John 7-10: Yeshua answers on Chanukah the question of His being the Messiah

The only winter celebration mentioned in the Gospels is the festival of Dedication, or Chanukah. Yeshua was the Temple during one celebration and stated boldly, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). This caps a string of clashes between Yeshua and certain religious leaders — recorded in John 7-10 and covering a two-month period from Sukkot, or the festival of Tabernacles, to Chanukah — over whether Yeshua was the Messiah.

Why should believers in Yeshua care about Hanukkah? Because Yeshua cared about Hanukkah and He cared about it enough to go to the Temple to celebrate it even though He, by the strict interpretation of the Torah, did not have to be there. It’s not listed in either Deuteronomy of Numbers as a festival holy day, but Yeshua travelled up to Jerusalem for it anyway. We see that “the disciple Yeshua loved” recorded that Yeshua celebrated it (John 10:22-42).

The story of Hanukkah starts with the disintegration of Alexander’s Greek Empire. Alexander’s four main generals broke the empire into pieces and Alexander’s general Selucius inherited the area of Syria and the Holy Land.

In the first century BC, Selucius’ descendant, Antiochus IV, struck out to increase the reach of his empire.  Antiochus IV was not the first tyrant to try to force the people under him to standardize their culture and religious practices in their own image, which is called assimilation. Megalomania is a common trait among dictators and tyrants in any century.

Antiochus IV conquered the Holy Land and went on a genocidal assimilation campaign. He took over the Holy Temple and took the Temple away from the worship of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and turned into a Temple to the Greek God Jupiter. Because of this, the Jewish people were not able to celebrate any of God’s festivals in the Temple during this time, including the Festival of Sukkot.

We will hit the highlights of Yeshua’s talk from John 7-10, which focuses on Yeshua’s Messiahship. But this story starts with Yeshua’s appearance at the Temple during the Festival of Sukkot. During His Sukkot discourse, we see that Yeshua is challenged on the source of His teachings. The leaders point out that He was not educated in their schools. Yeshua tells them that He does not teach their own words but those of the God who sent Him. He points out their hypocrisy that they didn’t keep the law and calls out their murderous intent against Him. He also calls out their anger about the healing He performed on the Sabbath. He chides them “do not judge according to appearance but with righteous judgement” because it’s clear that if they really knew the law as well as they claimed to know the law, they would not have called Him a Sabbath-breaker.

There are enough clues in the Torah that point to Yeshua as the true Messiah yet the most “learned” among the people didn’t see it.

On the last day of the feast, the “great day” Yeshua said, Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’”

When Yeshua talks about “living water,” He is referencing Isaiah 44 and 55. “Who is like Me?” God asks the reader. The phrase “Who is like You?” is used at least seven times in reference to God. The first use is in the Song of Moses in Ex. 15:11, which says “Who is like You among the Gods O LORD?” Which in Hebrew is Mi-khamokha ba elohim, YHVH. This was the key question that the Maccabee movement answer in fighting back against Antiochus IV and rededicating the Temple.

We also see this in Isa. 54:17-55:9.

Yeshua was emphasizing that the water-pouring ceremony symbolized God’s pouring out His words. The water pouring ceremony was not recorded in the Torah, it came later, yet we know that it was performed in Yeshua’s day. You also see it recorded in the prophets as a symbol of God satisfying the people’s thirst for His word. God’s people should be “thirsty” for his words and “listen carefully.” The leaders of Israel in Yeshua’s day were afraid that Yeshua would go off to teach “the Greeks” of the Diaspora but that is exactly what God foretold through Isaiah.

The Lord had come to Israel through Yeshua and the Yeshua was telling the people that they should pay attention during the short time that He would be there with them.

In John 8, the story continues just after Sukkot ended. We see that the leaders weren’t going to give up trying to trap Yeshua into making an invalid, illegal judgement. They bring a woman who they claimed was “caught in the very act of adultery.” We see how Yehsua gave a righteous judgement, one based on the heart of the mater, not just based on external appearances.

Yeshua then tells the Pharisees that He is the light of the world. The Pharisees then confront Him by claiming that he can’t testify of Himself, that He needs a second witness. Yeshua tells them that God Himself is Yeshua’s second witness and that they don’t know the Father like they claim to.

He then tells them again that He will leave and go somewhere they can’t go. This time the Pharisees respond and ask if He is going to kill Himself. They are getting closer to understanding what Yeshua is trying to say but they refuse to say it publicly. He tells them that unless they believe that He is the Messiah, they will die in their sins.

They try to rely on their status as Abraham’s descendants as a method of salvation, but Yeshua says that being a descendant of Abraham will not save them, but acting as Abraham acted would save them and Abraham’s greatest act was His act of faith and trust in God’s promise and acting on God’s promises. Yet, the Pharisees are not acting as sons of Abraham or as sons of God, but as son’s of the devil because they are conspired to kill a woman in adultery without bringing the man as required by the Torah, they are also conspiring to kill Him and they later conspire to kill His followers, such as Stephen, in illegal kangaroo courts.

Yeshua taught that truly being descendants of Abraham involves having as much trust in God as Abraham idd and that God would provide a son and vast progeny from a barren woman. Yehsua went further into the cutting lesson from Abraham: the Seed of Eve, which bottlenecked with Noah and continued through Shem’s line and to Abraham through his miraculously provided son, Isaac, was the Messiah Yeshua.

In John 9, Yeshua continues to bring light to people and to continue teaching people how to make righteous judgements when He restores the sight of a man who had been born blind. There will never be enough evidence for someone who doesn’t want to believe. The pharisees knew exactly what Yeshua was saying but didn’t want to admit it publicly and give Yeshua any credit. Yeshua is not spoon-feeding his teaching. He wants us to reach out for the truth. He wants our heart. Psalm 119 is not written as a term paper. It’s an example of David reaching out for the Lord, it’s not too easy but it’s also not too hard to reach out for the Lord.

The end of John 9 gives us a clue into the start of John 10. John 10:1-6 continues the discussion of John 9: the blindness of the leaders that Yeshua was the Messiah by the way of His teachings and use of God’s power. Their blindness was willful.

As one of them pointed out in John 10:21, “These are not the sayings of one demon-possessed. A demon can not open the eyes of the blind, can he?”

The Maccabees were willing to stand up against assimilation and for God’s word. They reached out to God and accomplished great things because of it. The Pharisees who were taunting Yeshua, however, missed out on understanding how truly blessed they were to see Yeshua the Messiah in the Temple.

Summary: Tammy

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