Most people consider Hanukkah to be an exclusively Jewish Holiday. But, the only place that it is mentioned in the Bible is in the New Testament where it is referred to as the Feast of Dedication (John 10:22). Additionally, Yeshua taught in the Temple during Hanukkah (John 10:22-38). The Hebrew word “Hanukkah” means dedication. is Feast commemorates the Jewish people’s rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem to the LORD.
The history of Hanukkah began in 168 BC when the Greco-Assyrians, under the leadership of Antiochus IV, invaded and captured Jerusalem. They attempted to destroy the culture and religion of the Jewish people, and desecrate the Temple of the LORD. During this time, a group of Greco-Assyrian soldiers marched into a Jewish settlement and demanded that the Priest there, Mattathias, sacrifice a pig to their pagan god, Zeus. Because Mattathias feared the LORD more than the enemy, he refused to sacrifice the pig. A fellow Jewish onlooker, fearing the Greco-Assyrians wrath, volunteered to sacrifice the pig. In response to this, Mattathias drew his sword and killed him.
This act of conviction and courage was so inspiring to the rest of the Jewish people that they assembled right there and joined Mattathias to form an army. Under the leadership of Mattathias’ son Judah, this newly formed army of the LORD successfully stopped the Greco-Assyrians from overtaking their settlement, and eventually drove them out of the whole region, including Jerusalem and the Temple. is victory climaxed with the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem, and the inauguration of the Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah) in 164 BC.
As one of the Levite Priests prepared to light the Menorah (the lamp-stand inside of the temple) during the Temple rededication ceremony, they realized that there was only enough Holy oil to burn for one day. However, tradition states that the oil burned supernaturally for eight days! us, the Hanukkah Menorah that Jewish people light each year has eight candles, representing those eight miraculous days of burning. An additional ninth “Servant” candle on the Hanukkah Menorah is used to light the other candles each night.
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