The recent announcement of the excavation of the Acra fortress in Jerusalem reminds us that the events recorded in Scripture and those in the Commentaries are real. The repeat denials by many that the Temple Mount never held a Temple, and that Jews and Christians believe in fairy tales are constantly confronted by truth from the soil. For years the Temple Sifting Project has excavated the mounds of dirt bulldozed from the area which the Waqf supervises and constantly finds objects fully described in the furnishings of the Temple and clothing of the priests. Pomegranate finials for scepters and rods of authority, golden bells, and seals with the names of persons cited in the Scripture now are on view and published for all to see. The stones and dirt shout “we are here, it’s all true!”
After the division of Alexander’s Empire the area of Syria fell under the jurisdiction of the egotistic and arrogant Seleucids. While Egypt’s Ptolemy Dynasty successfully ruled by assimilating the ancient culture with the Greek, the Seleucids in Jerusalem tried to deliberately force the Jews to turn away from the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to the pantheon of Greek deities. Brutal ways to forcing their culture drew fierce resistance and a revolt by the sons of Maccabee resulted in the liberation and rededication of the Temple and the celebration of Hanukkah.
I will bring back the captives of My people Israel; They shall build the waste cities and inhabit them (Amos 9:14
Today persons of faith see increasing pressure to abandon their ways and accept a forced secularization of life. In Israel daily terror attacks make life even more difficult and dangerous. Yet the recent discovery of the ruins of a failed leader, a failed culture, and a solid wall of a Temple built to honor the God which the dictator sought to deny all point to a reason to celebrate and rejoice in God’s protection of those He chooses and who choose to be protected by Him.
Hanukkah is coming. Let’s look at the physical record of artifacts, stone walls, writings of Josephus and other ancient historians and tell the world our God is real, he protects us and bids us rejoice in times of threat and danger. Hanukkah is coming; I hear it in the stones.