Why Hanukkah is important for Christians

Hanukkah took place around 165 B.C. and has something to say to us today. It should move us to prayer and action! 

Should Christians even care about Hanukkah? The answer is “yes” because according to John 10:22 (NLT) Jesus was in Jerusalem at the Temple during “the Festival of Dedication” (Hanukkah). While Hanukkah is a celebration of the victory won during the Maccabean revolt it also points to Jesus because it is also known as the Festival of Lights and Jesus is the Light of the World. Most importantly if what happened during Hanukkah had not happened the Jewish people would have been wiped out and so our Savior would not have been born. Jesus was prophesied to be of the House of David and God’s promise would not have been fulfilled if His ancestral line had not continued. 

God brought a victory to the Jewish people against all odds during the Maccabean revolt – the real Miracle. But there also had to be people for God to use that were willing to stand up to the injustices of an oppressive regimen. Enter the Maccabee family which were of the tribe of Levi and therefore had a divine calling to be priests of the Lord. Jerusalem and the Temple were under the control of Antiochus IV Epiphanes (means “God Manifest”- oh my!). He persecuted the Jews, decreeing that they could not keep the Sabbath, nor celebrate their Feasts, nor read their Bible. They were forced to participate in pagan practices. Antiochus went so far as to desecrate the altar in the Temple by sacrificing a pig on it to Zeus! Under the leadership of the Maccabees the Jews said “NO!”, revolted and ultimately succeeded. 

The Legend of the Hanukkah menorah.

The legend that a one day supply of oil to light the menorah was found that lasted for eight days did not come into play until about 400 years after the Maccabean revolt and is probably a fake-news miracle! 

An Eight Day Festival 

It does seem that the reason that the Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah), which is a celebration of the rededication of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem lasts for eight days is because the Jewish people were not able to celebrate the eight day Feast of Tabernacles (or Booths) that year because it was forbidden. So when victory was won and the Temple rededicated in the winter the people celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles. This is recorded in 2 Maccabees 10:5-8, written less than 100 years after the event and is more likely. Regardless, the tradition of lighting the Hanukkah menorah is over eight days and a beautiful symbol of how God empowered a people willing to stand against oppression and for HIS ways. 

“Even if all the nations that live under the rule of the king obey him, and have chosen to obey his commandments, everyone of them abandoning the religion of their ancestors, I and my sons and my brothers will continue to live by the covenant of our ancestors. Far be it from us to desert the law and the ordinances.  We will not obey the king’s words by turning aside from our religion to the right hand or to the left.”  (Matthias Maccabee, 1 Maccabees 2:19-22)

God will bring deliverance to His people even in extremely dire circumstances!

That is the real miracle! But God is looking for people who will co-labor with Him in the working out of the victory. That’s what speaks to us today. The Hanukkah story is a source of inspiration and also a call to stand-up and not bow to a godless society! As never before believers in the Lord Jesus Christ must pray and stand together for righteousness and Biblical truth.

Jesus is the Light of the World

While Hanukkah is known as the Feast of Dedication (referring to the re-dedication of the desecrated Temple back to the God of Israel), it is also known as the Festival of Lights. Traditionally some Jewish people place their Hanukkiahs (a 9 branched menorah) in their front windows as a symbol of victory of light over darkness. When I light my Hanukkiah I think of the courageous Maccabees and the victory won against seemingly unsurmountable odds. Only God could have brought the victory! I also think of Yeshua (Jesus) who is the light of the world. Jesus said, “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 NKJV) When Jesus returns there will come a day of total victory over evil. Until then may we, His disciples, shine brightly in this dark world bringing hope and faith to others, “for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.  Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” (1 John 3:4-5 NIV).

Maranatha – Come Lord Jesus Come!!

A Hanukkah Miracle 

In December 2020 Karen Davis and Chaya Mizrachi joined us on Zoom from Israel for a special time of anointed worship, messages and prayerfor the US and Israel. Karen spoke powerfully on “A Hanukkah Miracle” about the ongoing struggle of the Sons (and Daughters) of Zion (those that believe in the One true God) against the Sons of Greece (the world). See Zechariah 9:13. This is where we are! God is rousing us to fight the good fight of faith!. Chaya told us a very moving, inspiring and personal family story regarding how Jews were saved in Bulgaria during WW2. They were saved because the King of Bulgaria and the Church rose up and said “NO!” to Jews being deported to the death camps! The King lost his life over it! 

For more history on what happened in Bulgaria watch the 30 minute film put out by Frontier Alliance International entitled “The Fox and the Fuhrer”. Definitely worth the watch! For more understanding on Hanukkah read articles written by Avner Boskey, a Messianic believer who lives with his wife Rachel in Israel.

This blog was originally published in December 2020. It has been updated.

Betsy Roy is the Director of Women of the Word, an inter-generational ministry dedicated to helping women grow as disciples of Jesus by applying God’s Word through the power of the Holy Spirit. WOW holds conferences, retreats, Bible seminars and trips to Israel

Betsy and her husband Jim lead the trips to Israel, which include visiting with local believers, both Messianic and Arab. Together they have 3 daughters and 4 grandchildren who are the delight of their hearts. God’s mercy endures from generation to generation.

Ask the LORD of the Harvest

Ask the Lord of the Harvest…(Written last year) It’s harvest time in New England. I went to pick up my veggie share at the local farm and they have tomato plants where you can pick tomatoes when you go to the farm. The frost has mostly killed the plants but they are still laden, laden, laden with tomatoes. I went to glean as many as I could but did not make a dent in them. I could hear them calling out “pick me” (I’m joking but I almost could) but there were too many of them and only me, so far, to pick them.

Harvest time, at the end, yields a lot of abundance. At other local farms, the harvest of pumpkins and winter squash are way more abundant than can be used. Farmers pile extra produce, some with small blemishes, or in unsightly shapes into bargain bins, almost begging you to take it. Waste is sad to me. The food is grown to be enjoyed, eaten– a source of nourishment, not left to rot on the vine.

But now approaches a time for spiritual harvest also. God’s love and care for us is so great that He wants to gather us up so that none are lost. A harvest of souls is waiting like an overstocked pumpkin patch in the fields of the Lord, waiting right here in New England. But who will help them to be brought home to the Lord? Who will tell them that we are grown for a purpose, grown to bring joy and sustenance to each other and happiness to God. Some produce is more beautiful than others but who will take time to gather the bruised, the late fruit, the misshapen, the leftovers? All has worth and purpose.

Many years ago, in my senior yearbook, I wrote the verse, “Many are called, but few are chosen” underneath my senior picture. I picked that verse because I felt a sense of destiny to find my deepest purpose in God and fulfill it. So today, as I heard the unharvested tomatoes crying out to be harvested, it was not hard for me to hear the cries of souls crying out also. People are not meant to wither on the vine and die. We are meant for rich, full, purposeful lives. A young man in our town passed away unexpectedly. We do not know when our moment to pass over will come. Will we have found peace with God?

In 1734, Jonathan Edwards stewarded one of the most famous revivals in American history– a revival that changed the American landscape and history. We stand on the edge of another such time: a troubled time in our history where people are searching for meaning and hope that can only come ultimately when they are in right relationship with God and each other.

But where are the workers to midwife this? Jesus teaches on this when he says,“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest.” (Matthew 9:38) .

For it is surely His Harvest, and His hope that people would come out of the darkness of hopelessness into the marvelous light of the Kingdom of God. He is not willing that one should perish, that one should be sick or hurt or depressed or in need. But He has given some of that responsibility to us to partner with Him. Will we? Or are we pre-occupied with our own interests? busy with our own lives?

There is surely a clarion call being sounded, louder than the call of the wild geese migrating southward. It is time to gather the harvest of souls that is out there, waiting, clinging to the vine in hopes that their lives have some meaning, some purpose and will not be wasted. It is not just a soul here or there, but an abundant, overflowing harvest that will break our capacity to receive them unless we prepare.

Where there was no interest for God or His ways, suddenly will spring forth the Presence of God calling people home to Himself. And they will respond. So we who have known Jesus, and walked with Him, all these years through thick and thin, must get ready to gather with Him. Let nothing and no-one go to waste.

Harvesters, get ready. Get ready to help people know the Good God they never knew. The One who often has been sadly maligned and misrepresented— the Living God who is Life, and Love and Truth.

Discipleship making online classes

Want to learn more about making disciples? We encourage you to take a look here>> These classes will teach you from a biblical rather than a religious perspective and give you tools that bring people to Jesus. Gather a few friends and do them together!

Rose-Marie Slosek

Rose-Marie Slosek is on the Board of Directors of Women of the Word. She also serves on the Leadership Team for FAI Emmaus Online School and Frontier Alliance International Homefront. She can be reached at rmslosek@comcast.net

The Suffering Servant Series

This series of four articles was written by Women of the Word Board Member Rose-Marie Slosek. They were originally published by FAI and are being re-posted here with permission.

In Isaiah 42:1-4 the Scriptures read,

Behold! My Servant whom I uphold,
My Elect One in whom My soul delights!
I have put My Spirit upon Him;
He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles,
He will not cry out, nor raise His voice in the street.
A bruised reed He will not break, 
And smoking flax He will not quench;
He will not fail nor be discouraged,
Till He has established justice in the earth; 
and the coastlands shall wait for His law
.

Our culture, including “church” culture does not like to talk about suffering, never mind actually experience it. This is probably more true in the Western Church where “entitlement” is expected. Human nature finds suffering by and large repugnant. We don’t want any part of it. We want to avoid it at all costs. Many in the church have been falsely taught that because of Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross believers will not have to suffer. This is not what Jesus taught. Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

The Scriptures tell us that Jesus was a man of sorrows. In this series Rose-Marie beautifully explores this aspect of Jesus as the Suffering Servant and how we might enter into His sufferings with Him. You may be reluctant to read further but there is a beauty here that is worthwhile to explore and to give ourselves to as the Lord leads us. May the LORD grant us His grace as we venture in. God bless you.

Part I: Our Call to the Broken

Bearing His Name, despite our own imperfections, is our great honor. Our many mistakes are rich fodder to learn the kind heart of God firstly toward ourselves so that we can share that honestly with others. If you are thinking that is too hard a task, know that He has already addressed that handily in this passage: “He will not fail nor be discouraged, till He has established justice in the earth.” He is up for hard! He will not give up on you or His mission till the ends of the earth are brought under His just rule. Read more here>>

Part II: The Specter of Laboring in Vain

God determines where we will be dispatched and what we must speak, and this brings us to the point I wish to highlight most: we can suffer because we may believe, whether it is true or not, that we have labored in vain. Our best efforts may seem to fail. All may seem lost. Yet there is no anguish that we need to stifle in this process. We do not need to be heroic while being obedient. We are not the final judge of whether we have succeeded or failed. We stand or fall on our obedience, not on our success. Read more here>>

Part III: The Suffering Servant and the Sons of God

Jesus had to set His face like flint to accomplish the destiny God had for Him. Refusing to suffer would have cost Him the victory of His earthly race and His ability to inherit His people—not only to purchase our salvation but the right to lead us as the righteously Suffering Servant. If Jesus had to be determinedly all-in, should I expect an easier path? Read more here>>

Part IV: The Fruits and Victory of Redemptive Suffering

There is no merit in just plain suffering. In the Kingdom to come it is said that “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there will be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Thankfully, the coming fullness of the kingdom of God has no suffering in it. We have, however, much that can be gained by our willingness to suffer as we minister to the pains of mankind, in general, and specifically Israel, in this age. Read more here>>

A Final Word

Take your time to prayerfully read and ponder this series. Mull it over before the Lord taking one article at a time. May the Lord lead you in His paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Maranatha!

Rose-Marie Slosek is on the Board of Directors of Women of the Word. She also serves on the Lead Teams for FAI Emmaus Online School and Frontier Alliance International Homefront. She can be reached at rmslosek@comcast.net

Yom Teruah – The Biblical Feast of Trumpets

What is it about?

The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, saying ‘In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a sabbath rest, a memorial of blowing (of trumpets), a holy convocation.’” Leviticus 23:24

The Feast of Trumpets is the first of the three Fall Feasts of the LORD. These Feasts are “appointed times” when God called His people to gather. He spoke to them and met with them. They are celebrated according to the Hebrew calendar and so the dates vary from year to year on the Gregorian calendar. This year (2021) the Feast of Trumpets is celebrated from sundown on September 6 to sundown September 8.

A shofar (a type of trumpet) is made from a ram’s horn.

God wants us to remember to celebrate His faithfulness with thanksgiving, praise and offerings. The Feasts also have prophetic meaning pointing to events yet to come. They also teach us important lessons of how we should live as disciples of Jesus in the here and now. 

“The memorial of blowing of trumpets” was to remind Israel of the time God called them to Mt. Sinai during the Exodus when God spoke and His presence came down. (See Exodus 19:16-20). The sound of the trumpet was very loud!  

A Shofar (type of trumpet) is made from a ram’s horn. Trumpets are used

Prophetically this Feast foreshadows Jesus’ return as King of Kings and Lord of Lords when He will rule in the Millennium. “When the last trumpet sounds an angel and loud voices in heaven will announce ‘The Kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our God and of His Christ and He shall reign forever and ever.’” Revelation 11:15

How then should we live?

God spoke, making His presence known in ancient times. He also wants to do that today. Celebrating the Feasts helps us to remember what He did in days past. The Feasts also give us object lessons in how to live now. God wants us to hear (listen to) His voice now and live in obedience to Him. Jesus said, “My sheep hear (listen to) my voice; I know them and they follow me.” (John 10:27)

Let’s ask the LORD to sharpen our hearing so that we may live in accordance with His ways. He speaks in many ways: through His Word, through circumstances, by a still small voice, by the inner leading of the Holy Spirit, and sometimes through a loud sound! What is HE saying to us in this hour both individually and corporately as the Church so that our lives become a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1)? We must hear and know HIM and prepare for HIS return by living according to HIS ways!

Jewish traditions at Yom Teruah

The Feast of Trumpets is often times called Rosh Hashanah (“The Head of the Year”), celebrating the civil New Year. The biblical new year is in the spring on the first day of the biblical month of Nisan. Yom Teruah falls on the first day of the seventh biblical month of Tishri. It the time of the ending of one agricultural season and the start of another. 

“Rosh Hashanah” is a rabbinical tradition which has been practiced for a long time. Israel adopted a secular reckoning of the months to align with the calendars of neighboring (and pagan) cultures. Even our Gregorian calendar is based on a pagan calendar.

Jewish people customarily greet one another with “Shana Tov” meaning good year. Among the foods eaten are apples with honey to signify a “sweet year”. Rosh Hashanah also begins the 10 days of Awe (or Repentance) leading up to Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement) when Jewish people pray to be written in the “book of life”. Let’s pray that they awaken to their Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) –  the Way, the Truth and the Life! 

How can Christians participate in the Feasts?

As believers in Jesus we are not commanded to keep the Biblical Feasts. However since we are grafted into the rich, nourishing root of the olive tree (which represents the Jewish people), we can also partake in the joy and the blessings of the Feasts. As previously stated they teach us to commemorate what God has done, how to live as disciples of Jesus and point to future events such as the return of the LORD and the Millennial Reign of Christ as KING of Kings and LORD of Lords. Let’s also remember that Jesus himself celebrated these Biblical Feasts.

Women of the Word is blessed to host a special Zoom with Karen Davis, a messianic worship leader who lives in Israel. We invite you to join us on September 29, 2021 at 10:30 am Eastern Time. Karen will lead us in anointed worship and prayer and teach on the Fall Feasts. Find more information here.

Watch Karen here as she shares a song and blessing for Yom Teruah – the Feast of Trumpets.

Karen Davis

Betsy Roy is the Director of Women of the Word, an inter-generational ministry dedicated to helping women grow as disciples of Jesus by applying God’s Word through the power of the Holy Spirit. WOW holds conferences, retreats, Bible seminars and trips to Israel

Set Me Up Lord!

I believe we all want to be used by God. He’s placed the desire to make a difference in our hearts, entrusted us with spiritual gifts and the power of the Holy Spirit. His word tells us that we are new creations in Christ, and are called to the ministry of reconciliation. We ARE His Ambassadors! (2 Corinthians 5:17-20). 


My friend, Sandra had just finished a conference and was inspired by one of the speakers. He challenged her to pray, “Set Me Up Lord” every morning and watch for Gods divine appointments. Opportunities to encourage, pray for others and share the gospel, led by the Holy Spirit. As Sandra shared a powerful encounter she had with the woman sitting next to her on the plane, I felt stirred to do the same. Set me up Lord! And He did! When I shared my adventures on Facebook and saw the response, I felt the Holy Spirit was at work. 


We began a Facebook group and are inviting you into the adventure of the Set Me Up Lord challenge! Join our Facebook group, Set Me Up Lord. Beginning August 1, we will ask the Lord each day to set us up! Lead us to the ones He has ready! Then watch what the Lord does during the course of your day. Sense the Holy Spirit at work. Share your testimonies with the group to encourage others. Join us for the great adventure! Step into your calling as an Ambassador for Christ!


“You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name.” John 15:16. NRSV

George and Denise Ridley

Denise Ridley founded  Waters Edge Ministries in 2003 and is the weekly host of The Waters Edge radio broadcast on The Light Radio Network in Vermont and WACE in the greater Springfield, MA area. Denise teaches God’s Word with a passionate yet practical, transparent style. She also serves as a prison chaplain and a speaker for Women of the Word.

Using examples from her own life, you will laugh with her as she “tells it like it is” and be empowered to complete God’s purposes in your own life!

Why celebrate the Feast of Pentecost (Shavuot)?

May 16, 2021: Israel is at war! I urge you to pray for the salvation of all her people, both Jew and Arab, and for a cessation of violence and war, Come, Yeshua (Jesus) come we pray!! As a ministry we are also preparing ‘material blessings’ (Romans 15:27). Please consider making a donation here which will be sent directly to help ministries that we have personal relationship with in Israel.

The Feast of Pentecost (Shavuot)

Many Christians have some familiarity with the Feast of Pentecost (Acts 2:1 – 4) mentioned in the New Testament and if you have been part of any organized church tradition you may have heard of it. Did you know that it’s roots are in the Old Testament and actually a Feast that the LORD God commanded the children of Israel to celebrate?

This year (2021) The Feast of “Shavuot” begins the evening of May 16th on the Hebrew Calendar. It is one of the three “pilgrimage” feasts when Jewish males were commanded in the Old Testament to go up to Jerusalem to present offerings to the LORD. The other two are Passover and Tabernacles.

Shavuot means “weeks” in Hebrew so it is also known as the Feast of Weeks because it occurs 7 weeks after the Feast of Firstfruits which today is included in the eight day Feast of Passover (also knows as Feast of Unleavened Bread). Because it starts on the 50th day following Firstfruits, we call it Pentecost. Pente means 50 in Greek. Since Christians follow the Gregorian calendar “Pentecost” this year is Sunday May 23. (Read about the Feast of Firstfruits and Weeks in Leviticus 23:9 – 22).

In the Bible Shavuot is also known as the Feast of Harvest (Exodus 23:16) because it celebrates the beginning (first fruits) of the wheat harvest (Exodus 34:22).

The Wave Offerings

On the Feast of Firstfruits (after Passover), one sheaf of barley was waved as a celebration of the the barley harvest and one male lamb without blemish was offered as a sacrifice unto the LORD. Can you see how this relates to Jesus who is called a spotless lamb and sacrificed himself on the cross for our redemption and salvation? Christ is the first fruits! (1 Corinthians 15:23)

On Shavuot a new grain (wheat) offering is brought to the LORD in the form of two loaves that were waved by the priests (Leviticus 23:16 – 17). Animal sacrifice was also involved in this Feast. However animal sacrifice ceased when the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in 70AD. As Christians we believe Jesus is the perfect and final sacrifice for our sins. Animal sacrifice is no longer necessary for redemption.

The Two Loaves of Bread

What could the two loaves of bread symbolize? They could represent a double portion harvest. In Old Testament days it was the blessing of actual grain because Israel was an agricultural society. But in the New Testament Jesus said, “The fields are already white for harvest” (John 4:35), indicating a harvest of souls!! This is part of our mission as believers — to make disciples. While the Feast of Pentecost is about the Holy Spirit in the Book of Acts, it is also about 3,000 souls coming into the Kingdom! Who were these people? They were primarily Jews because Jews came up to the Temple at Shavuot from all over the known world. 3,000 souls came to know Jesus as Messiah that day and the “church” was born in power. (Read Acts Chapter 2). What an awesome “first fruits” offering and harvest! Many of these new believers empowered by the Holy Spirit would have returned to where they lived across Israel, Asia and even to Rome after Shavuot and spread the Gospel to their neighbors. Glory to God!!

The two loaves could also represent the “One New Man”, the coming together of Jew and Gentile, now one in Messiah Yeshua (Jesus). Together we make up the “church”. (Ephesians 2:11 – 22). God is not done with Israel and will keep His covenant promises to her. The Apostle Paul taught this in Romans Chapters 9 – 11.

The Book of Ruth

A Jewish tradition begun by the Rabbis is to read the Book of Ruth during Shavuot. The story of Ruth begins at the beginning of the barley harvest (Feast of Firstfruits) and continues through the wheat harvest beyond Shavuot. It is very meaningful!

The story of Ruth is of how she, a Moabites came alongside her Jewish mother-in law Naomi to care for her. Ruth emphatically states in Chapter 1, verse 16

“Entreat me not to leave you,
Or to turn back from following after you;
For wherever you go, I will go;
And wherever you lodge, I will lodge;
Your people shall be my people,
And your God, my God.’

Here is the story in a nutshell! Ruth fully identifies with Naomi and returns with her to Bethlehem leaving her own country. Both Naomi’s husband and Ruth’s husband are dead. In that culture widowhood was extremely difficult. Additionally they had no children; Naomi’s sons have also died and Ruth is childless which was another difficulty within the culture.

Naomi’s purpose in returning to Bethlehem is to seek out a “kinsmen redeemer” among her relatives. One is found in Boaz, who foreshadows Jesus, and Ruth marries him. Together they had a son named Obed, who was the father of Jesse, the Father of King David and therefore in the lineage of Messiah Yeshua (Jesus)!!

Here we see a Gentile woman being accepted into the House of Israel. What a beautiful foreshadowing of how the Church is made up of both Jew and Gentile becoming “one new man” in Yeshua. Hallelujah! May we be like Ruth, coming alongside the Jewish people to love them, bless them, care for them and draw them to their Messiah Yeshua!

Can you see how it enriches our understanding of the Scriptures and our walk with the LORD when we understand the richness of our inheritance as demonstrated in the Feasts of the LORD and in the Old Testament? We pray this season of harvest is a blessing to you as you bless others in Yeshua’s name.

View videos to learn more….

Wave Offering with Pam Singer from Israel>>

The Church and Israel with Betsy Roy >>

Betsy Roy is the Director of Women of the Word, an inter-generational ministry dedicated to helping women grow as disciples of Jesus by applying God’s Word through the power of the Holy Spirit. WOW holds conferences, retreats, Bible seminars and trips to Israel

Firstfruits and Resurrection

Leviticus 23 tells us of a little known or discussed Biblical Feast called Firstfruits. What is this Feast about and how is it connected to Jesus, the Messiah ?

The Feast of Firstfruits is the third spring Feast mentioned in the Bible. The people of Israel were commanded to keep the Feast of Passover and Unleavened Bread as a remembrance of their deliverance from Egypt. The Feast of Firstfruits started when they came into the land given to them by God. Today the three feasts are joined into an eight day celebration simply called Passover (Pesach) or the Days of Unleavened Bread. However, little if any mention is now made of Firstfruits.

Let’s take a closer look at what the Bible says about the Feast of Firstfruits.

Read Leviticus 23:9 – 14

The spring Feasts have an agricultural component and the LORD commanded that a sheaf of the barley harvest be brought to the priest and he would wave it before the LORD to be accepted on the person’s behalf and as a sign of dedicating the coming harvest to God.

The priest also sacrificed a male lamb as a burnt offering along with an offering of unleavened bread, mixed with oil, and a drink offering of wine.

Firstfruits is always celebrated the Sunday following Passover.

What does this have to do with Jesus’ Resurrection?

1 Corinthians 15:20 tells us that now Christ is risen from the dead and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. Jesus rose from the dead on the first Sunday following Passover. Jesus is the fulfillment of Passover because he is the perfect, spotless and unblemished lamb who was sacrificed on our behalf. It was at the celebration of the Passover that Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper also known as Communion (read Luke 22:7 – 20). He fulfilled the Feast of Unleavened Bread because he is the bread of life without leaven (without sin). He fulfilled Firstfruits through his resurrection.

HALLELUJAH! HE IS RISEN INDEED!

The Old Testament speaks much about our Messiah Jesus. I encourage you to read the Book of Ruth which is at the time of the barley harvest and speaks of a “kinsmen redeemer”, a type of Christ. Ruth was redeemed and became the great-grandmother of King David and is in the lineage of Jesus (Matthew 1:5 – 6).

To learn more about the Biblical Feasts of the Lord and how they relate to Jesus, please consider joining Women of the Word’s study on Zoom entitled “Messiah in the Feasts of the LORD”, beginning April 5, 2021. God bless you!

Betsy Roy is the Director of Women of the Word, an inter-generational ministry dedicated to helping women grow as disciples of Jesus by applying God’s Word through the power of the Holy Spirit. WOW holds conferences, retreats, Bible seminars and trips to Israel

Betsy and her husband Jim lead the trips to Israel, which include visiting with local believers, both Messianic and Arab. Together they have 3 daughters and 4 grandchildren which are the delight of their hearts. God’s mercy endures from generation to generation.

Esther and the Feast of Purim

Jewish people celebrate the Biblical Feast of Purim and with good reason as it commemorates an important aspect of their history —- deliverance from the wicked Haman and his wicked plot to annihilate the Jews who lived in Persia, which is now modern-day Iran. The king of Persia at that time reigned over one hundred and twenty-seven provinces, from India to Ethiopia (Esther 1:1). Haman had convinced the king that the Jewish people should be destroyed because they were “different”.

In 2006 my husband and I made our second trip to Israel. We were in Jerusalem during the Feast of Purim. We both remember seeing the children dressed up in Purim costumes. We also remember that there were many Jewish families in the hotels. Why was this? Because these families had been forcibly removed and displaced from their homes in the Gaza Strip during Israel’s disengagement from Gaza the previous August. Many Jewish families had to live in hotels! Time has proven that this policy was a catastrophe and the consequences of that decision are still being dealt with today by Israelis and the Palestinians that live in Gaza. The terrorist groups that rule over Gaza continue to wreck much harm on their own people as well as the people of Israel. It’s a very troubling situation.

Esther was in a troubling situation in her day.

The situation of Esther’s day beckoned her to make a decision also. Would she remain silent or would she stand in the gap for her people? If you know the book of Esther you know that she did stand in the gap at the risk of her own life. She won the king’s favor! The king also honored her uncle Mordecai whom Haman wanted hung on gallows and dealt with wicked Haman. Haman’s schemes turned and caused his demise.

Esther continued to intercede for her people.

Esther 8:3 tells us that “Esther spoke again to the king, feel down at his feet, and implored him with tears to counteract the evil of Haman the Agagite, and the scheme which he had devised against the Jews.” King Ahasuerus did just that and the Jewish people were saved and defeated their enemies. No one could withstand them. They had rest from their enemies. Mordecai established the Feast of Purim to celebrate their sorrow turning to joy. They sent presents to one another and to the poor and this tradition continues today.

The story of Esther is relevant in our day!

We are in very troubling times now; perilous times! While anti-semitism is rising across many nations including our own we also see an increasing threat against believers in Jesus. We are viewed as “different” (which we should be), and supposedly also filled with “hate speech”. Many in government and other arenas are trying to have the Bible labeled as “hate speech”. Should we remain silent? I think not. We certainly are not to remain silent in prayer. We are to go before our King and petition Him as Esther did. As believers in Jesus, we have favor with God the Father and can enter His throne room of grace asking for help in time of need! In the USA we can still raise our voice in the public arena and we must or face ever increasing loss of our constitutionally guaranteed freedoms. We must do as the Lord instructed. ““Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” (Matthew 10:16)

The Church at large has been too quiet in the United States. We have been too quiet in prayer and too quiet in the public arena. We have had little effect on the culture and that is to our shame. We have also not dealt with our own ungodliness and sin. May we truly repent and turn from our own wicked ways. Then the culture will see that we are truly different in a good way because we genuinely represent the one who gave His life for us. Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus Come for your Bride!

Join Women of the Word at Sight and Sound in Lancaster, PA June 8 -10, 2021 for the Biblical Theater production of Queen Esther. Hotel, meals and time for shopping and sight-seeing included. An evening meeting with speaker Dr. Lynn Lucas included. REGISTRATION DEADLINE is APRIL 1, 2021. Information at GodConferences.com

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Betsy Roy is the Director of Women of the Word, an inter-generational ministry dedicated to helping women grow as disciples of Jesus by applying God’s Word through the power of the Holy Spirit. WOW holds conferences, retreats, Bible seminars and trips to Israel

Betsy and her husband Jim lead the trips to Israel, which include visiting with local believers, both Messianic and Arab. Together they have 3 daughters and 4 grandchildren which are the delight of their hearts. God’s mercy endures from generation to generation.

What is the Real Hanukkah Miracle?

Hanukkah took place in 165 B.C. and has something to say to us today. It should move us to prayer and action! 

Should Christians even care about Hanukkah? The answer is “yes” because according to John 10:22 (NLT) Jesus was in Jerusalem at the Temple during “the Festival of Dedication” (Hanukkah). While Hanukkah is a celebration of the victory won during the Maccabean revolt it also points to Jesus because it is also known as the Festival of Lights and Jesus is the Light of the World. Most importantly if what happened during Hanukkah had not happened the Jewish people would have been wiped out and so our Savior would not have been born. Think about that for a moment. 

God brought a victory to the Jewish people against all odds during the Maccabean revolt – the real Miracle. But there also had to be people for God to use that were willing to stand up to the injustices of an oppressive regimen. Enter the Maccabee family which were of the tribe of Levi and therefore had a divine calling to be priests of the Lord. Jerusalem and the Temple were under the control of Antiochus IV Epiphanes (means “God Manifest”- oh my!). He persecuted the Jews, decreeing that they could not keep the Sabbath, nor celebrate their Feasts, nor read their Bible. They were forced to participate in pagan practices. Antiochus went so far as to desecrate the altar in the Temple by sacrificing a pig on it to Zeus! Under the leadership of the Maccabees the Jews said “NO!”, revolted and ultimately succeeded. 

The Legend of the Hanukkah menorah.

The legend that a one day supply of oil to light the menorah was found that lasted for eight days did not come into play until about 400 years after the Maccabean revolt and is probably a fake-news miracle! 

An Eight Day Festival

It does seem that the reason that the Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah), which is a celebration of the rededication of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem lasts for eight days is because the Jewish people were not able to celebrate the eight day Feast of Tabernacles (or Booths) that year because it was forbidden. So when victory was won and the Temple rededicated in the winter the people celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles. This is recorded in 2 Maccabees 10:5-8, written less than 100 years after the event and is more likely. Regardless, the tradition of lighting the Hanukkah menorah is over eight days and a beautiful symbol of how God empowered a people willing to stand against oppression and for HIS ways.

“Even if all the nations that live under the rule of the king obey him, and have chosen to obey his commandments, everyone of them abandoning the religion of their ancestors, I and my sons and my brothers will continue to live by the covenant of our ancestors. Far be it from us to desert the law and the ordinances.  We will not obey the king’s words by turning aside from our religion to the right hand or to the left.”  (Matthias Maccabee, 1 Maccabees 2:19-22)

God will bring deliverance to His people even in extremely dire circumstances!

That is the real miracle! But He is looking for people who will co-labor with Him in the working out of the victory. That’s what speaks to us today. The Hanukkah story is a source of inspiration and also a call to stand-up and not bow to a godless society! Will you be one who will continue to pray and say NO to abortion on demand, NO to gay marriage, NO to the loss of religious freedom in our nation for Christians and Jews, NO to secular humanism, marxism, socialism and the like and say YES to upholding God’s commandments and ways, and YES to fighting? I pray that you will.  

A Hanukkah Miracle

Recently Karen Davis and Chaya Mizrachi joined us on Zoom from Israel for a special time of anointed worship, messages and prayer for the US and Israel. Karen spoke powerfully on “A Hanukkah Miracle” about the ongoing struggle of the Sons (and Daughters) of Zion (those that believe in the One true God) against the Sons of Greece (the world). See Zechariah 9:13. This is where we are! God is rousing us to fight the good fight of faith!. Chaya told us a very moving, inspiring and personal family story regarding how Jews were saved in Bulgaria during WW2. They were saved because the King of Bulgaria and the Church rose up and said “NO!” to Jews being deported to the death camps! The King lost his life over it! 

For more history on what happened in Bulgaria watch the 30 minute film put out by Frontier Alliance International entitled “The Fox and the Fuhrer”. Definitely worth the watch! For more understanding on Hanukkah read articles written by Avner Boskey, a Messianic believer who lives with his wife Rachel in Israel.

Betsy Roy is the Director of Women of the Word, an inter-generational ministry dedicated to helping women grow as disciples of Jesus by applying God’s Word through the power of the Holy Spirit. WOW holds conferences, retreats, Bible seminars and trips to Israel

Betsy and her husband Jim lead the trips to Israel, which include visiting with local believers, both Messianic and Arab. Together they have 3 daughters and 4 grandchildren who are the delight of their hearts. God’s mercy endures from generation to generation.

Christian, How Then Shall We Vote?

Many Christians did not vote in the 2016 Presidential election, and I understand that. I almost didn’t either. I didn’t like the choices. However, I believe the Bible does teach us to pray for our leaders and government and to be involved in the process and not abdicate our duties. So, I did vote in 2016 and subsequent elections, and I will vote in 2020.

In 2020 the stakes are even higher than they were in 2016.

We are in the midst of a culture war. As Christians, I believe we are to vote according to God’s voter guide and that’s the Bible — God’s Word. To vote according to our personal preferences and ideas is self-serving. We are to serve God in all our ways, and that includes voting. In the USA, we have this right so we must exercise it.

We must look at the platforms of the parties and vote on the issues, not the personalities of the candidates. It’s not about whom we like or don’t like. I don’t particularly like either candidate for President, but I don’t hate either of them. The amount of hate speech which we supposedly shouldn’t tolerate that has been leveled at both men from both sides, including spoken by Christians, is unbelievable and reprehensible. Both candidates have engaged in this as well, and that is to our nation’s shame.

If I were to make a character assessment I think it’s safe to say that both men are prideful and arrogant. So let’s lay character aside, and focus on policies. This is not to say that character isn’t important, because it is. But given the present circumstances, we must look primarily at policies.

So, what are the policies ? And more importantly, what does God think about these policies ?

As Christians we are to take out our Bibles and earnestly search the Scriptures to ascertain as best we can the mind of the LORD. Isaiah 55:6-9 tells us “Seek the LORD while he may be found, call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” But thanks be to God, He has given us His Word and the Holy Spirit to help us.

Our problem is that we won’t take the time to search out God’s thoughts most of the time . We’d rather have our own thoughts and opinions and ask God to bless them. It doesn’t work that way.

I am not going to quote any more Scripture here. Each Christian most dig into God’s Word themselves and ask the Holy Spirit to bring revelation and application. I will ask a few questions though.

  1. What are God’s thoughts about life from the womb to the tomb? Is it to be honored or thrown away?
  2. What are God’s thoughts concerning Israel and how nations are to interact with the land and the people?
  3. What are God’s thoughts concerning the covenant of marriage?
  4. If we are created in God’s image, why would we change that image by changing our sexual identity?
  5. What are God’s thoughts regarding the role of government and the role of the Church?
  6. What are God’s thoughts regarding the poor, the needy, the orphan, the widow?

Now, no candidate or party platform is going to align with God’s thoughts perfectly. But which candidate’s actions (not his words) align the best? In view of God’s thoughts as written in His Word, how then shall we vote?

Types of Government

Let’s all admit that all government ideologies are flawed and imperfect because they are set up and ruled by human beings. However, which type of government is the least oppressive to the most people? Theocracies, Socialism, Marxism and Communism have all proven themselves to be fatally flawed if we look at them historically. Do we as a nation want to go down any of those roads? Democracies and Republics are also flawed but they do allow for the peaceful expression of individual ideas without fear of oppression and reprisal. Or at least they are supposed to!

A founding principle of the US Constitution is religious freedom

Our Constitution guarantees religious freedom and the free exercise thereof. Which candidates for President, Senate, House of Representatives, Governor, and state and local government officials uphold that?

There are many weighty matters to consider as we cast our votes in 2020. But cast them we should, especially as Christians. It is our right and our duty. So, again I ask — how then shall we vote? Prayerfully my vote will align as much as possible with God’s thoughts and the founding principles of our Constitution and I pray yours does also.

Finally, let’s pray for our nation.

Father, in the name of Jesus our Savior we bring the United States of America before you. We acknowledge Father that we have grievously sinned on many levels. We have disregarded your commandments. We repent and ask your forgiveness. We deserve your righteous judgments. We come before you humbly asking for your hand of mercy to stretch out again over our nation and heal our land and our people. Amen

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Betsy Roy is the Director of Women of the Word, an inter-generational ministry dedicated to helping women grow as disciples of Jesus by applying God’s Word through the power of the Holy Spirit. WOW holds conferences, retreats, Bible seminars and trips to Israel

Betsy and her husband Jim lead the trips to Israel, which include visiting with local believers, both Messianic and Arab. Together they have 3 daughters and 4 grandchildren which are the delight of their hearts. God’s mercy endures from generation to generation.