As we approach Christmas, it is good to look at Christmas in prophecy. There is a story in biblical history that has much to tell us about the times of Christmas we are approaching, it is called Hanukkah. But, before we do, we should remember what Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes
“The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.” – Eccl. 1:9
History does repeat itself. especially prophetic history. Jesus came once to initiate the Church but, He is coming a second time to set the world straight and to establish His kingdom on earth. God’s word states that ‘in the mouth of two or three witnesses a thing is established’ and I have noticed that many biblical prophecies often have a secondary and even tertiary fulfillment. So, with that introduction I will begin the story of Hanukkah.
Most Christians do not know that Jesus celebrated the feast of Hanukkah because it is not specifically named in Scripture but, it is found in John chapter 10 –
“And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication (heb. hanukkah), and it was winter.” – John 10:22
The word ‘dedication’ is the word Hanukkah in Hebrew, so Jesus was in Jerusalem for the Feast of Hanukkah, which was in the winter time. The events that inspired the Hanukkah holiday took place during a particularly turbulent phase of Jewish history. Around 200 B.C., Judea—also known as the Land of Israel—came under the control of Antiochus III , the Seleucid king of Syria, who allowed the Jews who lived there to continue practicing their religion. However, his son, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, proved less benevolent: Ancient sources recount that he outlawed the Jewish religion, burned Old Testament scrolls and ordered the Jews to worship Greek gods. In 168 B.C., his soldiers descended upon Jerusalem, massacring thousands of people and desecrating the city’s holy Second Temple by erecting an altar to Zeus and sacrificing pigs within its sacred walls. (This act is referred to by Daniel and Jesus as the Abomination of desolation). These acts were prophesied years before by Daniel –
“And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate. And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days. Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries. And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed.” – Dan. 11:31-35
As with many prophecies there are primary and secondary fulfillments. This word began to be fulfilled by Antiochus IV as he placed a statue of Zeus in the Holy Place and defiled the Altar by sacrificing a pig on it and filled the temple with immoral sex acts. Antiochus’ actions give us a clear picture of the Antichrist who is yet to come.
As Jews began to be influenced by Greek paganism, they began to forsake the dictates of God’s word. This began first in the bigger cities and even polluted the leaders of the Temple. The High Priest actually led Antiochus into the Temple to set up his abomination! As young people were drawn away embracing the Greek Olympic games, where they competed naked, the Hebrew biblical based culture was in danger of perishing. Fortunately, a few righteous Jews understood what was happening.
It was in these times of moral decay that God called forth a Hebrew Priest named Mathias, a rural man with five sons, who began to speak on behalf of God, resisting the influence of Greek decadence of Antiochus IV Epiphanies. Though he did not live to see victory, his son’s carried on the work. One of them named Judas Maccabee (hammer) led
the Hebrews to victory, casting out the Greeks from the land. Because the Temple had been desecrated, it had to be cleansed and rededicated. The re-dedication lasted for eight days and the nation of Israel once again began to return to the ways of God. This is what the feast of Hanukkah celebrates. If this has not happened, the Jewish people would have ceased existing, Jesus would not have been born and there would be no Christmas. It cost many a heavy price as they stood for freedom and their faith in God.
So, how does this story foretell events to come? Both Daniel and Jesus predicted a future antichrist figure would set up another Abomination of Desolation in the Temple.
“And he said, “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. “Many shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand. “And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days.” (3 1/2 years) – Daniel 12:9-11
“Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand)” – Matthew 24:15
What do we see happening in our day – young people being enticed away from God’s principles by games and entertainment into humanistic philosophies of paganism, sexual immorality, the killing of the unborn, the teaching of evolution (which denies the existence of God), governments and schools outlawing God’s laws and prayer to God and promoting pluralism that equates false gods with the true God of the Bible. They soak up welfare support and spit on our flag. They celebrate the foreign god of death, Cali, by projecting its image on the Empire state building, but they have to remove the Ten Commandments from public view! Even many in the church have given in to false doctrines allowing the abominations of homosexual and lesbian lifestyles to be honored in their churches. Idolatry is growing rapidly before our eyes; Muslims shut down traffic in New York with their prayer rallies, British leaders calling on the UN to outlaw prophecy teachers who teach anything against Islam even when Muslims openly proclaim their intentions against Christians. Even Republican Senators, like Marco Rubio, pass laws making it a crime to tell the truth about radical Islam.
Allowing this darkness into the land is preparing the way for the Antichrist today just as it did in the past with Antiochus Epiphany. The spirit of Antichrist is already here and is working hard to destroy God’s plans for mankind. Actions like those listed above are preparing the way for him. There is not much time left. Are there any Maccabees that God can call forth to stem the tide?
You can begin this process by making this Christmas a re-dedication of your faith in God. Don’t make it a celebration of giving gifts but, one of giving thanks and prayers to God asking Him for repentance and revival in our land. Don’t let a secular world shape your Christmas with economic greed and don’t let pagan pluralistic proponents get away with calling out “Happy Holiday”. Boldly respond with “Merry Christmas” and “Bless Jesus, who is the true reason for the season!”
But, most of all, remember God’s word –
“For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness. For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall. As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him. For who is God save the LORD? or who is a rock save our God? It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect. He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet, and setteth me upon my high places. He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms. Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great. Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip. I have pursued mine enemies, and overtaken them: neither did I turn again till they were consumed.” – Psalm 18:18-37
Some of you may be questioning my use of such a Scripture but, I would remind you the the day of Grace is nearing an end and when Jesus returns He is not returning as a meek Lamb but, as the Lion of Judah. It is time for all to choose whose side they are on – Christ’s or Antichrist’s. And it is time for all who name the Name of Christ to use the power of prayer to overcome the actions the spirit of Antichrist is behind.