Chanukah in Scripture and Its Significance in Our Own Lives

Chanukah in the scriptures, Hanukkah in the scriptures

If you are among those who celebrate Chanukah, then you have experienced questions from friends and loved ones, asking you for an explanation of why you celebrate it. Perhaps you have heard others say, “Chanukah is just a Jewish Christmas, what’s the difference?”, or “Chanukah is not one of God’s commanded festivals, so we have no need for it.”

Chanukah is not simply a time for gift-giving and candlelighting! The history behind Chanukah has a great deal of significance to each of our individual lives!


As we light the Chanukah candles each night, we remember the brave Maccabees and Antiochus. We connect with the miracle of God’s people defeating oppressive rule, and of removing the profanity that had defiled God’s house. We think about the cleansing of the altar, and we talk about the chance of 1 day of oil lasting 8 days, and whether this really happened, or whether it’s just an illustrative story. The history and stories are a large part of Chanukah, however, is this really the part that will strike a personal interest in the hearts of your friends and loved ones if they don’t relate yet to this history? Not likely!

Well then, perhaps they will be interested to learn that Chanukah is mentioned in the Bible over a dozen times! Well hey, that’s a dozen times more than the word Christmas is mentioned. I’ll bet they did not know that!

A little study of the word Chanukah in the Bible reveals something of great importance for each of us individually, as well as for God’s people collectively.

The word Chanukah means DEDICATION or CONSECRATION. To be ‘consecrated’ means to be ‘set apart’.

Chanukah was the time and event when things were dedicated, consecrated, and set apart.

In scripture, Chanukah is mentioned a number of times, usually referring to the dedication of something specific such as the temple, or the altar, but also the wall of Jerusalem, and even an image to Nebuchadnezzar!

We can see that Chanukah was an established observance, for we read in John 10:22 “it was at Jerusalem the feast of CHANUKAH, and it was winter, And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch.” Jesus/Yeshua observed Chanukah and it was no mere coincidence that he went to the temple at this time. He knew that this was an event for dedicating things…for setting things apart for a higher purpose, as a simple investigation of the word Chanukah and Chanak will prove.


Here are the scriptures that the actual word CHANUKAH and CHANAK are used:

(Strong’s H2596, H2597 H2598).

Numbers 7: 10, 11, 84-88

And the princes offered for dedicating (CHANUKAH) of the altar in the day that it was anointed, even the princes offered their offering before the altar. And the LORD said unto Moses, They shall offer their offering, each prince on his day, for the dedicating (CHANUKAH) of the altar….

This was the dedication (CHANUKAH) of the altar, in the day when it was anointed, by the princes of Israel: (it then lists the large amounts of silver and gold that were involved)… This was the dedication (CHANUKAH) of the altar, after that it was anointed.

Deut 20:5

And the officers shall speak unto the people, saying, What man is there that hath built a new house, and hath not dedicated (CHANAK) it? let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man dedicate (CHANAK) it.

2Chronicles 7:5,

And King Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty and two thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep: so the king and all the people dedicated (CHANAK) the house of God. And in the eighth day, they made a solemn assembly: for they kept the dedication (CHANUKAH) of the altar seven days, and the feast seven days.

1 Kings 8:63

And Solomon offered a sacrifice of peace offerings, which he offered unto the LORD, two and twenty thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep. So the king and all the children of Israel dedicated (CHANAK) the house of the LORD.

Ezra 6:16, 17

And the children of Israel, the priests, and the Levites, and the rest of the children of the captivity, kept the dedication (CHANUKAH) of this house of God with joy, And offered at the dedication (CHANUKAH) of this house of God a hundred bullocks, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs; and for a sin offering for all Israel, twelve he goats, according to the number of the tribes of Israel.

Daniel 3:2

Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counselors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication (CHANUKAH) of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.

One scripture where CHANAK is mentioned tells us to dedicate our children to God’s ways!

Proverbs 22:6

Train (CHANAK) up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it

Nehemiah 12:27

And at the dedication (CHANUKAH) of the wall of Jerusalem they sought the Levites out of all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem, to keep the dedication (CHANUKAH) with gladness, both with thanksgivings, and with singing, with cymbals, psalteries, and with harps.

Well, so far in these scriptures we can see that Chanukah was a time for many sacrifices, which meant there was much food and feasting, and we see also that there was music, singing, and gladness as the dedications took place. We clearly see that Chanukah is for setting something apart, and see that often this was to dedicate the temple or altar of God. More than likely, your friends and loved ones are familiar with the scriptures that say God’s people are considered the temple of God? Let’s just read a few:

1 Cor 3: 16, 17 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

1 Cor 6:19, 20 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

2 Cor 6:16-18 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

Did you know that there is even a song for Chanukah in the Bible? It is Psalms 30. As we read it, you’ll see that it is not difficult for each of us individually to relate David’s words to our own personal lives.

Psalm 30

A Psalm and Song at the dedication (CHANUKAH) of the house of David.

I will extol thee, O LORD; for thou hast lifted me up, and hast not made my foes to rejoice over me. O LORD my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me. O LORD, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave: thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit. Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness. For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. And in my prosperity I said, I shall never be moved. LORD, by thy favour thou hast made my mountain to stand strong: thou didst hide thy face, and I was troubled. I cried to thee, O LORD; and unto the LORD I made supplication. What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit? Shall the dust praise thee? shall it declare thy truth? Hear, O LORD, and have mercy upon me: LORD, be thou my helper. Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness; To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee forever.

These are just the Biblical occurrences of the word Chanukah, but there are even more mentions in valuable, historical writings outside of the Bible itself.

We all like to be armed with a good answer when our friends and loved ones have questions about our religious practices.

Perhaps now, the next time you are asked about Chanukah, you will be able to teach them the following:

* Chanukah is in the Bible over a dozen times.

* The dedication – chanuk- of the temple and altar is really about the dedication of us, dedicating our lives to His purposes only.

* Chanukah is about keeping ourselves pure, and not profaning our temple with unclean things.

* Chanukah reminds us to resist the influences & attacks of this world.

* Lighting candles each night is a visual aid, seeing the light of the candle replacing the darkness in the room. We are reminded that God’s light, shining through us, will push out the darkness in this world.

Perhaps these answers, and perhaps by them seeing God’s light shine through you, will ignite a spark in the heart of the next person who asks you about Chanukah, and they will be inspired to read “the rest of the story” themselves!

by Annie Doll


Did you know that Y’shua was conceived on Chanukah?

Chag Chanukah Sameach!

Happy Festival of Lights!

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed;”

Luke 4:18 NKJ