Tuesday, November 23, 2021

What About Hanukkah and Purim?

In my last post, I exposed the "golden calves" of Christianity, which includes its false holy days.  In this post, we're going to examine Hanukkah and Purim to see if they also count as "golden calves" as well.  Some who wish to justify the observances of the traditional "Christian" holidays will point to these days (which are not mandated by God's Law) and say, "if these aren't okay, then why are Hanukkah and Purim okay?" under the premise (which they know is false) that these traditionally "Christian" holidays are not of pagan origin.  If we remove the deceitful premise, then the question is perfectly valid.

Let's start with Purim, since the record of its institution is in the Bible, in the book of Esther.  The description is in Esther 9:20-32.  The day was established as a celebration and memorial of God delivering the descendants of Israel from an enemy (Haman) that sought to destroy them completely.  And that the remembrance of that day shall never die from among the descendants of Israel.

So, is Purim okay?  If so, why?  I'll let you decide the answer to the first question as well as your rationalization.  But here's what I've noticed, and what my opinion on this matter is.  There is nothing in the text about Purim being a feast to Yahweh, like what Aaron and Jeroboam I did during their times.  That means it's not masquerading around as a holy day to be celebrated in addition to or in the place of something that God has ordained.  And there's absolutely no indication that anyone is attempting to even claim that God is commanding its observance.  In addition, there's also no indication in the text that this day was derived from any pagan practices, except the giving of gifts.

I did however, find that there are those who believe that the book of Esther is an example of historical fraud, designed to justify and sanitize what they claim is a holiday that is on par with a version of Halloween that includes indulgence in sexual sin.  Make of these claims and any presented evidence what you will.  But if these claims are true, then the book should be removed from the Biblical canon, for historical fraud does not belong in the canon of Scripture.  Also, if these claims are true, then Purim absolutely should not be celebrated for the reasons discussed in my previous post.  Also, I will be investigating these claims and the evidence presented.  Interestingly enough, when I first started writing this paragraph, I was going to conclude that Purim is okay, now I'm not so sure about that.  It is entirely possible that, once I finish my investigation, my answer to the question "is Purim okay" will be a definitive "no".

Okay, so I can't give a definitive answer to Purim.  Hopefully I can give one for Hanukkah.  But you're not really supposed to be relying on what I say about anything, anyways.  Do the research for yourself and draw your own conclusions.  Hanukkah is not found in the Bible (except in passing in one verse in the New Testament), but it is found in the Apocrypha.  The account of it's establishment is found in 1 Maccabees 4:36-39.  And in 2 Maccabees 10:1-9, it is recorded that the day was originally kept in the order of the Feast of Tabernacles.  Interestingly enough, the text says that they worshiped Heaven, not God.  That is definitely sinful, and it shows how just how hard it is to rid yourself of all pagan practices.

I have found no historical evidence that the feast was called "the festival of lights" until long after the day's establishment.  But there is definitely a pagan feast called "the festival of lights".  I believe this to be a paganization of the celebration.  I've also found no evidence of the miracle of the one day's worth of oil lasting eight days.  This appears to be an embellishment of the Talmud.  There is also no record of a 9-branch variant of the Menorah until much later on.  There is also the tradition that the first Hanukkah was the Feast of Tabernacles that year because they weren't able to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles that year at the appointed time.  This is the only tradition that has any sort of historical support for it.  That's because of 2 Maccabees 10:1-9, which I mentioned earlier.  But I haven't found any definitive proof of that tradition either.

In terms of the first Hanukkah being a late Feast of Tabernacles, the Torah does give precedent for such things.  In Numbers 9:10-13, God gives provision for eating the Passover later than the appointed time if you are unable to eat it at the appointed time.  That would make the first Hanukkah perfectly fine to celebrate.  But what about the Hanukkahs that come after that one.  Some interpret Jesus not condemning the holiday as a nod of approval.  And even celebrating it himself.  Others interpret the mention of the holiday as simply a convenient reference to the timing of the events described, not being meant as either affirmation that the holiday is okay, nor condemnation of the holiday.  I can see both points of view.  It's important to remember to distinguish between what the text says, and the interpretation of the text.  The Bible does not state that Jesus was celebrating Hanukkah.

Now in modern times, Hanukkah has been highly paganized because of Christmas.  This paganized version of Hanukkah is definitely not okay.  Neither are any other paganized forms of Hanukkah.  But what about as recorded in 1 and 2 Maccabees?  Well, there's no record of it being established as a feast to the Lord, either in addition to, in in place of what God has established.  In addition, the celebration, as described in Maccabees, is in the order of the Feast of Tabernacles, not in the order of any of the surrounding pagan holidays.  And I can find no evidence that contradicts the historical record of Maccabees.

There is however, an apparent link to paganism found in the date of the celebration:  The 25th day of the 9th month, which on a solar calendar, would be the winter solstice (which would later become the 25th of the 12th month).  It is entirely possible that in the year that the Temple was desecrated, the 25th day of the 9th lunar month coincided with the winter solstice.  But there's no evidence in the text that the winter solstice has anything to do with the celebration.  Because, if it were, they would have tried to fix the date to the winter solstice rather than to wherever the 25th of the 9th lunar month fell each year.  They seem to be ignoring the solstice altogether.  But there are paganized forms that do place importance on the winter solstice.  So I'm going to conclude that Hanukkah, without all of the pagan traditions that are associated with it, is perfectly okay.

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