Saturday, December 24, 2016
What is the Significance of Hanukkah for Christians?
As the first day of Hanukkah falls on Christmas Eve at Sundown, one might ask whether Christians have any interest in knowing about Hanukkah, as Hanukkah in the U.S. is largely seen as a Jewish alternative to Christmas rather than having its own history emphasized. In point of fact, yes, there is a lot that Christians ought to know about Hanukkah. Having said that, I should point out that celebrating any holiday is optional for Christians, and Christians who are not of a Jewish background probably will not see the same significance to the holiday as Christians of a Jewish background. Nonetheless, it is important to understand a few reasons why Hanukkah has significance from a Christian point of view. First, Hanukkah commemorates the rededication of the Temple after the defeat of Antiochus Epiphanes (Antiocuhs IV). In essence, it is commemorating a type of the restoration of the world after the defeat of the Antichrist. In fact, one could argue that Antiochus is the most explicit type of the Antichrist in the Bible. Secondly, Hanukkah is actually mentioned in the New Testament (the events leading up to Hanukkah are only mentioned in the Old Testament by way of prophecy - or more specifically apocalyptic prophecy - primarily Daniel, unless one counts the apocrypha). John 10:22-39 take place during the "Feast of Dedication," which is Hanukkah. The events that take place, with the people trying to stone Jesus, make much more sense if you understand that his claims to deity reminded them of Antiochus's claims to be a god incarnate. At the same time, Jesus is the true God incarnate, and Antiochus IV was just a pretender. This means that Christians ought to study in order to see the contrasts between God and false gods in behavior and attitude. That is all.