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UNIT STUDY

TABLE OF CONTENTSThe Story of Hanukkah Resources Books and Videos Reproducible Worksheets/Handouts Websites Reference Books/ Research Resources/Maps Lists Bible Verses People Dates Places Vocabulary Spelling Words Hanukkah Crossword Maps of Maccabean Period

Watch out, and beware the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees. ~Yeshua (Matthew 16:6-12)

The Story of Hanukkah1 MaccabeesAlexander the Great was king of Greece, after having defeated Darius of the Persians and the Medes. He developed a mysterious disease, and he died at his height of power. Having no heirs, his dynasty was split between his officials who, Scripture describes, caused many evils on the earth. {1:9} Out of this evil lineage came an even more sinful root {1:10}, Antiochus Epiphanes, who became king of Greece in 175 BCE.During this time many renegade Jews, began encouraging others to reconnect with the Gentiles. Fearing further disaster, this solution pleased many, and some of the people eagerly went to the king, who authorized them to observe the ordinances of the Gentiles. So they built a gymnasium in Jerusalem, according to Gentile custom, and removed marks of circumcision; and abandoned the holy covenant. They joined with the Gentiles and sold themselves to do evil. {1:13-15} Antiochus, upon having success in the eastern kingdoms, now sought to become king of Egypt. He defeated King Ptolemy and captured Egypt. Then, in 169 BCE, when Egypt was under his control, Antiochus set upon Israel, With sinful arrogance, he plundered the temple in Jerusalem, taking all of the holy vessels back to his own land. This brought great mourning to Israel. Two years later, to a lamenting Jerusalem, Antiochus promised peace, but brought war. Then the king wrote to his whole kingdom that all should be one people, and that all should give up their particular customs {1:41}Antiochus forbid Jews from observing YHVH s commandments, such as outlawing Sabbath worship, and demanded they worship him and his gods. He even bribed Jews, like Menelaus, into exacting his orders to hellenize their kinsmen. In a large part he succeeded, appointing inspectors to enact his orders, and many Jews willingly adopted the pagan customs and gave their allegiance to Antiochus. They were to make themselves abominable by everything unclean and profane, so that they would forget the law and change all the ordinances. under penalty of death. {1:48-50} In the winter, what would be the middle of December, on 15 Kislev 167 BCE, those who forsook the law, placed a desecrating sacrilege (the abomination that causes desolation prophesied in Daniel 11:31), a statue of the pagan god, Zeus, upon the temple s altar. And it only got worse. They built altars in the surrounding cities of Judah. The books of the law that they found they tore to pieces and burned with fire. Anyone found possessing the book of the covenant, or anyone who adhered to the law, was condemned to death by decree of the king. {1:56-58} On the 25th day of Kislev 167 BCE, on the day recognized as the birthday of many pagan gods, the people offered a sacrifice to their god upon the holy altar of YHVH. They caused even more tragedy and evil in Israel, making profaning all that was holy, and murdering those who opposed them.

But like Daniel and his friends, there were faithful men to be found yet. Many in Israel stood firm and were resolved in their hearts not to eat unclean food. They chose to die rather than to be defiled by food or to profane the holy covenant; and they did die. Very great wrath came upon Israel. {1:49-50} Mattathias, a Jewish priest of Modein, a neighboring city of Jerusalem, saw the atrocities being committed, and gathered his five sons to mourn. They and refused to obey Antiochus blasphemous commands. He refused to be coerced through the officials soothsaying, and instead boldly announced, Even if all the nations that live under the rule of the king obey him, and have chosen to obey his commandments, everyone of them abandoning the religion of their ancestors, I and my sons and my brothers will continue to live by the covenant of our ancestors. Far be it from us to desert the law and the ordinances. We will not obey the king s words by turning aside from our religion to the right hand or the left. {2:19-22} He burned with zeal for the law {2:26} and cried out for all those who were also zealous for the law toflee with him to the mountains. The king received word of this, and many were found and slaughtered without even a fight (for it was the Sabbath). Mattathias and his friends heard of this and decided to fight back. They joined forces with the Hasideans, mighty warriors of Israel, and began planning a counter-attack. They tore down the pagan altars, forcibly circumcised all the uncircumcised males they found and hunted down the arrogant. YHVH was with them, and their plans prospered. At Mattathias death {166 BCE}, he blessed his son, Judas, leaving him in charge of the armies, with this message: Arrogance and scorn have now become strong; it is a time of ruin and furious anger. Now, my children, show zeal for the law, and give your lives for the covenant of our ancestors. Remember the deeds of the ancestors, which they did in their generations; and you will receive great honor and an everlasting name. Was not Abraham found faithful when tested, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness? Joseph in the time of his distress kept the commandment, and became lord of Egypt. Phinehasour ancestor, because he was deeply zealous, received the covenant of everlasting priesthood. Joshua, because he fulfilled the command, became a judge in Israel. Caleb, because he testified in the assembly, received an inheritance in the land. David, because he was merciful, inherited the throne of the kingdom forever. Elijahbecause of great zeal for the law, was taken up into heaven. Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael believed and were saved from the flame. Daniel, because of his innocence, was delivered from the mouth of the lions. And so observe, from generation to generation, that none of those who put their trust in him will lack strength. Do not fear the words of sinners, for their splendor will turn to dung and worms. Today they will be exalted, but tomorrow they will not be found, because they will have returned to the dust, and their plans will have perished. My children, be courageous and grow strong in the law, for by it you will gain honor.

Here is your brother, Simeon who, I know, is wise in counsel; always listen to him; he shall be your father. Judas Maccabeus has been a mighty warrior from his youth; he shall command the army for you and fight the battle against the peoples. You shall rally around you all who observe the law, and avenge the wrong done to your people. Pay back the Gentiles in full, and obey the commands of the law. ~1 Maccabees 2:49-68 **Abraham- Gen. 22; Joseph- Gen. 39-45; Phinehas- Num. 25; Joshua- Josh. 1; CalebNum. 13; David- 2 Sam. 7; Elijah- 1 Kings 18, 2 Kings 2; Hananiah, Azariah, Mishael& Daniel- Dan. 1-6 Judas (known as Maccabeus or The Hammer ), had many victories in the beginning, but as opposing forces surrounded them with what seemed to be insurmountable odds, they remained faithful. They prayed for mercy and compassion, fasted and studied Scripture in preparation for battle. Judas and his army of 3000 men, barely armed, surprised the king s official, Gorgias, and overtook the opposing army in Emmaus and pursued them from town to town, killing more than half. Then they turned back, in order not to be too greedy for gain, singing hymns and praises to Heaven For he is good, for his mercy endures forever. {4:24}, thus marking YHVH s deliverance of Israel. When Lysias, one of the king s officials, heard that their plans had been foiled, he mustered a larger army, but was met with an even larger army led by Judas. Discouraged by the Maccabees boldness, Lysias retreated to Antioch to devise a better plan. For now, Judas and his brothers had won. The set out to reclaim what their enemies had desecrated. Judas and blameless priests devoted to the law cleansed the sanctuary and removed the defiled stones. After some deliberation, they decided it would be best to tear down the defiled altar and build another from unhewn stones, as the law commanded. They rebuilt the sanctuary and inner areas of the temple, made new holy vessels and brought in a lampstand for light. On the 25th day of Kislev, three years exactly from the date the Gentiles had profaned it, Judas and his men offered sacrifice on the rebuilt altar and worshipped the Lord. So they celebrated the dedication of the altar for eight days, and joyfully offered burnt offerings; they offered a sacrifice of well-being and a thanksgiving offering. . .There was very great joy among the people, and the disgrace brought by the Gentiles was removed. {4:56,58} And so began the celebration of Hanukkah. Judas and his brothers and all the assembly of Israel determined that every year at that season the days of dedication of the altar should be observed with joy and gladness for eight days, beginning with the twentyfifth day of the month of Kislev. {4:59} "They celebrated it for eight days with rejoicing, in the manner of the festival of booths, remembering how not long before, during the festival of booths, they had been wandering in the mountains and caves like wild animals. Therefore, carrying ivy-wreathed wands and beautiful branches and also fronds of palm, they offered hymns of thanksgiving to him who had given success to the purifying of his own holy place. They decided by public

edict, ratified by vote, that the whole nation of the Jews should observe these days every year."{2 Maccabees 10:6-8}

Resources Books and Videos used in this Lesson**be careful if using any of these resources (other than the first), as many do not give a completely truthful account of Hanukkah o o o o