Forward by Bob Barney: It should be noted here that Hanukkah is not a biblically mandated holiday. It is a holiday that Jews observe today following what seems to be a miracle at the Temple during the time of Maccabees. Although not biblical, Jesus himself observed the day as a Jew. I like to compare this day with the Fourth of July for America, or our Thanksgiving Day. These days also are not biblically, but they are not pagan in origin and acceptable holidays to God. That is why the book of John we see Jesus in a feast of dedication ceremony, known today as Hanukkah. The Jews are only a few tribes of the biblical Israel, 10 other tribes being "lost" to history. Jews today are mostly comprised of the tribe of Judah, with some Levites, and Benjamin-ites. All of the other tribes, 10 in all, were taken into captivity and out of the holy land 2500 years ago. Those tribes, led by the tribe of Joseph, have the biblical right to be called "Israel." The Jewish nation in your Bible was called Judah. The northern 10 now "lost" tribes under the leadership of the tribe of Joseph is called, again in the Bible, Israel. Today these lost 10 Tribes can be identified as Dan being and Denmark ( Mark of Dan), Ruben is France, Naphtali is Holland, and the United States of America and England are the tribes of Joseph! Joseph's two sons Ephraim and Manasseh beginning our nations. Ephraim being America, and Manasseh being Great Britain. So the celebration of Hanukkah is Jewish and not Christian. Just like the celebration of Thanksgiving is to the tribe of Ephraim and not Jewish or necessarily Christian. It is a national holiday and that is what Hanukkah is to the Jews.
Hanukkah is celebrated for eight days and nights, starting on the 25th of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar (which is November-December on the Gregorian calendar). In Hebrew, the word "Hanukkah" means "dedication."
The holiday commemorates the rededication of the holy Temple in Jerusalem after the Jews' 165 B.C.E. victory over the Hellenist Syrians. Antiochus, the Greek King of Syria, outlawed Jewish rituals and ordered the Jews to worship Greek gods.
In 168 B.C.E. the Jews' holy Temple was seized and dedicated to the worship of Zeus.
Some Jews were afraid of the Greek soldiers and obeyed them, but most were angry and decided to fight back.
The fighting began in Modiin, a village not far from Jerusalem. A Greek officer and soldiers assembled the villagers, asking them to bow to an idol and eat the flesh of a pig, activities forbidden to Jews. The officer asked Mattathias, a Jewish High Priest, to take part in the ceremony. He refused, and another villager stepped forward and offered to do it instead. Mattathias became outraged, took out his sword and killed the man, then killed the officer. His five sons and the other villagers then attacked and killed the soldiers. Mattathias' family went into hiding in the nearby mountains, where many other Jews who wanted to fight the Greeks joined them. They attacked the Greek soldiers whenever possible.
Judah Maccabee and his soldiers went to the holy Temple, and were saddened that many things were missing or broken, including the golden menorah. They cleaned and repaired the Temple, and when they were finished, they decided to have a big dedication ceremony. For the celebration, the Maccabees wanted to light the menorah. They looked everywhere for oil, and found a small flask that contained only enough oil to light the menorah for one day. Miraculously, the oil lasted for eight days. This gave them enough time to obtain new oil to keep the menorah lit. Today Jews celebrate Hanukkah for eight days by lighting candles in a menorah every night, thus commemorating the eight-day miracle.
Pieces of Hanukkah brought together
Archaeologists reconstruct Syrian tax edict issued 11 years before Maccabean revolt