I can't help but get vexed when I see President Bush taking part in an annual White House celebration of Hanukkah knowing that for most of his presidency he pushed for a Israel-annihilating Islamic-terrorist state while pressuring Israel with the cutting off of load grantees to make the ancient Jewish land of Gaza Jew-free, or as the Nazis used to say, "judenrein". This is especially troublesome when considering the fact that during the Hamonean wars Gaza was retaken under the grandson of Simeon Maccabee - Alexander Janneus (103 - 76 BCE). Watching Bush participate in a Hanukkah celebration is kind of like watching some draft-dodger celebrate the 4th. of July. For Bush to participate in anything that has to do with Hanukkah is nothing short of him being a political hypocrite.
The story of Hanukkah is one of Jewish sovereignty within their own Jewish-land. The Jewish events of 167-164 BCE demonstrates what Israel needs today - a modern Maccabean Revolt, and not only against Israel's surrounding Islamic-terrorists enemies, but against the current "land for supposedly-peace" spiritually-weak Israeli government as well!
Much of what Israel is facing today they faced during the time of the Maccabean period.
- The Seleucids had a problem with Jewish sovereignty within the land of their ancient forefathers just like the Palestinians and all Muslim nations do today. In fighting for such rights both spiritual and legal, modern Israeli War of Independence and the Six Day War mimics the Maccabean won autonomy.
- Like Haman, more than three hundred years before him, Antiochus Epiphanes (Antiochus IV) had a real problem with Jews practicing Judaism within their own ancestral land and wanted all forms of such practices be forever annihilated. (Esther 3:8 / I Maccabees 1:41-49 / II Maccabees 6:1-2). Likewise, devoted Islamic governments of today such as Hamas, also have a real problem with Jews practicing Judaism within their own ancestral land and want it forever annihilated! Article 11 of the Hamas Covenant states: "Any procedure in contradiction to Islamic Sharia, where Palestine is concerned, is null and void" while Article 28 of the same covenant states: "Israel, Judaism and Jews challenge Islam and the Muslim people. May the cowards never sleep." And the first things to be burned of Jewish property after they left Gaza in August, 2005 was the synagogues as with all synagogues the world-over that the Islamic enemies can get their Islamic hands on.
- The Maccabees also had their share of Jewish enemies to battle as well. The pro-Hellas Jew who brought a pig to sacrifice on the alter at Modin (I Maccabees 2:23) foreshadowed all the modern Jewish-liberal peaceniks both in Israel and abroad. Like the Jewish pig- sacrificer in Maccabean times, the modern Jewish pacifists are willing to sellout all that Zionism stands for including their own Jewish sovereignty within their ancestral homeland. Instead of fighting those who fight against Jewish sovereignty, and like their ancient Jewish Hellenized brothers, they seek to appease again and again, the enemies of the covenant. They wish to see the Jewish nation (with or without the State of Israel) become like all the other Gentile nations that has no covenant with God, which is goes against the very reason Israel has been gather back into his homeland in this modern era to begin with (Deuteronomy 7:6 / Ezekiel 37:21).
- Today's reward for Quartet-compliance is nothing new to the Jewish nation. The Quartet-appeasing Israeli government get billions of dollars from the US (the main member of the Quartet) and can therefore use a lot this compliance-money on "Evacuation and Compensation Bills". "Evacuations and compensation" meaning compensating Jews who are willing to forsake their God-given covenant and ancestral land for the sake being honored by the Gentiles and receiving covenant-sellout money! The principle remains the same as the commandment of Antiochus IV rings through Quartet: "Now therefore come thou first, and fulfill the king's commandment, like as all the heathen have done....so shalt thou and thy house be in the number of the king's friends, and thou and thy children shall be honored with silver and gold, and many rewards." - I Maccabees 2:18
Oh, if modern Israel could just follow Mattathais Maccabee in his zeal that he showed to the Quartet of his day over two thousand years ago, how much better off they would be? Why, it would be the messianic age! And speaking of the messiah, he is represented by the in the "shamash" or "servant" candle usually centered with four candles on each side (see picture above) that is used to light the other eight candle of a Hanukkah menorah. This is only fitting since the messiah is heavily linked to the covenant that the Maccabees were so zealous for (Ezekiel 37:25 / Jeremiah 33:15).
Christians and even Muslims, and most especially the Israel / Jew haters of these religions, should be very appreciative for the Maccabean revolts of 167 BCE and more importantly the Jewish triumph of 164 BCE. Without a victory over the Seleucid enemy that was intending to wipe out all sources of Jewish identity and religion within the Jewish homeland in 164 BCE, there never would have been a Jewish Israel for Jesus of Jewish-Nazareth to come to 164 years later (Matthew 15:24 / St. John 1:11). And with no establishment of Christianity there would be no Islam either 1. What makes this so ironic is: Islam owes its very existence to Jewish victory wars that were based upon the covenant and Zionism (Jewish sovereignty within the land called "Israel" not Palestine)!
I believe that the "Miracle of Hanukkah" where just one sealed flask of untainted oil - enough for only a single day for the rededication of the temple (Hanukkah means dedication) that ended up lasting eight days, is a testimony every year to the world of the everlasting covenant God has with Israel. The number seven is one of "completion" as in completing a full week, while the number eight is one of renewal or rebirth connecting a seemingly end to the beginning, causing there to be no end! Even our English number "8" is written in a style that ends where it began causing no written indications of a starting or stopping points. So each night of this and every Hanukkah season when I light the eight candled menorah, I'll be thinking of the covenant that the God of Israel has with the Jewish people that God Himself has declared will never end (Jeremiah 31:35-36 / 33: 25-26) and of the men like Mattithais and Judah Maccabee of which God has used in keeping His covenant ever-preserved.
A. It has been suggested that the Maccabean Revolt may have been the first ever fight centered solely around "religious freedom".
B. Hanukkah is referred to in the New Testament: St. John 10:22.
C. The Hanukkah season has no pagan influences and is strictly Jewish originated (II Maccabees 10:8) unlike December 25th. that has connections with Attis, Mitra, Dionysus
D. "...on November 30, 1964 the UN Truce Supervision Organization demanded in writing that Israel stop the traditional display of lights on the festival of Hanukkah atop Mt. Scopus because of Jordanian sensitivities" - "The Fight for Jerusalem" by Dore Gold - page 158.
1. Islam is heavily based upon Christianity and of course Judaism. Sura 19 of the Koran is entitled, "Maryam" or "Mary" after the mother of Jesus. In fact Mary is the only woman mentioned in the Koran and she is actually mentioned more in the Koran than in the New Testament itself! New Testament characters such as Zacharias and John are also mentioned in the Koran. Jesus (Isa in Arabic) is considered a highly regarded prophet of Islam (Suras 3:42-53 / 42:13) and "the People of the Book" meaning Christians and Jews, is a common phrase throughout the Koran. These "People of the Book" according to the hadiths, played great influence on Mohammad. Even the New Testament "Angel of Annunciation" - Gabriel (Jabril in Arabic) was responsible for not only informing Mary she would have the child Jesus, he also was responsible for giving Mohammad the very revelations of the Koran (sura 2:97). I personally believe that the Islamic prayer beads (Misbaha or Tasbih) are religiously connected to Catholic prayer beads (Rosaries).