Christmas - God's Festival of Lights
Hannukah celebrates the dedication and re-sanctification of a desecrated altar. Coming in mid-December and lasting eight days, Hannukah, the Jewish Feast of Lights, foretells in historic allegory heaven's intent for the future -- the celebration in December of the Light from heaven which God dedicated to the world that glorious Christmas eve almost 2000 years ago -- the holy night that changed the calendars of the world.
On that night, God consecrated with shepards and angels His living temple on earth. That first Christmas was the signal to the world that God's promised light had come to earth. Built on a Hebrew template called the 'Feast of Lights', Christmas displays to the world a far brighter light -- the Star of God.
"I am the light of the world; anyone who follows me will not be walking in the dark; he will have the light of life'." (Jn.8:12).
Long before the Light of God appeared, the Law had foreseen His coming. Moses tried to prepare the people of Israel for that moment, warning that they had to listen and obey Him under penalty of death. The people waited in great expectation, but their behavior desecrated the altar of faith which Moses had tried to erect for them.
Over the years, Hebrew tradition prepared a backdrop to highlight the moment. So it was, in 164 A.D. (when the moment of Christ was near) that, in the dead of winter, on the 25th day of Chislev in the Jewish calendar, an eight-day celebration called the 'Festival of Lights' began.
The Hebrew month of Chislev correlates with December, and the 25th day of that month with the celebrated birth of Jesus, both firm indications that Holy Spirit engineered the design that intertwines them.
This Jewish 'Feast of Dedication' (Hannukah) honors the rededication of the Jewish temple after it had been defiled by the forces of Antiochus IV Epiphanes. The Festival of Lights proclaims the cleansing of the temple and its altar by Judas Maccabees in the aftermath of the Old Testament incident on which Daniel's 'abomination of desolation' was based.
The Holy Spirit superimposed these two celebrations, touching one with the other in calendar time for good reason. The true re-purification of God's temple occurred, not by the hand of a Maccabee, but with the birth of Jesus Christ.
Born on earth in a dedication ceremony directed by God Himself, Jesus cleansed the temple with a whip and a cross -- driving out its desecrators and bringing true worship to the altar of God. That is why the Holy Spirit directed the Church to celebrate the birth of Jesus in the schematic framework of Hannukah.
Moses, having been given authority by God to make the Old Testament a template for the new covenant, carefully chronicled a series of holy festivals and feast days, almost all of which now have Christian counterparts which have superseded and fulfilled what they originally stood for. The incognizant argument that Christian festivals were formed on pagan holidays is quite false. The fact is, virtually none were.
All Christian holy days carefully follow the Hebrew schematic laid down by Moses and his heirs. Pagan holidays and festivals may have co-existed with Jewish events, but in the Church calendar all Christian holy days have been structured on Jewish and Hebrew feast days defined in the Old Testament by Moses and the prophets.
Christmas (the Feast of Dedication), though not structured by Moses or the Torah, is no exception. And, as with all the other Hebrew and Christian date combinations, these two dates are united thematically. It was in December (the 25th day of Chislev) at the feast of Hannukah, that Jesus first revealed to the world the fact that He was God:
"It was the time when the feast of Dedication was being celebrated in Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the Temple walking up and down in the Portico of Solomon. The Jews gathered round him and said, 'How much longer are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly'. Jesus replied: 'I have told you, but you do not believe me...the Father and I are one'." (Jn.10:22-29).
The Jews were furious at this reply and planned to stone Him for it, because, in language as plain as they would ever hear, Jesus had just let them know in a public proclamation that He was, indeed, the Christ.
His December declaration is a proclamation we repeat with bells, carols and music every time the season surrounding this feast returns. In the same way and season that Jesus announced His Messiahship, we restate His revelation in public as emphatically as we possibly can, but we use a calendar that follows the sun, not the moon.
Since the Hebrew calendar is based on lunar months and the Christian calendar on solar months, Hannukah and Christmas, though close, cannot be united. The Jewish date rotates around the Christian date like a floppy appendage. There is deep symbolism in this because the days of the Hebrew calendar, built on the reflected light of the moon are always in a state of flux, falling on a different day every year -- immitating the traditions of the elders, which change this way and that because they are only a reflection of the light of God.
Focusing on that symbolism, the Christian calendar follows the sun because it is fixed on the testimony of the Son of God, i.e., the direct Sonlight of heaven. Its days, therefore, are fixed and usually constant.
Since one calendar offers fluctuating days and the other does not, it is impossible to assign a fixed Christian date that precisely coincides with the fluctuating Hebrew day -- but in this case, both are celebrated on the 25th day of their coincident winter months (Chislev/December).
So every December, on a 25th day, and honoring two versions of the temple flame, the celebrations of Christmas and Hannukah both appear and each are are surrounded by a festival of lights.
"The people that walked in darkness has seen a great light; on those who live in a land of deep shadow a light has shone." (Is.9:1).
The lights of Christmas signify that Jesus is the light of the world -- a proclamation we repeat on every anniversary of the celebration of His birth. It is the Christian world's public prophecy affirming His Divinity. Our proclamation clarions throughout the world in the loudest terms, with bells and music, this message for all to hear and take notice:
"For there is a child born for us, a son given to us and dominion is laid on his shoulders; and this is the name they give him: Wonder-Counsellor, Mighty-God, Eternal-Father, Prince-of-Peace. Wide is his dominion in a peace that has no end, for the throne of David and for his royal power, which he establishes and makes secure in justice and integrity...forever." (Is.9:5-7).
The feast of lights, therefore, is the day when proclamation and prophecy unite. Today, it has become a beacon increasingly ignored. The Christmas season has evolved into the holiday season; the music has become secular, the lights pagan, and a fantasy called Santa Claus now rides his sleigh aross department store floors.
When God mortised the relationship between the dates of Christmas and Hannukah, it was not a unique event in scripture -- He did the same with Easter, structuring it on Passover. And again, Pentecost, which He superimposed on the Feast of Weeks. He did the same with the exile to Babylon, allowing both Jewish temples, which formed the bookends of that dispersion, to burn to the ground on the very same calendar day.
Making certain that future Jewish leaders would be able to grasp the fact that the exile to Babylon had two meanings and that each was related to the other, the Holy Spirit orchestrated the twin distructions of the Hebrew tabernacle which launched those exiles to occur on the very same calendar day.
Solomon's temple was burned down on the 10th of Loos -- a Hebrew lunar month that borders the end of August in the Christian calendar. Its destruction sent the Jews into the captivity of Babylon.
More than 650 years later on the very same Hebrew day, the 10th of Loos (August 29th in 70 A.D.), the temple of Herod was burned to the ground by the Romans who again deported the Jews into a second 'slavery of Babylon' -- this time an exile so far-reaching and enduring that Rome came to supplant the whole meaning of Babylon.
The fact that the Holy Spirit superimposed the new covenant's capitivity of Babylon on top of its Old Testament counterpart went unseen to all but a few. But in the future when the a similar symbolism is repeated with Christmas, it should be more noticeable -- especially since we now know there is divine precedent for it.
On the 25th day of Chislev, in the year 167 B.C., a momentous sacrilege occurred. The altar in the Jerusalem temple was desecrated by the forces of Antiochus IV Epiphanes. This event was memorialized by the prophet Daniel, who termed it the 'abomination of desolation'.
Incredibly, three years to the day later (again on the 25th day of Chislev), the profaned temple was purified and the rights of the Hebrew altar were restored. Both events -- the temple's desecration and its purification -- occured in different years, but on the very same calendar day in the Old Testament.
It was in response to the purification of this desecration that the leaders of Jerusalem memorialized the 25th day of Chislev as the Jewish Festival of Lights.And so it is that Christians, on the 25th day of December, celebrate the moment when Christ's arrival in the world purified the religion of God. Jesus' reign on earth -- His victory over Satan -- has been celebrated on that same day ever since.
This date is a major sign for the future as well. Just as the desecration and purification of the temple at the time of Antiochus coincided on the same date in the Mosaic calendar, the Christian counterparts to these two events will mirror one another as well, but play out in reverse.
The second has already occurred -- the true purification of the altar. This is an event that we celebrate as having taken place on the 25th day of December in the city of Bethlehem almost 2000 years ago.
The transgression of that cleansing, the abomination that desecrates Christ's everlasting covenant has not yet appeared. So that all will know it when it happens and understand just how intricately God is involved in what has occurred, it will take place just as the prophecy has announced.
It will occur on Christmas day. The 'abomination' spoken of by Daniel will be erected by the Beast on the 25th day of December, and that will bring this prophecy full circle.
'The Last Days of Babylon, Chapter 25, 'An Anointed One Cut Off'
'The Last Days of Babylon, Chapter 35, 'Prelude to Eternity'
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