God's People Celebrate: Hanukkah
The Feast of Dedication; also the Festival of Lights
The Festival of Lights (Hanukkah [also Chanukah or Channukah] – a Hebrew word for Dedication) is not a Torah
mandated feast or appointed time, but has great historical, biblical, and prophetic significance to the
understanding of the whole counsel of scripture (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
Hanukkah is an annual eight-day festival commencing on the 25th of Kislev. The celebration represents multiple
themes, but foremost is the quest for freedom to worship Him according to what His WORD says. It was instituted
by Judah Maccabees and his followers: "Early in the morning on the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month, which is
the month of Kislev, in the one hundred and forty-eighth year [165 B.C.E.], they rose and offered sacrifice, as the
law [Torah] directs, on the new altar of burnt offering which they had built. At the very season and on the very day
that the Gentiles had profaned it, it was dedicated with songs and harps and lutes and cymbals. All the people fell
on their faces and worshiped and blessed Heaven, who had prospered them. So they celebrated the dedication of
the altar for eight days, and offered burnt offerings with gladness; they offered a sacrifice of deliverance and
praise. They decorated the front of the temple with golden crowns and small shields; they restored the gates and
the chambers for the priests, and furnished them with doors. There was very great gladness among the people,
and the reproach of the Gentiles was removed. Then Judas and his brothers and all the assembly of Israel
determined that every year at that season the days of the dedication of the altar should be observed with gladness
and joy for eight days, beginning with the twenty-fifth day of the month of Kislev." (1 Macc. 4:52-59)
Hanukkah was based on the rededication of the Temple after it had been defiled by pagans, and was also a late
celebration of Sukkot, just as Solomon’s Temple had been, and as Ezra and Nehemiah had done on the 25th of
Adar. Yeshua declared Himself "the Light of the World" (John 8:12) at Sukkot, and when He was in the Temple
(John 10:22), He reiterated this by saying, “I told you….” (John 10:25), referring back to His Sukkot declaration.
The word "Hanukkah" is found in Hebrew, and in Aramaic is "hanukta"; and in 1 Maccabee 4:59, it is "dedication of
the Altar"; and in the Greek is "dedication" (John 10:22) where it is an abbreviation of hanukkat ha-mizbeach,
“dedication of the Altar.” What this means to us biblically is similar to the four other times of the dedication of the
Altar, or the Ner Talmid (Eternal Light) restored, so that sin can now be covered until Messiah comes. If the
Maccabees did not re-dedicate the Altar there would not have been a Temple for the Lamb of G-d (the Messiah) to
come to, and then there would not have been Atonement for the World. This may not mean anything to some
people, but to G-d it must mean something, and to us it means a great deal, based on just how the principal of sin
and atonement is concerned. Think about it!!!!
There are four other dedications of the Temple recorded:
1. The dedication of the Solomonic Temple (1 Kings 8:2; 2 Chron 5:3), which took place in the seventh
month, or in the autumn (approximately B.C.E. 1003). This was coincident with Sukkot [the Feast of
2. The dedication at the time of Hezekiah (coincident with Passover – the first Hebrew month of Nisan), when
the Temple was purified from the abominations which his father Ahaz introduced into it (2 Chron 29)
(approximately B.C.E. 726). See HEZEKIAH.
3. The dedication of Zerubbabel's Temple, built after the captivity (Ezra 6:16), which took place in the month
Adar (Feb./March), coincident with Purim, in the spring (approximately B.C.E. 517).
4. The dedication of Herod's Temple (Josephus, Ant. 15:11, 6), (approximately B.C.E. 22). Some of the
church fathers have therefore thought that Yeshua (Jesus) is said to have gone to the celebration
commemorative of the dedication of Solomon's Temple, or of Zerubbabel's. The fact, however, was that the
evangelist John distinctly says, "And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter",
establishes it beyond doubt that our Lord went to the Feast of the Dedication instituted by Judas Maccabees.
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Congregation T’shuvat Yisrael-G-d's People Celebrate: Chanukkah
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