What does HANUKKAH celebrate?
Can Christans celebrate Hanukkah?
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Question: What does Hanukkah celebrate? Is there anything wrong with a Christian celebrating the Hanukkah holiday? What does the Bible say about it?
Answer: Hanukkah (which means 'to dedicate'), known as the Feast of Dedication or the Festival of Lights, is mentioned in John 10:22:
"Then came the Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah) at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the temple area walking in Solomon’s Colonnade." (John 10:22-23, NKJV Bible)
This reference comes right after Jesus' parable of the good shepherd (referring to Himself) and how He was willing to lay His life down for the sheep (those who repent and obey God).
Hanukkah is an eight-day Jewish holiday that celebrates the rededication of Jerusalem's temple in 164 B.C.
WHY was another dedication of the temple needed in 164 B.C.?
Antiochus IV Epiphanes became ruler of the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire in 175 B.C. In an effort to unify the Greek elements of his empire he initiated a campaign to FORCE the Greek culture upon those living in Judea.
In 167 B.C. Antiochus orders an altar to the Greek god Zeus be erected in Jerusalem's Temple. Pigs (a Biblically unclean animal) are brought in the Temple and sacrificed on the altar of Zeus. In the same year the altar is erected a Jewish priest named Mattathias starts a revolt against the Seleucid overlords by refusing to worship the Greek gods imposed on them.
Mattathias dies about a year after he started the revolt. One of his sons named Judas, however, becomes the military chief of the rebellion. As a recognition of his ferocity in battle, Judas is referred to as Judas Maccabaeus (or Judah the Maccabee), which when translated means "Judah the Hammer."