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Trains

What Happened to the Locomotive in Home Alone?

It only appears for roughly 12 seconds, rolling inbound to Chicago from Winnetka. It’s quickly forgotten by the next shot, a masterpiece in itself. “I’m a criminal”, says Kevin as he stares glumly down at the toothbrush he had just stolen from a shop.

It appears to be METX #149, a unit from the highly-successful F40PH series that was manufactured by Caterpillar-owned Electro Motive Diesel (EMD). According to Wikipedia, this locomotive was built between 1977 and 1989.

Somewhere between 2008 and 2012, #149 was rebuilt to newer specifications. As you can see, the external differences are minor, if not imperceptible.

Before

METX 149 makes his stop
Source: Chad Malinovsky

After

Glen Ellyn Arrival.
Source: Peter Z.

Back in 2019, I used to commute for work to/from the city via the Union Pacific Northwest (UP-NW) line. During my morning commute on February 18 I snapped these photos of #149 heading inbound at 08:10 AM.

The locomotive was still in service since these photos were taken. I was able to find on RR Picture Archives and a video upload on YouTube that it was still operating in 2020.

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Photos

Autumn 2021

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Israel and the Diaspora Jewish Holidays

Hanukkah, Night Eight


Written by my friend Aaron Gann, reproduced here with permission.


Today on the eighth day of Hanukkah, let us focus on that of turning.

It is a call for us to remember, to look back and be inspired by the recollection of God’s deliverance.

This week as we have celebrated Chanukah, one of the most treasured traditions is that of playing a game called Dreidel. Now for those who don’t know, a dreidel is a small rectangular top with four letters, one on each side. Players first put game pieces in the center and then take turns spinning and seeing which side it lands on, which determines the player’s action in the game.

The four letters in particular are נ Nun, ג Gimel, ה Hey and שׁ Shin. These four letters stand for the phrase: Nes Gadol Hiyah Sham (A Great Miracle Occurred There). It is a call for us to remember, to look back and be inspired by the recollection of God’s deliverance.

During this game we remember that we are to resist the world, that we are to dedicate ourselves to The Lord, that we are to love The Lord with all our being and trust Him. We remember that just as the Maccabees cleansed the temple, so too does The Lord cleanse us, just as they gave The Lord all they had, so too are we to give, even if it seems like a pitiful amount. We also remember the Shamash, a picture of the Holy Spirit and of The Servant of The Lord, Yeshua The Messiah. We remember that He came as the Light of life for all men, so that through Him all people may become children of God.

Lastly we remember that though these previously mentioned miracles are wonderful, things that we as a people should never forget. Yeshua has performed an even greater miracle, for all that have accepted Him are now Born Again (John 3), previously we were all born of the flesh, born physically, but now we have been born of Spirit. We have turned from our old ways, for in Hebrew the word for repentance is Shuvah which means to turn back. We are now a new creation, holy and pleasing to Him. His Spirit now residing in us, has cleansed us from all unrighteousness and has now awakened us to a new life in service to Him. During this Hanukkah time we remember that Nes Gadol Hiyah Sham, a Great Miracle Occurred There. Or better so, as they say in the Land of Israel, Nes Gadol Hiyah Poh, and A Great Miracle Occurred HERE! During this season, let us take time to reflect on the greatness of the miracle that is Salvation From The Lord, Yeshua, and His ever present working in our lives.

Shalom and Chag Sameach

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Israel and the Diaspora Jewish Holidays

Hanukkah, Night Seven


Written by my friend Aaron Gann, reproduced here with permission.


Tonight on the seventh night of Hanukkah, let us focus on our Lord and Saviour Yeshua, the Servant of The Lord, and the Light of the World.

Throughout much of history, Hanukkah has been seen as a Jewish holiday. Something that belongs only to Judaism and has nothing to do with Christ or Christianity for that matter. Thought often comes down to the fact that the Jews celebrate Hanukkah, while we Christians celebrate Christmas, and they often stand in stark contrast to one another. However as we have seen this week, Hanukkah has EVERYTHING to do with Messiah. Without Hanukkah, we wouldn’t even have Christmas, as there would not have been an Israel for Yeshua to be born into.

Ironically this holiday, while being the most popular of the Jewish celebrations, is not mentioned anywhere in the Old Covenant scriptures. The events are foretold in the book of Daniel and described in detail, however the holiday itself of Hanukkah is nowhere to be found. Even in what we would call the apocryphal books of Maccabees, it merely tells the story. However it IS mentioned in the Christian Scriptures, and so if one is going to be technical about what is what, then the scriptural authentication of the Hanukkah lies only in the books written of the New Covenant.

The passage in question is found in the Besorah (Gospel) of John chapter 10 verses 22-23 and which we read,

At that time the Feast of the Dedication took place at Jerusalem; it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple in the portico of Solomon.

Remember that Chanukah means “Dedication” and so Yeshua was in Jerusalem during the feast of Hanukkah. During one of these eight nights Yeshua was walking in the Temple compound, specifically in Solomon’s Porch, an area that many believe was in the eastern section. However He was not alone for the passage continues,

The Jews then gathered around Him, and were saying to Him, “How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.”

For the past few months, Yeshua had been doing just that. He had been traveling from synagogue to synagogue, proclaiming Himself to be the Messiah. Not only sending out His disciples with the good news of the Messianic Kingdom that would soon be at hand. He also has been Himself teaching, as One having His own authority and not on the basis of previous rabbinic sages. If that was not enough, He also had been healing the sick, curing the lame and casting out demons, works that should have at the very least rendered Him a great prophet. He even went so far as to perform special miracles that the Pharisees taught only the Messiah would be able to do. Yet these particular people still asked Him if He was the Messiah, because they would not simply believe on Him. Yeshua replies in this vein stating,

…I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me.

With this He begins His sermon to them, He says that He has ALREADY told them, and that the works that He has been doing are the testimony that what He says is true. However He does not stop there, instead He targets the real problem, not that His signs are simply not enough, rather because they lack faith in Him, and until then they will never believe. Continuing on He says,

But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.


Keep in mind that this was during the feast of Hanukkah, and as they tell the story they would undoubtedly remember that during that time the Jewish people were divided over the issue of Hellenization (an issue that was still ongoing due to the Sadducees). And so He begins to make a distinction, those that would trust Him as their Shepherd, and those that do not. For the ones who trusted Him recognized who He was, while the rest questioned Him and stood in opposition. He then goes on to state that those who have already placed their trust in Him, would be kept safe by Him, that He was the good shepherd who gives to His sheep eternal life. That they would not be able to be snatched out of His hand, because His Father had given them to Him, and His Father was greater than all, and that He Himself was the same as the Father. That He was God Himself. Now in answer to their accusations of He being obscure, He has now said a very clear bold statement, He and the Father are One.

They then begin to pick up stones in order to execute Him, for what they hear from His lips is a blasphemous statement, because they do not recognize Him for who He is. When He asks for what work are they doing this, they reply not because of a good work, but because He made himself to be God. He forced them to make a choice, and so they chose to reject Him as their shepherd. He then goes on to defend Himself in a very Rabbinic way,

“Has it not been written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’? If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?

He makes His point by saying that if the Judges themselves could be called gods by God, who were incredibly wicked, how can they claim that by He saying that He was the Son of God, called and sanctified by Him, that He was blaspheming.

If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.

He goes back to His first point, that He does the works of His Father, and that these works are themselves a testimony to His Messianic claims, and that if they cannot simply believe on Him, then believe in His works so that they may be led to Him. They would understand that He and the Father were One and the Same.

Therefore they were seeking again to seize Him, and He eluded their grasp.

Sadly, as John wrote in the beginning of His gospel, (John 1:11) “He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him”. Though there was, and still is a believing remnant, many of His own people ultimately rejected Him as their Messiah, and continue to till this very day.

Tonight as we stare at the lights, let us reflect on what it means to be His sheep, to truly say in our heart, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want”. What it means to truly rely upon Him and to follow Him, trusting in the works that He has performed not only in the world, but in our own personal lives. Tonight let us also pray for the world, that they may see the Light of the World, that those who are blinded, their eyes may be opened. Let us also focus specifically for a time, though the rest of the world is in need of a Messiah as well, upon the Jewish people. For they had become like sheep without a shepherd, still holding onto that Messianic hope.

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Israel and the Diaspora Jewish Holidays

Hannukah, Night Six


Written by my friend Aaron Gann, reproduced here with permission.


Today on the sixth day of Hannukah, let us continue our focus on the Servant of The Lord, Yeshua The Messiah by talking about the Shamash.

Yeshua said to His disciples that they were to serve one another, just as He came not to be served, but to serve.

Every night when we celebrate this holiday, we light the menorah, adding lights each night. To light these candles, one may not use any simple fire, nor may each candle simply light one another. Instead, the lights must be lit by a special candle, that which is called the Shamash. The word Shamash means “helper” or “servant” and its primary responsibility is to serve the other candles by kindling them.

Yeshua said to His disciples that they were to serve one another, just as He came not to be served, but to serve. That He who would be greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven, must be the servant of all. So too does the Shamash teach us this, for it is elevated above the other candles. Placed higher than the rest would seem to indicate a higher status, and yet it is not counted among the candles, instead it is lit every night in order to light others. This is servant leadership, which Yeshua exemplified. He is the Servant of The Lord who came to kindle our souls, awaken that which was dead to new life.

The Shamash also gives us another example of The Lord. Another name for this candle is the HELPER candle. Shortly before our Lord was executed, He told His disciples that when He left them, He would ask His Father to send the Helper. This Helper, which is also known as the Holy Spirit, is described in this passage as having two primary purposes. The first is to teach them all things, and secondly to bring to remembrance the things they had learned from Him.

The Shamash, though a picture of Messiah, is also a picture of His Holy Spirit which lives in the hearts of all believers. For it is He who brings to us the remembrance of the things of Messiah, just as the Shamash lights the candles for us to remember the story of Hanukkah. Just as the lights shine in the darkness, kindled by the Shamash. So too are we now children of Light, kindled by The Spirit of Truth.

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Israel and the Diaspora Jewish Holidays

Hanukkah, Night Five


Written by my friend Aaron Gann, reproduced here with permission.


Today on the fifth day of Hanukkah, let us focus on another aspect, that of lights.

Every night we will kindle lights which serve to remind us of all that God has done and will continue to do for us.

One of the most fundamental aspects of celebrating Hanukkah, aside from the food and festivities is that of lights. Every night we will kindle lights which serve to remind us of all that God has done and will continue to do for us. When we light the candles, we are not to make use of them, for that would downplay their purpose. These are not simple lights that are used for everyday purposes where another candle or light would easily suffice. These lights are to serve as a visual reminder of the Menorah which stood in the Holy Place and the miracle thereof.

By the time of first century Israel, Hanukkah had taken on a second title, the festival lights. Indeed, for not only do we light these lights, but we place them by a window for all the world to see. In essence it is a testimony of our faith in The Lord and His promises of deliverance. It also stands for a light that shines in the darkness, for though the darkness of the world was closing in on the Jewish people, the Light of The Lord continued to shine, and never was able to be completely snuffed out. Instead it shines defiantly against the dark, its brilliance shining for all to see.

In his book, the prophet Isaiah spoke of person, known as the servant of The Lord. This man would be One in whom The Lord delights, that He would have His Spirit upon Him. He would not break a bruised reed, nor extinguish a burning wick. Of This servant Isaiah writes,

He says, “It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant

To raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel;

I will also make You a light of the nations

So that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”

This servant would be none other than The Lord Himself, His Word come in the flesh. For as John writes, “In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.” the servant would be known by the name of Yeshua, Salvation from The Lord, a man who would not only save His own people from their sins, but also would be a light to the nations. Just as the Menorah would shine bright illuminating the darkness, so too Has His light shone in the darkness of the world and illuminating the hearts of those who have believed on His Name.

He is the Light of the World and those that follow Him shall also have the Light of life, and will no longer stumble in darkness (John 8:12). Today as we celebrate the fifth day of the Feast of Dedication, let us look at the lights and remember our Messiah and Savior. Yeshua, the servant of The Lord who sets the captives free and opens up the eyes blinded by darkness.

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Israel and the Diaspora Jewish Holidays

Hanukkah, Night Four


Written by my friend Aaron Gann, reproduced here with permission.


Today we stare at the lights of Hanukkah, let us focus on one of the most important symbols of the Holiday. The burning of the candles or oil.

According to later Jewish tradition, after the Maccabees had made their way to Jerusalem and had begun to clean up the temple, they were stuck with another dilemma. In order for the Holy Place to be completely dedicated, they had to light the Menorah, the seven branched candle stick that provided the light within.

When Antiochus had entered into the temple, desecrating it, he also had allowed the oil to run out, causing the fire to die. This was something that The Lord had commanded not to happen, for it was to be Aish Tamid, a continuous fire. This fire was to burn perpetually inside of the Holy Place where the priests would minister, and it was to represent the presence of God in their midst.The dilemma came because they could not find enough oil for it to last the entire amount of time needed for new oil to be prepared. Instead all that could be found was one jar that still had the High Priests seal on it. This one jar would only last one day, whereas it takes eight days in order for the oil to be properly prepared. It was ultimately decided, however, that though it would go out the next morning, it would again be kindled regardless, for it had stood empty for long enough.

The next day however, when they came to check on it. The people found the Menorah still burning, this continued until the next day, and the day after that. The oil continued to burn for all the days that were required to bring to it a fresh supply, and thus it is traditional that we light candles or burn oil for the eight days of Hanukkah.

During the time of First century Israel, there was much debate on how to light these “Chanukias” a lampstand with nine branches, eight for the lights and one for the Servant lighter. One Jewish school of thought stated that one should start with all eight lit, and diminish one each night, signifying the counting down of the days and the shrinking of the miracle as the oil was being prepared. In stark contrast, another Jewish school of thought stated that one should start with a single light, and continue to add because the miracle grew day by day. Ultimately it was decided to add the lights rather than diminish, for God caused to the oil to burn for as many days as would be required.

Tonight as we stare at the lights, let us remember that The Lord does not require of us to have eight days of oil to give to Him. Rather He asks us to give, just as the Maccabees, all that we can, and He will cause it to last for however long He needs it too. That even when it seems that all that we can give is woefully insufficient, and that it will shortly go out, He will cause it to burn.

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Israel and the Diaspora Jewish Holidays

Hanukkah, Night Three


Written by my friend Aaron Gann, reproduced here with permission.


Tonight, as we light the candles and stare into the lights, let us focus on another aspect of Hanukkah: Dedication.

The central focus of Hanukkah is that of dedication, indeed that is what the very word means. It is a time when we remember that the Maccabees, those brave souls who dared to take a stand against the tyrant king Antiochus, cleansed and dedicated again the Holy Temple of the Lord. Last night we talked about resisting the world, tonight we will talk about what happened after they resisted, fought back, and won.

In its place stood a disaster: objects smashed, gold stripped, the altar covered with pigs’ blood and a statue of the pagan god Zeus, which stood in mockery over the altar.

The rebellion that began in Modi ‘in last for about three years before they were able to return to capture the Holy City of Jerusalem. Three years spent hiding and ambushing. Hammering them in one place and then another, as a wrecking crew tears down a wall. Therefore, they were given the name of Maccabees, for they hammered their foes wherever they struck. However, even though they successfully resisted and fought back, it did not undo the damage that had been done.

When they entered the temple compound of Jerusalem, it was hardly recognizable as the holy place it had once been. A place that had been completely dedicated to The Lord. In its place stood a disaster: objects smashed, gold stripped, the altar covered with pigs’ blood and a statue of the pagan god Zeus, which stood in mockery over the altar. The temple of the Lord was no more. For all the fighting that they had done, it was for nothing if the Temple was ruined.

However, the Maccabees did not allow that to deter them from their goal. Instead, they immediately began to clean it, washing away the destruction that had been caused by their enemies. They tore down the statues, washed the walls, cleaned the altar, and began working on that which had been destroyed. They did not allow themselves to be defeated, even in the face of so much death and hatred against The Lord.

Tonight, as we stare into the candles, let us remember that our lives were once as this temple. Jew or Gentile, we were all lost and desecrated before God. Lost in our sin and dedicated to the world. Let us remember tonight that it is Yeshua who has promised that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). That just as the Maccabees did not stop until all the work was complete, so too has He promised to finish the good work He has begun in us (Philippians 1:6).

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Israel and the Diaspora Jewish Holidays

Hanukkah, Night Two


Written by my friend Aaron Gann, reproduced here with permission.


Tonight, let us focus upon one of the major themes of Hanukkah: Resisting the world.

He called them to be a peculiar people, a distinct people, a people whose lives centered around The Lord and His glory.

As we read in last’s night story, the Jewish people faced a dangerous foe, one more dangerous than any that had been encountered before. More dangerous than any Pharaoh or Nebuchadnezzar. More dangerous than any battle they had been in. For this enemy was not something tangible, a force of evil that could be resisted as a person, this was a foe that crept into the hearts of the people even before they themselves knew it.

When Israel was under Greek control, they began to come under the influence of Greek culture through a process called Hellenization. What this did was assimilate all that they once held dear, things that were basic foundations to their faith and began to replace them with the things that the world held dear. The latest fashion became more important than prayer, Greek philosophers such as Aristotle began to become as highly regarded, if not more so, than the works of Solomon. They even began to speak Greek as their own tongue, and many were unable to read or understand the scriptures in the way they were written in Hebrew.

The People that God had chosen had begun to lose their way of life, their way of being. Instead, giving into the world’s idea of what a person should be, becoming tolerant of things that had been understood as abhorrent to The Lord. However, The Lord did not call them to be like the world, though they were very much in it. He called them to be a peculiar people, a distinct people, a people whose lives centered around The Lord and His glory.

Tonight, as we stare at the lights of the Menorah. Let us remember that as believers in Yeshua, we too are called to be a peculiar people. We have become children of the Most High (John 1:12-13). Paul picks up this point in his letter to the Church in Rome where He writes,

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 12:2

the Lord has not called us to be worldly people

Today this idea is exceedingly difficult to obtain, we are constantly bombarded with all forms of media and advertisements which tell us what to say, do, think, and practice in our own lives. We measure our values of success based upon what the world says it is. We are called out on our faith by people who hate the very idea of God and are labeled as intolerant bigots for refusing to let go of what is deemed as archaic values. However, the Lord has not called us to be worldly people with a taste of Yeshua. Rather, we ourselves are to be a peculiar people in the world. A people that are distinct from the things around them.

Does this mean that we are to go into hiding, exiling ourselves away from the outside world? By no means, for one of the greatest commissions that The Lord has given us is to go into the world making Disciples and telling people of His glory, not just verbally, but in every action we do.

Tonight, as we celebrate the second night of Chanukah, let us be transformed, our minds renewed towards Him, our Lord and Saviour so that in these dark times, we may know what is good, acceptable, and perfect.

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Israel and the Diaspora Jewish Holidays

Hanukkah, Night One


Written by my friend Aaron Gann, reproduced here with permission.


TLDR: They tried to kill us, we survived, lets eat.

Tonight, starts the Feast of Dedication, Chanukah. During these next eight days, we will celebrate the miracles that God performed on our behalf, eat fried foods, and tell the story of the Maccabees, a family of Jewish believers who refused to be assimilated into the worldly culture of the Hellenistic Greco-Syrians and instead initiated a rebellion against the antichrist-like figure Antiochus Epiphanies. It is also a time of reflection as we remember that our Messiah, Yeshua, our Eternal High Priest, is called the Light of the World and that we who follow Him will never walk in darkness. We remember that just as the Maccabees refused to forsake their God for the world, so too are we, “in the world but not of the world.”

Tonight, let us tell the story of Hanukkah.

It was a time of looming darkness; it had not been long since Israel had finally returned from the seventy long year exile of the Babylonian/Persian Empires. They had come back and rebuilt the temple and had enjoyed a time of prosperity. A time of relative peace in which they could freely worship The Lord and offer the sacrifices on the altar, so long as they lived under Persian rulership as a vassal state. But, as all earthly empires do, the Persian empire fell to the new power of the Greeks under a man by the name of Alexander the Great.

How the Greeks ruled was vastly different from the Persian Empire, which allowed people to govern themselves, instead they instigated a practice known as Hellenization. In short, Alexander began to Greekify the populace of those that he conquered. These nations would learn to speak Greek, study Greek Philosophers, go to see Greek sports and worship Greek gods. By doing so, the people would willingly follow the Greek rulers as, after the first or second generation, they became unrecognizable from the people who had conquered them in culture.

Alexander was so flattered…that he allowed them to retain their culture, language, and worship

However, things were different with Jerusalem, when Alexander had begun his march against the holy city, legend has it that the high priest went out to meet him, paying him homage. He then proceeded to tell Alexander how their prophets had written about him and that they were fully aware of his coming. Alexander was so flattered, so the legend goes, that he allowed them to retain their culture, language, and worship, they simply had to offer a sacrifice to God on his behalf. Unfortunately, Alexander died, as all men do, in his early thirties and without heirs.

Antiochus was a narcissistic man who gave himself the name Epiphanies, a name which conveyed godlike illustriousness.

His kingdom, therefore, was divided amongst his four generals; Cassander, Lysimachus, Ptolemy, and Seleucus. Though all four play a special role in history, they two most important ones are the last two, the Ptolemies in the south and the Seleucids in the north of the Land of Israel.

Israel was originally under the control of the Ptolemies in the south and now closely related to Egypt. It was during this period of Jewish history that the influence of Hellenization that had been delayed under Alexander was now beginning to take root. Not by force, but voluntarily. Many Jewish people began to dress in Greek clothes, use Greek mannerisms and even had abandoned their language in favor of Greek. It was during this phase that the Greek translation of the Torah, what we know as the Septuagint or the LXX, was written.

The Seleucid Empire, however, began to make war with the Ptolemies and eventually captured Israel. Under this dominion came even greater influence of Hellenization and the eventual rise of a man by the name of Antiochus, a general king who would cause some of the worst persecution that the Jewish people have ever known.

Antiochus was a narcissistic man who gave himself the name Epiphanies, a name which conveyed godlike illustriousness. In short, he believed himself be like a god. Unlike Alexander who left the Jewish people alone, Antiochus began forcing Hellenization upon them. He set up Greek events and stationed a Hellenistic high priest in the temple, and the Jewish people began to split between themselves, would they agree with this new way of life or stay true to the law that God had given them?

This conflict between the Jewish people culminated after one of the most humiliating experiences Antiochus had ever faced. Antiochus had begun a new campaign against the Egyptians in the south, but unbeknownst to him, they had established an alliance with the growing empire of Rome. Antiochus was met by a Roman General who told him to stop everything that he had been doing and turn back home. Antiochus, extremely dishonored told the man that he needed time to decide and the man simply, drew a circle around Antiochus, telling him to take all the time he needed but he was not to step out of the circle until an answer was given. Antiochus, realizing that he could not defeat two empires on separate fronts decided to retreat. And so, this man who reckoned himself to be like a god, was told what he could and could not do by a mere soldier and was forced to retreat in shame.


Thus, he was given the title Maccabee which means “the Hammer” because he hammered the Greeks wherever he struck.

Back in Jerusalem a rumor had begun that Antiochus, rather than being forced to retreat, had been killed. Those who had despised what Antiochus had begun doing to their people began to rejoice, holding festivals and throwing down the high priest he has established, reinstating their own proper priest. Antiochus marched back by the city and saw what had transpired, and so his fury was kindled against the Jewish people more than it ever had been before.

He marched into the city and declared to them to join him or die and began to tear apart the things in the temple, destroying the precious objects. He set up a statue of Zeus over the altar and sacrificed a pig, an animal that was strictly unclean and not be sacrificed. He made it illegal to practice anything from The Law. No circumcision, no Torah reading, no Sabbath, no worship of any god other than his. Those who defied these laws were executed in painful, often humiliating, ways to establish fear. There were many martyrs during this time. The rest of the people, the ones who agreed with Hellenization joined Antiochus and became prominent men in his empire.

After his victory in Jerusalem, he ordered his men to go from town to town, erecting altars and forcing the priest, or synagogue leader, to sacrifice a pig upon this altar, thus swearing their allegiance to the Antiochus and his gods. However, in a little town of Modi ‘in, a man by the name of Mattathias, an elderly priest, refused. This prompted another young man in the crowd, who was in favor of Antiochus, to make the sacrifice instead. Mattathias slew him and the Seleucid general before the sacrifice could be made, and He and his sons began a revolt against the Seleucids in what became known as the Modi‘in revolt.

Mattathias, being an old man, passed away shortly after the rebellion began and his son, Judah, took over. Judah and his men began a series of Guerilla tactics against the Greek armies and began driving them back. Thus, he was given the title Maccabee which means “the Hammer” because he hammered the Greeks wherever he struck. This went on for three and a half years, but eventually, they were able to make their way into Jerusalem and when they saw the desolation, the Maccabees began to clean it. They toppled the statue and washed the altar, and decided that because they were unable to celebrate Sukkot in its proper time, they decided to celebrate it now on the 25th of Kislev, which was an eight-day festival.


this one jar of oil lasted not one day, but all eight until more oil could be prepared for use

Later Jewish tradition also tells us of another miracle that occurred. When it came time to light the Menorah, the seven-branched lampstand that stood in the Holy Place, they could only find one jar of oil, which would only last one day. The problem also was that it took eight days to prepare this special oil and so if they lit it now, it would be unable to burn perpetually as God had commanded, however they decided to light it regardless, in order to rededicate the temple fully and this one jar of oil lasted not one day, but all eight until more oil could be prepared for use.

Thus, we celebrate Hanukkah for eight days, to remember the miracles that God performed on behalf of the Maccabean army, as realistically they should not have been as successful as they were, that they were able to cleanse the temple at all and that He caused the oil to last a miraculous amount of time.