Archive for Judas

Hanukkah and the Prophet Haggai

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 11, 2017 by paulthepoke

Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday that starts in the ninth month of the Hebrew year, the 25th day. The ninth month is Kislev.  The holiday lasts 8 days.

In 2017, the holiday will start at sunset on December 12 and runs through December 20 as followed on a Gregorian calendar.

Hanukkah in the Hebrew means “dedication”. The holiday celebrates the re dedication of the Jewish Temple. The holiday began in roughly the 2nd century before the birth of Jesus Christ. The Maccabean Revolt was led by Judas in 167-160 BC. The revolt kicked Antiochus out of Jerusalem. The Jews recaptured the Temple.

The Jews only had enough oil for one day to relight the menorah. But the oil managed to burn for eight days in the Temple. In memory, Hanukkah is known as the Festival of Lights.

Hanukkah is not a God appointed feast holiday. It is not part of the Mosaic Law.


Jesus celebrated Hanukkah. The Gospel of John indicates his participation.

John 10:22-23 At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon.

The event is the Feast of Dedication. And that is exactly what Hanukkah means in the Hebrew language. The city was Jerusalem. The time of the year was winter. The location is the temple, specifically the colonnade of Solomon. Jesus was there walking around the temple.


At this time, let’s introduce the prophet Haggai. The prophet pinpoints a specific time in history. Haggai 1:1 In the second year of Darius the king… The second year of the reign of Darius is 520 BC. Darius was the king of Persia. 520 BC is the year of the writings of Haggai. (Nelson Complete Book of Bible Maps & Charts)


Haggai’s writings pre date the festival of Hanukkah by roughly 350 years. Haggai’s writing begin on Elul 1. This is the beginning of the season of Teshuvah or repentance. He begins with a call to repent.

Haggai 1:1b …on the first day of the month…

Of interest is the date referenced three times by Haggai, the twenty fourth day of Kislev. This is the day before the beginning of Hanukkah. Is Haggai alluding to the Festival of Lights?

Haggai 2:10 On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet…

Haggai 2:18 Consider from this day onward, from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month. Since the day that the foundation of the LORD’s temple was laid, consider:

Haggai 2:20 Then the word of the LORD came a second time to Haggai on the twenty-fourth day of the month, saying…

Israel is declared a sinful unclean nation by the Lord God.

Haggai 2:14 Then Haggai answered and said, “So is it with this people, and with this nation before me, declares the LORD, and so with every work of their hands. And what they offer there is unclean.

Despite their sin, despite Israel’s rejection of God, despite receiving God’s judgment…God keeps His promises and Israel is His possession.

Haggai 2:19b “…But from this day on I will bless you.” -LORD


The last time this date, twenty fourth day of the month, is mentioned by Haggai, it comes with a prophetic promise to us in the 21st century.

Haggai 2:21-22 “Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I am about to shake the heavens and the earth, and to overthrow the throne of kingdoms. I am about to destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the nations, and overthrow the chariots and their riders. And the horses and their riders shall go down, everyone by the sword of his brother.”


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Empathy for Peter

Posted in Gospel with tags , , , , , , on March 30, 2014 by paulthepoke

Doctrinal Emphasis: The Flesh Is Weak

The point of the story is not to bash Peter. The story of Peter’s denial of Christ provides valuable lessons as to how vulnerable man is to sin. We would like to think that if we were in Peter’s sandals, things would have been different. We would like to think that we would not have done that to Jesus. There are plenty of opportunities to deny Christ in today’s world: the culture, science, philosophy, family, and friends. Peter had an action packed day. Look at the conditions. How would we respond under these conditions?

First, let’s examine the setting. We know it was cold outside. This is noted in John 18:18. The high priest’s courtyard had a charcoal fire with others warming themselves. The text states directly that it is cold.

Peter was tired. He had put in a full day. His belly was full from supper. He was falling asleep in the garden as Jesus was praying. Jesus came three times to wake Peter, James, and John (Mark 14:32-42). This is at the beginning of the time sequence. The arrest, procession, and the illegal Jewish trials lasted throughout the night. Peter had been awake for quite a while with very little sleep.

The physical location of the denial is in the high priest’s courtyard. This is not exactly a place of comfort for Peter. He is a fisherman. The crowd at the courtyard is not who he is used to being with. The courtyard is where the religious elite congregate. Peter is used to being on a boat with the fellas. He is keeping himself warm with the friends of the enemy. For Peter, this is a clash of social classes.

I think it is fair to say fear and adrenaline are probably factors. Peter had watched Judas betray Jesus. Peter had drawn a sword and removed Malchus’ ear before the arrest in the garden. He had seen the arrest and removal of Jesus. He had seen his fellow disciples scattered. Peter followed Jesus to the courtyard and eventually entered. Then there was the pressure of people identifying Peter as a disciple, including a relative of Malchus who saw Peter take a sword to his family member’s ear.

Lastly there is an unseen spiritual component, Satan. Jesus informs Peter that Satan has requested permission to sift him like wheat (Luke 22:31). Satan’s power should not be underestimated, remember Job. It is important to remember that Satan is limited by what God allows. Permission is required by Satan and God does set limits (Job 1:12, 2:6).

Clearly Peter failed Christ in his denial. His arrogance and pride were on display in telling Jesus he would never fall away and was willing to die with Him. Peter was the super apostle. He would stick with Jesus even though the others would not (Matthew 26:32-34).

Legally, he could have been arrested for assault or attempted murder for his actions toward the slave Malchus. He lied and denied Christ as he entered the courtyard. He further denied association with Christ to others. Ultimately, Peter loses control of his emotions. He curses and swears at others. Then, the cock crows… (Mark 14:66-71).

And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, “Before a cock crows today, you will deny Me three times.” (Luke 22:61)

In the end, Peter was forgiven of his sins. He was personally asked by Jesus to care for His sheep and lambs (John 21:15-17). And like Peter, as sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8b).

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