Feast: Hanukkah or Chanukah (pronounced HA-noo-kah)
Biblically Accurate or Hebrew Name: Feast of Dedication or Festival of Lights
Biblical Significance: This is not a Biblically-mandated feast. However, it is found in the Bible.
There is a prophecy about this feast in Zechariah chapter 4, wherein the prophet sees a Temple
menorah (7-light oil lampstand) being fed pure olive oil through pipes from two olive trees on either
side of it. This prophecy came during the time when the 2nd Temple was being rebuilt, and it was
fulfilled after the Maccabees regained control of that Temple from the Greeks. The Maccabees were
a family of Jewish priests that revolted against the Greek occupation of Jerusalem in 168 BCE. The
Greek army, that had been in Israel for over a century, starting with the conquest by Alexander the
Great, began desecrating holy sites in Israel, to include erecting an altar to Zeus in the Jewish Temple
and sacrificing a pig on the altar there. Worship of the God of Israel was forbidden and the Jewish
people were systematically Hellenized into Greek thinking and ways of life. The high priest and his
family finally overthrew the Greek occupiers by a series of guerrilla attacks at night, until finally Greece
retreated. The priests then regained control of the Temple and began to rededicate it to the God of
Israel in 165 BCE (hence the holiday’s name “Hanukkah”). As it was being rededicated, the Temple
menorah was rekindled. However, there was only one day’s worth of olive oil to be found in the
Temple, and it took 8 days to consecrate more olive oil. By a miracle from God, the olive oil in the
menorah lasted a full 8 days, fulfilling Zechariah’s prophecy. Now during Hanukkah, a special 9-
candle menorah (called a hanukkia) is used to commemorate the 8 days that the olive oil lasted in the
Temple, but it also resembles 2 trees being added to either side of the Temple menorah to fill it with
Spiritual Relevance: God reveals to us in Hanukkah that He will always provide for His purposes.
He miraculously granted a victory to the tiny family of priests over the strongest army in the known
world at that time. He also provided that which was needed to rededicate the Temple to Himself. This
was prophetically significant, as the Temple had to return to Jewish hands for Messiah Yeshua to walk
through it less than 200 years later. For believers, we are now the Temple of the Living God, and we
too must be rededicated to His purposes. We have been influenced by the world and pagan
traditions, but God Himself can provide for us to be rededicated to Him. Yeshua observed the festival
of Hanukkah in John 10:22-23. It was during this feast that He revealed Himself to be the Good
Shepherd who lays down His life for His sheep who hear His voice. Let us hear Him and respond!
Observance Suggestion: Hanukkah is observed on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev, the
ninth month in the Biblical calendar. Hence, Hanukkah usually falls in late November or in December.
Each night, families gather together at sunset and ignite the middle candle first (called the Shammash
or “helper” candle), then use that candle to light the number of candles that coincide with the night of
Hanukkah, from right to left. Hence, there will be 3 total candles lit on the 2nd night of Hanukkah (to
include the Shammash). The menorah is to be set near a window and burn at least 30 minutes, so
that God’s people can be a light in their communities. After saying a prayer and reading Scripture,
each night of Hanukkah is filled with feasting on foods made with olive oil (especially ‘latkes”, potato
pancakes) and playing games, such as dreidel, which holds the initials for the Hebrew words “A
Miracle Happened Here”. We are to celebrate Yeshua and our families, as we acknowledge the light
of the world (Him in us).
Celebrating Hanukkah with your family
The Hanukkah celebration is a time for family and prayer. Hanukkah is a time to focus on the light of the world,
Yeshua. The Hanukkah (9 branch) menorah should be placed in a window or to publicize this great miracle. The
candles are placed in the menorah from left to right and the candles are kindled from right to left. The center candle
is called the shammash (caretaker/helper). The shammash is removed, lit, and used to kindle the other candles then
returned to its holder. The first night of Hanukkah you will light two candles in your menorah, the Shammash and one
candle for the first night of Hanukkah. The second night you will light three candles, the Shamash and two candles on
the far right of the menorah representing two nights of Hanukkah and so on through the eight days! On the last night
of Hanukkah you will light all nine candles in the menorah. You will need a total of 44 candles for the entire Hanukkah
celebration. The candles should be lit at sundown and the whole family should be gathered (it's acceptable to wait
past sundown so that the entire family can gather around the menorah). The candles should remain lit for at least 30
minutes. The following blessings are recited when kindling the candles.
Hebrew Baruch Ata Adonai, Eloheynu Melech ha’olam, Asher Kid’shanu b’mitsvotav vitsivanu, Le-had-lik Ner Shel
English Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who has set us apart by Your commandments and
has commanded us to kindle the lights of Hanukkah.
Hebrew Baruch Ata Adonai, Eloheynu Melech ha’olam, She-o-so Ni-sim La-avo-sei-nu Ba-yo-mim Ho-haim Bi-z’
English Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who wrought miracles for our fathers in days of old,
at this season.
Hebrew (Abbreviated) Shema, Yisrael Adonai EloheynuAdonai Echad.Baruch shem kavod, malchuto, l’olam vayed.
English Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One. Blessed be His name, His glorious kingdom forever. And
you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and love your
neighbor as yourself.
Hebrew Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheynu Melech haolam, asher natan lanu et Derek ha’Yeshua, b’Mashiach, Yeshua.
English Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has given us the way of salvation in Messiah
After the blessings, kindle the candles. The following scriptures may be read, followed by prayer, worship and family
fellowship. This is a quiet time, a time focused on our heavenly Father. Shut off the television, turn off the radio, and
enter into the presence of the most high!
Night one: Adonai is our light. Read Psalm 27 and Isaiah 60
Night two: God's word is our light. Read Proverbs 6:20-23, Psalm 119:97-112 & 119:129-144.
Night three: Prophesies of Yeshua: the Light to Jews and Gentiles Read Isaiah 9:1-7, 42:1-7 & 2:1-5
Night four: Yeshua is the Light of the World Read John 1:1-9, 8:12-20 & 12:44-46
Night five: Yeshua called us out of darkness into light Read 1 Thessalonians. 5:5-11, Ephesians 5:8-21 and 1
Night six: With Yeshua in us, we are the light of the world Read Matthew 5:1-19 and Luke 8:4-18
Night seven: The eye is the light of the body Read Luke 11:33-36 and Matthew 6:19-34
Night eight: God is our everlasting Light Read Revelation 21:1-22:5