The Jewish Hanukkah celebrations began this last Sunday night. We are now on night four. Eight nights of commemoration, celebration, and remembrance centering around a nine branched candelabra.
Hanukkah is a commemoration of the Hanukkah miracle. In order to rededicate the Temple after desecration, the Jews needed to have enough lamp oil to keep the Temple’s menorah lit eternally, but only had enough for one day.
One day versus eternity is quite a shortfall.
But, the insufficient oil miraculously lasted for 8 days. Still a laughable difference, however–not only did this eight day portion allow the rededication to begin, it also gave the Jews enough time to press more oil so that the Temple lamp could stay lit eternally as it is commanded in Temple protocols.
Command the Israelites to bring you clear oil of pressed olives for the light so that the lamps may be kept burning. In the tent of meeting, outside the curtain that shields the ark of the covenant law, Aaron and his sons are to keep the lamps burning before the Lord from evening til morning. This is to be a lasting ordinance among the Israelites for generations to come. (Exodus 27:20-21)
God performed a miracle that allowed the Temple to be rededicated and purified.
His people had the will to do it. But it was physically impossible without God inserting Himself into natural reality, commanding physics to rearrange its principles, and giving to men the element they needed to act on the obedience already in their hearts.
There is such encouragement to someone like me to see on record the principle of rededication.
There is a lot of discussion about assurance of salvation. There is now. There always has been.
Can you lose your salvation? If you apostasize does it mean you were never saved? When a professing, discipled Christian defiles himself with rebellion, stubbornness, and periods of recreational sin, is there a way back for them?
Are we once saved, always saved, if saved at all?
Well, no people has ever belonged to God simply by His confession, except for the ancient Israelites.
But, God Himself said repeatedly that there was no people on earth as rebellious, stubborn and determined to sin as the Israelites. He said the most sinful of their neighbors would be aghast at what they did.
God also said of them:
As for you, O people of Israel, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Go right ahead and worship your idols, but sooner or later you will obey me and will stop bringing shame on my holy name by worshipping idols. For on my holy mountain, the great mountain of Israel, says the Sovereign Lord, the people of Israel will someday worship me, and I will accept them. (Ezekiel 20:40-41)
Sooner. Or later. You’ll stop prostituting yourself out to other gods. Sooner or later. And when you do: I. Will. Accept you.
Jesus is the sooner or later. God has unleashed the irrepressible power of His acceptance. The Holy Spirit submerges us in the permanence of God’s confession to keep as as His treasure.
Jesus died for all peoples so that those who would confess Him as Lord would be saved, and adopted into the people of Israel that God unequivocally claimed as His own possession (John 3:16-18; Galatians 3:5-29; Deuteronomy 7:6).
Our confession for Him is one day’s worth of oil to light our Temple lamp. God’s confession for us is eternity’s worth of oil to provide us the means to obey the command that: “There in my presence it is to burn from evening until morning. This command is to be kept forever by the Israelites and their descendants,” Exodus 27:21 (GNT).
The Hanukkah menorah is placed in a window after it is lit, so that everyone who sees will remember the Hanukkah miracle.
We proclaim the Gospel as part of our confession of salvation through Christ.
It can be easy to conflate works of evangelism as our “eternal oil.” The “good things” we do “for God.”
As if God is not capable of exercising all manner of good on earth. As if God does not create and destroy with the perfect goodness of His will and judgment.
No. We put our light on a stand to say, “For one day I had a fleeting moment of belief. Somehow in one hour, my senseless skin felt a touch of the Spirit; and in a hasty moment my mouth broke free from my brain and I confessed Jesus as Lord of my life.”
We act on this one brief portion of the Anointing Spirit that draws near to us. And in return that Oil redoubles and reproduces and grows and increases from age to age– and keeps us forever as a people holy unto the Lord (Deuteronomy 7:6).
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven,” Matthew 5:16.