“He shall speak words against the Most High, shall wear out the holy ones of the Most High, and shall attempt to change the sacred seasons and law; and they shall be given into his power for a time, two times and half a time.” (Daniel 7:25 NRSV).

Today is the day most Christians celebrate the birth of Christ. During the Christmas season, many pastors preach sermons on the gospel birth narratives. Within Matthew’s account we see that King Herod, irate at being tricked by the Magi, sent an order that all the children in and around Bethlehem (2 years and younger) be killed. (Matthew 2:16-18) Satan, through Herod, was trying to wipe out the seed of the women who was prophesied to crush the head of the Serpent.(Genesis 3:15). Does this sound familiar?

The king of Egypt (Pharoah) gave a very similar order to his people, to drown every Hebrew boy in the Nile. (Exodus 1:22). This is what Antiochus Epiphanes did on the 25th of Chislev by having infants hung on the necks of their mothers and killing all those children (boys) who were circumcised. Throughout every time period Satan has tried to wipe out Jacob’s line. During the time of Antiochus Epiphanes that line was the Judean people. Why? A king would come from Judah to rule over all nations. (Cf: Genesis 49:10). Why then did Satan chose the 25th of Kislev for the abominating sacrifice when the statue was put up 10 days prior?

The answer lies in the book of the prophet Haggai. ” Consider from this day on, from the 24th day of the ninth month (Kislev). Since the day that the foundation of the Lord’s temple was laid,… From this day on I will bless you.” (Haggai 2:18, 19b NRSV). Satan considered this day and he knew the prophesies of Haggai 2:6-9 where the wealth of the nations would be in God’s temple. The glory of the latter temple would exceed the glory of the former (Solomon’s Temple). By profaning that glory and having a king claim to be God, Satan was trying to change God’s seasons.

God raised the Maccabee family to preserve His remnant and the Messianic line. Hanukkah is the celebration of that deliverance. It is also the hope of God’s Shekinah glory returning to a future temple. EJ