Marty Zide is the director of the Midwest Messianic Center. As a Jew, Marty placed his trust in Jesus as his Messiah in December, 1971.
The Bible refers to Hanukkah in both testaments. In the Old Testament it’s speaks of Hanukkah prophetically in the book of Daniel and in the New Testament we see Jesus celebrating Hanukkah in John 10:22 (The Feast of Dedication). This was in Winter and Jesus was walking in the Temple.
During the period between the testaments there was a Syrian leader by the name of Antiochus Epiphanes who reigned from approximately 175 to 164 BC. Marty described him as the Sadaam Hussein of his day. He would enter other countries and overthrow them.
One of his desires was to overthrow the Egyptians. Since he was the Syrian leader, he had to head south in order to make his attack. On his way, the Romans heard about it and put a stop to Antiochus’ plans. In making his ‘u-turn’ to head back home, he stopped at Jerusalem. There he vented his anger and frustration on the Jewish people, outlawing anything pertaining to Jewish worship.
One thing he did was to enter the temple, tear down anything that resembled worship of Jehovah God and put up items that represented his god, the Greek god Zeus. Then he took a pig and offered it on the altar of God, desecrating the Temple. In other words, on that day, the Jews lost their Temple.
Interestingly, this happened on Kislev 25 of the Jewish calendar. On our calendar, that corresponds to December 25th.
In response, many Jews fled to other towns, some going to a town called Modiin. Modiin was of particular interest to Antiochus because a prominent high priest, Mattathias, went there with his sons. At one point, a small group sent by Antiochus warned Mattathias that he was not to worship Jehovah God. A pig was tied up and a knife was handed to Mattathias who was told to kill the pig. Someone ran up and grabbed the knife out of the hand of Mattathias and killed the pig. This so infuriated Mattathias that he killed the man who killed the pig. That incident mobilized this small group of Jewish people to overthrow the representative from Antiochus Epiphanes.
In the end, the Jews got their Temple back. This is what Hanukkah is about. It’s a rededication of the Temple. Also, having lost it on Kislev 25, they regained it on the same day.
Why do Jews light the holiday Menorah for eight days? Is there any truth to the story about the little jar of oil (for lighting the Menorah) that allegedly lasted for eight days? Is there a connection between Hanukkah and Christmas? These are questions you may have and Marty will answer them when you review this edition of Crosstalk.
Midwest Messianic Center
15517 Canyon View Court
Chesterfield, Missouri 63017