JD: Christians eavesdropping on this situation conversation have an understanding of the importance of Hanukkah, just tell us this story briefly if you will.
SH: From a Jewish point of view it obviously takes place after the Old Testament the Holy scriptures were written and Antiochus Epiphanies was the ruler and he stopped in Jerusalem and he wanted to assimilate or kill, in that order, assimilate or kill the Jewish people. And the best way to do that he felt was to desecrate the Temple so he ordered the soldiers to do just that in fact they killed a pig they took it’s drippings and put it throughout the Temple.
There was a family by the name of Maccabee when they went to a town called Modean the soldiers were requiring the leaders to eat a desecrated animal. What happened was the leader of that family Mattathias Maccabee killed that solider then they went to the mountains and they created what’s really regarded as the first gorilla war tactic by attacking and then fleeing into the mountains. And over a period of time, 3 years, and they began to fight and increase in numbers. And believe it or not Jimmy we celebrate Hanukkah as Jewish people because instead of assimilating, the Jewish people rally together, they came to theeTemple, they rededicated the Temple, they defeated the Syrians; Jewish people celebrate it and we know about it in the New Testament because of John 10, there is no other place that it’s written about in what we would regard as Holy books, so in the New Testament John 10 tells us that Jesus, in the Temple, in winter, at Hanukkah; only it doesn’t say Hanukkah it says the Feast of Dedications.
JD: Well and for 2200 years plus that’s what Jewish people have been doing celebrating Hanukkah. The Maccabee’s overthrow Antiochus Epiphanies, ran him out of town. And then as I understand it they went into the Temple, they found as they cleaned up the Temple a flask of virgin olive oil, they could use that of course to light the menorah, it had not been burning for those 3 years. They lighted it with enough olive oil to stay lit for only 1 day but it stayed lighted for 8 days, that’s the miracle of the Festival of Lights.
SH: And in fact when you see a Hanukiah a lot of people call it a menorah but a Hanukiah is actually a Hanukkah menorah as apposed to the Temple menorah. And there’s 9 branches to a Hanukiah and the reason is there’s a shamash candle, and that shamash candle lights the other candles. And it’s interesting because it’s called a servant candle because we know Jesus said was the light of the world. Shamash candles is a servant candle the only way to give those other candles any light at all is to first light that candle and it gives the light. And isn’t that a great teaching device for us as believers Jimmy, to realize that if we have any light at all, its only given to us by the Servant Himself who lets His light shine through us.
JD: And the festival of lights Hanukkah. When you think about light you think about the gospel of John 24 times it refers to Jesus as the Light. In the first chapter 6 times Jesus the Light of the world the Savior of the world and of course that is key because we see that coming from this special Jewish Holy day Hanukkah.