I didn’t used to think so, but I have been seeing some things about Hanukkah that lead me to believe otherwise. There are two holidays celebrated by the Jews, which are mentioned in Scripture, although not commanded by the Lord, that Israel celebrates. They might be considered Hebrew versions of the American Independence Day: days of national deliverance and celebration. The first is Purim, the holiday commemorating the deliverance of the Jews of the Persian Empire, that the book of Esther records. The second is Hanukkah:
“Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch.” Joh 10:22-23
The Feast of Dedication is Hanukkah. The events leading up to the celebration of the first Hanukkah are recorded in 1 & 2 Maccabees (and here is the history summarized in brief). These books are in the Apocrypha, but are unlike the other books of the Apocrypha, which are contradictory and contain purely fanciful or clearly identifiable content smacking of late editing. The Maccabees are more like Esther as they contain an important historical record, although merely the work of men and not inspired of the Holy Spirit.
And Jesus was in Jerusalem, at the Temple, during the Feast of Dedication, just as He was for Passover, or Weeks, or Tabernacles. Hanukkah commemorates a deliverance also, just as Purim does.
Now we have seen before how the menorah, the special candlestick of seven lights that was in the Temple, is a pictoral representation of the seven annual feast days of the Lord.
The Hanukkah candelabrum is like a menorah but with nine lights altogether instead of seven. It seems the representation of the Hanukkah candelabrum is also found prophetically in Scripture just as the menorah is:
“Now the angel who talked with me came back and wakened me, as a man who is wakened out of his sleep. And he said to me, “What do you see?” So I said, “I am looking, and there is a lampstand [menorah] of solid gold with a bowl on top of it, and on the stand seven lamps with seven pipes to the seven lamps. Two olive trees are by it, one at the right of the bowl and the other at its left.” … Then I answered and said to him, “What are these two olive trees—at the right of the lampstand and at its left?” … Then he answered me and said, “Do you not know what these are?” And I said, “No, my lord.” So he said, “These are the two anointed ones [lit., sons of new oil], who stand beside the Lord of the whole earth.” Zec 4:1-3, 11-14
“And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth.” Rev 11:3-4
In other words, the two witnesses of Rev 11 are the two olive trees of Zec 4, which are also the same as two lampstands, Rev 11 reveals. Zechariah sees these two olive trees or two lampstands standing, one at each end of a menorah – meaning the menorah has nine lights instead of seven. Which is the Hanukkah menorah!
Now as I was meditating on this, I realized that the occasion of the first Hanukkah might be prophetic, as Antiochus Epiphanes forbade the worship of God and defiled the Temple, then when he was defeated the Temple was cleansed and purified. This purification and rededication is what Hanukkah celebrates. Shortly after the first Hanukkah, Messiah came the first time.
So, it seems that Epiphanes was a type of antichrist, for the things that Epiphanes did, the prophets indicate the antichrist will also do. Daniel first prophesies of the abomination of desolation that Epiphanes established before the coming of Messiah (Dan 11:31), then Jesus Himself indicated it would happen again before His return (Mat 24:15-27). If this is so, might the antichrist that precedes the second coming of Messiah, forbid the worship of God and defile the Temple?
But we have to ask ourselves, what Temple? For there is no Temple. But that is not entirely true. Jesus said that if the Temple that was in His day, the second Temple, was destroyed, He would erect it again in three days (Joh 2:19-21). Obviously He was not referring to a physical building, but the Temple of His Body. Now Paul tells us that those who are believers in Jesus Christ are His Body (Eph 5:30, Col 1:24), wherein the Holy Spirit dwells (1 Cor 3:16), and that we are being built into a spiritual house, being living stones, that Messiah Himself is building, being both the foundation stone and the architect (1 Pet 2:5). So it is the Body of Messiah who is being made into the third Temple of living stones.
I believe that it is in the third Temple of His Body that the antichrist will set up the abomination of desolation, and that he will need to be defeated, and the Temple of His Body will need to be purified and restored to the true worship of God.
Then I began to see that the defilement has already been occurring in the intervening years that we have been waiting for the coming of the Messiah. The fourth beast, who is Rome (Dan 7, in the form of the Roman Church, which lived on and grew in power after the Fall of Rome), defiled the Temple of Living Stones, Messiah’s Body, by forbidding the pure worship of God, as can be seen from its decrees against Sabbath and the feast days, and its long history of wars and inquisitions and murders perpetrated upon the saints who kept the testimony of Jesus and the commandments of God. Even in the detail, that Epiphanes sacrificed a pig on the altar of YHVH, and that for 1500 years, give or take, the Temple made with Living Stones has been consuming pig and defiling itself thereby.
But, if the first Hanukkah is prophetic, then the prophecy is that once the fourth beast is defeated, the Temple of Living Stones is purified again, and the pure worship of God restored to the Temple of Living Stones. And to signify this, Zechariah sees the witness of the two lampstands that are added to the menorah to make nine lights. These two are Christians (Ephraim or Israel) and Jews (Judah) together, not eating pig, and keeping the testimony of Jesus and the commandments of God, both lights shining as a pure witness. Then shortly after the Temple of Living Stones is purified, and the true worship of God in Spirit (Messiah) and in truth (Torah) is restablished among Christians and Jews, the Messiah comes!!