Being God’s treasured possession brings not only blessing, but persecution. The Jewish people have been persecuted since their time of slavery in Egypt. There will always be anti-semitic people like Haman, Antiochus, the Romans, the Crusaders, Hitler, and Muslims who want the destruction of God’s chosen people. The worst persecutions demand the Jewish people stop being Jewish by disobeying the instructions of Adonai in the Torah. This is not something they would ever do and, in spite of severe consequences, they 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. For a hard copy of this article and study questions for each night of Hanukkah, please purchase the complete study guide Yeshua in His Father’s Feasts.
In John chapter 10, it is winter and the Feast of Dedication or Hanukkah has arrived. Yeshua is walking around in Solomon’s Porch, the covered area on the far eastern side of the Temple. It connected with the Court of the Gentiles where God-fears could come to the Temple and worship the God of Isra’el. It was in this area of the Temple that Yeshua’s Jewish brothers and sisters surrounded him and demanded that he reveal his identity.
At their first encounter, Judah Maccabee and his men defeated 500 men and killed one elephant, but had to retreat. They were not expecting elephants in their battle plans. Perhaps it was at this juncture that the Maccabees began to say ‘stronger and smarter than an elephant’ as they prepared for further military encounters with these massive animals.
Most people have heard of the holiday called Hanukkah or Chanukkah. Some believe that it is the Jewish alternative to Christmas. However, these two celebrations have nothing in common.