I have written about the Festival of Lights several times on this blog and I’ll try to continue to do so! It’s a great holiday for Christian libertarians as it has a fight for freedom as well as having been before the arrival of Jesus was a genuine miracle of God! I would like to see a movie done on the Maccabee war for independence.
Here’s a great and useful article from JoshuaPundit (a member of the Watcher’s’ Council) on Hanukkah (also Chanukah) and I quote a few excerpts. But read the whole thing! My interpretation at the end is of course MY interpretation only (but it can be adopted by ALL my readers and may it be so!).
While many of you may be familiar with the story of the Miracle of the Oil, what is frequently overlooked is that Hannukah celebrates another miracle – the miracle of a group of farmers and tradesman utterly defeating the professional armies of the Seleucid Empire, a victory for freedom that belongs to all of us, Jew and Gentile.
Hanukkah celebrates one of the important miracles in Jewish history and reminds us of the triumph of faith. It takes place every year in mid to late December. While its date varies if you go by the western calendar, in the Hebrew calendar Hanukkah always falls on the 25th day of Kislev.
Hanukkah celebrates the victory Jewish war for independence in the second century B.C. E. The story is told in the First Book of Maccabees, and retold in the Second Book of Maccabees. A contemporary military history of the war can be found in Battles of the Bible, coauthored by Chaim Herzog and Mordechai Gichon.
Blogger’s note: The First and Second Books of the Maccabees are not found in the Bible, unless it contains the Apocrypha in it – books not considered canonical by the early church but were accepted by Catholics at the Council of Trent in 1546.
The start of the Maccabean Revolt sprang from a single spontaneous act of resistance. In the foothills village of Modi’in in 167BCE, a Greek army unit set up an altar, and ordered the local Jewish rabbi, Mattathias, to sacrifice a pig and eat it. He refused, as did his five sons. When a Jewish collaborator came forward to offer the sacrifice, a furious Mattathias “ran and killed him on the spot, killed the king’s officer who was forcing them to sacrifice, and tore down the altar” (1 Mac. 2:15-25).
Mattathias, his sons and their followers then headed for the Judean hills, to launch a guerrilla war. They were farmers who had no military training,fighting a professional army. There had not been a Jewish army since Babylon had destroyed the Judean kingdom four centuries before. Their only weapons were farming tools and whatever simple weapons they could construct, such as maces or slings. During this first year, Mattathias died, and his middle son Judah took over command as his successor.
The middle son (who says middle children can’t be successful!) Judah, nicknamed the “Hammer”, led a 25 year guerrilla war against the Seleucids and their emperor, Antiochus Epiphanes to fight for independence and religious freedom. Finally there was a triumphal entry into Jerusalem:
In 164 BCE, the Jews defeated a force commanded by the Viceroy Lysias that outnumbered them two to one. That battle took place six miles north of Hebron, near the Jewish fortress of Beth-zur. The victory allowed Judah and his army to retake Jerusalem.
When they entered Jerusalem, Judah and his followers entered the Holy Temple on the Temple Mount. The Temple had been wrecked and horribly desecrated, with profanities scrawled on the walls and the Ark by the Seleucids.
The Maccabees built a new altar. When the time came to light the N’er Tamid, the Eternal Light of the Temple, the Jews could find only one sanctified jar of oil marked with the seal of the High Priest. It was only enough to last one evening. On the 25th of Kislev, in the year 164 BCE,the lamp was lit with this small jar of oil and, miraculously, stayed lit for eight days, until more oil suitable for the temple was made. The eight days of Hanukkah celebrate that miracle, as well as the divine intervention that had led the Jews to amazing victories over well-equipped professional armies far superior in numbers. “Therefore, carrying ivy-wreathed wants and beautiful branches and also fronds of palm, they offered hymns of thanksgiving to Him who had given success to the purifying of His own holy place” (2 Mac. 10:7).
That is the first Hanukkah! The war continued and Judah was killed. Another brother, Jonathan and still another Simon fought until the Children of Israel were independent in 142 BC! It was a miracle: Both the oil lasting in the lamp and the defeat of the enemy. Like in Esther’s day, the people of Israel, God’s chosen people, were saved. Without the Maccabee rebellion, the setting would not have been right for the Messiah (Jesus, Y’shua, similar to Joshua actually, Hebrew for Salvation) to come less than 150 years after the amazing victory of the Maccabees.
The Lord even promises that the Jewish people survive forever – in the Scripture verse I read this morning for devotions, Jeremiah 33:25-26:
“Thus saith the LORD; If my covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth; Then will I cast away the seed of Jacob, and David my servant,…”
The Lord would have to give up day and night before He will forsake His people. The wonderful thing is that anyone, Jew or Gentile can trust in Jesus as Messiah/Christ/Saviour and be one of His people!
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16 (KJV)(emphasis added)
No one gives up who they are to be a follower of Jesus!
“And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation:…” Revelation 5:9 (KJV)
“After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.” Revelation 7:9-10 (KJV)
For more on how to find faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord, go here!
Thanks to Joshuapundit for this way cool article.