
I want to focus on the so called miracle of the oil. The story goes that after the victory of the Maccabees over the vast army sent by Antiochus to destroy the people of YHVH, there was a cleansing of the temple that had been defiled and part of that cleansing required lighting the menorah and keeping it lit. The miracle was that only one day’s worth of consecrated oil was found, but that it continued to keep the menorah lighted for eight days.
Where in Scripture do we find other fires that burn but do not consume? Moses encounters a fire in a bush that does not consume the bush2. This is not the typical fire we know that can only burn when fuel is present. In similar fashion, the oil in the menorah of hanukkah was not consumed by the fire or the fire would have only lasted one day. What kind of fire is this?
Hebrews says YHVH is a consuming fire.3 But when we encounter this fire from Him, it is not physical fuel that is consumed. Not wood or oil or skin and bones. As I reflect on this past year and the fleshly attitudes the Father has asked me to submit to His Fire, I can only conclude that His Holy Fire, the Holy Spirit, will indeed burn off the dross and leave something purer than previously existed, IF I lay myself on the altar, IF I submit myself to the cleansing4. This is Spiritual work. Work that defies reason or logic. Work that goes against everything my mind knows and my eyes see. Work that says stay quiet in the face of accusation, forgive the abuser, trust the unseen.
There is another fire I read about in Scripture that does not go out and does not consume. It is the fire of YHVH’s wrath. Jeremiah 4:4, Matthew 3:12, Isaiah 66:24, and Mark 9:44 speak of this fire. How do I keep this a message of encouragement in the face of these scriptures? Truth is good but is also hard.
YHVH’s fire that does not consume (physical stuff) is intended for a good and righteous purpose. When we allow His Holy Fire to burn away disobedience, self righteousness, bitterness, deceit, we will not have to experience the fire of the second death. That fire was not intended for us. We are told, however that unless we succumb to the death of the flesh while we live on earth, that flesh will ultimately be subjected to an unquenchable fire.
Hanukkah. The Fire that does not consume. YHVH. I will celebrate because I have experienced the Fire of YHVH’s unquenchable love. Unphysical things have been burned out of me and left in their place are other unphysical things that are part of the Holy Spirit Fire living in me. I won’t say that the spiritual fire doesn’t hurt, because it does. Giving up my ideas and perceptions that insisted on living outside YHVH’s will feels like dying. And in a sense, it is. It is removing “the abomination that causes desolation” from YHVH’s temple that is me, and filing it with His Shekinah.
I pray you are in a place to celebrate in a new way this season and that the Glory of YHVH and His Mashiach shine through you to light the way for those who have yet to see!
Light is sown like seed for the righteous and gladness for the upright in heart. YHVH has made known His Yeshua. He has revealed His righteousness in the sight of the nations! Ps 97:11; 98:2
1 Maccabees 1,2; Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, Book 12 Chapter 5 through Book 13 Chapter 7: John 10:22, Matthew 24:15
2 Exodus, chapters 3 and 4
3 Hebrews 12:29
4 Proverbs 25:4; 1 Peter 1:7