“Then came the Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah) at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the temple area walking in Solomon’s Colonnade.” (John 10:22-23, NKJV)
Will I Conform or Transform…Assimilate or Dedicate?
Hanuka commemorates the re-dedication of the Temple after a small band of believers under the leadership of the Maccabees won back the right to openly live transformed lives and to worship in a temple set apart to YHWH . The cleansing and re-dedication of the temple occurred on Kislev 25 (December 20 this year), so each year that date begins an 8 day celebration of the relighting of the Temple menorah (burning continuously) and living set apart lives to YHWH regardless of the pressure to conform to this world. And since Solomon’s original temple dedication occurred during Sukkot, it seems that they chose to hold a delayed 8 day celebration of Sukkot, that having been illegal (along with other outward signs of obedience to YHWH) prior to this under the rule of Antiochus Epiphanes. The Maccabees fought not only against the tyranny and wickedness of the Syrian Greeks, but the even more insidious enemy which was the compromise of other believers who chose to abandon YHWH’s Hebraic way of life and to conform or assimilate into the Greek cultural influence. This paved the way for Messiah to come and fulfill prophecies which required the temple and sacrifices to be fulfilled as well as the Fall feasts to be observed at the time of His birth. Our Bible was preserved by these courageous believers who hid the scriptures from those who wished to annihilate their faith.
Take time to consider all the things in the New Testament which could not have occurred without a temple and relatively free worship under the 1st century Roman rule.
Abomination Which Causes Desolation
Daniel’s and Y’shua’s talk of the “abomination which causes desolation” in the end times is also found in the Maccabeean writings and was the problem which shut down the temple in the first place.
“On the fifteenth day of Kislev in the year one hundred and forty-five (i.e. December 8, 167 BC) the king erected (or “built”) the abomination of desolation above the altar; and altars were built in the surrounding towns of Judah” (1 Maccabees 1:54).At one of these altars, in the village of Modein, the Jewish uprising against Antiochus’ heathen demands began with violent zeal. A priest from Jerusalem named Mattathias became “fired with zeal” and “threw himself on the man and slaughtered him on the altar. At the same time he killed the king’s commissioner who was there to enforce the sacrifice, and tore down the altar” (1 Maccabees 2:24-25).
What followed shows an interesting similarity with Y’shua’s admonition in Mark 13:14: “Then Mattathias went through the town, shouting at the top of his voice, ‘Let everyone who has a fervor for the Law and takes his stand on the covenant come out and follow me’. Then, with his sons, he fled into the hills, leaving their possessions behind in the town” (1 Maccabees 2:27-28).
Y’shua may well have been referring back to Maccabees when he said, “Those in Judea must flee to the hills; if a man is on the housetop, he must not come down to go into the house to collect any his things; if a man is in the fields, he must not turn back to fetch his cloak” (Mark 13:14-15).
With an understanding of what Mattathias was about here should we not consider what this might imply in Y’shua’s words about the end times…if He was indeed referring to this Maccabbean passage…or was He?
Great website to learn more about the Hebrew language, festivals, traditions, etc.
And why might a Christian choose to celebrate Hanukah…