Hanukkah means “dedication,’ referring to the rededication of the Temple after a great Jewish military victory in 165 B.C. This feast did not originate with Moses, nor is it mandated in the Bible. It is found in the books of First and Second Macabees in the Apocrypha, the books written in the 400-year “silence” between the Tenach and B’rit Hadashah. God was not silent in these years, however. He was still at work fulfilling His promises and preserving His people. Furthermore, there are good Biblical reasons to celebrate this feast. Yeshua observed this holiday:
“Then came the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem. It was winter and Yeshua was in the Temple area walking in Solomon’s colonnade” (John [Yochanan] 10:22-23).
Daniel prophesied the events at Hanukkah centuries before in Daniel 11. The “mighty king” was Alexander the Great. Daniel (Dani’el) describes Alexander’s successor in verses 21—31.
This prophecy accurately describes Antioch IV, who reigned from 175-164 B.C.E. He was one of many throughout history who tried to eradicate the Jewish people. The survival of the Jewish people is a firm testimony of God’s faithfulness.
Yeshua, the Messiah of all mankind, would come through the Jewish bloodline. Antiochus wanted everyone united under Greek Hellenism, thus he was not tolerant of the Jews.
Some traditions include displaying your menorah in the window to show God’s miracle to the world. Don’t forget to eat some latkes and donuts already! Oil (the symbol of the Ruach) is associated with the Hanukkah miracle. Fry the latkes in oil, and don’t think about the calories . . . think about the miracle! Then there is the dreidel: The four Hebrew letters mean “a great miracle happened there” (nes gadol haya sham). Children play a game with the dreidel where each letter has an assigned value: nes (nothing), gadol (all), hayah (half), and sham (put in).