I just got a note from someone who objects to celebrating Hanukkah because it’s not a biblical command to do so. This gentleman insisted that celebrating Hanuakkah is adding to the word of Elohim, which the Torah forbids. To do so is sin. My response to him is that if you don’t want to do it, then don’t. Pretty simple.
Now let’s examine his specific argument against celebrating Hanukkah. It’s a specious argument since the Torah command found in Deuteronomy 12:32 to not add to the word of Elohim is referring to adding “Thou shalt” commandments to the Torah when YHVH hasn’t said, “Thou shalt….” If we’re not to add anything to the Torah, then we may as well throw out all the rest of the Bible (i.e., the Writings, the Prophets and the Testimony of Yeshua), since it was added to the Torah subsequently.
People like this gentleman need to be careful about taking Bible verses out of context and then lobbing them like missiles at another in order to prove their point by attempting to disprove someone else’s argument. If we’re not careful, we might end up being the one who looks like a fool instead.
Let’s explore his argument against Hanukkah a little further. If it’s adding to the Word of Elohim to celebrate Hanukkah, then the Jews under righteous King Hezekiah were sinning when they, out of zeal for YHVH, kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread for another seven days when the Torah never commanded this to be done (2 Chron 30:21–23). The same is true of Yeshua who added extra (Jewish) traditions to his Last Supper Passover Seder that weren’t specifically prescribed in the Torah to do on Passover. I could give numerous other examples from the Scriptures as well.
Paul in listing the qualifications for an elder in 1 Timothy 3 states that an elder/teacher must be a knowledgeable and mature Bible teacher and not a novice in his understanding of the Scriptures. When someone who has little or no knowledge of the Scriptures — especially the Torah — takes Scriptures out of context and then attempts to correct leaders and teachers who do know the Word of Elohim, such a person can be more of a liability to the body of Yeshua than an asset. As the saying goes, “A person with a little knowledge can be real dangerous, since he doesn’t know how much he doesn’t know.”
My word of advice to those who want to correct the elders/teachers is this: Let’s be humble and be careful when we feel the urge to correct elders, leaders and Bible teachers unless we really know what we’re talking about. If we have questions about something, let’s ask them in humility, instead of outright correcting them. That way, we won’t look foolish if we happen to be wrong about it.
Lest anyone think that I’m lifting myself up in inferring that I’m one of those knowledgeable elders and teachers, let me say this. The other day, I just passed another milestone in my life, and I’ve got six decades on this earth in my sights! In this time, I’ve learned that there’s always someone who knows more than you do. Also, someone else may be an expert in one thing that you’re not an expert in. There’s also always someone who’s an elder to you. In my business, I have a lot of clients who are in their 70s, 80s, and even a few in their 90s. I’m still a kid to them! All this is to say that we all need to stay humble about everything in life — especially our knowledge of the Scriptures, since there’s so much more to learn, and none of us really knows that much. Amein!