Hanukkah is a Jewish festival that celebrates a victory over Jewish enemies and a menorah miracle. After the victory over the Syrian Greek army, the menorah, by a miracle, continued to give light in the second Temple for eight days. To commemorate this miracle, Hanukkah is celebrated for eight days every year. In 2017, Hanukkah began at sunset on Tuesday, December 12, and ends at sundown on Wednesday, December 20. Hanukkah is also known by the name Festival of Lights. The lit menorah during Hanukkah reminds us of how Jesus is the light for the defeated, dark world.
Antiochus Epiphanes Pig Sacrifices in Temple
Antiochus Epiphanes was one of the wicked enemies who invaded Jerusalem. The Jewish Temple in Jerusalem was looted. Worship of God by the Jews in the Temple was outlawed. In 167 B.C., Antiochus had a pagan altar set up to the false god Zeus in the Jewish Temple. Vile pig sacrifices were offered to his false idol. The Temple was defiled. It was an abomination in the Temple. This abomination of the Temple would be judged by God.
Isaiah 66:17 “They that sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the gardens behind one tree in the midst, eating swine’s flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be consumed together, saith the LORD.”
Antiochus Epiphanes Prefigured the Anti-Christ
Similar to Antiochus Epiphanes, the Anti-Christ will defile the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. The Temple will be rebuilt during the seven-year Tribulation. The Jewish people will furnish it with all of the Temple furnishings as described in the Scriptures. All Temple furnishings will be removed by the orders of the Anti-Christ. The vile Anti-Christ will defile the Temple with his filthy abominations. Wicked armies will enforce the worship of the Anti-Christ and Satan.
Daniel 11:31 “And arms [Anti-Christ’s army] shall stand on his [Anti-Christ’s] part, and they [Anti-Christ’s army] shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice [offerings to God], and they [Anti-Christ’s army] shall place the abomination [offerings to Anti-Christ and Satan] that maketh desolate [Temple furnishings removed].”
A small, bold, Jewish army called the Maccabees heroically attacked and defeated an invading Syrian Greek army. Judah Maccabee, his family, and other Jews fought with might against the invading, heathen army. Because of their loyalty to God, the Jewish army miraculously defeated the Syrian Greek army. The second Temple was reclaimed by the Maccabees for the Jews.
The Miracle Menorah Oil
After the temple was cleansed, oil was needed to light the menorah. Most of the oil used for the menorah in the Temple was defiled by the vile acts of Antiochus Epiphanes. It would take about one week to prepare oil for use in the Temple menorah. But, one, small, hidden, consecrated cruse of oil sealed by a Jewish priest was found. There was enough oil in the sealed container to light the menorah for one day. To the surprise of everyone, the oil kept the menorah burning for eight days. This was a miracle of light and grace from God for the Jewish people. Since the oil lasted eight days, it gave the priests time to prepare more oil. The menorah continued to burn brightly.
Hanukkah a Reminder
As a reminder of this miracle of light in the Temple, Jewish people all over the world celebrate Hanukkah. This celebration for eight days reminds them of how God, by a miracle, made the one-day oil supply miraculously last eight days.
The Hanukkah menorah has nine candles. Eight of the candles represent the eight days of festival. The ninth candle is called the Shammash. It is also called the helper candle. The Shammash has a special place in the center of the other eight candles. It is used to light the other eight candles. One new candle is lit each night. On the eighth and final night of Hanukkah, all eight candles are lit. Each Jewish family talks about how God blessed them. They read the Scriptures in Numbers 7 each night of Hanukkah.
Festival of Lights
Hanukkah is also called the Festival of Lights. Even though the miracle of the light happened in the second Temple, the Festival of Lights continues to be celebrated in Jewish homes all over the world. When the Jews were not being persecuted, they set lamps outside of their homes to celebrate Hanukkah. The number of lamps put outside matched the number of people in the home. This showed the light to those passing by.
The Word of God Brings Light
The Word of God brings light to dark, sinful souls. God’s Word leads us on the path of righteousness. The light of God’s Word can prevent us from being cast into the darkness of Hell.
Psalms 119:105-107 “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments. I am afflicted very much: quicken me, O LORD, according unto thy word.”
Jesus the Helper/Servant
Just like the center candle is used to light the other candles during Hanukkah, Jesus is the Helper/Servant who died to bring light to the world. Only God can bear the sins of mankind. We cannot even pay for any of our own individual sins. Every individual needs light from Jesus, the Helper/Servant Light!
Isaiah 53:11 “He [God the Father] shall see of the travail of his [Jesus’] soul, and shall be satisfied: by his [Jesus’] knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he [Jesus] shall bear their [Jews and Gentiles] iniquities.”
Jesus is the Light of the World
The center candle in the Hanukkah menorah represents Jesus. He is the only one who can bring light to the world. Once a person repents and believes on Jesus as their Saviour, the oil of the Holy Spirit will never run out. Salvation is guaranteed for eternity. No enemy can put out the light that God seals into your soul.
John 9:5 “As long as I [Jesus] am in the world, I [Jesus] am the light of the world.”
Jesus is the Light of the Church
Jesus is in the middle of the Church. Just as the center candle is used to light the other eight candles on Hanukkah, Jesus gives light to each individual who repents and believes on Him as their Saviour. Open the door of your black, sinful heart so that the light of Jesus can shine into your sinful, dark soul. Ask Jesus to save you before it is too late. There is no light in Hell.
Revelation 1:12-13 “And I [John] turned to see the voice that spake with me [John]. And being turned, I [John] saw seven golden candlesticks [Churches]; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks [Churches] one like unto the Son of man [Jesus], clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.”
May the Lord richly bless our Jewish brothers and sisters during Hanukkah and throughout the years to come.
HIBM Editorial by Avi Goldstein * Happy Hanukkah! – Dr. K. Daniel Fried, Editor in Chief – copyright © 2017 hopeofisrael.net
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Hanukkah – Menorah Miracle
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