Hanukkah is Celebrated
Published on December 12, 2008 By KFC Kickin For Christ In Religion

The Saga continues as we move towards the celebration of Hanukkah.

We left off with the madman, the Syrian King Antiochus, who filled the Jews with terror and persecution.  Immediately after the December 25th fiasco when the pig on the altar was slaughtered by the madman and his men the faithful Jews fled to the wilderness hiding in the hills and the caves.  They were hunted down as animals and slaughtered when caught.  Thousands died as Martyrs as they remained faithful to the one true God. 

Again, as I have been reading "Tortured For Christ," I see this played out all over again.  Only in Communist Romaia the underground Church was routed out and killed or imprisoned for worshipping the same God as the Jews did in 168 B.C. 

During this time of Antiochus, there were many heroic acts recorded in Jewish history.  One such story is about Eleazar who was a very old Jewish scribe.  He was brought before Antiochus and commanded to eat pig's meat.  He refused to defile himself.  He was beaten until he died. 

There were many stories relating to this time of anguish for the Jews.  Many were tortured by being boiled alive, having hands and feet cut off.  Some had tongues cut off becuase they would not apostize their faith and worship the deity Antiochus. 

In order to enforce the ways of Antiochus, the Syrian army were dispatched to various villages.  One such group of Syrians ended up in a small village called Modin which was about 17 miles outside of Jerusalem.  They built a pagan altar to Zeus.  A very old priest named Mattathias was brought out of the crowd.  He was ordered to sacrifice a pig to honor Zeus and Antiochus.   Mattathias had five sons who were in the crowd. 

Mattathias would not go against his God to do such a thing.  Another priest stepped forward.  He offered to do this as he was willing to apostasize his faith to keep the peace.  The crowd watched. 

Mattathias grabbed the sword from a Syrian officer and killed the Apostate Priest. A priest sacrificing a pig was an abomination.  His five sons rushed onto the group of Syrians and killed the soldiers in all the commotion.  This was a declaration of war or revolt against the Syrian Army as enemies of their God by Mattathias and his sons. 

These five sons were joined by many others as their rebellion spread.  The leader of the five, after his father died, was named Judah.  He was a military genius.  He was called the Maccabee which meant "hammer."   The Maccabees were a thorn in the flesh to the Syrians.  Gradually over a three year period they wore down the Syrian occupation.  At first they waged their guerilla warfare outside of Jerusalem,  gradually getting closer to the Great City of God. 

When they finally succeeded and the Syrians retreated, the Maccabees were stunned at the desolation of Jerusalem.  It was a mess.  The beautiful Temple area was in ruins.  They were met with a very large ugly Zeus idol image with the face of Antiochus in the Temple.  This so reminds me of our soldiers going into Iraq and being met with the very large statue of Saddam Hussein amid the ruins of a desolated city. 

The first order of business was to cleanse the Temple by first moving the idol and then by rebuilding the holy altar.  On Kislev (December) 25th, 165 B.C exactly three years to the day from its defilement by the Gentiles, they rededicated the altar to God. 

According to the Talmud, the Maccabees found only one small container of unpolluted oil in the Temple.  It was only supposed to be one day's supply for the golden lampstand.  But it miraculously burned for 8 days.  This is the reason for the eight days of burning lights to celebrate Hanukkah. 

Hanukkah is mentioned only on rare instances in the Talmud.  The reason is thought to be because later the Maccabean dynasty became very corrupt.  The Talmud came from the Pharisaic tradition which was at odds with the Sadduccees who aligned themselves with the descendants of the Maccabees. 

Josephus who was the Jewish historian in the first century called this holiday The Feast of Lights.  Later when Jesus walked this earth we read it was called "The Feast of Dedication" written by John in the first century.  You can find this in John 10:22-23. 

Hanukkah speaks of and commerates God's faithful deliverance of the Jews thru the Maccabees.  Satan, tried his best to intervene in God's holy plan before the birth of the Lord.  Once again, his plan was overthrown.  We see all throughout the OT how Satan did everything in his power to corrupt or destroy the Jewish line unsuccessfully but not for lack of trying.  He remembered the promise given in the garden how one born of a woman would someday crush his head severely giving him a head wound from which he would never recover.  He knew this one would come from the line of Judah.  He came very close to destroying this line more than once. 

As you probably know, the ceremony of Hanukkah is mostly about the lighting of candles each evening for eight successive nights.  The menorah holds eight candles with an additional candle usually in the center.  This ninth candle is lifted higher than the other eight and is called the shammash or "servant" candle.  It is used to light the other candles.  Each night the servant candle is used to light one additional candle until all are lit on the eighth night of Hanukkah.  By tradition they are lit from left to right thanking God for his deliverance as each is lit.  This menorah is supposed to be placed in the front of the house or window so that all who travel by can see the lights and remember the meaning of Hanukkah. 

In Israel today marathon runners are sent to that little Village of Modin.  They light their torches from the Hanukkah menorah there and then run the torches back to Jerusalem where a procession is held at the Western Wall of the Temple to light the great menorah. 

I'd like to get into the biblical connection for Hanukkah next time.  While there are no answers found in scripture surrounding this holiday, we can see the pattern laid out for us there.  We'll look at the 8 days, the lights and how Daniel fits into all this.  Remember he wrote the background for all this more than 400 years before it became reality. 









on Dec 12, 2008

I look forward to the Christian overlay.  I am pleased with your evident respect.  May you be a blessing. Shabbat Shalom.

on Dec 12, 2008

Thanks Sodaiho,  I made a title change btw.  I was in a hurry this afternoon when I posted this and decided to highlight the celebration that Hanukkah really is. 

I have always respected the position of the Jews in God's eyes.  The Christians I know and associat with feel the same way. It's a natural love that comes from the spirit of Christ.   It all goes back to Genesis where God stated that Shem (Jews) will dwell in the tents of Japeth (Gentile).  Paul and Jesus spoke of they mystery of the OT that the Jew and the Christian would be united as the Christians would be grafted into the Abrahamic tree. 

There's so much to say on this subject.  I hope I'm doing it justice so I aprreciate your feedback and any that share Jewish heritage for that matter.