In addition to the seven moeds of Lev. 23, there are two other annual festivals that are observed by the Jewish people: Purim which celebrates the events in the book of Esther; and Hanukah which celebrates an event that occurred between the Old and New Testaments. Hanukah was not prophesied or commanded, yet it involves a prophesied type of the antichrist, prefigures Jesus, and it is loaded with Christian symbolism.
The original Hanukkah followed the defeat of Antiochus Epiphanes in 165 B.C. This man had captured Israel and tried to Hellenize the Jews. He forbade circumcision and keeping of the Sabbath; he erected a statue of Zeus Olympus in the temple; and he sacrificed a sow on the altar and splashed its blood in the Holy of Holies. This was a defilement of both the temple and the people.
The Jews, led by Judas Maccabee, also known as Judah the Hammer, successfully revolted against Antiochus Epiphanes and the Greek army. This first miracle of Hanukah pictures salvation and freedom from the world through Jesus Christ, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. The gaining of freedom was followed by restoration of the temple.
As a first step the Jews removed the old altar stones. The altar was the place where the covenant blood was shed. Because they were holy, the stones were not destroyed or simply thrown aside, they were hidden away. In the same way, Jesus did not destroy the law, he fulfilled it. Col. 2:14-17 says, "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ." In other words, Jesus is the body that cast a shadow (an imperfect and faint representation of something of substance), and the shadow was the law. Jesus did not destroy the old covenant, he fulfilled it, and provided a new covenant in his blood.
The removal of the old altar stones was followed by cleansing the temple, literally scrubbing it clean of what had defiled it (the sows blood).
Under the new covenant, our bodies are the temple of God. They are cleansed from sin (although not the sin nature which is in our blood) at salvation and we are instructed to keep them clean and holy. I Cor. 3:16 says, "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" Individually and corporately, the bodies of Christians are today the temple, or dwelling place, of God.
The Jews then built a new altar. If the old altar represented the law, the new altar represents grace. I Pet. 2:4-6 says, "To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, ye also, as lively (living) stones, are built up a spiritual house, and holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ, wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded."
In all these altar stones we are reminded again of Joshua’s twenty-four stones: half hidden and half on the other side of Jordan.
After the temple was cleansed and the altar rebuilt, it was time to rededicate the temple. This answers to covenant, specifically the new covenant. The old covenant was perfect in that it expressed the holiness of God, but it could not take away sin. The new covenant is perfect because it is based on the blood of Jesus and is able to perfect forever them that come to God through Him. These bodies, his temple, the church, need to be dedicated to Him who dwells in them. When one person enters a covenant relationship with another, he dedicates himself and all his possessions to that other person. This is to express our covenant relationship with God.
The last step in the rededication of the temple was to re-light the menorah. There was only enough pure olive oil to last one day, but it would take eight days to make the round trip to obtain more. The priest decided to go ahead and re-light the lamp anyway. Miraculously, the oil lasted the full eight days. This is the miracle of Hanukah.
This miracle prefigured Jesus because he is the light of the world (John 8:12) and Christians are children of light (I Thes. 5:5). The oil is a type of the Holy Spirit (I Sam. 16:13). Eight is the number of new beginnings. Jesus was resurrected on the first day of the week, but because that day followed the seventh day, it was also the eighth day. It was a new beginning, the new birth, for those who believe in Jesus.
Hanukah is celebrated by lighting lamps and giving gifts on each of the eight evenings of the festival. In the same way, God has placed gifts in the church: from God the Father, the seven motivational gifts (Rom. 12:6-8); from God the Son, the five ministry gifts (Eph. 4:11-13); and from God the Holy Ghost, the nine spiritual, or charismatic, gifts (I Cor. 12 - 14).
During Hanukah the Jews do not work while the candles, or lamps, are lit. Because Christians are the light of the world, this represents the sabbath (holy) life.
I find it interesting that the events that led to Hanukah occurred during the silent time between the Old and New Testaments. It is as though God were telling Israel that the deliverer, the light of the world, was soon to come.
Dan. 12:11 gives the first half of the seventieth week as 1290 days (this will be fully developed later); according to Rev. 12:6 the last half will cover 1260 days (2550 total days); yet Dan. 12:12 gives 1335 days as the last half of the tribulation. Since the Bible cannot contradict itself, there is a reason why scripture gives two different counts of days for the same 3˝ year period. In fulfillment of Lev. 23, the 1290 days may begin on or near a moed of Trumpets (Tishri 1), and the 1260 days will end on or near a feast of Trumpets (Tishri 1). This means the 1335 days will end at Hanukah, so we are looking at two different ending points for the final seven years, and those points must be reconciled.
The key is found in Daniel’s prophecy of the seventy weeks. That time period was determined for the Jewish people and for Jerusalem and it would end with the anointing of the most Holy (Dan. 9:24), which is Jesus, but this anointing will not occur on the day of the second advent. At that time there will be Armageddon to be dealt with and the destruction of those who worshiped the beast and received his mark. This will be followed by the sheep and goats judgment. While Jesus can move at the speed of light, the humans he will be dealing with are limited to the speed of time. I believe that the prophecy gives Jesus a period of seventy-five days to set up his administration, i.e. to bring in everlasting righteousness (Dan. 9:24).
If the second advent of Jesus will in fact occur on or near a future feast of Trumpets, then the additional seventy-five days will end very close to Hanukah that same year.