Hannukah


The Jewish celebration of Hannukah did not originate with Moses or the Torah. It came much later in response to the actions of Antiochus IV Epiphanes and the circumstances which followed his desecration of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem about 160 years before the birth of Christ.

These circumstances revolve around a Jewish family named Maccabees who were instrumental in leading the Hassidaeans (a special group of Jewish religious freedom fighters) in driving the Syrian Greek forces out of Jerusalem and the temple compound, cleansing the altar of sacrifice and re-dedicating it in 164 B.C.

There is no biblical reference to Hannukah as far as the Jews are concerned. That is because of a decision made around 100 A.D. by the Rabbi's at Jamnia to reject all Old Testament writings that were not originally penned in the Hebrew language. The action stripped from Jewish scripture all accounts of the Maccabees and their legendary success in defeating the forces of Antiochus.

The forces of Antiochus had captured the temple compound in 167 B.C., and on the 25th day of Chislev (in mid-December), began pagan sacrifices (involving pigs) on the Jewish altar. These were in association with Antiochus' decree abolishing all Jewish worship practices and his conversion of the temple into a house dedicated to the cult of the Olympic god Zeus.

On the 15th of Chislev the king erected the abomination of desolation (December 8 167). Apparently the first sacrifice was made 10 days later on 25 Chislev (on December 18th). The desecration itself (the abomination) was the altar of Baal or the Olympian Zeus erected on the Jewish altar of holocausts.

The temple remained in Syrian-Greek control for exactly three years. In wresting it back from the Hellenistic forces, Judas Maccabees "ordered his men to engage the garrison in the Citadel until he had purified the sanctuary. Next, he selected priests who were blameless in observance of the Law to purify the sanctuary and remove the stones of the abomination to an unclean place" (1 Macc.4:41-43).

They discussed what should be done about the altar of holocausts which had been profaned, and decided to pull it down. "They deposited the stones in a suitable place awaiting the appearance of a prophet who should give a ruling about them" (1 Macc.4:46). That prophet, of course, was Jesus Christ (Matt.24:15).

Judas Maccabees cleansed the altar and returned it to Jewish worship on the very same day it was desecrated (the 25th day of Chislev) three years to the day after it fell into pagan hands. We will see this circumstance repeated in the Christian offering of communion with respect to actions by the Beast; the ultimate fulfillement of this important allegory.

With his cleansing of the temple and its altar, Judas Maccabees immediately institued an annual celebration (structured on the 25th day of Chislev in mid-December). This Jewish 'Feast of Dedication' (dedication of the altar) is also called the 'Feast of Lights'. They made it a law that for 8 days beginning on the 25th of Chislev the dedication ceremony should be celebrated. (These 8 days often include Christmas day).

The word 'Hannukah' is Hebrew. It is spelled many different ways. 'Channukah' and 'Hannuccah' for instance. During this feast, the Hallel is sung (Ps.113-118). Leafy branches and palms are carried. These similarities to the Feast of Tabernacles are stressed in 2 Macc.1:9+ (The Feast of Tabernacles itself commemorated the inauguration of the Temple of Solomon).

The lamps lit at Dedication gave this feast its other name, 'Feast of Lights'. These lamps, symbolising the Law, were placed not only in the Temple but in private houses as well, and it is this fact that guaranteed the continued popularity of the celebraton after the temple was burned down by the Romans.

An interesting note: It was in December (the 25th day of Chislev) at the feast of Hannukah, that Jesus first revealed to the world the fact that He was God:

"It was the time when the feast of Dedication was being celebrated in Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the Temple walking up and down in the Portico of Solomon. The Jews gathered round him and said, 'How much longer are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly'. Jesus replied: 'I have told you, but you do not believe me...the Father and I are one'." (Jn.10:22-29).


The close relationship between the proclamation to the world that Jesus is God, and the celebration of Christianity's 'Feast of Lights' is examined in Chapter 35 in 'The Last Days of Babylon (see below). It is also reprised in a footnote.





See Also:

'The Last Days of Babylon, Chapter 35, 'Prelude to Eternity'




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