Jesus in Jerusalem during Hanukkah

The Gospel of John records more visits to Jerusalem by Jesus than any other of the Gospels. John is the only one to record the visit during the Feast of Dedication.

At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter,  and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. (John 10:22-23 ESV)

BDAG translates the Greek term egkainia as “festival of rededication.” The feast is also known as Hanukkah and the Feast of Lights.

What is the Feast of Dedication? This feast, observed on the 25th of Kislev (roughly our December), had its origin in the period between the testaments. The desecration of the temple by the Seleucid ruler Antiochus Epiphanes took place in 168 B.C. The climax of the Maccabean revolt was the removal of all evidences of pagan worship from the temple. An eight-day feast of dedication was observed in 165 B.C., and continued to be observed annually by the Jews.

"Antiokhos IV" by Jniemenmaa (talk) 08:46, 20 July 2009 (UTC), own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons -

“Antiokhos IV” by Jniemenmaa (talk) 08:46, 20 July 2009 (UTC), own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons –

At Modin, a village north-west of Jerusalem, on the way from Jerusalem to Lod, the Syrians tried to force an old priest by the name of Mattathias to offer a pagan sacrifice. The priest refused but another Jew volunteered to offer the sacrifice. Mattathias killed his fellow Jew and the Syrian officer. As word spread, Mattathias became a national hero. He was of the family of Hasmon (or Asmoneus). Thus began the Hasmoneans.

Archaeologists working  with the Israel Antiquities Authority have been searching for the tomb of the Maccabeans at Modin in recent years. See the report here.

2 responses to “Jesus in Jerusalem during Hanukkah

  1. The dedication of the Temple by Solomon after its construction is not what is celebrated by Hanukkah. These two events are separated by about seven hundred years. The feast of Sukkot (English readers find booths or tabernacles in their Bibles) comes in the fall at the time of harvest. This year it was celebrated Sept. 27-Oct.5. Jesus was also in Jerusalem for the Feast of Booths (John 7). When he went to the Feast of Dedication “it was winter” (John 10:22). It’s easy to get things like this confused because of common wording. I mentioned that Dedication was not authorized by the Law of Moses.

  2. The Feast of Dedication is not necessarily Chanukkah. Solomon’s temple was dedicated during the feast of Sukkot in the seventh month. Thus, Sukkot was also know as the feast of dedication. Chanukkah is not mentioned in Lev 23 as an appointed time.

    2 Chron 7:9-10
    8 So Solomon observed the feast at that time for seven days, and all Israel with him, a very great assembly who came from the entrance of Hamath to the brook of Egypt.
    9 On the eighth day they held a solemn assembly, for the dedication of the altar they observed seven days and the feast seven days.
    10 Then on the twenty-third day of the seventh month he sent the people to their tents, rejoicing and happy of heart because of the goodness that the Lord had shown to David and to Solomon and to His people Israel.

    Something to consider.

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