There really isn’t much in the way of a Biblically based study on Hanukkah, and the reason for that seems rooted in the fact that, well…. Hanukkah isn’t Biblically based. I can tell you what I’ve come to understand about it, and some of the Biblical considerations that surround it. As with most legal observances, a clear definition of terms should be established, and our language is hijacked at best. Let’s start with the name… Hanukkah. The books of Maccabees and the new testament were written in greek so the “feast of dedication” would not be called "hanukkah" it would be called "egkainia". Hanukkah means “dedication”. I know this might seem a little over-the-top, but I’m a stickler for accuracy. Let’s break down the textbook definition and see what we can understand about this:
Hanukkah - the eight-day Jewish festival of lights beginning on the 25th of Kislev and commemorating the rededication of the temple by Judas Maccabaeus in 165 bc. Also called: Feast of Dedication or Feast of Lights
Language is key here. Phrase by phrase this sentence shows it’s fruit:
"eight-day”: The Father generally works in seven-day cycles. Maybe that means something here, maybe not.
“Jewish": This does not mean Israel. Even if this referred to tribes of Judah, or Judeans, there are more tribes than one in Israel.
"festival of lights”: Ashuru Ari or the Festival of Light is a Canaanite holiday
“25th of Kislev”: In Gregorian terms that would be… you guessed it, Dec 25th.
“commemorating the rededication of the temple by Judas Maccabaeus”: There is no “Thus says the Father” implied here. Judas Maccabaeus commanded the festival for all “Judeans”, not the Father. Jeroboam also declared a feast and I'm pretty sure that didn't go over very well: 1 Kings 12:33
So the definition of Hanukkah really is accurate, it’s just shrouded in assumption and false doctrine. Interestingly, ‘Ashuru ‘Ari: Festival of Light is immediately followed by Ashuru Shamni: Festival of Oil in the Canaanite (pagan) religion. My question is why would anyone celebrate the "rededication" of a temple that was overthrown because of Israel's apostasy? A temple the Father NEVER wanted!
'Ashuru 'Ari takes place at the winter solstice during the Ugaritic month of 'Iba'altu, which occurs around mid-December through mid-January. This festival encourages the sun, Shapshu, to spend more time among the living. As modern practice, they light a candle per day for seven days to encourage the sun’s return from the Underworld. they start the festival on winter solstice in the longest night of the year. By the end of the week, Shapshu has all seven candles burning in her honor. If one prefers to keep the festival short, one can light a pillar candle on the night of solstice to encourage the sun’s light to grow and return. It is also possible on the day before the solstice to burn a letter for the Rapa’uma and ask Shapshu to carry the letter to them, as she will be spending much time in the Underworld on solstice night. SOURCE: http://canaanitepath.com
For more on this subject, you can read the book “The Horned Altar: Rediscovering & Rekindling Canaanite Magic” for free on Google Books (link below)
A Battle to Commemorate
If we are going to commemorate battles as holidays, why not the battles that Israel fought in the wilderness? What about David killing Goliath? Wouldn’t that be a significant one?
Did Messiah Keep Hanukkah?
The argument that Messiah kept Hanukkah, is making assumptions without regard for historical reference.
22 At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Messiah was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. John 10:22-23
He was on Solomon’s porch (the colonnade of Solomon) which had a “middle wall of partition” that separated it from the Temple proper. So Messiah technically could not possibly have been celebrating with the others. So let’s read on from this argument and see what the Messiah Himself says about those present at this Feast of Dedication/Festival of Lights:
25 Messiah answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep.” John 10:25-26
Whomever these people were that were keeping this pagan Festival of Lights are “not among His sheep” So who are His sheep? He tells us
He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel."Matthew 15:24
That’s another topic though ;) In closing, I would like to state that there is grace for a lack of knowledge on matters such as this. The danger I see in traditions like Hanukkah are based in Deut 12:32 “ What thing soever i command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it”.
Deuteronomy 12:29-31 is also a great reference here:
“When the Father your Yah cuts off before you the nations whom you go in to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land, 30 take care that you be not ensnared to follow them, after they have been destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods?—that I also may do the same.’ 31 You shall not worship the Father your Yah in that way, for every abominable thing that the Father hates they have done for their gods, for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods.