The Origin of Hanukkah
As my dream continued, I saw another horn grow up out of one of the four prominent horns of the goat. It grew to the south and east toward the Beautiful Land, as we often call Israel. This horn grew until its power (horns stand for power remember) reached into the very heavens, drawing some of the starry host down to earth. It defeated the Prince of the Host, defiled the Temple putting a stop to the daily sacrifice, and tried to completely suppress the Truth. According to the angel who appeared in my dream 2300 evening and morning sacrifices, or 1150 days would pass before the temple was rededicated and the daily sacrifices resumed.
About 175 years before the birth of our Lord Jesus and over 300 years after my death, a descendant of Seleucus named Antiochus the 4th who called himself Epiphanes, or God made manifest, wormed his way onto the throne of Syria. He was the horn in my dream who grew out of one of the four prominent ones, and was the latest and worst of the Syrian Kings who had tried to exercise influence over Israel. Following a humiliating defeat in Egypt, he vented his wrath against Israel, seizing the Temple area and murdering thousands of priests. To assert his self-proclaimed supernatural power, he had craftsmen fashion a statue of the Greek god Zeus with a face that looked like his. He positioned the statue in the Holy Place and slaughtered a pig on the nearby Temple altar. Making even the possession of our scriptures a capital offense, he required my people to worship him instead, and to sacrifice pigs and eat their flesh. During this period Onias III, Israel’s last legitimate High Priest, was murdered and from that time until the Temple was destroyed in 70 AD the office of High Priest was often subject to barter. Wealth and influence replaced genealogy, with the foreign kings in power selling the office to the highest bidder among the wealthy families of Israel.
This is what the dream meant by defeating the Prince of the Host, defiling the Temple and suppressing the Truth. The fact that some of the starry host was drawn to Earth means that this unprecedented time of warfare and oppression in Israel involved supernatural as well as human forces.
By the way, the Prophet Ezekiel had predicted the suspension of the office of High Priest around the time of Israel’s defeat by Babylon 70 years earlier. (Ezekiel 21:25-27) He claimed that after the suspension there would never be another legitimate High Priest in Israel until the Messiah returns as King and Priest at the outset of the Kingdom Age. Zechariah, a prophet who came along a few years after me, was given a similar vision ( Zechariah 6:12-13). By the testimony of two witnesses a thing shall be established.
As I mentioned last time the descendants of Seleucus and Ptolemy frequently squabbled among themselves for territory and Israel was caught right in the middle, geographically and politically. At first, the wealthy liberal families of Israel had counseled accommodation with these kings and their Greek philosophy, even adopting Greek dress and customs. This spirit of accommodation gave birth to the Saduccean movement in Israel that ultimately rejected a literal interpretation of Scripture and denied the notion of predictive prophecy. This is why many among the nation’s rulers later rejected Jesus as the Messiah of Israel.
But this over-the-top behavior by Antiochus was just too much to tolerate, and a popular uprising led by the Macabbeans resulted in Antiochus’s defeat and the restoration of the Temple and resumption of the daily sacrifice. From the erection of the pagan statue in 168 BC to the spiritual cleansing and rededication of the Temple in 165 took 1150 days, the time of 2300 evening and morning sacrifices, just as the angel Gabriel had told me in my dream.
According to our law, after the defiled altar had been replaced and the statue ground to powder and scattered over the countryside, a cleansing ceremony was necessary to make the Temple fit for God’s use again. It required burning a very special mixture of oil and fragrances for eight days in the Menorah, the giant golden lamp stand located in the Holy Place. To their dismay, the priests could only find enough consecrated oil to burn for one day and no more could be prepared on such short notice. According to our tradition, the priests in faith poured the single day’s supply of oil into the lamp’s reservoir and put the matter in God’s hands. Miraculously the oil burned for the full eight days, the Temple was cleansed and following a re-dedication ceremony the daily sacrifices were resumed. This miracle signified God’s acceptance of the cleansing and re-dedication and is commemorated even now in the Feast of Hanukkah. It explains why the Hanukkah menorah has eight branches instead of seven and why the Feast of Hanukkah lasts for eight days.
Overall, this dream was so frightening that it literally made me sick, and for several days afterward I lay in my bed exhausted and ill. Even after Gabriel, the angel who had explained the dream assured me that it was about the distant future I was appalled by the vision. It was beyond understanding.
But there’s another aspect to the dream that explains why Gabriel was there in the first place and makes it even more disturbing. You see Gabriel only appears in Scripture to deliver news about the Messiah, and this dream concerned a time well before His arrival on Earth.
When the history of the Macabbean revolt was written, the placing of the statue in the Holy Place was described as “the abomination that caused desolation.” In other words, putting that statue in the Temple so defiled it as to make it unfit for further use. It was the only time in our history that such a thing had happened.
Over 200 years after the revolt, while outlining the chronology of end time events to his disciples, the Lord Jesus alerted believers alive at the end of the age to look for another “abomination that causes desolation.” This one will trigger the beginning of the Great Tribulation, the worst period of time on Earth in the entire history of man. (Matt 24:15-21) The Lord even declared that I had written about it, and yet nowhere in my account of this dream did I mention such a thing. And history now shows that the predictions of my dream were fulfilled in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes and the Macabbeans, two centuries before the Lord warned believers to look for them.
Obviously then, this dream has to have a double fulfillment, one in 175-165 BC and another at the End of the Age just before the Lord’s return. Antiochus Epiphanes was not only a vicious, depraved King of Syria, he was also a clear model in Scripture of a coming world ruler who would again persecute my people, require worship from his subjects and desecrate the Lord’s Temple at the End of the Age. Antiochus Epiphanes was a type of the antichrist, and Gabriel was explaining events that will be repeated just before the Lord’s 2nd Coming!
And as for the Lord’s statement about me, I would soon get another dream concerning the End of the Age that would contain the most important keys anywhere in the Bible for unlocking the secrets of End Time chronology. It would also clearly refer to another abomination that causes desolation. So, He was right after all. Imagine that.