Glimpses of Israel - Hanukkah - Zeal and Miracles

The feast of Hanukkah, also known as the festival of lights, and the feast of dedication, celebrates a miracle. In the days of the Maccabees, Jerusalem was returned and the Temple restored, miraculously. Then another miracle happened: one day's vial of oil lasted eight days. The Menorah stayed alight for eight days on one day's ration until the next batch of oil could be readied to keep the Menorah alight.

In the days of the Maccabees, Israel was under Greek rule. The Greek administration issued decrees and forced the people of Israel to comply with foreign laws and observances. But those who were zealous for the Torah and the Covenant resisted; thus Hanukkah also commemorates their lives.

"Then Matthias answered and spake with a loud voice, 'Though all the nations that are under the king's dominion obey him, and fall away every one from the religion of their fathers, and give consent to his commandments: Yet will I and my sons and my brethren walk in the covenant of our fathers. We will not hearken to the king's words, to go from our religion, either on the right hand, or the left.'" (1 Maccabees 2:19-21)

With his five sons, Matthias led the faithful of Israel. "And Matthias cried throughout the city with a loud voice, saying, 'Whosoever is zealous for the Torah, and maintains the Covenant, let him follow me.'" (1 Maccabees 2:27) Matthias died at age 146, but his sons continued the struggle, and God gave them victory over the powerful Greek army.

Hanukkah is a celebration which radiates the undeniable truth that God is faithful to those who love Him and keep His commandments. Blessed be the LORD whose mercies toward Israel endure for ever.

Hanukkah is an eight-day celebration beginning on the 25th day of Kislev, this year sunset 11th of December 2009.

Mark Warren