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Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Light

on October 29, 2015

 

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Hanukkah Devotions / Book 6

After the Jewish people returned to the land of Israel from Babylonia they rebuilt the temple. During this time they were subject to the reigning powers, first to the Persian empire and later to Alexander the Great. According to history books, Alexander the Great was a kind and generous ruler to the Jews. After his death his kingdom was divided. Judah was caught in the middle and ended up subject to Greek kings who reigned from Syria, the Seleucid dynasty.

Antiochus IV was Judah’s new king. He worshipped false gods, Greek gods. He did not allow the Jewish people to worship YHWH, the only true God. During the years of Greek power many of the Jews embraced the Greek culture and its pagan way of life. These Jews helped Antiochus abolish every trace of the Jewish religion, then he took the holy treasures from the temple. He also outlawed the Jewish people from observing their traditions and from observing their Sabbaths. After a period of time he banned the reading  and studying of God’s Word.

When things looked like they could not get any worse, Antiochus went into the temple and sacrificed a pig on the altar, then the Jewish people were required to bow down before the pig. If they refused to do so they were killed. Things looked very bleak for the Jewish people. The temple had been desecrated, innocent people were being put to death, they were being heavily taxed, altars were erected in every city and in the temple to false gods, and pigs were being sacrificed every day on the altar in the temple.

If the Jewish people practiced their Jewish religion they were beaten or put to death. If their sacred books were found they were destroyed. Overseers were appointed to help persuade the people to adhere to the kings orders.

Many Jews complied with the kings orders. Some did so voluntarily, and some out of fear. Some of the ones that accepted the Greek ways even changed their names. During this dark time even, the high priest changed his name from Joshua to Jason. He was a wicked and sinful man who depressed and demoralized his fellow Jews. Jason readily accepted and forced others to participate in pagan customs and immoral acts.

After a period of time Jason was replaced. In his anger over being replaced, he gathered an army and attacked the city, slaughtering many Jews. The disturbance was viewed as a revolt by Antiochus causing him to send armies into Jerusalem. The armies of  Antiochus plundered the temple and killed thousands of the Jews. After this even more idols and altars were erected for worship to the pagan Greek gods and goddesses. They were everywhere – every town, every city, and every village. Antiochus’ soldiers forced the Jewish people to make offerings to these false gods and goddesses. The people were also forced to eat food that God had forbidden them to, and to engage in ungodly and immoral acts.

There were some Jewish people who refused to follow the Greek practices and the pagan activities. They would not bow down to the false gods. These people chose to obey God and to follow His ways. This remnant of Jews organized a group of people to fight against the evil leaders. This remnant, under the leadership of Judas Maccabee, gained control of the temple.

The temple had to be purified, because it had been defiled, before it could be used again to worship the one and only true God. The altar was torn down and rebuilt and new vessels were made. When everything was finished they hung the curtain and put the bread of presence on the table. On the twenty-fifth of Kislev they rededicated the temple unto God. They poured all the oil the oil that they had found into the menorah, however, it would only enough to last for one day. They lit the menorah and miraculously the oil lasted for eight days, the exact time it took for new oil to be made!

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First Night – Christians Are Light

Second Night – God Gives Light

Third Night – In The Beginning

Fourth Night – Light Reveals Evil

Fifth Night – Man Made Worship

Sixth Night – Our Responsibility As Lights

Seventh Night – Walk In The Light

Eighth Night – New Beginnings

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