Hanukkah (Chanukkah) is known by many as a Jewish holiday born out of more than two thousand years of history and tradition. Today, however, we are beginning to see and understand there is a prophetic, New Covenant message hidden within the celebration and customs of Hanukkah.
After centuries of observing Hanukkah, the celebration and traditions surrounding Hanukkah are now revealing their message—that Hanukkah is a Prophetic event—a prophetic message for the Bride, instructing her in her preparation for her soon-coming King!
As a brief overview, we will first look at Hanukkah in history and in Scripture. We will then look at the hidden, prophetic message revealed in Hanukkah.
Hanukkah: A Historical Overview
The historical record of events surrounding Hanukkah can be seen within the KJV 1611 version’s Book of Maccabees, and also in the writings of Josephus.
In the centuries before the birth of Yahushua, Jerusalem had come under years of tribute to various conquering kings. One of these ruling monarchs was Antiochus, one of the Seleucid Kings who reigned in Syria. Though he was a Syrian, Antiochus’ culture and religion were Greek, and included worship of the many Greek deities. The Greek religion and Greek influences thus began to permeate all of Jerusalem.
The Jewish culture, as well as the Jewish practice of the Faith of Abraham, began to be mixed with Greek culture, and resulted in Greek religious practices among the Jewish population of Jerusalem.
Because of Antiochus’ growing hatred of the Jewish religion, he forbade practice of obedience to Torah, and put a stop to the prescribed sacrifices on the altar. In his contempt for the things of Yahuweh, he then brought uncleanness into the Temple, and sacrificed a swine on the altar.
Resistance finally arose against Antiochus. Under the leadership of the Maccabees, the people of Jerusalem overthrew Antiochus and his pagan practices. The Syrians and their Greek religion were driven out, and the altar was rebuilt. The Temple was cleansed, restored, and rededicated to the service of Yahuweh.
The Temple service required that the oil lamps of the candlestick—the menorah or Lampstand with its 7-branched lamps—were to be lit, and burn continually, night and day. This would require a steady supply of oil for the lamps.
Only one small jar of oil was to be found to supply the lamps, enough for a one-day supply. The lamps were lit anyway, and it was later reported that the lamps burned for eight days, despite the small quantity of oil. And so it was, that the Leaders claimed a miracle had occurred.
The Leaders later decreed that there should be eight days of celebration, with rejoicing and gladness, to mark the re-dedication (‘hanukkah’) of the altar, to remember the victory, and to recount the miracle of the supply of oil. This celebration is kept by tradition each year on the 25th day of the ninth Biblical month of Chislev.
Let’s now look at some of the customs and traditions of celebrating Hanukkah, that we might draw upon the prophetic qualities of this event.
Customs and Traditions of Hanukkah
Hanukkah is held each year on the 25th of the ninth Biblical month of Chislev. Lasting for eight days, the celebration commemorates the restoration of worship in the Temple, after the defeat and driving out of the Syrians, who had ravaged Jerusalem and desecrated the Temple.
Hanukkah is seen as a time of rejoicing and fellowship, reading Scripture, singing praise and thanksgiving to Yahuweh. Some customs of Hanukkah include giving of gifts, eating of special foods, playing games with the dreidel (a four-sided spinning top), and recounting the story of Hanukkah, retelling the accompanying miracle of the oil supply.
The menorah or lampstand has become one of the symbols of this miracle, so that lighting a household menorah is central to the Hanukkah celebration. Scriptures are read, and parables put forth, having light, candles, and menorahs as themes. Because of this theme, Hanukkah is also called the ‘Festival of Lights.’
Some today have sought to minimise the importance of the celebration of Hanukkah, because it is not among the moedim, the appointed Feasts of Yahuweh seen in Leviticus chapter 23. But we are just beginning to realise that the word ‘Hanukkah’ is not only documented in the historical record, but is also seen abundantly in Scripture!
The Hebrew word hanukkah (‘chanukkah’) means “dedication,” and is one of eight different Hebrew and Greek words translated into English as some variation of the noun dedication or its related verb form. Let’s look at some examples of various kinds of dedications seen in Scripture.
Hanukkah (Dedications) in Scripture
There are many dedications, or hanukkahs seen in Scripture. A sample of some of these dedications are listed below, and are from the Hebrew and Aramaic words chanukkah or its verb form chanak. Notice the various kinds of dedications made after completion.
Some Dedications (hanukkahs) in Scripture
|Things Dedicated||Scripture Reference|
|A new house||Deut 20:5|
|The house of YHWH||1Kings 8:63|
|A child||Prov 22:6|
|The house of YHWH||Ezra 6:16|
|Nebuchadnezzar’s Image||Daniel 3:2|
|The altar||Numbers 7:10|
|The altar||2Chron 7:9|
|The wall of Jerusalem||Nehemiah 12:27|
|The house of David||Psalms 30:1|
The examples above are based on the word hanukkah, meaning ‘dedicate.’ Other words used in Scripture for the word ‘dedicate’ are Hebrew words translated ‘holy,’ which means ‘set-apart’ or dedicated unto Yahuweh for a special purpose.
Because we see this great variety of ‘hanukkahs’ in Scripture, we then understand Hanukkah may hold prophetic significance for us today. Let’s look now at the prophetic message of Hanukkah, beginning with Yahushua.
Hanukkah in the Life of Yahushua
Let’s first notice what appears to be the Feast of Hanukkah in the Book of John:
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. (John 10:22-23)
Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (John 8:12)
As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. (John 9:5)
Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. 36 While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them. (John 12:35-36)
In the first passage above, we are told specifically that Yahushua walked in the Temple at the time of the Feast of Dedication, during the winter. In the remaining passages above, we see examples of Scriptures that hint of the major theme of the Feast of Dedication, which is also called the Festival of Lights.
Let’s remember that all of Yahushua’s words and actions were prophetic events, whereby words, places and events associated together have prophetic (‘present-day’) significance. Let’s look at this prophetic message.
The Prophetic Grace Message of Hanukkah
It is evident from the available written history, that during the time of the Maccabees, Yahuweh’s people had mostly abandoned the Faith of Abraham. They had been pressured to forsake the keeping of Torah by the Greek-oriented religious leaders.
At the same time, Yahuweh’s people had begun to take on the Greek culture, assimilating the Greek elements of religion into their own Faith of keeping Torah. It was only after a great upheaval occurred, that the Greek religion was driven out, and the true worship according to Torah was restored.
Today there is another great upheaval taking place—not under the Maccabees, but under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. In this upheaval, a present-day Greek bondage is being broken. Let’s look briefly at this bondage.
The Current Greek Bondage
In the modern evangelical community, there is a wide gap between what the Religious Leadership teaches, and what the Bible says. For example, we are told today that Faith and Belief are merely ‘what you think.’
The Bible, on the other hand, tells us our actions reveal what we think—it is our actions that show our Faith, and our Belief. This ‘mental’ orientation of the Faith is only one of many characteristics of Greek-oriented thinking, and is foreign to the Faith of the Scriptures.
This Greek-oriented religion can be further seen in differing views of the New Covenant. For example, most understand that the New Covenant has been ratified by the Blood of Messiah, and is based on the promises spoken by Yahuweh. But it is in the Torah where we first see the promises of the New Covenant, with all its detail. It is in the Torah where we first see the details of Yahuweh’s mercy, and the Redemption of His people by Messiah’s Blood, and of the giving of the Holy Spirit, and of the supply of Grace given to walk according to the Faith of Abraham.
But today we have a serious problem. Through its teachings of the last two thousand years, the Greek-oriented religion of the modern evangelical Congregation has done just as Antiochus did—they have forbidden all outward obedience to Torah, and have thus kept many of Yahuweh’s people in bondage.
Just as in the days of the Maccabees, the true worship according to the Faith of Abraham has fallen down, so that the Grace to walk fully in the Eternal Covenant aspects of the Faith of Abraham has been received in vain.
Today’s religious bondage is a modern-day counterpart to Israel’s captivity. Thus we see many New Covenant Believers today are in bondage to the Greek-oriented teaching of the New Covenant assemblies. This Greek bondage, and the current-day battle underway, can be seen in Zec 9:12-13:
Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: even to day do I declare that I will render double unto thee; 13 When I have bent Judah for me, filled the bow with Ephraim, and raised up thy sons, O Zion, against thy sons, O Greece, and made thee as the sword of a mighty man. (Zechariah 9:12-13)
Today the sons of Zion—those having a Hebrew mindset of Scripture (that Faith is seen in ones actions) are battling the sons of Greece—those who have a Greek mindset of Scripture (whose Faith is only mental, without works, and is dead). The sons of Zion obey Torah; the sons of Greece deny the Biblical New Covenant relationship to Torah, and so forbid New Covenant obedience to Torah!
And so we see a repeat of History today. The Greek-oriented, evangelical religion is being driven out from the spiritual Temple, just as the Maccabees did from the physical temple. The unclean practices are being cast out of the true Temple—the hearts and minds of Yahuweh’s people—and the Torah is being restored to its rightful place in daily practice. The altars are being rebuilt, and the true Temple(s) of the Holy Spirit are being restored and rededicated to Yahuweh.
Yahuweh’s people are now being instructed to undergo a personal Hanukkah, as the apostle Paul besought them to do in Romans 12:1-2. Yahuweh is calling His people to re-dedicate their bodies, hearts and minds, the true Temples of the Holy Spirit, back to Yahuweh.
His people are now returning to Him, by keeping His Living Torah by Faith, through the Grace He supplies, enabling them to walk fully in His New and Everlasting Covenant.
Likewise Believers are seeing the miracle of the oil take place within themselves. Though our supply of oil be small, the Word of Yahuweh spoken to Zerubbabel becomes a personal word of fulfillment for us today:
…This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts. (Zechariah 4:6b) Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it. (Zechariah 4:7)
In our own might and power, our oil supply is only a one-day supply. But by relying on His Spirit, Yahuweh will perform the miracle of providing us the eight-day supply required. And the Headstone (Messiah) shall be brought forth in our lives today, by both aspects of Grace-Grace, by His mercy, and by His enablement, as Zechariah reveals in the above verse, and as described in Grace-Grace.
Note the context (Zec 4:1-4, 11-14) of the above passages in Zechariah—that of candlesticks, lamps, light, and oil—are the same themes as those of Hanukkah! Thus we see the Holy Spirit is revealing the Grace of Yahuweh, even through the historical, prophetic events of Hanukkah.
The Holy Spirit is reminding us that it is only by the Grace of Yahushua, as He lives within us, that He provides the oil to make our lamps to shine, and to give forth the light of our testimony.
Let us take hold of the Prophetic Message of Hanukkah!
Let us heed the prophetic message of Hanukkah. Let us drive out all false religion. Let us then cleanse our temple.
Let us purpose to cast out all uncleanness of thought and action. Let us then cleanse and re-dedicate to Yahuweh our Bodies, hearts and minds—the true altar, and Temple of the Holy Spirit. Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting set-apart-ness in the fear of Yahuweh (2Corinthians 7:1).
Let us then offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, whereby we burn up all of ‘self pre-eminence’ as a burnt-offering to Yahuweh (Rom 12:1-2). Let us offer upon our altar the true sacrifice of ‘not my will, but your will be done’ (Luke 22:42, Heb 10:7,8).
Let us not be Greek-oriented, hearers and thinkers of His Word, while doing our own will. Instead, let us return to Yahuweh in the doing of Righteousness and Judgment—in keeping all of His Torah.
Let us dedicate ourselves again to Yahuweh, in accordance with the Prophetic Message of Hanukkah!