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The Feast Of The Dedication

During much of the time between the Old and New Testaments, the land of Israel was under the rulership of the Greek empire (see Ancient Empires - Greece and Daniel's Statue), either by Alexander the Great himself (see Alexander The Great In Prophecy), or the military commanders and their successors who had divided up his kingdom after his early death (see The Seleucids and The Ptolemies).

Seleucus was the commander who took control of the Syrian region of Alexander's empire, thereby establishing the Seleucid dynasty. Antiochus IV was the eighth of the Seleucid kings, ruling from about 174-164 BC. Antiochus certainly had a very high opinion of himself; he took the name of "Epiphanes," which presumed to have meant "Select of God." Many of the people of his kingdom had a different name for him however - they called him "the madman."

Once again, because of its position at the Crossroads Of The Earth, the land of Israel had been contested between two branches of the former Greek kingdom - the Ptolemies to the south in Egypt (Queen Cleopatra was in later years one of its most famous members), and the Seleucids to the north in Syria. Earlier, Israel was included in the Ptolemaic kingdom. During the reign of King Philadelphus of Egypt, the Jews of Jerusalem provided a translation of the Torah from Hebrew into Greek for the royal library in Alexandria. We know it today as the Septuagint. This benign attitude toward the Jews changed dramatically after the Seleucids took over Israel in 198 B.C.

When he came to power, Antiochus IV soon proved himself to be no friend of the Jews. He mounted an effort to destroy them and all worship of the true God. He had any Jew who would not worship the Greek idols put to death. Praying to God, or observing the Sabbath according to The Fourth of The Ten Commandments were also capital offenses. Mothers found with circumcised infants, according to Jewish law, were killed along with the child. He had many scrolls of the Holy Scriptures burned, although many were very likely saved by being hidden out in the wilderness in a manner similar to the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The greatest outrage committed by Antiochus IV occurred in 167 B.C. when he entered the Temple (see Temples) in Jerusalem, erected an altar to the pagan god Zeus, and sacrificed a pig on it. That desecration, dated as the 25th of Kislev according to the Bible Calendar, triggered the Maccabean Revolt by the Hasmoneans (see The Maccabees). Their eventual victory and cleansing of the Temple is still commemorated by Jews today by the annual Festival of Hanukkah.

"And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the Temple in Solomon's porch"

According to Jewish tradition, at the time of that rededication there was not enough undefiled oil available for the Menorah in the Temple, which was supposed to burn continuously each night. Nevertheless, the single day's supply of oil that remained burned miraculously for eight days, until a fresh supply became available. The eight-day festival was begun in commemoration of the miracle, and has continued right to the present time. As a Jew, Jesus Christ observed the Jew's Feast of The Dedication, or Hanukkah, although in this case what He taught there nearly got Him killed.

"And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the Temple in Solomon's porch. Then came the Jews round about Him, and said unto Him, How long dost Thou make us to doubt? If Thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.

Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in My Father's Name, they bear witness of Me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of My sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand. My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father's hand. I and My Father are one.

Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him." (John 10:22-30 KJV)

Fact Finder: Why did His fellow Jews call Jesus a "sinner"?
See Did Jesus Break The Law?

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