Paul said in Colossians 2:16-17 that the Jewish feasts and celebrations were actually a shadow of the things to come through Jesus Christ. As Christians, we may not commemorate these holidays in the traditional biblical sense, but as we discover the significance of each, we will certainly gain a greater knowledge of God's Word, an improved understanding of the Bible, and a deeper relationship with the Lord.
Feast of Dedication - Hanukkah - Festival of Lights:
The Feast of Dedication, or Hanukkah, is a Jewish holiday. It is also known as the Festival of Lights. We will look at the Feast of Dedication from a Christian perspective, explaining its biblical basis, traditional observances, seasons, facts, and an interesting section revealing the fulfillment of the Messiah, Jesus Christ through the feast.
Time of Observance:
Hanukkah is celebrated during the Hebrew month of Kislev (November or December). It begins on day 25 of Kislev and lasts for 8 days.
• See Bible Feasts Calendar for actual dates.
About the Feast of Dedication:
Prior to the year 165 BC, the Jewish people who dwelled in Judea where living under the rule of the Greek kings of Damascus. During this time Seleucid King Antiochus Epiphanes, the Greco-Syrian king, took control of the Temple in Jerusalem and forced the Jewish people to abandon their worship of God, their holy customs and reading of the Torah, and he made them bow down to the Greek gods. According to the records, this King Antiochus IV defiled the Temple by sacrificing a pig on the altar and spilling its blood on the holy scrolls of Scripture.
So Hanukkah received its name, the Feast of Dedication, because it celebrates the Maccabees' victory over Greek oppression and the rededication of the Temple. But Hanukkah is also known as the Festival of Lights, and this is because immediately following the miraculous deliverance, God provided another miracle of provision.
• Learn more about Hanukkah traditions and celebrations.
Jesus and the Feast of Dedication:
John 10: 22-23 records, "Then came the Feast of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the Temple area walking in Solomon's Colonnade." (NIV) As a Jew, Jesus most certainly would have participated in the Feast of Dedication.
The same courageous spirit of the Maccabees who remained faithful to God during intense persecution was passed on to Jesus' disciples who would all face severe trails because of their faithfulness to Christ. And like the miracle of God's presence expressed through the eternal flame of God burning for the Maccabees, Jesus became the incarnate, physical expression of God's presence, the Light of the World, who came to dwell among us and give us the eternal light of God's life.
More Facts About Hanukkah
- Hanukkah is traditionally a family celebration.
- The lighting of the Menorah is the center of the Hanukkah traditions.
- Fried and oily foods are a reminder of the miracle of the oil.
- Dreidel games are traditionally played by children and often the whole household during Hanukkah.
- Probably because of Hanukkah's proximity to Christmas, many Jews give gifts during the holiday.
- More about Hanukkah.