- Liberation from idolatry in three years
- Chanukkah means Dedication
- The World is “possessed” by an oppressive nature
- A Warning against Social Idolatry
Liberation from idolatry in three years:
A major theme of Chanukkah is liberating oneself from the oppression of idolatry. It took our people (Israel) three years to successfully revolt against their oppressors (167-164 BCE). Thereafter, the defiled temple was cleansed and the worship of the Eternal One was reinstated (25 Kislev, 164 BCE). The three year period of time it took to liberate Adonai’s people and cleanse His Temple is prophetic. It is the same amount of time it took the Messiah Yeshua (27-30 CE) to put an end to idolatry, cleanse the Temple and reinstate true worship among His people by atoning for sin and cleansing the temple of our lives.
Chanukkah means Dedication:
Interestingly, the most important highlight of this Kislev (December) winter feast was not the Jewish military success and the Jews liberation from idolatry but the rededication of the temple.
Specifically, the reigniting of the Divine flame, the eternal Presence issuing out of the sacred oil in the golden lamp stand in the temple, was the crowning event being celebrated. The supreme theme of the winter festival of cleansing and rededication of the temple is the theme of “illumination.” The celebrated illumination of the Temple, that historically occurred in Jerusalem in 164 BCE, happened after a successful three and one-half year revolt against the wicked oppressor Antiochus Epiphanes.
The Chanukkah narrative multiple themes of oppression, fighting for independence, liberation, and illumination are seminal terms, frequently used in the Tanakh. The cleansing and the Dedication of the Temple celebrated in Chanukkah is the first Chanukkah. There is a new second festival of Temple Dedication and cleansing that is observed in the future messianic age that is alluded to by the prophet Ezekiel. For more information regarding this new messianic festival read the document, “Messiah in Chanukkah (II) and Rosh HaShanah II.” The first Chanukkah festival storyboard prophetically requires us to:
First, front load engagement of the problems of humanity’s bondage to idolatry and sin in the Winter (Messiah’s conception).
Second, quickly move forward to the more generative act of replacing sin and death with eternal life in the Spring (Messiah’s saving death and resurrection).
Third, thereafter, permanently inaugurate a reign of righteousness in the Summer (the indwelling of the Spirit).
Fourth, finally establish Adonai’s Messianic Kingdom on earth in the Fall (second coming and the start of the messianic age).
The joyous culmination of all these prophetic events is experienced in its fullness when the new life of Adonai’s Kingdom is finally brought to full maturity at the end of the Millennial age (the yet future thousand years reign of Messiah on earth). The end of the Millennial age is when the final judgment of the Holy One will be rendered and the eternal glory of the new heaven and the new earth will be revealed.
The World is “possessed” by an oppressive nature:
Chanukkah teaches us about the oppressive nature of the world. Although followers of Messiah aspire to be good citizens, nevertheless, they are exhorted to be under no illusions about the evil potentials of human social life. Yochanan ben Zebedee (the Endowment of the Grace of Adonai) sums up well the world’s philosophy when he characterizes it as an evil world system that obsesses on:
“The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.”
Humanity is dominated by a sin nature that exists in rebellion against the heavenly Father. Humankind is motivated by wrong desires. The human populace as a whole is easily enticed to do evil. Instead of good, arrogance, pride, self-aggrandizement, and self-glorification are the crowning aspirations of humankind. Remarkably, Yochanan ben Zebedee says, “We know…the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” Therefore, Rabbi Jacob ben Joseph also warns believers: “Do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward Adonai? Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of Adonai.”
A Warning against Social Idolatry:
The Chanukkah narrative warns the children of Adonai (the LORD) to be aware of the threat of social idolatry.
The evil ruler in the Chanukkah narrative not only forbade the Jews to worship Adonai but he blasphemously claimed Adonai was actually the pagan deity Zeus. Abominably, the wicked Syrian dictator (Antiochus IV, Epiphanies) sacrificed a defiling pig (the pig is a type of man’s fallen Self-life) on the sacred altar and even placed an idol of Zeus in the temple’s “Holy of Holies.” The wicked one not only blasphemously recast Adonai as Zeus but he also claimed the Divine One indwelt him. The insame one (Epimanes) claimed he was the epiphany (a Greek word, meaning “manifestation,” i.e. tov logos) of Adonai Himself in human form. In so doing Antiochus was claiming that he was the Messiah of the entire world, the Son of Elohim.