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Chanukah

December 3, 2015

John 10:22-23 – “It was winter, and Yeshua was in Jerusalem at the time of the Festival of Dedication, and he was walking in the Portico of Solomon inside the Temple.

Chanukah (sometimes spelled Hanukah or Chanukkah) is celebrated each fall, generally between Thanksgiving Day and New Year’s Day.  According to John 10:22-23 , Yeshua and his disciples were amongst the many who celebrated the yearly, eight day festival.

Other Names
The Hebrew word Chanukah [חֲנֻכָּה – H2598] means: dedication, or consecration.  It comes from the root word, chanak [חָנַךְ –H2596].  In Greek, the word is egkainia [ἐγκαίνια – G1456]. Chanukah is also called:
• The Feast of Dedication
• The Festival of Lights

Historical Background
Chanukah is the festival that Jews celebrate to commemorate the rededication of the Temple during the time of the Maccabees, and centers around the lighting of the candles on the menorah. Chanukah was instituted by Judah Maccabaeus in 164 BC in memory of the cleansing of the temple from the pollution of Antiochus IV, also known as Antiochus Epiphanes.  Antiochus was one of the four successors of Alexander the Great.

Antiochus IV oppressed the Jews severely, placed a Hellenistic priest in the Temple, massacred many Jews, prohibited them from practicing circumcision and other rites, and desecrated the Temple by sacrificing pigs on the altar (Daniel and Yeshua reference this as the Abomination That Causes Desolation – Daniel chapters 11 and 12, Matthew 24:15, and Mark 13:14).  Mattathias the Hasmonean and his son Judah Maccabaeus joined forces and were able to retake the temple.  Upon doing so, they found only enough oil to keep the menorah lit for one day but miraculously it burned for eight days, the time needed to prepare a fresh supply of oil for the menorah. Chanukah celebrates this miracle.

The entire story of the abomination that causes desolation and the retaking and cleansing of the temple can be found in the Apocrypha in Books 1-4 Maccabees.

Modern Background
Each year, Jews light the candles on a nine branched Menorah [hanukkiah – חַנֻכִּיָּה‎].  The first candle to be lit is the center candle, known as the shamash [שמש‎] which means: attendant, or servant.  All the other candles are placed in the menorah and lit from this center candle.  The candles are progressively inserted into the menorah, starting from the right and ending with the far left candle, but are lit on successive nights from left to right as one honors the newer thing first.

Christian Background
Yeshua is the light that has come into the world (John 8:12, 9:5, 12:46, etc).  Christians are the temple of the living word – believers in Him are a temple for Him, and He dwells in them. Like the Menorah in the stone Temple, Yeshua is the light in our temple of flesh.  Yeshua is THE servant candle!

Chanukah Lessons
•  Everyone has a purpose – one is not to fail to stand up for Yahweh, his people, or, in this case, his Temple.
•  Yahweh answers prayer – He is in control.  Yahweh has covenanted with the Jewish people to be their God.  He will not allow another to take his place, no matter how hard they try.
•  Be faithful to Yahweh in all you do – Bowing only to Yahweh may land you in trouble, but Yahweh is more than able to overcome any obstacles you face, even against principalities, powers, rulers, and the spiritually wicked in high places (Ephesians 6:12).
•  Yahweh can turn mourning into joy – The Temple was retaken and rededicated.

Interesting Correlations
Luke 21:25 – “There will be signs in sun and moon and stars . . .”
According to some calculations it is possible that Yeshua was conceived on Chanukah, though I do not agree with this theory.  We all walk in darkness and need a miracle to uphold the light within.  Only Yeshua can do so.

In 2013 Chanukah and Thanksgiving were celebrated on the same day, the last time this will happen for the next 75,000 years, according to Mark Biltz of El Shaddai Ministries. Also this year, Comet Ison, officially known as comet C/2012 S1 graced our skies, swooping quite close to the Sun on November 28th, which “coincidentally” fell on the first day of Chanukkah that year! Perhaps Yahweh lit his Chanukah candle in our heavens to signal the imminent return of Yeshua.

Related Links
Jewish FAQ Chanukah Article
IFCJ Chanukah Article
El Shaddai Chanukah Article
Hebrew4Christians Chanukah Article

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