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Ecclesiastes 12:13

 

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HANUKKAH EXPLAINED: WHY HANUKKAH IS BETTER THAN CHRISTMAS (Biblically)

Updated: Aug 13, 2023



Hanukkah seems to have gone missing in the minds of believers i.e. Christians and those that say they believe in Most High and his Son.


The best way to know what Hanukkah is, and if it applies to us, is to read the scriptures that were left to us to make this decision.


Hopefully after reading this you’ll see importance of this appointed day (feast) and it’s historic significance. Remember the aim in all this is to serve the Most High in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24).


The scripture that springs to mind now, is..


2 Timothy 2:15

15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

That being said I will be using scriptures to explain Hanukkah that traditionally has been cast into the shadows of most believers minds…


The scriptures I’ll be using are called the Apocrypha books which were once apart of the King James 1611 bible, when read you’ll find they’ve been taken out for no logical reason, except to keep the truth from us.


You can see all the Apocrypha books present in the King James 1611 image below:

1611 KJV bible apocrypha image

Incidentally, the word Apocrypha literally means “hidden” books, but that’s a topic for another article.


Within this article I’ll be discussing the Hanukkah “facts”, meaning I will be using the scriptures to discuss Hanukkah, what Hanukkah is, what month Hanukkah is, and how long Hanukkah is…


and the true story of Hanukkah. I will be using the book of Maccabees (one of the Apocrypha books taken out) as a point of reference to give you the origin of this appointed day.


What Is hanukkah?


So let me explain what Hanukkah is simply without myths and traditions.


Hanukkah is the hebrew word “Dedication”, It is an Israelite (Hebrew) celebration which was established to remember Judas Maccabees victory over the Greeks 2nd Century BC (Approx 160-167 BC).


At the time the Greeks had entered Israels temple in Israel and destroyed and desecrated it. Judas Maccabees fought against the greeks defeated them and throw them out of the temple.

Hanukkah was instituted to remember the “re-dedication” of the Temple in Israel at the time.

Knowing this alone should give us comfort as believers.



Hanukkah is a representation and celebration of liberation from Pagan idolatry and its attempts to destroy the Most Highs temple. It is also a warning to us that we must understand the battle between good and evil.


The scripture that springs to mind is:


Matthew 11:12

And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.

A reminder that keeping the faith is not an easy task, faith is not just a “warm” feeling like so many have been lead to believe…


Hanukkah In The Book Of Maccabees


For a more in depth understanding of Hanukkah we have to read the the Book of Maccabees. These books give us the history of Israel, between the books of Malachi of the “Old Testament” and the book of Matthew in the “New Testament” scriptures.


First I’ll start with an overview of what was going on in Israel during the time Hanukkah was instituted.


The story of Hanukkah all takes place during the 2nd century BC (Before Christ) and is found within Daniel’s prophecies of the kingdoms (Daniel Chapter 7) that would rule, which were, notably…


“Assyrian/Babylonian”, “Medes/Persian”, then the “Greeks/Romans”.

At this time we find our self in the Greek empires time of ruling…


The Most popular and formidable ruler at the time was Alexander the Greek aka “Great”. I’m sure you’ve heard of this past ruler. It’s often said the Greeks civilised the world, but that’s clearly untrue!


The Story Of The Maccabees Hanukkah


The scripture tells us about Alexander in:


1 Maccabees 1:1-9

1 And it happened, after that Alexander son of Philip, the Macedonian, who came out of the land of Chettiim, had smitten Darius king of the Persians and Medes, that he reigned in his stead, the first over Greece,
2 And made many wars, and won many strong holds, and slew the kings of the earth,
3 And went through to the ends of the earth, and took spoils of many nations, insomuch that the earth was quiet before him; whereupon he was exalted and his heart was lifted up.
4 And he gathered a mighty strong host and ruled over countries, and nations, and kings, who became tributaries unto him.
5 And after these things he fell sick, and perceived that he should die.
6 Wherefore he called his servants, such as were honourable, and had been brought up with him from his youth, and parted his kingdom among them, while he was yet alive.
7 So Alexander reigned twelve years, and then died.
8 And his servants bare rule every one in his place.
9 And after his death they all put crowns upon themselves; so did their sons after them many years: and evils were multiplied in the earth.

So you can see here that the book of Maccabees gives us the History of how Alexander ruled 12 years over Greece and destroyed the Persians and Medes.


After Alexander died his kingdom was split and separated amongst his Generals.


Antiochus Epiphanes


The General we are concerned with for Hanukkah is Antiochus Epiphanes son of King Antiochus. He was described as a very wicked ruler.


1 Maccabees 1:10

10 And there came out of them a wicked root Antiochus surnamed Epiphanes, son of Antiochus the king, who had been an hostage at Rome, and he reigned in the hundred and thirty and seventh year of the kingdom of the Greeks.

Antiochus conquered Egypt and then went to war against Israel. It was during this time that he entered the temple and took the candlestick of light and other Holy things from Israel’s temple.


1 Maccabees 1:20-25

20 And after that Antiochus had smitten Egypt, he returned again in the hundred forty and third year, and went up against Israel and Jerusalem with a great multitude,
21 And entered proudly into the sanctuary, and took away the golden altar, and the candlestick of light, and all the vessels thereof,
22And the table of the shewbread, and the pouring vessels, and the vials. and the censers of gold, and the veil, and the crown, and the golden ornaments that were before the temple, all which he pulled off.
23 He took also the silver and the gold, and the precious vessels: also he took the hidden treasures which he found.
24 And when he had taken all away, he went into his own land, having made a great massacre, and spoken very proudly.
25 Therefore there was a great mourning in Israel, in every place where they were;

These scriptures tell us why the 7 candle stick holder (menorah) holds symbolic significance during hanukkah.



The image above is a styled 7 candlesticks that John saw when he saw the Messiah in Revelation 1:13:


Revelation 1:13

And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.

It should be noted that not all of Israel were innocent before Antiochus came and desecrated the temple. There were some Israelites that actually denounced the Most High (1 Maccabees 1:43) and followed the unbelieving Greeks and Romans that were around them.


Their reasoning for doing so were that they felt and saw that their lives were easier when they were ruled by the unbelieving nations around them at that time…


Their rebellion included them reframing from circumcision and building gymnasiums for sport, which is a custom of the unbelievers (I Maccabees 1:11-15). This is where we get sports from especially the Olympics.


…Antiochus ended up taking control of Jerusalem (1 Maccabees 1:41-42) the city of David and decreeing that everyone should come together as one, and because he was King Antiochus he should make the Law in Israel.


There were Israelites that agreed to this and sacrificed to idols, but there were many that didn’t and kept the faith. Keep in mind this was all taking place in the Israelites homeland Israel…


The king decreed the penalty for not keeping the Laws of the unbelieving king to be death (Read: I Maccabees 1:40-50)


1 Maccabees 1:50

50 And whosoever would not do according to the commandment of the king, he said, he should die.

At this time Israelites had to go into hiding, because they kept the laws of the Most High.


1 Maccabees 1:52,53

52 Then many of the people were gathered unto them, to wit every one that forsook the law; and so they committed evils in the land;
53 And drove the Israelites into secret places, even wheresoever they could flee for succour.

Sometime after this Antiochus set up idols in the Temple of the Most High.


1 Maccabees 1:54-58

54 Now the fifteenth day of the month Casleu, in the hundred forty and fifth (145) year, they set up the abomination of desolation upon the altar, and builded idol altars throughout the cities of Juda on every side;
55 And burnt incense at the doors of their houses, and in the streets.
56 And when they had rent in pieces the books of the law which they found, they burnt them with fire.
57 And whosoever was found with any the book of the testament, or if any committed to the law, the king’s commandment was, that they should put him to death.
58 Thus did they by their authority unto the Israelites every month, to as many as were found in the cities.

As you can read here the Greeks burnt the scriptures as mentioned previously, and Israelites keeping the laws were put to death.


There was actually active killing of all Isrealites found keeping the Laws of the Most High in Israel, this took place every month.


Let’s Compare And Contrast Christmas And Hanukkah


At this point I want you to see some startling revelations. Some may say this is mere coincidence, I don’t agree, but you’ll have to judge for yourself…


It’s interesting to note that the time that all this evil took place was in the month “Casleu” (I Maccabees 1:54), this is the 9th Hebrew month. It falls between November and December on the Gregorian calendar (closer to December).


…More revealing is that on the 25th day of Casleu (December) The Greeks sacrificed idols in the Israel’s temple!


I Maccabees 1:59-63

59 Now the five and twentieth day of the month they did sacrifice upon the idol altar, which was upon the altar of God.
60 At which time according to the commandment they put to death certain women, that had caused their children to be circumcised.
61 And they hanged the infants about their necks, and rifled their houses, and slew them that had circumcised them.
62 Howbeit many in Israel were fully resolved and confirmed in themselves not to eat any unclean thing.
63 Wherefore the rather to die, that they might not be defiled with meats, and that they might not profane the holy covenant: so then they died.

Today every year on the 25th of December people put up christmas trees decorate them and put gifts under them, all of which have no biblical evidence to support.


Here we see that the 25th day of December was a day idolatrous practices took place, in particular against The Most Highs temple.


Reading the book of Jeremiah gives us a clearer understanding of pagan practices very similar to the celebration of Christmas also.


Jeremiah 10:1-5

1 Hear ye the word which the Lord speaketh unto you, O house of Israel:
2 Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.
3 For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.
4 They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.
5 They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.

Here we see the heathen custom of decorating a tree, the very custom that is celebrated today for Christmas!


Whether or not the two heathen practices, that of the heathens in Jeremiah and those in I Maccabees are exactly the same, what is true is that they have both been brought together.


For those of you hearing this for the first time! I know the pressures that come with renoucing Christmas, but you should hold onto the words of the Most High here in verse 5…

He says “Be not afraid of them“…


Although this relates to the tree. Today pressure comes in the form of the world, family, friends and tradition…


So this is the “them”, mentioned above…


That being said the point is as believers we should not take part in unbiblical celebrations such as christmas, if you feel lost? Don’t worry I will be providing the solution?


The Maccabean Revolt And Hanukkah


During the constant persecution and killing of the Israelites an Israelite General emerged his name was Judas Maccabee, Maccabee meaning “Hammer”, in Hebrew, incidentally.

Judas fought against the Greeks…



1 Maccabees 4:21-25

21 When therefore they perceived these things, they were sore afraid, and seeing also the host of Judas in the plain ready to fight,
22 They fled every one into the land of strangers.
23 Then Judas returned to spoil the tents, where they got much gold, and silver, and blue silk, and purple of the sea, and great riches.
24 After this they went home, and sung a song of thanksgiving, and praised the Lord in heaven: because it is good, because his mercy endureth forever.
25 Thus Israel had a great deliverance that day.

the above scriptures (1 Maccabees 4:21-25) describe the first Maccabean revolt, history attests to this happening from 167-160 BC. This was the start of Israel liberating themselves from the rule of the greeks, lead by Judas Maccabee.


1 Maccabees 4:34-36

34 So they joined battle; and there were slain of the host of Lysias about five thousand men, even before them were they slain.
35 Now when Lysias saw his army put to flight, and the manliness of Judas’ soldiers, and how they were ready either to live or die valiantly, he went into Antiochia, and gathered together a company of strangers, and having made his army greater than it was, he purposed to come again into Judea.
36 Then said Judas and his brethren, Behold, our enemies are discomfited: let us go up to cleanse and dedicate the sanctuary.

So we see here Judas defeating one of Antiochus Epiphanes generals at the time, Lysias (Syrian chancellor).


After they had won this battle they then went to Jerusalem to clean the temple that the Greeks had defiled.


When they eventually took back the temple it was re-dedicated back to the Most High and cleansed with prayers.


You can read about this below:


2 Maccabees 10:5-9

5 Now upon the same day that the strangers profaned the temple, on the very same day it was cleansed again, even the five and twentieth day of the same month, which is Casleu.
6 And they kept the eight days with gladness, as in the feast of the tabernacles, remembering that not long afore they had held the feast of the tabernacles, when as they wandered in the mountains and dens like beasts.
7 Therefore they bare branches, and fair boughs, and palms also, and sang psalms unto him that had given them good success in cleansing his place.
8 They ordained also by a common statute and decree, That every year those days should be kept of the whole nation of the Jews.
9 And this was the end of Antiochus, called Epiphanes.

What’s interesting to see here is that they gave offerings specifically on the 25th of the ninth month (December). The exact day that the Heathens had defiled the temple.


When Is Hanukkah?


We have just looked at a detailed account of Hanukkah above, without concentrating on when Hanukkah actually begins, so here’s the exact date…


The exact day of hanukah is the 25th day of the 9th Hebrew month Casleu (Approx. November-December, in the gregorian calender)


1 Maccabees 4:59

59 Moreover Judas and his brethren with the whole congregation of Israel ordained, that the days of the dedication of the altar should be kept in their season from year to year by the space of eight days, from the five and twentieth day of the month Casleu, with mirth and gladness.

How Long Is Hanukkah?


The simple answer to how long Hanukkah is, is 8 days. This is in common with celebrations such as the Passover and Unleavened Bread, Feats of Tabernacles (Booths)


1 Maccabees 4:59

59 Moreover Judas and his brethren with the whole congregation of Israel ordained, that the days of the dedication of the altar should be kept in their season from year to year by the space of eight days, from the five and twentieth day of the month Casleu, with mirth and gladness.

Did The Messiah Keep Hanukkah?


Many believers are unaware that the Hanukkah is mentioned in the “New testament”. In the book of John it says:


John 10:22-23

22 And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.
23 And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch.

Clearly the Hanukkah “feast of dedications”, was acknowledged by the Messiah. Likewise it is supposed to be, every year for all true believers too.


It’s also interesting to see that we are told it was “winter”. This confirms further that this celebration was at the same time as Christmas is today, because during Christmas time it is always winter, just food for thought!


Conclusion


There’s lots to consider for every true believer. It’s very possible that you were unaware of the Hanukkah celebration.


If you were not unaware of it, great! But, more likely than not, even if you were aware of this celebration you either thought it was a celebration for Jewish people or that it had no real significance to you…


I’m sure you can see now, that Hanukkah is very relevant? Furthermore it’s definitely not reserved for Jewish people.


If you think about what celebrating Christmas really represents, it should really bother you that it is promoted to the world as a biblical event.


We must remember that the Messiah came to do the will of his Father. He did not come to create new Laws (Matthew 5:17) especially not a celebration for his birth, which is what Christmas allegedly is supposed to honour.


It is clear to see that the customs of Christmas have more in common with heathen practices, than they do the bible. Jeremiah 10:1-5, which talks about the decorating of a tree is clearly talking about the same heathen practices that Christmas incorporates! The most obvious being, christmas decorations for the tree, mistletoe, christmas lights, and the many other decoratives and traditions around it…


Add to that, what the greeks did at the temple in Israel before the Messiah came…

They went into the temple on the 25 day of the 9th Hebrew month (December) and destroyed the holy artifacts and took the gold and silver away as spoil…


The only conclusion that can be made of Christmas, if you’re a believer, is that it is utterly detestable and unbiblical! Which is something we should all be opposed to.


Fortunately we have a solution to Christmas it’s called Hanukkah, this is our CELEBRATION. It reminds us to remain liberated from heathen practices and worship the Most High and his Son.


The Hanukkah is an 8 day celebration starting on the 25 day of the 9th Hebrew month. So let’s all remember Hanukkah starting now!


You can learn more about Hanukkah here


Shalom! and share this with someone that needs it…


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