” He shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall make sacrifice and offering cease; and in their place shall be an abomination that desolates, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.” (Daniel 9:27 NRSV).
In the last post, it was noted that Jesus spoke with authority during the Festival of Lights (Hanukkah). He declared the Father and Son were one and it angered the Jewish authorities. Why would Jesus make such a declaration during this festive occasion? Hanukkah is not one of the Holy days that God ordained in the Torah so why should Christians care about it?
The Feast of the Dedication is documented in the historically accurate apochrypha book 1 Maccabees. It describes an evil ruler (Antiochus Epiphanes IV) who perpetuated much violence against God-fearing Jewish people. This sinful root (1 Maccabees 1:10) made a covenant with renegades from Israel to mislead many. The king authorized the rebellious of Israel to observe ordinances of the Gentiles (Greek culture). On the 15th day of the month of Kislev, a desolating sacrilege (statue of Zeus) was set up on the altar of burnt offering. Then on the 25th day an unclean(swine) sacrifice was offered and Antiochus Epiphanes claimed to be the incarnation of Zeus. Antiochus had Jewish families put to death for observing the covenant of circumcision (Genesis 17:10-11). The infants were hung on the neck of their mothers. (cf: 1 Maccabees 1:41-64).
A priestly family arose, and rebelled against this wayward king. God provided the victory and the Maccabee family cleansed and purified the temple. Early in the morning on the 25th day of the 9th month in 167 BC sacrifices according to the law were offered on the new altar. “At the very season on the very day that the Gentiles had profaned it, it was dedicated with songs and harps…..all the people fell on their faces and blessed the God of Heaven who prospered them. (1 Maccabees 1:54-55 NRSV).
Thus, Hanukkah (the Feast of the Dedication) was born. It was the near fulfillment of the prophecy in Daniel 9. In Matthew 24:15-28, Jesus tells of the end time fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy. With that, our Lord links the events that led to Hanukkah with the final desolation caused by the antichrist. In the next post, we will explore why Satan attacked on 25 Kislev and how it connects to an ancient prophecy in Haggai. EJ