Hanukkah is often thought of as a Jewish holiday. After all, aren’t Christians supposed to celebrate Christmas? In fact, many Christians consider Hanukkah to be the “Jewish Christmas.”
This is not only a grave misunderstanding of the Hebraic holiday but also the great work of the enemy. He intends to steal the heritage and blessings that are yours as a co-heir with Christ. He wants to see you disconnected from the olive tree you are grafted into. He wants to leave the gift of Hanukkah unwrapped.
And he wants you to forget that you are a child of Abraham through faith.
“Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham.”—Galatians 3:7
But as more and more Believers are exploring the Hebraic roots of their faith, they are discovering deep mysteries held within passages of the Bible. Passages and verses that likely have been quickly skimmed or completely skipped over numerous times through their journey of faith are being used by God to reveal their heritage.
“Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch.”—John 10:22-23
But God is unlocking these truths. He is calling to mind, once again, that He has not changed and that He is eternal. He is revealing the blessings of reclaiming our inheritance—and in this season, specifically the gift of Hanukkah.
Therefore, we can know with confidence that the more we allow the Spirit to guide our time in His Word, the more we will continue to glean truth from it—truth about who He is and the divine purpose He has for us as individuals and collectively as His Bride.
Reclaim the Gift of Hanukkah
For those who are connecting to the Jewish roots of their faith, the presence of Yeshua and God’s faithful provision is evident during Hanukkah.
Jesus refers to us as being 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
The Hanukkiah | A Gift of Hanukkah
The hanukkiah—the candelabra lit during the eight days of Hanukkah—is structured with a single candle that is usually set slightly higher in the middle of the eight other candles. This center candle is referred to as the shamash, which means “servant” in Hebrew. It is used to provide the flame for the eight other branches.
Yeshua identifies Himself with Hanukkah as the servant who brings the light.
- “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”—John 9:5 (emphasis added)
- “[J]ust as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”—Matthew 20:28 (emphasis added)
What If Hanukkah Never Happened? Separated from the Gift of Hanukkah
Let’s think about this for a moment. Because many Believers either overlook the holiday of Hanukkah or feel that it is unnecessary, we want to challenge you to imagine what our world and your life would be like if Hanukkah had never happened.
Hanukkah is a celebration of God’s provision, faithfulness, and deliverance from Hellenistic rule. It was born out of a major time of trial and turmoil for the Jewish people. Therefore, it is wise to seek understanding regarding how God faithfully provided and what He delivered the Jewish people, and you, from.
The Hanukkah Story
A Greek ruler, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, reigned over the Hellenistic Syrian kingdom from 175 to 164 BC. His rule took place in the time period between the Old Testament and the New Testament.
As the Syrian king gained more power, his persecution intensified. He declared that every faith, other than Hellenistic Greek worship, was forbidden. His vision was for all nations to worship the Greek gods and goddesses. Out of fear, many followed.
But God still stood by His promise of faithfulness and rose up a remnant that remained devoted to Him. This remnant was the Maccabee family—Mattathias (a Jewish priest) and his five sons—along with a group of Jewish fighters who shared the family’s devotion to the Lord.
Antiochus IV Epiphanes’ Persecution of Israel
This remnant of Israel was a heavy stone Antiochus attempted to move by setting up laws against them, declaring that…
- The Hebrew Bible
- The Sabbath
- The worship of the God of Israel
… were all illegal.
If the Jewish people were caught possessing their biblical text or observing any of these traditions, they would be killed.
Antiochus IV Epiphanes Desecrated the Temple
To show the nations just how much hate was in his heart, Antiochus plundered the Jewish Temple, set up an idol and mocked the nation of Israel by offering a sacrifice of a pig—an unclean animal—on the altar to Zeus, thereby desecrating the Temple.
The Jewish Temple became a pagan temple. It looked as if the Jewish people and the Hebraic faith itself were about to be wiped out. However, over and over in the Bible we read, and even experience for ourselves, how God releases His power in His perfect timing so that the comeback of His nation makes a mark in history.
The Maccabean Revolt followed God’s pattern. He used this remnant to make a point—He will always prevail. And those who remain faithful to Him during trials will be restored.
The Maccabees Resisted, Held on to the Covenant Promises, and Defeated Antiochus IV Epiphanes
Though the Maccabees were outnumbered and overpowered, they cried out to God and won against the Syrian army in a number of battles.
Finally, after the battle for Jerusalem was won, they rose up and went to the Temple. But what they found was heartbreaking. It was in shambles and full of idols. Their work of restoration was about to begin. The remaining battles in the land were finally won and the war was over.
You see, they won the war—yes. But there was still the work of rebuilding to do. It was a time of revival and restoration.
They cleared the Temple of the Hellenistic idols. They dedicated and consecrated it. They lit the Temple’s menorah, and as the account goes, they only had enough oil to light a single candle. Yet once again, God provided and multiplied the oil, and it was enough to keep it lit for eight days.
During Hanukkah, the Temple’s menorah became the eight-branched hanukkiah—with the ninth servant candle in the middle.
This eight-day celebration became known as the Feast of Dedication, or the Festival of Lights, as the Jewish people observed this time by reflecting upon…
- How God’s light shines in this dark world.
- How God’s faithfulness will prevail.
- How His Word will never pass away.
- How He promises to always raise up a remnant that is faithful to Him to uphold His truth.
As we can read from the passage in John 9, the celebration of the festival was well established by the time Jesus was born, as it is recorded that He observed it.
Therefore, let us as One New Man Believers uphold God’s faithfulness during this season of hope. Let us change our perspective and come into alignment with God’s calendar, observing Him the way Yeshua did.
The Takeaway and the Gift of Hanukkah…
Because of the faithful remnant that cried out to God, the Maccabees rose up against the Hellenistic culture and the nation of Israel was not destroyed. Because Israel was not destroyed, and all was not lost, our Redeemer and Savior was born. Yeshua brought the redeeming message of the Kingdom of God and by His sacrifice, the saving message of the cross was carried to foreign lands.
Now Gentile nations who accept the Kingdom message are being grafted into the family of God, and together as Jew and Gentile, becoming the One New Man just as it was prophesied long ago!
This gift of Hanukkah was for you so that you would become a child of God.
Let us consider lighting a candle and connecting to our heritage—so the world can see God’s light and Believers can step out of darkness.
Would you like to join in the tradition of Hanukkah by lighting a hanukkiah of your own? Click HERE to get yours!