Lessons from the Maccabees | Leaving a Family Legacy through Hanukkah

There are many lessons from the Maccabees that apply to us today. The Hanukkah story gives us a picture of how to overcome as the Body of Christ, as individual Believers, and how to leave a legacy to the next generation. 

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 put upon them. 

  • They fought with confidence.
  • They made a difference.
  • They left a family legacy through Hanukkah. 

We can glean spiritual encouragement from their legacy. 

Click here to purchase The Miracle of Hanukkah devotional book.

How Does the Hanukkah Story Relate to the Church Today?

For Believers, what we believe and stand for—biblical principles—are under attack by the enemy. Our situation is similar to the Maccabees. No, we are not in a physical war, but we are in a spiritual war. 

The media spreads lies and false reports. It plants seeds in the culture that God’s principles are archaic, restraining, and narrow-minded.

This is all the more reason we, as mature Believers, must press toward the upward call of God in Yeshua, just as Paul told the Philippians to do…

“I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind…”

—Philippians 3:14-15

Under the Father’s wing of protection is where we find true freedom. When we dwell and trust in Him, we find provision and mercy. The Maccabees found provision and mercy as they sought to restore, dwell, and worship in the Temple.  

God is calling out to the Church today to rise up and be the remnant army in this season, just as He did with the Maccabees. He is looking for those who will shut off the lies of the media and focus on Him and His assignment for this hour—to reclaim and restore what has been stolen by a Hellenized culture. 

The Father is calling out to the Church… 

“Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.”

—Isaiah 60:1

It is our hour to be the light, leaving the legacy of the virtue and righteousness we have in Yeshua, manifesting God’s glory to the world. 

How Does the Hanukkah Story Relate to Your Situation?

You might not be up against an entire empire here on earth, but the powers and principalities of darkness always look to dim 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

A close up of a hand lighting a candle with a match on a dark background.

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. Israel passed down a victory song from generation to generation as a battle cry. This song was likely sung by the Maccabean army as they conquered the Syrian army. Sing and declare it over your situation.  

“… ‘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 

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. Praise Him because He has triumphed gloriously!

Click here to get the free Hanukkah Story download.

Is Hanukkah a Time of Rededication? 


Hanukkah was birthed out of the rededication of the Jewish Temple which 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, know that 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, rededicating yourself to Him during this season.

The Maccabees did not 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 to be restored—areas that need to be rededicated to the Lord?

Lighting the candles during Hanukkah is a physical representation of this spiritual awakening and rededication. 

Is Hanukkah a Time to Leave a Family Legacy?

Yes—one of increase, not decrease! 

Hanukkah is the perfect time to teach those new in their walk with the Lord or the younger generation that God gives above what we can think or ask (see Ephesians 3:20). 

When the Maccabees rededicated the Temple, the Menorah had only enough oil for one day, yet the lights burned for eight full days! This was enough time for a new supply of oil to be consecrated for Temple use. It was truly the miracle that inspired the Jewish people to proclaim and remember the eight-day festival of the lights of Hanukkah, celebrating it every year.

Jewish families today light the Hanukkiah each of the 8 nights, reciting blessings and displaying it in remembrance of that long-ago miracle. As Believers in Yeshua—the Light of the world—we too can share in this festival and add His light to the world. We can illuminate our atmosphere 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. 

Leave 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.

Grandpa and grandbaby's hand resting on a Bible, grandpa reading to baby from Bible.

Leave a Family Legacy That Makes a 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—the cleansing and washing of water by the Word of God (see Ephesians 5:26-27). 

Another image of making a 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. 

This Servant candle 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. 

In Conclusion…

As the Feast of Dedication—the Festival of Lights—is upon us, giving us an opportunity to 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.