By My Friend Toni
We are now in the season of the Feast of Dedication, better known as Hanukkah. Also referred to as the Feast of Lights. Every year, for over 2,200 years, Jews have celebrated this festival commemorating the miracle that occurred when the oil to light the huge menorah in the second Temple burned for eight days, despite that only being enough for one day. The background for this story, which is historical, can be found in the Catholic Bible. It can be read in I Maccabees 1:20-60, 4:36-57 and II Maccabees 10:1-8. The Seleucid King, Antiochus Epiphanes, came into Israel with his army, and overpowered the Jews. He forced them to stop honoring the Sabbath, and all things related to their religion, or pay with their lives. He demanded that the Jews adopt his religion, and sacrifice to idols. The Temple was desecrated, damaged, and the things dedicated to the worship of God were taken. The Temple was called “the temple of Olympian Zeus”, due to the idols of Zeus being placed there. A high priest of the tribe of Benjamin was placed in charge, who was willing to bow to Antiochus’s wishes. When a country priest by the name of Mattathias was commanded to be the first to sacrifice an animal on an alter of an idol, he refused. Another Jewish man stepped forward to do it. Mattathias turned on the officer who had demanded the sacrifice, and slew him. He then tore down the idol He said, “Let everyone who is zealous for the low, and stands by the covenant follow me!” Then the fight was on. His five sons and several tough men, who were loyal to God, engaged in guerilla warfare. After Mattathias passed away, one of his sons, Judas, became the leader of the revolt. After successfully expelling their enemies, the Temple needed a good cleaning and rededication. There was found only enough dedicated oil for the large menorah for one day. They decided to go ahead and use it. Coming into the temple the next day they expected the light to have gone out, but miraculously it was still burning, and continued for eight days. By that time enough oil had been made available. A reference to the Feast of Dedication can be found in John 10:22. It was then that Jesus was asked if He was the Messiah the people were looking for. In their minds, the Messiah would be Judas Maccabee, breaking the yoke of Roman rule from off their necks. However, Jesus had a mission to accomplish before He took on the role of conquering King.
Hanukkah speaks of sanctification, dedication, and the light of the Holy Spirit in our lives. One of these days, our Messiah will return to set up His kingdom and all those who have lived dedicated lives for Him will have the privilege of ruling and reigning with Him. This festival season, light up the world with the light of Jesus