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CHANUKAH! or HANUKKAH
CHANUKAH! or HANUKKAH
In the book of Daniel, I found one of the most unusual chapters in the Bible. In chapter 10, Daniel has been fasting and praying for 21 days, and an angel appears to him. Gabriel tells Daniel that from the day he began praying, God sent a message, but a supernatural being over Persia withstood him for 21 days, and he could not get through. So Michael, the archangel, came to help him. Finally, Gabriel got to Daniel to give him the prophecy! I think this one of the spookiest chapters in the Bible, akin to Revelation 12. This event is an historical example of the spiritual warfare Paul described in Ephesians 6.
So, I wondered..."What was this incredible prophecy that God had to send two angels to get to Daniel? What did Satan NOT want Daniel to understand?"
Well...keep reading! The next chapters, Daniel 11-12, give prophetic details about battles between the divisions of the Greek empire, specifically the Ptolemies of Egypt south of Israel versus the Selucids of Syria north of Israel. These prophecies are so detailed and historically accurate, that Bible critics reject that Daniel wrote them. What do these prophecies concern? Well, in one word....CHANUKAH!
Understanding prophecy is important to Bible believers because the LORD said telling the end from the beginning proves that He is the true God (Isaiah 46:9-10). Maybe there is more to this Chanukah than we Christians realize.
Let's leave Daniel and fast forward to Yeshua's last day of freedom. He is leaving the Temple for the last time, and His disciples are marveling at the magnificence of Herod's Temple. (It took 85 years to complete this Temple, and at this point it had been under construction for 46 years (John 2:20)). Yeshua's prophecy that the day would come that "not one stone would be left upon another" (Matthew 24:1-2) was fulfilled by Roman's capture of Jerusalem and destruction of the Temple in 70 AD.
Surprised at Yeshua's prophecy, the disciples ask two questions:
1. When will this happen?
2. What will be the sign of your coming and the end of the age?
Yeshua explains several signs of His coming. Among the signs is a very important sign: "So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation,' spoken of through the prophet Daniel-let the reader understand-then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains" (Matthew 24:15-16). Note, this is the only time He said "Let the reader understand"...And my question is: DO YOU UNDERSTAND??
Coin minted by Antiochus. "Belonging to King Antiochus, Manifestation of God."
Yeshua is referring to the prophecy the angel gave Daniel in 11:31 and again in 12:11, where God warned Israel that an evil king from the North would desecrate the Temple in Jerusalem. This prophecy was fulfilled on Kislev (approximately December) 25, 168 BC when Antiochus Epiphanes set up a statue of Zeus (with Antiochus' face) in the Temple, desecrated the Holy Place, sacrificed a pig on God's holy altar, and demanded that the Jews worship him as god. Antiochus outlawed the following:
1. Observing the Sabbath and the Feasts of the LORD;
2. Observing the New Moon or the Hebrew months, which marked the Holy Days God commanded;
3. Circumcising sons;
4. Eating Kosher food (Greek soldiers forced Jews to eat pigs sacrificed to idols or die!); and
5. Studying the Torah, God's Word.
A handful of righteous Jews, determined to obey God at any cost, rebelled against King Antiochus and defeated the mighty Greek army, against insurmountable odds. Three years later, on Kislev 25, 165 BC, the Jews recaptured Jerusalem and dedicated the Temple. Jewish history says that only one vial of sanctified oil was found in the ruins, only enough to light the Menorah (Temple lamp stand) for one day; but miraculously, the oil lasted eight days, long enough to dedicate the Temple as God commanded Moses. The Hebrew word for "Dedication" is Chanukah.
Yes, Daniel's prophecy had been fulfilled in 165 BC, but in Matthew, Yeshua used that prophecy to teach that it would happen again before He came "in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory" (Matthew 24:30).
The Apostle Paul also referred to this future event when warning about the one we call the Antichrist: "Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God" (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4). The issue of worshiping the Dragon (Satan) and the beast (antichrist) is repeated numerous times in Revelation 13.
But weren't these prophecies fulfilled by Titus and the Romans in 70 AD? Yes...and no. Yes, it did happen by the Romans. But it WILL HAPPEN AGAIN BEFORE MESSIAH LITERALLY COMES IN THE CLOUDS!
Jewish rabbis teach a principle to understand prophecy: "Here now but not yet." That is, God teaches His people prophecy by repeating patterns in Israel's history. For example, the plagues in Exodus will be repeated in the Last Days before the Messianic Age. The life of Joseph is prophetic of Messiah ben Yosef, a Messiah like Joseph.
So, yes, the prophecy given by Daniel, Yeshua, and Paul has happened...but it will happen again, in the Last Days before Messiah comes in great glory.
Could it be that Satan does not want Christians to understand and prepare for the ultimate fulfillment of this prophecy? Could that be why we get so busy celebrating Christmas and overlook Chanukah, a day of great prophetic significance?
This event was so important to Yeshua that the Gospels record in John 10:22-23: "At that time the Feast of the Dedication [Hebrew=Chanukah] took place at Jerusalem; it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple in the portico of Solomon." It was at Chanukah that He declared "I and the Father are one" (John 10:30).
Did you catch that? YESHUA CELEBRATED CHANUKAH!
If the Jews had not resisted the Syrian Greeks, would God's Word, the Temple, and the righteous Jews have ceased to exist? If Antiochus had succeeded, is it possible that Messiah Yeshua might not have been born? Could this prophecy and historical event be more important than we have thought?
And what about our mortal temples? Our bodies? Have we allowed our temples to become defiled by disobedience to God's instructions? What better time to consecrate our temple to God!
I encourage you to study more about Chanukah, because it is prophecy of the Last Days, the days in which we live. Chanukah IS important to God!
Traditionally, during Chanukah eight candles are lit, over an eight-day period, and food cooked in oil is enjoyed. Children play a game called Deride with a spinning top with Hebrew initials that stand for "A Great Miracle Happened Here." This game commemorates the Jewish children who would study the Torah in secret, and when Greek soldiers came near, would hide the Torah scroll and pretend to play games. The most important part is to recount the miracle that God worked in saving the Jewish people.
Learn more about Chanukah
"The Messiah in Hanukkah" by Robin Sampson. http://biblicalholidays.com/Hanukkah/messiah_in_hanukkah.htm
"Chanukah - Dedicated Against Assimilation" by John Parsons, http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Holidays/Winter_Holidays/Chanukah/chanukah.html
Feasts of the Lord - excellent book by Marvin Rosenthal and Kevin Howard.
"Hanukah" by Emmanuel Messianic Jewish Congregation, Clarksville, MD, http://www.godwithus.org/holidays/hanukkah.html
"Chanukah" by Penei.org, Eugene, Oregon. http://penei.org/holidays-chanukah.shtml
"Chanukah" by Hallel Fellowship, Santa Rosa, CA; http://hallel.info/appointments-with-god/chanukah/
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