“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.” ~ Isaiah 7:14-15 (KJV)
My December 5, 2013 message, on last year’s final day of Chanukah, was prompted by the rarity that the first day of Chanukah coincided with Thanksgiving—the first time since President Lincoln declared Thanksgiving to be a national holiday in 1863. This year, the last day of Chanukah occurs on Christmas Eve; so Jews and Christians alike will have a joyous celebration during the next 24 hours—potentially much more consequential for America than the commercialized interests that profit from it.
America’s Thanksgiving traces its heritage to 1621, when the Pilgrims thanked God for their freedom from despotic conditions in Europe and their sustenance in America. Chanukah commemorates the Maccabees’ successful rebellion in 162 BC, and their subsequent cleansing and re-dedication of the Jewish Temple which had been desecrated by the Syrians. Christmas is about God’s forgiveness and gift of eternal life to those who believe in His Son, Jesus.
Both celebrate Liberty granted by Almighty God, referred to in the Declaration of Independence as “Nature’s God” and the “Creator.” In gaining their independence from King George III and establishing a new republic, our Founding Fathers drew upon the Maccabee’s extraordinary victory over the Syrian army, as discussed in last year’s message. They also demonstrated the victory of the few over the many, right over wrong, moral over immoral, truth over lies, faith over cynicism and opportunism, long-term conviction over short-term convenience. A few summary examples of this lesson for today follow:
- The Maccabees were role-models for Paul Revere (of April 18, 1775 midnight ride fame), who was referred to as “a modern day Maccabee” and the organizers of the December 16, 1773 Boston Tea Party, who realized that there were no free lunches for freedom-seeking nations.
- The Maccabees’ sacrifice and political-incorrectness also inspired Patrick Henry’s “Give me liberty or give me death” March 23, 1775 speech from the floor of the Second Virginia Convention in St. John’s Church in Richmond, Virginia.
- During Chanukah 1777, George Washington at Valley Forge became acquainted with the spirit of the Maccabees while contemplating the plight of his ill-equipped, weary troops. He noted: “Perhaps we are not as lost as our enemies would have us believe. I rejoice in the Maccabees’ success, though it is long past…It pleases me to think that miracles still happen.” The Continental Army then implemented the battle tactics of Judah the Maccabee—and with God’s support, the rest is History…
- Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, inspired by the Maccabees, proposed that “Rebellion against Tyrants is obedience to God” be placed on the American official seal. The Maccabees, also a tiny minority of “rebels” fighting an oppressive super-power, prevailed due to their conviction-driven determination. So did our Founders.
- “In God We Trust,” America’s motto on our coins, echoed the Maccabees’ battle cry, adopted from Moses’ battle cry against the builders of the Golden Calf—literally translated as “Whoever trusts God; join me!”
- A statue of Judah the Maccabee is displayed at the West Point Military Academy, along with those of other great military leaders: Joshua, David, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Hector, King Arthur, Charlemagne and Godfrey of Bouillon—“the Nine Worthies.”
Chanukah commemorates a national Jewish liberation holiday and a series of battles led by Judah, mostly in the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria, the home of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. In 143 BC, Shimon the Maccabee—who succeeded his brothers, Judah and Yonatan—defied an ultimatum by the Syrian emperor, Antiochus (Book of Maccabees A, Chapter 15, verse 33) and declared an end to the “occupation” of Jerusalem, Jaffa, Gaza, Gezer and Akron: “We have not occupied a foreign land; we have not ruled a foreign land; we have liberated the land of our forefathers from foreign occupation.”
Sound familiar? Shimon’s statement remains valid. Israel again faces pressure to withdraw from its homeland. Should we not stand strongly with Israel, our Founding Fathers, and others who seek liberty? I believe we Christians find encouragement from the One whose birth we now celebrate.
In the Maccabees’ celebration after the liberation of the Temple, it was believed there was only enough consecrated oil to keep the Menorah symbol of Devine light burning for one day, but the small bottle of oil miraculously lasted for eight days. Thus, Chanukah was called the Feast of Lights or Festival of Lights/Feast of Dedication.
Among many Jews over the ages, it was celebrated in the Jewish Temple by Jesus of Nazareth, as reported in John 10:22-30 of the New Testament, when He claimed: “I and My Father are One.” Surely He would stand with all seeking liberty today—especially in His people’s ancient land.
Jews believe the Messiah promised by the Prophets of the Old Testament is yet to come; Christians believe he already came and we today celebrate His coming, continuing presence and promised return. This same Jesus (Yeshua) had earlier instructed his followers that “You are the Light of the World . . . Let your Light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.” Lest we forget, this is America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and challenge still.
But America’s Judeo-Christian heritage is under siege—from within by elements of “political correctness” that in the name of “tolerance” disparage the laws of Nature and Nature’s God. In the Middle East, those who call Israel the “Little Satan” refer to us as the “Great Satan”—and our leaders refuse to identify them unambiguously so that effective strategies can be developed to defeat them.
Our most important common enemies are the “true believers” in Islam—perhaps the most dangerous are the Mullahs in Iran. For centuries, the Israelis have again not been permitted to worship in their Temple—and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is massacring Christians and desecrating their churches.
Future messages will deal further with these common threats to all we hold dear—and regrettably America’s faltering efforts to deal with them—generally without seeking guidance from the Almighty God of Israel, worshiped by the Maccabees, Jesus and our Founders. Similar persecution exists throughout Christendom.
For today, let us simply give thanks for all we have and hope to be—and seek the Messiah—whether we believe it will be His first or second coming. Speaking as a Christian, I will simply say that “Wise men still seek Him”—as they did in the Christmas story.
I refuse to say, Happy Holiday . . . Happy Chanakah, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! To quote Tiny Tim, “God bless us, every one.”
Near Term High Frontier Plans.
As time may be running out for effective U.S. action, we will continue to inform all who will listen about the existential EMP threat and how to counter it. Our primary focus will be to help state and local authorities, particularly the National Guard, protect the citizens under their charge. Past experience shows that it is foolish to wait for the federal authorities to respond effectively.
High Frontier will continue to advocate the most cost effective BMD systems that the powers that be will permit.
And we will seek effective means to harden the electric power grid. As quickly as possible.
What can you do?
Join us in praying for our nation, and for a rebirth of the freedom sought, achieved and passed to us by those who came before us.
Help us to spread our message to the grass roots and to encourage all “powers that be” to provide for the common defense as they are sworn to do.
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