HANUKKAH, A Season of Dedication, 20.12.19

Although Hanukkah appears to be aligned with Christmas in some ways, the two holidays are mutually exclusive. Hanukkah, known as the FEAST OF DEDICATION, is a minor Jewish Feast – i.e., it was not decreed, or commanded by Yahweh as a required Feast/Holiday. However, after the Jews fought to the death to preserve their faith, during the Maccabbean revolt, this holiday was instituted.

During Hanukkah, one candle of the eight-branched candelabra (called a chanukkiah or Hanukkah menorah) is lit each evening to commemorate the historic occasion of the Maccabean Revolt led by Judah Maccabee in the fight against the Greek-Syrian oppressors who were attempting to annihilate them and destroy their culture by forbidding them to worship, to maintain their culture, their traditions, and religion. (1 Maccabbee in the Apocrypha provides more details of this event).

The Israelites fought to the death to maintain their right to worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in 165 B.C. The tradition of celebrating the event was thereby instituted, becoming known as HANUKKAH. What was different from the regular Erev Shabbat Menorah was the lighting of the 8 candles which symbolized the 8 days during which the candles maintained their light in spite of the fact that there was only one day’s provision of oil in their lamp at the time when the Israelites rededicated their Temple to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 

It was during this very feast that Jesus/Yeshua, in John 10:22, walked into the Temple of Solomon’s Porch, and declared His Deity. John 10 is the only place in Scripture where specific reference is made to the FEAST of DEDICATION:

John 10:22-30

22 Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter. 

23 And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch. 

24 Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, “How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.”

25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. 

26 But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. 27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 

28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 

30 I and My Father are one.”

Just as when the Enemy, through the Greek/Syrian/Seleucid states defiled the Temple with the slaughter of a pig, we have an Enemy always seeking to defile our temple, for “do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Cor.6:19,20).

Today, the tradition is maintained in honour of the miracle Yahweh provided through this sustenance of oil for 8 days. The ninth candle, known as the servant candle, is used to light each additional candle, for each successive day. “As Messianic believers, we are like the oil; we are to refuse to assimilate . . . we are, as Paul says in Romans 2, without excuse . . . The New Covenant likens our lives to a Menorah; we are to be lights in a dark world . . .” (Rabbi Goldberg, 14.12.19, “Romans 2 – Man Without Excuse”).

MATTHEW 5:

14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.

15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 

16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Hanukkah, the Feast of Dedication, is a time to honour Yahweh. Jews and Messianic believers light their Hanukkyiahs (Menorahs) in remembrance, in honour of, and to rededicate their lives to God for  “HANUKKAH is a call to HOLINESS. It is a time to rededicate ourselves to God; to come out of the things of the world . . .” (Rabbi Goldberg, 14.12.19, “Romans 2 – Man Without Excuse”). “God wants us to examine our hearts. What does Yeshua see when He looks at your Menorah? How is your walk with the Lord? Is your flame still burning bright?” challenges Rabbi Cal. 

This is a most time-relevant question for all of God’s people to ask themselves. We are living in a time when there is rampant compromise on the part of believers, political correctness invading values and doctrine being watered down daily. May our “light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt.5:16).

REFERENCES:

The Parallel Apocrypha, Edited by John R. Kohlenberger, Oxford University Press, 1997.

Romans 2 – Man Without Excuse – Rabbi Cal Goldberg, http://www.bethshechinah.com/sermon/romans-2-man-without-excuse-rabbi-cal-goldberg/

Scriptures taken from NKJV

© 2019 by Verna Crowther. All rights reserved.