EMBRACING THE JEWISH ROOTS OF CHRISTAINITY
This is a whole book, but I will explain few things here and add the rest of the information in my upcoming book on the Restoration of IGBO JEWS to their Prophetic Purpose.
While some people will argue that as New Testament believers, we have nothing to do with the ordinances and the Statutes that God gave to Moses, but I have come to discover that Torah was the very Bible the early Church used, and Jesus frequently quoted from the Torah. He also said that Heaven and Earth will pass away, but not even a jot of the words of the law shall pass away (Mathew 5: 18, Luke 16:17). As some have indicated through email that we do not live by the law, yes we are not justified by the righteousness of the law but by the Blood of Jesus. We live by the power of the Holy Ghost through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Those words of the law however, were not abolished, but written in our hearts (Hebrew 10: 16; Jeremiah 31: 33), which in turn have been cleansed by the Blood of Jesus Christ. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we are enabled to live out the righteousness of the law. It is never abolished but fulfilled through the Lord Jesus in us through his Holy Spirit.
As I spent much time in studying those five books of Moses few years ago, I began to taste and see that the word of God is sweeter than honey. Without Torah, one will not have a deep and rich meaning of Christianity and one will not fully understand or appreciate the depth of what the Lord Jesus did for us when He became that sacrificial Lamb and opened the Holy of Holies for us through His Blood. Also the understanding of the Tabernacle of Moses and all the activities within including Father God in the Holy of Holies gives us the insight of who we are as the Temple and the Tabernacle of the Most High, and why we are asked to be Holy for He is holy. Whosoever defiles His dwelling place, or the body, him shall the Lord destroy. This is why we need to be careful what we do or put in our bodies, the Lord's Temple. We are the carriers of the Omnipotence, His presence, His glory which once dwelt in the Tabernacle built with hands. He was a cloud by day and pillar of fire by night over the Tabernacle of Moses, and that is what He is to us when we chose obedience and intimacy with Him.
Still speaking of the Torah, God has appointed times to meet with Him which the early Church also observed. There are daily appointed times, weekly appointments and yearly appointments. When He gave these statutes, He made it an ordinance forever. He said to Moses that these shall be "a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you," (Ex. 31:12-13). Zechariah tells us they will be celebrated during the thousand year millennial reign of Jesus Christ (Zechariah. 14:16). Isaiah tells us that they continue onto eternity after the new heaven and earth is completed (Isa. 66:22-23). These appointments are not, by any means, a gateway to salvation, but they will put us in a Divine circle of life, blessings and protection. In my book, we will discuss why certain prayers are speedily answered, why the Elijah's sacrifice was speedily consumed by fire as soon as he called down fire; why miracles were the order of the day for early Christians. We will look into the mystery of divine appointments in details and deep insights that will bring a great change in our walk with God, and in our prayer lives, all in my upcoming book(s): RESTORATIONOF IGBO-JEWS TO THEIR PROPHETIC PURPOSE, and probably the one I will specifically write for the Body of Christ in general. We will also address the reason why Jewish people are very prosperous, how we as the body of Christ, can enter into such cycle of life and blessings.
And it was Jerusalem Feast of Dedication, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's Porch. Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, how long dost thou make us doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and you believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand…I and my father are one (John 10: 22-30).
Since the Lord started giving me the revelations and the understanding of the Igbos as Hebrews, and because of the things He has revealed to me so far, I convinced myself that I shall embrace The Jewish celebrations and feasts, not ritually but as FESTIVALS OF LIFE. Apart from the Lord's appointed feasts which are contained in the Torah as part of the perpetual ordinance for all generations, the celebration of Hanukkah was established as a Feast of Dedication, lights and feast of miracles. Last night, I sat down in a lobby with certain white women who were in the mood of celebration. I came for my Father's business in that environment, and was there praying in the spirit. As I got up to go and they too were leaving, I dropped my hand-gloves which one of them picked up for me. That drew the attention of one of the women to my hands and she asked me: 'what's that in your hands: what are you doing with it?" She was referring to my Prayer Shawl. She added that is for the Jews. I said to her that Gentile Christians also use them, besides I am a Nigerian from Igbo tribe, we are also Jews. She said: Nigeria-Hebrews. Another one stopped, turned and repeated to me: Nigeria-Hebrews. As they were leaving they said to me: Happy Hanukkah! I thought I have missed all Jewish festivals for the year, I did not know one still remains and that's very important festival before the New Year-according to Gregorian calendar year-ends.
As I said, the festivals are celebration of the divinely appointed cycles of life. Since I planted my feet into celebration of the Sabbath, not ritually, but as one of the Lord's appointed feasts (weekly feasts), though not on Saturdays but from Saturday evening till Sunday worship until the evening of Sunday, I begin to feel like someone who discovered her roots: someone who arrived home. The word of God became more alive as I continue to see the benefits of reconnecting ourselves to Jewish roots of Christianity which the early Church also observed (The Jewish roots of Christianity was terminated by Emperor Constantine). I will not enter into the controversy of Sabbath keeping here since it is not what I am addressing now, but I need us to understand that Sabbath did not start with the laws of Moses, it started with God's creation. That's topic for another day.
Hanukkah is a celebration of light, miracle and dedication of the Lord's Temple. It is an eight day celebration of light that begins on the eve of the 25th of the Jewish month of Kislev. They celebrate the triumph of light over darkness, purity over adulteration and victory of the few over many. It is a feast of Miracles and of recognizing the true and Living God over the foreign gods. From the above quotation, we see that the Lord Jesus Christ celebrated it.
The history of Hanukkah celebration started when the Lord delivered His people (the Jews) from Hellenistic rule. They were under the rulership of the Syrian-Greeks who sought to forcefully assimilate the Jews into everything Geek: their tradition, their religion, their feasts and everything against all odds. They were in charge of the Holy Land. Many Jews in Judea had converted to the Hellenistic way and openly advocated adherence to it. However, there were a significant number of faithful Jews who would not assimilate. An ultimatum was given: either the Jewish community must give up its practices of the Lord's appointed feasts, circumcision, Torah reading, or be dead. Their Syrian Greek ruler Antiochus marched his troops into Jerusalem, massacred thousands of Jews and desecrated the holy second Temple of God and its contents: the golden Menorah lampstand, the utensils and the Lord's altar. They also erected an altar for the Greek god Zeus and offered a pig on the holy altar and and erected an image of the Greek god Zeus as the new point of worship in the Temple! Antiochus insisted on being called "epiphanies" (God manifest). These Greek practices were in direct conflict with the Ten Commandments and Torah (first five books of the bible).
They brought a godly priest named Mattathias to lead the pagan ceremony of offering pigs to the altar, but He would not. With his five sons, they led a rebellion against Anthiochus and his army. They massacred both them and the Hellenistic Jews (the jews that were converted to these pagan gods.
When Mattathias died, his son Judah known as Judah rose to leadership and was nicknamed "Maccabee" (the hammer). They were faced with impossible war as these mighty armies outnumbered - and descended on them, but the Maccabees overpowered them and drove them out of Jerusalem and recaptured Jerusalem. This happened in the Hebrew month Kislev.
Judah and his followers cleansed the temple, rebuilt the altars and restored the holy furnishings. The seven branch golden lampstand which represented knowledge and creation were meant to be kept burning every night. But they had the unadulterated olive oil (which was not contaminated by the Greek pagan worship) for the burning of the menorah, only enough for a single night. The priests knew it would take at least eight days for new oil to be produced. They decided to burn it anyway, just to bring in light into the temple of god, but to their amazement, the oil that was supposed to last for only one day lasted for eight days, giving them time to bring in more oil for the lamp.
This miracle of oil inspired them to the celebration of the eight days of light, and the dedication.
Hanukkah means Dedication. It is the feast of dedicating the Lord's temple and the feast of miracle and light. As the Jews celebrate this feast, they recall the miraculous military victory over the Asian-Greeks and the miracle of oil. In their prayers of thanksgiving, they thank God who delivered the strong in the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of the few…the wicked into the hands of the righteous (Reference: internet sources).
THE RELEVANCE OF HANUKKAH TO THE BODY OF CHRIST
As indicated above, the Old Testament foreshadows the New Testament. The activities of the Lord's priests in the Tabernacle and the presence of God indicate our priestly relationship with our God through the Lord Jesus Christ. We are the Tabernacle of the most High. It is therefore, a season of separation and rededication of our lives unto the Lord. It is a time to search our lives for some traces of idolatry, the things that consume our times, our lives more than God, and the things that distract our one-focus relationship with God. The Word of God asks us to present ourselves as living sacrifice, Holy and acceptable to God (Romans 12: 1). The Lord Jesus partook of this yearly Dedication of the Temple, the same temple that was restored and dedicated back to God. While walking on Solomon's Porch, there the Pharisees confronted Him to know if truly He was the son of God, He answered by revealing to them that He is God, because He and the Father are One. This feast is the feast that is dedicated to the only One and True God, the Lord Jesus Christ who is the manifestation of God in the flesh and who is the Light of the world, even as they light the candles during these Feast of Dedication.
As it is in Heaven, so it is done on the Earth. We know that the Tabernacle of Moses is built after the pattern of the Heavenly pattern, and the continuous burning of the seven branched Menorah is the consistent manifestation of the seven expressions of the Holy Spirit which burns as unquenchable torch in the Most Holy place of the Heavenly Tabernacle. The Light of the menorah which is lighted all through those eight days one by one until the entire eight candles are lighted signified the continuous burning of the light of God in the Lord's temple. This in turn represents the continuous burning of the Holy Spirit's Light and His seven expressions (wisdom, knowledge, grace of God, understands, fear of God, counsel and might (Isaiah 11: 1, 2). As the Temple of the Lord, the light of the Lord in our lives is to burn continually through the Holy Spirit. The word of God says that we are the light of the world, and we are to let our lights shine. We are to let these seven fold expressions of the Holy Spirit be manifested continually through our lives. As we therefore dedicate ourselves back to God this season of Hanukkah (Dedication), let us allow the purifying fire of the Lord's holiness burn off all impurities in our lives so that the world around us will see the light of God through us as we let the seven expressions of the Holy Spirit be manifested through us to bring the knowledge, wisdom and understanding of the Holy One unto the world, bringing light to those who sit in darkness. Through us they experience the Love of God, and the full expressions of the Holy Spirit.
Finally, don't forget to expect a miracle this season so that the miracle of the menorah oil will become yours as you prepare for the New Year. You will enter the new Year with the freshness of the Lord's presence and His manifested light and glory, with heart full of thanksgiving and joy. It is a season light, miracle, purification for new season and new level of glorious and insightful walk with our God, amen. Blessed Hanukkah!
*All Rights reserved.
If you are blessed by these articles, or have questions or want to arrange for a prophetic summit, teachings, strategic prayer warfare and intercessory conferences, you can send email email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following books will be great gift ideas for this Christmas season. You might know someone struggling in marriage, someone who needs divine intervention in his/her life, someone who is discouraged and needed a word from the Lord; encouraging young people unto maturity in the Lord, or a parent that is struggling with teen and children challenge, my following books are powerful tools to build someone's faith this Christmas and bring light to many who sit in darkness: God Hears, God Answers, How do We Invest In Our Children? Raising godly Children: Foundation Laid in Prayers, Revisiting the Foundation of marriage: Embracing divine Principles for a Successful Marriage, god of War, Arise! Battles belong to the Lord, Heroes of faith series: Elijah the prophet of fire, and so on. Follow the link in Nigeriaworld. Send email, and send emails for information for order in Nigeria. Please visit the oline store for orders, and also Amazon link for ebooks: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=archbishop+gloria+grace,
Archbishop Gloria Grace is called to raise Apostolic and Prophetic Leaders and Intercessors across the globe, and as a Prophetic Voice for the Releasing of the Prophetic destiny of the IGBO-JEWS. For conferences and summits, send Emails to email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
For my complete series of articles including raising godly children series, visit Nigeriaworld.com, and search by my name.