Summary: Hanukkah is a minor Jewish feast in the context of the other high holy days.
A Hanukkah is a minor Jewish feast in the context of the other high holy days.
1 It isn’t an observance commanded in the Torah (later feast/inter-testimental times).
a In modern times, Jews/Gentiles both, Hanukkah has become a prominent feast, right along side Passover.
aa It’s an 8 day feast (like Passover & Tabernacles)
bb Passover (has it’s lamb, unleaven bread), Tabernacles (has it’s booths/tents & “Ethrot”/Willow branch, Citrus, Palm, Sycamore branch); Hanakah has its unique traditions & symbols, too.
b Special Hanukkah menorah (Nine lamps because tradition forbids lighting a lamp from any other lamp other than the servant lamp.)
aa Each night a new candle is added. (Each member of the family has their own Hanukkah menorah)
bb Traditionally the candles are lit for at least 30 minutes and they are visible from the outside.
cc Not for Ordinary use (reading/work), they are sacred for this feast.
c Special foods (Latkes, Jelly doughnuts fried in oil; Cheese (Judith/Holofernes)
d Special game (Dreidel is probably a game from mediaeval Germany)
aa Before WWII they were cast out of lead or carved out of wood (Today most dreidels are made either in Jerusalem or Japan)
bb It reminds them of the “turnover” of events when Judas Maccabees small militia toppled the great army of Antiochus IV.
cc It reminds them of how the strong were “spun” in the hands of the week.
dd The dreidel is spun from above, illustrating that it is God who spins worldly events to their rightful conclusion. (He’s already there!)
ee Each side has a Jewish letter (remember that letters have numbers in the Aleph-Bet); Nun, gimmel, heh, and shin (Acrostic for “Nes Gadol Hayah Sham” - - - “A great miracle happened there.”
2 The great miracle was how God made one days worth of anointed oil burn for eight days.
B The Great Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonians in 606 B.C. then rebuilt by Nehemiah, Ezra, Zerrubabel under the Persian Era.
1 Eventually the Persians were defeated by Alexander the Great (He was VERY tolerant of the Jews/Temple practices)
a The tolerance, understanding towards the Jews ended when Alexander died.
aa Left his empire in shambles with four of his generals vying for dominance.
bb They split Alexander’s Empire four different ways.
b The Ptolemies took control of the south (Egypt); Seleucides took north (Syria) leaving Judea in the middle (Intersection of Europe, Asia & Africa) to be used as the prize in a tug of war between the Ptolemies & Seleucides.
aa Eventually the Seleucides, under the leadership of Antiochus IV, took Judea.
bb Antiochus is a title, not a name. (Pharaoh, Emperor, Agag, President, King, etc.)
2 Antiochus forced the citizens of Judea to adopt his brand of faith (paganism blended with philosophy/religion from previously conquered people groups.)
a A whole lot of everything but not enough of anything.
b Many in Israel (Jews) accepted the state approved religion (Hellenism) of Antiochus.
aa Hellenistic Jews were what they became know as.
bb The reason was to get a political position or economic gain.
c He hit the root of Judaism (Monotheism); “Behold, O Israel, the Lord thy God is one.”
aa Antiochus tried to get Israel to go along - - - but when they wouldn’t he got out his sword.
bb He was hell bent to snuff out the light of Judaism (In fact, he is a type/shadow of the Antichrist that will arise in the last days.)
cc 1 Maccabees 1.41-43, “Then the king (Antiochus Epiphanes) wrote to his whole kingdom that all should be one people, and that each should give up his customs. All the Gentiles accepted the command of the king. Many even from Israel gladly adopted his religion; they sacrificed to idols and profaned the sabbath.”
3 Antiochus did three big no-no’s to and in the Temple at Jerusalem.
a He brought in a statue (graven image) of Zeus into the Temple complex; He set up a house of prostitution on the Temple complex grounds, and he offered up a swine on the brazen altar (not Kosher!).
b Many within the Jewish community thought they couldn’t do anything to regain what they had lost so just go ahead and let the government do what ever they want to us. (You can’t fight city hall.)
aa When the laws of the land are counter to your Judeo-Christian values those laws are unjust.
bb Abortion is legal, but wrong. Gay marriage in many parts of America is legal, but wrong.
c A small group of patriot Jews, led by Judas Maccabees (AKA The Hammer), started an insurgance movement against the government.
aa They wanted to worship & practice their faith like they had for generations.
bb No Circumcision, Holy days, Torah reading, sacrifice, quit celebrating the Sabbath. THIS WAS NOT ACCEPTABLE FOR THE HEROS OF HANUKKAH!