Today is the third day of Hanukkah. As we have already shared, Hanukkah commemorates the rededication of the Temple after it had been defiled by the Greeks under Antiochus IV, also known as Epiphanes. It was in the year 168 B.C. that the first pagan sacrifice was offered on the altar and was thereafter known as Zeus Olympus. By the next year, the Hellenization of Judaea really reached its peak. According to the book of II Maccabees, an Apocryphal Book, the Jews were compelled, under the penalty of death:
“To depart from the laws of their Fathers, and to cease living by the laws of God. Further, the sanctuary in Jerusalem was to be polluted and called after Zeus Olympus.”
As the Greeks were going into all the Judean villages and towns to enforce this rule, they came to a village called Modi’in. It was here that the Maccabean Revolt began, and resulted in the rededication of the Temple, providing the background for the story of Hanukkah.
In reality, the story actually begins before the profaning of the altar in 168. A lot of people don’t realize that the hellenization of Judaea began at least five years before that event, in 173 B.C. That’s when Antiochus IV replaced the High Priest of Israel with another man more sympathetic to Epiphanes and his agenda. That person was later replaced by another man known as Menalaeus who was even more sympathetic to Epiphanes. This is what led to the extreme hellenization of Judaea.
These tyrannical and pantheistic incursions into traditional Jewish life began long before the blatant act of defiling the Temple or setting up an idol of Zeus in the Temple courtyard. God’s people were already being conditioned to accept these blatant and obvious offenses. Long before the abomination of desolation, foreign philosophies had already wormed their way into the midst of God’s people.
This is important because, today, we are witnessing the same thing. The slow but consistent infiltration and of traditional Judeo-Christian values by a foreign mindset that demands tolerance and coexistence has been going on for some time. It should be obvious by now that to conform this belief system requires surrendering, or at least compromising, belief in the One and Only God. Have you noticed that the “tolerant” crowd will coexist with just about anything and anybody except those who actually believe in the One God and His Word?
Sadly, too many who call themselves Believers buy into this coexistent mindset. They march in step with its drumbeat, in an effort to garner favor in the eyes of the world. Those who hold fast to Godly principles are being alienated and labeled as bigots, extremists, hate-mongers, and even terrorists.
So then, who is going to be the Judah Maccabee for our day? Who is going to stand up to the tyrants and their followers and say, “That’s enough.”? This should not be interpreted as a call to take up the sword in a literal way, but it is a call to take up the Sword of Truth. Frankly, we’re not going to win this war with bullets, bombs or even the ballot. The only way to overcome our Epiphanies is to follow the example found in Revelation 12:11:
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony and they did not love their lives, even to the death.”
Be one of those people. Don’t give in to modern-day pantheism but be one of those who overcome the Adversary by submitting only to the One True God.