The Prophetic Meaning of Hanukkah
A brief history of Hanukkah - from the Jerusalem Prayer Team
The annual festival of Hanukkah begins December 4th and is celebrated for eight successive days to honor the restoration of divine worship in the Temple in Jerusalem. The Temple had been defiled by the Syrian King Antiochus who removed the Temple treasures, and forbade the Jews to celebrate the holy days.
He further desecrated the Temple by sacrificing a pig on the Holy Altar, then dedicating the altar to the worship of Zeus. A small group of Hasmoneans led by Judas Maccabee mounted an attack on the Syrians, and drove them out. The altar to Zeus was destroyed, and the Temple was purified. A new Holy Altar using unhewn stones was erected and consecrated.
After the Temple was cleansed, only one small cruse of oil for use in the holy lamps was found. The decision was made to light the Temple Menorah, the seven-branched candelabra. To the total amazement of everyone, the Menorah burned brightly for eight days...until new oil was available.
The rededication of the altar is still observed with eight days of joy and gladness during the same season each year, beginning on the twenty-fifth of Kislev. The light of the Menorah is the symbol of the light of Adonai. At the heart of the celebration is not only the recounting of the revolt and renewal, but the miracle of the oil.
So what does Hanukkah have to do with Prophecy? Many scholars & teachers believe in the story of Hanukkah we can see a picture of:
* The Anti-Messiah
* What conditions will be like during his reign of terror
* The destruction of the Anti-Messiah
Let' s look at each of these in some detail:
Antiochus is a picture of the future Anti-Messiah. He declared himself "Antiochus Epiphanies" which means "visible god". Daniel 7:8 says the same about a future Anti-Messiah, "While I was considering the horns, another horn sprang up among them, a little one, before which three of the first horns were plucked up by the roots. In this horn were eyes like human eyes and a mouth speaking arrogantly. 2Th 2:3 Don't let anyone deceive you in any way. For the Day will not come until after the Apostasy has come and the man who separates himself from Torah has been revealed, the one destined for doom. 2Th 2:4 says, "He will oppose himself to everything that people call a god or make an object of worship; he will put himself above them all, so that he will sit in the Temple of God and proclaim that he himself is God."
He made people bow down to his statues and if they didn't comply.....the consequence was death! From scripture we know the future Anti-Messiah will act the same way, declaring himself to be G-d: Rev 13:15 "It was allowed to put breath into the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast could even speak; and it was allowed to cause anyone who would not worship the image of the beast to be put to death."
What conditions will be like during his reign of terror
Social and political pressures caused many Jews to follow Antiochus and they actually bowed down to his statues. Those that did not where killed in the most cruel ways possible. Mothers who had their babies circumcised where forced to watch their babies being murdered, then tied on their chest as they where hurled over the walls of Jerusalem to their death.
The future Anti-Messiah will likewise force all those who follow the G-d of Abraham , Isaac & Jacob to to choose: Death or worship him and take the mark.
Rev 13:15 "It was allowed to put breath into the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast could even speak; and it was allowed to cause anyone who would not worship the image of the beast to be put to death. Rev 13:16 Also it forces everyone - great and small, rich and poor, free and slave - to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead Rev 13:17 preventing anyone from buying or selling unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name."
The destruction of the Anti-Messiah
The defeat of Antiochus and his army is a picture of a future fight in which the forces of Messiah will destroy the forces of the man of sin.
The revolt began by one person, a G-dly priest named Matathias and his sons standing up for their belief in the one true G-d of Israel. As the revolt began, Matathias cried "Whoever is for the Lord, follow me!". The war was waged for over 2 years, and many died.
The war against the Anti-Messiah may begin in a similar manner, as those who are true to G-d stand-up to the Anti-Messiah; but unlike before, victory will not come until the armies of G-d descend with the trumpet of G-d and King Messiah enters the battle. As King Messiah enters the battle, the forces of the Anti-Messiah will be decimated and Jerusalem will be delivered.
With the final destruction of the Anti-Messiah, the real Messiah, who brought this great victory, will restore Israel to her place as the priestly nation of the world. The Temple will be restored and sacrifices will resume.
From Jerusalem Messiah will reign to the Glory of Adonai. The earth will be healed, and all the nations of the world will come to Jerusalem to worship their King.
Blessings - Rabbi Gavri'el