jay dockins’ december 2011 rock of israel newsletter

Shalom Haverim! (Hello Friends!)

Assoc. Pastors Ryan and Hannah Workman, Pastors Amber and Chris Cleveland, Jay and Kim Dockins (back row)

Our December has started off with a bang! We were privileged to minister in a service in a wonderful church in Camden, Arkansas. (Although I haven’t reported on services in my previous newsletters, I would like to keep you informed of where we have been and what we have been doing.) On the first Sunday of this month we were in service at Cullendale Assembly of God in Camden, Arkansas. Pastors Chris and Amber Cleveland hosted us for the Sunday morning service where I ministered a message on some of the Messianic Prophecies concerning the birth of Jesus! It was a special time of ministry for us!

Sis. Ruth Watson and Jay

During our visit at Cullendale we were blessed to see some friends from our past. I was able to visit with Sis. Ruth Watson, a dear lady who is 85 years young. She served as a chaperone on a missions trip which I participated in over the Christmas/New Year holidays in 1980-81! Ruth told me that she still had the roster from our trip and still prayed for each of us “kids” who were on the trip, over 30 years later! What a blessing! We were also able to visit with a couple that we used to pastor 14 years ago. Jeff and Zephonia Avant were still newlyweds when the Lord blessed them with the news that they would be having a child! Soon after finding out about their blessing, the doctor told them that a routine test showed a problem with the child that Zephonia was carrying. The Avants came forward for prayer on two occasions and the Lord gave them peace that everything would be okay with the baby. We had the privilege of visiting with that child, Aaryn, one of the  sweetest and most beautiful young ladies that you could imagine! I had the privilege of dedicating Aaryn to the Lord shortly after her birth and it was quite a blessing to see God’s faithfulness these years later!

Jeff, Aaryn, Zephonia and Brooke Avant

December is a time of celebrating holidays! Hanukkah, Christmas and New Years call for our attention! While most of us have our various traditions and ways of celebrating Christmas and New Years, not many know the story of Hanukkah nor how it is celebrated. I will briefly relate the story to you and a little about the celebration and its meaning.

The Story of Hanukkah
Hanukkah (which means “dedication”) is the celebration of events which happened in the second century B.C. The story goes something like this! (This will be the brief version. You can “google” Hanukkah if you want more details!)

Antiochus IV (Epiphanes)

The Empire of Alexander the Great had been divided into four sections following his death in 323 B.C. Rule over one of the four parts of Alexander’s former empire was turned over to the Seleucids (Greek-Macedonian). It came to be ruled by Antiochus IV (Epiphanes) who ascended to the Seleucid throne in 175 B.C. In 168 B.C., under the reign of Antiochus IV, the Temple in Jerusalem is looted, Jews were massacred and the Jewish religion was outlawed! In 167 B.C., Antiochus ordered that an altar to Zeus be built in the Temple, and ordered that pigs be slaughtered on the altar in the Temple. (The slaughter of pig on the altar was the first instance of the “abomination of desolation” which Daniel 9:27 speaks of.  Jesus also prophesied of a future fulfillment in Matthew 24:15.) Mattathias, the high priest, and five of his sons lead a rebellion against Antiochus and the Seleucids. Mattathias’ son, Judah, led the Maccabean revolt after his father’s death in 166 B.C. and became known as Judah, Maccabe (the Hammer)! In 165 B.C., the Jewish revolt was successful and the Seleucid monarch was kicked out of Jerusalem and Israel! The Temple is liberated and rededicated! (Hanukkah!)

Judah Maccabee

The process of cleaning, restoring and getting the Temple ready for the resumption of Temple worship began. A day’s supply of the oil which was used in the menorah in the Temple was found. Judah ordered that the day’s supply be put into the lampstand and that they trust God to supply additional oil. (The process for making the oil in accordance with the command of the Lord took eight days.) The menorah was lit and no other oil was found! The miracle then occurred! The one day’s supply of oil lasted for eight days until the necessary oil could be processed! That is why Hanukkah is celebrated for eight days and candles are lit and placed in a menorah (called a hanukiah) with eight branches each evening. (A single candle is lit on the first night and an additional candle is lit each night until the hanukiah is fully lit on the eighth night!) Hanukkah is also called the Festival of Lights!

Jesus teaching in Solomon's Colennade.

Hanukkah in the Scriptures!
Hanukkah is obviously not mentioned in Tanach (Old Testament) since it originated after Tanakh had been completed. But it is mentioned in the Brit Hadashah (New Testament) in the 10th chapter of John. “Then came Hanukkah in Yerushalayim. It was winter,  and Yeshua was walking around inside the Temple area, in Shlomo’s Colonnade.” John 10:22, 23 (Complete Jewish Bible) Although celebrating  Hanukkah is not mandated Biblically, it is clear that Jesus was aware of the celebration of the holiday, as was John who used it as a time reference in his Gospel! And since Hanukkah occurs between late November and late December, we can know that it certainly was winter!

Celebrating Hanukkah!
Hanukkah is celebrated in several ways, all of which are fun and exciting!

Lighting the Hanukkah Candles!

Lighting Candles– Candles are lit each evening of Hanukkah and are placed in a Hanukiah! The first night a single candle is lit and placed in the far right place of the Hanukiah. On the second night, two candles are lit and placed in the two far right places with the one closest to the middle being kindled first. The process continues each night until all nine candles are illuminating the house on the eighth and final evening! Nine? Why are there nine candles? Because each of the candles is lit by a special candle which has a special place in the Hanukiah in a distinct place. This special candle is called the “shamash” candle. Shamash means “Servant” and speaks of Jesus who came not to be served, but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many! He is the One who gives light to us and Who is the Light of the World! Jesus is the Light who gives light to each of us! I personally believe that it was at Hanukkah that the angel, Gabriel, appeared to Mary and announced that she would bear the Son of God, the One who would be given the throne of His father, David! It was at this time that the physical life of her Son was kindled within her!

Potato Latkes with Applesauce and Sour Cream!

Eating– Some Jewish people have explained their holidays as follows: “Someone tried to kill us, we survived, let’s eat!” Hanukkah is noted for and celebrated with wonderful food. And all of the food is fried! Potato latkes (pancakes), fried jelly donuts, loukoumades (fried honey puffs), potato vegetable kugel, soft pretzels, brisket, etc! Of course, the food is fried in oil in remembrance of the miracle of the day’s supply of oil which lasted for eight days as it burned in the Temple!

Let's Play Dreidel!

Dreidel– A dreidel is a small spinning top which is used to play a game of the same name! The rules of this game are simple and easily learned within minutes! Children especially love the game because the prize played for and with is candy or chocolate gold coins called “gelt”. But the importance of the dreidel is not the game or the gelt, it is the message which the dreidel conveys! There are four Hebrew letters on the dreidel (nun, gimel, hey and shin) which represent four words of a phrase. The phrase is “Nes Godol Haya Sham”, a Hebrew phrase which means “A great miracle happened there!” While Jewish people traditionally see this phrase as referring to the miracle of the one day’s supply of oil lasting for eight days, believers see the phrase as referring to the miracle of a virgin being overshadowed by the power of the Most High through the Holy Spirit and conceiving the Son of God! This is the real miracle! The birth of Jesus is wondrous because the conception of Jesus is miraculous!

Rock of Israel Staff Minister Scott Roberts (C), with sons Joshua (L) and Phillip (R) wearing their "8 Days of gifts are better than 1" t-shirts!

Gifts- Gift giving, although not traditionally a part of Hanukkah celebrations, has become accepted in modern times. Gifts are given each day for the eight days of Hanukkah. The gifts tend to be practical things such as socks, gloves or other everyday items but there is usually at least one special gift given.

My favorite part of the Holidays is the music which is heard! So much joy, so many memories and so much meaning in some of the songs which we hear! As I conclude this newsletter I would like to share some of my favorite Christmas carol lyrics with you which turn my thoughts to our reason for celebrating! I share the following words which touch my heart so deeply each year.

The Wexford Carol
Good people all, this Christmas time, Consider well and bear in mind,
What our good God for us has done in sending his beloved son.
With Mary holy we should pray, to God with love this Christmas Day.
In Bethlehem upon that morn, there was a blessed Messiah born!

O Come, O Come Emmanuel
O come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here, until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel,
Shall come to thee, O Israel!

O Come, All Ye Faithful
O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye, to Bethlehem.
Come and behold Him, born the King of angels; 

True God of true God, Light from Light Eternal,
Lo, He shuns not the Virgin’s womb;
Son of the Father, begotten, not created;

Yea, Lord, we greet Thee, born this happy morning;
Jesus, to Thee be glory given;
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing;

O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord!

Jewish Vocabulary-
Hanukkah- it simply means “Dedication” and refers to the cleansing and rededication of the Temple in 165 B.C. by Judah Maccabee after the Seleucids had had been defeated and driven out of Jerusalem!
Hanukiah- the nine-branched menorah or candlestick used in the celebration of Hanukkah!

Kim and I would like to take this opportunity to wish each and every one of you a Happy Hanukkah!, Merry Christmas!, and a very blessed and Happy New Year!

I am currently scheduling services for 2012! Contact me for information and dates!
1-800-207-7780 or 1-800-544-0829
@JayDockins (on Twitter)
Jay Dockins (on Facebook)


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