Would Jesus Celebrate Hanukkah?

Would Jesus Celebrate Hanukkah?  Actually, Jesus DID celebrate Hanukkah.  Other names for Hanukkah are the Feast of Dedication and the Festival of Lights.  John 10: 22 refers to the Feast of Dedication:

At that time the Feast of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem; it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple in the portico of Solomon (NASB).

The Feast of Dedication commemorates a historical event that occurred after Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the Seleucid Syrian king, desecrated the temple in Jerusalem by sacrificing a pig on an altar of Zeus.  He also persecuted the Hebrews by forbidding circumcision and Sabbath observance and other Biblical observances.  His name meant “God Manifest.”  (The word “epiphany” originated with Antiochus Epiphanes.) He ruled from 175 to 164 B.C.  The Maccabean revolt ended his violent reign.

After that, the Temple was cleansed and dedicated and the menorah was lit; but there was only enough oil for one day.  The oil lasted for eight days.  That’s the miracle of Hanukkah and that’s why it is an eight day celebration.  This year Hanukkah began December 6 at sundown.

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You can read about the events surrounding Hanukkah in Maccabees 1 and 2.  These books are not in the Protestant Bible but they are considered reliable historical books.  Why is this important to Christians?   Antiochus is considered a prototype of the anti-christ.  Many believe that Jesus was referring to Antiochus and the future anti-christ in Matthew 24.

“Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of by Daniel the Prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains;” (Matthew 24: 15-16 NASB).

The reference to the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION is in Daniel 11: 31.

For further reading, check out Encyclopedia Brittanica, Bible Gateway, the United Church of God’s website, Maccabees 1, and Maccabees 2.

Happy Hanukkah!

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