Hanukkah – Truth or Tradition?
Written By Craig Stevenson with F. Martin
Whenever anyone mentions the word ‘Hanukkah’, the immediate thought is centered around a Jewish feast that is celebrated around the time of Christmas. According to Jewish teaching, this feast must be observed from the 25th of the 9th month, which is known by its Babylonian name Kislev, for 8 days. While this has become possibly the most important time of the year for orthodox Jews, many who have come out of mainstream Christianity in order to walk in the Torah and learn their true Hebraic roots, find themselves being emotionally attached to this feast of Hanukkah, and look to Rabbinic sources to find out how they are to keep it.
Should this feast be kept or not?
Is this feast centered around traditional commands of men or is it Scripturally commanded for us to observe?
I hope to dispel any doubts that some may have regarding this feast, and answer some questions on the origin of this feast and whether the adopted customs are to be observed or not.
For most who have an idea of what Hanukkah is about, will most probably tell you that it centers around a miracle of how a small amount of oil lasted for 8 days in keeping the Menorah alight, at the time of the rededication of the temple, after the Maccabean revolt against the Greeks, and there is a tradition of lighting candles each night. What about this summary is true and what is tradition?
In order to do that, it is always best to look at the writings we have available to us that describe the details of the events that center around this feast, which also became known as the festival of lights.
Firstly I want to look at the accounts as written in 1 and 2 Maccabees:
The historical event that culminated in what is known as Hanukkah, is clearly outlined in 1 & 2 Maccabees, which was recorded within a couple of decades after the events that took place. 1 & 2 Maccabees are parallel accounts, believed to have been written by two different authors, who describe similar events.
The story begins in 168 B.C.E (Before the Common Era), when the land of Yashar’el was being ruled by the evil Seleucid Greek king Antiochus IV.
Antiochus IV believed that his empire would be more secure if all his subjects became more Greek. 168 B.C.E. He issued a decree that would force all his subjects to adopt the Greek culture and only worship the Greek gods. This process was called Hellenization (to make one Greek), and was primarily accepted by most who saw the Greek way being more advanced and culturally relevant. The Yahuḏiym (Jews) of the time refused to submit to this Hellenization process and therefore Antiochus issued a series of laws that were designed to suppress Torah observance:
1 Maccabees 1:44-50 “And the king sent letters by messengers to Yerushalayim and the cities of Yahuḏah; he directed them to follow customs strange to the land, to forbid burnt offerings and sacrifices and drink offerings in the temple, to profane Sabbaths and feasts, to defile the temple and the set-apart people: Set up altars and sacred precincts and shrines for idols, to sacrifice swine and unclean animals, and to leave their sons uncircumcised. They were to make themselves abominable by everything unclean and profane, so that they should forget the Torah and change all the ordinances. And whoever does not obey the command of the king shall die.”
In order to carry this out, the first thing the Greeks did was capture the temple and sacrifice pigs on the Slaughter-Place to their pagan god Zeus. They then forced each Yahuḏi home set up an altar to the Greek sun-gods at their homes. Public altars were set up all over the city and Yahuḏi were forced to eat pigs that were sacrificed to Zeus.
It was on the 15th day of the 9th month (Kislev) that the abomination of desolation was set up on the Slaughter-Place in the Temple. They then destroyed and burnt any Torah writings that were found and on the 25th day of the 9th month they sacrificed a pig on the Slaughter-Place of ELOHIYM.
They hung the children and killed all who had circumcised them. Many Yahuḏi chose not to eat pig and profane the Covenant, and chose to rather be put to death instead of being Hellenized.
In those days there was a priest from a small town in Shomeron whose name was Matthias (Mattithyahu), son of Yoḥanan, who along with his sons tore their garments and lamented the invasion of the Greeks and the desolation of the Temple; and when the Greeks came to their town Matthias and his sons gathered with all the people of the town, and they openly refused to submit to the Greeks and would not forsake the Torah of ELOHIYM, and called all who were zealous for the Torah and held fast the Covenant of ELOHIYM in order to faithfully follow him. He and his sons then fled to the mountains, and they became outlaws.
The Greeks pursued many who had fled to the wilderness, and came to fight against them on a Sabbath and killed a thousand people, who refused to lift a stone on the Sabbath against the attacking Greeks. Matthias heard about this and mourned. Matthias and his sons then resolved to stand up and fight and went around breaking down all the abominable slaughter places that had been set up by the Greeks, and he recovered the Torah from the Greeks.
When it came for Matthias to die, he told his sons to be zealous for the Torah, and be ready to give their lives for the Covenant of their fathers, as he reminded them of the faith of Aḇraham, Yosĕph, Pineḥas, Yahusha, Kaleb, Dwiḏ and Dani’ěl, encouraging them not to be afraid of sinful men.
He then made his son Yahuḏah Maccabaeus their captain, and commanded them to observe the Torah and avenge the wrong of their people. Yahuḏah Maccabee then rose up and became like a lion avenging his people, and grieved many kings. After 3 years of intense fighting against the Greeks, Yahuḏah Maccabee and his army defeated the Greeks and took back the Temple. After mourning and fasting over the defilement of the Temple they tore down the abominable slaughter-place to Zeus upon which pigs were slaughtered and proceeded to cleanse the Temple.
1 Maccabees 4:43-47 “and they cleansed the Temple and removed the defiled stones to an unclean place. They deliberated what to do about the slaughter-place of burnt offering, which had been profaned. And they thought it best to tear it down, lest it bring reproach upon them, for the Gentiles had defiled it. So they tore down the altar, and stored the stones in a convenient place on the temple hill until there should come a prophet to tell what to do with them. Then they took unhewn stones, as the law directs, and built a new slaughter-place like the former one.”
They built a new slaughter-place of unhewn stones as it stipulates in Shemoth/Exodus 20:24-26, and restored the true set-apart vessels for the service of the Temple:
1 Maccabees 4:48-51 “They also rebuilt the sanctuary and the interior of the temple, and consecrated the courts. They made new holy vessels, and brought the lamp stand, the altar of incense, and the table into the temple. Then they burned incense on the altar and lighted the lamps on the lamp stand, and these gave light in the temple. They placed the bread on the table and hung up the curtains. Thus they finished all the work they had undertaken.”
After they had restored the Temple, it was time to dedicate it and make it fit and clean for service, and re-establish the sacrifices that had not been done for the 3 years that the Greeks had defiled the Temple.
This re-dedication of the Slaughter-Place took place on the 25th of the 9th month – 3 years to the day after the Greeks had defiled the Temple by offering a pig on the Slaughter-Place.
1 Maccabees 4:52-59 “Early in the morning on the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month, which is the month of Kislev, in the one hundred and forty-eighth year, they rose and offered sacrifice, as the Torah directs, on the new Slaughter-Place of burnt offering which they had built. Look at what time, and what day the heathen had profaned it, even in that it was dedicated with songs, and citterns, and harps, & cymbals. Then all the people fell upon their faces, worshipping and praising the ELOHIYM of heaven, who had given them good success. So they celebrated the dedication of the Slaughter-Place for eight days, and offered burnt offerings with gladness; they offered a sacrifice of deliverance and praise. They decked front of the temple with crowns of gold; and with shields, and the gates, and the chambers they renewed and hanged doors upon them. Therefore there was great gladness among the people, for that the reproach of the heathen was put away. Then Yahuḏah and his brothers and all the assembly of Yashar’el determined that every year at that season the days of dedication of the altar should be observed with gladness and joy for eight days, beginning with the twenty-fifth day of the month of Kislev.”
We also have a similar record being given in 2 Maccabees:
2 Maccabees 10:5-8 “It happened that on the same day on which the temple had been profaned by the foreigners, the purification of the temple took place, that is, on the twenty-fifth day of the same month, which was Kislev. And they celebrated it for eight days with rejoicing, remembering that not long before they had held the Feast of Tabernacles when, as they wandered in the mountains and caves, like beasts. Therefore they bore branches, and fair boughs and palms also, and sang Psalms unto Him, that had given them good success in cleansing His place. They decreed by public ordinance and vote that the whole nation of the Yahuḏiym should observe these days every year.”
As we see these words contained in 1 & 2 Maccabees, we need to make a couple of observations that will help us discern between what happened historically and what is being celebrated as a tradition today.
One of the most notable things that we should see here, is the clear fact that no mention of oil and the miraculous supply of oil that supposedly caused the Menorah to burn for 8 days, nor the making of an 8 or 9 lampstand. The Lamps and lampstand is mentioned, yes, as well as the table of showbread and other utensils that were restored in order to perform the Scriptural requirements in the Temple service. What is very clear is that there is NO MAGICAL OIL!!!
These accounts contain the most detailed records of these events and with there being no mention of what many have been taught to believe, leaves us with a very big question of where this ‘traditional story’ of the miraculous supply of oil comes from, as being the central theme, according to tradition, of this modern day feast!
The whole reason for this great celebration and dedication that took place, was for the dedication of the Slaughter-Place, and the fact that they could enjoy this time of feasting and celebration like the Feast of Sukkoth (Tabernacles), which they had not been able to celebrate correctly for 3 years due to the Greek oppression and defilement of the Temple.
This celebration and ‘dedication’ had nothing to do with oil or its supposed miraculous supply, but rather had to do specifically with the ‘dedication of the Slaughter- place’.
The Hebrew word for ‘dedication’ is חֲנֻכָּה ḥanukkah – Strong’s H2598 both meaning, ‘dedication, consecration’, and corresponds to the Aramaic word חֲנֻכָּה ḥanukkah – Strong’s 2597 which we find being used in the book of Dani’ěl.
These two words are collectively used 12 times in Scripture. The Aramaic word is used twice in Dani’ěl in the wicked kings call for the dedicating of his wicked image, and twice in Ezra when the Temple of Ělah was dedicated. The Hebrew word is used 8 times in Scripture – 5 times in direct reference to the offerings of dedication, and consecration brought for the slaughter place, and twice it is used for the dedication of the walls of Yerushalayim, that was done with great joy; and once it used as a title of a Tehillim/Psalm at the dedication of the House of Dawiḏ.
As we read above from 1 Maccabees 4:56, they celebrated the dedication of the Slaughter-Place for 8 days, and not the miraculous provision of oil, that many focus on today according to traditions that have been taught!
When we ask why the dedication lasted 8 days, we need to see how this was a joyful response at wanting to dedicate the Slaughter-Place and give thanks to ELOHIYM, in celebrating this dedication the way they would celebrate
Sukkot/Tabernacles – as we clearly have read that they celebrated with palms, branches of trees etc., and did so with great rejoicing – for Sukkot is a commanded feast for rejoicing, which too lasts for 8 days (the command is to dwell in Booths for 7 days and on the 8th day have a closing ceremony).
We can see from Scripture that there is no set period that is repeated for the amount of time the Slaughter-Place was to be dedicated, as we see in:
Bemiḏbar/Numbers 7:11 “And YAHUAH said to Mosheh, “Let them bring their offering, one leader each day, for the dedication of the Slaughter-Place.”
The Slaughter-Place was dedicated for 12 days!
Bemiḏbar/Numbers 7:84 “This was the dedication of the Slaughter-Place from the leaders of Yashar’el, when it was anointed: twelve silver dishes, twelve silver bowls, twelve gold ladles.”
At the dedication of the Slaughter-Place of the Temple we see in:
Diḇre haYamim Bet/2 Chronicles 7:9-10 “And on the eighth day they held an assembly, for they performed the dedication of the Slaughter-Place seven days, and the festival seven days. And on the twenty-third day of the seventh month he sent the people away to their tents, rejoicing and glad of heart for the goodness that YAHUAH had done for Dawiḏ, and for Shelomoh, and for His people Yashar’el.”
Shelomoh had performed the dedication for 7 days and then they held the Feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles) for 7 days, and after the 8th day of Sukkot (Tabernacles) he sent the people away to their tents. Please note, in Wayyiqra/Leviticus 23:34 that Sukkot (The Feast of Tabernacles) is commanded to begin on the fifteenth day of the seventh month and is to last 7 days and in Wayyiqra/Leviticus 23:26, there is an eighth day. The twenty-third day of the seventh month would have been the last of Sukkot (The Feast of Tabernacles).
Ezra 3:2-4 “And Yahusha son of Yotsaḏa and his brothers the priests, and erubbaḇel son of She’alti’ěl and his brothers, arose and built the Slaughter-Place of the ELOHIYM of Yashar’el, to offer burnt offerings on it, as it is written in the Torah of Mosheh, the man of ELOHIYM. So they set the Slaughter-Place on its stands, being afraid of the peoples of the lands. And they offered burnt offerings on it to YAHUAH, both the morning and evening burnt offerings. And they performed the Festival of Booths, as it is written, and the daily burnt offerings by number, according to the right-ruling for each day”
Here in the 7th month they rebuilt the Slaughter-Place and performed sacrifices on it and kept Sukkot, even though they had not yet finished rebuilding the Temple! In this account we are told that the Slaughter- place was ‘set up ’ and not dedicated, as the Temple had not yet been completed and the proper dedication only took place a number of years later in:
Ezra 6:16-17 “Then the children of Yashar’el, the priests and the Lěwites and the rest of the sons of the exile, did the dedication of this House of Ělah with joy, and offered at the dedication of this House of Ělah one hundred bulls, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs, and as a sin offering for all Yashar’el twelve male goats, according to the number of the tribes of Yashar’el.”
In Neḥemyah we have the account of the dedication of the walls taking place:
Neḥemyah/Nehemiah 12:27 “And at the dedication of the wall of Yerushalayim they sought out the Lěwites in all their places, to bring them to Yerushalayim to perform the dedication with gladness, and with thanksgivings, and with singing, cymbals, harps and lyres.”
In all of the 4 accounts of dedication we have in Scripture in regards to the Slaughter-Place or Temple or walls, we find that these dedications were not done according to a set number of days, or at a specific time. What we do see in Scripture, however, is a repeated picture of dedication or renewal of covenant often taking place in the 7th month, which pictures for us the fullness of YAHUAH dwelling with His restored people!
According to Maccabees this feast of dedication was done with the intention to make up for the Feast of Sukkot which had not been properly kept.
The question we must ask ourselves is whether or not this can stand as a mandated feast for us to follow? Should we, as Followers of Yah really be celebrating any holiday that YAHUAH himself did not command us?
In The Torah we do have the instructions regarding those who are able to perform the Pěsach (Passover) in the second month, yet does this standard apply to other feasts?
Bemiḏbar/Numbers 9:10-13 “Speak to the children of Yasahr’el, saying, ‘When any male of you or your generations is unclean for a being, or is far away on a journey, he shall still perform the Passover of YAHUAH. ‘On the fourteenth day of the second month, between the evenings, they perform it – with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they eat it. ‘They do not leave of it until morning, and they do not break a bone of it. According to all the laws of the Passover they perform it. ‘But the man who is clean and is not on a journey, and has failed to perform the Passover, that same being shall be cut off from among his people, because he did not bring the offering of YAHUAH at its appointed time – that man bears his sin.”
The Maccabees had missed Sukkot, and in a manner of speaking they held a ‘second Sukkot’, which we can clearly see was done with great joy in celebrating a great win over the enemy.
What we must ask ourselves is whether or not this can now be practiced today, as a second Sukkot! We see that this feast of dedication was identified with the Feast of Sukkot in:
2 Maccabees 1:9 “And now see that you keep the Feast of Tabernacles in the month Kislev.”
The month of ‘Kislev’, as it was known from the Baḇylonian exile, as I have already mentioned, is the 9th month!
Does this instruction from Yahuḏah Maccabee have the authority to change the Appointed Times of YAHUAH? The answer is absolutely NOT!!!
After this victory they wrote to the Yahuḏiym in Mitsrayim and said in:
2 Maccabees 1:18 “Therefore whereas we are now purposed to keep the purification of the Temple upon the twenty fifth day of the month Kislev, we thought it necessary to notify you thereof, that ye also might keep it, as the of the feast tabernacles, and of the fire when Neḥemyah offered sacrifice, after that he had built the Temple, and the Slaughter-Place.”
Here we clearly see, once again, that this dedication was referred to being like the Feast of Sukkot/Tabernacles, and had nothing to do with a miraculous story of oil that lasted 8 days!
In the years that followed, when they were able to keep Sukkot in the correct month – that is the 7th month, the Yahuḏiym continued to keep this feast of dedication and even referred to it as ‘2nd Sukkot’, or ‘Sukkot in the month islev’.
Did the Maccabees have a right to establish such a feast?
In Scripture we have an account of a wicked king who established his own timing of feasts, that were like the feast of the Yahuḏiym:
Melaḵim Aleph/1 Kings 12:32-33 “And Yaroḇ’am performed a festival on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, like the festival that was in Yahuḏah, and he offered on the altar. So he did at Bĕyth Ěl, slaughtering to the calves that he had made. And at Bĕyth Ěl he appointed the priests of the high places which he had made. And he made offerings on the altar which he had made at Bĕyth Ěl on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, in the month which he had devised in his own heart. And he performed a festival for the children of Yashar’el, and offered on the altar and burned incense.”
This was one of the sins of Yaroḇ’am that provoked YAHUAH! Yaroḇ’am established his own feast just one month after Sukkot, while the Maccabees had their second Sukkot 2 months and 10 days after the Appointed Time, which has no Scriptural precedent for them to do this! We certainly recognize that this was the first time that they could actually perform a festival to YAHUAH, after being under the wicked control of the Greeks. Justified or not, it is very clear that the 8 days celebration was a substitute for the feast that they had missed!
Does this establish a lawful precedent, or do we adhere to YAHUAH’s Appointed calendar – I think that the answer is fairly obvious at this point.
Josephus also records the events around this dedication in Book 12 chapter 7:
7 “(323) Now Yahuḏah celebrated the festival of the restoration of the sacrifices of the temple for eight days; and omitted no sort of pleasures thereon: but he feasted them upon very rich and splendid sacrifices; and he honored ELOHIYM, and delighted them, by hymns and psalms. (324) Nay, they were so very glad at the revival of their customs, when after a long time of intermission, they unexpectedly had regained the freedom of their worship, that they made it a law for their posterity, that they should keep a festival, on account of the restoration of their temple worship, for eight days. (325) And from that time to this we celebrate this festival, and call it Lights.[Why do we call it lights?] I suppose the reason was, because this liberty beyond our hopes appeared to us; and that thence was the name given to that festival. (326) Yahuḏah also rebuilt the walls round about the city, and reared towers of great height against the incursions of enemies, and set guards therein. He also fortified the city Bethsura, that it might serve as a citadel against any distresses that might come from our enemies.”
At the time of Josephus, this festival became known as the festival of lights, and what we can notice here is that Josephus says nothing about a miraculous oil that lasted 8 days, but rather says that this may have been called ‘lights’ because of the freedom that was brought to Yashar’el after an oppressive time! By the style of his writing, we can see that he is not really sure why it was called lights!
The first time we see any record of Hanukkah having anything to do with a new kind of Menorah and the miraculous supply of oils is in 200 C.E. as contained in the Baḇylonian Talmud!!! Special Hanukkah lamps have their origin in the Baḇylonian Talmud too!!!
“The rabbis taught: The law of ‘Hanukah demands that every man should light one lamp for himself and his household. Those who seek to fulfil it well have a lamp lit for every member of the household. Those who seek to fulfil the law in the best possible manner should light according to Beth Shamai the first night eight flames, and every following night one flame less. And according to Beth Hillel the reverse–the first night one lamp, and be increased by one on each succeeding night. Said Rabba b. b. Hana in the name of R. Johanan: “There were two sages in Zidon; one did according to the decision of Shamai’s school, and gave the reason that the ‘Hanukah lamp is to be lit in the same manner as the sacrifices of the feast were offered, and the other according to the school of Hillel, with the reason that holy actions should show (emblemize) increase and not reduction.
The rabbis taught: It is a merit to put the ‘Hanukah lamp on the outside door of the house; and he who lives in an attic puts it in a window that opens into the street. In time of danger, however, it is sufficient if the lights are on the table. Said Rabha: In the latter case another light is required to work by; but if there is a hearth-fire in the house, it is not necessary. However, if the man is of high standing (and not in the habit of working by the hearth-light) he must have another lamp.
What is ‘Hanukah? The rabbis taught: “On the twenty-fifth day of Kislev ‘Hanukah commences and lasts eight days, on which lamenting (in commemoration of the dead) and fasting are prohibited. When the Hellenists entered the sanctuary, they defiled all the oil that was found there. When the government of the House of Asmoneans prevailed and conquered them, oil was sought (to feed the holy lamp in the sanctuary) and only one vial was found with the seal of the high priest intact. The vial contained sufficient oil for one day only, but a miracle occurred, and it fed the holy lamp eight days in succession. These eight days were the following year established as days of good cheer, on which psalms of praise and acknowledgment (of G-d’s wonders) were to be recited.”
(Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Shabbat, page 21b) -reading on one can see the many burdensome laws and traditions of the Hanukah light.
When we consider this ‘festival of lights’, we can so easily be steered toward the influence of many pagan worship practices that are also referred to as being festivals of lights – Hindus celebrate Diwali (festival of lights) and much of modernized Christmas celebrations that are centered around lights, have their roots in ancient Roman pagan worship rites. There are even the many pagan influences of the specific practice of candle lighting! Birthdays, Halloween, Kabbalistic Worship of Candle light on the Sabbath, Witchcraft, Christmas tree candles, etc. Here is some quick information on the pagan practice and tradition of lighting candles.
-Sabbath Candle Lighting-
According to ask Moses.com,
This practice originated from Jewish Mysticism, known as Kabbalah.
AskMoses.com then continues, “Here’s where the magic happens! With the candle lit, the Jewish woman goes Kabbalistic. After drawing her hands inward three times to internalize the Shabbat Spirit, she then covoers her face with her hands and says the blessing…”
Baruch atta Ado-noy Elo-hai-nu Melech ha’olam asher kid-sha-nu b’mitz-vo-tav v’tzi-vanu li-had-leek ner shel Shabbat Kodesh.
[Blessed are You Lord, our G-d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to kindle the light of the Holy Shabbat].
One might wonder, where is this command to light Shabbat candles before the Shabbat?
AskMoses.com claims “lighting Shabbat Candles were practiced by Sarah in the Bible in the book of Genesis. Yet, the link they provide is not the Bible at all but merely Rashi’s (a Talmud Rabbi’s) interpretation of Genesis.”
A young Jewish lady on YouTube instructs people on how to practice Shabbat candle lighing. She states: “It is taught in Kabbalah that when we light Shabbat candles, we access the original light of creation to reveal the divine in all things and restore the original light that’s shown in the Garden of Eden.”
We cannot look over the superstitious ritual origins of lighting candles on the Shabbat also:
“The Commandment of Sabbath candles was given to the women of the holy people that they might kindle lights. The sages said that because Eve extinguished the light of the world and made the cosmos dark by her sin, [women] must kindle lights for the Sabbath. But this is the reason for it: Because the Shelter of Peace [ = the Shekhinah] rests on us during the Sabbath, on the [Sabbath-]souls, it is therefore proper for us to do below, in this form, as it is done above [within the G-dhead], to kindle the lights. Therefore, because the two souls shine on the Sabbath, they [women] must light two candles…. Therefore, by kindling the lambs for the holy Sabbath, we awaken great arousal in the upper world. And when the woman kindles the lights, it is fitting to her to kindle [them] with joy and with wholeheartedness, because it is in honor of the Shekhinah and in honor of the Sabbath and in honor of the extra [Sabbath] soul. Thus she will be privileged to have holy children…. And by this means she give her husband long life.”
-Part of Witchcraft-
A former African witchdoctor who practiced witchcraft for over twenty years said that demons are attracted to the substance candles are made out of. Candles were a part of his witchcraft. It does not matter what color, shape, or smell they have. When lit, the smell of the candle also calls on another big time demon.
Let it also be noted the real reason for placing candles in the jack-o-lantern on Halloween. Not only was it thought to ward off evil spirits, but it was the mark of the demons. According to the rituals of Halloween, if one had a pumpkin on their porch it was a sign for the demons that they have already came to that house and the wax in that candle was of the fat of the child that was sacrificed from that household!
-Mentioned in the book of Baruch-
The sixth chapter of the book of Baruch discusses of the many idols and false g-ds of the heathens and how they adorn them. It even goes into great detail of the many candles that are lit for these idols:
“They light candles to them, and in great number, of which they cannot see one: but they are like beams in the house.” (Baruch 6:18)
Sounds similar to the many candles that can be found adorning the idols in the Roman Catholic Church.
This modern adaptation of a feast, Hanukkah (and Purim) that became established at the command of man has, through the traditions of man, become festivals that do not reflect the work of Messiah, nor acknowledge that He is the perfect sacrifice and the true Light of the world!
Many Messianic believers today try to justify their keeping of Ḥanukkah by trying to say that YAHUSHA Messiah celebrated this feast, through a skewed interpretation of a verse in:
Yoḥanan/John 10:22-23 “At that time the Ḥanukkah came to be in Yerushalayim, and it was winter. And YAHUSHA was walking in the Set-apart Place, in the porch of Shelomoh.”
On the basis of these verses alone, many assume that YAHUSHA Messiah was keeping a man-commanded feast, and they claim this because He was in the Temple at the time! Messiah declared Himself as the renewed temple:
Yoḥanan/John 2:19-22 “YAHUSHA answered and said to them, “Destroy this Dwelling Place, and in three days I shall raise it.” Then the Yahuḏiym said, “It took forty-six years to build this Dwelling Place, and You are going to raise it in three days?”
So, why would He celebrate the Feast of Dedication? He is the True Temple and condemned the old temple for destruction. So why would we honour the wrong temple? For that matter, why celebrate a temple that no longer exists and that Messiah condemned to destruction and replacement?
Should Ḥanukkah, a man-made holiday whose basis is given from one excerp within the Talmud and a fleeting, uncertain reference within scripture, be equivalent to an Appointed Time of YAHUAH? Should Ḥanukkah hold any position in worship? Which are beneficial, YAHUAH’s Word and His commands, or man’s traditions that are taught as teachings? Does Ḥanukkah depict YAHUAH’s Salvation Plan, or teach believers about YAHUSHA through the historical evidence we have? Are we to follow men in partaking of inherited rabbinical leaven?
While many may be emotionally offended at the presentation of this article, I simply want to highlight a sobering reality that we have inherited many vain traditions that have been established as being more relevant than the Word of ELOHIYM, and it is time for the true worshippers of ELOHIYM to worship in Spirit and Truth.
As you read through Yoḥanan/John 10 and see the words that YAHUSHA Messiah spoke to the Pharisees and hypocrites at the temple, one does not have to look to far and see that He was not celebrating this feast with songs and praise, but rather He was clearly rebuking the religious hypocrites, who sought to stone Him for ‘making Himself ELOHIYM’!
While we certainly can see how the Maccabees had a great victory against the Greeks in a partial fulfilment of Dani’ěl’s prophecies, we also can bring to remembrance many great victories over the enemy that we see recorded in Scripture, and we are able to give thanks to ELOHIYM who fights for us and gives us great examples for us to remind us of this fact, yet we must not add to or take away from His Word.
Sadly this feast of lights has grown in depravity over the centuries and today it has become nothing more than a substitute for Christmas, and the customary celebrations of this feast are based on the traditions of man as taught through the Talmud, written and taught by those who deny YAHUSHA Messiah!
This is NOT a Feast of YAHUAH!
ḤANUKKAH – TRUTH OR TRADITION? Who are you listening to?