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Jolene and I bless each of you from Zion. We are just over a week away from Revolution 2015, with Chuck Pierce, James Goll and others. Pray for fresh fire this Hanukkah. And together lets see a window open for national turnaround!
We are attending a weeklong seminar at Yad Vashem, the Jewish Holocaust Museum on the precipice of Mount Herzl. Today a blanket of fog has immersed Jerusalem and the mountains that surround her. Our ears are attentive to the Voice in the cloud. And the word of the Lord is resounding in a most unexpected way.
The People of the Covenant are prophesying to our hearts by word and deed. Sorrow and hilarity, defiance and devotion, death and a wedding. Innocence and love unchecked by the most horrific prejudice. We came to Jerusalem seeking a revelation of the Divine—only to be immersed by God in a revelation of what it means to be truly human. Seeking Him, finding us.
Today I want to briefly share on a menorah and a wedding. Not ours—though most Lamplighter readers know the miracle the Lord brought us during our wedding. Twelve years ago this Hanukkah, the Lord lit the flame of our menorah as we were worshiping Him at the beginning of our wedding ceremony. Forever marking both our marriage covenant and our ministry.
Lets start with a wedding.
Sarah & Ariel—Defying Atrocity
Our seminar at Yad Vashem, the Jewish Holocaust Museum, is focused on anti-semitism historically and today. And looking out the window, the headlines here provide a haunting resonance to historic reality.
Lamplighter family, the travesties we’ve all been praying against—Islamist extremism and even the specter of a Third Intifada—are just beyond our walls. Shortly after Jolene and I visited the Old City, an IDF soldier was stabbed at the Damascus Gate. Just across the valley from Yad Vashem is the synagogue where five congregants were stabbed to death last year.
And just before our seminar started, a startled world was invited to a Jewish wedding.
From the Jerusalem Post: Thousands of people from all over Israel and abroad danced, rejoiced and celebrated at the wedding of Sarah Tehiya Litman and Ariel Beigel in Jerusalem on Thursday night, two weeks after Sarah’s father and brother were murdered in a terrorist attack near Hebron.
Imagine the courage of this bride and groom. Most of us would have cancelled the wedding, our at least postponed it. Because from this time forward their anniversary would be marked by the senseless slaughter of the man who raised her, who should have walked her down the aisle. And the brother who stood by her side before her husband came into view.
Jewish tradition strongly discourages the postponement of a wedding. But in this case, an exception would certainly have been made.
Sarah and Ariel chose instead to make their wedding a holy defiance to the horror imposed on them. Love that overcomes atrocity. They chose to redeem their wedding by moving forward, and welcoming the entire world to join them.
Thousands responded to their last-minute invitation. They came from New Jersey and from Washington State. They came from Europe and Canada.
From this time forward, Sara and Ariel’s wedding would be remembered not by the atrocities suffered alone, but more by the holy defiance that impacted an entire world. And by defying inhumanity, this young couple taught us how to be human.
Burning Menorah—Defying Nazism
Yesterday we toured Yad Vashem, again the Jewish Holocaust Museum. We under the tutelage of Ephraim Kaye, an esteemed director of the museum and a passionate, invested host.
First thing Ephraim taught us that the name “Yad Vashem” comes directly from the Bible—from the prophecy of Isaiah. “I give in my house and within my walls a memorial and a name (Yad Vashem), an everlasting name that shall not be cut off” (Isaiah 56:5).
An everlasting memorial, an everlasting name. Yad Vashem. And the resolve of this national memorial is that the names of the perished will not be cut off, no matter how viciously the enemies of humanity may have tried.
We saw authentic Nazi banners and rail cars that brought millions of Jews to the concentration camps. We saw shoes of the departed. We saw countless faces, countless names, countless victims of Hitler’s quest of extermination.
And in one exhibit, by no means highlighted, I saw an image that stopped me cold. A menorah in a window, overlooking a large building draped by a Nazi banner.
The Jewish menorah is first a symbol of covenant. God came to Abraham with a smoking fireboat and a burning lamp to seal His covenant with Israel—both the land and people. The presence of the menorah in the Temple was meant to be an eternal witness of His covenant.
But when the temple became defiled, the lamp became a symbol of defiance. You remember how Judah Maccabee and his spiritual revolutionaries contended against the strongest army of their day, retook their temple, and relit the flame of the menorah in the temple to restore covenant with God. That in essence is the message of Hanukkah—a feast celebrated by Jesus, and perhaps a feast during which Jesus, Light of the World, was even conceived.
And this lamp in the window of a Jewish family, in the face of abhorrent anti-Semitism, bore witness to this sacred fire, the fire of God’s covenant, even at the expense of their own security. The open defiance of one Jewish family to the inhumanity that encompassed their world.
We live in an extraordinary hour today. Many would say a midnight hour is emerging. In the face of terrorism, and the bland facade which masks hidden deception, injustice and inhumanity today—which perhaps threatens our very existence—how will you respond?
Beloved, it is time to rise up. By the Spirit it is time to overcome the darkness that is overtaking our world. It is time to light our lamps.
“Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps” (Matt. 25:5-7)