Have you ever thought about miracles? What do you think a miracle is?
I think a miracle is something only God can do. Do you think that’s right?
The Bible tells us about lots of miracles. When God created the earth, that was a miracle, right? What about when He parted the Red Sea–was that a miracle? Did you know that once God gave a donkey a voice, so it could talk to the man riding it? Can you imagine what a surprise that was?
Today I want to tell you about some miracles that are not in the Bible but are in history books.
When I was 28 years old, there was a war on a mountain in Israel. A huge army was fighting against a very small Jewish army. All of a sudden, the enemy soldiers ran away. Later, when they were asked why they ran, they said there were so many army tanks on the mountain that they knew they could not win the battle.
Guess what! There were no tanks! God made them think they saw the tanks so that they would run away.
Do you think that was a miracle? A lot of people think it was. They call it the miracle of the Six Day War.
Do you see this?
This is called a dreidel. The Hebrew letters on the dreidel mean, “A Great Miracle Happened There”.
Do you know where “There” is? “There” is the SAME MOUNTAIN where the Jewish army fought the Six Day War. Let me tell you this exciting story and why the dreidel has an important part in the story. This story is not in the bible. You find it in History books. You do however find Jesus knew the story and celebrated to remember about it when He was on the earth. It happened between the time the Old Testament was written, and the New Testament was written. It is very much a God Story. It proves God’s plans will always happen. I will tell you more about that later in this story.
A long time ago there was a mean and terrible king named King Antiochus. The King and his people believed there were lots of gods and worshipped them all. But the Jewish people believed there was only one God. It made the king mad because the Jewish People would not agree with him. So, the King made a law to stop the Jewish people from worshipping the one true God. The law said they had to stop reading about God and stop doing the things that God wanted them to do.
But the Jewish people knew they were right, so they kept doing what God wanted them to do. They loved God, and they kept reading about God, and they kept teaching their children about God.
The Jews loved to gather and worship God in their temple. To stop them from going to the temple King Antiochus filled it with statues of his gods. He even put pigs in the Temple! He made such a mess that the Jews couldn’t worship God there anymore. They had to worship and teach about God outside of the Temple. And whenever the King’s soldiers found the Jewish people doing this, they punished them. Sometimes they even killed them.
This is where the Dreidel comes into our story.
Jewish children had little toys called dreidels, made of hardened clay. Whenever the children went to learn about God and worship Him, they brought their dreidels. If one of the king’s soldiers came along, the children would stop talking and pretend to be playing games with their dreidels. The Jewish children were so clever that they fooled the soldiers!
But then the King got even meaner. He sent his soldiers into all the villages of Israel and told everybody they had to worship his gods or be killed. This made some Jewish men so angry that they decided to fight the King’s soldiers. The men called themselves the Maccabees. That means Hammers and when they went to battle, they sang “Who is like you among the mighty oh God” They wrote those words on their banners and their shields.
The King’s army was HUGE. He had 50,000 fighting men. And the Jewish army was very small–only 6,000 men. BUT the true God was on their side.
You see God had a plan for Jesus to be born from a Jewish mother named Miriam we call her Mary. If mean Antiochus had his way all the Jewish people would have been killed. But God had His plan and His plans never fail.
Who do you think won the fight? Yes the Maccabees!!! How did such a small army beat such a huge one? God was on their side!!! Doesn’t this sound like the miracle of the Six Day War? It sure does because God loves Jerusalem that is where Jesus will come to rule when He comes back.
After the Jews won the war, the Maccabees went to work to clean up the mess the King’s men made in the Temple. The Temple had a special lampstand, and it was supposed to be lit all the time. King Antiochus’ men hadn’t kept it lit. They also ruined the pure olive oil, which was the only oil that could be used to light the lampstand. The pure olive oil had been placed in special bottles and sealed tight for this holy purpose
The King’s men had ruined all the bottles. The Maccabees looked and looked for a bottle of pure oil, and finally one man found a small bottle, untouched and still sealed. But it was only enough oil to keep the Eternal Light lit for one day, and it was going to take the men EIGHT days to make more pure oil.
Now the following is a story that has been passed down for many, many years. Most Jewish homes tell the story and celebrate the miracle of the oil. We can’t find it in the history books but what we can find is that they did celebrate for eight days in honor of the Feast of Tabernacles which they could not keep when the King took away their temple.
So, lets learn about the story of the oil and how the Jewish families celebrate Hanukkah or the Feast of Dedication which is what the Maccabees did they dedicated the temple back to God. And the Bible tells us Jesus celebrated the Feast of Dedication in the book of John 10:22-23
Here is the story as told by many Jewish families God did ANOTHER miracle! He made that tiny bit of oil last for the whole eight days. Because of God’s miracle, the lampstand stayed lit, and the Jews knew God was with them!
We know God was with them. He chose them to be the people that kept the records of His word which we call the bible. He choose them to bring Jesus into the world and Jesus is the word of God made flesh. I bet that is hard to understand. I tell you what, I am going to write another story about Jesus being the word. Come back to the web site an a few weeks and you will be able to read about that. For now remember that Hanukkah is the celebration of lights and Jesus is the light of the world. God chose the Jewish people to be a light to the world they are His gift to us, so we can know God and His Son.
The lampstand of the temple was called a menorah. It has seven branches. At Hanukkah Jewish families use a Hanukkiah. It is a lampstand that has a special lighting candle, and eight candles to be lit; one candle for each miracle day the oil stayed lit.
Chanukah is celebrated for eight days, because the story tells us that’s how long the little bottle of pure olive oil lasted. On the first night one candle is lit. On the second night, two candles are lit. Each night a candle is lit until all eight are burning bright. The menorah is to be lit where your neighbors can see it so they can know about the special miracle God did for the Jewish people.
There is another very special thing that happened at this time of year. There are clues in the Bible, and the history books to show us that Hanukkah was the same time of year that baby Jesus began to grow in Mary’s belly!
The miracle of the pure olive oil lasting eight days was a new beginning for the Jewish people; the miracle of Jesus in Mary’s belly was a new beginning for the whole world. Isn’t it wonderful to know that during the Festival of Lights, Jesus, the light of the world, was starting to grow in Mary’s belly?
Now do you remember I told you that the History books tells us that the Maccabees celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles. Well I find it very interesting that if Jesus was in Mary’s belly at Hanukkah time. Hanukkah is in December often when most people celebrate Christmas. Then if you count the months, He was borne at Tabernacles time. Do you know that the word Tabernacles means dwelling place? So, it was the time Jesus came to dwell with men. Dwell means to live. Jesus did come to live with us. First on the earth and then in our hearts.
This year when you celebrate Hanukkah you can choose to follow the tradition of the Jewish people and Light the lights for eight days. Maybe invite your Jewish friends to celebrate with you. You can let them know how happy you are that the Jewish people fought and won.
When I celebrate Hanukkah, I remember that now I am the temple of the Holy Spirit. So I give my friends each a candle to light and we dedicate ourselves to be the Light of the World that Jesus asked us to be. Isn’t interesting that the Jewish families keep their hanukkiah’s in windows to they can be seen. To remind the world of the miracle. Just like we are to be seen as lights to remind the world of the Greatest Light of All JESUS. You know the song “This little Light of Mine” is great song to sing at Hanukkah.
We play dreidel and remember our God is a God of miracles. We eat jelly donuts because that is a great yummy tradition. Tradition can be very fun like Thanksgiving and all the food.
Dreidel Game Rules – How to Play Dreidel
The dreidel is a 4-sided top of ancient origin. The Hebrew letters on the side are nun, gimel, hay, and shin. They form an acronym in Hebrew which means “A great miracle happened there.” Dreidel is a traditional game played by children during the eight-day Hanukkah celebration.
This game is best played in groups of 4-6. Each player gets an equal number of candies in wrappers that looks like coins called gelt. Or, pennies, nuts, M&Ms, stones or whatever you wish to use.
Each player takes turns spinning the dreidel. If it lands on:
Each time the pot is emptied out, each player puts in a playing piece (penny, nut, candy) and the game continues.
How to Light the Menorah This is the tradition of the Jewish Families
On the first night, place one candle at the far right, as you face the menorah. Another candle is placed for the Shamash (taller helper candle) which is used to light the others. It is not counted as one of the candles.
First light the Shamash, then recite the blessings, and then use the Shamash to light the Chanukah candle.
On the second night, place two candles in the two far-right positions — and use the Shamash to light the left one first.
The third night, place three candles in the three far-right positions — and use the Shamash to light them in order, from left to right.
Follow this same procedure each night of Chanukah… until all the lights are kindled and glowing brightly!
For the Parents
Birth date of Yeshua, conception of John
In order to establish the date, we must first rely on clues found in scripture; then add external historical and cultural elements. The Birth of John is key as he is a forerunner who announces Messiah.
First Chronicles tells us that the Levitical priesthood was divided into 12 divisions of priests. The ancient Jewish Historian Josephus (Antiquities 7) tells us that each division served for a period of one week. The first division began its period of service on the first day of the year — 1 Nisan (also called Aviv or Abib) — as G-d had established the calendar in Exodus 12:2. Three weeks out of each year — during the weeks of Pesach (Passover), Shavuot (Pentecost), and Sukkot (Tabernacles) — all 24,000 priests served together.
As Zachariah was in the division of Aviyah (Luke 1:5), his term of service began in early Spring on the first day of the eighth week (27th of Ayyar) and ran for one week through the 4th of Sivan. As the following week (5-11 Sivan) was Shavuot, the Feast of Pentecost, he would have stayed in the temple and served that week also with all the priests.
Luke 1:23-24 tells us that Zechariah finished his duties at the Temple, and that Elisabeth conceived shortly after his return home. This sets the date for John’s conception at approximately the third week of Sivan.
In Gregorian the calendar that week can correspond to the first week of June. Adding nine months to that date puts the birth of John sometime near the first week of the Gregorian month of March.
Conception of Yeshua
We know from scripture that Yeshua was conceived after John, furthermore, with this information we can now ascertain when Yeshua was conceived. An interesting point, the early Church may have agreed on December for the reason that was His conception date, not birth.
Near the end of the sixth month of Elisabeth’s pregnancy the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her about Elisabeth saying, “this is the sixth month with her who was called barren.” Mary immediately left Nazareth (verse 39, “with haste”) and went to the “hill country” near Jerusalem to the home of Zachariah and Elisabeth. We know for sure that Mary was already pregnant with Yeshua because John, still in Elisabeth’s womb, recognized the unborn Yeshua. [What further evidence do the pro-abortionists need that life begins at conception?] This sets the conception of Yeshua about end of Kislev during Chanukah (mid-December), the Feast of Lights, thus demonstrating in a very special way that Yeshua is the Light of the World.
When Yeshua is shown celebrating Chanukah in John 10:22,23. It is at this celebration that He declares ‘I and My Father are One’ [John 10:30] It is believed this statement validates His divinity fully God and fully man!