Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to Hebrew calendar, which is around late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar. People in Israel celebrates by lighting of the Menorah candles. They use the fire from the center candle (Shamash – Attendant) to light rest of the 8 candles. They will light up one for each night, for a total of eight nights (from right to left). They also eat fried foods and dairy foods to commemorate the miracle of Hanukkah. During this season, it is also customary to give money to children and play dreidel games. As such, Hanukkah is also known as the Festival of Lights and the Feast of Dedication.
Daniel prophesized about 4 beasts in Daniel 7, which symbolize Four Kingdoms
- Dan 7:4 Lion with eagle’s wings – Babylon
- Dan 7:5 Bear with 3 ribs – Medo-Persia
- Dan 7:6 Leopard with 4 heads – Greece
- Dan 7:7 Beast with iron teeth and 10 horns – Rome (after 400 years of silence*)
- Dan 7:8 The little horn on the fourth beast – Anti-Christ
*From the Book of Malachi (Old Testament) to Matthew (New Testament), there is a gap of 400 years
This 400 years has great implication over the future, blueprint of what will happen before Christ return.
The fourth beast is described as a spirit of Anti-Christ trying to change what is natural with that of unnatural in Daniel 7:21-25
DANIEL 7:21-25 “I was watching; and the same horn was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them, until the Ancient of Days came, and a judgment was made in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom. “Thus he said: ‘The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, which shall be different from all other kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, trample it and break it in pieces. The ten horns are ten kings who shall arise from this kingdom. And another shall rise after them; He shall be different from the first ones, and shall subdue three kings. He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand For a time and times and half a time.
Antiochus IV Epiphanes was the Selucid King of the Hellenistic Syrian Kingdom, 175 to 164 B.C. He was a tyranny in the Jewish history, a foreshadowing of the coming Antichrist, who will defile the temple of God, cause the offerings to cease in the temple and set up “an abomination that causes desolation as prophesized in Daniel 9:27. He hated the Jewish people and wanted to wipe out Judaism completely. He declared faith as illegal and demanded all to worship idols. He then went into the Jewish temple and defiled it by slaughtering a pig and placed it at the altar. Many being afraid of persecution, decided to follow along with him.
The Maccabee (Hammer or Sledgehammer) is a family in Mattityahu. They were indignant to see this and they resisted. “Maccabee” represents four Hebrew words Mi Kamocha Ba’eilim Hashem, which means “Who is like You, O G‑d.”
Antiochus sent his General Apolonius to wipe out the Maccabees, but though greater in number and possessed more powerful weapons, they were defeated by the Maccabees. Antiochus sent another army consisting of more than 40,000 men under the leadership of two commanders, Nicanor and Gorgiash. When Judah and his brothers heard of that, they exclaimed: “Let us fight unto death in defense of our souls and our Temple!” After a series of battles, the Maccabees miraculously won the battle and captured Jerusalem. They cleanse the temple and rededicate the temple to God. And on the twenty-fifth day of the Hebrew month of Kislev (Nov – Dec) the Maccabees rested from their battle.
The name of the festival – Chanukah, literally means they rested (Chanu), on the twenty-fifth day (Kah).
The Priest lighted the Menorah to dedicate the temple to God but because the Syrian has desecrated the temple, but only a small jar of oil was found, which is enough to light only for a single night. Miraculously, oil did not run out, instead the candles burned continuously for eight days and nights.
This is the reason why Hannukah is celebrated by lighting of the candles for 8 days and nights.
The history is going to happen again
Jesus spoke of Daniel’s prophecy as having something still a future and yet to be fulfilled. Jesus is essentially saying that this pattern we see in history in the times of the Antiochus IV Epiphanes and the Maccabees, is going to happen again in our future. The Antichrist will model Antiochus IV Epiphanes in his great pride, blasphemous actions, and hatred of the Jews. What happened in the past (Antiochus and the Maccabees – Hanukkah) is going to happen again in the future, possibly in our lifetime
Matthew 24:15-16 “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), 16 “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. (This is also repeated in Mark 13:14 and Luke 21:20-21)
The Pattern through Antiochus IV Epiphanes
- Anti-Jews: Defilement of God’s temple
- Anti-Christian: One world religion; Stop all worship of the one true God
- Anti-Morality: Defilement – Isaiah 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
- Anti-Bible: The great fall away in the name of tolerance
- Anti-Christ claiming to be God (Epiphanes means “God Manifest”)
- One World Religion – Claiming all religion leads to the same God
- Claiming Jesus is not God – claiming Jesus is an angel, a prophet, a brother of Satan, etc.
The remnant who overcomes wins the battle
John 8:12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
John 10:22 Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter.
John 14:6 I am the way, the truth and the light, no one comes to the Father except though Me
Matthew 5:14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.
Dedicate our lives to be the light of the world