Does the ancient book of Maccabees give the outline of the end times? Is there a link between Hanukkah and Antichrist?
Because it is Hanukkah “season,” this week we will begin a new multi-part series on the end time pictures found in the festival.
9 Candles or 7?
As you may know, there are currently 9 candles on the menorah used at Hanukkah. This is based on a non-biblical, rabbinic tradition that only enough oil remained to keep the menorah lit for one night. The candles burned for eight nights, however, and thus this was deemed a miracle and the 9 candle version was born.
However, the actual menorah used in the Temple was a 7 candle menorah.
This menorah has great prophetic significance, in fact, it is key to understanding Hanukkah. I highly recommend that our readers who celebrate consider switching to the 7 branched version. All the reasons why will become obvious by the end of the series.
These menorahs are seen in John’s vision of Jesus in Revelation:
Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands; and in the middle of the lampstands I saw one like a son of man . . . the seven lampstands are the seven churches(Rev. 1:12-13, 20)
For all of you who have read Revelation Deciphered, [ORDER HERE] you now know that the Letters to the Seven Churches are Jesus’s instructions to Christians on how to overcome the events following the opening of each of the Seven Seals. We will also see how the seals play a role in the Hanukkah account.
Hannukkah in the Gospel of John
If Yom Teruah (Rosh Hashannah) is the “hidden day,” Hanukkah is the “hidden holiday.” It it found only once in the Bible. Shockingly, that reference is in the New Testament not the Old.
Many of the events in the Gospel of John take place on Jewish Holy Days. Most of these events center around Passover, but in John 10 Jesus’s encounter’s during Hanukkah:
At that time the Feast of the Dedication (Hanukkah) took place at Jerusalem; it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple. (John 10:22-23)
Hanukkah is a Hebrew word that means dedication. So the “Feast of Dedication” Is the festival of Hanukkah. Notice that all the events in John 9 and 10 are “at that time” or at the time of Hanukkah. Therefore, what Jesus discusses in John 10 has a “Hanukkah” reference to it. In order to understand these references, we must first go back to the inception of Hanukkah, and understand the Book of Maccabees.
The story of Hanukkah takes place in the Inter-Testimonial Period, the 400 years between the New and Old Testaments. While no canonical books of the Bible were written during that period, the apocryphal Book of 1 Maccabees contains amazing examples of fulfilled prophecies and end time analogies. Because it contains direct fulfillment of the prophecies from Daniel, it is well worth our study. But because it is not part of the canon of scripture, we need to read it “loosely,” and not hold its words as inspired.
Alexander the Great and the Book of Daniel
Maccabees opens like this:
After Alexander the Macedonian, Philip’s son, who came from the land of Kittim, had defeated Darius, king of the Persians and Medes, he became king in his place, having first ruled in Greece. (1 Mac. 1:1)
This passage must seem especially relevant to those familiar with this website since it is the documented first fulfillment of some of Daniel’s prophecies that we have discussed on this site many times.
|1 Maccabees||Daniel 8|
|After Alexander the Macedonian, Philip’s son, who came from the land of Kittim, had defeated Darius, king of the Persians and Medes, he became king in his place, having first ruled in Greece.||a male goat (Greece) was coming from the west over the surface of the whole earth without touching the ground; and the goat had a conspicuous horn (Alexander) between his eyes. He came up to the ram that had the two horns (Kings of the Medes and the Persians), which I had seen standing in front of the canal, and rushed at him in his mighty wrath. I saw him come beside the ram, and he was enraged at him; and he struck the ram and shattered his two horns, and the ram had no strength to withstand him. So he hurled him to the ground and trampled on him|
The Death of Alexander
In addition, the subsequent verses in Maccabees continue the fulfillment of Dan. 8.
|1 Maccabees||Daniel 8|
|He collected a very strong army and won dominion over provinces, nations, and rulers, and they paid him tribute. But after all this he took to his bed, realizing that he was going to die. So he summoned his noblest officers, who had been brought up with him from his youth, and divided his kingdom among them while he was still alive.
|Then the male goat magnified himself exceedingly. But as soon as he was mighty, the large horn was broken; and in its place there came up four conspicuous horns toward the four winds of heaven.|
Because Daniel, which was written 400 years prior to the events in Maccabees and contains such detailed prophecies, it is one of the most incredible literal fulfillments of prophecy in the Bible.
Antiochus IV and Antichrist
The parallels between Maccabees and Daniel continue into the future generations of Hellenistic kings:
|1 Maccabees||Daniel 8|
|There sprang from these a sinful offshoot, Antiochus Epiphanes, son of King Antiochus, once a hostage at Rome. He became king in the one hundred and thirty-seventh year of the kingdom of the Greeks||Out of one of them came forth a rather small horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Beautiful Land.|
As a result of these amazing parallels, Bible historians have considered Dan. 8 fulfilled prophecy. While it is, what most miss, however, is that there will be a dual fulfillment of Dan. 8 in the end times. This prophecy in Daniel and the events in Maccabees will repeat in the time before the return of Jesus.
My theory of how this dual fulfillment will take place can be found in THIS OLDER ARTICLE on this website. In addition, my friend Joel Richardson has a very insightful video on this dual fulfillment WATCH IT HERE.
Probably most of my readers are familiar with this teaching which was first popularized by Mark Davidson. However, I assume many if not most of my readers are unfamiliar with the additional details that are provided in 1 Maccabees. Consequently, I believe we should all study this ancient account.
Antiochus IV and the Covenent
The most significant aspect of the future fulfillment of Dan. 8 is that the “little horn” was Antiochus IV and will be the Antichrist. In this way, Antiochus was a foreshadow of the coming Antichrist. And it is fascinating to learn how Antiochus first gained power over Israel.
In those days there appeared in Israel transgressors of the law who seduced many, saying: “Let us go and make a covenant with the Gentiles all around us; since we separated from them, many evils have come upon us. The proposal was agreeable; some from among the people promptly went to the king (Antiochus), and he authorized them to introduce the ordinances of the Gentiles. Thereupon they built a gymnasium in Jerusalem according to the Gentile custom. (1 Mac. 1:11-14)
First of all, there appeared “transgressors of the law” in Israel. Non-God-fearing Israelis allowed Antiochus, his culture, and religion to enter Israel because they didn’t want to be separated from the gentiles all around them. Since the problems began in this way in the first fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy, might they also begin that way again? I think it very likely. In the same way the ancient Israelis made a covenant with the Greeks, the modern Israelis will make a covenant with the Islamists.
And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering. (Dan. 9:27)
You have said, “We have made a covenant with death,
And with Sheol we have made a pact. The overwhelming scourge will not reach us when it passes by for we have made falsehood our refuge and we have concealed ourselves with deception.” (Isa. 28:15)
Is it likely that this covenant will permit secularized or even Islamic traditions in Israel? Perhaps.
It is also interesting that this “covenant” is mentioned twice in 1 Macc. 1 and contrasted with the “Holy Covenant” which is also mentioned twice. This contrast shows that the Jews will have an option of trusting the true cornerstone who is Jesus or the false covenant with Death and Sheol.
Their are two forms of “refuge” in this false covenant to come. One is that it will promote a false peace. The other is that it will promote a false salvation by permitting Temple sacrifices. The Jews of that future day will trust both rather than trusting in Jesus.
Antiochus and the Apostate Jews
This group of apostate Jews that request the covenant is interesting as well. In Antiochus’s day they were in opposition to the Maccabees who fought for the Holy Covenant. It seems a similar group will form in future. In Revelation we read:
Behold, I will cause those of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—I will make them come and bow down at your feet, and make them know that I have loved you. (Rev. 3:9)
How this group of apostates will play out in the end times is not completely clear, but they might be those who think they can be Jews and yet take the Mark of the Beast.
This portion of the Maccabees’ account seems to mirror the First Seal events: the rise of Antichrist and his false covenant with Israel.
Antiochus and Egypt
Antiochus’s subsequent war with Egypt (the King of the South) seems to mirror the Second Seal. And this is exactly parallel to the events of Dan. 11:25-28:
1 Mac. 1:16-19
|When his kingdom seemed secure, Antiochus undertook to become king of the land of Egypt and to rule over both kingdoms. He invaded Egypt with a strong force, with chariots, elephants and cavalry, and with a large fleet to make war on Ptolemy, king of Egypt. Ptolemy was frightened at his presence and fled, and many were wounded and fell dead. The fortified cities in the land of Egypt were captured, and Antiochus plundered the land of Egypt.||He will stir up his strength and courage against the king of the South with a large army; so the king of the South will mobilize an extremely large and mighty army for war; but he will not stand, for schemes will be devised against him. Those who eat his choice food will destroy him, and his army will overflow, but many will fall down slain. As for both kings, their hearts will be intent on evil, and they will speak lies to each other at the same table; but it will not succeed, for the end is still to come at the appointed time. Then he will return to his land with much plunder.|
We know that a war between the Assyrian (the Antichrist) and the King of the South (Egypt and possibly Saudi Arabia) will take place at the Second Seal. Jesus quotes Isa. when he uses the term Kingdom against Kingdom in Matt. 24:7 to describe this time.
So I will incite Egyptians against Egyptians; and they will each fight against his brother and each against his neighbor, City against city and kingdom against kingdom. (Isa. 19:2)
This passage in Isaiah is a match with Dan. 11 as well. In that account we see the King of the South’s own generals and nobles betraying him. Isaiah speaks of it as a civil war.
This is the first installment in the series about Hanukkah and Antichrist. This article depicts the rise of Antiochus who is a foreshadow of the coming Antichrist. In the next installment, we’ll begin to look at the time when Antiochus (Antichrist foreshadow) turns his attention to Israel and begins his reign of terror there.