Michael Brown on How the Ancient Maccabees Speak to Us Today

The Feast of Dedication, better known as Hanukkah, was just celebrated by Jews around the world, commemorating events that took place more than 2,100 years ago. But the lessons of Hanukkah are quite relevant to our times today.

According to the Jewish History website, “In the wake of Alexander’s appearance in and departure from Jerusalem [in the 330s B.C.], relations between Jews and Greeks were so good that an exchange of cultures took place. Each influenced the other. For the Jewish minority, however, what began as a small undertow of assimilation—such as giving children Greek names and speaking the Greek language—became a surprisingly powerful, high-speed rip current threatening to drag the caught-off-guard Jews out to the sea of complete assimilation.”

A similar pattern has repeated itself throughout history. The world around us, the believers, is so beautiful and sparkly. It is so appealing, so wise, so ascendant. Why can’t we be just like the world? Why must we be so different?

So, in small, subtle ways, we begin to take on the spirit of the age, in our educational system, in our entertainment, in the ways we dress and live and speak.

Soon enough, we have lost the fear of God; our morals have been compromised, and our kids have no connection to the values of past generations.

Sound familiar?

The website continues, “Jews who embraced Greek culture at the expense of Judaism became known as Misyavnim, or Hellenists. Estimates are that a third or more of the Jewish population was Hellenist, including those who reversed their circumcision, ate pork, bowed to idols and even became self-hating enough to side with the enemies of Israel. Hellenism threatened to annihilate the Jewish world through assimilation in ways tyrants tried but could not do by force.”

Had the Jewish people been ordered to apostasize, had they been commanded by ruthless tyrants to forsake the faith of their fathers, they likely would have resisted. Instead, they were seduced by the “enlightened” culture, by the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life (see 1 John 2:15-17).

As for Jewish men who had reverse circumcision operations, they did this to fit in with the crowd. After all, with major athletic competitions conducted in the nude, to be circumcised was to be an outsider. At all costs, they had to fit.

Indeed, “Had the situation continued as it was, the Greeks would perhaps have won the battle by default. However, they overstepped themselves.”

The same thing is happening in our day. The left is going too far.

Beginning in the 190s B.C., when factions in Alexander’s kingdom were at war with one another, the Jewish people were caught in the middle. Now their outlook began to change. That’s because, “Whenever a foreign army comes into a country it changes the view of the populace. Instead of an attractive culture, the Greeks were now an occupying enemy. Instead of something to be imitated, now they became something to be resisted.”

But “the Jewish people are very stubborn. The same person who is so stubborn that he will not observe the Torah in freedom will observe it with passion if forbidden from observing it. He becomes stubborn the other way.

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SOURCE: Charisma News