The Hanukkah Story | Answers to Your Hanukkah Questions
The Hanukkah story reveals God's steadfast character and allows us to activate victory in our lives.
The Hanukkah story…
- Inspires you to stand firm in your faith
- Allows you to see the miracles God is doing in this season
- Equips you to resist the oppressive spirits that want to steal your freedom
Hanukkah, a historical holiday highlighting how God works miracles, is celebrated by the Jewish people every year. More and more Believers understand how this important holiday is part of their spiritual heritage too.
Many Believers ask questions about Hanukkah, and we want to help answer them…
What Does Hanukkah Mean?
Hanukkah, which means, “dedication, consecration, or inauguration” in Hebrew, is also known as the “Feast of Dedication” or the “Festival of Lights.
When is Hanukkah 2022/5783?
Hanukkah begins this year on the evening of Sunday, December 18th and ends on the evening of Monday, December 26. The festival has been celebrated throughout the world for more than 2100 years.
Discover other holidays and feasts on the Hebraic calendar HERE.
What Does Hanukkah Celebrate?
The Hanukkah story celebrates the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem in 165 BC. The Temple was rededicated after the Maccabees defeated the army of Greek Seleucid (Syrian) ruler, Antiochus IV Epiphanes.
This war between the Maccabees and Antiochus IV was known as the Maccabean war.
What is the Story of Hanukkah?
Around 167 BC, the Jewish people were living under a foreign power. A few generations before, the Greeks had come into power under Alexander the Great. He unified the common world under the Hellenistic culture.
After the death of Alexander the Great, there was a division of the empire. The Syrians, or Seleucids, was one of the divisions that came under the control of Antiochus IV Epiphanes.
To keep the Hellenistic culture alive, Antiochus enforced a policy that everyone in his region of control must submit to the Greek way of life and worship the Greek gods and goddesses.
Antiochus outlawed the practice of Judaism, as this went against the “superior” Greek way of life and values. He issued decrees forbidding the practice of the rituals of the Law of Moses and destroyed copies of the Torah.
Decrees were made against the observance of the Sabbath, the Feasts, and circumcision. Antiochus also set up an altar in the Jewish Temple to the Greek god, Zeus, with pork offerings. These actions desecrated the Temple, sparking the Maccabean revolt.
The revolt was led by the local high priest, Mattathias and his sons, who became known as the Maccabees. The Maccabees were outnumbered and under-supplied. They had to rely on the Lord to provide the knowledge, wisdom, and creativity to overcome.
After three and a half years of war, Antiochus' army was defeated by Jewish forces.
What is the Miracle of Hanukkah?
As you can imagine, the war left destruction in its path, and a desecrated Temple the Jews had to restore.
This is where the miracle of Hanukkah comes in. The Jewish people had to rid the Temple of idolatrous structures that the Syrians had left behind. Then they had to restore the holy furnishings, one being the Temple Menorah, which symbolized the light of God.
But there was a problem…
They needed specially prepared oil to light the Menorah, but only had enough oil for it to burn for one day. The priests knew it would take at least eight days for new oil to be produced and prepared.
Moving forward in faith, they lit the Menorah and got to work on preparing the next batch of oil. A miracle was witnessed as the Menorah burned past the first day and lasted eight days until new oil was fully prepared!
The miraculously lit menorah became known as the Hanukkiah. The Hanukkiah is a symbol of the miracle of the oil. Unlike the Temple Menorah, which is a 7-lamp, 6-branched candelabra, the Hanukkiah has eight branches with a shamash candle.
Read more about the difference between the Menorah and the Hanukkiah HERE.
Did Jesus Celebrate Hanukkah?
Jesus did celebrate Hanukkah.
Jesus, the Light of the world, is recorded as being at the Temple in Jerusalem and walking in Solomon's Porch during the Feast of Dedication:
“…the Feast of Dedication (of the reconsecration of the temple) was taking place at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in Solomon's Porch in the temple area.”—John 10:22-23 (AMPC)
Discover the mystery of Hanukkah and how Jesus is depicted as being the Light and the Servant HERE.
Why Celebrate Hanukkah as a Believer?
As a son or daughter who has been grafted into the family of God, the Hanukkah story is part of your story!
The Maccabees set out to take back what was their rightful heritage—the Holy Temple of God. They sought to restore it from a Greek culture back to a Hebraic mindset.
Likewise, as Christians, we have an opportunity every year to clean up our temples that have been tainted by a world of Greek/Hellenistic thinking.
We celebrate because Jesus IS the Light of the world. Jesus leads us out of seemingly overwhelming odds and darkness into the light of victory. When we follow Jesus, we have a promise: We won't walk in darkness, but have the light of life!
“Then Jesus spoke to them… ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.'”—John 8:12
- Discover lessons to learn from the Maccabees HERE.
How to Celebrate Hanukkah as a Believer?
For those who are connecting to the Jewish roots of their faith, the presence of Yeshua and God's faithful provision is evident during this season.
Jesus refers to us as the light of the world—empowered by Him. We can hold on to this as a gift of Hanukkah.
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.”—Matthew 5:14
We can walk in that light—another gift of Hanukkah.
“O house of Jacob, come and let us walk in the light of the Lord.”—Isaiah 2:5
- Discover the similarities, differences, and histories of Hanukkah and Christmas HERE.
Discover how to celebrate Hanukkah at home in this 2-part series. Click HERE for part 1. Click HERE for part 2.
How Can I Be Praying During This Season?
The Christmas and Hanukkah season is a wonderful time for us to take a step back from the busyness of our lives and reflect in prayer and meditation. It is also a great time for us to look back on the years we’ve had, think of the blessings we have received, and the struggles we have persevered through.
Click HERE to find a list of 7 holiday season prayers and decrees to consider during your quiet times.
What Bible Stories Mirror the Hanukkah Story?
When we think about the miracle of oil, and that the Holy Spirit is likened to oil in the Bible, we can see how the Word depicts the miracle of Hanukkah through the parable of The Ten Virgins, and the story of Elijah and the Widow…
The Ten Virgins
- “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.
“And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!' Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.' And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.“—Matthew 25:1-10
Elijah and the Widow
- “Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, ‘Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.' …And he called to her and said, ‘Please bring me a little water in a cup, that I may drink.' …'Please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.'
“So she said, ‘As the Lord your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.'
“And Elijah said to her, ‘Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son. For thus says the Lord God of Israel: “The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth.”‘
“So she went away and did according to the word of Elijah; and she and he and her household ate for many days. The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke by Elijah.”—1 Kings 17:8-16
There are many more examples, but the point God wants us to grasp is that He is a God of…
- New beginnings
He rose up a remnant army in His timing for His purposes and continues to do the same today!
Hanukkah | Words and Messages from Previous Years
We’ve celebrated Hanukkah for many years. Below are links you can click to read and listen to some prophetic words and messages from the past.