The Feast of Dedication – Chanukah

The Feast of Dedication – Chanukah

And it shall come to pass in that day That the remnant of Israel, And such as have escaped of the house of Jacob, Will never again depend on him who defeated them, But will depend on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. Isaiah 10:20 (NKJV)

The Feast of Dedication – Chanukah (Hanukkah) that literally means “Dedication”– is celebrated in 2013 beginning at sundown Wednesday, November 27th and continuing through Thursday, December 5th.  The history of Chanukah began with the capturing of Judea by Alexander the Great, who had conquered most of the ancient world of the Eastern Mediterranean.  As the generals of Alexander the Great’s army divided up the empire after the conquest, the area of Judea came under the control of Antiochus IV Epiphanies. Antiochus tried to force the Jews to accept the Greek culture, even resorting to defiling the Temple by erecting a statue of the god Zeus in the Holies of Holies. The Jewish people revolted and fought a courageous war to drive out the Greeks sometime around 163 B.C.  The Jewish people were then able to enter the city and worship in their Temple.

Thus began the Feast of Dedication which celebrates the great deliverance of the Jewish people from their oppressors and the dedication of the newly cleansed Temple. Jewish tradition states that there was only a one-day supply of the special oil that was burned in the Temple menorah, and the process to make more would take eight full days. As the people lit the menorah on the first day, and the oil miraculously burned for eight days while more was being prepared.

Today, Chanukah is celebrated with a nine branch candelabra or menorah. The eight branches recall the eight days the oil burned miraculously, while the ninth is the servant candle that is used to light the other candles. Each evening during the eight-day feast, one more candle is lit – one the first night, two the second night – until all eight candles plus the servant candle are burning brightly on the last night. The servant candle is called the “Shamash,” and literally means “makes use possible.” Chanukah, also called the Festival of Lights, is often accompanied by the giving of gifts.

Yeshua (Jesus) went to Jerusalem for the Feast of Dedication, and while in the Temple area He proclaimed His divinity: “I and my Father are one.” (John 10:30 NKJV) 

In the future, there will be another desecration of the Temple in Jerusalem, and the need will exist to cleanse the Temple yet again.  Another ruler, the Antichrist, will declare himself to be god and demand the worship of the world. Like Antiochus IV Epiphanies, he will desecrate the rebuilt temple with his image, rendering it utterly desolate. The line will be drawn again, the Jewish people will be faced with the choice to assimilate or be annihilated. Many will fall away and bow down to the false image, but the faithful within Israel will flee to the wilderness. That time of great tribulation will be like nothing the nation has ever experienced. But God, who is faithful, will again remember His people Israel. He will send the Messiah to deliver the remnant of Israel and raise up a new Temple to which God’s glory will return. (Isaiah 4:5, Ezekiel 43: 1-6)

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