Monday December 3rd: 25 Kislev
Today is the 25th day of Kislev, the first day of Hanukkah, and it was on this day according to tradition, that construction of the Tabernacle of Moses was completed. It is also believed that on this day the first pagan sacrifice was offered on the altar of Zeus in the Temple in 168 B.C. Three years later, on this same day, the Maccabees cleansed the Temple and offered the daily sacrifices on the new, rededicated altar.
On this same day in Israeli history there are three important anniversaries all related to the Sanctuary. This is very interesting when you consider that Hanukkah, the Feast of Dedication, is better rendered as the Feast of Rededication (of the Sanctuary). From the beginning, the purpose of the Sanctuary was that God might dwell in the midst of His people. For His presence to be in the midst of His people, a proper dwelling place was required; one that was holy and undefiled by common and profane things.
The fact that the Greeks were offered pagan sacrifices on the altar in God’s house was the epitome of desecrating His Holy Place. Some interpret these events as being the abomination of desolation that was spoken of by the Prophet Daniel. That is why the deeds of the Maccabees to cleanse and rededicate the Temple should be inspiring to you and me as believers. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20:
“Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
Therefore, the purpose for the Body of Messiah and each of us individually is to provide a proper abode for the Creator, that the Spirit of God might dwell in each of us and all of us.
Unfortunately, in times past, we have all let our guard down and that’s permitted “the Greeks” (those things that are unclean) to come in and to set up things that are offensive in our lives. By harboring things in our lives that are unpleasing to God is akin to offering profane things on the altar of our hearts. Therefore, there is a need for us to rise up and throw off the edicts of our evil inclinations. Empowered by His Spirit and His strength, we must purge from the bodily temple those things that offend that we might rededicate the “house” back to its rightful owner. May we truly fulfill what Paul admonishes us to do in Romans 12:1-2:
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
That is essentially the story of Hanukkah: purging from our lives those things that are offensive to God and rededicating ourselves back to Him that this temple – our bodies – might be a holy habitation for His presence.
So happy Hanukkah and Shalom.