Rabbi Schneider - The History of Hanukkah: God's Desire For Dedication
As we're getting ready to celebrate Hanukkah this year, I wanted to begin by telling you the history and then I wanted to bring it forward and show you how Yeshua was celebrating Hanukkah in the pages of the New Testament. So, first of all, what had happened was the Greco Assyrians under Antiochus IV had taken over Jerusalem and the temple of the Jews that God had given Solomon and then was later rebuilt and destroyed in 70AD. What happened was the Greco Assyrians had gone into the temple, and in the year 167 BCE had actually erected an altar to Zeus, the pagan god Zeus, in the temple.
Furthermore, the Greco-Assyrian armies were going throughout Israel in Jerusalem and they were forcing Jewish people to make a sacrifice to Zeus. And unfortunately, some Jewish people were compromising. But it all stopped when the Greco-Assyrian soldiers got to a Jewish settlement called Modi'in. And when they got to Modi'in and tried to get the Jews there to make a sacrifice to Zeus, a priest there by the name of Mattathias said no.
And because one of the Jewish onlookers that was gathered with Mattathias was afraid that because Mattathias said no, that the Greco-Assyrian soldiers were going to respond to Mattathias' no by putting them all to death, slaying them, he volunteered, this Jewish onlooker volunteered trying to appease the Greco Assyrian army and said, Mattathias turned on the Jewish onlooker and then that's so riled and rallied the other Jews that rest of the Jewish onlookers that they turned on the Greco-Assyrian Army that was in Modi'in, where they were, and they effectively began to drive out the Greco-Assyrians from recovered the temple.
And then in 164 BCE, they And then in 164 BCE, they dedicated the temple back to Hashem, back to God. And that's where we get the name "Hanukkah" from. Jewish people all people that were gathered. Hanukkah is the Hebrew word that means "dedication". And so once again, in 164 the temple and dedicate it back to the Lord. Now, our tradition tells us that when they came into the temple, everything, of course, was desecrated. And one of the things that they found there was the oil that had been used to light the menorah in the temple that burned perpetually. And according to our tradition, there was only enough kosher oil in the temple when it was recaptured to burn for one day. But instead of burning for one day, our tradition tells us it's supernaturally burned for eight days.
And so a Hanukkah Menorah has eight different candles, plus an extra ninth candle which is called the servant candle. And so the way we celebrate Hanukkah is we put the menorah in front of a window of our home or apartment. And the reason we put the menorah in front of a window is because we're proclaiming to the world God did a miracle here. And so we But interestingly, the holiday of Hanukkah is nowhere mentioned in the Hebrew Scriptures. It's nowhere in the Jewish Bible. Of course, the whole Bible is a Jewish Bible. But I'm talking about the Old Testament. The only place that Hanukkah is written about, beloved one, in the scriptures is in the Brit Chadasha or the New Testament.
So we read about Hanukkah in the Gospel of John 10, again, the only place in Scripture. So let me read for you beginning in the 22nd verse of Yochanan, we say in Hebrew, John 10. "At that time," John writes, "the Feast of Dedication..." Why does he say dedication instead of Hanukkah? Because dedication, once again, is the English translation of the word Hanukkah. It's the same thing. One is Hebrew, one is English. "At that time..." We could say Hanukkah took place at Jerusalem, but because the New Testament for us is written in English, it's written as the Feast of Dedication took place in Yerushalem or at Jerusalem, where we're at right now. "...it was winter, and Yeshua was walking in the temple in the portico of Solomon. The Jews then gathered around Him and we're saying to Him, 'How long will you keep us in suspense? If you're the Anointed One..." Meaning the Messiah.
Of course, our Bible says Christ. If you're the Christ. But Christ is just the Greek word for the Hebrew Mashiach, which means Anointed One. So they said to Him, "If you're the Mashiach, tell us plainly. Yeshua answered them, 'I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do and My Father's name, these testify of Me. But you did not believe, because you're not My sheep. My sheep hear my voice and I know them. I give them eternal life, and no one will ever snatch them out of My hand.'" Verse 29, "'My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch some out of the Father's hand.'" And then He made adoption.
So it's such an awesome thing I'm just wanting to bring back. Yeshua is in the temple, in the Gospel of John 10, celebrating Hanukkah, revealing the mystery that you and I that are His sheep, were given to him by the Father. And this revelation comes to us in the word of God during Hanukkah. So I want to strengthen you today to know that you're in the mind and in the heart of God, before you were even born. Like the psalmist said, he knew you when you were in your mother's womb. He knew you when you were yet unformed. And He had a destiny for your life before you took your first breath.
So if you and I want to come into alignment and find out who we really are, we have to give ourselves to the one that, number one, created us, and secondly, redeemed us through Yeshua a Messiah for a purpose. And that purpose is to be His, to walk with Him, not as slaves, not as those that are under the law, but as those who cry for, through the spirit of adoption, "Abba Father". And so "Abba Father".
And so I speak freedom and liberty over you this Hanukkah season. Even as Yeshua liberated His people in coming, even as those Maccabees in 164 rededicated and liberated the temple so I speak to you today liberation and freedom in the Spirit. And I challenge you in the love of God to dedicate yourself just as that temple in 164 was dedicated to the Lord. I encourage all of us this Hanukkah season to truly dedicate every area of our life to Hashem.
The words we speak, the foods we eat, how we spend our time, the friendships we have, how we spend our money, what we let into our ears, what we watch with our eyes, let's live as sons and daughters that are fully dedicated of the Lord, knowing what our purpose is. God has created good works for you and I to walk in. And Yeshua is returning quickly, He said, to reward to each and every one of us for what we've done. We only have a short time, beloved, on this planet. Let's use it wisely, and let's dedicate ourselves spirit, soul, and body fully to Him.