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    Hanukkah - A Great Miracle Happened There!    
 
The Story of Hanukkah

After the death of Alexander the Great, two of his generals took control of parts of his empire. Ptolemy controlled Egypt and Seleucus controlled Babylon and the eastern part of the empire.

The Ptolemies ruled Palestine for over a hundred years. During the beginning of the reign, they took many Jews into Egypt, especially into the Greek city, Alexandria. The Ptolemies did not force the Greek culture upon the Jews, but many Jews, both in Egypt and Palestine, were absorbed into the society in which they lived. Over the years, the Jews in Alexandria even gave up the Hebrew language. It was during this time that they translated the Old Testament into Greek.

In 198 BC, the Seleucids took control of Palestine from the Ptolemies. The Seleucid kings wanted more control over their subjects. They were more aggressive in forcing the Greek culture upon the Jews. The Seleucid king appointed the Jewish High Priest, who, of course, was always Pro-Greek. A conflict developed between two men competing for this role of High Priest during the reign of Antiochus IV. Wanting absolute unity in his empire, Antiochus foolishly decided to abolish the Jewish religion.

Antiochus attempted to force the Greek religion on the Jews. Many of the Jewish practices commanded by God, such as circumcision and Sabbath keeping, were punishable by death. Having possession of the Torah, the Old Testament, was also punishable by death. Antiochus took the temple from the Jews and dedicated it the mythological god, Zeus. Animals were sacrificed to this idol upon the Holy Altar.

There was a group of Jews who would not accept the desecration of God's temple. This group was led by the priest, Mattathias. When a Seleucid officer commanded a Jew to sacrifice a pig, an animal held in contempt, Mattathias killed both the officer and the Jew who about to complete the act. Mattathias and his sons fled to the hills, where they put together a small army of men who opposed the Greeks. Mattathias died within a few months, but the revolt against the Seleucids continued, led by his son, Judas the Maccabee. In the month of Kislev, 198 BC, he retook control of the temple in Jerusalem.

They cleansed the temple, removing all the items of the pagan worship, and rededicated the temple to the true God. When they went to light the Eternal Lamp at the Holy Altar, they found only enough oil to last for one day. Miraculously, the oil lasted beyond its expected time and was sufficient to keep the Lamp burning for eight days. It is the rededication of the temple and the miracles of lights that are celebrated during Chanukah.

 

Online activities and printable resources for Hanukkah
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menorah line
You are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
~Matthew 5:14

Holidays Celebrated by Y'shua (Jesus)

 

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