The Winter Feast of Dedication

I found this extra feast in the New Testament called the “Feast of Dedication” and decided to try to figure out what it was since it wasn’t prescribed specifically in the Old Testament Levitical Feasts.

22 At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. 24 So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me,[a] is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.””  John 10:22-30

When something is listed specifically in the Bible, especially related to when Jesus is teaching or doing something, we know that there is a meaning for the reference, so it is of no coincidence that Jesus was talking about how He and the Father are one and that Jesus gives His sheep eternal life during this Feast of Dedication, hmmmm…  So, what is the correlation?

What I can determine from this feast listed in John is that it takes place in winter after the other 7 required feasts are complete (those listed in Leviticus).  So, possibly this is not a required feast, but one that was added later and not prescribed directly by God; however, it is clear that they were celebrating it.  When I look at the Old Testament to seek out something similar, I do see something related to verse 23… Jesus was walking in the temple, and a specific reference to Solomon.  We know that Solomon had the plans for the first temple and He orchestrated the construction of it to God’s specs.

  • 37 In the fourth year the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid, in the month of Ziv. 38 And in the eleventh year, in the month of Bul, which is the eighth month, the house was finished in all its parts, and according to all its specifications. He was seven years in building it.”  1 Kings 6:37-38 – It was in the 8th month.  The fall month, 7th month, is when the last of the 7 required feasts were already completed.  This was the following month, following the harvest.
  • 51 Thus all the work that King Solomon did on the house of the Lord was finished.”  1 Kings 7:51

We see then that there was a dedication ceremony for this first temple, or the house of the Lord…

12 Then Solomon said, “The Lord[a] has said that he would dwell in thick darkness. 13 I have indeed built you an exalted house, a place for you to dwell in forever.” 14 Then the king turned around and blessed all the assembly of Israel, while all the assembly of Israel stood. 15 And he said, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who with his hand has fulfilled what he promised with his mouth to David my father, saying, 16 ‘Since the day that I brought my people Israel out of Egypt, I chose no city out of all the tribes of Israel in which to build a house, that my name might be there. But I chose David to be over my people Israel.’ 17 Now it was in the heart of David my father to build a house for the name of the Lord, the God of Israel. 18 But the Lord said to David my father, ‘Whereas it was in your heart to build a house for my name, you did well that it was in your heart. 19 Nevertheless, you shall not build the house, but your son who shall be born to you shall build the house for my name.’ 20 Now the Lord has fulfilled his promise that he made. For I have risen in the place of David my father, and sit on the throne of Israel, as the Lord promised, and I have built the house for the name of the Lord, the God of Israel. 21 And there I have provided a place for the ark, in which is the covenant of the Lord that he made with our fathers, when he brought them out of the land of Egypt…. 22 Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the assembly of Israel and spread out his hands toward heaven, 23 and said, “O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you, in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and showing steadfast love to your servants who walk before you with all their heart; 26 Now therefore, O God of Israel, let your word be confirmed, which you have spoken to your servant David my father. 27 “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you; how much less this house that I have built! 28 Yet have regard to the prayer of your servant and to his plea, O Lord my God, listening to the cry and to the prayer that your servant prays before you this day, 29 that your eyes may be open night and day toward this house, the place of which you have said, ‘My name shall be there,’ that you may listen to the prayer that your servant offers toward this place. 54 Now as Solomon finished offering all this prayer and plea to the Lord, he arose from before the altar of the Lord, where he had knelt with hands outstretched toward heaven. 55 And he stood and blessed all the assembly of Israel with a loud voice, saying, 56 “Blessed be the Lord who has given rest to his people Israel, according to all that he promised. Not one word has failed of all his good promise, which he spoke by Moses his servant. 57 The Lord our God be with us, as he was with our fathers. May he not leave us or forsake us,… 62 Then the king, and all Israel with him, offered sacrifice before the Lord. 63 Solomon offered as peace offerings to the Lord 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep. So the king and all the people of Israel dedicated the house of the Lord.”  1 Kings 8 (various verses)

Then, we see that this feast follows the dedication prayer and offering, what I would assume that they continued celebrating as the Feast of Dedication each year in the 8th month for 8 days, to which, I believe they now celebrate as Hanukkah, or the Festival of Lights.  However, we can also note that this celebration is celebrated one month later than what is shown in the Bible, as it is celebrated in the 9th month (in December).

65 So Solomon held the feast at that time, and all Israel with him, a great assembly, from Lebo-hamath to the Brook of Egypt, before the Lord our God, seven days.[c] 66 On the eighth day he sent the people away, and they blessed the king and went to their homes joyful and glad of heart for all the goodness that the Lord had shown to David his servant and to Israel his people.”  1 Kings 8: 65-66

As I completed my own personal study of this feast, I just researched what others say about this feast, and it is referenced in the book of Maccabees, which I have not read.  It states that this feast relates to when Israel had victory over Greek oppression and the re-dedication of the Temple (which would have been the 2nd temple which God did not ordain the design of it, i.e., the 2nd temple was built on the design of man and never inhabited by God).  I would probably disagree with this reference as when the feast started since, to me, it seems clear that Solomon actually started this Feast of Dedication as shown in 1 Kings.

The Menorah, which is the lighted candles during Hanakkah, is said to symbolize the 8 days of the feast; however, when I research the candle sticks in Scripture, God has stated 7 lighted candles in the Menorah, and not 9, so it would seem that Israel has changed the designated design to include 2 additional lights not prescribed by God.  The original 7 were related to the 7 designated, prescribed appointed feasts of the Lord, as well as the dual meaning of the 7 churches.

12 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest.”  Revelation 1:12-13 – We see a bit later that Jesus tells John that these 7 lampstands are the 7 churches.

We can see in both Amos and Isaiah that God’s message to Israel was that He no longer loved His appointed feast days, but instead despised them because Israel chose to not honor God’s original plan, but instead changed them to be something they were not.

21 “I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. 22 Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the peace offerings of your fattened animals, I will not look upon them.:”  Amos 5:21-22

So, to me, it is clear that the Feast of Dedication was started by Solomon when the first temple was dedicated to the Lord, as designed specifically by Him.  The next question, is what is the correlation between Jesus speaking during this time.

22 At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. 24 So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me,[a] is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.””  John 10:22-30

I believe that Jesus was trying to get the message across to them that He was now the temple and that what the Jews had rebuilt was no longer the temple of the Lord, but rather just another building built by man.

19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple,[a] and will you raise it up in three days?””  John 2:19-20

Ironically, when the Pharisees stated that it took 46 years to build it, it was in reference to the second temple.  The first temple, the only one ordained by God, only took 7 years to build… “…[Solomon] was seven years in building it.”  1 Kings 6:38

Since God did not ordain the 2nd temple, Jesus’ Himself was now the temple where God resided, even though He stood in the physically built 2nd “temple.”  The 2nd temple was not the temple of God, but rather, Jesus was now the temple.  Thirdly, Jesus was talking about when He gives His sheep eternal life.  These sheep would soon become temples as well.  They would be guaranteed eternal life and would become the temples of God when Jesus returned to heaven and sent the Holy Spirit.

  • “If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. ”  1 Corinthians 3:17
  • “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,”  1 Corinthians 6:19
  • “What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”  2 Corinthians 6:16

So, as we come up to the Feast of Dedication, or what they call Hanukkah today, let’s consider the miracle of Jesus, that He became the temple on earth and that He made us temples on earth as well.  It is an undeserved privileged and honor to be chosen to be His temples on earth, but one that comes at a great cost.  Do not disregard the significance and importance of the role that He has given you.  Sadly, the nation of Israel doesn’t yet understand that the temple of the Lord lives within you as they desire to still build a physical building for the Lord, but one day, they will see.

Live up to your calling and remember it especially during the Feast of your Dedication to the Lord.  Amen.