OR THE WINTER FESTIVAL?
no secret how pagan holidays have been cloaked with biblical
themes to get them accepted, and later embraced as the absolute
undisputed truth. Easter and Christmas are both undeniable
proof this highly successful trend of cloaking still lurks
in today’s modern culture. Can Hanukkah
be the exception; is it possible that it has escaped the cloaking
who have “Fear of the Lord” want
to learn the truth in all matters so they can respond by making
Godly changes in their life. Strangely enough, others prefer
to turn a deaf ear to anything that might test their faith,
or ruffle their nest full of “traditions
of men.” They, rather than responding
to the truth, usually display a horrified reaction as if they
have just been tempted by some newly discovered antichrist,
only to withdraw themselves from future fellowship. Paul said
it plain enough in Galatians 4:16, “Am
enemy, because I tell
This paper is research based on historical facts.
In John 10:22 we find the only reference made of a feast of
dedication, during winter, and Yeshua was in Jerusalem. From
this one and only instance, a whole doctrine has been built
claiming that Yeshua was there to celebrate the Hanukkah festival.
First of all, the Word of God says that truth is only established
by two or three witnesses; Secondly, if an entire doctrine
can be implied by one slight mention, which was so vague that
it doesn’t prove anything, then how much more so should
a history of evidence determine if any of the festivities
at Hanukkah were influenced by pagan origins?
any part of the Hanukkah festivities were entwined with paganism,
is it even remotely possible that Yeshua, the Son of God,
by whom and for whom everything was created, could have been
be so un-informed that He unknowingly participated in any
disguised rituals? If your answer is yes, there is no
point reading any further.
BRIEF HISTORY ABOUT THE SEASON
winter solstice (late December) is the longest night and the
shortest day of the entire year. "Solstice" comes
from the Latin words: "sol" meaning the
sun and "sistere" which means, “to
cause to stand still.” The winter solstice marks
the beginning of the winter season and the birth of a new
solar year. This birth also marks the celebration of “light”
or the rebirth of the sun re-lighting the earth and the other
planets. In old Europe, the solstice was also known as Yule,
deriving its name from the Norse word "Jul,"
meaning wheel. The winter festival, cloaked or not, is linked
to almost every religion past and present; Judaism and Christianity
do not seem to escape its grasp.
winter solstice played host to other pagan beliefs. Long before
the Roman domination, Israel was under bondage to the Egyptians
over 400 years. Ancient Egypt observed the death and burial
of their god-man, Osiris, at this same time of year (December
21). During the Roman Empire, which also controlled Israel
(63 BCE to 313 CE), two festivals were combined to cover a
full seven-day week, from December 17 to December 23. One
was “Saturnalia” (Saturn-alia: Saturn-feast),
the god of agriculture, and the second was “Opalia”
(Op-alia: Ops-feast), the goddess of plenty. Then, on December
25th, a third festival called the “Birthday of the
Unconquered Surl” (or Invincible Sun) occurred
to celebrate the birth of blending pagan gods with mortals
producing pagan god-men, like Hercules, Perseus, and Apollo.
though it took centuries to accept, at some point, the church
leaders ironically selected this same date, December 25th,
as the birth date of Yeshua (Jesus) and celebrated the birth
of the “Son” rather than the “Sun”.
This date really doesn’t come as any surprise, since
multiple celebrations were already going on at this time of
year throughout the Roman Empire, which included Israel. The
Romans, like the Egyptian had a god for everything and every
season. Pagan gods and their symbols were already being honored
including Yule, gift giving, candlemass, and tree decorating.
Hanukkah, which also falls in late December carries many of
the same traits and is also observed on the same numerical
date, the 25th, only on different calendars (Hebrew 9th month
SIMILARITIES OF HANUKKAH &
CHRISTMAS (THE WINTER FESTIVAL)
The Jewish 8-day festival of Hanukkah (presently known
as Festival of Lights, and Feast of Dedication), whose story
was not even included in biblical cannon, was originally just
a minor festival. It has grown in importance since the birth
of Christianity and the present day migration of Christianity
into the Messianic movement. This festival is documented in
the Apocrypha and celebrated the retaking of the Temple at
Jerusalem by the Maccabees from Antiochus. This Syrian king
desecrated the Temple of God by dedicating it to a Pagan deity,
you guessed it, on December 25th, during the time of the winter
solstice (around 163 BCE). Judah, the leader of the Maccabees,
recaptured control, restored the temple, and relit the menorah
three years later on the same day.
following are only a few of the obvious similarities between
the festival of Hanukkah and Christmas that are way too similar
to be just coincidence or to be ignored.
- Both occur
during the same season of the year, the winter solstice.
- Both holiday
seasons span eight days
- Both use
"lights" as a major theme
- Both give
gifts as part of the celebration
- Both have
a their heroes: Judah of the Macabees and yes, Santa
- Both occur
on the same numerical date, (25th) only
in different calendars.
- Both symbolize
birth or re-birth of the Son or the Sun
- Both occur
at the time of the Winter Festival: The re-birth of the
“sun god” giving light to the planets
and the new solar year.
THE JUSTIFICATION OF THE LIGHTS
The historical record of the Temple desecration and recapture
is precisely documented in the Apocrypha, but the legend of
the miraculous flame that burned for eight days is NOT
mentioned at all. According to Jewish legend, at
the retaking of the Temple and the relighting of the Menorah,
there was only enough consecrated oil to burn for one day.
Miraculously the flames lasted for eight days and thus the
celebrating of lights and candle lighting at Hanukkah. Is
that what really happened?
is not common knowledge, but the account of the miraculous
flame that burned for eight days on oil sufficient for only
24 hours, is NOT mentioned in the Apocrypha. A major historian,
Josephus (a Jewish general turned Roman historian), was the
first to refer to Hanukkah as the "Feast of Lights."
He also writes that Hanukkah assumed a completely different
character during the first century after Messiah came. It
was not until around 200AD, almost 400 years later, that an
after the fact story was written in Jewish writings called
the Gemara (*see note), trying to give some explanation to
the origin of the lights and why Hanukkah had become transformed
into a festival of lights. It was this story that suggested
a small container of oil, enough for only one day, miraculously
continued to supply sufficient oil for eight days, thereby
bringing the prominence of "lights" to the feast. Yes,
we all know that God can do it, but lets stick to the facts,
that was not what happened.
the Jewish historian, Hayyim Schauss,
the following about the lights:
very fact that legends were created in an effort to connect
the Festival of Hanukkah with the lights arouses suspicion.
Had this connection existed from the beginning, from the time
that Hanukkah became a festival, there would have been no
need to invent tales about them."
these facts call for explanations, and in accordance with
what we know of the customs, there can be but one explanation:
that the Hanukkah lights, originally had nothing to do with
the Hanukkah lights began to play an important role in the
generation before-the-destruction- of-the-second-Temple- we
cannot be sure."
End of quotes………….
the destruction of the second Temple is during the time of
complete domination by the Roman Empire and their pagan influences!
The historic records seem to validate at the very least, three
undeniable facts, (1) the similarities are too numerous to
overlook as coincidences, (2) all the lights came from some
custom other than Hanukkah, and (3) a cover-up story was invented
to validate the lights some 400 years after the fact…
Schauss and Josephus do not call it cloaking but they dance
all around it using words like, suspicious, tales, connecting
legends, and assuming characters.
NUMBER JUSTIFICATION OF THE EIGHT CANDLES
the 1900’s there were only eight know planets that were
illuminated by the sun (eight plus one). Due to the widespread
sun and planet worship of the ancient time, that fact is very
suspicious as the real reason relating to the number of candles
used at Hanukkah. The following is “the attempt”
to justify the “eight plus one” even
though the lighting of candles came much later and, more importantly,
the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob uses a seven candle Menorah.
Hanukkah lamp stand has nine lights. The one in the center,
called the "Shamash" or Servant candle, is higher
than the rest. In the Hanukkah tradition, the Servant candle
must be lighted first, and then used to provide light to the
remaining eight candles, on each of the succeeding eight days
of the Festival.
the numerical number eight does fit the symbolism for that
which is new beginnings. But, lets be honest, there are really
nine candles no matter what the tallest one is called. Probably
the most accurate reason for eight days of Hanukkah was the
dedication of Solomon’s Temple during the Feast of Tabernacles
was eight days. Here are just a few other examples explaining
the eight candles or eight days.
- Eight people were saved through
the judgment of the flood to begin a new human race.
- The eighth day begins the
- Leprosy was to be cleansed
on the eighth day to begin a new life (Leviticus 14.10)
- David, who was to begin a
kingdom under God, was the eighth son of Jesse
(I Samuel 16.10).
not forgetting that Israel was controlled by the Roman Empire,
one of the actual sources of the “Festival of Lights”
(candles) can be traced back to pagan Rome possibly before
the event of Hanukkah ever occurred in the Apocrypha. In addition
to the sun god lighting the eight planets, there was also
another winter festival practice by the Roman followers of
a goddess called Ceres, the mother of Proserpina. Her followers
would carry torches and candles used to light up the underworld
searching for Ceres. (Pagan rites paid to the dead - The Catholic
Encyclopedia) Also, the Pope would distribute candles on what
was called “Candlemass” and of course this fell
in the winter season also.
CAN WE CONCLUDE?
Honoring the rededication of God’s Temple is a good
thing, but it appears that Hanukkah has turned into something
blended by another origin. Even Jewish historians indicate
the true Hanukkah was a relative small feast until the birth
of Christianity. While Hanukkah and Christmas (The Winter
Festival) possess too many unusual similarities to overlook,
it would be impossible on that basis alone to determine the
Winter Festival has evolved disguised as Hanukkah. However,
considering all the suspicious similarities, plus the cover-up
oil legend 400 years after the fact, any reasonable man, wanting
to know the truth, will acknowledge the probability that compromises
were made over the years is far more than just coincidences.
compromises were most likely the product of replacing the
emotional loss of their favorite paganisms while converting
to Christianity. Withdrawal pains would easily explain how
any biblical theme could take on the characteristics of pagan
holidays, especially if you’re getting a quick fix substitute.
As mentioned before, Easter and Christmas are undeniable proof
how this tragic but successful cloaking trend gets imbedded
into our culture as the absolute truth. Just walk into any
Church today during Easter Sunday or the Christmas play and
blurt out, “you’re participating in pagan rituals
of the devil disguised with biblical themes,” and see
just how long it takes for you to be choked within an inch
of you life and thrown out at the same time. Hanukkah seems
He is, Yeshua (Jesus) is the "Light" of the world.
Judaism, however, does not recognize Him as the Messiah and
therefore, cannot exploit Him into their explanation of the
Hanukkah lights. The wisdom of God far surpasses that of man;
if they used Him as an excuse for the lights, ironically that
could be considered as acknowledging Him as the Messiah, thus
another reason for the oil story.
is absolutely no positive proof that Yeshua ever celebrated
Hanukkah, other than attempting to tie one scripture, not
two or three as the scriptures demand, but only one at a particular
time of year to His presence in Jerusalem. For crying out
loud, this is the city of the Great King and the House of
His Father. He was there many times teaching in the Temple,
whether it was Sabbath or not, Feast or not, and cold or hot.
What was Yeshua really thinking while He was walking around
on Solomon’s porch? He had already made it clear what
He thought about His Father’s House being made into
a mockery and a den of thieves. If He really was there, not
responding to Hanukkah, but rather reacting because of Hanukkah
practices, maybe, just maybe, He was looking for another whip
Part of the
Talmud, consisting primarily of commentary on the Mishnah.
Collection of early
oral interpretations of the scriptures compiled about A.D.
How can the Gemara story about the miraculous oil be categorized
in the Mishnah as commentary on the oral interpretations of
the scriptures? (1) It wasn’t in the scriptures,
(2) which means there wasn’t any scripture to interpret;
therefore (3) with nothing to interpret, there couldn’t
be any commentary on the interpretation especially since (4)
it was only an invented story some 400 years after the fact,
attempting to give some sort of explanation or hiding the
real origin or the unknown origin of the lights.
4:6 “My people are destroyed for lack of