We are on the brink of Hanukkah 5778, which, depending on whether you go by the rabbinic calendar or watch for the sighting of the new moon from Jerusalem to mark the new month, begins on the evening of the 12th or 13th December respectively. Hanukkah is also called the Festival of Lights or Feast of Dedication, and for those of you who don’t know its background and why it is celebrated, please read my post ‘Let the Candlestick be Rekindled’ on my Fresh Oil Releases site, as I don’t want to extend the length of this article by explaining the facts here… except to say that the events took place in the silent years between the writing of Malachi and the Gospel of Matthew, a period of some 400 years. This in itself contains a message as to the outside world, it may look like nothing much is going on with you, you may be in a period of ‘silent years’ where it seems that nothing worthy of putting in print but actually, behind the scenes, God is busy doing plenty – and the world at large will be greatly impacted by what comes forth from these years of quiet preparation. When Esther went through the giant gates of the palace, she apparently ceased to have an impact on the rest of the nation but, a year later, after her preparation was complete, she was assigned a pivotal seat of power and all her actions from that time forth greatly affected the 127 provinces over which king Xerxes ruled.
I am always amazed at the split second precision timing in which the Lord triggers momentous events in the earth; and how He later superimposes other happenings on those very dates, in order to create a wider and deeper understanding of the meaning of that date and what He intends to do in future around the very same time frame – in other words, He releases understanding of the times. It was brought to my attention this week that Esther was taken to the king within the very dates that Hanukkah would be celebrated years later. Remember this 8 day festival takes place in the last days of Kislev, the ninth month of the Hebrew calendar and the first 2 days of the month of Tevet.
Est 2:16 So Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus into his royal palace in the tenth month, the month of Tevet, in the seventh year of his reign.
According to Jewish historical records, she entered the bedchamber of the king on the 1st Tevet in the evening and in the morning of the same day, a very pleased king announced his queen.
Est 2:17 And the king loved Esther more than all the women, and she obtained grace and favor in his sight more than all the maidens, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.
So Esther was presented to the king on the seventh day of Hanukkah, in the seventh year of his reign. Seven is the number of completion. The days of purification were over for Esther and the days of reigning at the side of the king lay ahead. We are told in Esther chapter 2 exactly how the arrangements with the women who had completed the time of cleansing and perfuming were carried out:
Est 2:13 Then in this way the maiden came to the king: whatever she desired was given her to take with her from the harem into the king’s palace. Est 2:14 In the evening she went and next day she returned into the second harem in the custody of Shaashgaz, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the concubines. She came to the king no more unless the king delighted in her and she was called for by name.
Every other woman in that huge harem went overnight from one group of women to another, from the hopefuls to the concubine quarters. But Esther went from the women’s quarters to the dwelling quarters of the king and remained there from that time on, crowned and seated at her God-appointed place at his side. The other women went from the custody of one eunuch to the custody of another, and never saw the king’s face again unless they were called for by name. I did a calculation and, from the time when the first young woman was taken to the king, halfway through the 4th year of his reign (after a year of beauty treatments) to the night when Esther dazzled the king, he had slept with some 900 women! Now that is a crowd of concubines to get lost amongst. All those women went through the same beauty treatments as Esther, but it was her heart which won the king’s favour. They all spent one night, had one major encounter with the king, but only Esther dwelt with him.
In the Bible, churches are often referred to as women. I see in this story, that many fellowships have been through the motions of preparing for the King. In fact, a large number have even had an encounter face to face with the King of Kings, but most of them have not found favor with Him, or pleased Him to the extent that he would choose them above all other fellowships for His abiding presence. Unless they are called for by name from the throne, that encounter will be the only testimony they ever have. All those fellowships are grouped together in the ‘harem of concubines’. Their basic needs are met, they are sheltered and well fed but they lack the presence of the King.
Esther on the other hand, went from maidenhood to bridehood overnight. She went from preparation to celebration. She went from desiring the companionship of the king to oneness with the king. She went from being overseen by a eunuch to ruling with the king. This time last year she was having myrrh liberally applied to draw out toxins, like the many women around her. But now, as the 25th Kislev clocked round, she was completing the final touches of her beautification and deciding what to take with her as she left this chapter. For every woman that walked this path of preparation, there was no looking back. They had to choose what they wanted to take with them from that house in the form of jewels or fine garments and this would belong to them in the house of the concubines. Esther had no desire for material wealth or fine garments. Her mind was on how to please the king. His pleasure was more important than hers.
So what does this all mean for us this Hanukkah season? For those who are part of the Bride-in-waiting, those with a heart to please the King of Kings, the time of preparation is at an end. The long months of repentance and purifying, the trials that brought the dross to the surface, the obscurity of being the unknown amidst many undergoing similar preparations is finally at a close. Hanukkah is a time of great change. IT IS A TIME OF MOVING DWELLING PLACES; OF COMING OUT FROM AMONG THE THRONGS OF HOPEFULS TO FINALLY EXPERIENCING WHAT OTHERS HAVE DREAMED OF. It is a time of letting go of all that is connected to the long process of preparation and stepping forward with empty hands to embrace fully what has been prepared for you! It is a time when you taste no longer of hope deferred but desire fulfilled. Never again will you sit under the ministrations of a eunuch, incapable of imparting fruitfulness to you. From now on, you are moving location to the place of great fruitfulness and influence.
Hanukkah is called the Festival of Lights, and each day, another lamp is lit, until finally on the eighth day, the whole candlestick plus the centre flame used to light the others, blazes with light. HANUKKAH IS A FESTIVAL OF INCREASING LIGHT AND REVELATION. Beloved, there is light at the end of the tunnel, the festival of Lights is here and it is time to step out of the house of preparation and into the dwelling quarters of the King of Kings. IT IS A TIME OF MOVING FROM MEASURED PROVISION FOR SPECIFIC PREPARATION TO LAVISH PROVISION FOR POSITIONING.
Est 2:18 And the king made a great banquet for all his rulers and his servants, Esther’s banquet. And he ordered a holiday for the provinces, and gave gifts, according to the state of the king.
Your positioning and the taking of your appointed bridal position triggers the beginning of a feast and the release of gifts to many people. You are not the only one that is blessed by this move to a new chapter of ruling and reigning. The word translated ‘holiday’ in the Hebrew actually means ‘release, rest’. It is the word ‘hanachah’, which sounds very similar to Hanukkah! AT THE CLOSE OF HANUKKAH, HANACHAH IS RELEASED. You go from a time of intense working on the minutest flaws and failings to complete release and rest. Paul tells us that there is still coming a rest for the people of God.
Heb 4:8 For if Joshua had given them rest, He [God] would not speak afterward about another day. Heb 4:9 So then, there is still awaiting a full and complete Sabbath-rest reserved for the [true] people of God; Heb 4:10 For he who has once entered [God’s] rest also has ceased from [the weariness and pain] of human labors, just as God rested from those labors peculiarly His own. Heb 4:11 Let us therefore be zealous and exert ourselves and strive diligently to enter that rest [of God, to know and experience it for ourselves], that no one may fall or perish by the same kind of unbelief and disobedience [into which those in the wilderness fell].
It is the naming and crowning of a worthy queen that releases a day of rest from the hand of the King of Kings. Vashti perished because of her disobedience and all those concubines who did not please the king did not experience that rest, because they were cooped up in the harem under the watchful ministrations of a eunuch. But Esther who obtained great favour because of her demeanor wherever she went, set in motion a rest for the people, just by the beauty of her presence.
The word in Greek for ‘disobedience and unbelief’ is apeitheia, from which we get the word ‘apathy’. It is the apathy of those who were presented with the necessary steps for repentance and purification in the preparation season that disqualified them from being chosen. In Haggai 2, God discusses with the prophet the things He has done to try and turn the hearts of His people toward repentance, but they were unmoved. And God labels the whole lot of them unclean. Then He says to Haggai:
Hag 2:18 Consider, I pray you, from this day onward, from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, even from the day that the foundation of the Lord’s temple was [re]laid, consider this: Hag 2:19 Is the harvested grain any longer in the barn? As to the grapevine, the fig tree, the pomegranate, and the olive tree–they have not yet borne. From this day on I will bless you.
The 24th day of the ninth month is the eve of Hanukkah. For those who have been faithful during the painful process of preparation, blessing is appointed. Your barns may be still empty at this moment and the fruit of the season ahead not yet visible, but on the strength of the word that proceeds from an ever-faithful God, you can rest assured that a decree of blessing is already being unfurled over you, to be executed in due season. HANUKKAH MARKS THE BEGINNING OF A SEASON OF BLESSING FOR THE FAITHFUL.
Then the Lord comes again on this same day to Haggai and releases further information about the period that lies ahead:
Hag 2:20 And a second time the Word of the Lord came to Haggai, in the twenty-fourth of the month, saying, Hag 2:21 Speak to Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah, saying, I will shake the heavens and the earth. Hag 2:22 And I will overturn the throne of the kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the nations. And I will overturn the chariots and their riders, and the horses and their riders will come down, each one by the sword of his brother. Hag 2:23 In that day, says the Lord of Hosts, I will take you, O Zerubbabel, My servant, the son of Shealtiel, says the Lord, and will make you like a signet; for I have chosen you, declares the Lord of Hosts.
He gives Haggai a word for the governor. HANUKKAH MARKS THE RELEASE OF NEW ASSIGNMENTS TO SPEAK TO MEN IN AUTHORITY AND GIVE THEM PROPHETIC INSTRUCTION FROM THE THRONE. It is a word concerning the shakings that are coming and the fall of nations and war in which brother will slay brother with the sword. HANUKKAH ALSO MARKS THE RELEASE OF A NEW LEVEL OF AUTHORITY ON THE SERVANTS OF THE LORD. It is the time when God chooses His appointed signet rings and sets them in place. Bear in mind that, 6 years later, Mordecai was given the signet ring of the king (Esth 8:2) and Esther and Mordecai released powerful decrees in the King’s name to counteract all that the enemy had tried to do. The first day of Hanukkah is also the anniversary of the day Cain killed Abel. No wonder God spoke of brother slaying brother in that same season so many years later. Those whose offerings are accepted by God in this season may become martyrs as the rage of their brothers at being rejected by God manifests. No wonder we hear of ‘the day of rage’ being incited left right and centre against Israel.
The first day of Hanukkah signifies the day when victory is achieved over an extremely strong attack of the enemy, which has tried to destroy the way you worship God and your faith. It is the day when liberation and rebuilding and restoration comes to the temple of God, which we are. So if you have had extreme attack and defilement of your physical body in the past season, know that HANUKKAH TRIGGERS VICTORY OVER THE ENEMY and you can rejoice that restoration is available to you as you rededicate your temple to the service of the Living God. The enemy has tried to destroy your testimony in the land, to prevent the light and truth of God from influencing those who dwell around you. But you are still here, still loving Jesus despite your suffering, still holding on to His word of hope for all that is ahead and now, even though you feel that you have lost all the anointing you once had and there is only enough oil to serve the Lord for one day, He is about to pour out a miraculous supply of fresh oil within you.
Remember, during the first Hanukkah, fresh oil was being made for the temple, ie. Pressing is happening for 7 days away from the site of the temple, while in the temple, the remnant of oil found for one day gave enough light for 7 days!!! Esther had been cleansed and prepared for a year before 1st tevet, 7th day Hanukah. The bride had made herself ready. She had been through her pressing and the fresh oil was within her, even though she did not know it, (like the spare oil of the 5 wise virgins). So she got to go into the bridal chamber and the door was closed to the foolish virgins who did not prepare properly.
HANUKKAH SIGNIFIES THE RETURN TO THE PURPOSES OF GOD – a temple defiled and used for pagan revelry was restored and realigned to God’s standard of cleanliness and holiness. It is very significant that on the 6th December at 6pm Jerusalem time, President Trump declared Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel and the moving of the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The next day, 7th December, he celebrated Hanukkah in the White House ( 6 days early). The previous year, in that same White House, a president who treated Israel with disdain supposedly celebrated Hanukkah, but this year, the White House was realigned and truly fit to celebrate such a festival. Tel Aviv is called one of the gay capitals of the world and the move of the embassy and connection away from there to acknowledge Jerusalem as the true capital is to realign with the God Who calls the New Jerusalem descending out of Heaven, the Bride who has made herself ready. It is a move away from uncleanness toward holiness.
Rev 21:10 And he carried me in spirit onto a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, holy Jerusalem, coming down out of Heaven from God, Rev 21:11 having (CONTAINING OR CARRYING) the glory of God. And its light was like a very precious stone, as a jasper stone, being clear as crystal,
Rev 21:2 And I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of Heaven from God, having been prepared as a bride, having been adorned for her Husband. Rev 21:3 And I heard a great voice out of Heaven, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God with men! And He will tabernacle with them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God.
Like Esther on the morning of the 1st Tevet, adorned for her husband, the Bride of the Lamb is admired. She is radiant with the glory of God as He is glorified within her, and she is the light of the world. She is presented to the world as she arises and shines while dense darkness is on the world.
The 25th Kislev is also the day when the tabernacles components in the wilderness commissioned by Moses were completed. It was not assembled and put together until 3 months later, but all the preparation work was complete. HANUKKAH MARKS THE COMPLETION OF PREPARATION FOR THE TABERNACLE IN THE WILDERNESS. The woman who flees into the wilderness in Rev 12 is that tabernacle, intricately and beautifully wrought in minute detail. WE are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works that God has prepared beforehand for us to walk in. The workmanship is complete but perhaps the good works have yet to make themselves plain. If you feel that God has been working very intensely in every small detail within you and yet you are without connection and don’t understand how you fit into the big plan for the days ahead, do not fret. There is a waiting period, a journeying as the cloud moves to the appointed place for the assembling and coupling together of every facet of this amazing tabernacle of His presence in the wilderness. Just be carried along when the cloud moves and you will discover your appointed place soon enough.
Have a blessed Hanukkah!
(part 2 to follow)