Feast of Dedication

The Feast of Dedication is a Holy Day sanctified by the Lord after a historical battle and overthrowing of the Greeks rule of power over Israel. The Feast of Dedication also is commonly known as Hannukah. This is a brief historical overview you are encouraged to read the first and second book of Maccabees in the Apocrypha for the entire history. The Apocrypha are 14 books that were removed by the Puritans under the Westminster Confession of Faith in approximately the 17th century. They were removed by the so- called white man for being “non-cannical” or lacking a connection to the cannon of the law. However, the books were part of the original scrolls and contain almost 500 years of vital history of the Israelite legacy. Apocrypha is a Greek word which means to “take away” or “hide.” Bibles are still available with the Apocrypha in them.

I Maccabees 1:1-3: “[1] And it happened, after that Alexander son of Philip, the Macedonian, who came out of the land of Chettiim, had smitten Darius king of the Persians and Medes, that he reigned in his stead, the first over Greece,[2] And made many wars, and won many strong holds, and slew the kings of the earth,[3] And went through to the ends of the earth, and took spoils of many nations, insomuch that the earth was quiet before him; whereupon he was exalted and his heart was lifted up.”

In approximately 333 B.C., Alexander the Great conquered all nations and gained control of the Eastern World and Africa. Prior to his death, he appointed 4 generals over various portions of the lands he ruled (I Maccabees 1:6). They were Ptolemy (Ethiopia-Egypt), Cassander (Macedonia-Greece), Salucid (Syria-Babylon), and Lasimicus (Thrace-Asia Minor). Later, a wicked King known as Antiochus began to have the dominant ruler ship of the Greek Empire who commanded that all of Israel bow down to the Greek customs and stop following the ways of the Lord. Many men, women and children followed after his orders.

I Maccabees 1:11: “In those days went there out of Israel wicked men, who persuaded many, saying, Let us go and make a covenant with the heathen that are round about us: for since we departed from them we have had much sorrow.”

Antiochus was pleased that many of the Jews agreed to his principles and his reign of terror ran wild in Jerusalem, defiling the temple, vandalizing the Holy Vessels, and disrespecting the Priesthood.

I Maccabees 1:20-27: “[20] And after that Antiochus had smitten Egypt, he returned again in the hundred forty and third year, and went up against Israel and Jerusalem with a great multitude, [21] And entered proudly into the sanctuary, and took away the golden altar, and the candlestick of light, and all the vessels thereof, [22] And the table of the shewbread, and the pouring vessels, and the vials. and the censers of gold, and the veil, and the crown, and the golden ornaments that were before the temple, all which he pulled off. [23] He took also the silver and the gold, and the precious vessels: also he took the hidden treasures which he found. [24] And when he had taken all away, he went into his own land, having made a great massacre, and spoken very proudly. [25] Therefore there was a great mourning in Israel, in every place where they were; [26] So that the princes and elders mourned, the virgins and young men were made feeble, and the beauty of women was changed. [27] Every bridegroom took up lamentation, and she that sat in the marriage chamber was in heaviness.”

Antiochus continued furthering the Greek influence on the Jews by commanding the Israelites to follow Greek customs, leave the laws and live as Greeks or die!

I Maccabees 1:41-50: “[41] Moreover king Antiochus wrote to his whole kingdom, that all should be one people, [42] And every one should leave his laws: so all the heathen agreed according to the commandment of the king. [43] Yea, many also of the Israelites consented to his religion, and sacrificed unto idols, and profaned the sabbath.

[44] For the king had sent letters by messengers unto Jerusalem and the cities of Juda that they should follow the strange laws of the land, [45] And forbid burnt offerings, and sacrifice, and drink offerings, in the temple; and that they should profane the sabbaths and festival days: [46] And pollute the sanctuary and holy people: [47] Set up altars, and groves, and chapels of idols, and sacrifice swine's flesh, and unclean beasts: [48] That they should also leave their children uncircumcised, and make their souls abominable with all manner of uncleanness and profanation: [49] To the end they might forget the law, and change all the ordinances. [50] And whosoever would not do according to the commandment of the king, he said, he should die.”

Not all of Israel subjected themselves to such humiliation. A devout priest named Mattathias and his 5 sons took a stand against the abominable commandments set before them.

I Maccabees 2:1-5: “[1] In those days arose Mattathias the son of John, the son of Simeon, a priest of the sons of Joarib, from Jerusalem, and dwelt in Modin. [2] And he had five sons, Joannan, called Caddis: [3] Simon; called Thassi: [4] Judas, who was called Maccabeus: [5] Eleazar, called Avaran: and Jonathan, whose surname was Apphus.

Verses 19-23: “[19] Then Mattathias answered and spake with a loud voice, Though all the nations that are under the king's dominion obey him, and fall away every one from the religion of their fathers, and give consent to his commandments: [20] Yet will I and my sons and my brethren walk in the covenant of our fathers. [21] God forbid that we should forsake the law and the ordinances. [22] We will not hearken to the king's words, to go from our religion, either on the right hand, or the left. [23] Now when he had left speaking these words, there came one of the Jews in the sight of all to sacrifice on the altar which was at Modin, according to the king's commandment.”

As time went on Judas Maccabeus recruited an army of valiant men who rose up against the Greek army in an all out revolt against the wicked Greeks (I Maccabees Chapter 3). Eventually, Judas and the armies of Israel defeated the Greeks and rededicated the Temple of the Lord, which was defiled by the Greeks, back to its righteous order. As the temple was completed, Judas and his brethren proclaimed the 25th day of the 9th month (see the Calendar section of the website for date) to be an 8 day feast of mirth and gladness.

I Maccabees 4:36-61: “[36] Then said Judas and his brethren, Behold, our enemies are discomfited: let us go up to cleanse and dedicate the sanctuary. [37] Upon this all the host assembled themselves together, and went up into mount Sion. [38] And when they saw the sanctuary desolate, and the altar profaned, and the gates burned up, and shrubs growing in the courts as in a forest, or in one of the mountains, yea, and the priests' chambers pulled down; [39] They rent their clothes, and made great lamentation, and cast ashes upon their heads, [40]

And fell down flat to the ground upon their faces, and blew an alarm with the trumpets, and cried toward heaven. [41] Then Judas appointed certain men to fight against those that were in the fortress, until he had cleansed the sanctuary. [42]So he chose priests of blameless conversation, such as had pleasure in the law: [43] Who cleansed the sanctuary, and bare out the defiled stones into an unclean place. [44] And when as they consulted what to do with the altar of burnt offerings, which was profaned; [45] They thought it best to pull it down, lest it should be a reproach to them, because the heathen had defiled it: wherefore they pulled it down, [46] And laid up the stones in the mountain of the temple in a convenient place, until there should come a prophet to shew what should be done with them. [47] Then they took whole stones according to the law, and built a new altar according to the former; [48] And made up the sanctuary, and the things that were within the temple, and hallowed the courts. [49] They made also new holy vessels, and into the temple they brought the candlestick, and the altar of burnt offerings, and of incense, and the table. [50] And upon the altar they burned incense, and the lamps that were upon the candlestick they lighted, that they might give light in the temple. [51] Furthermore they set the loaves upon the table, and spread out the veils, and finished all the works which they had begun to make. [52] Now on the five and twentieth day of the ninth month, which is called the month Casleu, in the hundred forty and eighth year, they rose up betimes in the morning, [53] And offered sacrifice according to the law upon the new altar of burnt offerings, which they had made. [54] Look, at what time and what day the heathen had profaned it, even in that was it dedicated with songs, and citherns, and harps, and cymbals. [55] Then all the people fell upon their faces, worshipping and praising the God of heaven, who had given them good success. [56] And so they kept the dedication of the altar eight days and offered burnt offerings with gladness, and sacrificed the sacrifice of deliverance and praise. [57] They decked also the forefront of the temple with crowns of gold, and with shields; and the gates and the chambers they renewed, and hanged doors upon them. [58] Thus was there very great gladness among the people, for that the reproach of the heathen was put away. [59] Moreover Judas and his brethren with the whole congregation of Israel ordained, that the days of the dedication of the altar should be kept in their season from year to year by the space of eight days, from the five and twentieth day of the month Casleu, with mirth and gladness. [60] At that time also they builded up the mount Sion with high walls and strong towers round about, lest the Gentiles should come and tread it down as they had done before. [61] And they set there a garrison to keep it, and fortified Bethsura to preserve it; that the people might have a defence against Idumea.”

Christ and the disciples not only made mention of this feast, but kept it as well.

John 10:22: “[22] And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.”

The Feast of Dedication is to be kept in the same manner as the Feast of Tabernacles (see Tabernacles). The 1st day and the 8th days are Sabbaths.

II Maccabees 1:18: “Therefore whereas we are now purposed to keep the purification of the temple upon the five and twentieth day of the month Casleu, we thought it necessary to certify you thereof, that ye also might keep it, as the feast of the tabernacles, and of the fire, which was given us when Neemias offered sacrifice, after that he had builded the temple and the altar.”

 

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