Biblical Feasts: Hanukkah

HANUKKAH: Herald to the Messiah

“‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.” Zechariah 4:6

The holiday of Hanukkah is literally translated, “Dedication.” This year it starts December 2, 2018 at sundown and continues for eight days. The events of Hanukkah are recorded in the Book of Maccabees in the collection of writings known as The Apocrypha. Yeshua’s observance of Hanukkah is mentioned in John 10:22. The Feast of Dedication commemorates the victory of a small band of Jewish priests-turned warriors over the (demonized) Syro-Greek emperor, Antiochus Epiphanes in 166 BC. This evil ruler is widely regarded by Christian Bible scholars as a foreshadow of the anti-Christ.

Antiochus Epiphanes took over and desecrated the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, sacrificing a pig to Zeus on the altar. Sadly, the Jews had so assimilated over the years into the pagan Hellenistic culture of the day, that they gave little resistance to the emperor’s “abomination of desolation.”

One family alone, the Maccabees, led a righteous revolt against this foreshadowing figure of the anti-Christ. The Maccabees were a family of priests. They refused to succumb to the spirit of the age, regardless of the consequences. Unlike most of their Jewish brethren, they would not bow to the idol of Zeus sitting in the Temple on God’s holy hill or assent to other anti-God commands. Infuriated by their resistance, Antiochus Epiphanes set out to kill and annihilate all the Jews. The Maccabees and a small remnant who joined them fought bravely against the emperor’s armies. Miraculously, they were victorious. Not by might nor by power, but by God’s Spirit, they defeated the enemy against all odds.

The Maccabees recaptured, restored, and rededicated the Temple on what was to become known as Hanukkah. They found a small cruise of purified oil with which to light the lampstand. The oil was sufficient to burn just one day. It would take another eight days to purify a new supply of oil. But miraculously, according to ancient Jewish texts, the oil lasted eight full days. For this reason, Hanukkah is also known as the Festival of Lights.

Had all the Jewish people been destroyed, or had they assimilated into the pagan culture of the day, the Jewish Messiah could never have been come the first time to save humanity. This Hanukkah, let’s take heart at the courage and faith of the Maccabees. Yeshua is looking for those willing to embrace the spirit of the Maccabees. In the challenges and blessings of the year ahead, determine not to assimilate into the cultural norms and deception of the world. Stay faithful to Him in the spirit of Maccabean warrior-priests. Choose the best!

May God keep the oil in your lamps burning, and your temples (bodies) dedicated to His glory, as we await and prepare for Messiah’s second coming.