Hanukkah is soon to be celebrated.  Some have no real idea why they celebrate it like they do but as traditions go, it's something to be celebrated.  We all know we look forward to our traditions and celebrations even if we're not sure of the origins of such holidays. 

Even though Hanukkah has a legend behind it, and I'm speaking of the little jar of oil which was kept burning for eight days with only one day's supply of oil, we're still not exactly sure if that is why Hanukkah is celebrated for 8 days.  There's no credible explanation as to why this holiday is celebrated with lights but there may be a pattern for this in scripture.  

According to the Talmud it took 8 days to rebuild the desecrated altar.  That's why Hanukkah is celebrated for 8 days.  Some are not quite sure if this is true or not because earlier sources for Hanukkah don't say. 

In Scripture a pattern of 8 days was always the pattern of dedication.  Any object dedicated to God was set aside for 7 days and then on the 8th day it was holy to the Lord.  We see this in the case of firstborn animals sanctified to God (Ex 22:30, Lev 22:27).  Males were also circumcised on the 8th day (Lev 12:3).  The Tabernacle in the wilderness was set aside for 7 days and on the 8th it was considered Holy (Ex 29L37).  On and on it goes. 

We know that Hanukkah is a celebration of a cleansed Temple, but we also see another pattern for this during King Hezekiah's day.  His father was the wicked King Ahaz who also defiled the Temple with sacrifices to Assyrian gods.  When King Hezekiah came onto the throne he cleansed and rededicated the Temple back to the Lord after 8 days (2 Chron 29:16-17).   This is well before Hanukkah.

Most likely there is another reason for Hanukkah being celebrated 8 days.  It's directly patterned after the Feast of Tabernacles.  This Feast was a seven day feast followed by a Sabbath.  In Maccabees 10:6-7 (a Jewish historical account of Hanukkah) we read this:

"And they kept eight days with gladness, as in the feast of the tabernacles, remembering that not long afore they had held the feast of tabernacles, when they wandered in the mountains and dens like beasts.  Therefore they bare branches, and fair boughs, and palms also, and sang plsams unto him that had given them good success in cleansing his place"

So Hanukkah was almost like a second observance of Tabernacles.  This is in quite the same way that Hezekiah instituted a second observance of Passover when the people couldn't keep the first one, (2 Chron 30, Numbers 9:10-11) and explains why the Hallel which were originally sung at Tabernacles is still sung in the synagogue Hanukkah service today.  The Hallel consists of singing the Psalms 113-118. 

So now the question is why lights at Hanukkah?  When Solomon dedicated the very first real Temple to the Lord he did so at the Feast of Tabernacles.  That dedication included the coming of God's glory to the Temple.  This was accompanied by a divine lighting of the fire upon the altar.  Later the Feast of Tabernacles included an impressive light celebration each of the seven nights at the Temple.  Hanukkah also celebrated the re-lighting of the fire on the newly cleansed altar so the emphasis on light was a natural fit. 

Remembering that Hanukkah's first celebration was in 165 B.C. and was a celebration of freedom from foreign Syrian opression their thoughts of national deliverance would be aroused.  In the time of Jesus, Israel was looking for that ultimate deliverer, the Messiah, who would overthrow the Roman yolk from upon their shoulders.  They expected this Messiah to usher in the Kingdom bringing back the Shekinah glory that had departed from Solomon's Temple.  This Messiah would put their enemies in their place.  They would be vindicated. 

So during  one such Hanukkah celebration a group of Jews came to Jesus.  He was celebrating Hanukkah with them in the same Temple that had been cleansed and rededicated over a hundred years prior.  They asked him:  "How long do you keep us in doubt?  If you are the Christ (Messiah) tell us plainly."   He had shown he was the Messiah and verified this with not only his words and much knowledge about the scriptures but also his many miracles.  They bypassed all that because he did not fill their expectations of a military Messiah.

Jesus tried to open their minds and understanding but it only drove them into a blind rage that they sought to kill him.  He could not be their Messiah because they were so blind to Him and His message and therefore rejected Him. 

Many suggest a connection between Hanukkah and Christmas since they both fall on the 25th of the month Kislev/December.  There is no biblical basis for celebrating the birth of Christ on December 25th.  Before the inception of the Catholic Church, the Christians looked at birthdays as a pagan custom. 

These dates are connected.  Zeus was seen as the deity of the sun.  Together with his goddess mother they formed the Greek version of the mother/child deity founded in Babylon.  Antiochus chose the 25th of the month to defile the temple with his pig sacrifice because it was the birthday of his god Zeus.  Sun worshipping heathens celebrated this day as the birthday of the new sun because the days were beginning to lengthen. 

In the 4th Century the RCC took this same day, December 25th to celebrate the Mass of Christ in honor of his birth.  This day was chosen in an effort to "Christianize" pagans so that all could eventually be brought into the Roman Church.

For many centuries the true Christians condemned this day as nothing more than sun worship.  Nonetheless this holiday rapidly gained acceptance and became so established even the fathers of the Protestant revolution couldn't dislodge it. 

Hanukkah is a great reminder of the heroes of the faith who were willing to fight for what they believed as they stood firm in the face of persecution.   Many were martyred and others went on to do some great things for God all in the name of Faith in the one true God.  Without faith it's impossible to please Him. 

Hanukkah is also a reminder of God's faithfulness to his people.  Satan used Antiochus to try and destroy God's people through assimilation and annihilation.  Had he won there would have been no more Jews, no Messiah to come and no cross to die on.  All the world wold have been lost forever in their sin without any hope.  So the miracle isn't in that little jar of oil but in God's faithfulness and promise to His people that He would never leave them nor forsake them.  His promise has always been that the Jews will be standing here in the end. 

When God says it.  That settles it. 



on Dec 15, 2008

Something interesting I heard (I have NO way to verify) about Chanukah. 

Some spanish Catholic that were Crypto-Jews called Chanukah the feast of Conception.  My understanding is that they ventured the notion that Jesus was conceived during this feast which when you calculate the months would agree with a fall birth that many historical scholars say.

Again a non-verifiable position with just enough in it to be sound truthful?



KFC, do you celebrate Christmas or Chanukah or neither?

on Dec 15, 2008

Yes, AD, I have heard of that.  Some think as a result he was born in September.  My belief is that he will come back during the Feast of Trumpets time which falls around that time.

But not sure how Hanukkah and the conception of Christ got linked.  Hanukkah is clearly the rededication of the temple 165 years before his birth.  Obviously there's no way for us to verify as you said. 

We celebrate the birth of Christ or the incarnation. 

on Dec 15, 2008

We celebrate Christmas.

I don't really care if people assigned December 25th to Zeus.

That is certainly not who we are celebrating...but it is the day the Lord has made, so let us rejoice and be glad in it.


on Dec 15, 2008

History of Hanukkah
Hanukkah: Basic Concepts And Laws
by Chaim Coffman

What is Hanukkah? 

The Talmud tells us that beginning with the 25th of Kislev, eight days of Hanukkah are observed, during which no eulogies are delivered, nor is fasting permitted. For when the Greeks entered the Sanctuary, they defiled all the oils, and when the Hasmoneans (the Maccabees) defeated them, they searched and found only one remaining jar of oil with the seal of the Kohen Gadol (the High Priest). Although it contained only enough oil to burn for one day, a miracle occurred, and the oil burned eight days. A year later the Rabbis designated these days as Yomim Tovim (Holidays) on which praise and thanksgiving were to be said. (Tractate Shabbat 21) 

The Greek's Harsh Decrees: 

During the Second Temple period, the Greek kings outlawed the Jewish religion, forbade them to engage in the study of Torah and the practice of mitzvot, and ravaged and defiled all that had been ritually pure. The Hasmoneans were finally able to subdue the enemy, whereby they designated a king to rule over Israel which lasted for more than 200 years. The Sages of that generation therefore decreed, that the eight days beginning with the 25th of Kislev should be days of rejoicing; that Hallel (praise) be recited and that lights be lit in the entrance to their homes each of the eight nights, in order to publicize the miracle. These days were called Hanukkah, that is to say Chanu Kaf-Hay (they rested on the 25th), for on the 25th, they rested from their enemies. The above expression of the Talmud: "They made it a Yom Tov for praise and thanksgiving" refers to the literal recitation of Hallel (praise) and therefore, the complete Hallel is said during schararit (morning prayers) all eight days of Hanukkah. The term "thanksgiving" refers to al hanisim, which is included in each shmoneh esreh (silent meditation, amidah) during these days as well, as well as in birkat hamazon (grace after meals). 

What may one use to light the Hanukkah candles? 

The preferred way to perform the mitzvah is to light the Hanukkah menorah with pure olive oil and cotton wicks, since their light is pure and it causes us to remember the light of the Menorah which was lit with olive oil. All other oils and wicks are permissible if their light is pure and does not flicker. One may also use candles made of wax. One must be careful and make sure the lights stay lit for about a half an hour or as long as people coming home from the marketplace would be able to see them. If one is using wax candles specifically, it is a good idea to put them in the freezer before use since it lengthens their burning time. The menorah itself should be pretty and can be made of metal or glass. An earthenware holder is permissible but may only be used once while it is still new. After one usage it becomes unclean and may not be used for the next night. A wick which was used one night may be used on succeeding nights as well. The same is true of the remaining oil or of the remainder of wax candles. If one is lighting with oil, one way to save on the mess and expense of using many cotton wicks is to pull the part of the wick that is black up from the holder and continue to use the rest of the wick and continue this for many succeeding nights until the wick becomes very small. 

One must also be careful with the menorah that one chooses. There are many menorah's on the market that although aesthetically beautiful, are not permitted to be used. For example, the eight candles of the menorah must be in a straight line with the shamash a little bit above them. Any menorah which is fancily shaped in a circle or square... is not permitted to be used since the candles must be in a straight line and none may be higher or lower than the others. There must also be enough space between one candle and another so that the flames of each are not intermingled. 

How does one light the lights? 

On the first night of Hanukkah, one light is lit and on each successive night another light is added until the eighth night when all the lights are lit. When one lights on the first night, one lights the one on the extreme right. The following night he adds the one immediately to the left and kindles it first. He then turns to the right and kindles the light of the previous night. He follows the same procedure each night always adding from right to left but always lighting from left to right. The reason for this procedure is that the additional light recalls the greatness and growth of the miracle. 

On the first night of Hanukkah, three blessings are recited before the lights are kindled:(1) "Baruch ata Hashem, Elokenu melech ha'olam, asher kidshanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu l'hadlik ner shel Hanukkah." (Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King of the Universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and has commanded us to light the Hanukkah lights.) (2) "Baruch ata Hashem, Elokenu melech ha'olam, she'asah nisim la'avotenu, bayamim hahem bazeman hazeh." (Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King of the Universe, Who has doen miracles for our fathers in days gone by, at this time.) (3) "Baruch ata Hashem, Elokenu melech ha'olam, shehecheyanu, vekiyemanu vehigi'anu lazeman hazeh." (Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King of the Universe, Who has given us life, and has sustained us, and has brought us to this time.) After one makes these three blessings, he kindles the light. On the remaining nights, one only recites the first two blessings and does not say "shecheyanu." If one was prevented from lighting the candles on the first night or forgot to say shecheyanu, he may say it the next time he kindles the lights. 

There is also a custom of using an extra candle, the shamash to light the other candles. The shamash may only be used for lighting the other candles and one may derive benefit from its light. The Hanukkah lights themselves, however, may not be used for any other purpose while they are burning for the purpose of the mitzvah. One should preferably have other lights on in the house in order that one does not run into this problem. 

After the first light is kindled, "hanerot halalu" is said and the rest of the lights can now be lit. After the lights have been kindled, Hanukkah songs are sung and foods containing oil, such as jelly donuts are eaten. Every custom according to the place in which one lives!

All this has nothing to do with Rabbi Yeshua ben Yosef.

on Dec 16, 2008

I don't really care if people assigned December 25th to Zeus.

hahaha......wait till I get to the Whore of Babylon and Cupid with his cute little arrow (mighty hunter of love). 

It all goes back to Nimrod (mighty hunter) and is quite sobering when you look at the whole picture.  Pretty interesting stuff when you see it all laid out. 

I can't believe I got married on Valentine's Day now.  Grrrrrrr!


on Dec 16, 2008

I can't believe I got married on Valentine's Day now. Grrrrrrr!

They claimed it, but you RE-CLAIMED it.

on Dec 16, 2008

ya ok.......... but after studying all this suff it's sort of like getting married on Hitler's birthday or naming your kid Adolph but not knowing the infamous name before it. 

hmmmmm do you think there's a reason why people go around calling each other "nimrods" and it not being a "good thing"? 

It's starting to make a whole lot more sense now.  It's sort of like I wish I didn't know now. 

heh!  Knowledge can be a burden! 


on Dec 17, 2008

Where do you get that Zeus is a solar god or was born on a solstice?  Do ya know his favorite weapon was the thunderbolt?  The symbol of a weather god. 

The solar god of the ancient Greeks was Helios.