Hanukkah, the Feast of Lights
John 7:37-39 “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)”
This celebration is not only historical but prophetic. Back during the Roman times there was a temple built on the Temple platform. The Dome of the Rock, is now on the Temple Mount. At Jesus time, there was Herod’s Temple, known as the second temple. Prior to that there was the temple of Solomon. It was full of gold fixtures, gold doors, angels overlaid with gold over the Ark of the Covenant. There were ten Menorah’s alone. That temple was destroyed by the Babylonians and temple of Herod was destroyed in 70 A.D. by the Romans. When Jesus was ministering on earth, the Temple of Herod was still there and Jesus went up to the temple to celebrate certain feasts at various times in the city of Jerusalem.
John 10:22-24 “And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch. Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.” What was the Feast of Dedication? It was Hanukkah, the celebration known as the Feast of Lights. It is similar to the Jewish people what Christmas is to many Christians. However, there is an unusual story connected to Hanukkah which we need to look at to get to the prophetic issue concerning this.
About 165-168 B.C. a man came to power in Assyria known as Antiochus Epiphanes. He then came into Israel and began to persecute the Jewish people. According to historians he told the Jews they could not circumcise their sons on the eight day. He told them they could no longer work on the Sabbath day. One thing he did that is important to understand the historical setting of Hanukkah, it that he went into the temple in Jerusalem and he erected a temple to Jupiter and he took swine broth, from a pig and poured it out on the sacred alter in Jerusalem. Therefore to the Jews, the temple and the alter were totally desecrated by this man. This is important to see the setting of the time.
The Jewish people are being persecuted by this man Antiochus Epiphanes, who is without doubt a picture of the antichrist. There was a man known as Matthew Maccabee who had five sons. The Maccabee family started a revolt in their home town where they tore down a statue of Zeus. Matthew Maccabee said, He that wants to follow God, follow me. He led a revolt that eventually went to Jerusalem and defeated the Greek army and liberated Jerusalem from the Greeks. But there was a problem. Back in that day, there was a Menorah in the temple and that Menorah in the temple, was made out of gold and had 7 branches, a central branch and three branches on each side. This was a holy piece of furniture in the Holy Place. The light from this Menorah lit up the Holy Place and it was there in front of that Menorah that the high priest would go to inquire of the Lord and the light from the central shaft would shine upon his breastplate to one of the Hebrew letters on the 12 stones that was illuminated, one letter at a time, spelling out words to him. The high priest would go to that Menorah to ‘inquire of the lord’ when he wanted to know if they should go to battle or other special inquiries.
When the Macabbees liberated Jerusalem and the temple from the Greeks, they went into the temple to take out the statue of Jupiter and they had a problem. There was only enough oil found in a small jar to light the Menorah for one day. They said what shall we do? The priests said to light the central branch then the rest of the Menorah for one day and they would work on getting more oil for it because of where the olive trees where the oil came from, it would take 7 or 8 days to get the oil to the city of Jerusalem. But a miracle took place and not only did the oil last for that one day, but it lasted for a total of 8 days until they could get more oil. As a result of that, another Menorah was later developed by the Jewish people called the Hanukkah Menorah, which had 9 branches, A central shaft and 4 on each side. This is why you see two different Menorahs with different Jewish things. This 9 branch Menorah is the one that relates to Hanukkah. The Macabees coming into Jerusalem and defeating the enemy is a picture of how Jesus will return one day to Jerusalem and defeat the antichrist.
In fact, Antiochus Epiphanes, who came out of Assyria and persecuted the Jewish people, is a perfect picture of the antichrist according to Biblical scholars who believe in Biblical prophecy. In Daniel chapter 11 there are scriptures that are a perfect picture of Antiochus Epiphanes and yet at the same time, a perfect picture of the future antichrist, who will come out of the same territory, the Syrian Iraqi territory of the Middle East.
The Prophetic Part: Jesus goes up to the Feast of Dedication, celebrated once each year, celebrating how they had the oil that miraculously lasted eight days. Going into the future, according to Matthew 24, 2 Thessalonians 2 and Revelation 11, there will be a temple of some kind, with an altar erected during the first part of the tribulation period. Many believe that during the tribulation, Elijah will come as one of the two witnesses. This is based upon Revelation 11:3 “And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth,” and Malachi 4:5; “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:”.
Then in Matthew 17:11 Christ said Elijah would restore all things. “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.” Some say that was an alluding to John the Baptist. But from Jesus words, John the Baptist, was not Elijah, but he came in the spirit and anointing of Elijah.
Yet, what is it that Elijah was to restore? First, there is the remnant of Jewish people in Revelation 7:4 that will be sealed with this seal of God. They are called the 144,000 and the Jewish Rabbi’s taught before the time of Christ that when Elijah comes he will tell the people what tribe they are a part of because none of the Jews today know what tribe they are a part of. How can this 144,000 be sealed when they don’t know what tribe they are of? It is a good question and the Bible doesn’t give us the answer but Jewish teachers taught that even before the time of Christ that when Elijah came, he would know that.
2 Kings 2:1 “And it came to pass, when the LORD would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.” Elijah was translated into heaven and will reappear in the end of days. This is the teaching. Furthermore some believe that it will be Elijah that will lead the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem, not the antichrist. This rebuilding of the temple is to occur in the first half or first 42 months of the tribulation and then the dedication offering should occur on Passover. If the Lord comes in the fall feasts, at the Feast of Trumpets and the rapture takes place at that time and the two witnesses come and are left on the earth. Then 3 ½ years later they would come to the spring feast of Passover. The altar and Temple are finished and when they are going to dedicate them on Passover, that is when the antichrist steps in and kills the two witnesses and becomes the hero to the Islamic world.
In the tribulation there is a period of seven years. Daniel 9:27, Revelation 13:5. Daniel 9:17 “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” Revelation 11:2, 13:5 “and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months… And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.”
The tribulation period will be divided into 42 months and 42 months for the first and last half. Each half will be 1,260 days. You will notice that the two identical periods of 3 ½ years are exactly 42 months of 30 days, the same as in the Old Testament. That is based upon a 360 days year, as it was before the flood of Noah. My message on The Calendar of God gives the details of all the different calendars and that which God is working or going by.
Daniel speaks of the last day kingdoms. Daniel 2:31-45 “Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king. Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold. And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth. And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise. And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters' clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay. And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay. And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.”
The order of kingdoms was the Babylonian Empire, the Medo-Persian Empire, the Grecian Empire, the Roman Empire, and the last days empire of ten kings. We also know that those ten kings mentioned in Daniel 7 and 8 and Revelation 17 and 18 are last day kings that organize a kingdom that is directed by the antichrist.
In Daniel, he begins to see all these visions. But in chapter 12, he sees and angel of the Lord and asks him how long it will be till the end of these wonders? Daniel 12:6 “And one said to the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders?” How long before the return of the Lord? Though many think we should not be concerned with the Lord’s second coming, not only did Daniel ask about it but also the disciples did also in Matthew 24:3. “And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?”
Then the angel speaks to Daniel. Daniel 12:7 “And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.”
That term, times, time and a half is also found in Revelation 12:14. “And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.” time is 1 year, times is 2 years and half a time is 6 months. So, the angel said that after the antichrist has come and scattered the people throughout Israel, then after 3 ½ years or 42 months it will be the consummation of all things, the mystery and finishing of the plan of God. Now Daniel didn’t see all of it, but John in Revelation 20:6 says, “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”. So John sees the continuation of what Daniel predicted.
Daniel 12:11-12 is an unusual passage. “And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.” In other words it is says blessed is he that cometh to the 1335 days. Why this? That is strange.
There are seven feasts of Israel. Christ was crucified on Passover (John 19:14-18), Christ was in the grave during the Feast of Unleavened Bread and rose and appeared to His disciples on the Feast of First Fruits (John 20:19). Then the church was born on the Feast or Day of Pentecost in Acts 2.
When you begin to look at this time fame of the Tribulation Period, the last half, or 42 months is the same as the first half or 1260 days. The last 42 months, the last day ends with the Lord coming back to the Mount of Olives and setting His foot down thereon (Zechariah 14:4). “And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.”That last day of the Tribulation period would then begin the first day of he 1000 year Millennium reign of Christ according to this teaching and view of the end time events.
That time frame is times, time and dividing of time according to Daniel 12:7 “And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.” Revelation 12:14. “And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.” That is set. So why does Daniel say in Daniel 12:12, blessed is he that comes to the 1335th day? Because, Christ fulfilled the fall feasts at his first coming. The Rapture and the setting up of the kingdom would occur during the fall feasts of Israel. The Fall feasts is the Feast of Trumpets (Rosh H), Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) or Judgment and the Feast of Tabernacles.
Let us assume that Christ does return around the Feast of Trumpets of the fall feasts then the first half of the Tribulation or first 3 ½ years, would takes you to Passover, which is 6 months from the fall feasts. Then the second half of the Tribulation, another 3 ½ years would take you back to the fall feasts. To put it another way, the coming of Christ for the Church, the catching away or rapture, according to 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17 and Ephesians 1:9-10 should happen at the fall feasts. Seven years later, at the end of the Tribulation, Jesus would then return again to set foot on the Mount of Olives at the fall feasts.
When you calculate the fall feasts and the Tribulation ending at the fall feasts after 7 years, if you take Daniel’s 1335 days and subtract the 1260 days of the last half of the Tribulation period, you have a difference of 75 days. Okay, so what about these 75 days. When Jesus comes to the Mount of Olives, you add another 75 days to get to the 1335th day. When you add those 75 days to the fall feasts, you come to the Feast of Hanukkah. Hanukkah was the dedication of the Temple. Hanukkah was when the one who was a picture of the antichrist, Antiochus Epiphanes was thrown out of the Temple and the light of the Menorah was lit once again. It appears that the Temple in Jerusalem would be sanctified by the Lord and the Menorah relit during the Feast of Hanukkah.
Another interesting nugget. A coin minted by the Muslims in 1917. The Islamic calendar started in 622 on our calendar. In 1917 General E. Allenby liberated Jerusalem from the Turks and that was the last time they minted a coil like that in Jerusalem, because they lost control of the city in 1917 when it was taken over by the British. What is interesting is that this coin has a date on it. The Islamic numbers on one side total 1335. 1917 was the 1335th year on the Islamic calendar when Jerusalem was taken from the Islamic Turks and given to the British who later gave it to Israel. So prophecy can have a primary and a secondary meaning or parallel. There are repetitive cycles in which God works.