Jean Stepnoski (23 Nov 2010)
"The Preparation for 160 Years: The numbers 8, 9 and 20"

Dear Doves,
      From the victory of the Maccabee family and others in 165 B.C. until 5 B.C. was 160 years. The estimation of the birth year of The Messiah of Israel would be about that year of 5 B.C. Individuals of The House of Israel married very young and had children when they were very young. It would have been from ages 12 to 20. When we look at those 160 years we see 8 generations of young Israel, marrying and having children of the next generations. The age of 20 was very important for the men of the 12 tribes. It was the age when they could be available to go to war. It was also the age when the men were commanded to go to the Temple in Jerusalem and attend the 3 Pilgrimage Festivals of the Spiritual Year: First Passover/Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. Some men died before the young age of 21. Yet, even so young they had married and ensured the continuity of the generations of the House of Israel. The Hanukkh miracles of preservation, restoration, and revival were symbolically continuing with each new generation!
      In those 8 generations of young Israel, and others of all ages, were many individuals with increasing or nearly feverish anticipation, eagerness, expectancy, devotion, fervor, and hope for the coming of the long awaited Deliverer, The Messiah of Israel! With the Hanukkah Season of  5 B.C. would be the symbolic date of beginning, of conception, of generation 9 of young Israel. It is difficult for us to imagine the tremendous depth of messianic expectations, imaginings, and longings. Many women wanted to be chosen to be the mother of The Messiah, the agent sent from Heaven of liberation and freedom! There is a wonderful sequence in the George Steven's classic "The Greatest Story Ever Told" which gives a quality of these things. In the sequence are fascinating tableaus of images of the expectant ones, the suffering ones, even those desperate ones. It is done in silence, with no dialogue and without music, which then leads to images of  wilderness and John the Baptist calling out to repent and  come near. The numbers 8 and 9 are associated with the 8 days of Hanukkah and the number 9, the light or lamp to light the others. It is like a servant light or shamash. The number 9 is also associated with The Fruit of the Spirit. See Galatians  5:22. Is it coincidence that we see these patterns of numbers: 8, 9, 20, and 160 leading up to the First Coming of The Master? May we be daily eager and WATCHING for the coming of our long expected Light of the World, these days of Advent and Hanukkah! Come quickly, Lord...
With Love and Shalom,