The Feast of Hanukkah reminds me that the Jewish people will NEVER cease to exist. As I celebrate Hanukkah this year, there is a heaviness in my heart that is residing alongside the joy and hope. The realities of the story of Hanukkah are a little too real this year, a little too “close to home.” As I looked over the Hanukkah teachings I had written over the past 4 years, and even just 12 months ago, I realized that I then thought this story about the evil forces determined to wipe out the Jewish people and their faith had relevant themes that we could apply now, but I could never have imagined that the realities of that 2,000 year old story could have evolved into current events so quickly. It’s truly mind-boggling to me how severely and how quickly the tide of public opinion worldwide has turned against Israel, the rampant rise in anti-semitism, the extent of anti-Israel lies and propaganda communicated in the media, and the rise of unrestrained, violent nations surrounding her that have no other agenda than to annihilate her from the face of the earth.
The only explanation is to look beyond what we can see to the unseen, to the realities of spiritual warfare. Ever since the time when Adam and Eve lived in the garden, Satan has been trying to extinguish the Jewish people (Gen. 3:15). He knew that it would be through their line that the Messiah, the light of the world, would come. Satan has continued from those first days in the garden to block God’s plan of redemption, to block God’s light through Messiah Yeshua, to block Yeshua’s light through us (using our strongholds), to block Yeshua’s return, to block God’s future plans for Israel, and of course to block God’s plans for him (eternal lake of fire).
Satan has tried using the Egyptians (Ex. 1:22), the Persians (Esther 3:13; 9:24), the Greeks/Syrians (Dan 8:11-12; 11:31-32), and the Romans (Matt 2:16; John 19:16) to block Yeshua’s first coming. He’s used the Romans, the Church, the Spanish, the Russians, the Nazis, and is now using Iran, Russia, Turkey, Hamas, Hezbollah, Gaza, Egypt, and many Muslim nations surrounding present day Israel to block Yeshua’s second coming and reign over the earth, God’s plans and promises for Israel, and ultimately his own final defeat and demise.
However, as we explored in yesterday’s blog (The Hope of Hanukkah), God’s plans, purposes and promises will not be thwarted, no matter what or who the enemy tries to use to block them. God will never allow the existence of the Jewish people, Israel, or Jerusalem to cease (Jer 31:35-37). God’s plans always prevail over Satan’s plans. God wins in the end even if it looks like Satan is winning for a time.
I’ve included a number of scriptures below that state God’s promises for Israel, the Jewish people, and Jerusalem. Please read them over and be encouraged that although the nations are turning against her now, God’s plans and promises for her will prevail. Ask God to open doors and create opportunities for you to share the truth about God’s plans for Israel and her people. Be a light of truth amidst the darkness of lies.
And last, ask God to show you in what area of your life do you feel that the enemy is winning? That his evil plans are prevailing over God’s good plans? Be encouraged that what the enemy means for evil, God will use for good. His ultimate plans and purposes will prevail. Be aware of areas in your own life that are giving the enemy a handle of influence or power in your life. For example, fears, stress, unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment, anger, self-condemnation, blame, criticalness, accusations, shame, etc. Be committed to confess these, use your spiritual weapons of warfare, and take back the ground in your heart that belongs to God! Shine forth His light from your WHOLE heart this Hanukkah!!
Gen 3:15 – He (Yeshua) will crush your head, and you (Satan) will strike His heel.
Ex. 1:22 – Every boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live.
Esther 3:13 – Letters were sent by couriers to all the king’s provinces to destroy, to kill and to annihilate all the Jews, both young and old, women and children, in one day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to seize their possessions as plunder.
Esther 9:24 – Haman had plotted against the Jews to destroy them and had cast the pur (lot) for their ruin and destruction.
Dan 8:11-12 – It set itself up to be as great as the Prince of the host; it took away the daily sacrifice from him, and the place of his sanctuary was brought low. Because of rebellion, the host of the saints and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground.
Dan 11:31-32 – His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation. With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him.
Matt 2:16 – When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.
John 19:16 – Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. So the soldiers took charge of Yeshua.
GOD’S PROMISES TO ISRAEL:
Gen 12:2-3 “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
Gen 13:15 – All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever.
Gen 26:3-4 – For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham. I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed.
Gen 28:13 – There above it stood the LORD, and he said: “I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying.”
Joel 3:20-21 – Judah will be inhabited forever and Jerusalem through all generations. For I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed: for the LORD dwells in Zion.
Is. 60:1- 3 – Arise Jerusalem! Let your light shine for all to see! For the glory of the Lord rises to shine on you. Darkness as black as night covers all the nations of the earth, but the glory of the Lord rises and appears over you. All nations will come to your light; mighty kings will come to see your radiance.
Is. 60:18-19 – No longer will violence be heard in your land, nor ruin or destruction within your borders, but you will call your walls Salvation and your gates Praise. No longer will you need the sun to shine by day, nor the moon to give its light by night, for the LORD your God will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.
Is. 60:21 – Your people also shall be all righteous; they shall inherit the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified.
Is. 62:4-5 – No longer will they call you Deserted, or name your land Desolate. But you will be called Hephzibah (my delight is in her) and your land Beulah (married); for the LORD will take delight in you, and will claim you as his bride….and as the bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.
Is. 65:19 – I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people. And the sound of weeping and crying will be heard in it no more.
Is. 66:22 – For just as surely as the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me,” declares the LORD, “so will your name and descendants endure.”
Ps. 105:8,11 He remembers his covenant forever, the word he commanded, for a thousand generations…”To you I will give the land of Canaan as the portion you will inherit.”
Jer 16:15 – but they will say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the Israelites up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them.’ For I will restore them to the land I gave their forefathers.
Jer 31:35-37 – It is the LORD who provides the sun to light the day and the moon and stars to light the night, and who stirs the sea into roaring waves. His name is the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, and this is what he says: “Only if these decrees vanish from my sight,” declares the LORD, “will the descendants of Israel ever cease to be a nation before me.” This is what the LORD says: “Only if the heavens above can be measured and the foundations of the earth below be searched out will I reject all the descendants of Israel because of all they have done,” declares the LORD.
Zech 8:7-8 – This is what the LORD Almighty says: “I will save my people from the countries of the east and the west. I will bring them back to live in Jerusalem; they will be my people, and I will be their God in truth and righteousness.”