The Relationship of Hanukkah with Christmas - Updated 12/19/14
Hanukkah and the lighting of the nine candle menorah take place for eight days in memorial of the miracle that happened at the rededication of the temple on the 24th of Kislev in 160 BC. The account of the miracle where only enough oil for one day lasted 8 days, can be found in the previous article, Jesus and Hanukkah. Although the miracle of the oil is an awesome act of God, it is the opinion of this ministry that the greater miracle was the preservation of the Jews.
My point is that if the Maccabee’s had not prevailed for the three years that they did, against the evil Emperor Antiochus of Syria, the Jewish people would have become extinct. God however intervened, and helped this small band of freedom fighters that were out-numbered 7 to 1 in order to preserve the blood line that Yeshua (Jesus) was to come through. Therefore, without Hanukkah there could be no Christmas.
Although the oil lasting for eight days is an awesome miracle, in my opinion it pales in comparison to the miracle of preserving the Jews, so that a Savior, who was prophesied to be the son of David, could be born into the world some 160 or so years later. Because of this preservation, Yeshua’s linage can be traced back to King David.
I think that it has been well established that Yeshua’s birthday is not December 25th. For many reasons, it is now well established that Yeshua was born in the fall. December 25th was the day that the pagans celebrated their sun god. It was such a festive celebration with gift giving and tree trimming that the Christians did not want to be left out. So it was determined that they too could celebrate and join in the festivities by calling the day Christmas in honor of Christ and His birth. Rather than celebrate the sun god; they would celebrate the Son of God. This then is how Christmas came to be. For a more complete history of the origins of Christmas, click here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas
The date of our Lord’s birth has been established as happening on the 1st day of Tishrei, the 7th month, in the year, 3BC. That date would have been September 11th on our Gregorian calendar. This date has been proven by the late Dr. Ernest L. Martin in his book entitled, The Star of Bethlehem: The Star that Astonished the World. What makes this astounding is the fact that the 1st of Tishrei is in fact Yom Teruah, otherwise known as The Feast of Trumpets and or Rosh HaShanah, which in English is the Jewish New Year. For a more complete study of Yom Teruah see our study on the Fall Feasts.
The amazing thing to me is that Yeshua was born into this world during a season that was called, Teshuvah. Teshuvah is a season of repentance. He was born 30 days into the season of repentance, on the 1st of Tishrei, which is Rosh HaShanah. The season is for 40 days. The next 10 days is known as the High Holy days. They are Yamim Nora’im, “the days of awe”. The first 10 days of Yeshua’s life happened during the High Holy days, or the days of awe. The tenth day is Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Do you see the picture that is painted for us? Do you see the High priest entering the world on the High Holy days, our atonement arriving to make atonement for us?
Rosh HaShanah is also known as the birthday of the created world because tradition has it that Adam and Eve were created on this day. Hence, the yearly cycle or the Jewish New Year began on the first day of the seventh month. If it is true that Adam and Eve were created on this day, then the first Adam and the 2nd Adam were born on the same day. Do you see the picture? Yeshua (Jesus) who is the creator of all things, created Adam and Eve on a special day and then on the exact same day into the future forward, He chose to arrive as the 2nd Adam. These are exactly the kind of patterns that you can expect from our awesome God. Many wondrous things have occurred on the dates that the Lord has appointed for our observance.
Now listen to this, for 30 days the shofar would have been sounded, calling the people to repentance. The sound of the shofar is heard before the morning service every day. Psalm 27 is read at the morning service and at the evening service for these 30 days. This Psalm begins, “The Lord is my light and my salvation”. This Psalm was read on the day of His birth. He is our light and our salvation. His Hebrew name Yeshua means salvation and He himself proclaimed to be “the light of the world”. Another name for Rosh HaShanah is Yom Teruah: the sound of the waking blast. The idea of course is to wake up and return to God. Keep in mind also that the sound of the shofar is heard at the coronation of a King. The sound of the shofar is sounded as a battle cry when war was waged upon a dangerous enemy. It is thought in some circles that not only was Yeshua’s birth on the first day of the seventh month which was also the beginning of the new moon, (which has its own significance that will be dealt with at another time) but that it could very well have been in the year of Jubilee as well. I tend to believe that this is the case because all debts were canceled in the year of Jubilee. What is the picture that the Lord is painting? I believe it is a picture of Yeshua canceling our debt. Now the blowing of the shofar during the year of Jubilee has great significance because it heralds the voice of freedom from slavery. Taking all of this into consideration, what do we see?
On the thirtieth day, in the season of repentance, on the 1st day of the 7th month, beginning on 1st day of the yearly cycle of the New Year, which was also the new moon, which suggests new beginnings, during the year of Jubilee, in the town of Bethlehem (house of bread), a Saviour, Yeshua (salvation) who is Messiah (Christ) the King was born. It is on this day that the sound of the Shofar could be heard throughout all of Israel announcing Rosh HaShanah, calling for repentance from sin, announcing the birth of a King, declaring war upon the enemy of God, Satan, and proclaiming freedom from slavery. Only God could accomplish such a masterpiece. This is why a study of the Lord’s appointed times, is so important. Without a study of the dates and times the hidden manna from heaven that is hidden in plain sight would still be hidden. It is all there but we have to dig for it.
In ancient Jewish culture, birthdays were not celebrated instead the beginning of life in the womb was celebrated. It was the conception in the womb that was reason to rejoice. Now if we were to join the Jewish tradition of celebrating the conception of Jesus rather than His birthday, we would need to count back from His birth on the 1st of Tishrei, nine months. In doing so, we end up in the month of Kislev. It is interesting to note that the meaning of the Hebrew word Kislev is peace and hope, with a sense of security.
Now keep in mind as we move on that gestation in the womb is anywhere from 271 to 280 days. At this point I want to give credit to Rev. Barbara Di Gillio for her discovery of following revelation. The Hebrew word for pregnancy is הריון herayon. Unlike English, every letter of the Hebrew alef-bet has a numerical value as well. When adding up the numerical value of the Hebrew word for pregnancy; this is what she found. ה Hey = 5, ר Resh =200, י Yod =10, ו vav =6, ן num = 50 for a grand total of 271, the exact number of days needed for gestation.
This in itself is a Wow! However, moving on, there are more Wow’s to follow.
With this is mind, Rev. Di Gillio counted back 271 days from the birth of Jesus on the 1st of Tishrei. In doing so, she arrived at the 24th of Kislev, which we have already identified as Hanukkah. Therefore, if Rev. Di Gillio is correct, and I believe that she is, Jesus was conceived on Hanukkah, the very night the Jews were celebrating the re-dedication of the temple and the Festival of lights. Jesus, the miracle light, was conceived within Mary’s womb by the Holy Spirit, who is often represented in scripture as oil, on the very night that Jewry was celebrating the miracle of the oil. How awesome is this?
The eternal light that was in the temple was the light that was never to go out. It is the reason for the celebration for Hanukkah in the first place. The Maccabee’s very first order of business was to return to the temple to light the eternal flame and a miracle took place. Fast forward 160 years later and a greater miracle took place on the exact same day; a great light impregnated a young virgin girl. Yeshua proclaimed to be “the light of the world”. He is the eternal light that will never go out!
I’ve mentioned how Hanukkah and Christmas are related because without Hanukkah there would be no Christmas, i. e. without the preservation of the Jewish blood line, there would be no birth of Jesus. But wait...there is more. The amazing truth is that on a perfect solar/lunar calendar the 24th of Kislev or the first day of Hanukkah corresponds to December 24/25th on our Gregorian calendar, timing it from sunset to sunset.
These truths are found in the word, but one has to dig for them, because they are “hidden in plain sight”. Now I want us to look at a prophecy concerning the promises made to Zerubbabel that is found in Haggai that will tie all of these things together. One must understand Hebrew and Jewish idioms in order to get the full impact concerning the scriptures we will be looking at in Haggai. But first let me give you a little background. The Lord was instructing the prophet Haggai to speak to Zerubbabel, the then governor of Judah. Zerubbabel is said to have led the second batch of captive Jews back to Jerusalem after their 70 year captivity in Babylon. It is recorded in Ezra that Zerubbabel was among the men chosen to lay the foundation of the second temple. These are the words of the Lord to Zerubbabel.
Hag 2:18-19 Consider now from this day and upward, from the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, even from the day that the foundation of the LORD'S temple was laid, consider it. Is the seed yet in the barn? yea, as yet the vine, and the fig tree, and the pomegranate, and the olive tree, hath not brought forth: from this day will I bless you.
From the original Hebrew text of Haggai 2:18-19 Rev. Di Gillio makes a very strong case that Mary was impregnated on the 24 of Kislev. From her translation of the enhanced Hebrew words to English words, we read it this way to better understand what is being said in the above scripture.
"Mark from the heart, I pray, from this day and upward, from the twenty-fourth Kislev, from the day the foundation (chief cornerstone) of the L-RD'S Temple was laid. Mark, as from the heart! The seed (child) is it yet in the barn (idiom for womb)? The grapevine (figurative for Messiah), and the fig tree (figurative Israel as a cover), the pomegranate (embroidered on High Priest garment), and the olive tree (Israel in its fullness or season), has not yet born fruit (a Greek term for childbirth; Mt. 1:21). Of Him a day (season) to bless (to lift high) G-d”.
For a more detailed study of this revelation of manna from heaven that was hidden in plain sight, I invited you to examine the remarkable work of Rev. Barbara Di Gillio concerning her finding of the 24th of Kislev as the day that Yeshua was believed to be conceived. It is an awesome study, found at: www.mayimhayim.org Click on Provocative Articles and scroll down to, For unto us a Child is born: The Debate of Timing
If I may, Let me develop the above scriptures as I understand them to be from Rev. Di Gillio’s discovery.
Make a notation in your heart, I pray, from this day and into the future, that this day which is the 24th of Kislev and will one day be called Hanukkah and it will be on this day that the chief cornerstone, which one day will be identified as the Messiah will be laid as the Lords Temple. These are important words, so mark them in your heart. The seed is it yet in the barn? This Jewish idiom is the same as saying, “Is the child yet in the womb? Has the virgin conceived? The grapevine, and the fig tree, the pomegranate, and the olive tree has not yet born fruit...is actually hinting at a deeper truth...which is... in the future...Jesus will be known as the grapevine that nourishes its many branches, and the fig tree represents His spiritual fruit of believers extended through the ages, the pomegranate represents His priesthood and the blood red juice of the pomegranate His atoning blood sacrifice, and the olive tree hints at the nation of Israel in full bloom covering the land mass as promised.
These things have not yet been conceived or yet been born. However, from this day, the 24th of Kislev the blessings of Lord will flow for when these things are conceived and birthed as promised; it will be a season of blessings for He...God...that is... Jesus will be high and lifted up and the peace that passes all understanding (kislev/shalom) will dwell in the hearts of men.
This prophecy in Haggai is the quintessential use of “remez”. Remez is my favorite method of interpreting scripture, because remez hints at a deeper meaning often hidden and discovered through word study and linking several scriptures together that use the same word or phrase.
The 24th of Kislev, which we now know as the 24th/25th of December on a perfect solar/lunar calendar, is the probable day of Jesus’ conception. Indeed the whole of mankind has been blessed from this day forward, just as the word was prophesied. For the Holy Spirit placed the seed in the barn and a virgin did conceive and brought forth a male child named Yeshua which means salvation. He, Jesus, is the chief cornerstone that has been lifted up drawing all men to Him, and the promise of eternal life and reconciliation with the Father. For Jesus is the eternal light that burns in our hearts. Now that we have examined the prophetic word concerning Jesus’ promised conception, let’s move on to the prophetic words concerning the history of the Jews and possible fulfilment taking place at the end of days.
Hag 2:20-23 And again the word of the LORD came unto Haggai in the four and twentieth day of the month, saying, Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I will shake the heavens and the earth; And I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen; and I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother. In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the LORD, and will make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee, saith the LORD of hosts.
The promise to Zerubbabel that is hidden here is the promise to protect the seed that was to be put in the barn of the 24th of Kislev. For the Lord is saying that He will shake the heavens and the earth, and overthrow the kingdoms of the heathen that would dare to interfere with His plan to bring the Messiah forth from a Jewish virgin. The Lord kept this promise when He raised up the Maccabee’s to overthrow the Syrian army, preserving the Jewish blood line for His Messiah. Then the Lord continues, and makes Zerubbabel another promise, He says that Zerubbabel has been chosen be as a signet. The Lord had indeed chosen Zerubbabel to be a sign, a sign of a promised kept. For he and his seed are members of the preserved Jewish blood line that would bring forth the promised Messiah. How do we know this? We know this because Zerubbabel is listed in the genealogy of the promised Messiah. Jesus’ linage can be traced back to King David through the blood line of Zerubbabel, for he is listed in the genealogies of our Lord in Matthew and Luke. That would not have been possible if the Jewish people would have been made extinct by Antiochus’ mighty army.
Throughout history the enemies of God have tried to wipe out the Jewish people. Yet through many miracles they have been preserved. One day soon Messiah will return and the promises made to Zerubbabel that the LORD will overthrow the kingdoms of the heathen that have persecuted the Jew and the Jewish nation will be completely fulfilled as promised. Maranatha!
So until Messiah returns, won’t you join me in returning to the ancient paths and celebrating the likely season of Yeshua’a conception, the beginning of life; the greatest life that this world has ever known. Let’s celebrate the conception of life and light. Let’s celebrate the life of our Savior that was nourished in the womb of His mother, let’s celebrate the peace and security and trust (Kislev) that the Savior, “the light of the world” found in His mother’s womb.
Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas to you! Let your light so shine, that it will give glory to your Father who is in heaven.