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Light of the World

written by Asher Intrater
December 21, 2011

This is the week between Hanukah and Christmas. We Messianic Jews are somewhat “caught” spiritually and culturally between the two. At our congregation in Jerusalem, Ahavat Yeshua, I taught on Yeshua as the light of the world and the connection with the lampstand of the Temple.

We do not know the date of Messiah’s birth. [Some calculate the date as Sukkot (Tabernacles) by the months from Aviyah’s priestly order (Luke 1:5, I Chronicles 24:19) to Elizabeth’s pregnancy to Miriam’s pregnancy (Luke 1:24). This date has the added benefit of seeing Yeshua as “tabernacling” among us. However, with so many other international and local elements of Sukkot in Jerusalem, it is difficult to celebrate Messiah’s birth at that time.]

Hanukah starts the 25th of Kislev. Christmas is the 25th of December. The 25th word of Genesis in Hebrew is “Light.” If Yeshua was born on the 25th of December, then He was circumcised on January 1st (Luke 2:21). The 8th day of Hanukah, when all the lights are lit, occurs during the new moon of Tevat, making it the darkest night of the darkest month in the Hebrew calendar.

God created light in Genesis 1:3 on the first day. Yet the sun and stars were not created until the fourth day. The light of the first day has spiritual significance beyond physical creation.

This spiritual light was prophesied to come into the world to be seen by men living in spiritual darkness (Isaiah 9:1). This light was to come in the form of a “child to be born, a son to be given” (Isaiah 9:5). The light of that child will spread to a group of people who will shine with glory in the end times in the midst of great spiritual darkness over all the nations (Isaiah 60:1-3).

The Child-Light was to be born to the house of David, destined to be the king of Israel and the head of the Church—this is Yeshua! He is the Light of the world (John 8:12; 9:5). God spoke at creation to release the light; the word was the light; the word was with God at the beginning; the word and the light and God are all one. Yeshua is the word and the light of God coming into this world. Through Him we receive grace and truth and life (John 1:1-18).

The Menorah lampstand is described in the Torah (Exodus 25:31-40) – how it is to be built and how it is to be lit. In Zechariah 4:2-3, the lampstand is given further prophetic symbolism, pointing toward the Messiah. (The lampstand and olive branches form the basis of the logo of the modern state of Israel.) The priestly symbolism is given in the Torah; its spiritual meaning is revealed in the New Covenant.

In Revelation 1:12-20 the glorified Messiah stands in the midst of 7 golden lampstands. The lampstands represent a group of people, glorified together with the Messiah. They are the ecclesia (Church), the community of saints, and the greater commonwealth of Israel. The symbols of the Torah, the visions of the Prophets, and the revelations of the New Covenant are all part of the same biblical tapestry. 

Hanukah tells the history of the Maccabees. They fought against the pagan emperor Antiochus in order to restore a Davidic kingdom in Israel and priestly worship in a purified Temple. The story of the miraculous oil for the lampstand is recorded only in later rabbinic writings. While the themes of kingdom and light have major importance in the New Covenant, the holiday of Hanukah is mentioned only briefly (John 10:22).

The birth of Messiah is a turning point in world history, not to mention a peak moment of Jewish history. Yeshua is the light of the world. When flames of fire came down upon the heads of the early disciples (Acts 2:3), they became the first fulfillment of the Temple lampstand. Let us follow in their footsteps so that the world may see the light of Messiah through us.

Asher serves as president of Tikkun Global family of ministries and congregations, dedicated to the dual restoration of Israel and the Church. He is founder of the Revive Israel five-fold ministry team, and oversees both Ahavat Yeshua and Tiferet Yeshua congregations in Israel.

He and his wife Betty share a passion for personal prayer and devotion, local evangelism and discipleship in Hebrew, and unity of the Body of believers worldwide.

Asher was raised in a conservative Jewish home and holds degrees from Harvard University, Baltimore Hebrew College and Messiah Biblical Institute. He has authored numerous books, tracts and articles.

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