Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Feast of Dedication

The Hebrew culture has celebrated the Feast of Dedication for many years now. It is knownmore commonly by it's Hebrew name Hanukkah, which means dedication. This winter feast celebrates the re-dedication of the temple after it was desecrated by the ancient Seleucid ruler Anticochus Epiphanes IV in 167 B.C.E.

In a nutshell, the bad guys against Yahweh, took over the temple, wreaked havoc profaningeverything: the good guys (the Maccabees) for Yahweh, fought back, won and had to clean up the mess left by the blasphemers. Since this time, the Jews have kept the Feast of Dedication, marking this dreadful ordeal.

Fast forward to the time of Jesus and we see that in the book of John, in the 10th chapter, Jesus walks through the temple during the Feast of Dedication. As Jesus dialogues with the Jews, the Jews get upset at his claim of being God and pick up stones to stone him with. So where did the stones in the temple come from? The temple keepers would hardly tolerate stones being left around the temple, so where did the rocks, big enough to stone a man, come from? Why were there stones in the temple?

It is quite possible and highly probable that the stones they picked up were the altar stones left from when the Maccabees rebuilt the temple. The altar stones were considered sacred yet they had seen the blood of an abominable pig. This left the Maccabees with a problem. The stones could not have been tossed aside as a mere common rock yet they could hardly be used for a sacred altar to Yahweh.Set aside but not discarded these desecrated rocks were left for years inside the temple in Solomon's Portico.

I'm sure the Maccabees never dreamed that during the Feast that celebrates the return to Yahweh's holiness, the mistreated holy stones of the first altar, would years later, be used to threaten the life of the long awaited Messiah.