The Feasts of Israel – Dedication (Hanukkah)


These are the Lord’s appointed times, holy assemblies, which you must proclaim at their appointed time. (Leviticus 23:4 NET)

Historical Background of the Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah)

Besides the festivals mentioned in the Law of Moses, other festive seasons were also observed at the time of our Lord to perpetuate the memory of great national deliverances or great national calamities. The former were popular feasts, and the latter were public fasts. Though most, if not all, are alluded to in the Canonical Scriptures, it is extremely difficult to clearly understand how they were kept in the Temple. Many of the practices connected with them, as described in Jewish writings or customary at present, are much later than Temple times or apply rather to the festive observances in the various synagogues of the land than to those in the central sanctuary. And the reason for this is evident. Though those at leisure might like to go to Jerusalem for every feast, the vast majority of the people would naturally gather in the synagogues of their towns and villages, except on the great festivals. Moreover, these feasts and fasts were more national than typical—they commemorated a past event instead of pointing to a great and world-important fact yet to be realized. Lastly, being of later and not from the Law of Moses, the authorities at Jerusalem did not venture to prescribe special rites and sacrifices for them, which, as we have seen, constituted the essence of Temple worship. (4)

The Feast of Dedication starts on the 25th day of Kislev, the ninth month on the Hebrew religious calendar (1), 75 days after the Day of Atonement(s), and is celebrated for eight days.

Hebrew Calendar with Feasts

The Feast of Dedication is not in the Law of Moses, so it was not designated as a “Pilgrimage Festival,” meaning there was no requirement for all males to “pilgrimage” to Jerusalem during this time, as is required for all Pilgrimage Festivals (1).

Three times a year all your males must appear before the Lord your God in the place he chooses for the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the Festival of Weeks, and the Festival of Temporary Shelters; and they must not appear before him empty-handed. (Deuteronomy 16:16 NET) (cf, Exodus 23:16–17; Exodus 34:22,23)

Three annual Pilgrimage Feasts that all males had to attend:

  • Festival of Unleavened Bread
  • Festival of Weeks
  • Festival of Booths (aka, Shelters or Tabernacles)
Hebrew Names of the Feast

Channukah or Hannukkah

The first name is Channukah or Hannukkah, which is the Hebrew word that means “dedication.” It is called “The Feast of Dedication” because it marks the occasion when the Jewish Temple was rededicated after it had been desecrated by the Greeks. (2)

Then came the feast of the Dedication in Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple area in Solomon’s Portico. (John 10:22–23 NET)

Since English and Hebrew are written in different alphabets, Hebrew words must be transliterated to the English alphabet to be readable in English. It seems simple enough, but there is no standardized Hebrew-to-English transliteration system, so it’s become a bit of a DIY case-by-case situation. Hence, why there are multiple spellings for many Hebrew and Yiddish words (like Matza/Matzo). (20)

In Hebrew, “Hanukkah” begins with the letter “Chet.” Since the “Ch” sound doesn’t really exist in the English language (kind of like a “j” sound in Spanish dialects), Chet has become a particularly controversial letter to transliterate. Some people use “H,” and others use “Ch.” (20)

Another difference is the double “k” in some spellings, like Hanukkah, as opposed to the single one in others, such as Chanukah. (20)

“This relates to a diacritic mark known as a dagesh: a small dot inside the Hebrew letter kaf (כּ) which changes how that letter is pronounced.” (20)

“The kaf with dagesh in modern Hebrew makes the same sound as a single English k, so why double it?” they say. “The answer lies in Classical Hebrew, which used the dagesh to indicate the intensification (doubling) of a consonant. So the כּ in Classical Hebrew did sound like two k’s pronounced in quick succession, hence the kk in some English spellings.” (20)

Hag Ha-Orim

The second common name is Hag Ha-Orim (Hag means “Feast”), which means “The Feast of Lights.” This name is found in the writings of Josephus, who was a first-century A.D. Jewish historian. This second name is based on a legend. (2)

The legend states that when the Jews rededicated the Temple and wished to rekindle the lampstand, they found enough oil for only one day. It would take eight days to make a new supply, but they decided to kindle and burn up the one-day oil supply anyway. The legend states that the oil lasted for eight days by a miracle. So it became known as Hag Ha-Orim, the Feast of Lights. (2)

The historical books of the Maccabean Revolt, such as 1 and 2 Maccabees, mention no miracle. It is found only in later rabbinic tradition. Actually, no such miracle took place. But because of that legend, the most common English name for this feast today is “The Feast of Lights.” In Hebrew, the most common name is Channukah, but Channukah does not mean “The Feast of Lights”; it means “The Feast of Dedication.” (2)

There has never been a ruler like Alexander the Great. He conquered more of the known world in less time, with more lasting impact than any ruler before or after him. Alexander’s father, Philip, became king of Greece by force. Christians know of him because of the letter written by the apostle Paul to a group of Christians in a city named after Philip. It was called Philippi. (3)

When Philip died, Alexander succeeded him and began a brief but spectacular conquest career that lasted not more than a decade (336–323 B.C.). Alexander did the impossible. He conquered the mighty Persian Empire. In 333 B.C., Alexander met and defeated the Persian king Darius III in a decisive battle at Issus. He then entered Syria and conquered the Middle East, including Israel and Egypt, where he built the city of Alexandria. (3)

After subduing Egypt, Alexander returned to the East and occupied the great Persian capitals of Babylon and Susa. He pushed as far as the Indus River in India, where his troops became homesick and forced him to turn back west. In 323 B.C., while laying plans for future battles, Alexander died suddenly of a fever in Babylon at thirty-three. (3)

Alexander’s most important victory was not of a military nature. His greatest conquest was spreading Greek culture, the Greek language, and a Greek worldview. This process is called “Hellenism,” based on the ancestral name of the Hellenic race of people who came to be known as the Greeks. (3)

Socrates tutored Plato, Plato tutored Aristotle, and Aristotle tutored Alexander (384-322 BC), who planted the dream in young Alexander’s mind of a one-world civilization united by Greek culture, Greek language, and the Greek way of life. This idea motivated Alexander to conquer the world for Greece. He sought to share his glorious culture and language with the rest of humanity, whether they wanted it or not. (3)

Alexander did this by establishing Koine (Coy-neigh) Greek as the common language worldwide and building Greek city-states where he incorporated Greek culture, Greek literature, philosophy, Greek religion with its many gods, Greek customs, and the Greek way of life. (3)

During this Koine period, many spoke Greek as a second language. Increased trade and travel had a regularizing effect on the language. Consequently, a “common” or ordinary dialect emerged. This κοινὴ διάλεκτος (common dialect) is well preserved in innumerable papyri and, importantly, in the writings of the New Testament. (19)

Alexander died without making the necessary arrangements for a successor. Following his death, Alexander’s generals fought for control of the empire. It was eventually divided into four parts, each governed by one of his generals. One general was given the area of Macedon and Greece, another Thrace and Asia Minor, the third Syria and Babylon, and the fourth was given Egypt. (3)

The general who ruled over Egypt was named Ptolemy. He established a powerful dynasty that prospered under him and his successors. The last and most famous of the Ptolemaic rulers was Cleopatra, who ruled independently through the support of Julius Caesar and Mark Antony until she died in 30 B.C. At this time, the Ptolemaic dynasty came to an end. (3)

The general who ruled over Syria was named Seleucus. He also established a powerful empire with Antioch as the most important city in his kingdom. Antioch was destined to become the first major non-Jewish center of Christianity and the headquarters from which Paul left on his missionary journeys. (3)

Now those who had been scattered because of the persecution that took place over Stephen went as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, speaking the message to no one but Jews. But there were some men from Cyprus and Cyrene among them who came to Antioch and began to speak to the Greeks too, proclaiming the good news of the Lord Jesus. The hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. A report about them came to the attention of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he came and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with devoted hearts, because he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith, and a significant number of people were brought to the Lord. Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught a significant number of people. Now it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians. (Acts 11:19–26 NET)

As was common in ancient times, the Seleucid kings were worshipped as gods. They also spread Alexander’s Hellenistic dream. The Seleucid Empire gradually diminished and was annexed by Rome in 64 B.C. (3)

The Seleucids and Ptolemies constantly fought each other in an attempt to expand their respective empires. For more than a hundred years, the little land of Israel was caught in a power struggle between them. At times, the Plotomies were victorious and ruled over Israel, while at other times, the Seleucids were the victors. (3)

When Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175–164 B.C.) came to the Seleucid throne, his empire was stronger than the Ptolomies’. He was the most oppressive and cruelest of the Seleucid kings and was determined to spread Hellenism throughout his empire. (3)

Antiochus made a systematic attempt to replace Jewish faith and culture with Greek culture. He was determined to destroy the Jewish people through assimilation. Antiochus forbade the Jewish people to practice their religion. They could not practice circumcision, observe the Sabbath, celebrate the feasts, keep their dietary laws, study the Torah, or worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. (3)

Antiochus stopped the temple ritual and ordered the burning of the Torah. He erected a statue of Zeus in the temple and built a new altar dedicated to Zeus, on which he offered a sacrificial pig. Antiochus thought himself to be the manifestation of Zeus, so he called himself Epiphanes, which means “God manifest.” Antiochus then poured the pig’s blood over the Torah. (3)

He erected shrines and altars throughout the land, and the people were forced to offer sacrifices as tokens of their acceptance of the new religion. Those who disobeyed were either tortured or killed or both. Their bodies were mutilated, and while still alive and breathing, they were crucified. The wives and sons whom they had circumcised were strangled. They were then crucified with the dead bodies of their children hanging around their parent’s necks. (3)

We learn of these events in the Books of First and Second Maccabees, written during this period. While these books are not an inspired part of the Bible, they help us understand these important events. (3)

First Maccabees reads, “Then the king wrote to his whole kingdom that all should be one people, and that all should give up their particular customs. All the Gentiles accepted the command of the king. Many, even from Israel, gladly adopted his religion; they sacrificed to idols and profaned the Sabbath. And the king sent letters by messengers to Jerusalem and the towns of Judah; he directed them to follow customs strange to the land, to forbid burnt offerings and sacrifices and drink offerings in the sanctuary, to profane Sabbaths and festivals, to defile the sanctuary and the priests, to build altars and sacred precincts and shrines for idols, to sacrifice swine and other unclean animals, and to leave their sons uncircumcised. (3)

“They were to make themselves abominable by every thing unclean and profane, so that they would forget the law and change all the ordinances. He added, ‘and whoever does not obey the command of the king shall die’” (1 Maccabees 1:41-50). (3)

We learn further, “Now on the fifteenth day of Chislev, in the one hundred forty-fifth year [167 B.C.], they erected a desolating sacrilege on the altar of burnt offering. They also built altars in the surrounding towns of Judah and offered incense at the doors of the houses and in the streets. The books of the law that they found were torn to pieces and burned with fire. Anyone found possessing the Book of the Covenant or following the law was condemned to death by the king’s decree. On the twenty-fifth day of the month, they offered sacrifice on the altar that was on top of the altar of burnt offerings. According to the decree, they put to death the women who had their children circumcised, and their families and those who circumcised them; and they hung the infants from their mothers’ necks” (1 Maccabees 1:54-61). (3)

Regrettably, many of the leaders in Israel, especially from the upper class, embraced Hellenism. However, soon, a revolt began, led by an aged priest named Mattathias from the Hasmon family. (3)

First Maccabees tells the following story, “The king’s officers who were enforcing the apostasy came to the town of Modein to make them offer sacrifice. Many from Israel came to them; and Mattathias and his sons were assembled. Then the king’s officers spoke to Mattathias as follows: ‘You are a leader, honored and great in this town, and supported by sons and brothers. Now be the first to do what the king commands, as all the Gentiles and the people of Judah and those that are left in Jerusalem have done. Then you and your sons will be numbered among the Friends of the king, and you and your sons will be honored with silver and gold and many gifts.’ (3)

“But Mattathias answered and said in a loud voice: ‘Even if all the nations that live under the rule of the king obey him, and have chosen to obey his commandments, every one of them abandoning the religion of their ancestors, I and my sons and my brothers will continue to live by the covenant of our ancestors. Far be it from us to desert the law and the ordinances. We will not obey the king’s words by turning aside from our religion to the right hand or to the left.’ (3)

“When he had finished speaking these words, a Jew came forward in the sight of all to offer sacrifice on the altar in Modein, according to the king’s command. When Mattathias saw it, he burned with zeal and his heart was stirred. He gave vent to righteous anger; he ran and killed him on the altar. At the same time, he killed the king’s officer who was forcing them to sacrifice and tore down the altar. Then Mattathias loudly cried out in the town, saying, ‘Let everyone who is zealous for the law and supports the covenant come out with me!’ Then he and his sons fled to the hills and left all that they had in the town” (1 Maccabees 2:15-25, 27-28). (3)

The family that led the revolt was given the name “Maccabees.” It is unclear how this name originated. Some say it is an acrostic created by combining the first letter of the Hebrew word, which means, “Who among the mighty is like You?” A second view is that the word “maccabee” is derived from the Hebrew word for “hammer,” which is a picture of great strength. Judah, the leader, was therefore called the Maccabee because of his great strength. (3)

Mattathias died shortly after the beginning of the revolt, but his five sons, of whom Judah Maccabee was the leader, carried on a guerrilla struggle. They were joined by many, including some of the “Hasidim” who were loyal to the traditional religion and way of life. (3)

The army of Antiochus was much larger and more powerful than the righteous remnant of Israel. Looking at the situation in the natural, there was no way Judah and his fighters could have defeated Antiochus. However, God was with His covenant people. Judah displayed extraordinary skills as a leader, military tactician, and diplomat. With the Almighty’s help, he defeated Antiochus and won the struggle for religious freedom. (3)

In 164 B.C., exactly three years after the altar to Zeus had been set up, the temple was cleansed, and the daily burnt offering and other religious ceremonies resumed. That rededication of the temple is still commemorated each December as Hanukkah, the Feast of Lights. (3)

Once again, we turn to First Maccabees: “Early in the morning on the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month, which is the month of Chislev, in the one hundred forty-eighth year, [164 B.C.], they rose and offered sacrifice, as the law directs, on the new altar of burnt offering that 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 worshipped and blessed Heaven, who had prospered them. (3)

“So they celebrated the dedication of the altar for eight days…. Then Judas and his brothers and all the assembly of Israel determined that every year at that season, the days of dedication of the altar should be observed with joy and gladness for eight days, beginning with the twenty-fifth day of the month of Chislev” (1 Maccabees 4:52-56,59). (3)

Traditional Jewish writings tell us that the Greek-Syrians desecrated all the oil purified for temple use. When the temple was rededicated, only one small undefiled container was found with the seal still on it. It contained only enough oil to burn the menorah for one day. But after the menorah was kindled, it miraculously burned for eight days. It was more likely celebrated for eight days because Hanukkah was originally called the “Succot of the month of Chislev” (as mentioned in Second Maccabees 1:9 and 10:6-8). Succot [Feast of Booths (1)] is celebrated for eight days. However, since the Maccabees were in hiding on Succot and could not properly observe it, they celebrated the holiday later when they were victorious. (3)

The feast commenced on the 25th of Chislev (December) and lasted eight days. On each of them the ‘Hallel’ was sung, the people appeared carrying palm and other branches, and there was a grand illumination of the Temple and of all private houses. These three observances bear so striking a resemblance to what we know about the Feast of Booths or Tabernacles that it is difficult to resist the impression of some intended connection between the two, in consequence of which the daily singing of the ‘Hallel’ and the carrying of palm branches was adopted during the Feast of the Dedication, while the practice of Temple-illumination was similarly introduced into the Feast of Tabernacles. All this becomes the more interesting when we remember, on the one hand, the typical meaning of the Feast of Tabernacles, and on the other that the date of the Feast of the Dedication—the 25th of Chislev—seems to have been adopted by the ancient Church as that of the birth of our blessed Lord—Christmas—the Dedication of the true Tabernacle, which was the body of Jesus. (4)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God; this one was in the beginning with God; all things through him did happen, and without him happened not even one thing that hath happened. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. (John 1:1–4 YLT)
And the Word became flesh, and did tabernacle among us, and we beheld his glory, glory as of an only begotten of a father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14 YLT)
The Feast of Dedication in the Scriptures

The Old Covenant

Since the events that brought about this feast occurred between the time of the Old Testament and the New Testament, it is not mentioned in the Old Testament. Nevertheless, it is a valid feast because Jesus observed it. Yeshua could observe this feast, even though it was not part of the Mosaic Law because the Old Testament did prophesy concerning the events that would bring it about. (2)

The New Covenant

Then came the feast of the Dedication in Jerusalem. (John 10:22 NET)

The feast of the dedication is the Feast of Dedication or Channukah. This verse is preceded by John 7:1–10:21, a passage that deals with events in the life of the Messiah during the Feast of Tabernacles (1). Again, the eight days of Channukah arose from the eight days of the Feast of Tabernacles. They had not been able to observe the eight days of the Feast of Tabernacles because the Syrians were still in control of Jerusalem then. But once the Temple was rededicated, they observed the eight days of the Feast of Tabernacles, three months later than it normally should have been. Out of that arose the concept of the eight days of Channukah, but it was a copy of the eight days of the Feast of Tabernacles. It is no accident that after discussing the Feast of Tabernacles in John 7:1–10:21, John then discussed the life of the Messiah in relationship to the next feast, the Feast of Channukah, in John 10:22–39. (2)

Just as the concept of lights and the eight days originated from the Feast of Tabernacles, so in the Gospel of John, the events of Channukah in the time of the Messiah also originated out of the Feast of Tabernacles. During the Feast of Tabernacles, Jesus declared Himself to be the light of the world. (2)

Then Jesus spoke out again, “I am the light of the world. The one who follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12 NET)
As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (John 9:5 NET)

This is picked up three months later when Yeshua made more claims concerning Himself at the Feast of Channukah. (2)

The Occasion The Feast of Dedication

Then came the feast of the Dedication in Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple area in Solomon’s Portico. (John 10:22–23 NET)

The occasion is clearly the Feast of the Dedication or the Feast of Channukah. Yeshua went to Jerusalem to observe this feast. The season was winter; the Feast of Channukah falls in Kislev, or December, a winter month. On this occasion, Jesus was in the Temple Compound in the area of Solomon’s Porch. On this occasion, the people remembered some statements He had made of Himself three months earlier during the Feast of Tabernacles when He claimed to be the light of the world. (2)

Then Jesus spoke out again, “I am the light of the world. The one who follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12 NET)
As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (John 9:5 NET)

The Charge Against the Messiah

The Jewish leaders surrounded him and asked, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” (John 10:24 NET)

The charge is obscurity; they claimed that Jesus had not been clear. They accused Him of being obscure or unclear concerning His claims to be the Messiah. They wanted to know plainly if He is or is not the Messiah. (2)

The Messiah’s Answer

Here, Jesus (Yeshua) answers the charge of obscurity and makes four statements.

The first statement is that Jesus had already told them clearly in two ways: by His words and works.

Jesus replied, “I told you and you do not believe. The deeds I do in my Father’s name testify about me. (John 10:25 NET)

The second statement He makes is that the real problem is that they are not His sheep. They have not believed in Him, so they are not His sheep. Because they are not His sheep, they do not understand the statements He is making. (2)

But you refuse to believe because you are not my sheep. (John 10:26 NET)

In the third statement, He points out that His sheep, the believers, recognize Him, understand what He is saying, and know exactly who He claims to be. His sheep recognize His voice, and they do follow Him. Because they have accepted Him, they have eternal life. Because they have eternal life, His sheep cannot lose their salvation. His sheep cannot lose their salvation (1) for two reasons: first, they cannot be snatched out of the Messiah’s hand; secondly, they cannot be snatched out of the Father’s hand. (2)

My sheep listen to my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish; no one will snatch them from my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can snatch them from my Father’s hand. (John 10:27–29 NET)

In the fourth statement, having pointed out that the real problem is not that He has been obscure, but their lack of faith. He then made it very clear and declared: (2)

The Father and I are one.” (John 10:30 NET)

The Response of the Jews

Because of the way the Jews responded, this shows that they clearly understood who He claimed to be; He claimed to be an equal to God, and therefore, He claimed to be God! (2)

The Jewish leaders picked up rocks again to stone him to death. (John 10:31 NET)

The Messiah’s Challenge

As they took up stones to stone Him for what they considered a blasphemous statement, Yeshua issued a challenge.

Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good deeds from the Father. For which one of them are you going to stone me?” (John 10:32 NET)

He needs them to ensure they understand what and who He claimed to be so they would never again accuse Him of obscurity. (2)

The Answer of the Jews

Their answer is that they are not stoning Him because of any good work that He did, but they are stoning Him for blasphemy. The blasphemy they say that He committed was that you, being a man, make yourself God.

The Jewish leaders replied, “We are not going to stone you for a good deed but for blasphemy, because you, a man, are claiming to be God.” (John 10:33 NET)

So much for charges of obscurity! Now they knew exactly who He claimed to be, and their response showed they understood Him plainly.

The Messiah’s Defense

As the Messiah defended His statement, He began by quoting Psalm 82:6, which was applied to the judges of Israel in that context. (2)

Jesus answered, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, you are gods’? (John 10:34 NET)
God takes His stand in the congregation of God; He judges in the midst of gods. How long will you judge unrighteously And show partiality to the wicked? Selah. Give justice to the poor and the orphan; Justify the afflicted and destitute. Protect the poor and needy; Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked. They do not know and do not understand; They walk about in darkness; All the foundations of the earth are shaken. I said, “You are gods [Heb. Elohim (1)], And all of you are sons of the Most High. “Nevertheless you will die like men And you will fall like any one of the princes.” Arise, O God, judge the earth! For it is You who will inherit all the nations. (Psalm 82:1–8 LSB)

Jesus then gave the application of the quotation to His particular situation. (2)

If those people to whom the word of God came were called ‘gods’ (and the scripture cannot be broken), do you say about the one whom the Father set apart and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? (John 10:35–36 NET)

Jesus pointed out that the judges of Israel were the representatives of God, having received His delegated authority. So, by a personal, direct mission, they did the very works of God. Since they did the very works of God, they were referred to in the Hebrew text as Elohim or “gods” because they were the very representatives of God. If it were possible to apply the general term Elohim to those who were merely God’s representatives—those who had received merely delegated authority—how could it then be blasphemy if Yeshua claimed to be the unique Son of God, since He received, not transmitted authority, but a direct, personal command to do the Father’s work (or deeds)? (2)

Jesus then states that His works or deeds provide evidence that He was only doing what the Father commanded. He pointed out that if He were not doing the works (or deeds) of the Father, He was not to be believed, but if He was doing the works of the Father, He should be believed. (2)

If I do not perform the deeds of my Father, do not believe me. But if I do them, even if you do not believe me, believe the deeds, so that you may come to know and understand that I am in the Father and the Father is in me.” (John 10:37–38 NET)

Having said this, Yeshua then states that the Father is in Him and He is in the Father, again claiming a unique oneness with the Father.

The Jewish Response to His Defense

Once again, it is obvious that the Jewish audience understood who He claimed to be: the Messiah, the Son of God, and God Himself.

Then they attempted again to seize him, but he escaped their clutches. (John 10:39 NET)

They no longer charged Him with obscurity.

The Greater Miracle

Again, Channukah is observed in remembrance of a miracle: the miracle of the oil. The oil that was enough for only one day miraculously lasted eight days, long enough for the new batch to be ready. The kindling of lights emphasizes the showing of the miracle believed by the rabbis to have occurred on this occasion.

Recall that no historical books mention this miracle, such as 1 and 2 Maccabees. The miracle originates with the Talmud (21), not the books written in the intertestamental period. That is why the technical name is not the Feast of Lights but the Feast of Dedication, which emphasizes what was performed on this occasion: the rededication of the Temple.

But this passage records a much greater miracle than what legend says occurred during the first dedication. In this passage, Jesus made three surprising declarations.

1. There is a declaration of His oneness with the Father.

The Father and I are one.” (John 10:30 NET)

2. There is a declaration of His Sonship with the Father.

Jesus answered, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, you are gods’? If those people to whom the word of God came were called ‘gods’ (and the scripture cannot be broken), do you say about the one whom the Father set apart and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? (John 10:34–36 NET)

3. There is a declaration of His deity.

But if I do them, even if you do not believe me, believe the deeds, so that you may come to know and understand that I am in the Father and the Father is in me.” (John 10:38 NET)

These three declarations show what the greater miracle is. The miracle that should be observed on this occasion is that God became a man to die for mankind so that those who believe can receive salvation (1).

For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him. The one who believes in him is not condemned. The one who does not believe has been condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God. Now this is the basis for judging: that the light has come into the world and people loved the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil deeds hates the light and does not come to the light, so that their deeds will not be exposed. But the one who practices the truth comes to the light, so that it may be plainly evident that his deeds have been done in God. (John 3:16–21 NET)

This salvation is so eternal that it cannot be lost (1). Because believers have eternal salvation, they can walk in the Light of the World because He who is the Light of the World is indwelling them. (2)

The Light of the World

Now this is the gospel message we have heard from him and announce to you: God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him and yet keep on walking in the darkness, we are lying and not practicing the truth. But if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we do not bear the guilt of sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:5–9 NET)

Building on John 8–9, where the Messiah declared Himself to be the light of the world, this passage also emphasizes the concept of light. As a result of His coming as the light, those who walk in the darkness, those who do not walk by the Word of God, do not have fellowship with God. Those who walk in the light have fellowship with God and with others who are also walking in that light.

Once one becomes a believer, he becomes a child of light. Believers will always be children of light, although they may not always walk in it. The believer must walk in the light. This is especially true of the light of the Word of God because it is the Word that provides the necessary illumination to the believer to let him know how he needs to walk. If the believer walks in the light, he has fellowship with God. Not only does the believer have fellowship with God by walking in the light, but he also has fellowship with others walking in the light. One can always tell a believer is living in sin when there is a sudden break of fellowship between him and other believers. (2)

If a believer steps out of the light and walks in darkness, he has done so because of sin. He does not lose his salvation but has lost his fellowship with God and other believers. The means of rectifying that misstep into darkness is in verse 9:

But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 NET)

So, through confessing one’s sins, which means agreeing with God that it is sin and admitting participation in that sin, the promise is that God is faithful and just to forgive the sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. In this way, one puts away the deeds of darkness and again walks in the light of the Lord and the Word. This is a subsequent miracle: By walking in the light, the believer has fellowship with God and other believers. (2)


Can Christians apply the Feast of Hanukkah to our lives? Are there any truths or lessons we can learn? Most definitely! (3)

Jesus said to His followers,

You are the light of the world. A city located on a hill cannot be hidden. People do not light a lamp and put it under a basket but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before people, so that they can see your good deeds and give honor to your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14–16 NET)

We can be God’s lights and apply the Feast of Hanukkah to our lives in three ways:

1. Separate Ourselves from the World

John writes these words to the followers of Jesus,

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him, because all that is in the world (the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the arrogance produced by material possessions) is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world is passing away with all its desires, but the person who does the will of God remains forever. (1 John 2:15–17 NET)

2. Dedicating Ourselves to God

Paul writes,

Therefore I exhort you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a sacrifice—alive, holy, and pleasing to God—which is your reasonable service. Do not be conformed to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve what is the will of God—what is good and well-pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:1–2)
Or 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? For you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God with your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19–20)

3. Trusting God to Help Us Overcome Our Spiritual Enemies

John wrote,

You are from God, little children, and have conquered them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. (1 John 4:4 NET)

The Israel of God

Out of His sovereign desire to reveal Himself to us, the Creator of the universe needed a people through whom He could make Himself known. He could not reveal Himself to us in the fullness of His glory without destroying us with His manifested presence. He needed a people group. God could have chosen any people group. As we learn in the Bible, He chose Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their descendants as the ethnic people through whom He would reveal His redemptive plans and purposes on the earth. (21)

God did not choose the Jewish people because they were better than any other group. He chose them because He found in Abraham a man who believed in the One True God and followed Him. Abraham’s descendants, later known as the Jews, were not unique because of some inherent superiority but because of their high calling:

For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. He has chosen you to be his people, prized above all others on the face of the earth. It is not because you were more numerous than all the other peoples that the LORD favored and chose you—for in fact you were the least numerous of all peoples. Rather it is because of his love for you and his faithfulness to the promise he solemnly vowed to your ancestors that the LORD brought you out with great power, redeeming you from the place of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. So realize that the LORD your God is the true God, the faithful God who keeps covenant faithfully with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations, but who pays back those who hate him as they deserve and destroys them. He will not ignore those who hate him but will repay them as they deserve! So keep the commandments, statutes, and ordinances that I today am commanding you to do. (Deuteronomy 7:6–11)

While the Jews were the first of God’s people, the Creator made it clear that He would also call a people to Himself from among the Gentiles. In all three divisions of the Hebrew Bible, the Law (Torah), the Prophets (Nevi’im), and the Psalms (K’tivim), the Lord revealed that He would include Gentiles as part of “My people.”

From the moment God called Abraham, He told Abraham that he would be a blessing to all the families of the earth.

I will bless those who bless you, but the one who treats you lightly I must curse, and all the families of the earth will bless one another by your name.” (Genesis 12:3 NET)

God’s covenant people would include “whosoever will” as they responded to the revelation He gave through Abraham.

Before God even brought the Hebrews into the Promised Land, He reached out to the Gentiles and said,

Cry out, O nations [Gentiles], with his people, for he will avenge his servants’ blood; he will take vengeance against his enemies, and make atonement for his land and people. (Deuteronomy 32:43 NET)

The psalmist calls the Gentiles to worship the Lord:

Praise the Lord, all you nations! Applaud him, all you foreigners! (Psalm 117:1 NET)

Isaiah spoke of the Messiah who would come from the seed of Jesse, the father of King David. (21)

He prophesied that the Gentiles would seek Him:

At that time a root from Jesse will stand like a signal flag for the nations. Nations will look to him for guidance, and his residence will be majestic. (Isaiah 11:10 NET).

Luke tells the story of Simeon, a devout Jewish man waiting for the Messiah to appear. The Lord told him he would not die until he saw the Messiah.

When Jesus was presented at the Temple, Simeon prophesied:

“Now, according to your word, Sovereign Lord, permit your servant to depart in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples: a light, for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” (Luke 2:29-32).

Simeon was referring to Isaiah’s prophecy where the Lord said of the Messiah:

he says, “Is it too insignificant a task for you to be my servant, to reestablish the tribes of Jacob, and restore the remnant of Israel? I will make you a light to the nations, so you can bring my deliverance to the remote regions of the earth.” (Isaiah 49:6 NET)

It is evident, from the writings of Paul, that God has not called two separate peoples but one people. Paul says that true Israel is made up of those who are the children of faith in Christ, not merely those who are born of Jewish descent:

Now this secret was not disclosed to people in former generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit, namely, that through the gospel the Gentiles are fellow heirs, fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 3:5–6 NET)
Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh—who are called “uncircumcision” by the so-called “circumcision” that is performed on the body by human hands—that you were at that time without the Messiah, alienated from the citizenship of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who used to be far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, the one who made both groups into one and who destroyed the middle wall of partition, the hostility, when he nullified in his flesh the law of commandments in decrees. He did this to create in himself one new man out of two, thus making peace, and to reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by which the hostility has been killed. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near, so that through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer foreigners and noncitizens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of God’s household, because you have been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:11–22 NET)

All Christians are spiritually Israelites:

As Western believers, we must understand that Christians are part of “the Israel of God” and have become “one new man” with them. The Church is not Israel but is joined with Jews as the “one new man,” also known as the new “Israel of God.” That means that Christians are spiritually Israelites!

But may I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything; the only thing that matters is a new creation! And all who will behave in accordance with this rule, peace and mercy be on them, and on the Israel of God. (Galatians 6:14–16 NET)

Speaking symbolically, Jewish believers are not grafted into the Christians’ wild olive tree, but Christians are grafted into the cultivated Jewish olive tree. Furthermore, the Jewish branches that were broken off will be grafted back into the Jewish olive tree.

Now if some of the [Jewish] branches were broken off, and you, a [Gentile] wild olive shoot, were grafted in among them and participated in the richness of the [Jewish] olive root, do not boast over the [Jewish] branches. But if you boast, remember that you do not support the [Jewish] root, but the [Jewish] root supports you. Then you will say, “The [Jewish] branches were broken off so that I [a Gentile] could be grafted in.” Granted! They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but fear! For if God did not spare the natural [Jewish] branches, perhaps he will not spare you [a Gentile branch]. Notice therefore the kindness and harshness of God—harshness toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness toward you, provided you continue in his kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off. And even they [Jewish branches]—if they do not continue in their unbelief—will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. For if you were cut off from what is by nature a [Gentile] wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated [Jewish] olive tree, how much more will these natural [Jewish] branches be grafted back into their own [cultivated Jewish] olive tree? (Romans 11:17-24 NET)

While Abraham is the natural father of the Jewish people, he is the spiritual father of all true believers.

For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God through faith. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female—for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:26–29 NET)

He is “Our Father Abraham.”

For this reason it is by faith so that it may be by grace, with the result that the promise may be certain to all the descendants—not only to those who are under the law, but also to those who have the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all (Romans 4:16 NET)
It is not as though the word of God had failed. For not all those who are descended from Israel are truly Israel,
 nor are all the children Abraham’s true descendants; rather “through Isaac will your descendants be counted.” This means it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God; rather, the children of promise are counted as descendants. (Romans 9:6–8 NET)
But you, brothers and sisters, are children of the promise like Isaac. (Galatians 4:28 NET)
But may I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything; the only thing that matters is a new creation! And all who will behave in accordance with this rule, peace and mercy be on them, and on the Israel of God. (Galatians 6:14–16 NET)

All Christians are spiritually Jews:

For a person is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision something that is outward in the flesh, but someone is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is of the heart by the Spirit and not by the written code. This person’s praise is not from people but from God. (Romans 2:28–29 NET)

Zechariah saw this “One New Man” company of people when he wrote:

The Lord who rules over all says, ‘In those days ten people [a representative number] from all languages and nations will grasp hold of—indeed, grab—the robe [tzitzit] of one Jew and say, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.” ’ ” (Zechariah 8:23)

Through Messiah, God has made way for all people to be His people, regardless of ethnic or national background, skin color, gender, economic status, social position, education, life achievements, age, language, customs, or traditions. No human barriers keep us from being in God’s Kingdom family. All of His people will be forever in His glorious presence.

Only those who have faith in Christ are considered God’s people. According to Paul, if one is born Jewish and rejects Christ, he is not considered part of God’s people. This is the same for a Gentile who also rejects Christ.

No one has ever seen God. The only one, himself God, who is in closest fellowship with the Father, has made God known. (John 1:18 NET)
All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son decides to reveal him. (Matthew 11:27 NET)
So Jesus answered them, “I tell you the solemn truth, the Son can do nothing on his own initiative, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him everything he does, and will show him greater deeds than these, so that you will be amazed. For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whomever he wishes. Furthermore, the Father does not judge anyone, but has assigned all judgment to the Son, so that all people will honor the Son just as they honor the Father. The one who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. “I tell you the solemn truth, the one who hears my message and believes the one who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned, but has crossed over from death to life. I tell you the solemn truth, a time is coming—and is now here—when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father has life in himself, thus he has granted the Son to have life in himself, and he has granted the Son authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. (John 5:19–27 NET)
Everyone who denies the Son does not have the Father either. The person who confesses the Son has the Father also. (1 John 2:23 NET)
Everyone who goes on ahead and does not remain in the teaching of Christ does not have God. The one who remains in this teaching has both the Father and the Son. (2 John 1:9 NET)

God has only provided one way of salvation: through the redemptive sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. (1)

I tell you, many will come from the east and west to share the banquet with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, but the sons of the kingdom will be thrown out into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 8:11–12 NET)
Then one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said, “You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is more to your advantage to have one man die for the people than for the whole nation to perish.” (Now he did not say this on his own, but because he was high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the Jewish nation, and not for the Jewish nation only, but to gather together into one the children of God who are scattered.) So from that day they planned together to kill him. (John 11:49–53 NET)
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those who are sent to you! How often I have longed to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you would have none of it! Look, your house is left to you desolate! For I tell you, you will not see me from now until you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ” (Matthew 23:37–39 NET)

The seven holy seasons of Israel contain the outline of the entire redemptive program. The first cycle of four festivals was fulfilled by the program of the First Coming. The Feast of Passover was fulfilled by the death of the Messiah. The Feast of Unleavened Bread was fulfilled by the sinlessness of His offering. The Feast of Firstfruits was fulfilled by the Resurrection of the Messiah. The Feast of Weeks was fulfilled by the birthday of the Church. Then came a four-month interval between the first and second cycles of feasts. This four-month interval is now being fulfilled by the insertion of the Church Age. (2)

The Feast of Trumpets (1) is the first feast of the fall season or the latter rains. This festival was to be celebrated on the first day of the Jewish month of Tishri (Leviticus 23:23-25). The feast commemorated the beginning of the Messianic kingdom and the disastrous fate of the unbelieving Gentile nations. From the beginning of Rosh Hashanah until the Day of Atonement are ten days. These ten days are known as “the days of awe,” and according to Jewish tradition, are the final period of time that the world and Israel have to repent before God’s final judgment is unleashed. The Feast of Trumpets is also believed to be the world’s birthday, the beginning of the Messianic kingdom, and the day in which the Messiah will reveal Himself and re-gather Israel back to the land. Since the first day of Tishri was when God created the earth, it seems very appropriate that Jesus, as the Angel of the Lord, stands upon the earth on this same day, reclaiming its possession for His kingdom (1). (17)

The next feast, which takes place ten days after the Feast of Trumpets, is the Day of Atonement (1). This is to occur on the tenth day of the month of Tishri. As previously stated, the ten days between the two feasts are for the repentance of national Israel and the rest of the world (1). When the Day of Atonement has been reached, those who have not repented and have not placed their trust in Jesus as the Messiah will be judged along with the rest of the world. This is confirmed in Leviticus, where God states that those who do not afflict their soul or repent will be cut off from His people.

Indeed, any person who does not behave with humility on this particular day will be cut off from his people. (Leviticus 23:29 NET). 

The Day of Atonement is considered to be the holiest day of the Jewish year. This was the only day in which the high priest was allowed to enter the inner temple. On this day, God would grant or deny redemption to the nation of Israel. On this same day, God will accept the repentance of the nation of Israel and return for their deliverance. It is this period that Daniel refers to in his prophecy of the seventy weeks. (17)

“Seventy weeks have been determined concerning your people and your holy city to put an end to rebellion, to bring sin to completion, to atone for iniquity, to bring in perpetual righteousness, to seal up the prophetic vision, and to anoint a most holy place. (Daniel 9:24 NET)

The Seventieth Week will come to a close as Israel repents and is grafted back into the family of God.

“I will pour out on the kingship of David and the population of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication so that they will look to me, the one they have pierced. They will lament for him as one laments for an only son, and there will be a bitter cry for him like the bitter cry for a firstborn. (Zechariah 12:10 NET)
And even they—if they do not continue in their unbelief—will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these natural branches be grafted back into their own olive tree? For I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: A partial hardening has happened to Israel until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion; he will remove ungodliness from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them, when I take away their sins.” (Romans 11:23–27 NET)

This final redemption of Israel fulfills the Day of Atonement, in exact chronology, precisely ten days after Jesus takes possession of the earth on the Feast of Trumpets. (17)

The last and final feast, which will be fulfilled on the fifth day following the end of the Seventieth Week, will be the Feast of Tabernacles (Feast of Booths) (Leviticus 23:33-43). This feast occurred on the fifteenth day of the month of Tishri (1). It commemorated the time when the Lord led his people through the wilderness to the land of Israel. In remembrance of this period, the Jews were to erect tiny makeshift booths and live in them. This reminded them that their forefathers had little shelter during their wilderness trek. This feast also celebrated the Messianic kingdom’s commencement and the fall harvest’s end. It was traditionally observed atop Mount Zion. (17)

It was previously revealed by Isaiah that Jesus would head toward Mount Zion as He returns for the salvation of Israel.

“And a Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who turn from transgression,” declares the Lord. (Isaiah 59:20 ESV)

Obadiah also prophesies that,

Those who have been delivered will go up on Mount Zion in order to rule over Esau’s mountain. Then the Lord will reign as King! (Obadiah 21 NET)

The 144,000 are on Mount Zion in Israel, fulfilling the Feast of Tabernacles (Hb. Sukkot) (aka, Feast of Booths). Israel has repented and accepted her Messiah, and Jesus has triumphantly led her through the wilderness. Again, the Feast of Tabernacles commemorates when Moses led Israel through the wilderness to the Promised Land. It will now be fulfilled with the Lord’s leading of the 144,000 and the rest of the Jewish remnant out from Edom to Israel. As the 144,000 ascend Mount Zion, they may very well sing Psalm 118, known as the Psalm of Ascension. This psalm speaks of Israel’s chastening by the Lord, their final salvation, and the recognition of Jesus as their Messiah. It was commonly sung by Israel during the celebration of this great feast. (17)

On top of Mount Zion, the 144,000 will also sing a new song. This song was first sung by the redeemed church, which sang before the throne of God, the four living creatures, and the elders. Again, this shows the great multitude’s distinction between the elders and the living creatures, who do not join in this song. No one could learn this song except the 144,000 who were on Mount Zion with Jesus. This group seen with Jesus consists of virgins who are said to follow Jesus wherever He goes. They are also said to be the first fruits of the redeemed of Israel and are without fault before God. Since they have now trusted Jesus, their sins are no longer remembered before God. This is a great truth for all who believe in Christ’s atoning work at Calvary. (17)

The Feast of Tabernacles concludes the fulfillment of the seven feasts of Leviticus. As seen, they will each be fulfilled exactly as they were fulfilled in our Lord’s first advent. (17)

The Antichrist, along with those who have opposed the return of Jesus, has been vanquished by the sword of His mouth. In Revelation chapter 20, John begins to describe what takes place as the kingdom of Christ begins. This kingdom will first begin with a 45-day period of cleansing of the earth. This was the last 45-day period revealed to Daniel the prophet (Daniel 12:12). This final allotment of time will fulfill another of Israel’s feasts – The Feast of Dedication or Hannukkah.

Hanukkah occurs seventy-five days after the Feast of Atonement, on the twenty-fifth day of the Hebrew month of Chislev. The last half of the Seventieth Week will last for a period of three and a half years, or 1260 days (Daniel 12:7). The final day of the Seventieth Week will culminate on the Jewish Day of Atonement. Thirty days after the end of the Seventieth Week, on day 1290, the Antichrist will be defeated (Daniel 12:11). Forty-five days after the defeat of the Antichrist, on the 1335th day, will be the Feast of Dedication (Daniel 12:12). Hanukkah, or the Feast of Dedication, continues to be an important holiday for the Jewish people.

Again, celebrated by Christ (John 10:22-23) during His first advent, the feast commemorated Israel’s deliverance from a forerunner of the Antichrist: Antiochus Epiphanes. Antiochus Epiphanes, as explained previously, was the Syrian ruler of one of the four divisions of the Grecian empire. The Jews signed a covenant with him, much like what they will do with the Antichrist. This evil ruler turned on the Jews and marched into Jerusalem, desecrating their temple. A Hebrew leader named Judas Maccabeus led a revolt against Antiochus. Antiochus was eventually defeated, and the temple was cleansed. On the twenty-fifth day of the month of Chislev, the temple was rededicated in a celebration that lasted eight days, known as Hanukkah.

In a similar manner, during the forty-five-day period following the defeat of the Antichrist, Jesus will cleanse the earth in preparation for the dedication of His kingdom. This cleansing period and dedication will ultimately fulfill the Feast of Dedication. Again, it is fulfilled exactly as the other Jewish festivals have been. In the final chapters of Revelation, John sees this great cleansing and the complete restoration of the heavens and the earth.

Daniel’s 70th Week
Feasts, Festivals, and Important Occasions of the Biblical Covenants Series:
– The Spring Festivals:
– Seven Church Conditions during the Church Age:
– The Fall Festivals:
Biblical Typologies, Metaphors, & Similes Series:

(Security, Wholeness, Success)

Then he said to them, “Therefore every expert in the law who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his treasure what is new and old.” (Matthew 13:52 NET)

(1) Select the link to open another article with additional information in a new tab.

(2) Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, The Messianic Bible Study Collection, vol. 181 (Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries, 1983).

(3) Richard Booker, Celebrating Jesus in the Biblical Feasts Expanded Edition: Discovering Their Significance to You as a Christian (Shippensburg, PA: Destiny Image, 2016).

(4) Edersheim, A. (1959). The Temple, its ministry and services as they were at the time of Jesus Christ. James Clarke & Co.


The Mishna, compiled by Rabbi Judah the Prince in the third century CE, represents the core legal code of Jewish oral tradition. It consists of six orders, each containing numerous tractates that delve into various aspects of Jewish law. On the other hand, the Talmud encompasses both the Mishna and the Gemara, which is a commentary on the Mishna. The Gemara, compiled by multiple rabbis over several centuries, provides in-depth discussions, debates, and interpretations of the Mishna. It is a comprehensive compendium of Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, and folklore.

(6) Neusner, J. (2007). A History of the Mishnaic Law of Appointed Times: Sheqalim, Yoma, Sukkah: Translation and Explanation (J. Neusner, Ed.; Vol. 3, p. 132-175). Wipf & Stock Publishers.

(7) Booker, R. (2017). The miracle of the scarlet thread expanded edition: revealing the power of the blood of Jesus from genesis to revelation. Destiny Image.

(8)  Levine, B. A. (1989). Leviticus (p. 163). Jewish Publication Society.

(9) Pictures of Israel from: Bolen, T. Pictorial Library of Bible Lands, Israel Collection, Volumes 1-5 Purchased from and used with permission.

(10) Neot Kedumim, the Biblical Landscape Reserve in Israel

(11) Kevin Howard, Marvin Rosenthal, (1997) The Feasts of the Lord: God’s Prophetic Calendar from Calvary to the Kingdom. Thomas Nelson


(13) Berlin, A., Brettler, M. Z., & Fishbane, M., eds. (2004). The Jewish Study Bible (p. 689). Oxford University Press.

(14) Abbott, E. A. (1906). Johannine Grammar (p. 358). Adam and Charles Black.

No one has satisfactorily explained the extraordinary statement attributed to the Pharisees in 7:52 “Out of Galilee ariseth no prophet (ἐκ τῆς Γ. προφήτης οὐω ἐγείρεται).” On this, Westcott remarks, “Jonah, Hoshea, Nahum, and perhaps Elijah, Elisha, and Amos were of Galilee.” How then could the Pharisees first say to Nicodemus, “Search and see,” that is, in effect, “Look at the Scriptures [for you know nothing about them]” and then make such an astounding statement, inviting from Nicodemus an obvious refutation, “Search ye the Scriptures—and ye will learn that prophets do ‘arise from Galilee’ ”? The only approach to an explanation is that the present “arises” means “arises as a rule.” But this—besides being forced—would expose the Pharisees to the charge of impiety, “Would you lay down ‘a rule’ for God and assert that He cannot do anything but what you say He does ‘as a rule’?” As it stands, the text seems inexplicable. And there is no variation of the text sufficient to afford a solid ground for emendation[1]. Otherwise the conjecture would be obvious that, after the final ⲥ in “Galilee,” ⲟ has dropped out. The result of this would be to convert “the prophet” (mentioned just before in 7:40) to “prophet.” Concerning “the prophet,” the Pharisees might have traditions identifying His birthplace with that of the Messiah so that they might say “the prophet ariseth not from Galilee.” In that case the present would be prophetic—“is not to arise.”

(15) Rusten, S. with E. Michael. (2005). The complete book of when & where in the Bible and throughout history. Michael E Rusten.


30 A.D. was selected as the date of this celebration of the Feast of Booths based on the date of Jesus’ crucifixion in 31 A.D. (1)

(17) Salerno, Jr., Donald A., (2010). Revelation Unsealed. Publish-ing, Inc.

(18) Featured image:`”Maccabees” [“Machabeusze”; 1830-1842] by Wojciech Stattler

(19) Köstenberger, A. J., Merkle, B. L., & Plummer, R. L. (2016). Going Deeper with New Testament Greek: An Intermediate Study of the Grammar and Syntax of the New Testament (p. 21). B&H Academic.


(21) Talmud (תַּלְמוּד, talmud). A collection of rabbinic Jewish texts that record the oral tradition of the early rabbis. The Talmud is primary source for the study of Judaism from the first century ad up to the date of its final redaction, as late as the seventh century. The Talmud is likewise relevant to the study of Judaism in Jesus’ and the apostles’ lifetimes.


There are two versions of the Talmud:

1. The Babylonian Talmud (BT, or Bavli)

2. The Talmud of the Land of Israel (PT, Palestinian Talmud, or Yerushalmi)

The Babylonian Talmud is considered the most important collection of texts in rabbinic literature. It spans 2,783 folio pages in the standard editions. Although the collection takes the form of commentary on the Mishnah, the ancient rabbis included discussions and rulings on nearly every subject possible. Due to its incredible scope, the Babylonian Talmud became the fundamental text of Jewish life in the Middle Ages and for many people beyond this period.

The Talmud of the Land of Israel (Palestinian Talmud) was edited in Israel, prior to the editing of the Babylonian Talmud. However, it is much shorter and lacks the heavy editorial work that characterizes the Babylonian Talmud; thus, the Palestinian Talmud never gained the high position that the Babylonian Talmud has. Nevertheless, both Talmuds contain material from an earlier period and are also extremely useful for illuminating the background of the New Testament and early Christianity.

 Johnson, J. C. (2016). Talmud. In J. D. Barry, D. Bomar, D. R. Brown, R. Klippenstein, D. Mangum, C. Sinclair Wolcott, L. Wentz, E. Ritzema, & W. Widder (Eds.), The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Lexham Press.

Hal has taught the Bible for over three decades. Through an interdenominational ministry dedicated to helping the local church build men for Jesus, Hal trained men, the leaders of men’s ministries, and provided pulpit supply. Before that, he was a Men’s Ministry Leader and an Adult Bible Fellowship teacher of a seventy-five-member class at a denominational megachurch. Presently, Hal desires to honor Jesus Christ through this Internet teaching ministry, thereby glorifying the Heavenly Father in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. He believes, second to cultivating his relationship with God, that raising his family unto the Lord is the most significant task for him while on Earth. Furthermore, Hal believes that being a successful leader in the church or workplace is no substitute for failing to be a successful leader at home. 

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