The Books of I & II Maccabees: Where the Story of Hanukkah Is Found

| October 27, 2016

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Hanukkah or Chanukah is an annual Jewish celebration in the late fall/early winter that dates back to circa 164 BC (or the intertestamental period – between the Old and New Testaments) and was also referred to as “Festival of Lights” or “Feast of the Dedication” or “Feast of the Maccabees”.

Interestingly, most people may not know where to find the account of the magnificent Hanukah story. It is found in the Apocrypha (meaning “hidden things”) in I & II Second Maccabees (1 Macc 4:36-59; 2 Macc 10:1-8). This book was created to offer the listener just I & II Maccabees out of the Apocrypha as it is worthy of such focused separation and study.

Although this is not one of the seven required feasts of the Mosaic law spelled out in Leviticus 23, this 8-day holiday celebrates the victory of the Maccabean war against Syria. This victory was considered a miracle since the Jews were out-numbered and out-provisioned in the natural, but God supernaturally brought them victory.

The Syrian (or Seleucid) king, Antiochus Ephiphanes, was a prototypical antichrist who shared a radical anti-Semitism and hatred of the Jews with the likes of Hitler (responsible for the death of six million Jews, WWII Era) and Titus (Roman General responsible for the death of one million Jews, AD 70). Antiochus implemented horror, torture, and slaughter against the Jewish priests and leaders, then unleashed wrath on non-clergy. He then set himself up in the temple as a high priest and sacrificed a pig to the god Zeus as a precursor to what the antichrist will do referenced in Daniel 9:27 and Daniel 11:30,31. Jesus speaks of it again in Mark 13:14 as a foreshadowing of not only the antichrist, but also of Titus’ setting up an idol on the site of the demolished and charred remains of the temple in AD 70. Interestingly, after Jesus warned about this, the Roman Emperor Caligula was also planning on setting up his own idol in the temple, but died before he could do this blasphemous thing!

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