End of Times: Hanukkah and the Refiner’s Fire

Hanukkah and the Refiners Fire ani

But who can endure the day of His coming? And who will be able to stand when He appears? For He will be like a refiner’s fire and like cleansing lye. (Malachi 3:2)

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Evidence of Hanukkah’s Maccabee rebellion unearthed in Israel / Live Science, November 23, 2021

Evidence of Hanukkahs Maccabee rebellion unearthed in Israel

Archaeologists have discovered the burned remains of an ancient Hellenistic fortress in Israel that fell to Jewish rebels more than 2,000 years ago.

A guerrilla army called the Hasmoneans, also known as the Maccabees, defeated and set fire to the citadel during the revolt that is commemorated by the Jewish festival of Hanukkah. Researchers recently found the ruined stronghold at a site in the Lachshish Forest in the foothills of the Judean Mountains in southern Israel, representatives with the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), said in a statement.

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Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Second Temple in 165 B.C., at the time of the Maccabean Revolt against Syria. Hanukkah 2021 will begin in the evening of Sunday, November 28 and ends in the evening of Monday, December 6.

During the time of the Maccabees, Antiochus IV had his forces desecrate the Jerusalem Temple and its altar of worship, by slaughtering a swine on the altar and erecting a statue of Zeus with his own likeness in the sanctuary.

statue of Zeus with his own likeness in the sanctuary

Antiochus IV was a type of the future Antichrist. After three years, his army was defeated by Judah Maccabee, and he was overthrown. The Temple was cleansed and rededicated to the worship of the God of Israel.

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Hanukkah actually means “dedication,” and refers to the re-dedication of the Temple to the service of God after it had been defiled with the pagan images and practices. According to the intertestamental Book of Maccabees, Hanukkah was a second, belated Feast of Tabernacles. The temple wasn’t ready to be rededicated at the Biblically prescribed time of the Feast of Tabernacles, so the Jews rededicated the cleansed temple roughly two months later in the ninth month (in December).

rededication of the Second Temple

Waving palm branches and crying Hosanna were associated with the festivals of Tabernacles and Hanukkah, both of which celebrated a ruler riding in to free Jerusalem. Palm branches were waved at the first Hanukkah as the people celebrated the victory of Judah Maccabee. The palm branches of Jesus’ final entrance into Jerusalem encapsulated the hope of the people that he, like Judah Maccabee, would lead the people to freedom.

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The story of Hanukkah does not appear in the Old Testament because the events that inspired the holiday occurred after it was written. The first Biblical mention of Hanukkah—the Feast of Dedication—appears in the Book of John:

Then the Festival of Dedication took place in Jerusalem, and it was winter. Jesus was walking in the temple complex in Solomon’s Colonnade. Then the Jews surrounded Him and asked, “How long are You going to keep us in suspense? If You are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”

“I did tell you and you don’t believe,” Jesus answered them. “The works that I do in My Father’s name testify about Me. But you don’t believe because you are not My sheep. My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish—ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.” (John 10:22)

In history, another great event occurred around the time of Hanukkah, a “super sign.” That was the British capture of Jerusalem from the Turks in 1917 during the closing battles of WWI. British general Allenby took Jerusalem from four hundred years of Turkish control on the day before Hanukkah, 1917.

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Hanukkah seems to play a part in the timetable of the Antichrist:

“Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened. (Matthew 24:15-22)

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During the second half of the 7 year Tribulation, the world is dominated by the Beast. That is the final manifestation, the final product of the spirit of antichrist. He will be one final, supremely evil, supremely powerful ruler, who will dominate the human race for that brief period.

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The Beast is the supreme embodiment of man’s rebellion against God and rejection of God’s laws. He is also called the son of perdition, the one who is headed for a lost eternity. Why will Satan give his power to this person? Because that will enable this person to gain dominion over the entire human race and to persuade the entire human race to do the one thing that Satan wants most: to worship him. This is his goal.

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He will make a firm covenant
with many for one week,
but in the middle of the week
he will put a stop to sacrifice and offering.
And the abomination of desolation
will be on a wing of the temple
until the decreed destruction
is poured out on the desolator. (Daniel 9:27)

In Daniel and the Book of Revelation, we are told that the Beast stops the Daily Sacrifice in the Temple, sets up the Abomination of Desolation, blasphemes against God, and persecutes the Saints of the Most High God for a period of three and a half years.

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They worshiped the dragon because he gave authority to the beast. And they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to wage war against him?”

A mouth was given to him to speak boasts and blasphemies. He was also given authority to act for 42 months. He began to speak blasphemies against God: to blaspheme His name and His dwelling—those who dwell in heaven. And he was permitted to wage war against the saints and to conquer them. He was also given authority over every tribe, people, language, and nation. All those who live on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name was not written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slaughtered. (Revelation 13:4-8)

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Is it possible that a future Hanukkah will mark the deliverance of Israel from the Antichrist?

If the Lord had not been on our side
when men attacked us,
then they would have swallowed us alive
in their burning anger against us.
Then the waters would have engulfed us;
the torrent would have swept over us;
the raging waters would have swept over us. (Psalm 124:2-5)

Psalm 124 recounts how God saved His people from destruction in the Exodus. Prophetically, this points to Satan trying to destroy all of the Jews during the Great Tribulation. They are airlifted to a secure location. This is symbolically detailed in Revelations:

When the dragon saw that he had been thrown to earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child. The woman was given two wings of a great eagle, so that she could fly from the serpent’s presence to her place in the wilderness, where she was fed for a time, times, and half a time.

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From his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river flowing after the woman, to sweep her away in a torrent.

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But the earth helped the woman. The earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the river that the dragon had spewed from his mouth. (Revelations 12:13-16)

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It ends as they acknowledge, “Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 124:9)

Could Israel’s liberation happen on a future Hanukkah date?

What will happen after that?

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The Refiner’s Fire

“See, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. Then the Lord you seek will suddenly come to His temple, the Messenger of the covenant you desire—see, He is coming,” says the Lord of Hosts. But who can endure the day of His coming? And who will be able to stand when He appears? For He will be like a refiner’s fire and like cleansing lye. He will be like a refiner and purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver. Then they will present offerings to the Lord in righteousness. And the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will please the Lord as in days of old and years gone by. (Malachi 3:1-4)

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Malachi says that, when the Lord returns, no one will be able to stand before Him. The Lord’s holiness and judgment will be as a refiner’s blazing fire and as a fuller’s bleaching agent. The idea of “standing” before the Lord is associated with “withstanding” or “standing up to”; sinful human flesh will not have the strength, the right, or the desire to resist the Lord in His glory (cf. Psalm 76:7; Revelation 6:17).

refiners blazing fire

The two similes help clarify why no one will be able to stand in the Day of the Lord. First, Malachi 3:2 says the Messiah will be like a refiner’s fire, an allusion to the process of purifying metal. A refiner uses a fire to heat metal to a molten state; then he skims off the dross that floats to the top. The refiner’s fire is, of course, maintained at an extremely high temperature, and such a high degree of heat is the prophet’s picture of the testing people will face on Judgment Day. All judgment has been entrusted to the Son (John 5:22). Upon Christ’s return, the intense flame of God’s judgment will purify the earth, removing the dross of sin.

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Second, the Messiah will be like a launderer’s soap. This type of soap was caustic and quite effective in producing bright white clothing. The HCSB translates it as “cleansing lye.” When Christ returns, He will cleanse the world of all impurity. Every stain of sin will be scrubbed away. The account of Jesus’ transfiguration contains a reference to His purity, using language similar to Malachi’s: “He was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them” (Mark 9:2–3).

Jesus appears in the clouds.
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The refiner’s fire and launderer’s soap indicate the holiness and burning judgment of the Messiah when He returns to reign in Jerusalem at His second coming. His purifying brightness and absolute holiness will affect those who serve Him, creating a cleansed temple and purified priesthood. “See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power, and his arm rules for him. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him” (Isaiah 40:10).

Jesus second coming 2

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Now to Him who has power to strengthen you according to my gospel and the proclamation about Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept silent for long ages but now revealed and made known through the prophetic Scriptures, according to the command of the eternal God to advance the obedience of faith among all nations—to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ—to Him be the glory forever! Amen. (Romans 16:25-27)

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If you are not sure that you are saved, you can accept Christ into your life right now, by praying:

“Lord Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins.  Please forgive my sins and give me the gift of eternal life.  I ask you in to my life and heart to be my Lord and Savior.”

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Spread the Word:

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Send any comments to raptureandendtime@gmail.com 

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Donate – Save Souls!

For this is what the Lord has commanded us:

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8)

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Eagles Arise International Ministries is a Christian, mission-centered enterprise. Through the Rapture and End Times website, we provide eschatology-related information to a global community.

Each day, millions around the world turn to the internet for answers to their spiritual questions. They’re looking for truth, for something to fill the emptiness within. They ask questions like: ‘Am I loved?’ ‘Is there a God?’ ‘What’s my purpose in life?’

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Think about all the money it costs to put on a mass evangelism event like a Billy Graham crusade. You have to rent a stadium, advertise your event, and hire people to help you setup and tear down. Plus, you’ll need to coordinate hundreds of volunteers to help.

But, even people in poverty-stricken countries can now afford a relatively cheap phone or tablet. The thing is that whether they buy an expensive product or a cheap one, all these devices are capable of giving a digital presentation of the gospel.

When Jesus gave the commandment, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation,’ the disciples were on foot. There was no television, no radio, no airplanes, and certainly no internet. What a difference 2,000 years can make! Or for that matter, 10 years. Today, more and more people are coming to faith in Christ by logging onto the World Wide Web.

The internet may be the greatest tool that God has ever given the church to help take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Internet evangelism is strategically using internet, mobile, and social media platforms to meet the needs of others and share the Gospel with the online world. 

With internet evangelism, we share the Good News 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We meet people in their moment of need with the hope of Jesus Christ.

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Through online ministry, our mission field is expanding to reach people we might never reach in person. They need to know that Jesus Christ is the only One who gives us true purpose and fulfills our greatest need.

We are independent and can’t be cancelled. The need for fact-based Biblical analysis with an international perspective on critical events has never been greater. When you support Rapture and End Times, you support Christian freedom of expression at a time when it’s under direct attack.

As you know, time is running out. We have a unique opportunity to preach online now. No one knows how long that access will last. 44,000 people perish each day without hearing the Good News. Help us to reach them now, before it is eternally too late!

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Reader Comments:

Today’s message is terrific! Well put together, as your usual through the Holy Spirit. 

GospelGail, November 29, 2021

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The Prophet Haggai mentions the 24th Day of Kislev three times.
Haggai 2:20-22…..On that Day, I shall shake the heavens and the earth, I shall overthrow kings and rulers…..destroy the military powers.

Keraz, November 28, 2021


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