Hanukkah and Christians

This article comes from the website, opendoorministrieswv.org

The Feast of Dedication

Hanukkah is the Hebrew word for dedication.

 It is not the Jewish alternative to Christmas.

This holiday represents a story all of its own.

It is a story of incredible faithfulness to God and a story of awesome courage.

We know it also as a story of re-dedication of a defiled Temple.

Like Christmas it is a time to wonder at the miracles of God.

Hanukkah is a time to rededicate and celebrate.

Most importantly, Hanukkah is not just for Jews.

Yeshua (Jesus) celebrated Hanukkah.
So why shouldn’t Christians?
If it was important to Jesus shouldn’t it be important to us?

Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter.  And Jesus walked in the Temple, in Solomon’s porch.
John 10: 22~23

Although Hanukkah is not described in great detail in the scriptures, it is probably the most historically documented of all the Jewish holidays.

This holiday is about a dedicated people who refused to compromise. A remnant of people who refused to give in and go against God’s Word.

“Light in the Darkness” is what this holiday is all about.

This is one reason why every believer should choose to celebrate Hanukkah.

Every believer in the Messiah should be a
“Light in the Darkness.”

JJ lighting Hanukkah candles, 2009

The history behind Hanukkah should be known by every Christian and we,
like our Jewish brothers and sisters, should pass this extraordinary story of
faith down to our children.

A day will come when our children and grandchildren will need to know how to stand and not back down.

Although it is certain that Yeshua took part in this festival it is not mentioned in the Old Testament.
It is not mentioned because it happened during the time between the old and the new.  We like to call those years the silent years but they were not very silent.
True, there were no prophetic words spoken but God was still on the scene!
The Hanukkah story is recorded in great  detail in books called
“The Maccabees.”
You may also find recorded information in the writings of the great historian Josepheous.
The only place in the Bible that Hanukkah is mentioned by name is John 10:22.

The Story of Hanukkah

The events behind Hanukkah started with the Alexander the Great
and his conquest of the world in the 4th century B.C.
Alexander the Great had one goal, to conquer the world.  His
conquest introduced the world to Greek every thing.  Greek
language, thought, custom, and philosophy.

Greek education had become a universal standard.

Emerging were the Greek theaters, chariot races, gymnasiums
and stadiums.
The land of Israel was no exception.
When Alexandra conquered he didn’t just conquer the people he conquered their culture.
Many Jews accepted this culture with open arms.
They said, “Hey, this is modern days why do we need to stick
with the book?”
Why do we need to do what the Torah says?
The ones that didn’t want to compromise said, “That’s who we
are, we are people of the book.”
There was a split.
During this time many Jews gave into Hellenism and embraced
the Greek culture with open arms.
Alexander was so ambitious that he conquered what was then the whole world by age twenty-three.

Daniel 8: 5~7, 21
And as I was considering, suddenly a male goat came from the
west, across the surface of the whole earth, without touching the ground; and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes.
Then he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen
standing beside the river, and ran at him with furious power.
And I saw him confronting the ram; he was moved with rage
against him, attacked the ram, and broke his two horns.  There
was no power in the ram to withstand him, but he cast him down to the ground and trampled him; and there was no one that could deliver the ram from his hand.
Verse 21
And the male goat is the kingdom of Greece.  The large horn that is between its eyes is the first king.

What Daniel was prophesying is exactly what happened.
Alexandra came in charging like a goat with a single, powerful
horn; one man power; one world power.
He trampled and shattered everything in his path.
All that was to conquer he conquered.

Alexander the Great then died in 323 B.C.
He died but the Greek culture lived on.  And it continued to
spread and poison the minds of the people.
After his death, Alexander’s empire split into four parts.  His four generals divided all his conquests amongst themselves.

Daniel 8: 8, 22
Therefore the male goat grew very great; but when he became
strong, the large horn was broken, and in place of it four notable ones came up toward the four winds of heaven.
Verse 22
As for the broken horn and the four that stood up in its place, four kingdoms shall arise out of that nation, but not with its power. One of Alexander’s generals took the area of what later became Syria.  The ruler that came into power of that are several generations later was Antiochus.

Antiochus was a nut~case.
He declared himself “Epiphanes.”
Which means “god manifest.”
In other words he was stating that he was divine, he was god.
What he was, was a mad man.
He had statues of himself every where and he ordered the people to worship them.  He even placed them in the Temple.

The Greek language became mandatory and the Greek religion
were also required.
Hellenist Jews even brought a gymnasium to Jerusalem.
What is wrong with that?
Gymnasium actually means “nude men.”
The gym was a place were nude men played sports while the
spectators worshiped the players.

Sound familiar?
Our sport players may not be nude today but we still have a lot of people worshiping them and worshiping the sports.

There is nothing wrong with enjoying sports but anything that has our attention more than God does is idolatry.

What is a Hellenist?
A Hellenists is someone that totally embraces the Greek culture. Hellenist glorified themselves instead of God.  They glorified the human body both in sport and in art.

They were humanist worshiping man instead of God, making men into gods.
During this time many Jews forsook their Jewishness for
monetary gain and prestige.
Some male Jews even participated in the nude Greek sporting
events. Many gave into the times in which they lived, thinking they would be accepted if they where part of the crowd.
In the end it not only cost them their lives but their souls.

During this time in a midst of a heated rage over a loss battle,
Antiochus ordered Jerusalem to be destroyed.
Houses were burned, the walls of the city broken down,
thousands were killed or sold into slavery.  Including the ones
that embraced Antiochus’ ways.
Then his attention was turned to the Temple on Mount Zion.
Syrian soldiers destroyed the porches and gates.  They stripped
the Temple of its golden vessels and treasures, including the
incense altar, the table and the menorah.

Daniel 11:29~31
At the appointed time he shall return and go toward the south; but it shall not be like the former or the latter.  For ships from Cyprus shall come against him; therefore he shall be grieved, and return in rage against the holy covenant, and do damage.  So he shall return and show regard for those who forsake the holy covenant. And forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation.

Antiochus erected an idol of Zeus on the holy altar

On the birthday of Zeus, December 25th, Antiochus offered a pig on the altar of our Lord, Adonai.
He then proceeded to sprinkle its blood in the Holy of Holies and poured its broth over the holy scrolls; which he cut to pieces and burned. The Sanctuary and the Holy of Holies had been desecrated and defiled.
The Temple was converted to a shrine to Zeus and only swine
were permitted for sacrifice.
Antiochus’ goal was to abolish every trace of the Jewish religion. He issued orders forbidding circumcision, Sabbath observance, kosher diets and the study of Torah.
Those who attempted to live out the Torah (God’s Word) were put to death. Women who had their children circumcised were put to death. Before being killed they were used as human crosses and their babies were hung to death from the mother’s own neck. Many Jews gave in and chose to comply with the new laws.  They forsook Torah (God’s Word) to save their own lives.  Others stood fast to the covenant and paid for their convictions dearly. Jewish history records many courageous acts of faithful devotion.

Eleazar, a ninety year old man was commanded to eat swine’s
flesh.  Not willing to deceive the young people with his example
he refused to break the law of God.  The soldiers beat him until he died.  To him, if he could compromise on that he could
compromise on any part of God’s law.
This isn’t about pork, this is about compromise.
As believers in Messiah we must set an example of the Gospel
for all to see.

Just as Yeshua is the light in darkness we must be the light in
darkness.

A women named Hannah and her seven sons were arrested for
their refusal to forsake the Torah (God’s Word).  One by one her sons were tortured, forcing the mother to watch.  When they refused to yield they were boiled alive in cauldrons.  The mother encouraged the youngest and last son with the hope of
resurrection and then she too was put to death.

There were many more like her.

Hebrews 11:35
Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.

Daniel 11: 33, 34
And those of the people who understand shall instruct many; yet for many days they shall fall by sword and flame, by captivity and plundering.
Now when they fall, they shall be aided with a little help; but
many shall join with them by intrigue.

Hidden away in the mountains was a man named Mattathias along with his sons.  This was a priestly family from the line of Aaron. As a matter of fact, Matthew from the Gospel of Matthew, whose name was really the Jewish name Mattathias, history tells us that he was named after this particular man.
The Priest Mattathias that would not compromise.
From this family’s influence soon a small army formed.  Prior to Mattathias’s death he passed his leadership to his son Judah.
Judah and his freedom fighters came to be called the Maccabees.
Maccabee was not his last name.
Maccabee means hammer.

The amazing thing about these freedom fighters was that they
consist of the common people.  Farmers, workers and servants.
Usually it is what we might call the common people what are
willing to stand for what is right.

Most people, not all but most who are of great prestige and
wealth are not willing to lose what they have in this world so
they compromise the Word of God.

The greatest treasures are the ones we store in heaven

The greatest kingdom we can build is God’s Kingdom and not our own
The Maccabees knew they were out numbered but they also
knew that God was in charge.

When the men feared for their lives Judah encouraged them with these words
“It is easy for many to be overcome by few; in the sight of
heaven there is no difference between deliverance by many or
by few; for victory in war does not depend upon size of the army, but on strength that comes from heaven.  With great presumption and lawlessness they come against us to destroy us and our wives and children and to despoil us; but we are fighting for our lives and our Torah laws.  He Himself will crush them before us; so do not be afraid of them.”

Since then Israel has proven this statement to be true many
times.

Remember the words of Yeshua in Matthew 10:28
“Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.  But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

In an incredible victory Adonai our Lord overthrew the massive army before the small group of faithful fighters.

It was clearly a miracle from heaven.
In battle after battle a few overpowered many.
The weak overturned the strong.

Because they were willing to stand and not compromise God
gave them the victory.

When we stand up for God’s Word and not compromise no matter how hard it seems at times, God will see us through.

He will give us the victory!
Stand on His Word no matter what!
What He says will come to pass if you believe!
When you have done all to stand, continue to stand.

Trust Him
Believe Him
Serve Him
and
Love Him
and
His Word will work for you!

This small army of freedom fighters trusted God and they were
able to take Jerusalem back.

They regained control of the Holy Temple and began to purify it. The altar was torn down and rebuilt.  The Temple was restored and new vessels were crafted.  The Temple courts were consecrated.  The altar of incense and the table were brought back into the Temple.  They burnt the incense on the altar and put the shewbread on the table, hung the curtains. They prepared the house of God for His presence. Every thing was ready except one thing. They found only one small cruse of oil. Just enough to light their holy lamps one day They decided to light it anyways.

To everyone’s amazement the menorah miraculously burned for eight days until new oil could be made!

Little is much when God is in it!
When we decide to take one small step of faith God can do
miraculous things in our lives.
The congregation of Israel decreed that the rededication of the
altar should be observed with joy and gladness at the same
season each year for eight days.
Hanukkah teaches us to stand and be of good courage
Do not compromise
We can overcome with God
If God be for you who can be against you!

Romans 12:21
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
We are able to overcome the world because Yeshua has
overcome and greater is He that is in us than he who is in the
world

We will face Antiochus again and again.
Many anti – Christs will come.

1 John 2:18
“Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the anti-Christ is coming.  Even now many ant-Christs have come, by which we know that it is the last hour.”

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6 thoughts on “Hanukkah and Christians

  1. theWomanAtTheWell says:

    TJ,
    WOW! phennomonal post my friend. thank you for this great share. and why not always celebrate miracles of God, no matter when or whom they were/are for? God Bless your blog here and the work you are doing for the Kingdom.-WATW

  2. This and everything else I’ve been looking into is really giving me a lot to think about .

    • TJ says:

      I hear you, Ariel! Since we have been study Hebrew and the Hebraic perspective of the Bible, we have had a LOT to ponder. We have learned so MUCH.

  3. […] Hanukkah and Christians (kingdaughter.wordpress.com) […]

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