Many believe Christmas to have solely pagan roots that were re-purposed by early Gentile Christians. Messianic Jewish luminary Theophilus Lucky has a different, interesting take on the theory of Christmas’ origins. Lucky believes that the birth of Messiah was celebrated every year at Hanukkah on the 25th of Kislev.
Hanukkah is more than just the Jewish substitute for Christmas. In fact, Hanukkah elicits ancient prophecy and prophetic archetypes, all pointing to the coming and the redemption of the Messiah. The messianic expectation during this holiday points us to investigate the books of Haggai and Hebrews.
At Hanukkah we celebrate the ultimate future defeat of the antichrist. Recent world events and phenomenon seem to suggest that the birth pains of Messiah are increasing in frequency and the signs point toward Armageddon. We should use Hanukkah as an opportunity renew our commitment to Yeshua as the day of his coming draws near.
Antiochus Epiphanes, the villain of the Hanukkah story, was the king of Syria and an early forerunner of the antichrist. He erected an idol in the Temple that the Prophet Daniel referred to as the “abomination of desolation.” Yeshua of Nazareth warned us to expect history to repeat itself.
Chanukkah is a Jewish holiday. It’s kind of like, we think, some kind of Jewish substitute for Christmas. They saw all the fun we were having every winter and came up with something a little different that they could do, too. So we imagine them putting Chanukkah presents under the menorah, or maybe a Chanukkah bush of some kind.
Jewish law prohibits using the light of a chanukiah for ordinary purposes such as lighting up a darkened room or light for reading. It might sound hyper-litigious, but the rule has a real basis in the meaning the Hanukkah menorah, its connection to the Temple, and the meaning of holiness.
Given that Hanukkah is a historically Jewish festival and that its celebration is not a mitzvah (commandment) of the Torah, why would Gentile believers in Yeshua celebrate it? Obviously Jewish believers have a cultural affinity for the festival, but is there any real biblical significance to it? Is there any reason Christians might want to incorporate the celebration of Hanukkah into their homes?