My guest author today is Dr. Dean Spitzer, a Messianic Jewish believer whose extensive bio follows his post. I am honored to worship God alongside he and his lovely wife.
As a Messianic Jew, Hanukkah has special meaning. Also known as the Festival of Dedication, is a joyous holiday during which the Jewish people celebrate two miracles: a great Jewish military victory and a miraculous supply of oil for the Temple during its rededication after it was virtually destroyed and desecrated by the Syrians in 158 BC. At this time, the Jewish people were under foreign domination, ruled by the Syrian king Antiochus, who forced them to abandon their culture and religion. He made sure the Jewish people could not use the Temple to worship their God. He even erected idols in the holy place. And, worst of all, he sacrificed a pig on the altar. Three years later, the Maccabees, a Jewish rebel army, were successful in reclaiming the Temple mount, cleaned the Temple, dismantled the defiled altar, and constructed a new one in its place.
Three years to the day after the initial attack on the Temple, the Maccabees held a dedication (hanukkah) of the Temple. They rekindled the golden menorah, enjoying eight days of celebration and praise to God. The significance of the eight days is that only a single container of pure oil was available, enough to light the menorah for only a single day. A miracle occurred, and the oil lasted for eight days, sufficient time for the rededication to be completed. Jewish worship had been reestablished!
Although not a Biblically-mandated holiday, Hanukkah has been celebrated by Jews throughout the ages by the daily lighting of a candle on a menorah, one for each day that the oil lasted. It has become one of the most important holidays for Jewish people and is celebrated with a daily candle lighting ceremony and gift giving to Jewish children – a Jewish alternative to Christmas!
For Christians, Hanukkah is notable because Jesus (Yeshua) visited the Temple in Jerusalem during the Hanukkah. At that time, the Jews taunted Jesus about his claims of being the Son of God, the Messiah. Some of the Jews began to stone Him, but Jesus was able to escape (John 10:22-39). During this time Jesus articulated His role as the great shepherd who was dedicated to leading and protecting His sheep, those who knew His voice, but He accused the doubters as not being His sheep. It was sad that, at that time, the Jewish mob was ‘desecrating’ the Son of God.
But like the Maccabees, Jesus was victorious and demonstrated the kind of dedication that we are asked to display. He is the standard by which we are called to dedicate our life to God. When we consecrate ourselves to him, we enter into a perfect life of dedication – us to Him, and Him to us.
When we light the menorah during this Festival of Lights, we remember what Jesus said to his Jewish people: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life,” (John 8:12). What a great time to rededicate our lives to Jesus.
Dr. Dean Spitzer is one of the world’s leading authorities on performance measurement and management. His latest book “Transforming Performance Measurement” has been hailed as a ‘breakthrough,’ ‘a masterpiece,’ and ‘the most important book ever written about performance measurement.’ Dr. Spitzer’s advice and counsel is sought by companies and government agencies throughout the world. During his distinguished career, he has helped more than 100 organizations on five continents improve their performance. He has been a leader and internal change agent in the private and public sectors, a professor at 5 universities, the author of 8 books and over 200 articles and book chapters, and a keynote and featured presenter at more than 100 conferences. Thank you, Dean!