Wednesday, December 28, 2011

What Does it Mean to Dwell in Tents?

After the flood, Noah prophesies over his sons. The prophecy over Japheth is that he will dwell in the tents of his brother Shem.

Genesis 9:27 KJV 27 God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.

Have you ever wondered why Japheth would live in the tents of Shem, not his houses, buildings or even cities? Is there any significance to the fact that we are talking about tents and not permanent dwelling places? Abraham was a prominent descendant of Shem. After God called him out of Ur and he left Haran for the Promised Land, Abraham dwelled in a tent as did Isaac and Jacob.

The writer of Hebrews says their choice to dwell in tents was an act of faith!

Hebrews 11:9 NKJV 9 By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise;

They weren’t looking for a permanent city on earth; they were looking for the eternal city. In the meantime, they were strangers on the earth.

Hebrews 11:15-16 NKJV 15 And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.

What about the sons of Ham? We know that one son, Canaan, would be a servant to Japheth and Shem. Nimrod, another descendant of Ham builds cities.

Genesis 10:8-10 NKJV 8 Cush begot Nimrod; he began to be a mighty one on the earth. 9 He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; therefore it is said, "Like Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD." 10 And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.

Ham was not the first builder of cities though. We have to go back before the flood to see who builds the first cities.

Genesis 4:16-17 NKJV 16 Then Cain went out from the presence of the LORD and dwelt in the land of Nod on the east of Eden. 17 And Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch. And he built a city, and called the name of the city after the name of his son-Enoch.

Cain left the presence of God and built a city. He has forsaken the idea of returning to the Garden of Eden and built himself a permanent home. Nimrod founds cities and builds empires beginning with Babel. It is there at Babel that he builds a tower to reach into the heavens striving to be like God. But Abraham leaves the empire to follow after God and wait for the Promise.

We see that same contrast between Jacob and Esau. It’s found in just one verse which is easy to overlook and our English gets in the way of understanding the implication contained in it.

Genesis 25:27 NKJV 27 So the boys grew. And Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field; but Jacob was a mild man, dwelling in tents.

First, Esau was like Nimrod, a skillful hunter. This sounds like a good thing but the phrase about Nimrod being a mighty hunter before the LORD is misleading. The word translated before comes from the Hebrew word paniym meaning face. It could be a good thing as in “before the face of the LORD” or it can be a bad thing as in “in the face of the LORD.” We also see the Esau is a man of the field. The word field is from the Hebrew word sadeh meaning to spread out, field or country. Esau has spread out to the country of the Canaanites. He mingles with them and even marries Canaanite women.

Next we see the description of Jacob. In the New King James Version, he is a mild man; in other translations, he is a plain man. Sounds uninspiring! But the Hebrew word translated as mild or plain is tam meaning complete, pious, perfect, undefiled, and upright. And he dwells in tents! He, like Abraham and Isaac, chooses to focus on the Promise of God.

When will God fulfill this Promise? When God brought the children of Israel out of Egypt, they lived tents. At the Feast of Booths or Tabernacles, they were to remember that God had them dwell in booths another word for tents or temporary dwelling places.

Leviticus 23:42-43 NKJV 42 'You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All who are native Israelites shall dwell in booths, 43 'that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.'"

God Himself dwelt among them in the center of the camp in a Tabernacle built for Him. Like their own dwelling places, it was a temporary dwelling place. It wasn’t until King David that God began to establish a connection with the permanent dwelling place. David established the city of Jerusalem as the place where God put His name. When Solomon dedicated the temple to God, God placed His name there forever.

1 Kings 9:3 NKJV 3 And the LORD said to him: "I have heard your prayer and your supplication that you have made before Me; I have consecrated this house which you have built to put My name there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.

When Yeshua returns, He will establish His reign from Jerusalem and all nations will travel to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles!

Zechariah 14:16 NKJV 16 And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.

We will remember that when we were in our temporary dwelling places here on earth that we looked for the eternal city. After the millennial reign of Messiah, the eternal city of Jerusalem comes down from heaven and it is there that we have our permanent dwelling place!

Revelation 21:2 NKJV 2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

So, let us be like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Let us consider that our dwelling places here on earth are merely tents. But let us choose those tents with care. Another famous descendant of Shem is Yeshua haMashiach, Jesus our Messiah. Let us dwell in His tent; there is plenty of room in His tent. The name Japheth means expansion and the word enlarge can mean to expand. The name Shem means “the name.” God will expand the expansion of Japheth to dwell in the tents of The Name.

Genesis 9:27 KJV 27 God shall enlarge (expand) Japheth (expansion), and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem (The Name).

 שלום ברוך
Shalom and be blessed!
Dan and Brenda Cathcart

Visit our website at

Saturday, December 24, 2011

One Voice and a Pure Language?

A prophesy in Zephaniah establishes that the LORD will once again be praised in a pure language from all the people.

Zephaniah 3:9 NKJV 9 "For then I will restore to the peoples a pure language, that they all may call on the name of the LORD, To serve Him with one accord.

The immediate previous verse speaks of judgment of the nation.  That the nations will be gathered and assembled where judgment will be poured out by fire. There is an interesting thing about this previous verse that can only be seen in the original Hebrew language:

 English translation:

Zephaniah 3:8 NKJV 8 "Therefore wait for Me," says the LORD, "Until the day I rise up for plunder; My determination is to gather the nations To My assembly of kingdoms, To pour on them My indignation, All my fierce anger; All the earth shall be devoured With the fire of My jealousy.

This verse, in the Hebrew above contains all the letters of the Hebrew Alephbet including the final forms, the sofit.  It is the only verse in the Tanakh to contain them all!  How fitting that the very next verse, Zephaniah 3:9 speaks of a single, pure language, by which we will call upon the name of the LORD!  We shall praise Him forever in a pure language with a pure heart.  He is one and His people shall be one and speak in one voice and language!

שלום ברוך
Shalom and be blessed
Dan & Brenda Cathcart

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Birth of Jesus, December 25th or Not.

(This blog was first published last year.  I thought I would resubmit it here for your enjoyment.)

Christmas is one of those holidays with a strange mixture of secular and religious elements.  Growing up, I experienced them all.  Santa brought gifts on Christmas morning, and as a child, that seemed the most important thing to me.  But there was this other thing happening on the same day, the birth of Jesus.  I never could quite figure out what one had to do with the other, but since my parents seemed to accept it, so did I.

Later on, when I “discovered” that Santa didn’t really exist, I remember thinking once or twice that the other thing must be a fantasy as well, but Mom and I along with my younger siblings still went to church every Sunday so maybe that was the real part. To make a very long story short, I continued in my church life and became an alter boy and was an active part of the church for many years.

One day I was sitting in a class on the history of the church, and we were going over the origins of the church calendar.  This was the traditional Christian annual cycle of festivals and seasons: Christmas, Easter, Lent, Trinity, Advent and so on.  The book we were using at the time showed me something that has stayed with me ever since.  On two adjacent pages were two identical charts, one showing the traditional Christian calendar, and the other showing the pagan calendar from ancient Rome.  The two were absolutely identical in every way except for the names of the holidays, festivals and seasons.  I was somewhat shocked upon seeing this, much like the time when I discovered that Santa didn’t really exist.

I had read the Bible and this didn’t make any sense to me.  There was nothing in the Bible about anything called Lent or Advent or Easter.  There was nothing in the Old or New Testaments that was calendar specific about Christmas, the birth of Jesus being on December 25th.  So naturally I asked questions.  Big mistake!  The instructor, a local Bishop, could not answer me stating, that “New traditions had to start somewhere” and that I should not ask such questions.  The “Church Fathers” knew what they were doing was from God and that this issue of holidays had been decided long ago.

That answer just didn’t sit right with me.  I felt like another long held belief was destroyed.  That a foundation stone was just pulled out from under me, and the house was tilting.  I had recently read the Old Testament, Leviticus specifically, and the account of the Children of Israel coming out of Egypt in Exodus.  I read how God was with them, manifest in a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night for 40 years in the wilderness.  I wondered where was this God today? God himself said that He never changes, so where is He?  These accounts were in our Bible, and I was told many times that the Bible was the word of God, so it all must be true.  But the Bishop said that the Old Testament was just “old stories” that no one believes them to be real except for the Jews.  I, of course, thought to myself that, “if one part of the Bible is “just a story” then what makes the other parts “real”?  It wasn’t long after this experience that I decided I wasn’t going to go to church anymore.

A few years later I was saved, and things started to make much more sense.  But there were still some of the same questions.  However I knew now that Jesus was real and He was a very real part of my life.  I filed most of these questions away and figured that they would be answered in good time.  But the one question remaining that always came to the surface was about Christmas: this date of December 25th.  What is it about this date for the birth of Jesus?  It isn’t in the Bible at all so why do we celebrate the birth of Messiah on December 25th?  Thinking back, I remembered the charts from the class on Church History.  Was December 25th really borrowed from pagan Roman worship practices?  I could not get away from that idea!  But I continued to celebrate the birth of Messiah on this date anyway for no other reason than long standing tradition and no better understanding of a real birth date that is only implied in scripture and not mentioned directly.

Over the years, I have learned that there is nothing wrong with traditions in and of themselves as long as they don’t interfere with or trump scripture, the origins and history surrounding such traditions not withstanding.  Jesus Himself observed traditions not limited to specific scriptural origin as demonstrated in the Gospel of John chapter 10 where Jesus is celebrating the Feast of Dedication or better known by its actual Hebrew name of Hanukkah.  (See my previous blog posts on the feast of Hanukkah.)  But when was Jesus really born?  Can we find out by a closer examination of the scriptures?  The answer is, yes we can.

I believe that the Birth of Jesus (I will call Him by His Hebrew name “Yeshua” from this point on in the blog) is clearly foretold in prophesy and witnessed in the Gospel accounts just as the prophets had written.  Yeshua is the Jewish Messiah, born and raised a Jew, from a Jewish mother and (earthly) father, raised and educated as a Jew, taught His disciples as a Jewish Rabbi and died as the King of the Jews of the House of David.  It stands to reason that His life and mission will follow the pattern that God Himself ordained for Him from before creation as opposed to any new or “borrowed” doctrines, dates and traditions.

John 7:16 Jesus answered them and said, My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me.

Let’s take a look at the scriptural evidence for the correct birth date of our Messiah Yeshua.  There are seven Feasts of the LORD in Leviticus chapter 23: eight if you include the Sabbath.  They are generally thought of as the Jewish Feasts or Holidays, but this is not the case as the Bible tells us in Leviticus 23:1-2

Leviticus 23:1-2 MKJV 1 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2 Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, The feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim, holy convocations, even these are My appointed feasts.

Verse 2 clearly states that these are God’s feasts, not the feasts of the Jews but His “appointed feasts”.  In Deuteronomy, three of these feasts are described as pilgrimage feasts.

Deuteronomy 16:16 MKJV Three times in a year shall all your males appear before the LORD your God in the place which He shall choose: in the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and in the Feast of Weeks, and in the Feast of Tabernacles. And they shall not appear before the LORD empty.

This gathering of the men in Jerusalem at the Temple was practiced right up until the destruction of the second temple in 70 CE.  The historian Josephus recorded that over 2.5 million people would gather in Jerusalem at these pilgrimage feasts.  The birth of Yeshua is closely linked with the birth of His first cousin commonly known as John the Baptist.  We find the account of John’s conception in Luke chapter 1.

Luke 1:5-13 MKJV 5 In the days of Herod, the king of Judea, there was a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abijah. And his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 And they were both righteous before God, walking blameless in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord. 7 And they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren. And both were advanced in their days. 8 And it happened in his serving in the order of his course, before God, 9 according to the custom of the priests, it was his lot to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. 10 And all the multitude of the people were praying outside at the time of incense. 11 And an angel of the Lord appeared to him as he was standing on the right of the altar of incense. 12 And seeing this, Zacharias was troubled, and fear fell on him. 13 But the angel said to him, Do not fear, Zacharias. For your prayer is heard, and your wife Elizabeth shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.

How do we know when this took place?  To find out we need to know what a “course” is and how it relates to priests serving in the Temple.  There were thousands of priests who served in the Temple.  Under the reign of King David, the priests were divided into courses where they served for two weeks out of the year and in addition, during the pilgrimage festivals.  We find this detailed in 1st Chronicles chapter 24 speaking to the division of the priests.  The course of Abijah is the eighth course.  The courses of priests began with the first month on the religious calendar, the month of Nissan, and each course served for one week twice each year plus during the pilgrimage feasts.  So the eighth course would serve during the eighth full week from the first of Nissan.  This would put Zacharias serving the week just prior to the feast of Shavuot or Pentecost.  Since Shavout was a pilgrimage feast, Zacharias would also serve during this week as well.  This was the time when the angel appeared to Zacharias and told him that his wife will conceive and bear him a son. 

How do we know that this was at the feast of Shavuot and not during Zacharias’ second time of Temple service later in the year?  The hint comes to us from the Greek words used in the manuscripts of Luke’s Gospel.  In verse 10, Luke records that “it was the time of incense and that a multitude of worshipers were present for the ceremony”.  The time of the incense was a part of the daily Temple service but during the pilgrimage feasts there would be huge crowds of people outside the Holy Place and filling the courtyards.  The courtyards on the Temple mount covered an area greater than 30 acres and could accommodate tens of thousands of people during pilgrimage feasts.  Luke, in his account, uses the phrase “pas plethos” which means the “whole multitude” or “everyone”.  Seven other times Luke uses this terminology in his Gospel.  It is always used in reference to large crowds of people.  Zacharias’s other time of Temple service is in the middle of the month of Kislev, about 6 weeks following the Feast of Tabernacles where the worshipers in the Temple would consist of the considerably smaller, day to day crowd.

So Elizabeth became pregnant sometime during the later part of the month of Sivan/first of part of Tamuz and hid herself away for 5 months.  This would take us to the later part of the month of Kislev to the first part of Tevet which is in the late fall, usually early December on our calendar.  This is when the angel appeared to Mary, the mother of Yeshua and told her that she will bear a child as well, Luke records in chapter 1 verse 36 that Elizabeth was in her sixth month at this time.

Luke 1:36-37 MKJV 36 And behold, your cousin Elizabeth also conceived a son in her old age. And this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.

Verses 26-38 of Luke 1 recounts the angel appearing to Mary and telling her that she will bear the Son of God (vs. 35).  In verses 39-45 we see Mary traveling to “a town in the hill country of Judea” to Elizabeth and Zacariah’s home to share the good news.  It is amazing how the LORD works out the perfect timing.  This was at the time of Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights.  On this Hanukkah season, the Angel Gabriel announced the coming of the Son of God into the world.  Later Yeshua said that He is the Light of the World.

John 8:12 MKJV Then Jesus spoke again to them, saying, I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

We know that human gestation is about 40 weeks, this is 280 days.  The Hebrew calendar that I have been using here bases the division of the months on the cycles of the moon with each month being 28 or 29 days long.  Mary, having conceived at the time of Hanukkah, near the end of the month of Kislev or the first of Tevet, counting 280 days until giving birth, places Yeshua’s birth at or near the Festival of Sukot or Tabernacles the following year.  How fitting this is and perfectly matches the Gospel narrative of the time of His birth.

The feast of Sukkot is one of the pilgrimage festivals spoken of in Deuteronomy 16.  Jerusalem would have been jammed with people coming to the festival as commanded by God in the Torah.  This is why there was no room for them at the inn.  For the five days between the Feast of Atonements (Yom Kippur) and the beginning of the Feast of Sukkot on the 15th day of Tishrei, The people of Jerusalem along with the traveling pilgrims would be constructing their Sukkah, which is a temporary dwelling place constructed like a hut with a semi open roof.

The feast of Sukkot is many things for the Jewish people.  It is a time to remember when they lived in temporary dwellings in the wilderness for 40 years.  It is a time to celebrate the bountiful harvest at the end of the year.  It is where our modern day American holiday of Thanksgiving has its origins.  But most important it is a time to remember and celebrate that God dwelt with them in the wilderness.  That He was on earth and an active presence with them every day.  And here on this particular Festival of Sukkot, with several million pilgrims in attendance, the Son of God has come to dwell with them!  The God of creation has once again come to His people.  Remember, Emanuel, God with us!

Above all the Feast of Sukkot is a time of great rejoicing.  It is a big party like atmosphere in the temple courts and all around Jerusalem and surrounding areas.  In Deuteronomy 16:14 it says:

Deuteronomy 16:14 MKJV 14 And you shall rejoice in your feast, you, and your son, and your daughter, and your male slave, and your slave-girl, and the Levite, the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow inside your gates.

It was NOT winter!  Jerusalem and the surrounding towns are in the mountains of Israel, in excess of four thousand feet in elevation.  Bethlehem, where Yeshua was born, is less than 5 miles from Jerusalem.  It is frequently cold and snowing in the winter in and around Jerusalem.  The shepherds, who were most likely Levites because the flocks of sheep near Bethlehem were those of the Temple flocks, belonging to the Priests, would not have had their flocks out at night in the hill country around Jerusalem in the winter where there is no grazing available for the sheep.

The Gospel accounts clearly state that the shepherds were in their fields attending their flocks, at night, when the angel appeared to them saying “do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”  Great joy is what the Feast of Sukkot is all about.  During this festival, the Temple courts were lit up at night with gigantic lamp stands, 70 feet tall with huge oil lamps.  The wicks for these lamps were made from the soiled garments of the Temple priests that had been torn or cut into strips.  Piles of these strips were around the city and the Temple for use in the oil lamps.* Luke’s narrative in Chapter 2 verse 7 states that the baby Yeshua was wrapped in “swaddling clothes”.

Luke 2:7 KJV 7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

The word translated as “swaddling” is the Greek word “spragnoo”.  Which is number 4683 in the Strong’s Concordance and Dictionary.  “Spar-gan-o'-o a strip; from a derivative of the base of 4682 meaning to strap or wrap with strips; to swathe (an infant after the Oriental custom):--wrap in swaddling clothes.”  We see that the Baby Yeshua was wrapped in strips of linen, most likely the strips of the discarded priestly garments that were in abundance during this festival because of their use for the giant lamps.

These gigantic lamps burned all night for the entire Feast of Sukkot.  Remember that Jerusalem is on the top of a hill, four thousand plus feet in elevation.  Jerusalem was known at this time as “the Light of the World” because this light from the Temple courts could be seen from great distances on land and for several hundred miles out in the Mediterranean Sea.  How fitting is it, that God would have a “party” celebrating the birth of His Son, who is the true Light of the World.

This year as some of you celebrate Yeshua’s birth during this Christmas season, this December 25th, remember the reason you celebrate this day.  As we continue to study God’s word and discover His divine appointments, His feast days, we will discover that God wants to once again dwell with us.  He wants to come to our temporary dwelling, our “Sukkah” and meet us here.  Open your lives and your hearts to His word.  Come and meet Him at His feast, His appointed time.

Shalom and be blessed
Dan and Brenda Cathcart

Please visit our website at

* For information on Temple practices see

Also see Alfred Edersheim’s book titled “The Temple: Its Ministry and Services As They Were at the Time of Jesus Christ”

The following comments were submitted last year to this blog.  I thought I would include them here as well.

1: Anonymous said...
This is a wonderful article and I will pass it on! However, a couple of things I noticed:

"Jerusalem would have been jammed with people coming to the festival as commanded by God in the Torah. This is why there was no room for them at the inn." - Yeshua wasn't born in Jerusalem, He was born in Bethlehem! It was probably crowded because people were there for the census.
"...the Baby Yeshua was wrapped in strips of linen, most likely the strips of priestly garments that were in abundance during this festival because of their use for the giant lamps." - This is possible, however, Mary knew her time was close and would have been prepared for His birth with the proper supplies.

2: (my response) Thank you for your comment.

About Jerusalem's population during the pilgrimage feasts, the city in ancient times was much smaller than the city is today. The native population was less than 100,000. Jerusalem was surrounded by small villages and towns, Bethlehem among them. Bethlehem is less than 5 miles south of the walls of the ancient city and today it is difficult to tell where one leaves off and the other begins except for the signs and the border fence to the PA territory. It took all the accommodations available in these surrounding towns to house the people coming in for the pilgrimage festivals, the added burden of a censes not withstanding. Walking from Bethlehem to the Temple mount in that day would have taken less than 90 minutes. For information on the day to day life in Jerusalem during this time, see the works of Flavius Josephus. He was born in 33 CE and was present during many of these festivals in Jerusalem.

As far as the exact “materials” used by Mary and Joseph to wrap the baby Yeshua, we can only speculate. My purpose was to draw attention to an interesting possibility of the use of the strips of linen from the priestly garments. It is fitting that the King of Kings would be first wrapped in “priestly garments” at his birth. They were certainly available in Bethlehem since it is a city set aside for the Levites. The fact that they are the remnants of discarded and soiled garments is even more interesting in light that Yeshua would take on our “dirty laundry” so to speak at His death. Secondly the specific use of the term “spragnoo” in this context is as a noun and not a verb. It is in reference to a specific thing and not an action. Again, this is only speculation, but the cultural and linguistic context of the passage is interesting.


3: Dan, I have studied this for a few years now, and I can't get over the fact that I learn something new about every time I go back to it. It is amazing how His cyclical patterns work so wonderfully. I have many friends with whom to share this with.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Hanukkah: History, Observance and Prophetic Implications – Part 4

(This is the final part of this series.  You can watch a video presentation of this study linked from the Moed Ministries web site or the direct link is

Yeshua’s second coming will not be hidden.

In His first coming, Yeshua’s identity as Messiah was not revealed to all, only to those whom God gave Him to know.

John 17:6-8 MKJV 6 I have revealed Your name to the men whom You gave to Me out of the world. They were Yours, and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. 7 Now they have known that all things, whatever You have given Me, are from You. 8 For I have given to them the words which You gave Me, and they have received them and have known surely that I came out from You. And they have believed that You sent Me.

When Yeshua came to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles recorded in John 7 and 8, He came in secret, not revealing His presence until the middle of the Feast. It was during this second part of this Feast that He astonished all the people with His teaching until on the final Great day of the Feast He announced that He was the fountain of life.

As we saw when Yeshua celebrated Hanukkah, the Jewish people were still questioning whether He was the Messiah or not. They were searching for Messiah son of David the conquering king, not Messiah son of Joseph the suffering servant.  In His teaching in the book of Matthew just four months later, He says His coming will be after the abomination of desolation is set up in the holy place, after a repeat of a Hanukkah like situation. He would not at this time come in secret so we are not to be fooled by reports of Him coming like He had the first time.

Matthew 24:23-26 MKJV 23 Then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ! Or, There! Do not believe it. 24 For false Christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders; so much so that, if it were possible, they would deceive even the elect. 25 Behold, I have told you beforehand. 26 Therefore if they shall say to you, Behold, He is in the desert! Do not go out. Behold, He is in the secret rooms! Do not believe it.

This time His coming would be like Judah Maccabeus. Just like the lighted hanukkiah is to be displayed for all the world to see, Yeshua’s coming will be displayed across the sky for all the world to see.

Matthew 24:27-31 MKJV 27 For as the lightning comes out of the east and shines even to the west, so also will be the coming of the Son of man. 28 For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered. 29 And immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun shall be darkened and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from the heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. 30 And then the sign of the Son of man shall appear in the heavens. And then all the tribes of the earth shall mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of the heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

Light is coming into the darkness! Many Jewish scholars see the lights of the hanukkiah as representing the hope of Messiah that must be kept burning in the hearts of the Jewish people. We, too, need to keep the hope of Messiah burning in our hearts. Hanukkah is a time to anticipate the coming of Messiah when He will bring light into darkness and establish His rule on the throne of David.

שלום ברוך
Shalom and be blessed
Dan & Brenda Cathcart

Visit our web site at

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Hanukkah: History, Observance and Prophetic Implications - Part 3

Yeshua warns about false Christs and false prophets.

In the days leading up to His final Passover, Yeshua refers to Hanukkah when He warns His disciples not to be deceived.

Matthew 24:3-5 MKJV 3 And as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the world? 4 And Jesus answered and said to them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, I am Christ, and will deceive many.

Daniel warned that many people would be fooled by the flattery of the Antiochus IV Epiphanes.

Daniel 11:32 NKJV 32 "Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.

Those Jews who wanted to follow “modern” ways, fell to the flattery of Antiochus, but Judah Maccabeus and his followers did indeed carry out great feats.

Yeshua goes on to describe the signs of His coming including the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel. He instructs those who read Daniel to understand!

Matthew 24:15-22 MKJV 15 Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place (whoever reads, let him understand). 16 Then let those in Judea flee into the mountains. 17 Let him on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house; 18 nor let him in the field turn back to take his clothes. 19 And woe to those who are with child, and to those who give suck in those days! 20 But pray that your flight is not in the winter, nor on the sabbath day; 21 for then shall be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world to this time; no, nor ever shall be. 22 And unless those days should be shortened, no flesh would be saved. But for the elect's sake, those days shall be shortened.

This is a direct reference to Hanukah. The abomination set up by Antiochus IV was set up in the winter. He set his generals to killing the people of Jerusalem on the Sabbath.

2 Maccabees 5:24-27 The king also sent the mysarch Appolonius at the head of an army twenty-two thousand strong, with orders to put to death all men in their prime and to sell the women and children. Arriving in Jerusalem and posing as a man of peace, this man waited until the holy day of the Sabbath and then, taking advantage of the Jews as they rested from work, ordered his men to parade fully armed; all those who came out to watch he put to the sword; then running through the city with his armed troops, he cut down an immense number of people.

Those in Judea who refused to sacrifice to Zeus, fled to the desert taking all their goods with them. Antiochus’ men pursued and slaughtered them on the Sabbath.

1 Maccabees 2:29-30 At this many who were concerned for virtue and justice went down to the desert and stayed there, taking with them their sons, their wives and their cattle, for the burden of their wrongs had become unendurable.

Yeshua is warning that in the days of antichrist, they should flee to the mountains and not go back for their goods. Finally, any woman who gave birth to a son and had him circumcised was subject to a horrendous death.

1 Maccabees 1:63-64 Women who had their children circumcised were put to death according to the edict with their babies hung around their necks, and the members of their household and those who had performed the circumcision were executed with them.

The tribulation in the days of the antichrist will be worse than in the days of Antiochus IV. Paul says that the antichrist will set himself up as God.

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 MKJV 3 Let not anyone deceive you by any means. For that Day shall not come unless there first comes a falling away, and the man of sin shall be revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, setting himself forth, that he is God.

Antiochus IV Epiphanes thought of himself as a god to be worshipped. His name, under which he ruled, Epiphanes, was self selected and means “God Manifest.”

As we light the Hanukkiah, we remember that we are not in darkness that we should be deceived. We are of the light and as children of the light, we are to keep watch.

1 Thessalonians 5:4-6 MKJV 4 But you, brothers, are not in darkness, that the Day should overtake you like a thief. 5 You are all the sons of light and the sons of the day. We are not of the night, or of darkness. 6 Therefore let us not sleep as the rest do, but let us watch and be calm.

שלום ברוך
Shalom and be blessed
Dan & Brenda Cathcart

Please visit our web site at

Monday, December 19, 2011

Hanukkah: History, Observance and Prophetic Implications – Part 2

Yeshua’s Observance of Hanukkah: “Are you the Messiah?”

(There has been a lot of discussion of Hanukkah here and elsewhere on facebook lately.  I think many miss the deeper implications of this minor Festival which Yeshua is recorded as celebrating with His disciples in Jerusalem, John chapter 10)

The book of John records Yeshua going to Jerusalem to observe Hanukkah. Hanukkah begins on 25 Kislev two months and two days after the end of the Feast of Tabernacles.  (This year Hanukkah begins at local sunset on December 20th.) During this Feast of Tabernacles, Yeshua declared that He was the Living Water which was synonymous with declaring that He was the Messiah.

John 7:37-38 MKJV 37 And in the last day of the great feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes on Me, as the Scripture has said, "Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water."

The temple guards who were appointed to arrest Him came back empty-handed declaring that no one ever spoke the way He did (John 7:45-46). He said He was the Light of the World (John 8:12), declared that He existed before Abraham (John 8:58), showed Himself the righteous judge in the case of the woman caught in adultery (john 8:1-12), and healed a man born blind (John 9:1-12).At the end of the Feast of Tabernacles after Yeshua healed the man born blind, the people were divided about who Yeshua was. Some said he had a demon and others believed He was the Messiah.

John 10:19-21 MKJV 19 Then a division occurred again among the Jews because of these words. 20 And many of them said, He has a demon and is insane. Why do you hear him? 21 Others said, These are not words of one who has been possessed by a demon. A demon is not able to open the eyes of blind ones.

When Yeshua returned to Jerusalem two months later for Hanukah, they were still talking about who He was.

John 10:22-24 MKJV 22 And the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem, and it was winter. 23 And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's Porch. 24 Then the Jews encircled Him and said to Him, How long do you make us doubt? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.

During Yeshua’s time, they celebrated Hanukkah as the rededication and purification of the temple and as a reprise of the Feast of Tabernacles.  This Messiah the Jewish people were looking for would deliver them like Judah Maccabees did 200 years earlier. They are anticipating and looking for the Messiah who would rid them of Rome and all her false gods. They are asking, “Are you the one? Are you going to deliver us like Judah Maccabees?”

Yeshua’s answer is that He did tell them but they didn’t believe.

John 10:25a MKJV 25 Jesus answered them, I told you and you did not believe.

What exactly did Yeshua tell them? Again, we look back to the Feast of Tabernacles just a few weeks earlier. Like Hanukkah is a reprise of Feast of Tabernacles so is Yeshua’s teaching. He told them He was the Good Shepherd spoken of by Isaiah and Ezekiel and that He would lay down His life for His sheep.

John 10:11-18 MKJV 11 I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. 12 But he who is a hireling and not the shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away. And the wolf catches them and scatters the sheep. 13 The hireling flees, because he is a hireling and does not care for the sheep. 14 I am the Good Shepherd, and I know those that are Mine, and I am known by those who are Mine. 15 Even as the Father knows Me, I also know the Father. And I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep who are not of this fold. I must also lead those, and they shall hear My voice, and there shall be one flock, one Shepherd. 17 Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I might take it again. 18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down from Myself. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it again. I have received this commandment from My Father.

Isaiah 40:11 MKJV 11 He shall feed His flock like a shepherd; He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those with young.

Ezekiel 34:12 MKJV 12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock in the day that he is among his scattered sheep, so I will seek out My sheep and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.

There at Hanukkah, Yeshua told them that they were not His sheep. His sheep know His voice.

John 10:25-30 MKJV 25 Jesus answered them, I told you and you did not believe. The works that I do in My Father's name, they bear witness of Me. 26 But you did not believe because you are not of My sheep. As I said to you, 27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give to them eternal life, and they shall never ever perish, and not anyone shall pluck them out of My hand. 29 My Father who gave them to me is greater than all, and no one is able to pluck them out of My Father's hand. 30 I and the Father are one!

Yeshua concludes with the statement that the Father gave the sheep to Him and that He and the Father are one. This is prophesied by Isaiah as he writes of the seven spirits of God.

Isaiah 11:1-2 MKJV 1 And a Shoot goes out from the stump of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots. 2 And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest on Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.

In the Revelation, John writes that these seven spirits of God are an integral part of Yeshua the Lamb.

Revelation 5:6 KJV 6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.

John the Baptist witnessed and testified that Yeshua is the one prophesied by Isaiah.

John 1:32-34 MKJV 32 And John bore record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from Heaven like a dove, and He abode on Him. 33 And I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water, that One said to me, Upon whom you shall see the Spirit descending, and remaining upon Him, He is the One who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. 34 And I saw and bore record that this is the Son of God.

After Yeshua’s statement, the Jewish people questioning Him made up their minds. Yeshua is not the Messiah; He is a false prophet, a false Messiah!

John 10:33 MKJV 33 The Jews answered Him, saying, We do not stone you for a good work, but for blasphemy, and because you, being a man, make yourself God.

Yeshua did not claim that He was the Father, but that He and the Father were one. In Yeshua’s prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, He prays that believers may be one as He and the Father are one.

John 17:22-23 MKJV 22 And I have given them the glory which You have given Me, that they may be one, even as We are one, 23 I in them, and You in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that You have sent Me and have loved them as You have loved Me.

He lived in submission to the Father.

John 7:16 MKJV 16 Jesus answered them and said, My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me.

John 5:19 MKJV 19 Then Jesus answered and said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself but what He sees the Father do. For whatever things He does, these also the Son does likewise.

John 14:10 MKJV 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak of Myself, but the Father who dwells in Me, He does the works.

His actions are the actions of a true prophet; He speaks only the words the Father gives Him and does the work God gave Him to do. In contrast, the priests who advocated Hellenism and supported Antiochus IV Epiphanes fit the description of false prophets.

Deuteronomy 13:1-5 MKJV 1 If a prophet rises among you, or a dreamer of dreams, and gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or the wonder which he foretold to you occurs, saying, Let us go after other gods which you have not known, and let us serve them, 3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments, and obey His voice, and you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him. 5 And that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you out of the house of slaves, to thrust you out of the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall put the evil away from the midst of you.    

Yeshua’s actions and words fit the description of the prophet like Moses that God would raise up for them.

Deuteronomy 18:17-20 MKJV 17 And the LORD said to me, They have spoken well what they have spoken. 18 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brothers, one like you, and will put My words in His mouth. And He shall speak to them all that I shall command Him. 19 And it shall happen, whatever man will not listen to My words which He shall speak in My name, I will require it of him. 20 But the prophet who shall presume to speak a word in My name which I have not commanded him to speak or who shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.

Yeshua answered His detractors by quoting Psalm 82:6.

John 10:34-36 MKJV 34 Jesus answered them, Has it not written in your law, "I said, You are gods?" 35 If He called those gods with whom the Word of God was, and the Scripture cannot be broken, 36 do you say of Him whom the Father has sanctified and sent into the world, You blaspheme, because I said, I am the Son of God?

Psalm 82:6 is referring to those put in authority over others, specifically judges who oppressed the poor, orphans and widows.

Psalms 82:1-8 MKJV 1 A Psalm of Asaph. God stands in the congregation of God; in the midst of the gods He judges. 2 How long will you judge unjustly and lift up the faces of the wicked? Selah. 3 Defend the poor and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and needy. 4 Deliver the poor and needy; save them out of the hand of the wicked. 5 They neither know nor will understand; they walk on in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken. 6 I have said, You are gods; and all of you sons of the Most High. 7 But you shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes. 8 Arise, O God, judge the earth; for You shall inherit in all nations.

Yeshua is saying that those who act as representatives of God are commonly called gods or sons of God, so how can they say He blasphemes by calling Himself the Son of God? In this Psalm, the judges are called gods and sons of the Most High. Most High is another name for God. Yeshua could have picked other passages that referred to judges as gods and those in authority as sons of God but He picked this passage because it contrasts those who judge wrongly with the judgment promised by the Messiah. It is another way of saying the same thing Ezekiel did about the good shepherd and the bad shepherds. The passage in Isaiah about the seven spirits resting on the Branch of Jesse continues to say that He, the branch, will judge righteously.

Isaiah 11:3-4 MKJV 3 And He is made to breathe in the fear of the LORD. And He shall not judge according to the sight of His eyes, nor decide by the hearing of His ears. 4 But with righteousness He shall judge the poor, and shall decide with uprightness for the meek of the earth. And He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked.

Yeshua reaches out one more time to those who are not His sheep that perhaps they will hear His voice and come to Him for everlasting life. He tells His questioners to observe and believe the works that He does.

John 10:37-38 MKJV 37 If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me. 38 But if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works so that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.

But the works that the Jewish people were looking for were those of a conquering king like Judah Maccabeus the hero of Hanukah. Judah’s actions are described in 1 Macabbees.

1 Macabbees 3: 3-9 He extended the fame of his people. He put on the breastplate like a giant and girded on his war harness; he engaged in battle after battle, protecting the ranks with his sword. He was like a lion’s whelp roaring over its prey. He pursued and tracked down the renegades, he consigned those who troubled his people to the flames. Renegades were abashed for terror of him, all evildoers were utterly confounded, and deliverance went forward under his leadership. He brought bitterness to many a king and rejoicing to Jacob by his deeds, his memory is blessed for ever and ever. He went through the towns of Judah and utterly destroyed the infidels in them, turning wrath away from Israel. His name resounded to the ends of the earth and he rallied those who were on the point of perishing.

They were not looking for a Messiah who would suffer and die for them. Yeshua left and went down to the Jordan where many joined Him and believed in Him there. As we celebrate Hanukkah, we can proclaim our faith in Yeshua. We can light the Hanukkiah to celebrate the miracle of new birth displaying the light for all to see. Just like Yeshua told his questioners to examine the works He does and see if they are from the father, we too need to do the good works the father gives us to do.

Matthew 5:16 MKJV 16 Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in Heaven.

שלום ברוך
Shalom and be blessed
Dan & Brenda Cathcart

Visit our web site at

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Hanukkah: History, Observance and Prophetic Implications - Part 1

The minor Jewish Festival of Hanukkah begins at local sunset December 20th.  When we think of Hanukkah, we think of the eight branched candlestick called the hanukkiah and playing dreidels. We might even think of the modern practice of giving a gift on each of the eight days of Hanukkah. As we approach the days of Hanukkah, what is this Festival all about and what are the reasons to celebrate it? What does this festival really mean to the Christian? How should we celebrate it? So our goal with this 4 part series is to answer these questions. We’ll start with part 1 by looking at the history of Hanukkah.  Part 2, we will look at Yeshua’s observance, answering the question “Are you the Messiah?” Part 3 will examine Yeshua’s warnings about false Messiahs and false prophets.  And part 4 we will examine Yeshua’s 2nd coming in relation to Hanukkah.

The actual holiday of Hanukkah commemorates the rededication of the temple after it desecration by the forces of Antiochus IV Epiphanes. The word Hanukkah means dedication. Some words we can associate with Hanukkah are rededication, renewal, courage and hope. Keep these words in mind as we move through this series and learn more about Hanukkah, its history, observance in the time of Yeshua and its prophetic implications.

A. History:
The events giving rise to the festival of Hanukkah began after the fall of the Grecian Empire under Alexander the Great. His kingdom was split into four parts two of which are of interest prophetically. The first was the Ptolemaic dynasty which mainly ruled over Egypt but had interests in Asia Minor. The second was the Seleucid Empire which ruled over Syria and the heart of the old Assyrian and Babylonian Empires. Daniel prophesies about these two empires in the book of Daniel chapters 8 and 11. The King of the South is the Ptolemaic Empire and the King of the North is the Seleucid Empire. Right in between these two empires is the land of Israel. The Ptolemy’s wanted access to their interests in Asia Minor and the Seleucids wanted to reestablish Alexander’s Empire. The traditional Jews preferred the rule of the Ptolemy’s because they allowed those under their rule to practice their own religions and traditions. The “modern” Jew of the day, like much of the ancient world, were enamored of the Greek or Hellenistic philosophy and wanted to be like the rest of the world. They preferred the Seleucids who forced those under their rule to worship the Greek gods. This tug-of-war continued from 312 B.C. until 163 B.C. when Judah Maccabees defeated Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the leader of the Seleucid Empire at the time. 

The story of Hanukkah begins when Antiochus IV Epiphanes finally begins to win against Egypt. Egypt, however, had enlisted the aid of Rome who arrived just in time to kick Antiochus out of Egypt. In his rage on his way back north through Israel, he uses the dissension of the Jewish people as an excuse to attack Jerusalem, massacre 80,000 people and set up an altar to Zeus on the altar of God in the Temple. There the priests were forced to sacrifice swine to Zeus. This is the abomination of Desolation spoken of in Daniel 11:31-31

Daniel 11:30-31 MKJV 30 For the ships of Kittim shall come against him. And he shall be grieved and return, and have fury against the holy covenant. So he shall do; he shall even return and give heed to those who forsake the holy covenant. 31 And forces will stand from him, and they will profane the sanctuary, the fortress, and shall remove the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the desolating abomination.

The first sacrifices of swine on the altar of Zeus happened on 25 Kislev, 167 B.C. which is in the middle of December. It is very likely that this event happened on the winter solstice which was a major pagan holiday. It is certain that this event happened when physical darkness was greater than light. The moon was waning, on its last sliver by the 25th of the month. The sun was at or near its winter solstice and the hours of daylight were at the fewest of the year. Spiritual darkness was also at its peak with many of the Jewish people embracing Hellenism and the gods of the Greeks.

Antiochus left his generals in charge and returned to battle against parts of Asia Minor. The generals set up altars in the towns of Israel and forced the people to sacrifice swine on the altars and eat the meat. In the town of Modein, a priest named Mattathias had five sons. They slew the Jewish priest who was selected for the honor of sacrificing the swine and then killed the general. Mattathias and his sons fled into the wilderness encouraging those who followed the God of their fathers to flee also and join them. Those who fled into the desert were pursued by Antiochus’ troops who found them hiding in caves. On the Sabbath, they were given an ultimatum to either come out and surrender and eat pork or be killed. Being devout Jews and since it was the Sabbath, they didn’t fight back. Antiochus’ troops slaughtered over 1,000 men, women and children that day. Others managed to flee to join Mattathias.

It was at that time, that Mattathias, acting in his role as a priest, ruled that it was okay to defend oneself on the Sabbath. This rule holds to this day.

Mattathias died after the first year of the fight leaving his son Simon in charge of government operations and Judah called Maccabees, the Hammer, in charge of the army. Judah and his brothers defeated Antiochus’ armies and drove them out of Israel. They put those of their own countrymen who colluded with Antiochus to death and purified the Land. On 25 Kislev exactly two years after its desecration, Judah Maccabees and the Jewish people rededicated the temple to God. Arthur Waskow, in his book Seasons of Our Joy, comments on their choosing the exact same date for the dedication.

“And it is a short leap to surmise that the Maccabees, when they took the anniversary of that day as the rededication, were rededicating not only the temple but the day itself to Jewish holiness; were capturing a pagan solstice festival that had won wide support among partially Hellenized Jews, in order to make it a day of God’s victory over paganism.”

The desecrated altar of God was torn down and a new one built. They restored the broken menorah and prepared to light it. The Bread of the Presence was set out. According to later Jewish tradition, there was not enough of the sacred oil found to keep the menorah lit for the seven days required to rededicate the Temple. The priests chose to light the menorah anyway and it stayed lit for the seven days of rededication plus the one additional day needed before new holy oil could be ready. Thus, we have the miracle of Hanukkah.

But the miracle is not just of the oil; it is of the miraculous victory of Israel over Antiochus. Judah and his brothers faced overwhelming odds in their battles. There was no human way that tiny Israel could defeat the armies thrown against her. Just like in the time of Judges, God acted on the side of His people.

In the book of Maccabees chapter 4, the eight days are decreed as being a reprise of the Feast of Sukkot and its eighth day Shimeni Atzerat.

“The joyful celebration lasted for eight days; it was like the Feast of Huts (Sukkot), for they recalled how, only a short time before, they had kept that feast while they were living like wild animals in the mountains and caves; and so they carried garlanded wands and branches with their fruits as well as palm fronds, and the chanted hymns to the One who had so triumphantly achieved the purification of his own temple.”

Additional detail of the War of the Maccabees can be found in Josephus’ The Antiquities of the Jews, Book 12 and 1 and 2 Maccabees.

Today, Hanukah is celebrated for eight days with a special nine-branched candelabrum called a hanukkiah. The victory of Judah Maccabees over Antiochus’ forces is down played. We don’t have to look far for the reason; the early Rabbis wrote during the first to third century when similar revolts led to the destruction of the temple and exile from Jerusalem. Also, the Maccabees themselves became corrupt fighting over the kingship which ultimately brought in the Romans to decide the issue. Today the Jewish people emphasize the spiritual with the eight branches of the hanukkiah representing the eight-day miracle of oil. The ninth candle, called the “shamash” or servant candle, is used to light the other candles.  The lighted candles symbolize bringing light into a darkened world. On the first day of Hanukkah, one candle is lit with the shamash. Each day one more candle is lit until, on the eighth day, all candles are lit. The hanukkiah is not to be hidden; it is displayed on a porch or in a window to proclaim the miracle to all who pass by.

We can celebrate Hanukkah as a rededication of our own lives as a living temple holy to God.

1 Corinthians 3:16-17 MKJV 16 Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God shall destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which you are.

We can celebrate Hanukkah as we anticipate God’s final victory over the forces that come against Jerusalem in the last days. Though it looks like certain destruction for Jerusalem, God acts on the side of His people.

Zechariah 12:8-9 NKJV 8 "In that day the LORD will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; the one who is feeble among them in that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the Angel of the LORD before them. 9 "It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.

שלום ברוך
Shalom and be blessed
Dan and Brenda Cathcart

Visit our website at

Friday, December 9, 2011

Reason Three for Christians to Celebrate Hanukkah

(This year Hanukkah begins at local sunset on December 20th.  The following is an excerpt from our book "Reasons For Christians To Celebrate The Biblical Feasts". The book is available from and through the bookstore at  It makes a great gift!)

The third reason to celebrate Hanukkah is that the events commemorated by Hanukkah are spoken of by Jesus as having future prophetic significance. The words He speaks to His disciples telling them of the signs of His coming and the end of the world resound with Hanukkah language. First, Jesus speaks of another abomination of desolation. Then He goes on to invoke images of the horror inflicted on the Jewish people during the reign of Antiochus IV Epiphanes.

Matthew 24:15-21 MKJV 15 Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place (whoever reads, let him understand). 16 Then let those in Judea flee into the mountains. 17 Let him on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house; 18 nor let him in the field turn back to take his clothes. 19 And woe to those who are with child, and to those who give suck in those days! 20 But pray that your flight is not in the winter, nor on the sabbath day; 21 for then shall be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world to this time; no, nor ever shall be.

Antiochus set up an altar to Zeus over the altar of God in the Temple.

I Maccabees 1:57-59, 62 On the fifteenth day of Chislev in the year one hundred and forty-five (December 8, 167 B.C.) the king erected the abomination of desolation above the altar; and artars were built in the surrounding towns of Judah and incense offered at the doors of houses and in the streets. On the twenty-fifth of the month sacrifice was offered on the altar erected over the altar of holocaust.

Those in Judea fled into the wilderness taking most of their possessions with them. They were pursued and attacked on the Sabbath.

1 Maccabees 2:29-30, 32, 38 At this many who were concerned for virtue and justice went down to the desert and stayed there, taking with them their sons, their wives and their cattle, for the burden of their wrongs had become unendurable. A strong detachment went after them, and when it came up with them ranged itself agaist them in battle formation, preparing to attack them on the Sabbath day. The attack was pressed home on the Sabbath itself, and they were slaughtered with their wives and children and cattle, to the number of one thousand persons.

Those in Jerusalem didn’t fare any better. In fact the slaughter there was even worse.

2 Maccabees 5:24-27 The king also sent the mysarch Appolonius at the head of an army twenty-two thousand strong, with orders to put to death all men in their prime and to sell the women and children. Arriving in Jerusalem and posing as a man of peace, this man waited until the holy day of the Sabbath and then, taking advantage of the Jews as they rested from work, ordered his men to parade fully armed; all those who came out to watch he put to the sword; then running through the city with his armed troops, he cut down an immense number of people.

Josephus writes that ten thousand women and children were sold into slavery on that day and the temple was totally plundered of all its wealth. Those who resisted by reading or even having a Torah scroll, by observing the Sabbath, or circumcising their sons died a horrific death. This was especially true of women who circumcised their babies. Josephus records in The Antiquities of the Jews, Book 12, Chapter 5, line 256:

“…for they were wipped with rods and their bodies were torn to pieces, and were crucified while they were till alive and breathed; they also strangled those women and their sons whom they had circumcised, as the king had appointed, hanging their sons about their necks as they were upon the crosses.”

The words of Jesus in Matthew 24 match that day in December exactly. The abomination of desolation was set up in the temple in the winter. The people were horrible attacked on the Sabbath more than once. And woe to the women! Those who circumcised their infant sons died grievous deaths.  As horrible as those days were, Jesus said the days leading up to His return would be even worse. He warns them not to try to bring their possessions with them but to flee immediately. He says that THEN shall be great tribulation worse than has ever been seen before. The events December 167 B.C. foreshadow the events of the great tribulation. Antiochus IV Epiphanes is a shadow of the Antichrist. His reign name of Epiphanes means “God Manifest.” Paul tells us that the Antichrist will set himself up as God.

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 MKJV 3 Let not anyone deceive you by any means. For that Day shall not come unless there first comes a falling away, and the man of sin shall be revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, setting himself forth, that he is God.

Judah Maccabeus is a shadow of Jesus. Jesus is of the line of David of the tribe of Judah. Jacob’s blessing over Judah includes describing him as a lion.

Genesis 49:9 MKJV 9 Judah is a lion's whelp. My son, you have gone up from the prey. He stooped, he crouched like a lion; and like a lioness, who shall rouse him?

Judah Maccabeus is described similarly in I Maccabees.

I Macabbees 3: 3-4 He extended the fame of his people. He put on the breastplate like a giant and girded on his war harness; he engaged in battle after battle, protecting the ranks with his sword. He was like a lion’s whelp roaring over its prey.

Jesus is a priest on the order of Melchizedek. Judah Maccabeus is a priest of the line of Aaron. Judah ruled over Israel at the time of the rededication of the temple. Jesus will rule over Israel and the whole world. He is the one who will build the third temple of God.

We can celebrate Hanukkah as we look forward to Jesus’ return, learning and watching so that we are not caught sleeping or unaware. We light the Hanukkiah to remind us that we are of the light and need to keep watch for the signs of His coming.

1 Thessalonians 5:4-6 MKJV 4 But you, brothers, are not in darkness, that the Day should overtake you like a thief. 5 You are all the sons of light and the sons of the day. We are not of the night, or of darkness. 6 Therefore let us not sleep as the rest do, but let us watch and be calm.

שלום ברוך
Shalom and Be Blessed
Dan and Brenda Cathcart

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