The Story of Hanukkah-Chanukah

On the Biblical calendar the month of Kislev is the ninth of the year (counting from Nisan), and also one of the “darkest,” with the days progressively getting shorter and the nights getting longer.  Indeed, the Winter solstice often occurs durig the last week of Kislev, and therefore the week of Hanukkah (Chanukah) which straddles the months of Kisleve and Tevet) often contains the longest night of the years.  It is no wonder that, among other things, Hanukkah (Chanukah) represents and appropriate time to kingdle the lights of faith, and to remember the Light of the World in the Messiah’s advent to earth.

The Hebrew word Hanukah means “dedication’ and marks an eight day winter celebration (from Kislev 25-Tevet 3) that commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple after a small group of Jewish believers defeated the forces of assimilation at work in their world.  As such, Hanukah represents the victory of faith over the ways of speculative reason, and demonstrates the power of the miracle in the face of mere humanism.

The Hebrew word Hanukkah (Chanukah) means “dedication’ and marks an eight day winter celebration (from Kislev 25-Tevet 3) that commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple after a small group of Jewish believers defeated the forces of assimilation at work in their world.  As such, Hanukkah (Chanukah) represents the victory of faith over the ways of speculative reason, and demonstrates the power of the miracle in the face of mere humanism.  We celebrate the holiday this year beginning December 16-14, 2014

 

The Story behind Hanukah

According to the mainstream Jewish tradition, the story of Hanukkah(Chanukah) begins in 333 BCE, Alexander the Great conquered Syria, Egypt and Babylonia, and promoted a lenient form of Hellenistic culture, encouraging the study of the language, customs and dress of the Greeks. Alexander was not necessarily bad to the Jews, and a legend tells that when he marched through Jerusalem he asked the High Priest to erect a statue to his honor within the Temple.  The High Priest told Alexander that such was forbidden, though the Jewish people would construct a “living memorial” by naming all their firstborn sons after the great king.

Alexander agreed to this and things went fairly well for the Jews.  Nevertheless, the encounter of the Jewish people and their Torah-based ethics with the worldview of ancient Greece proved to be a traumatic shock which ultimately threatened to undermine the very existence of Judaism.

 

Over a century later, in 167 BCE, the ripened fruit of Hellenization began to appear in the form of one of Alexander’s successors, the Syrian king Antiochus IV (“Epiphanes”), who began to openly persecute the Jews.  Among other atrocities, Antiochus appointed a Hellenistic “High Priest” to the Temple, prohibited the stury of the Torah, and desecrated the altar by requiring pigs to be sacrificed on it ( the Jews referred to Antiochus not as Epiphanes, “God (i.e., Zeus) made manifest,” but rather as Epimanes-“the madman.”)

 

These outrages finally incited rebellion, and by 165 BCE the Hasmonean family of Mattityahus the High Priest and his youngest son, Judah “Maccabee” (the “Hammer”), organized a revolt that eventually succeeded in evicting the Syrian-Greeks from Israel.  The Temple in Jerusalem was liberated but needed to be rededicated for Jewish worship.

According to later tradition at the time of the rededication (on Kislev 25), there was very little oil left that had not been defiled by the Syrian-Greeks.  Oil was needed for the menorah to burn continually in the Temple, but there was only enough to last for one day.

Lev 24:2

Command the children of Israel, that they bring unto thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamps to burn continually.

Miraculously, the sanctified oil burned for eight days—the time needed to prepare a fresh supply of oil for the menorah.  An eight day festival was declared to commemorate this miracle.  This miraculous account is similar to that of the story of Elisha and widow of the sons of the prophets who found herself in a tremendous debt, after her husband died and cried out to Elisha.  Elisha blessed her with what she had in the house a miraculous pot of oil, that poured and filled as many pots that were available, until the widows debt was paid.

Food for thought….

It is ironic that the holiday recognized reveals a miracle on how YHWH provides our needs when we are obedient to him.  He makes a way out of no way and moves us to possess an abundance of all we need, above and beyond what we could ask or think.  This is what we call a fingerprint or a pattern of the characteristics and mind of YHWH.   Read 1Kings chapter 4 and see the authentic spirit of YHWH in this season as Yeshua (Jesus) removing the oppressor of the creditors from this woman and leaving her with enough for her and her two sons to live on comfortably, ultimately in a better position than when He found her.  This is a far cry of the outcome often surrounding this season in the world.  It is according to the scriptures that Yeshua lets you know He came here, died on the cross and rose with all power in His hands as the Christ, that we might have life and that more abundantly.

Jhn 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

 

The over indulgence and participation in false hopes, lusting and greed for more and more or to present oneself to be more than you are by your gift giving is not the proper mindset or interrelation activities for this season.  The story of Hanukah reminds us of a very capable YHWH that we serve who is always mindful or our needs and is merciful and gracious to supply every need according to His riches in glory.

When we look to John 10:10 we are presented with a juxtaposition of two options, one comes to steal, kill and destroy and while it may not look like it but when it is all said and done, when we cannot afford to purchase gifts there are some who believe it is necessary to steal, or kill and destroy another person for the sake of that one day.  Others will stretch their credit limit beyond and this too is a form of stealing and destroying one’s future potential when it really matters.  There are choices for us to make each day that will determine our destiny. Your choice this season will you choose life or death, lack or abundance?

 

Loving you enough to tell you the truth….

Prophetess C. C.

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