Chanukah's lesson for today’s America

The holiday is actually about fighting and winning a brutally imposed "culture" war – against impossible odds.

History is full of seemingly hopeless situations that were overcome by people who refused to give up.

Chanukah provides this universal lesson: If you do your part, God will do His.

December 13, 2023

[Note: Three years ago this month we published “Chanukah’s lesson about America in 2020.” This year – with so much going on – we’ve gotten several requests for an updated version.]

Today is the sixth day of the eight-day Jewish holiday Chanukah. Most people (and sadly, many Jews) see Chanukah as sort of a Jewish version of Christmas. They don't really understand what it's about and what it teaches us. It celebrates something very important about man and God.

It’s a celebration of man’s determination and God’s miracles.

Chanukah is in fact relevant to what we're going through right now. It's about struggling against and ultimately winning — with God's help — a seemingly unwinnable culture war. The foes then and now are the same: oppressive government and armed enforcers, thoroughly dominated by pagan and godless motives that are determined to permanently transform society.

Today’s oppression against normal people

And, yes, things in America are looking worse than ever before as the Left’s ruthless “transformation” of society has only escalated.

The Constitution is blatantly ignored by those in power. The courts are openly ignoring the rule of law. Radicals are running state and local governments, propelled by massive election fraud which has become ingrained in the system. Left-wing violence is openly allowed, but the government suppresses legal pro-family protest. The FBI is brutally terrorizing and imprisoning conservatives for minor (or imaginary) infractions, while leftist criminals go free and unchecked. The government is spying on us all.

Street crime and massive shoplifting are at all-time highs as prosecutors refuse to prosecute criminals. Horrible pornography is being pushed on children in public schools and libraries, while parents who object are labeled “domestic terrorists.” Abortion is declared an “unalienable right” as pregnancy help centers are hounded out of existence. Millions of illegal aliens are brought into the country and supported by billions in tax dollars.

The massive government debt is drowning us, adding to spiraling inflation. State-sponsored censorship is rampant. The media aggressively gaslights everyone to smother the truth. People are being fired from their jobs for having the wrong political opinions. The homosexual and transgender movements are celebrated in federal agencies. Religious beliefs are suppressed and even punished in businesses, government, and public schools. And on and on.

Chanukah’s setting in historic Israel: Complete religious and cultural oppression by a powerful pagan force

In the second century B.C., the powerful Syrian empire (also known as the Seleucid empire) took over Israel. By around 170 B.C., they were ruthlessly forcing paganism and secularism on the country and banning traditional religious practice.

It got worse and worse. Pagan holidays, customs, and religious practices were harshly imposed on the citizens of Israel. Statues of pagan gods were erected throughout the country and in the Temple. People were required to bow down to idols and make sacrifices to them. If they refused, they were tortured and killed. Yet this aggression was supported by many Israelites who welcomed the “modern” changes. (Sound familiar?)

It came to a point where no public acknowledgement of God was allowed anywhere. Sabbath observance, study of the Bible, and other Jewish customs and rituals were completely banned under pain of death. Bibles were destroyed where found.

Sadly, many Jews embraced the pagan customs and willingly abandoned God. And most religious Jews simply complied as little as they could get away with but offered no resistance. (Sound familiar?) As a result, the anti-religious oppression continued unimpeded and grew stronger.

The first miracle: The battle and the victory

Finally, a small band of unyielding believers had had enough. Known as the Maccabees (from the Hebrew word for "hammer"), they staged a revolt in their village and then fled into the hills. They formed a resistance movement, and gathered a guerrilla army to win back their country. Such a feat was considered impossible against the powerful Syrian empire controlling the country. But the Maccabees fought on.

They refused to give up. Their guerrilla encounters became ever bolder. Many Israelites joined them, resulting in incredible successes against the Syrian forces. It was shocking. They had victory after victory. Within three years, they drove out the Syrians and took back their country. With God's help, they finally won!

The second miracle: The eight days of light

They brought worship of God back to Israel. The Maccabees marched into Jerusalem to clean out and re-purify the Great Temple, which had been turned into a pagan shrine where pigs were being sacrificed.

But as they re-dedicated the Temple, they found only a one-day supply of holy oil to light the sacred lamps. It would take eight days to make more of that oil. But that one-day supply miraculously lasted all eight days (until more holy oil was made). It seemed unbelievable! From that miracle, an eight-day celebration of Chanukah (which means "dedication" in Hebrew) has continued ever since.

Taking back our country is not impossible

Thus, the holiday of Chanukah is actually about fighting and winning a war against oppressive and vicious state-forced paganism, and overcoming near-impossible odds.

We should take Chanukah’s lesson to heart. Even though the forces ruling us want to drastically change society and replace God in our lives with the secular state and ever more ruthlessly impose godless secularism on us throughout society, do not give up. The battle is not lost. Seemingly impossible circumstances can and will be overcome with God's help.

That is God’s message to all of us: If you do your part, God will do His. But you must be willing to fight back. If the Maccabees hadn't stepped up, what would have happened?

History is full of these situations

History is full of seemingly hopeless situations that were overcome by people who refused to give up.

The American Revolution is a good example. And less than forty years ago the world saw how a few revolts by determined people spread and ultimately brought down the vast Soviet empire – which at that time no one thought was possible.

But good people must be willing to take action

That’s the other message to Chanukah. You can't sit on the sidelines. It's necessary for people to leave their comfort zones and take action, if victory is to come.

Lately, many people have been saying that they’re afraid to fight this battle because leftists will call them names, or they don’t want to risk getting fired from work, or they simply don’t want to seem “mean-spirited” to the perpetrators, etc. But the message of Chanukah is that people must join the fight if miracles are to happen.

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