Chanukah and Encountering Worldly Philosophies


One of the responsibilities of any Bible teacher is to bridge the gulf that exists between Scripture passages given in an ancient historical context, and providing practical application for those living in the Twenty-First Century. Human nature often remains the same between an ancient period and modern society: people still commit sin, people still need redemption, people still desire to be loved. Certainly as Messianic Believers, we learn and encounter many things that teach us about ourselves from the weekly Torah portions, from the Tanach, and from looking at the Apostolic Scriptures in their ancient Jewish and Mediterranean setting.

Making a connection between the Chanukah story and society today is actually quite easy, but it is also very complicated. I will not disagree with anyone who says that a main feature of the Chanukah story is resistance to Hellenism or errant Greek philosophy. But what we define as Hellenism or errant Greek philosophy is very much contingent on a teacher actually knowing a few things about classical Greek philosophy, and being able to provide documentation from primary and secondary sources when one defines a concept or idea as specifically being “Greek.” Again, it is easy for me to talk about this because in our Wednesday Night Bible Study,[1] when we encounter classical concepts that the Apostles are directly confronting—engagement with the relevant Greek or Roman philosophers, historians, or politicians is offered.[2] Yet for many who promote the concept of a so-called Hebrew mind versus a Greek mind, such engagement is often not provided. It should make one wonder if this soundbyte is often used to just be a smokescreen to promote some ear-tickling teaching (2 Timothy 4:3).

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reproduced from the Messianic Winter Holiday Helper

The Winter holiday season is frequently a conflicted time of year for many people in today’s Messianic movement. On the one hand, most Messianic Believers do not celebrate the holiday of Christmas on December 25, due to some of its pre-Christian origins and questionable traditions. On the other hand, the birth of Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) is a Biblical event which we all must acknowledge in some way. Furthermore, during this same Winter season, the Jewish community commemorates the Festival of Dedication or Chanukah. What is a Messianic Believer to do?

The Messianic Winter Holiday Helper is a valuable compilation of resources designed to assist you, your family, and your Messianic fellowship for this season. We have included a selection of articles summarizing the holiday of Christmas, and how Messianic Believers need to have a proper attitude toward our Christian brothers and sisters. We have included a variety of teachings on Chanukah, common traditions associated with it, and how this can be a blessed time of spiritually rededicating ourselves to God and to each other. Information on the time period of the Maccabees in Second Century B.C.E. Judea, the wars that they fought, and the long term impact they left on subsequent generations, has been provided. A few FAQs on the Winter holidays are offered, as are some delicious recipes, and liturgy you can recite for your Chanukah celebration.

Do not let the Winter holiday season be a difficult time for you any more. The Messianic Winter Holiday Helper can assist you greatly in making this a very special time for you and your family!

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