Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Feast of Dedication

John 10:22 And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.
John 10:23 And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch.

What is the feast of dedication? It is only mentioned here in the entire Bible. In consulting other sources I found that the Jewish name for this festival is Hanukkah. This is a joyous festival remembering the cleansing of the Temple. It is also called the Festival of Lights.

There was a Greco-Syrian king called Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who defiled the temple altar by sacrificing a pig on the altar and spilling blood on the sacred scrolls of the scriptures. The Jews were told to bow down to Greek idols that were set up in the temple and forbidden to worship the true God, nor to read the Word of God. Antiochus was a historical type of the coming antichrist who will make himself a god in the temple at Jerusalem.

A group of loyal Jewish men under the leadership of Judah Maccabee, who were known as the Maccabees fought the invaders for three years with the power of God. They regained control of the temple, cleansed and restored it removing all the Greek statues. The festival celebrates this cleansing of the temple and the return of the true worship to God.

The reason the day is called the Festival of Lights is because of a legend. It was said that there was only a small amount of oil, enough for one day to light the lamb called the eternal light. It took seven days to purify new oil for the temple light, but the old oil lasted for eight days which was a miracle.

I see some types here of Jesus who came to cleanse the temple of money changers and merchants. He called the place a "den of thieves" and it is supposed to be a house of prayer.

Mat 21:12 And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,
Mat 21:13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.

The oil that was made perfect in seven days, refers to the Holy Spirit, the seven referring to perfection or completion. The candle burning for eight days; could refer to Jesus who was raised on the eighth day and eight is the number of new beginnings. Jesus, Yeshua, came as the eternal light, to light our way by the Holy Spirit, making a new covenant, cleansing our temples, our bodies, by his atoning sacrifice. The time of the festival was in the winter, in mid December. So if you like to light up the lights at Christmas, remember Jesus, the eternal light who came to cleanse our temples and give us a new beginning; life more abundant and eternal life.

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