Kurzpredigt der Vereinigten Pfingstgemeinde Mannheim

Chanukah means "consecration" and historically refers to the renewed temple consecration in the year 165 B.C. by the Maccabees. It is a festival of lights which is celebrated by the Jews for eight days from the 25th Kislew until the 2nd Tewt (Nov - Dec). Chanukah represents the day when the temple was cleansed and rededicated by the Maccabees, exactly three years later after having been desecrated and defiled. The military commander Antiochus Epiphanes from Syria drove the Jews out of Jerusalem and converted the temple into a house of idol worship with heathen images on the pillars and with the sacrificing of pigs on the altar.

The temple candlestick was extinguished and the oil supplies were plundered. One single jar with enough oil to last for one day was overseen by the Syrians. The Jewish priest, Mattijahu Maccabee from Modi'in, fought against the Hellenism with his five sons and volunteers from the people. His son Jehuda HaMaccabee, Judas Maccabee, successfully chased the Syrians out of the Temple Mount; and the first thing he did was to cleanse the temple (1. Macc 4,36-59). This is when the Chanukah miracle happened. He found the small oil jar and instead of it burning for only one day, the lamp continued burning for eight whole days until they were able to get new oil again for the holy temple candlesticks.

It is worth fighting for spiritual values. If we do our part God will do His part and then miracles will occur. During this festival the candlestick with nine branches called the Chanukiah is lit after sunset. Eight lamps are lit, one per evening, starting with one and working its way up; the nineth candle is the ministering light (schamasch). Before the lighting of the candles the head of the household gives the blessing which is roughly on these lines: "Praise be to you, Eternal One, our God, King of the world, you have sanctified us through your laws and have commanded us to light the chanukah light."

The wonderful chanukka song "Maos to Jeschuati" ("Refuge, my help") taken from Psalm 28:8 and Isaiah 17:10 is sung and, afterwards, balls fried in oil are eaten (the Suffganioth);

In the synagogues a reading is taken from Numbers 7:1-8,4. Luther translated "chanukah" as being "church consecration" in John 10:22. Read: Zachariah 2:14-4:7; 1.Kings 7:40-50. This article is taken from the NAI 1997 year-book.

Pastor R. Wey

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