Yeshua in Hanukkah

First night of Hanukkah excerpt from the study guide, Yeshua’ in His Father’s Feasts available on amazon.com

Feast of Dedication – Hanukkah

“Then came the Festival of Dedication [footnote: Hanukkah] at Jerusalem. It was winter,and Yeshua was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade” (John 10:22). 

The Feast of Dedication or Hanukkah is not a designated Feast of the LORD, however Yeshua went to the Temple in Jerusalem during this festival and revealed himself to the people.  Hanukkah has its roots in anti-semitism and the leader of a great nation’s desire for the destruction of the Jewish people.  It is celebrated in November/December in the winter.  

The historical account of Hanukkah is found in the inter-testamental book of 1 Maccabees. There are numerous suppositions as to why Maccabees was not included in the canon of Scriptures, but 1 and 2 Maccabees are found in the Septuagint used by the Catholic church and the eastern Orthodox churches.  Whatever the reason for its exclusion from the canon, Yeshua was found in the Temple during the celebration of his nation’s victory over anti-semitism.  

In 167 BCE (Before Common Era), King Antiochus (Greek: anti-christ) of Syria desired to Hellenize (make everything Greek) the empire of Alexander the Great.    He made Judaism illegal.  This caused a conflict between the Greeks who had their own gods and culture and the Jews who worshipped the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and lived according to the Torah commands. 

Initially, Antiochus desecrated the Temple in Jerusalem by sacrificing pigs on the Altar and putting their blood all over the Holy Place.   He ordered the Levite priests to make sacrifices away from the Temple and demanded the Jewish people follow Greek sacrificial rituals and customs.  When the Jews continued to read Torah, keep the Sabbath, eat according to God’s dietary instructions and circumcise their sons, they became enemies of the state.  If they were caught following any of God’s commands, they had the choice to submit to the new governing authority or die.  

One Levite priest, Mattathias, was commanded to sacrifice to Zeus on an altar away from the Temple.  He refused.  A nearby Jewish man stepped forward and obeyed the soldier’s order.   Mattathias killed the man and the soldier.  Thus began what is known as the Maccabean revolt.  

Mattathias had a son named Judah.  He was given the nickname Maccabee, meaning ‘hammer.’  With the realization they would have to fight the Syrian armies in order to regain control of the Temple, maintain their customs and survive as a nation, Judah put together a small army that fought for years against the massive Greek armies.  After seven years of war, Judah and his army defeated the Syrians and regained control of the Temple in Jerusalem.  He located faithful Levite priests to restore the Temple and to rebuild the Altar.  Once everything was cleansed and restored, it was ready to be rededicated back to God.  According to the instructions in Torah,this process would take eight days.

There is a story in the Talmud (the oral law) that says when the priests went to light the great Menorah, they found only enough consecrated oil to last one day.  Miraculously, the oil lasted the full eight days, the time required for consecrating new holy oil, and thus came forth the miracle of the oil. It is from these events that the Feast of Dedication or the eight nights of Hanukkah came to be established.

Eight Nights of Hanukkah

Each evening of Hanukkah as the sun sets, a special menorah or Hanukkiah is lit.  A Hanukkiah can be bought online or simply created from 9 candles on a table; however make one significantly different to be the shamash or ‘helper candle.’    The activities for Hanukkah are designed for one topic every day for eight days, however, one topic can be developed to last the entire week of Hanukkah;  thus giving this section an eight-year outline of study.

First Night of Hanukkah – Anti-semitism & Persecution

“For you are a people set apart as holy for Adonai your God. Adonai your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his own unique treasure” (Deuteronomy 7:6). 

Family Study and Activity:

On the first night of Hanukkah, light the most separate candle or shamash on the Hanukkiah.  From the shamash, light the first night’s candle.  After you light your Hanukkiah, place it in a window to show your solidarity with the chosen people of God. 

Define shamash:

Persecution is not new to the Jewish people.  They have been persecuted since their time of slavery in Egypt! There will always be anti-semitic people like Haman, Antiochus, the Romans, the Crusaders and Hitler who want the destruction of God’s chosen people.  The greatest persecutions demand the Jewish people stop being Jewish by disobeying the instructions of Yahweh in the Torah.  This is not something they would ever do and, in spite of severe consequences, have faithfully guarded the Word of God throughout the millennia with their lives.  It is because of their steadfastness to the Torah and the Prophets that we have the Bible today.  It is because of the courageous actions of the Maccabees protecting the lineage of Judah that Yeshua, our salvation, could be born.

1. Read Matthew 5:10-12, James 1:2-3, 1 Peter 5:6-7, 2 Timothy 2:3, Revelation 13:10 and Revelation 14:12.  How did each of  these Jewish men deal with persecution from their own people?  People from the nations?

Peter:

James:

John:

Sha’ul:

Timothy:

Yeshua:

2.  Read Romans 11:16-20.  Discuss the warning Sha’ul gave to the church in Rome.  Did the Roman church heed the warnings?  Why or why not?

3.  How has Rome influenced the church today?  Are these influences easily recognized?  Why or why not?

4.  Should Roman influences be removed from a pure walk of faith?  Why or why not?

5.  Read Revelation 3:15-16. Hot and cold in these verses refer to mixing the holy ‘hot’ with the profane ‘cold’ as in the golden calf account in Exodus 32.  How has the influence of the Roman church made the Body of Christ ‘lukewarm’?

6.  Compare how the Maccabees dealt with the Hellenization of their faith with that of the Romanization of the faith the actions of believers.

7.  Read the requirements for being a saint in Revelation 14:12.  Are you a saint?  Why or why not?

8.  What does it mean for a saint to ‘patiently endure’?

9.  Have you ever experienced persecution for your faith in Yeshua/Jesus?  In what way?  By whom?

10.  What is the difference between a trial and persecution?  

Define trial:

Define persecution:

11.  If you celebrated Hanukkah do you think you would be persecuted by Jews? Friends? Christians? Why or why not? 

©2019 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. 

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