November 30, 2010 ©Homer Kizer
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Commentary — From the Margins
Sons of Light—
At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter [the 25th of Tislev], and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one.”
The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.”
Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’? If He called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken—do you say of Him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” Again they sought to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands.
He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing at first, and there he remained. And many came to him. And they said, “John did no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true.” And many believed in him there. (John 10:22–42)
The Bible [the books] as a tangible text that can be held in hands forms the shadow and copy of the heavenly Book of Life, a book that is not of this world or in this world, the book in which disciples are epistles “written not with ink but with spirit” (2 Cor 3:3) …
Instead of epistles written on the parchment [the hides of lambs] with ink made from the elements of this earth, disciples are epistles that will see the perishable flesh put on immortality at the Second Advent. Thus, for disciples circumcision isn’t of the flesh, but of the heart: an “Israelite” isn’t the fleshly body of a biological descendant of the patriarch Abraham, but the inner self that has received a second breath of life to become a son of promise, with God the Father being the parent who has brought to life (John 5:21) this inner self that was consigned to death and disobedience so that God could have mercy on all (Rom 11:32). Therefore, disciples are sons of light not after the likeness of the Maccabees, physical sons of light, but after the likeness of Christ Jesus, “the light of men” (John 1:4), “which enlightens everyone” (v. 9). It was Christ Jesus who came “‘into the world as light, so that whoever believes in [Jesus] may not remain in darkness” (John 12:46).
The earthly temple with its empty Holy of holies into which soldiers of Antiochus Epiphanes IV placed a statue of Zeus, the event that precipitated the Maccabean Revolt, became the earthly body of Christ (John 2:20–21) roughly six months into His earthly ministry, only the Holy of holies was no longer empty but was filled with the glory of God [life everlasting] received from the Father when the breath of the Father [pneuma Theon] descended upon the baptized Jesus (Matt 3:16). The destruction of this temple came when Jesus was crucified, not when Roman soldiers sacked Jerusalem and razed the temple (ca 70 CE). The raising up of this temple came on the day of the Wave Sheaf Offering [the 18th of Aviv in the year 31 CE] when Jesus ascended to the Father then returned to breathe on ten of His disciples (John 20:22), thereby directly transferring to them the Holy Spirit [pneuma hagion— breath holy], the breath of the Father, thus raising their inner selves from the dead.
The Father had chosen these ten [the disciples upon whom Jesus breathed] and had given them to Christ Jesus to keep throughout His earthly ministry so that they could receive indwelling eternal life when it became time to raise up the eternal house of God, building this house upon the foundation that is Christ Jesus, with every living stone of this house to become a fractal of Christ Jesus. Hence, the Christian who doesn’t walk as Jesus walked; who doesn’t look like Jesus, inwardly living as an observant Jew, is not of this house as Israel in Egypt [i.e., Israel prior to the Passover] was not of Moses, who “was faithful in all God’s house as a servant,” faithful “to testify to the things that were to be spoken later” (Heb 3:5). Self-identified Christians today, with very few exceptions, are not of the house of God, over which Christ Jesus is faithful as a Son (v. 6). Again, with very few exceptions Christians are not today of God, for they serve sin as its obedient slave, with the prima facie evidence being their steadfast refusal to take the Passover sacraments of bread and wine [the Body and Blood of the Lamb of God] on the dark portion of the 14th of Aviv. A second and like witness against greater Christendom being of God is Christians refusal to keep the Sabbath. Thus, the Christian Church today serves sin which leads to death (Rom 6:16) all the while claiming for themselves the mantle of grace, the righteousness of Christ Jesus.
The greater Christian Church loudly asserts that Christians are not under the law … as long as Christians are not truly born of God—that is, for as long as the inner selves of Christians haven’t been raised from the dead—Christians are not under the law, which does not give Christians license to sin. For Paul writes, “For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law” (Rom 2:12). Jesus expressed this concept of perishing spiritually without having received the spirit of God when He told Pharisees, “‘If you were blind, you would have no guilt [sin], but now that you say, “We see,” your guilt remains”’ (John 9:41) — because Christians claim to be of Christ, they claim to see, to understand the mysteries of God, when they remain spiritually blind. Their claim to see is imbedded in the identifying icon Christian, and because they claim to see, their guilt remains even though they are not today of God.
The above is an important concept to understand for within the Bible Belt of the United States, self-identified Christians are many. They are usually “good” people, eager to serve God but absolutely unwilling to obey God. In a mingling of the sacred and the profane, they worship God on Sunday mornings—and it is this mingling of the sacred and the profane that will condemn them.
When the first Eve ate forbidden fruit, she ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. She ate mingled fruit; she ate the physical shadow and type of Christians spiritually ingesting mingled knowledge, with Christmas observance being the foremost example of mingling the sacred [Christ Jesus] with the profane [December 25th, the day of invincible sun]. Thus, for a Christian to rebel against God, with the Christian sincerely believing that he or she serves God, the Christian has to do nothing more than to observe Christmas. And to not observe Christmas places a person at odds with family and friends and most of Christendom.
Likewise, to rebel against God once the Christian actually receives indwelling spiritual life, the Christian only has to ignore the Sabbath and attempt to force his or her way into God’s presence on the first day of the week (i.e., one day after the Sabbath]. Jesus said, “‘From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violet take it by force”’ (Matt 11:12) … to take the kingdom of the heavens by force requires that you, an uncircumcised Gentile, live as a circumcised Jew without circumcising the flesh. You then force your way into Israel through hearing and believing the writings of Moses (John 5:46–47), hearing the message Jesus left with His disciples, and believing the One who sent Jesus into this world and whose words Jesus spoke while here (v. 24). Therefore, you, an uncircumcised Gentile who keeps the law, will condemn the Israelite who is outwardly circumcised but who doesn’t keep the law (Rom 2:25–27); for by keeping the law when you are under no social or legal requirement to do so causes the heart to be circumcised. You have now forced your way into the kingdom; you rebelled against the Adversary and turned his broadcast of rebellion, of disobedience against him, and your inner self has passed from death to life without your inner self coming under judgment (again, John 5:24). But you haven’t escaped judgment; for by entering into Israel, judgment is now upon you (1 Pet 4:17). And to willingly return to lawlessness [the mingling of the sacred and the profane as in Christmas observance or Sunday worship] takes you out from under grace and leads to death in the lake of fire.
How does all of this relate to the Feast of Dedication [Hanukkah] which Jesus observed?
· The consecrated oil for which there was only enough for one day when the Maccabees finally took control of the temple—the oil that burned for eight days, the oil that burned until additional oil could be consecrated—was a type and shadow of the Holy Spirit, the glory of God that sustains life in the heavenly realm.
· The temple that began as a hewn wood and stone building, constructed by Zerubbabel—the temple that became first the earthly body of Christ Jesus, then His spiritual Body when He was glorified and received by the Father—is today the Christian Church that began when Jesus breathed on ten of His disciples on the 18th day of Aviv in the year 31 CE … the Church didn’t begin on Pentecost, but fifty days earlier; i.e., on the Wave Sheaf Offering.
· The light that illuminated the darkened interior of the wood and stone temple became the indwelling of Christ Jesus through receipt of His breath [pneuma Christos] when the temple became the Body of Christ (see 1 Cor 3:16–17; 2 Cor 6:16); for the gift of God is everlasting life in Christ Jesus (Rom 6:23).
In the 1st-Century, the light of God illuminated the Church of God, with this light being the typological equivalent to the one day of consecrated oil the Maccabees found in the temple when these physical sons of light captured the temple from the forces of the Seleucid king, Antiochus Epiphanes IV. The miracle of Hanukkah isn’t in the oil burning for this one day, but for one day’s worth of oil burning for seven additional days—
One day’s worth of oil is supposed to burn for one day … the Christian Church in the 1st-Century was supposed to have the indwelling light that came from receipt of the glory of God in a vessel that also came from heaven, Christ Jesus.
So far, there is no miracle of light: throughout the first day of the Dedication, the purified oil continued to burn as it was expected to burn. The miracle would come when the light continued to burn for seven additional days.
If an in-depth argument were to be made, I would show how the Christian Church lost the Holy Spirit late in the 1st-Century so that when the Apostle John died at the beginning of the 2nd-Century (ca 100–102 CE), the Church died from loss of the breath of God [pneuma Theon], but my purpose today is less ambitious: the Hanukkah miracle of the purified oil burning for seven additional days represents the Christian Church being resurrected to life at the Second Passover and the breath of God illuminating Christians for seven years, the seven years [2520 days] of the Affliction and Endurance.
John tell us how to read the Hanukkah story when he wrote, “He [Jesus] went away again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing at first, and there he remained” (John 10:40) … Jesus was only in the temple for the Feast of Dedication for part of one day; Jesus was only in the temple long enough to state that His sheep were sons of God, a claim that is lost in the snowstorm of misunderstanding that comes from not walking as Jesus walked.
Throughout the seven additional days of the Feast of Dedication, Jesus was across the Jordan and was at where John had been baptizing at first—baptizing for repentance. The light of God wasn’t in the earthly temple Herod built, but was across the Jordan where John baptized with water. The light of God [Jesus] was only in the temple for the one day that the oil was supposed to burn. The spirit of God was only in the Church for the 1st-Century when it was supposed to be evident.
Moving from physical to spiritual hasn’t been an easy task for those disciples who habitually take meaning from Scripture through here a little, there a little exegesis. Understanding that the miracle of Hanukkah pertains to the Christian Church being liberated from death and indwelling sin at the Second Passover will cause many to scratch their heads in unbelief—
If heads are going to be scratched, then consider that Hanukkah this year—when the sacred calendar begins with the first sighted new moon crescent after the vernal equinox—begins New Year’s Eve … the Feast of Dedication begins at sunset on December 31, 2010. The New Year begins at midnight.
Is it simply coincidence that the dark portion of the first day of the Feast of Dedication incorporates the midnight hour that begins a new secular year? Or is this the midnight hour when humankind can get no farther from God, thereby placing significance on the Second Passover in 2011? Will the course of human affairs turn with the Feast of Dedication this year? Will the first day of the Feast of Dedication carry forward until the Second Passover, on or about May 19th? Meaning that those things recorded by John about Jesus saying His sheep hear His voice, that no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand have a spiritual parallel in disciples being the oil and the wine that Sin cannot harm once the Affliction begins … there is significance in Hanukkah occurring so late this year, not that rabbinical Judaism will celebrate Hanukkah over New Year’s. But then, Jesus warned His disciples about eating the leavening of the Pharisees (Matt 16:11–12), leavening that extends to rabbinical Judaism’s calculated calendar.
A person wouldn’t expect rabbinical Judaism to understand the things of God, or at least he person shouldn’t expect Judaism to understand spiritual things: the nation [ideology] has never had the spirit of God. Nevertheless, when a Sabbatarian Christian decides to walk as Jesus walked—and Jesus kept the Feast of Dedication for one day—the Sabbatarian will inevitably begin to keep Hanukkah as rabbinical Judaism keeps the Feast of Dedication, little realizing that Jesus kept the miracle portion of the Feast where John the Baptist first baptized disciples for repentance.
The miracle is in repentance, or the journey of faith that produces repentance that cleanses the heart so that the heart can be circumcised by the soft breath of God.
So how should a Sabbatarian Christian keep Hanukkah—and should the Sabbatarian keep the first day as Jesus kept the first day of the Feast of Dedication?
How do you think the Sabbatarian should? Whatever your answer, that is how you should keep the Feast of Dedication for you are the temple of God in which the light of God burns [usually] weakly.
No person should ever stand between you and Christ Jesus, and that includes me. Therefore, it is up to you as to how you should celebrate the Feast of Dedication for the temple that will be dedicated when Christ Jesus returns and marries His Bride.
The reason that 1st & 2nd Maccabees are not canonical texts for the Church of God is that the spiritual sons of Light defeat the spiritual king of the North [Death, the fourth horseman of the Apocalypse] by enduring to the end in faith, not taking back inside themselves any disobedience once liberated from indwelling sin and death. Therefore, the victory of the Maccabees doesn’t form the shadow and copy of how the spiritual sons of Light prevail over darkness. Christ Jesus’ victory over the Adversary forms the shadow and type—and it would certainly be appropriate to review His victory on the first day of the Feast of Dedication.
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"Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved."