In Romans 12, Paul exhorts us not to be conformed to this world. That is what Hanukkah is all about. It expresses the refusal of the Jewish people to be converted into something that was against the will of God and against the teachings of God. We as believers in Yeshua (Jesus) should have the same resistance to the culture that is set to move us away from the Scriptures, away from our Christian values, and convert us to a different way of life. Hanukkah is not a substitute for Christmas. It is an observance very applicable to Christianity today.
Many people think that Hanukkah is just a celebration for Jewish people to compete with Christmas during December. That is not true. Hanukkah existed before the celebration of Christmas. It is a historically based and scripturally based event that was observed by Yeshua (Jesus). Biblically, Hanukkah is referred to as the Feast of Dedication because it celebrates the rededication of the Temple after the Maccabean revolt when the Jews recaptured Jerusalem, recaptured the Temple, and purified it from its defilement.
At a time when Israel was under the suppression of the Seleucid Empire, Antiochus IV (known as Epiphanes) determined to wipe out all the practices and beliefs of the Jewish people and replace them with the paganism of the Greek people. A small band of Jewish men and women who refused to be Hellenized and converted into pagans rose up and fought against the armies of the Greeks and won, taking Jerusalem, and cleansing and rededicating the Temple. This spirit is what Hanukkah celebrates.
That is why I think it is important for Christians to celebrate Hanukkah. To celebrate Hanukkah is to follow after those who refused to be converted to the paganism of the Greek culture. We likewise should refuse the demands of today’s culture and the pressures of society that would force us to deny our faith and convert us to the paganism of today’s world, which is quickly abandoning the Scriptures, abandoning morals, abandoning pure thought, and the right ways of life. We, as believers in Christ, along with the Jewish people, should shine as a light on a hill, as those who hold forth the Word of God and the promises of God and the prophecies to come.
- John 10:22-23. “At that time the Feast of the Dedication took place at Jerusalem; it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple.”
- Romans 12:1-2. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
- Matthew 5:11-16. “You are the light of the world. … Let your light shine before men.”
- Matthew 24:22. “Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved.”
- “We are the salt of the earth. We are to be the light. And that is what you can say about those who participated in the Maccabean Revolt, that refused to be removed off of their faith.”
- “We are believers, and we are not to be conformed to this world. We are not to be conformed to its cultures, its beliefs, and its ways of life when they are contrary to God and to His Word.”
- “Let us rededicate and purify everything that has been touched and destroyed during these days under the attempts of satan to bring about his purpose.”
- Hanukkah reminds us that as believers, we are not to be conformed to this world. We are not to be conformed to its cultures, its beliefs, and its ways of life when they are contrary to God and to His Word.
- Hanukkah reminds us that we are to be a light to this world—we should shine brightly as a light on a hill. We cannot let our light go out, and we certainly cannot live in fear and intimidation and hide our light under a bushel basket.
- Hanukkah reminds us that we are the salt of the earth. What we are to do today is preserve the culture of the Kingdom of God. We are to preserve the ways of God. We are to preserve the love and the Word of God in this day and age.
- Hanukkah reminds us that we must put our faith into service. Like the ancient Maccabees, we must go in and cleanse the Temple—to rededicate and purify everything that has been touched and destroyed as satan has attempted to bring about his purposes in our world.