Because the original Hanukkah most likely foreshadows events of the Great Tribulation, it is a great extra-biblical study. Although the story is found in 1 and 2 Maccabees, which are found in the apocrypha and aren’t in the canon of scripture, Jesus celebrated the holiday in Jerusalem (John 10:22 ) and the book of Daniel foretells some of its events. For these reasons although we cannot call the story “scripture”, it is a study of great interest. Those aspects of the story that related to the foreshadows of the Great Tribulation are of most interest to me and there are hints within the story as to a link between Hanukkah and the future Abomination of Desolation. These hints are further evidence that the Antichrist will be Islamic. Before we look at the links between Hanukkah and the Tribulation , let’s discuss the entire story.
In 334 BC Alexander the Great ascended to the throne of Macedonia and began his military conquests in fulfillment of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the metal statue. Upon his death, Alexander’s empire was divided into four kingdoms as a foreshadow of the fulfillment of Daniel 7 and 8. Two of these empires emerged as the most powerful. They were the Ptolemaic Dynasty (Egypt area) and the Seleucid Dynasty (Assyrian area). In Daniel Chapter 11, God’s word refers to them as the Kings of the South and Kings of North. In 175 BC Antiochus IV arose. Daniel 11:21 refers to him as a “vile person.” He assumed the name “god Manifest.” or Antiochus Epiphanes. As foretold in Daniel 11, Antiochus (the King of the North) fought several wars against the King of the South. In a famous incident a Roman representative drew a “line in the sand” around Antiochus and said before he crossed the line he would have to decide whether to withdraw back to Syria or consider himself at war with Rome itself. Antiochus withdrew.
Angry at his humiliation in Egypt he attacked Jerusalem, killed thousands and desecrated the temple. 2 Maccabees tells the tale:
When the news of these events reached the king, he thought Judea was in revolt. So he broke camp and marched from Egypt while wild with emotion, and took the city by force. He commanded his soldiers to cut down without mercy anyone they met and to slaughter those fleeing into their houses. They killed young and old, murdered adolescents, women and children, and slaughtered virgins and infants. Over a three-day period, eighty thousand people’s lives were ruined. Forty thousand were killed in hand-to-hand fighting, and no fewer than those slaughtered were sold as slaves. Not content with these measures, he dared to enter into the holiest temple of all the earth, guided by Menelaus, who had become a traitor to the laws and to his native land. Clutching the holy equipment with polluted and unclean hands, Antiochus made off with them and the things donated by other kings to increase the prestige, glory, and honor of the holy place. (2 Mac. 5: 11 – 16 CEB)
He then went further, outlawing the Jewish religion and customs Many were burned for celebrating the Sabbath and mothers were thrown down from the top of the city walls for circumcising their infant boys. In a final act of defiance, he set up a statue of the pagan god Zeus in the temple and sacrificed pigs on the altar of YHWH.
But a brave band of Jewish rebels led by Judah Maccabee led a revolt that overthrew Antiochus. Tradition maintains that after reclaiming the Temple, the rebels wished to rededicate it to the Lord but only 1 day of oil remained. Miraculously however the lights of the Menorah remained lit for 8 days.
Antiochus is considered a foreshadow of the Antichrist and the events prior to the Maccabee revolt are thought to be foreshadows of the Great Tribulation. We learned in this post that at the midpoint of the Tribulation the Antichrist will invade and conquer Jerusalem just as Antiochus did. This man of evil will desecrate the temple and will set up the Abomination of Desolation.
What this horrid sign entailed in those days and what it will entail in the future has been the subject of speculation for centuries. Jesus referred to it directly:
Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains. (Matt. 24: 15-16 NASB)
Notice Matthew interjects the phrase “let the reader understand” into Jesus’ quote. It behooves us then to try and understand this evil sign because it is the signal for at least those in Judea to flee to the “mountains.”
What was the Abomination that occurred under Antiochus? if we understand it, perhaps we can understand the future sign as Matthew instructs us. Some believe it was an altar to Zeus that Antiochus set up to offer up his pig sacrifices.
Now on the fifteenth day of Kislev in the year 145, they set up a disgusting and destructive thing on the altar for entirely burned offerings in the sanctuary. The inspectors built other altars in the surrounding Judean towns. (1 Mac. 1: 54 CEB)
Unfortunately the apocrypha doesn’t tell us directly. But if we assemble clues we may have a better understanding.
- We learn later, after the temple was recaptured that polluted “stones” were removed. We can assume the Abomination was made of these stones. Some claim it was a metal statue but this non-scriptural verse contradicts that.
They cleansed the sanctuary and took the polluted stones to a ritually unclean place. (Mac. 4: 42 CEB, emphasis mine)
- We also learn that at least in Antiochus’ day, the abomination was of a size that the set on the altar. The altar was 5 cubits (7.5 feet) square. If the foreshadow of Antiochus’ abomination holds true in the Tribulation, the Abomination will be less than this dimension. which is fairly small.
- The Hebrew word found in Daniel 9 and 11 where the source verses are found is shiqquts meaning detestable thing or detestable idol. The word is strongly associated with idolatry.
- There is speculation that the stones that were removed were meteorites. In Dan. 8:10 we see the “little horn” causes some of the stars to fall from the sky. Might these have been meteorites during Antiochus’ day? Greek culture has other examples of meteorites being used in worship. In the temple of Artemis in Ephesus there was a sacred stone that fell from the sky. This was the most famous temple in the Greek world. Might Antiochus have tried to copy the worship there in the temple of the Jews by also using meteorites?
Let’s assemble these four clues together. We should expect a small idol made of stone or stones that may be a meteorite.
We also know from this post that the Antichrist will be Islamic. Is there a famous meteorite used in Islamic worship? There is! It may be the most sacred object in all of Islam, the Black Stone which is set in the Kaaba. There are those who even believe it is the sacred stone that fell from the sky that once graced the temple of Artemis in Ephesus! Many believe that Muhammad brought the stone to Mecca from Ephesus.
Might this picture be of the future Abomination? It is an apt image of the Beast (Islam).