Tonight marks the beginning of this year’s celebration of Chanukah. The word “Hanukkah” means “rededication”. We see Jesus celebrating this festival in John 10:22 where John called it the Festival of Dedication. So what is this festival about?
In 165 B.C. the Maccabees pushed out the Greek-Syrian forces from Jerusalem after a three year battle, a battle for religious freedom. After regaining control of Jerusalem this priestly family along with their troops set out to cleanse the temple from the pagan worship performed by the Greeks, including sacrificing swine.
After cleansing the temple, they wanted to rededicate it to the God of Israel. Part of this rededication was lighting the oil burning lamp in the Holy Place where the table of shew bread and the golden altar stood. Once lit, the lamp was to be kept burning continually. However, they found only enough oil to last for one day. Then God did what only God can do, a miracle. God allowed that one day supply of oil to burn for eight days.
So what is the significance of this festival? First we begin with the idea of dedication. We are called to dedicate or consecrate our lives as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to our Lord. Keep in mind that the lampstand itself represents the tree of life in the garden, the oil represents the Holy Spirit and the flame represents the eternal flame, the flame that is to be always lit, in our lives – the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Jesus said we are the light of the world and we must let that light shine.
In Ephesians 4 we are told to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Yes, the oil represents the Holy Spirit in our lives in all He does in our lives. They had enough oil to last one day. In the beginning of our walk with God through forgiveness found only in the sacrifice of Jesus, God fills our lives with the Holy Spirit, this is our day one.
However, does the Holy Spirit run out or leave us?
You see the Holy Spirit we receive upon believing in Yeshua is not an it, not a force, but a person. He does not run out like oil for a lamp, so does He leave? The Festival of Chanukah says no! The oil lasted for eight days. We must remember that there is no eighth day to any week. So what does the eighth day represent? It represents eternity.
Jesus said the Holy Spirit would be with us for eternity. If the lampstand represents the tree of life and the oil represents the Holy Spirit who is with us forever (John 14:16) then the celebration of Chanukah tells us that God gives eternal life to those who believe in the Messiah and that He will never leave them nor forsake them because His Spirit would be in them forever, even in eternity.
When Jesus went to Jerusalem for the Festival of Dedication or Chanukah in John 10 He told the Jews plainly, “The miracles I do in my Father’s house (you see He is responsible for the miracle of Chanukah) speak for me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”(NIV) Here Yeshua is plainly saying that eternal life is of Him and that no one can snatch it away. The Holy Spirit, the oil of our lives, has been given and will be there for eternity.
Chanukah is God’s story of dedication of His people and of His Holy Spirit being with us in eternity, forever sealed as His.