As Hanukkah’s Candles, We Light up the Darkness
“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.” Isaiah 60:1
I find no evidence that this passage was originally about Hanukkah. It’s meant as a prophecy about Israel in the Millennial Age. But as I was contemplating the Hanukkah candles, this verse came to mind.
Then as I read verses 2-3, I realized how much this really parallels the idea of the Hanukkah candles:
“See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.” Isaiah 60:2-3
I decided to take a closer look at this passage and some of the Hanukkah themes that it contains.
Verse 1: “Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you.”
This reminds me that there is evidence that Yeshua was conceived during Hanukkah. He is our light who has come.
Verse 2: “For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people.”
This time of year especially, people are deceived by materialism and some of the pagan traditions that are still prominent at Christmas. There is a darkness over their understanding. And at least in the Northern Hemisphere, Hanukkah falls during literally the darkest time of year.
Verse 2 continues: “But the LORD will arise over you, and His glory appears over you. “
This reminds us that followers of Yeshua are brought out of darkness and set apart to reflect his nature and shine the light of his glory.
Verse 3: “The nations (some translate it Gentiles) shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.”
This speaks of how others notice that we are different and they are attracted by our light. In fact, the darker it gets the more our light stands out.
What is This Light?
In our lives this light is a metaphor. The Bible uses the word to mean:
It also can refer to:
- Providing direction (“A lamp unto my feet”).
And we know that the Bible repeatedly calls Yeshua “The Light of the World.”
With that understanding, I decided to look at another aspect of these three verses. The words arise, risen, and rising appear repeatedly. Looking closer at how those words are used, I realized the difference between them is who is doing the rising:
Verse 1: “Arise, shine; For your light has come! and the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.”
In verse 1, we are to do the arising and shining, because the Glory of the Lord has already risen over us.
Verse 2: “For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; But the Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you.”
In verse 2, it tells us the Lord will arise and His glory will be seen on us (future tense).
Verse 3: “The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.”
In verse 3, it again refers to our rising.
What this is describing is a partnership. Because God’s glory has risen on us, we can arise and shine that light (verse 1). And as we arise and shine, God will rise (verse 2). It’s a perpetual cycle that requires our cooperation.
Shining Our Light
Then I revisited the meanings of the word light that I referenced earlier in view of this principle or partnership:
|Light Typically Refers To:||In our Partnership with God, Arising and
Shining our Light Means:
We can shine this light because God’s light has already risen upon us – He’s already given us this light to shine, as it says in Verse 1. As we partner with Him in these things, God’s glory will be seen in us, and others will be attracted to that light (verses 2-3).
This concept is perfectly stated in Matt. 5:14-16:
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
As we light our Hanukkah candles each night, may it be a reminder that we are the light of the world. The candles represent US. We must light them and keep them lit by seeking God, obeying and following what He’s teaching us. We shine our light by our good works and acts of righteousness as others are looking on, then God uses them for His glory. We will glorify Him and others will be drawn out of the darkness and to Him.
There is no way to fully appreciate Hanukkah, Feast of Dedication, without reading 1 Maccabees and 2 Maccabees. The abomination of desolation that Jesus/Yeshua and Paul talk about as connected to the end times is what happened during the time of the Maccabees. It is an incredible story that had its beginning on December 25 by our calendar. Just a coincidence?
December 13, 2014 at 4:03 am
Hanukkah is the symbol of dedication and peace. You have explained well about what is the meaning of light. Lighting candles during this occasion is simply the victory over darkness. Thank you so much for sharing this article.
November 28, 2012 at 4:42 am
Well said John. I always enjoy celebrating and making Hanukkah candles.
November 29, 2012 at 1:42 am