A family legacy is about…
- Living a life that blesses others
- Leaving a spiritual and physical inheritance for your children and the next generation
- Living a life that makes an impact, not just for today, but in the future
The story of the Maccabees and the festival of Hanukkah is about a small priestly family whose devotion to the Lord outweighed any pressures the enemy could press upon them. They fought with confidence, they made a difference, and they left a family legacy through Hanukkah that any of us can glean spiritual encouragement from.
Hanukkah—A Brief Overview
The Hanukkah story begins around 165 BC during the reign of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, a ruler of the Hellenistic Syrian kingdom who had outlawed any worship other than that of Greek gods and goddesses. The Maccabean family—Mattathias (a Jewish priest) and his five sons—and others who shared their passion for the Lord, formed a small army that would defeat Antiochus, save the Jewish people, and restore the Temple.
Antiochus IV decreed that any practice of Jewish customs was strictly forbidden. However, the Maccabees refused to worship the Greek gods, which angered Antiochus. He set up idols and unclean sacrifices inside the Jewish Temple, completely desecrating it.
The Maccabees had no other choice but to fight. If they had not stood up for the righteousness of God, they would have been consumed by the enemy. Through this trial, God revealed His power and authority.
They overcame and then set out to reestablish their Temple. They cleansed it of all idolatry and consecrated it—dedicating it again to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
How Does the Hanukkah Story Relate to Your Story?
You might not be up against an entire empire here on earth, but the powers and principalities of darkness always look to drown out the light of the Lord.
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”—Ephesians 6:12
In order to move past the darkness of trials, you must…
- Hold on to your identity
- Claim your inheritance
- Be determined to leave a legacy of truth for your family
Like the Maccabees, we must be willing to stand up and be empowered by God. We cannot allow fear to shut us down. We must decree and declare the Word of God, the Holy Spirit’s power within us, and the blood of Yeshua that covers us.
And with the victory, it is likely that the Maccabean army sang the same victory song that Moses and the children of Israel sang—the one passed down from generation to generation as a battle cry…
“… ‘I will sing to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously! The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea! The Lord is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him; my father’s God, and I will exalt Him.’”—Exodus 15:1-2 (emphasis added)
These words reflect how a family legacy was left by Moses, and the children of Israel would pass it to each succeeding generation.
This is what we too can do as we face trials—choose to decree that God is our salvation and praise Him. Because He has triumphed gloriously!
Hanukkah | A Spiritual Awakening
Hanukkah was birthed out of the rededication of the Jewish Temple that had been overcome with false gods and idols. Those who celebrated the rededication rejoiced in the fact that the Temple had been restored to its previous state—cleansed and sanctified for God’s purposes.
We, as Believers in Yeshua who are born again, the blood of Jesus has cleansed us once and for all. However, through trials, we can often lose sight of the triumphant victory that is already ours.
Hanukkah means “dedication.” Therefore, this is a time when you can ask God to reveal any idolatry in your heart and cleanse it from you. But there is another step you need to understand to activate the dedication… You must seek to restore what once was.
The Maccabees didn’t just cleanse the Temple; they followed the cleansing with its rededication to the Lord. Has the Spirit laid on your heart areas that are cleansed and now need restoration—areas that you need to rededicate to the Lord?
Lighting the candles during Hanukkah is a physical representation of this spiritual awakening.
Hanukkah | A Family Legacy of Increase, Not Decrease
In the Maccabee rededication of the Temple, the menorah had only enough oil for one day, yet the lights burned for eight full days! Enough time for a new supply of oil to be consecrated for Temple use. It was truly the miracle which inspired the Jewish people to proclaim and remember yearly the eight-day festival of the lights of Hanukkah.
So today, when lighting the hanukkiah, it is customary for the Jewish family to light an additional candle each day of the festival—one for each day, reciting blessings and displaying the lighted hanukkiah prominently in remembrance of that long ago miracle.
And as Believers in Yeshua—the Light of the world—it is important to note that as we share in this festival, every day we too should add to His light in us, making it brighter with the remembrance of the expanding miracle of God’s work in our lives.
God wants us to be ever moving toward increase, not decrease…
“But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.”—2 Peter 1:5-9 (emphasis added)
When we increase, we are able to leave a legacy of truth for the next generation. When we don’t “add to our faith,” we end up adopting a spirit of lack and are unfruitful.
A Family Legacy That Impacts Others
Traditionally the hanukkiah is placed in a window for all to see the light. Jesus tells us to put the lamp on a lampstand so that others will glorify the Father by witnessing what He has done.
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”—Matthew 5:14-16
How you glorify the Father makes an impact on others. It blesses them and spreads the love of Yeshua. By actively placing your “lamp on a lampstand,” you are leaving a family legacy to your children and your children’s children.
Leaving a Family Legacy of Difference
The Maccabees were certainly different from those around them. They were a remnant that preserved the message of God and played a role in the birth of Messiah generations later.
They were different because they did not conform to the Hellenistic mindset that pressed in on all sides, but instead worshipped the God of their fathers.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”—Romans 12:2
When we come into alignment with the Father, we know His good and perfect will—just as the Maccabees did. But to do that, we must be “transformed by the renewing of our minds.” This ties back to the cleansing and rededication of the Temple. We must renew our minds with thoughts from above—with the cleansing washing of water by the Word of God (see Ephesians 5:26-27).
Another image of difference is the hanukkiah itself. The hanukkiah is similar to the menorah, but still different. It has additional candles—instead of seven, it has eight candles plus one… specifically the servant candle, or the shamash. This candle is often set apart or placed higher than the other candles. This is the candle that will light the other candles each day and is left burning along with the lit candles.
As Believers, we see this servant candle as the one which represents Jesus. And just as the shamash lights the other candles, Jesus gives us the fire of the Holy Spirit—igniting us to do His will.
As the Feast of Dedication—the Festival of Lights—is upon us, let us show the light of Yeshua to the world. Let the Holy Spirit release His fire of spiritual awakening in us so that we will renew our minds and walk in alignment with Him. Let us rededicate our hearts to the Father so that we will be ready for the release of blessings He has for each of us during this holiday season.
Would you like to have a hanukkiah to light this holiday season and start a tradition of family legacy? Click HERE to purchase yours!