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The Season of God’s glorious Light – Week 49 / December 3rd
The First Week of Advent 2016
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us
and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only
begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Scripture declares that the world is in the grip of a demonic fist. (1 John 5:19) Generally speaking the human race walks, “according to the prince of the power of the air,” (Ephesians2:2) and indeed, as Paul affirms, the devil is the “god of this age.” (2Corinthians 4:4) We should therefore not be surprised at the darkness and evil that envelops our world and sadly, sometimes even our own hearts!
Nevertheless, at this time of the year we remember, with much joy, that God’s light dispels the darkness and will ultimately conquer it. The Feast of Dedication (John 10: 22) or Hanukkah reminds us that the Lord of Glory penetrates the darkness by the strength of His love and therefore by His saving light, does great things for Israel and for all those who love Him.
The very first Hanukkah celebration took place some 160 years before Christ. Israel was overrun by the evil Seleucid Antiochus Epiphanes who committed the abomination of desolation by placing a statue of Zeus in the Temple in Jerusalem. After a great struggle, which raged for three-and-a-half years, he was finally defeated by the Hasmoneans and by Judas Hasmoneas in particular. The Temple was cleansed and rededicated with a miracle that kept the Menorah burning for eight days until pure Olive Oil, that could only be obtained from the Galilee, was able replenish it. The reality was that they only had sufficient oil for one day! Jesus celebrated this miracle and thereby recognized the intervention of God on behalf of Israel. (John 10:22-23)
The message was clear; God’s light will deliver Israel and save her. Today the Iranians, their many proxies and others threaten Israel, as Antiochus did, but they will also fail because they have not reckoned on Israel’s light! Time will most definitely prove this to be true! We thank God that He is the same, yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8) and we can then pray with confidence about Israel’s protection and deliverance. Scripture affirms this when it states that the nations will increasingly fall into intense darkness but God’s light will increasingly shine brighter over Israel.
“Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the
Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover
the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the Lord will
arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you. The
Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the
brightness of your rising.”
Also, at this time of the year, we celebrate the birth of the Light of the World; Jesus of Nazareth. The incarnation story is simple, beautiful and worthy of annual celebration, regardless of the date. God became man and dwelt among us so that we could perceive who He really is and be saved from our sins. John the apostle declares, “No one has seen God at anytime, the only begotten God in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” (John 1:18) What a beautiful way of putting the essence or nature of Jesus. The Father is fully reflected in His life and this reflection is nothing short of glorious and divine! By His death and resurrection Jesus has dispelled the darkness in countless millions of lives down through the centuries and in the world today. In short, His star has brought real hope and joy to the world. Rightly then do we celebrate His birth, as the Wise Men did, and also join the choir of Angels in their songs of praise of the Christ child. This we do with the great expectation that very shortly Jesus will inherit the throne of His great grandfather David and rule forever and ever. (Luke1: 30-33) This is the sure promise of God and when it happens, light will at last cover the whole earth “as the waters cover the sea” and the world will at last be at peace. (Isaiah 11:9) This alone is our true hope and joy.
This year Hanukkah and Christmas fall together and this most certainly reminds us that God’s saving light will never be vanquished and that we must place our trust fully in Jesus who is the true light of the world. Without Him our world will only continue to experience darkness and hopelessness.
May the God of Israel shine His light on you and your loved ones at this special time of the year and thereby fill you with His love and joy! Even so Lord Jesus come quickly!
Merry Christmas to you all!
Malcolm and Cheryl Hedding