Feast of Dedication

Rick's picture

                                                                                Feast of Dedication

         In one of our recent study group night (Veldon and Charlene’s) we were reading from paper 164 and came across what it referred to as the “Feast of Dedication”.

        164:0.1 AS THE CAMP at Pella was being established, Jesus, taking with him Nathaniel and Thomas, secretly went up to Jerusalem to attend the feast of the dedication.

         When I inquired if anyone was familiar with this Jewish celebration, I was not surprised to find that under that title, little was understood. I proceeded to give a very brief explanation.

         Well, in typical RC fashion, I am not content to let it drop there! 

         The UB tells us of this celebration in 123:3.5
“The first was the midwinter festive illumination, lasting eight days, starting out with one candle the first night and adding one each successive night; this commemorated the dedication of the temple after the restoration of the Mosaic services by Judas Maccabee.

          The Feast of Dedication today Hanukkah, once also called “ Feast of the Maccabees," was a Jewish festival observed for eight days from the 25th of Kislev (usually in December, but occasionally late November, due to the lunisolar calendar).

(2015, Dec.6-14)

          In Hebrew, the word "hanukkah" means "dedication." The name reminds the Jews that this holiday commemorates the re-dedication of the holy Temple in Jerusalem following the Jewish victory over the Syrian-Greeks.

            In 168 B.C.E. the Syrian-Greek emperor Antiochus made the observance of Judaism an offense punishable by death. He also ordered all Jews to worship Greek gods. In 167 B.C.E. the Jewish Temple was seized by Syrian-Greek soldiers and dedicated to the worship of the god Zeus. This upset the Jewish people, but many were afraid to fight back for fear of reprisals.

             Jewish resistance began in the village of Modiin, near Jerusalem. Greek soldiers forcibly gathered the Jewish villages and told them to bow down to an idol, then eat the flesh of a pig – both practices that are forbidden to Jews.

              A Greek officer ordered Mattathias, a High Priest, to acquiesce to their demands, but Mattathias refused. When another villager stepped forward and     offered to cooperate on Mattathias' behalf, the High Priest became outraged. He drew his sword and killed the villager, then turned on the Greek officer and killed him too. His five sons and the other villagers then attacked the remaining soldiers, killing all of them. (Judas Maccabee was the son of Mattathias)

              Mattathias and his family went into hiding in the mountains, where other Jews wishing to fight against the Greeks joined them. Eventually they succeeded in retaking their land from the Greeks. These rebels became known as the Maccabees, or Hasmoneans.

              Once the Maccabees had regained control they returned to the Temple in Jerusalem. By this time it had been spiritually defiled by being used for the worship of foreign gods and also by practices such as sacrificing swine. Jewish troops were determined to purify the Temple by burning ritual oil in the Temple’s menorah for eight days. But to their dismay, they discovered that there was only one day's worth of oil left in the Temple.
They lit the menorah anyway and to their surprise the small amount of oil lasted the full eight days.

             This is the miracle of the Hanukkah oil that is celebrated every year when Jews light a special menorah known as a hanukkiyah for eight days. One candle is lit on the first night of Hanukkah, two on the second, and so on, until eight candles are lit. 

    Rickey H. Crosby  (Petitor Veritatis)