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    by Sandy Shaw

Hanukkah - Its Significance and Relevance for 2023
Date Posted: December 4, 2023

Hanukkah begins on Thursday 7 December and lasts for a week. It is not well known but Jesus knew all about it and observed its significance. Hanukkah is an amazing celebration – remembering an astonishing miracle - yet, part of it is not very nice. It is prophesied in the Old Testament and celebrated in the New Testament – John 10 verse 23. Dedication in the Hebrew is Hanukkah.

If there was no Hanukkah, the people of God would have been wiped out – no Zechariah – no Elizabeth – no Jewish Temple – so no Mary – no Joseph – no Bethlehem – no birth of Jesus Christ!

Antiochus Epiphanes of Greece comes and desecrates the Temple in Jerusalem.

Relevant Scriptures for background are – Daniel 12verse 7 Revelation 11 – 42months – the Hanukkah number - and Revelation 12verse 6 .

Matthew 24verse 15 – We read of the abomination of desolation – it is going to happen again – this will take place before Jesus returns.

Israel worshipped at the Temple in Jerusalem – but Greek civilisation rises up – and the Greeks wanted a one world system – and they want Israel to lose their faith. All this takes place around 167 to 164 B.C.

The Greek leader is Antiochus Epiphanes, and his purpose is to have all nations following Zeus.

People all over start to follow Antiochus – except one nation – Israel. They did not fit in with this demonic scheme. I am going to wipe them out – Israel always seems to be the problem. If the enemy can wipe out Israel there will be no Messiah – no saviour – and no salvation.

Antiochus sets up an image in the Temple – he slaughters a pig, desecrating the Temple. It becomes a desecrated pagan temple – this was an abomination.

All sorts of pagan things go on in the temple.

They start burning Hebrew scrolls – no Jewish person can go up to the Temple and worship God – similar to today. They start to persecute the Jews. Anyone who observes the Sabbath, or teaches their children about God will be killed.

The people of Israel started going along with this apostasy – they start going along with all this. Again, there are so many similarities today.

But God had a different plan.

A family with the name of Mattathias – or Matthew – from the hill country – from ‘nowhere’ – start a resistance movement – two brothers Judas and Jonathan emerge as leaders, and they are given the name Maccabees.

Antiochus comes with half his army – and with elephants – and the small numbers resisting win.

They come to the Temple, and they clean up the Temple – and they find oil to light the lamp – the Menorah. The little amount of oil is a legend.

But how did all this happen? The people of God fell away. It was the priests who led Antiochus into the Temple.

How similar is this today – even in the ‘Evangelical’ and ‘Charismatic’ world, we hear of prosperity – immorality – wandering away from the Word of God and compromising the truths of the Scriptures.

Those who had been for God and His Word were no longer for God and his Word.

The culture that once knew God had turned away from God and became worse than if they had never known God. We have never had same sex marriage legally recognised – we do now!

Daniel 7 verse 7 – this beast was different from all the others – this beast – SHANNA changes the culture and all traditions – an unnatural condition – the natural order will be changed. Antiochus attempted to do this in Jerusalem – to change what is natural to what is unnatural.

The people who would never be in power were elevated to be in power – perverse people – and those who were seeking to do God’s Will were marginalised – put on the fringe – treated as troublemakers – nuisances – pests – what had been fringe became mainstream. This could be 2023.

It all took place, quite suddenly, at that time, under the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes – his name means GOD MANIFEST. There is no god above me – I can redefine laws – and morality – and marriage – and behaviour.

Today – Christians on the media are depicted as strange – wet – wimpy.

What was profane becomes holy – idols are celebrated.

Do not bring up Jesus – saying that Jesus is the right way – the only way!

We face a spirit of arrogance and a spirit of blasphemy.

A few years ago, Jesus and God would never be matter for humour and jokes, on Radio or Television. If you speak against it, you are not tolerated.

“All the people shall be ONE PEOPLE” – 1verse 41. You will find that in the first Book of Maccabees in the Apocrypha – it is a profitable read through to verse 64 at the end of the chapter – giving a significant insight. That was the aim of Antiochus Epiphanes – to have ONE PEOPLE – like an early United Nations.

Which nation just does not fit in at the United Nations today – Israel!

Which people just do not fit in as they used to – the Church of Jesus Christ!

Antiochus declared the Word of God ILLEGAL.

Those of the Jewish Revolt refused to bend and compromise the Word to suit the culture – they bent their life to confront the circumstances.

We have the Armour of God – the sword of the spirit – use it – the shield of faith – be protected – the helmet of salvation – be careful about your mind.

The Maccabees carried on the war joyfully. Maccabee means HAMMER – they were the hammers of God.

Many will be using these words in prayer during the eight days of Hannukah.

Use them in the love and name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God – “Blessed are YOU, O Lord, King of the Universe, who sanctifies us in the Universe – who did great works for our ancestors – the God of dedication – the God of Light that shines in the darkness – and is never extinguished.” Amen.

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Biography Information:

Alexander 'Sandy' Shaw is pastor of Nairn Christian Fellowship in Nairn, Scotland. Nairn is 17 miles east of Inverness - on the Moray Firth Coast - not far from the Loch Ness Monster!

Gifted as a Biblical teacher, Sandy is firmly committed to making sure that his teachings are firmly grounded in the Word.

Sandy has a weekly radio talk which can be heard via the Internet on Saturday at 11:40am, New Orleans time, at wsho.com.

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