Hanukkah Heroes and Modern Maccabees
Stand for Israel | November 30, 2021
Christians who stand for Israel have surely heard of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah – the eight-day Festival of Lights which began Sunday at sundown – but perhaps you don’t know the story behind the celebration.
More than 150 years before the birth of Christ, the Greek empire had encroached on the Holy Land. King Antiochus IV led a movement to erase the Jewish faith.
Worship was banned.
The Holy City of Jerusalem was overrun.
The Holy Temple was ransacked and turned into a den of debauchery, used for pagan rites and heathen rituals.
But a small group of faithful Jews known as the Maccabees resisted the Greek influence and revolted against their evil overlords.
With God’s help, in the year 164 BCE, the small ragtag group of Maccabees fought the much larger ruling forces, and with God’s help, prevailed!
The miracle of the oil as the Maccabees cleansed the Temple is the basis for Hanukkah, the “Festival of Dedication” which Jesus observed (John 10:22) and the Festival of Lights that Jewish people in Israel and around the world still observe to this day.
Not only has the celebration of Hanukkah lasted through the millennia, however. God’s people still face enemies that hate them, that wish to end their traditions, their faith, and even their existence. But, like the brave members of the IDF lighting a Hanukkah menorah, there are still men and women who protect God’s Holy Land and His people. Just as the Maccabees of Bible times inspire us to stand for Israel, so do these modern-day “watchmen on the walls.”