The Bible Teaching Ministry of David Hocking
“The Word of our God shall stand forever” Isaiah 40:8


HANUKKAH – Festival of Lights

Hanukkah is an eight-day Jewish holiday that begins on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar. It celebrates the re-kindling of the Temple Menorah at the time of the Maccabee rebellion.


175 BC – Antiochus IV (Epiphanes) comes to power (Seleucid)
168 BC – The Temple is robbed, Jews are massacred and Judaism is outlawed
167 BC – Antiochus orders an altar to Zeus erected in the Temple

Mattathias and his five sons (John, Simon, Eleazar, Jonathan, and Judah) lead a rebellion against Antiochus!

Apparently Antiochus also sacrificed a pig on the altar, and poured the blood on the Scripture scrolls.

166 BC – Mattathias dies and Judah becomes the leader – the Hasmonean Jewish Kingdom begins and lasts until 63 BC

165 BC – Jewish revolt is successful and the Temple is liberated and rededicated!


Hanukkah is known also as the “Feast of Dedication” and the “Festival of Lights.” Legend says that the oil that is used in lighting the interior of the Temple was miraculously supplied for eight days until Antiochus was defeated by the Maccabees. That is the reason for the eight candles on the Hanukkah Menorah (called “Hanukkiyah”). The central candle (called “shammash” or “servant candle”) illustrates the presence of the LORD and many believe was symbolical of the light of the Messiah the servant of the LORD (Isaiah 42:1-6).

Although most of the history concerning this event is found in books written before the time of Yeshua and the New Testament, the Gospel of John records that Yeshua visited this festival (John 10:22).

Foods for the occasion include “latkes” (potato pancakes) and donuts that are fried in oil to remind us of the miracle of the oil.

It is possible that its close proximity to Christmas led to the tradition of giving presents on each of the eight days of this festival.

It is also traditional for children to play “dreydel” (a top that spins) games, reminding us of God’s deliverance from the Seleucids.

A blessing is recited all eight nights just prior to the lighting of the candles – “Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, Who sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the Hanukkah lights.”

A second blessing is often said on each night: “Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, Who performed wondrous deeds for our ancestors, in those days, at this moment.”

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