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What is Hanukkah?

Hanukkah celebrates the re-dedication of the 2nd Temple in Jerusalem after the successful rebellion of the Maccabees against King Antiouchus Epiphanes, (175-164 B.C.)

The full story of Hanukkah is documented in the books of 1st and 2nd Maccabees.

In short, 167 B.C. was the peak of Greek persecution and oppression in Jerusalem.  Mattathias, the Temple Kohen) and his five sons, Yohanan, Shimon, Judah, Eleazer, Yonatan, began a revolt against King Antiochus IV when he erects an alter of Zeus in the Temple and orders the sacrifice of a pig.

A Hellenized Jew and a Greek official are about to do the unthinkable when Mattathias stabs and kills them both.   He yells to the people, “Follow me, all of you who are for God’s law and stand by the covenant.” (1-Maccabees 2:27)

They head for the hills and form a guerrilla army.  Mattathias’ eldest son Judah gains the nick name Maccabee meaning The Hammer” which is also an acronym for mi komocho ba’alim Hashem, “who is like you among the powers O God.”

Although they battle against the Selucid Greeks for 25 years they are able to gain control of the Temple after 3 years.  The Temple is cleansed and rededicated on the 25th of Kislev, (the 9th lunar month).

Biblical Record of Hanukkah

Y’shua, (Jesus) is noted as being at the Temple during the Feast of Dedication/Hanukkah.

“At that time the Feast of Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple courts in Solomon’s Colonnade.…” John 10:22, 23.

Historical Accounts of Hanukkah

First century historian Josephus writes about Hanukkah in his book, Jewish Antiquities XII:

“Now Judas celebrated the festival of the restoration of the sacrifices of the temple for eight days, and omitted no sort of pleasures thereon; but he feasted them upon very rich and splendid sacrifices; and he honored God, and delighted them by hymns and psalms. Nay, they were so very glad at the revival of their customs, when, after a long time of intermission, they unexpectedly had regained the freedom of their worship, that they made it a law for their posterity, that they should keep a festival, on account of the restoration of their temple worship, for eight days. And from that time to this we celebrate this festival, and call it Lights. I suppose the reason was because this liberty beyond our hopes appeared to us; and that thence was the name given to that festival. Judas also rebuilt the walls round about the city, and reared towers of great height against the incursions of enemies, and set guards therein. He also fortified the city Bethsura that it might serve as a citadel against any distresses that might come from our enemies.”
“The king, (Aniochus IV) being thereto disposed beforehand, complied with them, and came upon the Jews with a great army, and took their city by force, and slew a great multitude of those that favored Ptolemy, and sent out his soldiers to plunder them without mercy. He also spoiled the temple, and put a stop to the constant practice of offering a daily sacrifice of expiation for three years and six months.”

Megillat Antiochus, a second century Aramaic original, writes of Hanukkah:

“After this, the sons of Israel went up to the Temple and rebuilt its gates and purified the Temple from the dead bodies and from the defilement. And they sought after pure olive oil to light the lamps therewith, but could not find any, except one bowl that was sealed with the signet ring of the High Priest from the days of Samuel the prophet and they knew that it was pure. There was in it [enough oil] to light [the lamps therewith] for one day, but the God of heaven whose name dwells there put therein his blessing and they were able to light from it eight days. Therefore, the sons of Ḥashmonai made this covenant and took upon themselves a solemn vow, they and the sons of Israel, all of them, to publish amongst the sons of Israel, [to the end] that they might observe these eight days of joy and honour, as the days of the feasts written in [the book of] the Law; [even] to light in them so as to make known to those who come after them that their God wrought for them salvation from heaven. In them, it is not permitted to mourn, neither to decree a fast [on those days], and anyone who has a vow to perform, let him perform it.”

Truth and Tradition

On the right is a picture of an authentic Menorah as described in the Torah, Exodus 37:17. On the left is a Hanukiah, adding two extra branches to the candlestick because one days oil burned miraculously for eight days during the re-dedication of the 2nd Temple.  The one on the right is Truth, the one on the left, tradition.

menorah

A Seven Branch Menorah.

hanukkiah

A Nine Branch Menorah.  (This one includes a star of David, a symbol only 200 years)

Should Non-Jewish Believers Celebrate Hanukkah?

The terms Jewish and Non-Jewish should no longer exist.  Regardless of how many religious people remain divided, due to their Spiritual blindness, the Spirit of our Creator is One.  There is Unity/Oneness in our Creator’s Spirit,  Y’shua has made the two One in His Spiritual, (le’olam #5769) Life:

Our Creator’s Eternal, (le’olam), prophecies can be traced from the line of Judah, Joel 3:20, to Abraham’s le’olam Seed, all the way back to the most ancient promised prophesy; the promised “Seed of the woman.”

From the beginning, Adam and Eve had hope in the Seed who stand with his feet on the head of the serpent/death, Genesis 3:15; Galatians 3:28Romans 3:29Romans 10:12; Colossians 3:11.

Y’shua was Jewish because He came from the tribe of Judah, but He was against religion. For those who have read His words, He spoke very boldly against the religious leaders and their legalistic additions to His (le’olam) Word, Psalm 119:160.

Judah was one of Jacob’s twelve sons.  God called Jacob Israel, because he prevailed…and this is the origin of the twelve tribes of Israel.  God chose to set Judah apart for His purpose.  Because God says He is not partial, we know His purpose is never ethnocentric.

Y’shua Was, Is, and continues to Be, YHVH’s purpose.  The meaning of Y’shua’s full Name reveals what translation missed;  Y’hoshua means, YHVH is Salvation.

Will There Be A Future Re-Dedication/Hanukkah?

The desecration of the Temple is prophesied to happen again, Matthew 24:15, 16; Mark 13:14Luke 21:20Daniel 12:11.  Understand that His people are Called His Temple.

Do you not know that you yourselves are God’s temple, and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?”  1 Corinthians 3:16

Hanukkah is unlike YHVH’s Seven sacred days, commanded by our Creator.  Hanukkah is a historical reminder of those who were faithful to God’s Instructions, and History repeats itself…

 

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