Tevet: A Contrast of Judgement & Victory
The month of Tevet is the tenth month on the Hebrew calendar and usually starts in December on the Gregorian calendar.
Similar to weather-related seasons, the Jewish Rabbis have created spiritual seasons that we cycle through during the 12 months on the Hebrew calendar. The Rabbis consider Tevet part of the “Season of Victory.” This season includes the last half of the month of Kislev, all of Tevet, plus the next two months – a total of 3.5 months (4.5 months during a leap year).
None of the commanded feasts take place during this timeframe, but the holidays of Chanukah and Purim (the celebration in the story of Esther) both fall during this season. In the context of the whole cycle, it’s clear why this would be considered the Season of Victory, but, when you read about the month of Tevet in the Bible, most of the references are about Nebuchadnezzar’s siege of Jerusalem, which began in Tevet and eventually lead to the destruction of the second temple In 586 BC. It was at that point the Israelites began 70 years of exile in Babylon. Five of the 11 Bible references to the tenth month are about this incident. (2 Kings 25, Jeremiah 39 & 52, Ezekiel 24 & 33)
So while it may be the “Season of Victory,” this is not the month of victory. In fact, traditional Judaism recognizes the tenth day of Tevet as a fast, because of the siege of Jerusalem, according to 2 Kings 25:1. Also the eighth day of Tevet is a solemn day, because on that date the Torah was first translated into Greek (which is called the Septuagint) and it began to lose some of the rich and full meanings of the Hebrew words. It is considered by the Jewish sages a work of assimilation which then began propagating erroneous interpretations and changing man’s understanding of the Torah. (Hebrew4Christians.com)
Yet, this month always begins as Chanukah is ending. And we always have a new moon during Chanukah. A new moon speaks of renewal, rebirth, regeneration.
Darkness & Light Leads to Judgement & Victory
In my post about the month of Kislev, the ninth month, I discussed Kislev and Tevet as the darkest months of the year, then giving way to light after the winter solstice. We looked at how, just like in nature, dark and light are right next to each other in the spiritual realm as well. Parables alluding to these spiritual truths include the wheat and the tares both growing up together in the field (Matt. 13:27-30) and the virgins lighting their oil lamps in the middle of the night (Matt. 25:1-13).
And now in Tevet, we see a similar contrast, this time of judgement and victory: On the one hand, we have Chanukah, on the other hand we have the assimilation of Israel into the surrounding culture and the Fall of Jerusalem. Then we have Purim – a time of victory while in exile.
So we see this see-saw between victory and judgement, back and forth. I believe this is a continuation of what we found in Kislev. In Kislev we considered the light and darkness standing beside each other, and the choice that everyone is given to repent and follow the light or to continue in darkness.
Now in Tevet, we see the results of the decisions that were made. Those continuing in darkness are reaping judgement; those choosing light are experiencing victory.
That’s the time we’re in during these last days. Yehovah’s warnings are all around us. Light is standing next to darkness, providing a sharp contrast for people to choose. And our choices will determine our future – judgement or victory. That’s the reminder we see during this month of Tevet.
I was reminded of Revelation 15:2:
“And I saw something like a sea of glass mixed with fire, and those who had been victorious over the beast and his image and the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, holding harps of God.”
And Revelation 17:14:
“These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful.”
Let’s choose light and victory!
“Also on your days of rejoicing, at your designated times and on Rosh-Hodesh (the head of the month), you are to sound the trumpets over your burnt offerings and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; these will be your reminder before your God. I am Adonai your God.”
“Sing for joy to God our strength; shout joyfully to the God of Jacob. Raise a song, strike the timbrel, The sweet sounding lyre with the harp. Blow the trumpet at the new moon, at the full moon, on our feast day. For it is a statute for Israel, an ordinance of the God of Jacob. He established it for a testimony in Joseph when he went throughout the land of Egypt.”