Beginning last Sunday, December 6, the Hebrew feast of Hanukkah is celebrated. The feast memorializes the dedication of the Temple in 165 BC, after Antiocus IV Epiphanes attempted to stamp out the Hebrew religion. It also celebrates a miracle where a one day supply of Temple oil lasted eight days. Thus, it is called both the “Feast of Dedication” and the “Feast of Lights”.
With the cleansing of the Temple in 165BC, the Temple and the Nation of Israel were made ready to receive the Messiah. However, it was 160 years later that He was born and 190 years later that He began His ministry. Jesus celebrated the Feast of Dedication and used the occasion to clarify that He was the Messiah while teaching in the Temple (see John 11:22-39).
This week on December 9, we mark a significant date leading to the Second Coming of
Christ. It was 98 years ago on December 9, 1917 that the Turks surrendered Jerusalem to the British. The British mandate ultimately lead to the U.N. vote to form Israel thirty years later in 1947, and to the birth of Israel in 1948. Christians all over the world saw the miraculous rebirth of Israel as preparation for the Second Coming of Christ.
Few Christians expected the return of Christ to be delayed so long after the nation of
Israel was made ready. However, if we look back to the formation of Israel in 165 BC, preparatory to the advent of Christ, then a waiting period of 160 or 190 years is not so surprising. At 98 years, if counting began in 1917 instead of 1948, we would only be half way through a 190 year wait.
Let us then pray over the Feast of Dedication and let us then remember how it made the way ready for the Messiah. The Feast of Dedication also reminds us to purify our hearts, the New Convent temple of the Holy Spirit, as the Second Temple was purified in 165 B.C.
And let us also pray that Christians do not get discouraged by the delay in Christ’s return, for no one knows the day or the hour.
Even so, come Lord Jesus