The Hanukkah and Sukkah of YeshuaShowing by symbolism and timing
Yeshua’s dedication and conception on Hanukkah (the Feast of Dedication),
His birth on the first day of Hag Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles),
and His circumcision and naming on Shimini Atzeret (the Eighth Day).
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted – Ecclesiastes 3:1-2.
The Dedication of Yeshua on Hanukkah
God, through the angel Gabriel, dedicated Yeshua at conception to be the ultimate Temple.
“Hanukkah” is a Hebrew word meaning dedication. The term is found in Numbers 7:10, 11, 84, & 88, 2 Chronicles 7:9, Ezra 6:16-17, Nehemiah 12:27, Psalm 30:1, and John 10:22 (translated into Greek egkainia, thence into English Feast of Dedication). Psalm 30 is Biblically titled: A Psalm for Hanukkah / Dedication of the Temple. Following the listing of Holy Days in Leviticus 23, the elements of Hanukkah appear for the dedication of the Tabernacle.
“Command the sons of Israel that they bring to you clear oil from beaten olives for the light, to make a lamp burn continually” – Leviticus 24:1-9.
The Tabernacle and Temple were to be built exactly according to the pattern from heaven, because they were temporal pictures of Messiah.
“And see that you make them according to their pattern, which was shown you in the mount” – Exodus 25:4.
“And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it”
– Revelation 21:22.
Hanukkah was from creation the time established for the Temple of God to be dedicated: the Temple at Jerusalem, and the heavenly living Temple of God after which the former was patterned. The oil used in the Temple menorahs (candelabra, a major symbol in the celebration of Hanukkah) is symbolic of the Spirit of God, by which Yeshua was conceived to be the Light of the World. The Hanukkah dreidel, which proclaims “A great miracle happened there,” refers to the lasting menorah oil – symbolizing the miracle of the virgin’s conception of the eternal Messiah by the Spirit of God.
When Zechariah was ministering in the Temple, he received an announcement from God of a coming son. The second course of Abia, when Zechariah was ministering, was a week in the middle of the month Sivan. If Zechariah’s promised son – John the baptizer – were conceived soon thereafter, then Yeshua’s conception, which was six months later, would be late Kislev to early Tevet, at Hanukkah (the Feast of Dedication); His birth nine months later would thence be at mid Tishri, at the Feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles).
5 In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah; and he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 They were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord. 7 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both advanced in years. 8 Now it happened that while he was performing his priestly service before God in the appointed order of his division, 9 according to the custom of the priestly office, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were in prayer outside at the hour of the incense offering. 11 And an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the altar of incense. 12 Zechariah was troubled when he saw the angel, and fear gripped him. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John. 14 You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. 15 For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb. 16 And he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God. 17 “It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” 18 Zechariah said to the angel, “How will I know this for certain? For I am an old man and my wife is advanced in years.” 19 The angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20 And behold, you shall be silent and unable to speak until the day when these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time.” 21 The people were waiting for Zechariah, and were wondering at his delay in the temple. 22 But when he came out, he was unable to speak to them; and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple; and he kept making signs to them, and remained mute. 23 When the days of his priestly service were ended, he went back home. 24 After these days Elizabeth his wife became pregnant, and she kept herself in seclusion for five months, saying, 25 “This is the way the Lord has dealt with me in the days when He looked with favor upon me, to take away my disgrace among men.” 26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” 29 But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. 30 The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; 33 and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” 34 Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God. 36 And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month” – Luke 1:5-36.
7 Now the first lot came out for Jehoiarib, the second for Jedaiah, 8 the third for Harim, the fourth for Seorim, 9 the fifth for Malchijah, the sixth for Mijamin, 10 the seventh for Hakkoz, the eighth for Abijah , 11 the ninth for Jeshua, the tenth for Shecaniah, 12 the eleventh for Eliashib, the twelfth for Jakim, 13 the thirteenth for Huppah, the fourteenth for Jeshebeab, 14 the fifteenth for Bilgah, the sixteenth for Immer, 15 the seventeenth for Hezir, the eighteenth for Happizzez, 16 the nineteenth for Pethahiah, the twentieth for Jehezkel, 17 the twenty-first for Jachin, the twenty-second for Gamul, 18 the twenty-third for Delaiah, the twenty-fourth for Maaziah. 19 These were their offices for their ministry when they came in to the house of Yahweh according to the ordinance given to them through Aaron their father, just as Yahweh God of Israel had commanded him – 1 Chronicles 24:7-19. The first two courses served one week each, all served at Feast of Unleavened Breads, the next five courses served one week each, all served at the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost), then the eighth course of Abijah served in mid-Sivan.
Yeshua used Hanukkah, the winter Feast of Dedication of the Holy Temple (see John 10:22-36), as an occasion to explain how He was sanctified and sent into the world.
“22 And it was at Jerusalem at (Hanukkah) the Feast of the Dedication, 23 and it was winter. And Yeshua walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch. 24 Then the Jews came round about him, and said to him, ‘How long will you make us to doubt? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly . . . 36 do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God ‘?” – John 10:22-24.
The Birth of Yeshua on Sukkot
Messiah’s birth, about AM 3750 – 3756 (10 – 4 BC), was expectantly awaited (Matthew 2:1-18) because within about 40 years Daniel’s prophecy concerning Him must be fulfilled.
The prophet Micah wrote that He was destined to be born in Beth-Lechem (Bethlehem) — the House of Bread (Micah 5:2). God called Him the Bread from Heaven (John 6:32-36), though men say Manna (Exodus 16:31) – What is It? It was because of Micah’s prophecy that King Herod had the children of Bethlehem killed, to protect his throne against the coming promised king.
The sages who translated the Septuagint taught from the prophet Isaiah that He would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14) and would be called Immanuel – God with Us. (Modern rabbis deny this interpretation.)
In the expected time and place, on the Festival of Sukkot,* in a succah (tabernacle, temporary dwelling) where Passover lambs were raised in the city of the shepherd David, a Son was born to a virgin descended from that Messiah David (Matthew 1, Luke 3:23-38). At an angel’s command (Matthew 1:21), He was named Yeshua, meaning “Yahweh is Salvation.” God would dwell with us in a sukkah of humanity that would be bruised by the serpent, then crush that old serpent!
The apostle Yochanan (John) tells us that the Word (of God) became flesh and “dwelt in a sukkah” (tabernacled) among us (John 1:14). The author views Sukkot as figurative of Messiah”s coming to dwell among His people; this reference is not submitted as proof of a dogmatic date.
The month of Tishri (Sukkot begins on Tishrei 15 – in the fall) also fits with the season of shepherds being out with their flocks by night, as they were when Yeshua was born; during winter the lambs are kept indoors.
Later in His life, Yeshua celebrated His birthday on a mountain with three of His disciples (Matthew 17:1-9, Mark 9:1-10). In contrast to birthday parties, such as Herod’s (Matthew 14:6-12), where people were killed for entertainment, His was a celebration of life. On the Festival of Sukkot, Moses and Elijah, from centuries past, representatives of the Torah and the Prophets, appeared and talked with Yeshua. One disciple, Kepha (Peter), suggested building three sukkot for Yeshua, Moses, and Elijah, because it was required for the festival, but he did not understand (Mark 9:6) that these three were fulfilling that which the festival symbolized: they were dwelling in their sukkot (temporary tabernacles) of flesh, awaiting their eternal resurrection temples.
Eighth Day Circumcision and Naming
Immediately following the seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles is Shimini Atzeret – the Eighth Day, a Holy Day (Leviticus 23:36).
A male child is to be circumcised on his eighth day of life.
“On the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised” – Leviticus 12:2.
Yeshua was circumcised and named on His eighth day after birth, as symbolized by Shimini Atzeret.
“And when eight days had passed for His circumcision, His name was then called Yeshua, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb” – Luke 2:21.
Drawing Out Living Waters
“Whoever did not see the rejoicing of (this water drawing ceremony) never saw rejoicing in his lifetime” – Mishnah: Sukkah 5:1.
On each of the seven days of Sukkot, the High Priest took a golden pitcher and filled it with water drawn from the Pool of Siloam. It was brought into the Temple through the Water Gate (hence the name), and poured into a bowl at the Altar, alongside the pouring of the wine, during the daily burnt-offering (Talmud: Sukkah 4:9). This water libation was performed only during Sukkot.
The Talmud states (Sukkah 4:4), “Why is the name of it called the Drawing Out of Water? Because of the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, according to what is said: ‘With joy shall ye draw out of the wells of salvation’ (Isaiah 12:3)”.
Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Yeshua stood and cried out, saying, “If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.’” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Yeshua was not yet glorified – John 7:37-39.
Light of the World
At the end of the first day of the Feast, three eighty foot high golden candlesticks were set up in the Temple’s Court of Women. Four golden bowls were placed on each candlestick, and four ladders rested against each. A youth of priestly descent stood at the top of each ladder, pouring oil from a ten-gallon pitcher into the bowl (Talmud: Sukkah 5:3) The worn-out liturgical garments of Priests were used for wicks. The light from these candlesticks was so bright that it was state, “There was no courtyard in Jerusalem that was not lit up with the light at the water-well ceremony” (Talmud: Sukkah 5:3).
Yeshua spoke publicly on Sukkot, saying, “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
LIGHTING the HANUKKIAH
The hanukkiah (eight-branch Hanukkah menorah) is lighted each of the eight nights and placed where outsiders may see it through a window.
One candle (in the center or on one side) is taller; it is called the shamish (meaning servant) and is renewed each night and used to light the branches. It represents Messiah.
The eight branches represent the eight days, from right to left. On the first night, one candle is placed on the right branch and lighted. On the second night, a new candle is placed on the right branch and another on the second from right branch, but they are lighted from left to right, the current day’s first. On the third night, new candles are placed on the right and second from right branches and another on the third from right branch, and they are lighted left to right, the current day’s first. This order is followed through the eighth night. They are lighted after sunset except on Erev Shabbat (Friday night) when they are lighted before sunset — before the Sabbath candles.
The following blessings are recited: (After the first night, omit the third blessing.)
Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the universe, Who sanctified us by Your Word,
and taught us to kindle Hanukkah lights.
Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the universe,
Who performed miracles for our ancestors long ago at this season.
Blessed are you, Yahweh our God, king of the universe,
Who has kept us alive, sustained us, and brought us to this season
Do you know what a dreidel is? Well, it’s a four-sided dancing dandy top. Give it a twist and it will dance and spin and prance and when out of energy, the dancer will bow and then ever so gently fall – plop – on its Nun, Gimmel, Hay or Shin.
This dancing dancer has a magnificent story to tell. Each of its four sides has one Hebrew letter – Nun, Gimmel, Hay or Shin. These letters stand for the Hebrew words, Nes Gadol Haya Sham: in English this means, “A great miracle happened there.”
Firstly, in Israel over 2,100 years ago, the Syrians conquered the tiny land of Israel and enslaved the Jews. Under the leadership of Judah Maccabee, the Jews fought back and defeated the Syrians. On this date, they recaptured and cleansed the Holy Temple. They wanted to relight the golden Temple Menorah, but, alas, there was just one tiny jar of Holy Oil, enough for only several hours. But, “A great miracle happened there,” and the oil burned for all eight days and nights of the Feast of Dedication (according to the Talmudic story).
Secondly, about this date over 1900 years ago, a Jewish girl named Miryam (Mary in English) was visited by an angel. She was told that, while still a virgin, she would conceive a child by the Holy Spirit – a child dedicated to be the Holy Temple of God. “A great miracle happened there!”
“You shall call His name Yeshua (Jesus), for He shall save His people from their sins.”
The four Hebrew letters make up a sprightly Hanukkah game. Each player places some candies, nuts, or if you’re rich, some money into a kitty. Now, spin the dreidel and follow the instructions. May the player with the best and longest spin win!
Nun means “nisht” or nothing. You win nothing, lose nothing.
Gimel means “gantz” or all of the pot – you take all.
Hay means “half” or take half of the pot.
Shin means “shel Tzu” or put one item or coin in the pot.