I felt completely at home at Beth Israel Worship Center when I went to visit for their Hanukkah Service. Why more Christians don’t celebrate Hanukkah, I don’t know.
I first saw Pastor/Rabbi Jonathan Cahn on Sid Roth’s “It’s Supernatural!” to discuss his latest book, “The Harbinger.”
I thought it was amazing how he connected the dots between America’s tenuous economic and spiritual situation and ancient Israel’s before they were ultimately destroyed. There are a tremendous number of parallels that really should give us all pause.
It’s very eye-opening to say the least. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend watching his interview with Sid Roth.
When I looked into Pastor Jonathan’s church, Beth Israel Worship Center, I found out that it wasn’t far from my house, so I figured I’d check it out for their Hanukkah service, which at the time was only about a week away. It would be my first time attending a Messianic Church and also my first time celebrating Hanukkah.
But Rob, aren’t you a Christian?
I’m Christian, but the Lord Jesus was Jewish and did in fact celebrate the Jewish Feast Days of the Lord. As Christians, we believe in both the Old Testament and the New and we also believe we are spiritual Israel.
It doesn’t make sense to me that we fail to acknowledge our Jewish roots.
So out of a desire to broaden my understanding of my spiritual roots and learn more about the Lord Jesus’ cultural upbringings, I went.
I have to say, it was wonderful, more than I expected. Something happens when Jewish and Christian believers in Yeshua Hamashiach (Jesus the Messiah) come together to worship that is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.
When I was in the building, I got the sense that I was home. I also got the distinct feeling that this is the way it was meant to be. People of differing cultural traditions coming to worship and celebrate the true Savior of the world, Jesus Christ.
Here’s a clip of Pastor/Rabbi Jonathan Cahn explaining that Hanukkah was in fact celebrated in the New Testament:
Unfortunately, something I didn’t manage to get on camera is when we all got up to dance and sing traditionally Jewish songs. That was a lot of fun.
But during the service, he also told us the entire Hanukkah story, which I had never heard before. I thought Hanukkah was some innocuous miracle of oil that burned for eight days, but it was actually a celebration of the Maccabean revolt and the Temple’s restoration after the Syrian Greeks forced the Jews to worship pagan gods.
I echo the sentiments of one of the commenters on the site when he says, “My family will be celebrating this holiday from now on. This is part of our heritage as believers in the one true God.”
Honestly, I loved hearing the story of the Maccabean revolt. Something inside me resonated greatly with it and I wish I had learned of it earlier.
Imagine if Christians celebrated Hanukkah and the Jewish Feast Days along with other Messianic Jews and possibly non-Messianic Jews how amazing it would be?
Not only would it be a super-easy way to encourage some kind of cultural exchange/evangelism (you wouldn’t have to say anything, just be there), it would also be a great witness for non-believers of all stripes.
As we move forward in 2013, I hope to see more of this kind of dialogue occurring between two faiths that shouldn’t really be two faiths, but rather one faith in Yeshua Hamashiach, the light of the world.
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VERSE OF THE DAY
Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins. So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee. Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. — Psalm 73:21-24 (KJV)