Happy Hanukkah-is-Fulfilled-Prophecy!

I’m back! I’ve missed looking at Bible prophecy with you guys. 

So, this year we’re celebrating Hanukkah (very much like total gentile newbies), with a menorah, challah bread and latkes (this holiday has scrumptious food). I also love the other name of this holiday: “The Festival of Lights” – because I already love the idea of the extra lights we put up  at Christmas, to illuminate the deepest dark of winter. But I was definitely a bit fuzzy on the details of this Jewish winter holiday…

What and why is Hanukkah?

A brief bit of ‘the what‘:

In the 160s BC, a particularly ruthless Greek ruler, and the villain of this history, Antiochus IV, set out to Hellenize (otherwise described as Greek-culture-ize) the Jews in Israel (already under Greek control). The culture part went without much of a hitch, but the attempt to add Greek gods to the one God of Israel was a step too far – especially when they utilized force to achieve it. Ransacking the temple and sacrificing a pig on the altar didn’t help, either (to use the art of the understatement). This is where the Maccabees come in: a father and five sons who led a series of battles that successfully threw off the tightened grip of their Greek conquerors, and allowed them to continue to worship in the temple. And this is why the word Chanukah was (and is) used: in Hebrew it means “dedication”, and there was only enough sanctified oil – which was needed to rededicate the temple after being defiled by an animal which was unclean according to Jewish law – to burn for 1 day, when it needed to be burned for 8 days. Well, it burned for 8 days – hence the 8-day celebration of lights and a menorah.

And now a bit of the why:

It seems that much of the significance of Hanukkah has been lost.

There were a couple of things that are more well known (enough to be known even by myself):

  • There’s the victory of the Maccabees
  • There’s the miracle of the oil and thus the celebration of lights

But there’s also the fact that Jesus celebrated Hanukkah! In John 9 and 10, it’s clear that Jesus Christ is the eternal, perfect light in the spiritual darkness – He proclaims Himself to be the light of the world while He was in Jerusalem for the Feast of Dedication – for Hanukkah.

“‘As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.’

When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. And He said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing…

Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter.” – John 9

His reference to Himself as the light of the world – pictured in His giving sight to a blind man – gives the greatest significance of all to the celebration of light in the midst of darkness at Hanukkah: the spiritual darkness of both Israel and the world which Christ dispels with the light of truth and life.

Remember that John also said: “ In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness…” (1:4-5).

Then, perhaps the most pertinent aspect of Hanukkah to a blog of this sort, is that Hanukkah was clearly fulfilled Bible prophecy!

In the often overlooked eighth chapter of Daniel, God told him rather a lot about a little horn that grew to be a very large one, who took away sacrifices and cast down God’s sanctuary, before he was broken and the sanctuary cleansed. 

Not only does this prophecy describe the events of and actors in Hanukkah – some four hundred or so years beforehand – but tells us that the little horn would be Greek… before there was even a Greece.

Here’s a quick look at what the Bible tells us about the people and events of Hanukkah: 

  • 8:21 – “And the male goat is the kingdom of Greece”
  • 8:21b – “The large horn that is between its eyes is the first king” (Alexander the Great)
  • 8:22 – “As for the broken horn and the four that stood up in its place, four kingdoms shall arise out of that nation” (the four generals who took over four parts of Alexander’s divided empire: Ptolemy, Lysimachus, Assander, and Seleucus)
  • 8:9 – “And out of one of them came a little horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Glorious Land” (Antiochus IV of the Seleucid kingdom, who launched campaigns of conquest in Egypt, parts of Medo-Persia and Israel (“south…east…the Beautiful Land”)
  • 8:23-25 – “And in the latter time of their kingdom… a king shall arise, having fierce features… he shall exalt himself in his heart” and 8:11, “and by him daily sacrifices were taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast down,” which he “trampled underfoot” (When Antiochus IV plundered the temple)
  • 8:25a – “He shall destroy many” (Antiochus IV’s attempt to annihilate the Jews altogether)
  • 8:25b – “He shall even rise against the Prince of princes” (His name Antiochus Epiphanes – the latter is a Greek word usually used in reference to glorious appearances of deity; coins from his rule even depict him as Zeus and have the inscription, “Of King Antiochus, God Manifest, Victory-bearer”)
  • 8:14 – “… then the sanctuary will be cleansed” (The re-dedication of the temple by the Maccabees.)

So we see that Hanukkah is one long string of fulfilled prophecies.

It may seem like a minor chapter in the catalog of Bible prophecies, perhaps because the events themselves are not recorded in Scripture (they’re in the extra-biblical writings of the four books of Maccabees). But, like all prophecies in the Bible, it’s the character of God that’s on the line.

If these things did not happen as Daniel was told that they would, then:

  1. God would be wrong or mistaken
  2. All other prophecies He’s made would be in doubt

But we know that is not the case.

1) Because God Himself told us these things would happen.

Which should be enough, but for those who need extra confirmation…

2) These things are documented in extra-Biblical sources (e.g. books of 1-4 Maccabees, and the historian Josephus) and archeology (e.g. the coin of Antiochus IV). In fact, they are so confirmed, that people try to say that Daniel didn’t actually write the book of Daniel – that it had to have been written after the events and historical circumstances he describes.

So, what are the implications of these prophecies being fulfilled and reliable? Why does it matter if we know why Hanukkah is celebrated?

Because it means that God keeps His promises – not only the geo-political ones concerning empires and kings, but the ones that reach every human soul in history.

The Biblical account of Christmas is also one long string of fulfilled prophecies. It is about God providing and being the Savior of the world – it’s Redeemer and Restorer, Cleanser and Perfector.

If Daniel 8 and Hanukkah are fiction or incorrectly fulfilled prophecies, then how could we trust that God will save those who trust in Jesus Christ?

To finish, here’s a quote from Jesus’ Celebration of Hanukkah in John 10 by Jerry R. Lancaster and R. Larry Overstreet (featured in Bibliotheca Sacra 152 (July-September 1995): 318-33:

“… the feast has deeper significance than a mere reminder of a historical event. Christ’s testimony at Hanukkah, and its place in the Gospel of John, which stresses the theme of light, is a testimony to Christians that Hanukkah emphasizes His great work of providing salvation to a spiritually blind world. … 

Satan, through Antiochus Epiphanes, had planned to destroy God’s word and His people through assimilation and annihilation. Had he been successful, there would have been no more Jewish people, no Messiah to come, no Christmas, and most tragically of all, no Calvary. Men and women would forever be lost in sin, without hope. And so a great miracle did happen there. It is not a cruse of oil but God’s preservation of His people and His faithfulness to the messianic promise that continues to give true significance to Hanukkah today.”

(I highly, highly recommend this article for more a detailed and documented background on the celebration of Hanukkah and it’s history! You can read the PDF here: https://www.academia.edu/41239362/Jesus_Celebration_of_Hanukkah_in_John)

And so, happy feast of dedication, happy festival of lights, Happiest of Hanukkahs!

These prophecies are past, but we look forward to the ones to come – which are just as sure: as true as if they’d already happened. Daniel was told that the prophecies connected to Hanukkah were concerning the time of the end, and that time was in the 2nd century BC! Just think how close we are now…

Remember:

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.” (2 Peter 3)


Thanks for reading! And remember you can find me at Generation 23:00 on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Anchor, Rumble, YouTube and Telegram, and Anna.gen2300 on Instagram to keep up with me and the truly amazing promises I’m always finding in God’s word!

I’ll catch you next time – unless the Rapture comes first.

Published by ambassadoranna

My grandpa went to be with the Lord – My family's always been interested in Bible prophecy – So we all looked for hope in the rapture of the church, when we would see him again. And, boy, do world events seem to be lining up with Bible prophecy more than ever before! (Except when Jesus came the first time, 2,000 years ago.) It was always my mom who was interested in Bible prophecy and Israel and the events of Revelation and Daniel. In my Bible study, I've always focused almost exclusively on the New Testament truths of how free is our salvation through faith in Christ alone, and the unshakable identity we receive in Him. And, honestly, other things have claimed my attention throughout most of my Christian life... But now! The future promises of God to Israel, the Church and the world are MIND BLOWING – and they are just on the verge of HAPPENING! I can't get enough of Middle East news and what the Bible says about it, and what God tells us about His chosen witnesses: Israel and the Church. The "last hour" of 1 John looks like it is in it's last few minutes... Are we ready?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: