When learning about Hanukkah we are drawn to the prophet Daniel because he first prophesied about these times.
“And forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation” – Daniel 11:31
The beginning of these abominations (they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation) happened by the Greek ruler Antiochus IV Epiphanes but, as we have seen by the words of Jesus and Paul, it was not to be the last. We must look further in Daniel for he full picture which he gives in his revelation of 70 Weeks.
“Seventy weeks (seventy sevens) are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
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.” – Daniel 9:24-27 KJV
Before Jesus came, Daniel was looked upon in Israel as a great prophet but, after Jesus most Rabbis do not want to recognize him as a prophet – why?
This prophesy of the 70 Weeks is the reason. If the numbers and dates set forth are followed, Jesus fulfills the prophesy exactly to the day when He made the Triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Lets first look at Daniels introduction to the 70 weeks.
Daniel declares that this 70 week period will accomplish the return of Israel to God and their calling. It will usher in the completeness of righteousness, fulfill all visions and prophesies and once again anoint the Holy of Holies, the place where God’s presence will dwell. In other words, it will conclude all that God set out to do on the earth. All other prophesies, visions, and Feasts of the Lord are included in this word, and that includes Hanukkah.
At the risk of losing some who are not mathematically inclined (God is) we are next going to examine some dates in history. The prophesy is to begin when the command was given to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. This happened in the 20th year of Artaxerxes and is found in the 2nd chapter of Nehemiah. – the month of Nisan 445 B.C. The 70 weeks are further divided into three sections –
First section – 7 weeks or 49 years “the street and the wall shall be built again even in troublous times”. Reading Nehemiah testifies to the truth of this.
Second section – 62 or 434 more years for a total of 434+49=483 years “shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself” (or and shall have nothing ). He was rejected and did not receive the messianic kingdom. Following is a timeline of Messiah’s ministry –
a) Scripture fixes the Lord’s 1st Passover as Nisan A.D. 29
b) His crucifixion took place at the 4th Passover of His ministry or Nisan A.D. 32
c) He went up to Jerusalem on the 8th of Nisan, which was a Friday, spent the Sabbath in Bethany, and entered the city the following day, Sunday the 10th of Nisan, which was April 6, A.D. 32.
d) What is the interval between March 14, B.C.445 and April 6, A.D. 32? It is 173,880 days or seven times 69 prophetic years of 360 days! Jesus made His Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem on the exact day Daniel prophesied He would. There is no doubt Jesus is the Messiah – God proves it in His Scriptures.
e) This also begins of the “times of the Gentiles” as Jesus taught. –“and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary” We know historically the Romans did this in 70 A.D. and finally deported all the Jews in 134 A.D. thus beginning the ‘Diaspora”.
f) “and the end thereof [shall be] with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined”. This has been a 2000 year old ‘war’ filled with atrocities and tribulation for the Jews. It is as Jesus prophesied, “and they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations; and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” – Luke 21:24.
Third section – Here we find a time break. The second section ended with an unspecified time of wars and desolation’s against the Jewish people until the end. Sometime in the future the Third section begins and the ‘prince’ is revealed. This prince is the Antichrist.
- “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week” is clearly speaking about the ‘prince’ of vs. 26 who is in some way out of Rome. Note: It is not ‘the’ covenant but ‘a’ covenant.
b. He is the dreadful little horn on the 4th beast (the Roman Empire) that is seen coming out of the sea in Revelation 13.
c. The Jews will look towards this great man for protection and will make a 7 yr treaty with him probably allowing them to rebuild their Temple. (speculation on my part)
d. He makes this covenant ‘with many’ but not all Jews are fooled. God always has a remnant.
e. In the middle of the 7 years (that is 3 1/2 years), he will break the treaty causing sacrifices and offering to cease. As the book of Revelation predicts, he will become indwelt by Satan and in league with the False Prophet. The personal Antichrist will cause the final abomination of desolation that is to occur.
d. An apostate Jewish nation, as well as an apostate church, will fall into line with these two. True believers will enter the “great tribulation” that Jesus talked about – Matthew 24:21.
The revelation of this coming Antichrist and the abomination of desolation gives a clear picture of the ‘end time’ struggles we will face. We know Israel will be back in the land, otherwise no treaty could be made with them. We also know the Temple will be rebuilt, otherwise no desolation could take place. We also know these events will happen over a very short time – just seven years. This tells us that the ‘falling away’ of the Church and Israel will accelerate rapidly once it begins.
How does Hanukkah tell us about these things. At the time of Hanukkah, Jewish apostasy accelerated rapidly – the whole history of Hanukkah only took about 3-4 years. It also reveals the way to overcome the spirit of Antichrist who orchestrated these events. The Maccabees had to chose to resist. They put their foot down, so to speak, and said “no more!” They didn’t look at the circumstances or their weakness, which were grim, they looked to God and began to resist. There could be no half-measures – no ‘one foot in the world and one foot in the kingdom’. They repented for their lukewarmness, fasted and prayed, then they acted!
These times are coming and their signs are already appearing. We in America have committed the same abominations that Israel committed. Some teach Christians will escape and just the Jews will have to go through them but, Hanukkah teaches the deliverance doesn’t come until after the Antichrist comes. And besides, Scripture teaches we Gentiles are grafted into Israel and made one with them – Jesus considers the Church to be “one new man” made up of Jew and Gentile. No, we will all meet this 3 1/2 time of Jacob’s trouble – we just have to choose if we will be Maccabees or not.