Why is Hanukkah Happy?

12 12 2020

Dry Bones Hanukkah 2020

We are in the eight days of Hanukkah and many have no idea of the meaning, even though it is in the New Testament. The simple definition is “dedication.” That is how you discover it in John’s Gospel. You may be surprised to learn that Jesus observed this holiday.

“Now it was the FEAST OF DEDICATION in Jerusalem, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch. 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.” John 10:22-24

Hanukkah is called the Feast of Dedication for a reason. About 150 years before Jesus came, the Greeks desecrated the Temple in Jerusalem and were going to destroy it. The Jew defeated them under Judas Maccabee, but then needed to rededicate the Temple. The special nine-candle menorah, called a Chanukkiah, commemorates that great victory.

In the year 168 BCE, the Temple in Jerusalem was desecrated and renamed for the Greek god Zeus. Antiochus had outlawed Judaism, banning the observance of Shabbat and holidays. He set up altars to Greek gods in the Temple, and gave Jews a choice that unfortunately would become familiar in future centuries: Convert or die. The Maccabees decided to resist instead — and won, despite facing overwhelming odds. Forward.com

Jewish tradition tells us they had only enough oil for one day, but needed eight days to consecrated more oil. Thus the miracle of the oil lasting eight days. Yet, the real miracle was the defeat of the Greeks. So, they have eight candles that are lit sequentially each day. But what about the ninth candle? The Jews call it the servant candle, used to light the others. What an amazing revelation for Christians of Jesus who is called the servant-king and is the light of the world!

“Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” John 8:12

There is one more thing about the context of Jesus in the Temple for Hanukkah. They asked Him if He really was the Messiah to tell them plainly. A bit further down in John 10, the answer comes when He says he told them and they did not believe, and ends the paragraph with this declaration:

I and My Father are one.” Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. John 10:30-31

They did not kill Him this time. It was one of half a dozen times they tried to kill Him before His time. But why? They considered it blasphemy to equate Himself with God. The reason they drew Him into declaring as the Messiah was so they had an excuse to kill Him. Yet, that would only come in the appointed manner and time of God’s own choosing.

I hope you see the value as a Christian to lighting the Hanukkah candles. Yes, we identify with our Jewish roots, but more importantly we worship and proclaim Jesus as the Son of God, Yeshua ben Yehovah!

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem and continue to pray for seasonal rains in Israel.

Les Lawrence, voice of Christian Zionists                      (Read more)








%d bloggers like this: