The Festival of Dedication                       

Dec 4, 2023 | Blog

The Festival of Dedication, named Hanukkah in Hebrew, is a Jewish holiday that celebrates the reconsecration of the Temple in Jerusalem. More than 2,000 years ago, the Syrian king Antiochus Epiphanes IV outlawed the study of Torah, placed a statue of Zeus in the Jew’s Holy Temple, desecrated the altar by sacrificing swine, and forced the Jews to publicly worship Greek gods. As a result, the Maccabean Revolt ended this desecration and rededicated the Temple. We know that Yeshua (Jesus) participated in the celebration of this festival (John 10:22–24). Christ was all about seeing the Temple and the practices of Judaism rededicated to the Father in a purity that was needed. So it is significant that Yeshua was walking in the Temple in the Portico of Solomon during this festival. And I believe there is tremendous significance for us as Christians to celebrate Hanukkah in our lives.

In Hebrew Hanukkah means “dedication.” When we say the Hebrew word Hanukkah, we are saying “dedication.” The Temple had become defiled as a sacrificial place to idols. So during the Festival of Dedication, the Jews had to get rid of this defilement. As we enter into Hanukkah ourselves, we realize with a drive in our hearts that we must also remove all defilement. The Scripture talks about cleansing “ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit” (2 Corinthians 7:1).[1] Likewise, we must remove from our temple—our body, heart, and spirit—the defilement before a rededication can take place. The fact that the Spirit of God dwells in us should create a carefulness in our hearts and minds to not allow anything to defile the very dwelling place of God. He is holy, and He must dwell within holiness (2 Corinthians 6:16–18).

When Yeshua cleansed the Temple, He took a scourge of cords and drove out the money changers and everything that was defiling His Father’s house (John 2:15). He had to cleanse it before He could rededicate it to the Father with His death on the cross. This is the pattern of salvation. When Christ comes into your life at salvation, He removes the old and builds a new life within you on the foundation of Himself (2 Corinthians 5:17). You must put energy into this and cry, “Lord, cleanse me! Remove everything that has become defiled by my contact with the world or by a life of sin that I have gone back into or anything else I have encountered that has defiled me. Let this be a time of change for me.” We are to keep ourselves clean before Him (1 Corinthians 6:19–20).

The Body of Christ is to be a holy place where God can dwell (Ephesians 2:18–22). But the Father and Christ cannot dwell within us as a temple if we are full of defilement and allow that defilement to continue. Therefore, we must be dedicated to this cleansing process. It takes an aggressive energy to cleanse ourselves. The Scripture says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). May we celebrate this Festival of Dedication with deep meaning in our lives. Let it be a time of cleansing and renewal. Let it be a time of change and rededication. We may have walked with God for years, but that is not enough. We must walk with Him today and that takes a new dedication. Father, give us grace to celebrate this Hanukkah as a day of new beginnings and new dedication.

[1] All Scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible 1995 (NASB1995).


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