by Glen Penton

"God is Light, and in Him is no darkness at all."
(I John 1:5)
At the burning bush He brought that brightness to Moses.

There He identified Himself with His Jewish People so the Light would be theirs. A few weeks later every Jewish home had Light while the Egyptians were plunged into miserable darkness. In the ancient Near East (as in many cultures today), people were terrified of darkness. No one, no matter how poor or sick, would ever fail to make sure that he or she had a small, olive-oil lamp burning all night where they were sleeping. In that culture, if you approached someone's house at night and no lamp was burning, you could know for certain that no one was alive in that house. Either they had all gone somewhere else or they were all dead. That is why all the figurative references to light or lamps in the Bible refer to life. (Some of them have other meanings also, but they all make some reference to life.)

In the desert God was a Light all night to His People in the pillar of fire.
In His Tent He symbolized Himself by a seven-branched, solid gold menorah (lampstand).
In the Land, He gave the prophet Isaiah messages about that Light:
"Come on, Family of Jacob, and let's walk in the Lord's Light." (Isaiah 2:5)

Look at your Jewish brothers and sisters this Hanukah season and see the slight flicker of the flame that lit up Moses's face. Then let your Light shine until our People come to the Light of Israel and the spark becomes a bright glow. Most Jews don't really know that the Light is there. Someday, He says,

"The People will wander through the Land, discouraged and hungry.
In their hunger and their anger they will curse their King and their God.
They may look up to the sky or stare at the ground,
but they will see nothing but trouble and darkness,
terrifying darkness into which they are being driven.
There will be no way to escape this time of trouble.
First lightly, then very heavily,
He brought these troubles on the Zebulun and Naphtali areas of Israel,
and the coastal strip and the east bank of the Jordan River and Galilee of the Gentiles
[and on all Israel.
But] the People who walk in darkness will see the Great Light.
On those who live in the Land of Death's Darkness the Light will shine."
(Isaiah 8:21-9:2)

"Who among you is serious about the Lord and obeys His Servant?
Even if you walk a dark road with no glimmer of light,
Trust in the Lord Himself, and count on your God."
(Isaiah 50:10)
And to Jerusalem He says,
"Get up and shine, for your Light has come,
And the Majesty of the Lord will dawn upon you.
Look, darkness will cover the Land.
The peoples in awful dark stand.
But the Lord will dawn on you,
And His Majesty shine from you.
By your Light the nations will walk,
And kings by the brightness of your Dawn."
(Isaiah 60:1-3)
"But to you who are serious about Me [God says] the Sun of Righteousness will dawn;
And healing is in its beams....
Because of the tender mercies of our God,
By which the rising sun will come to us from heaven,
To shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death,
To guide our feet in the path of shalom."
(Malachi 4:2, Luke 1:78-79)

That is the message of Hanukah, the Festival of Lights.
God has begun to bring His Light to Israel, and He says,
"For Zion's sake I will not be silent,
And for Jerusalem's sake I will not keep quiet,
Until her righteousness shines out like sunrise,
And her salvation like a blazing torch."
(Isaiah 62:1)

more Hanukah-related promises for Israel from God's Word
return to home page
Hanukah FAQs