Chanukah Peek at the Feast-East v West Thinking
We are about to enter the Chanukkah Season. In summary it’s the story of the Greek Empire taking over the Jews and trying to convince them to assimilate into Greek culture. They were to give up torah, the covenant and the ways of God. If they didn’t, they would be killed. When an Officer told a priest to sacrifice a pig on the alter, a fight broke out and a revolt began. The Jews won against all odds. The battle belongs to the Lord and Israel became a soverign nation for a while. T
What happened in 164 BC is, to a much greater extent, what is happening today. And has happened throughout history. We are being assimilated and separated from our walk with God, the Halacha.
Our culture is separating us from walking the path with God. Do we even recognize it? Our culture is defiling our temple, the place where God dwells within us. They tell us who to follow. Follow the crowd, advertising, movies, Social Media & TV. Then you are cool, beautiful, accepted and esteemed—No! You’re assimilated. This is brainwashing. Someone is controlling the culture, so we become dumbed down and easy to manipulate. So, we are going to practice opening our eyes to some cultural influences.
We have made a 15 day Chanukah Devotional. It starts 1 week before Chanukah and goes through the 8 days. We are starting early to get into the Chanukkah mode so Chanukkah itself will have a deeper impact on our lives.
Each day of the devotional has a topic comparing Greek thought to Hebraic thought. There are a few scriptures for each topic. Add more if you like. Our goal is to become more like the Hebraic thinkers who are doers, rather than the Greek thinkers who are: thinking, analyzing, compartmentalizing, restructuring, reducing, & building systems out of what should be done from the heart.
We want to do things from the heart, God’s heart.
Our challenge is to practice doing a Hebraic mindset topic each day throughout the Chanukkah season. For example: Day 2-Having a spectator mentality (Greek) v all members are important and I am interactive with them (Hebraic). Day 3-Knowing God through our mind & logic (Greek) v knowing God through His word-He tells me things when I read, speak or think His word (Hebraic).
Ephesians 4:14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.
We need to be wise. What does your temple look like? Is it full of the idols of the land? Have you defiled it knowingly or unknowingly? We all have and are doing it. But one candle pierces the darkness.
It’s time to revolt, return to the Lord and cleanse the temple. That’s one aspect of what remembering Chanukkah is about.
Done by the power of the blood, one candle can pierce the darkness and we can live in the light of the Lord in front of a lost and dying world.
This year’s Chanukah devotional provides two weeks of exploring your cultural thoughts. The bible was written in Hebraic culture with a Hebraic mindset. Early gentile Christians influenced by Greek philosophy intellectualized the bible, radically changing its meaning. Below is a list of comparative mindsets, one from Greek thought and one from Hebraic thought, as well as supporting scriptures.
As you light the Chanukah candles, take some time to examine your own thoughts. Which cultural influences do you see? Which do you want? Allow the Holy Spirit to search you and teach you through God’s word. It never comes back void. Oy, it may take a lifetime.
Some differences between Greek and Hebrew cultures are: The Greeks esteem knowing, the Hebrews esteem doing. To the Greeks, knowledge, right thinking, philosophizing and intellectual play provide the meaning of life. To the Jews, practice of right conduct, duty, conscience and moral values are important; practice not theory.
You may want to start pondering the mindsets a week before Chanukah to prepare for the celebration with a deeper meaning of victory and how it applies to our times.
Please be mindful that the “Greek” mindset is not only found in the Christian Churches but also in Messianic Congregations, because it permeates our culture at large. We have been drenched in it from birth, and we are all doing it to some degree.
The left side of the equation is Greek, the right is Hebraic. Notice that the Hebraic side of the equation is in the first person. Think of it as the voice in your head.
Pre-Chanukah Devotional: December 3 – 9
Dec.3 Doing holidays without the Lord v. the holidays are an appointed time for me to meet with the Lord. I eagerly run to meet Him and listen to what He is telling me in each festival.
1 Cor. 5:8, Zech.14:16-19, Lev.23:1-44, Deut. 16:16, Acts 2:1, Acts 20:16
Dec.4: Spectator mentality v. all members are important and I am interactive with them.
Heb.10:24, Phil.2:3, 1John 3:14, Gal.6:2
Dec.5: Knowing God through our mind & logic v. knowing God through His word. He tells me things when I read, speak or think His word.
Eph. 4:14, Eph. 5:6, 2Tim.3:16-17, John 17:17, Matt.4:4
Dec.6: Freedom oriented – I am free to choose v. I am hidden in Yeshua. I choose Him. I am inside His strong tower no matter what is going on. I don’t want to walk away from it.
Prov. 18:10, Deut.30:19-20, Joshua 24:15, Col. 3:3, Gal.5:16-17
Dec.7: Man made formulas that don’t change our lifestyle v. I trust and have faith to follow the Holy Spirit & God’s commands over man’s ideas about God’s ways. I want to follow the Spirit, not man’s gimmicks & trends about God, His ways or His word.
Eph. 4:17, Eph. 5:6, Eph. 5:8, Ps.119:114, Col.2:8, Mark 7:8
Dec.8: Worship is something we do at service v. every aspect of my life is worship. I see Him and worship Him in my activities & introspections.
John 4:23-24, Heb.13:15, Romans 12:1
Dec.9: No accountability v. God calls me to be accountable to others. I consider them.
Eph. 4:2-6, Gal.6:1-5, Prov. 27:17, 1 Thess.5:14
Chanukah Begins: First Night (Dec 10), Last Night (Dec 18)
First NIght of Chanukah, Dec.10: Individually minded v. community minded. I belong and I am an integral part of communities God has placed me in. I need to consider the whole, as well as myself.
Heb.10:24-25, Acts 2:42-47, Gal.6:2, Eccl.4:9-12, Matt.22:37-40
Second Night of Chanukah, Dec.11: I am my #1 preference v. I am to esteem others higher than myself. I consider and value the integrity of another person by showing them honor in my speech and interactions with them. I know they have feelings and need me to value them.
2Tim.3:2, Rom.2:8, Rom.12:10, Phil.2:3-4, 1 Cor.10:24
Third Night of Chanukah, Dec.12: I am right, you are wrong. Using rhetoric & debate to dazzle others or buffet them with arguments v. I learn when I interact with other people. I engage in a back and forth exchange of honest thoughts & feelings with mutual respect. They may have a point and so do I.
Eph. 4:18-19, Rom.14:1, James 1:26, 2 Tim.2:23-24, Rom.14:19, 1 Cor.13:1-13, Jm.3:17
Fourth NIght of Chanukah, Dec.13: My worth is based on money, power, status & knowledge v. I understand that in the end, the worth I carry inside me is based on my relationships; intimate or casual. How did I treat other people? What level of exchange did I give them? Could they see God’s light in me?
Heb.13:5, Lev.25:35-38, 1 John 2:15-17, Eccl.5:10, Matt.28:19, Col.3:14, Rom.15:2, John 15:13
Fifth Night of Chanukah, Dec.14: Man/Self-centered v. God centered. He is my focus.
Psalm 27:1, Col 3:1-2, Psalm 1:1-6, 2 Tim 2:15, Matt 6:24, Rom.12:2, Phil.1:20-21, Ps.92:4,
Rom 8:8, Ps.119:10
Sixth Night of Chanukah, Dec.15: Random acts of kindness (external) v. giving from a heart of love (internal). What you give from the heart as you act in kindness, God returns. Your heart grows with love. It shines like a jewel and you become the light of the world
Matt 5:14-15, 1 Cor.13, Eph.6:6, Prov.21:2, Ezek.11:19, Ps.26:2, Ps.27:14, Prov.22:11
Seventh Night of Chanukah, Dec.16: Competition is important v. cooperation in a group. I can add input through the art of communication, relationship & prayer. It’s ok if I’m not the know it all. I am a servant of the living God.
1 John 1:7, 1Thess. 5:11, Ps.133:1-3, 1 Cor. 2:10, Rom. 12:16, 1 Cor.12:14-16, Eph. 5:21,
Eighth Night of Chanukah, Dec.17: Prayer is always based on a need v. I know everything comes from the power of the Lord so I trust and am secure that he will always provide and sustain me. I want to bless Him in my prayers and my life.
Ps.34:1-4, Ps.103, Ps.135, Jer.1:12, Phil. 4:19, Eph.6:18, Ps.100:4
But to the Hebraic thinker how one lives is more important than doctrinal theory; how one treats his neighbor and God. Practice in the little things grows you stronger for the bigger things. Grow in the light.