Meditations Relative to the Prophetic Events Underlying Chanukah,

the Feast of Dedication[1]

By Bill Bullock, Sr. [the Rabbi’s son]

December 10, 2014/18 Kislev 5775

Each year at this time it is our privilege to relive an epic and timeless drama – a drama arising out of a violent clash between men of diametrically opposing worldviews.

The scene of this particular clash – and indeed the flash point for most such clashes – is the city of Jerusalem.

The year of this particular clash is c. 29 CE.

Yeshua of Natzret – whom some in subsequent generations began to call ‘Jesus’ – will be the central figure in this particular clash.

The account of a Hebrew witness named Yochanan – whom some in subsequent generations will call ‘John’  – introduces this clash to us to by recording simply:  “Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter. And Yeshua walked in the Temple, in Solomon’s Colonnade.”  John 10:22-23

 It was winter alright. It was winter in both the natural realm, and the spiritual realm.

This was the winter that would immediately precede some of the most infamous events in world history – including the arrest, trial, execution, resurrection, and ascension of the very special rabbi His friends and followers knew as “Yeshua of Natzret”.

We will discover in the course of this Mid-Winter Journey that there is something about the winter season that seems to magnify the violent difference between the worldviews of different men and cultures.

This is especially true with regard to the differences between the Torah-based worldview of YHVH’s Covenant People and the humanistic worldview of those whose lives revolve around sensuality, lust, sentimentality, superstitious humanism, thinly-disguised paganism, cruelty, and hate. Winter is the ultimate season of flash points, of angry rhetoric, and of fierce clashes.

Winter was the season that brought forth both the Warsaw Pogrom of 1881 and the Kristallnact Pogrom of 1938.

And as the Maccabees’ stories that are read in Jewish homes every year at this season remind us winter was also the season of the most notorious and prophetic pogroms of all – the Hellenist Pogroms of c. 165 BCE.

It was with this in mind that Yeshua told those who followed Him: ‘Pray that your flight not be in winter.’  But what if it is? Let us consider what the Master meant.

As the ninth month of the Biblical year – called Kislev by many – unfolds, let us join Yeshua and His loyal band of followers on their next-to-last pilgrimage together to the Eternal City of the Great Shepherd-King.

Why did the Master lead His disciples up the long road to Jerusalem in Mid-Winter that year? Why could He not wait until Passover? What was the end-game of this extremely difficult pilgrimage?

These are questions of which the Awestruck Heart in us seeks an answer. So up we go – to Jerusalem in Winter.

 

Like an axe blade the season of cold and darkness has fallen on the Beautiful Land.  This particular winter threatens to split open men’s souls, leaving them wounded, bleeding, and shivering in the cold.

The cruel North wind  the prophets warned was coming has indeed appeared. It is blowing mercilessly – and relentlessly – upon our Garden.

The grass has withered. The flower has faded. And even the strongest of the oaks and olive trees standing faithful witness on the Mountain of the Great King now shudder and shiver against the assault.

A dark knight from the North has decreed for us a season of deep darkness, a fortnight of double entendre, a day of catastrophic confusion, and an hour of disingenuous misinformation.

Some will call this the time of Jacob’s Trouble. Others will call it the Great Tribulation.

Perhaps it is neither. Perhaps it is both. Only time will tell.

 

In the meantime, with every passing moment the howling wind is peeling back yet another of our pleasant facades.  Our vaunted economy is exposed as soft puffs of pipe smoke artificially magnified by an elaborate network of funhouse mirrors.  Our celebrated institutions are being shown to be empty wineskins so long bereft of content that they no longer carry even whispers of the fragrance of the elixir of life.  Our national leaders have been outed as shamefully self-obsessed pawns of foreign powers.

 

We stand aghast this winter. Some say this is a sign that we should renounce our King, forsake His Ways, and give in to both the darkness in our souls and that in the world.

But for some of us it is not that easy. For some of us surrender to the darkness will never be the answer.

For some of us the Beauty of the King and the Splendor of the Glorious Dream He has birthed in us are simply too real to be denied.

In the chests of some of us, you see, still beats the Awestruck Heart.

Some of us believe with all our hearts that our King can be trusted to have an antidote for even the horrendous poison being released by the current blast of devastating North wind.

And, our Awestruck Heart exhorts us, even if He in His Wisdom should choose not to provide us, our wives, and children such an antidote in this life . . . well, so be it!  

Even so we will not forsake our King, much less will we bow our knee to the prince of darkness.

 

Come, Beloved!  It is time to leave our paneled houses, brave the wind, the winter, and the dark knight’s threats, and gather with the outcasts of Israel to participate in the Feast of Dedication!

Our Beloved Yeshua is going  up to Jerusalem – can we stay behind? 

No. Where He leads, we will follow. Whatever the cost, compelled by love, it is time for us as well to embark upon the Mid-Winter Journey of the Awestruck Heart.


[1] Copyright © 2012-2014 William G. Bullock, Sr., Texarkana, TX. All rights with respect to the written material in this publication, including copyright, are reserved to the author, William G. Bullock, Sr., also known as ‘the Rabbi’s son’.