New Hope In The Lord
       International Ministries

Office Hours: M-F 9:30am-5:00pm
PO Box 418 Valhalla,
New York, USA 10595              Phone: (914) 948-4481


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Rev. Joseph Cohen's Testimony

Seasonal Thoughts

I’m so thankful to Jesus for His obedience to God the Father. He was asked to leave glory and dwell with man on earth for 33 _ years. He knows about being lonely. He suffered ridicule, mocking, pain, persecution, and death like no other person ever has. He did it so we could be saved from our sins. His birth was the start of his mission: which was to give up His life (John 3:16).

Unfortunately, many believers get caught up in what month Christ was born. Some say it was in the spring not in the winter. They say it was too cold for the shepherds to be out attending the flock. To me it doesn’t matter the time or season of His birth. The only thing that matters is that he was born. Whenever Jesus was born, there is no record in the Word that He celebrated His Birth. But it is recorded in John 10:22 that He celebrated the Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah) which was in winter.

Hanukkah (also spelled Chanukah), also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight day Jewish Holiday beginning on the 25th day of the month of Kislev, which may fall anytime from late November to late December. It celebrates the re-kindling of the Temple menorah at the time of the Macabee rebellion.

There were two miracle Hanukkahs. The first happened around 165 B.C. Antiochus desecrated the temple by foolishly sacrificing a pig on the alter to a Greek god called Zeus. He put out the lights on the lamp stand, which was always to be lit. The temple never had been in total darkness and it looked hopeless. We who are born again were like that temple before Jesus found us: without hope and in darkness then and for eternity. If Antiochus' armies were not defeated there would be no Jews. He would have killed them all. That meant no Hanukkah and no Jesus and no Christmas.

For three years the Macabee family fought guerilla warfare against the much larger armies from Greece and Syria. The name Macabee means “The Almighty Hammer of God”. That is exactly what God did: He hammered the Greek and Syrian armies. Then Judah Macabee went into the temple and found it a wreck. He did find enough oil for one day and put it into the lamp stand to bring forth light. The oil could only be made by the priest and they had to follow a certain process which took eight days. God performed the miracle of keeping the temple lit for eight days. The number eight means new beginnings. That is what happened in the temple after the eighth day. A new beginning also happens to a person who comes to faith in Christ

The second Hanukkah miracle was the birth of Christ. Mary conceived by the Holy Spirit and brought forth the Savior of the world. Although Mary knew her sons name before birth (revealed by an angel), He wasn’t called Jesus until His eighth day on earth. That is when He was circumcised, which was the sign of the covenant with God. That covenant brought forth new beginnings. He came to His own and they received Him not. But He also came to introduce the Holy Spirit – which brings forth freedom and God’s grace to all nations. Nobody was more radical than Jesus. Thank God for His birth.

Jesus also represented light. “Then Jesus spoke to them again saying: I am the light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life (John 8:12). We end each year by celebrating two miracle light-filled holidays (Christmas & Hanukkah) which bring forth new beginnings. God has great things in store for those who are true believers. May we have our faith built up to believe that God will continue to work miracles in our lives through out the New Year. May the New Year be a year of jubilee, freedom and joy in the Holy Spirit like never before. May your spirit be so filled with God that what looks bleak and hopeless, God will turn around into victory - not for a day, a week, a month of breakthrough-but for a whole year of new beginnings!