Hanukkah: Jewish Christmas and Hidden Key to Prophecy?

By COGwriter

Many Jews celebrate a time that they call Hanukkah. Here is one report about it:

December 6, 2015

Hanukkah, the eight-day Jewish holiday also known as the Festival of Lights, begins Sunday evening and lasts through Dec. 14.

The holiday begins on the eve of the 25th of the Jewish month of Kislev and commemorates the 165 B.C. triumph of a small group of Jewish people known as the Maccabees against the mighty Seleucids, driving the Greeks from the Holy Land and reclaiming and rededicating the Temple.

Tradition holds that the triumphant Jews sought to light the Temple’s menorah, a seven-branched candelabrum, but only had a small amount of olive oil. Miraculously, the one-day supply of oil burned for eight days, giving time for the preparation of new oil. http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2015/12/hanukkah_2015_what_is_the_jewi.html

Here is some of Wikipedia has reported about it:

Hanukkah (pronounced HAH-nə-kə ; Hebrew: חֲנֻכָּה, Tiberian: Ḥănukkāh, usually spelled חנוכה, pronounced [χanuˈka] in Modern Hebrew; a transliteration also romanized as Chanukah, Chanukkah or Chanuka), also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple (the Second Temple) in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE. Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar.

Here is something that the old Worldwide Church of God reported about it decades ago:

 In 175 B.C. Antiochus Epiphanes became ruler of the Seleucids in Syria. In 168 he attempted a campaign to Egypt, but was thwarted by the rising Roman power. He turned his wrath on the Jews.

Jerusalem was again ravaged by war. The city was captured and a Syrian garrison headquartered near the Temple Mount. The Temple sacrifices, observance of the seventh-day Sabbath and feast days, along with circumcision, were forbidden to all Jews. The penalty for practicing any of these was death. After about two months, the crowning blow was struck. Antiochus set up an altar to the Greek god Zeus on the Temple Mount and offered swine upon it. It was, as had been prophesied, an abomination of desolation (Daniel 11:31).

This date, to live in infamy in Jewish history, was the 25th of Kislev (the month of November-December on the Roman calendar) in 167 B.C. ...

Those three years were to be among the most trying in Jewish history. Jews were forced to eat pork and worship pagan gods. Those who refused were mercilessly killed. In the Judean hills, a band of zealous Jews under the leadership of a Jewish priest named Mattathias steadily grew in numbers and strength. They became known as the Maccabees — the "hammerers." After the death of Mattathias, his son Judas took command of the Jewish forces. They gained one victory after another and finally, on the 25th of Kislev in 164 B.C. (exactly three years to the day from the setting up of the Zeus statue on the Temple Mount), the Maccabees liberated Jerusalem, tore down the pagan gods from the Temple Mount and relit the lights of the Menorah.

To this day the Jewish eight-day winter festival of Hanukkah, or Festival of Lights, recalls the cleansing of the Temple in the days of the Maccabees. (Kelly R. Coming - A Temple in Jerusalem? Part Two. Good News magazine, March 1985)

Hanukkah is not a biblical holiday, but mainly started out as a national holiday. Jesus, Himself, seemed to possibly observe it, and it is referred to as the Feast of the Dedication in the New Testament (John 10:22-23). But His observation is not the same as how many Jews now keep it. Scripture does not event hint that He gave children presents or did many of the added traditions that the Jews often have now associated with Hanukkah.

Does Hanukkah Hold Hidden Secrets to End-Time Prophecy?

Is Hanukkah, per se, of massive prophetic significance?

World News Daily has the following about it:

Hanukkah holds hidden secrets to end-time prophecy
December 5, 2015

Most Christians think of Hanukkah as “that nice little Jewish holiday,” but they miss the deeper meaning, says best-selling author and Messianic Jewish Rabbi Jonathan Cahn. …

“It actually holds a big, prophetic end-time revelation,” Cahn said. “It’s a heavy holiday.”

And it keeps getting heavier as time progressives and biblical prophecies about the end times inch closer to being fulfilled.

“If anything, over the course of the last year, America and much of the West has moved closer to the scenario foreshadowed in the days of the Maccabees” and the Hanukkah end-time events, said Cahn.

He believes Hanukkah presents a preview of the end times events, the spirit that will envelop the world, and the strategies for Christian endurance more than any other biblical holiday.

“It foreshadows the Antichrist, the abomination that causes desolation, the calling of evil good and good evil, the removing of God from the public square, the banning of God’s Word, sexual immorality, and the persecution of God’s people,” he told WND. “It also reveals the strategy that end-time believers need to know that might overcome all these things.

“We are fast approaching a day when believers can be thrown in jail and the majority of Americans applaud it,” he continued. “It is all the more crucial that we be prepared, vigilant, wise, and prepared that we might live victoriously for such a time as this.”
Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2015/12/hanukkah-holds-hidden-secrets-to-end-time-prophecy/#sM6L7sOfjGQIoD5J.99

Jonathan Cahn is a Messianic Jew who has proposed a variety of wrong end time scenarios. It should be noted that the idea that events back at the time of Antiochus Epiphanes having some relation to future prophecy is not new. But, let me add that like many, Jonathan Cahn has confused the King of the North with the final Antichrist. This is a common mistake that many hold to. ALL THE VERSES IN THE BIBLE THAT REFER TO 'ANTICHRIST' OR 'ANTICHRISTS' ARE REFERRING TO A PRIMARILY RELIGIOUS LEADER for details see Some Doctrines of Antichrist). However, the King of the North (also known as the Beast of the Sea in Revelation 13:1-10) will be in league with the final Antichrist.

The late COG leader Herbert W. Armstrong wrote of a connection between the events of 167 B.C. and future prophecy:

Now what NEXT?

   The very next verse: "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then...shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved [alive]: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened" (verses 15-16, 21-22).

   Now UNDERSTAND! Luke 21 is Luke's account of this same prophecy of Jesus. There, the abomination of desolation is spoken of as "Jerusalem compassed with armies" (verse 20).

   This is spoken of in Daniel 11:31. Speaking of Antiochus Epiphanes in 167 B.C., the King James translation has, "And arms shall stand on his part...and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate." But more modern translations render this as armed forces coming into Jerusalem and setting up this abomination. Tradition says Antiochus placed a statue or idol of Jupiter Olympus there. But it was accomplished by military invasion of Jerusalem. (Armstrong HW. Co-worker letter. January 22, 1982)

By tying in Jesus prophecies in Luke 21 with Daniel 11:31 and then Antiochus Epiphanes, Herbert W. Armstrong basically was saying that some of what Antiochus Epiphanes did in 167 B.C. was a similar type to what will happen in the future.

But, while Jesus' teachings and Daniel's writings are keys to understanding prophecy, it is quite a stretch, as Jonathan Cahn has said, to claim that Hanaukkah "actually holds a big, prophetic end-time revelation."

Jonathan Cahn made other statements about Hanukkah that I do not believe he should have.

December 5, 2015

Cahn believes Hanukkah and the Maccabees are best understood in light of prophecies by Daniel and the apostle John in Revelation. “

You could not know salvation. You could not have Christmas (the birth of Christ). You would not have the New Testament, without Hanukkah,” he said.

The Syrian Greek dictator, Antiochus Epiphanes, was hell bent on destroying Jewish culture and faith. Without the revolt, without Hanukkah, there would have been no Virgin Mary, no Joseph, to hear and humbly obey the voice of God. http://www.wnd.com/2015/12/hanukkah-holds-hidden-secrets-to-end-time-prophecy/#sM6L7sOfjGQIoD5J.99

It is not possible that God would have allowed anyone, including Antiochus Epiphanes, from interferring with His plan to send Jesus.

Menorrah

Jews currently use a nine branch menorrah (fancy candlestick holder) they associate with Hanukkah:

December 8, 2015

Known as the Magdala Stone, the block was unearthed in 2009 near the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel, where a resort and center for Christian pilgrims was going to be built. Government archaeologists are routinely called in to check for anything old and important that might be destroyed by a project, and in this case they discovered the well-preserved ruins of a first-century synagogue and began excavating. ...

One side of the stone has what experts say is an unusual feature for the time: a carving of a seven-branch menorah. A candelabra of that kind is described in the Bible and is believed to have stood in the Temple, and it emerged as a Jewish symbol of hope for redemption centuries later, according to David Mevorah, senior curator for Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine archaeology at the Israel Museum.

During the annual eight-day festival of Hanukkah, which began on Sunday evening, Jews light a nine-branch menorah to commemorate the rededication of the Second Temple after a successful revolt against the Syrian-Greek Seleucid empire in 165 B.C.

The arch of Titus, which I have seen several times in the old forum in Rome, also has a seven-branched menorrah. The seven-branch menorrah was the original one that the Bible refers to in Exodus 25:31-40. The Jews use a nine-branch one for Hanukkah, because the Talmud (written Jewish traditions) prohibited using seven-branch menorrahs outside of the Temple.

That being said, there is a seven-branch menorrah in the area near the Western/Wailing Wall in Jerusalem that the Temple Institute built.

Jewish Christmas?

The New York Times reported the following about Hanukkah:

Many Americans, Jews as well as Christians, think that the legend of the long-lasting oil is the root of Hanukkah’s commemoration.

And perhaps that mistake is no surprise, given that for many the holiday has morphed into “Christmas for Jews,” echoing the message of peace on earth accompanied by gift giving. In doing so, the holiday’s own message of Jewish survival and faith has been diluted…

Though Hanukkah is a minor Jewish holiday, 19th-century activists in America promoted it to encourage their coreligionists to take pride in their heritage. During the 20th century it was embraced more broadly by Jews who wanted to fit in with other Americans celebrating the holiday season — and to make their kids feel better about not getting anything from Santa.

It helped, of course, that Hanukkah falls near Christmas on the calendar and traditionally involved candles and small monetary gifts. Over time, children began receiving grander presents, and Hanukkah-themed season’s greeting cards proliferated. Some families even started to purchase “Hanukkah bushes,” small trees often decked out with Stars of David and miniature Maccabees. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/08/opinion/hanukkah-unabridged.html

The Jews should be aware that they are not to adopt Gentile practices involving trees, etc. Notice what the Hebrew Bible (AKA the Old Testament) teaches:

29 “When the Lord your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land, 30 take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.’ 31 You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way; for every abomination to the Lord which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods. (Deuteronomy 12:29-31)

2 Thus says the Lord:

Do not learn the way of the Gentiles;
Do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven,
For the Gentiles are dismayed at them.
3 For the customs of the peoples are futile;
For one cuts a tree from the forest,
The work of the hands of the workman, with the ax.
4 They decorate it with silver and gold;
They fasten it with nails and hammers
So that it will not topple.
5 They are upright, like a palm tree,
And they cannot speak;
They must be carried,
Because they cannot go by themselves.
Do not be afraid of them,
For they cannot do evil,
Nor can they do any good.” (Jeremiah 10:2-5)

For more on biblical admonitions against using green trees in worship, go to the article: What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days?

Notice also the following:

Hanukkah and Christmas

The dates of Hanukkah and Christmas might well be associated because 25 Kislev was when the Temple was rededicated and the early Church chose December 25th because they took over the birthday of Greek god Zeus/Roman god Jupiter. (http://www.whychristmas.com/customs/hanukkah.shtml accessed 12/07/15)

December 2013

Most Jews around the world barely acknowledge Hanukkah. The American Hanukkah, with its decorations and gift exchanges and excess, is closely tied to Christmas. This is not exactly a revelation, but what’s interesting is that Hanukkah has become a big-deal commercial holiday in America for many of the same reasons that Christmas has, according to a recently-published book by Dianne Ashton, a religious studies professor at Rowan University. Basically, it's a really good way to sell more stuff to consumers.

Ashton's Hanukkah in America: A History explains that by the 19th century "the rising consumer economy and expansion of department stores embraced and promoted the new Christmas customs." Prior to that time, Christmas celebrations, "where they occurred at all, tended toward 'carnivalesque' revelries often involving alcohol consumption and the firing of muskets in the streets, a general rowdiness usually decried by civic and religious elites," Ashton writes. As the way we celebrate Christmas shifted over time, so too did our celebrations of Hanukkah. In short, they both became more commercial. A lot more commercial. ...

It was, in fact, only Jews living in close, and reasonably harmoniously proximity with Christians that led to Hanukkah's resemblance to and association with Christmas. And it’s all about commerce. It has little to do with spirituality, or even tolerance for Jewish people. In Europe and the Middle East, where the majority of the world’s Jews settled in the aftermath of the Diaspora, there were some people who celebrated Hanukkah, but Jews were largely legally and socially separate from those they lived with, and so there was no need for a special Jewish celebration or holiday. But in the United States, by the 19th century, many Jews had achieved some level of prosperity and integration. The first major time that Hanukkah was celebrated in a Christmas-like manner was probably in America during the 1800s.

And from there it really took off. ...

Many international Jews find this industry puzzling and see it as a contamination of Judaism. There’s even a movement among some Jewish groups to de-emphasize Hanukkah gift-giving. "'The gift-giving makes the festival something that is tremendously anticipated, especially by children,' said Rabbi Daniel Schiff of a Pittsburgh-area Reform synagogue several years ago," according to an old article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "'It’s the Christianization of the Jewish calendar, because our principal, focal time of year should be the new year, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.'"

Hanukkah is a real Jewish holiday, of course, but it’s a minor holiday. Hanukkah doesn’t exist in the Old Testament. (Luzer D. Why Is Hanukkah So Closely Associated With Christmas? December 10, 2013. http://www.psmag.com/books-and-culture/jewish-arbor-day-christmas-holiday-shopping-hanukkah-71203 accessed 12/08/15)

Jesus did NOT observe Jupiter's birthday. Jews in Jesus' day did not celebrate their own birthdays (see Did Early Christians Celebrate Birthdays?), let alone those of pagan deities.

Compromise has happened throughout the centuries from both Jews as well as those who claimed to be true Christians. Hanukkah is now mainly a Jewish compromise. In 2016, Hanukkah is from in the evening of Saturday, December 24 until the evening of Sunday, January 1, which times it even closer to Christmas, which many Jews probably will like.

Oddly, more Jews keep Hanukkah than keep many of the biblical holy days (often improperly referred to as Jewish holidays).

And of course, most who claim to be Christians keep non-biblical holidays more than they do biblical ones.

Anyway, many Jews tend to keep Hanukkah as a type of Christmas and I would not say that Hanukkah "actually holds a big, prophetic end-time revelation."

Some items of possible additional interest may include the following:

Messianic Judaism Beliefs Differ from the Continuing Church of God Both groups keep the seventh-day Sabbath, but have important differences in doctrines and practices. Here is a link to a related sermon: Messianic Jewish Beliefs.
What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days? Do you know what the Catholic Church says were the original Christian holy days? Was Christmas among them? Is December 25th Jesus' birthday or that of the sun god? Here is a link to a related sermon: What do Catholic and other scholars teach about Christmas?
Did Early Christians Celebrate Birthdays? Did biblical era Jews celebrate birthdays? Who originally celebrated birthdays? When did many that profess Christ begin birthday celebrations? A related sermon video is available and is titled: Birthdays, Christians, and December 25th.
The Temple and the Work This article discusses the two temples of the Old Testament and gives insight as to their possible relevance to the situation which has impacted the Church during this past decade or so.
Who is the King of the North? Is there one? Do biblical and Roman Catholic prophecies for the Great Monarch point to the same leader? Should he be followed? Who will be the King of the North discussed in Daniel 11? Is a nuclear attack prophesied to happen to the English-speaking peoples of the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand? When do the 1335 days, 1290 days, and 1260 days (the time, times, and half a time) of Daniel 12 begin? When does the Bible show that economic collapse will affect the United States? In the Spanish language check out ¿Quién es el Rey del Norte? Here is a link to a video titled: The Future King of the North.
Some Doctrines of Antichrist Are there any doctrines taught outside the Churches of God which can be considered as doctrines of antichrist? This article suggests at least three. It also provides information on 666 and the identity of "the false prophet." Plus it shows that several Catholic writers seem to warn about an ecumenical antipope that will support heresy. You can also watch a video titled What Does the Bible teach about the Antichrist?
Is There "An Annual Worship Calendar" In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by the Tkach WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days.
Holy Day Calendar This is a listing of the biblical holy days through 2024, with their Roman calendar dates. They are really hard to observe if you do not know when they occur :) In the Spanish/Español/Castellano language: Calendario de los Días Santos. In Mandarin Chinese: 何日是神的圣日? 这里是一份神的圣日日历从2013年至2024年。.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.

Thiel B. Hanukkah: Jewish Christmas and Hidden Key to Prophecy? http://www.cogwriter.com/hanukkah.htm COGwriter (c) 2015 1208

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