Hanukkah, The Festival of Lights has always sounded so fanciful and delightful to me. Don’t we all love the Light? Like the Electric Light Parade at Disney Land or some such, or the Big Bonfire at a College Homecoming Game. The story of Hanukkah, however, has its own special kind of Light Parade!
The history of this Hanukkah “LIGHT” Festival is found in that 400 year period of Hebrew history between the Old and New Covenants. It is also referred to as the Feast of Dedication and we even see Jesus celebrating this holiday in John 10:22.
Their land had been overwhelmed by the Seleucids…a remnant of Alexander the Great’s Empire. Antiochus IV Epiphanes, had famously entered the Temple and sacrificed a pig (used in Greek Zeus worship) on the brazen altar and thereby defiled the entire property.
When the Hebrew people, belatedly revolted under the zealous leadership of the Maccabees and pushed the foreign army out and reclaimed Judea. their first priority was to cleanse the Temple and get everything up and running once more. This is not a “Pine Sol” and a mop type cleansing. To cleanse the Temple you need sanctified, specialized olive oil to anoint every utensil, furnishing and person in the Temple. All that could be found was one small vessel of oil that was still sealed by the High Priest. Once this chore was performed, there would need to be enough oil to keep the tall golden Lamp stand in the Holy Place burning 24 hours a day. It takes 8 days to create more of the specialized olive oil and ready it for Temple usage.
They had enough sanctified oil to last one day. The lamps incredibly, miraculously burned for that whole day, then the next, then 3,4,5,6,7 and eight- the number of new beginnings! The 7 small lamps, including the Messianic “servant” light were the only light illuminating the Holy Place burned night and day, long enough to get the new oil supply readied according to the Torah.
This then is a celebration of that miracle which the Jews have celebrated ever since. Unlike the 7 Branches of the Temple Lamp stand which stayed lit all that time– the Menorah of Hanukkah has candles and a total of 9 branches. One for every day that the oil burned. It is a lesson of faith for Jews and Christians alike. God answers prayer. He empowers His people who follow His statutes and seek His face to fend off their enemies, both spiritual and physical! When we seek more of His Holy Spirit- symbolized by the oil-it is bountifully provided! The Lord joyfully pours out this powerful oil to meet our immediate needs and keeps multiplying that sanctified and aromatic power to fill the unexpected needs that we are not yet aware!
So whether you family celebrates Hanukkah or you are studying about this miracle of illumination for the very first time: Keep Seeking His Face. Praise God for His everlasting provision….even before you see it happen! Praise Him for His miracles in every area of your lives and most of all- Pray for a fresh outpouring of this Spirit oil! You never know when you will need that extra measure. And most of all, Miracles are still God’s business! Trust in Him!
Happy Hanukkah—From my Family to Yours!