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History

Taken from, Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews

“Now Judas celebrated the festival of the restoration of the sacrifices of the temple for eight days, and omitted no sort of pleasures thereon; but he feasted them upon very rich and splendid sacrifices; and he honored God, and delighted them by hymns and psalms. Nay, they were so very glad at the revival of their customs, when, after a long time of intermission, they unexpectedly had regained the freedom of their worship, that they made it a law for their posterity, that they should keep a festival, on account of the restoration of their temple worship, for eight days.” 1

Christ and Hanukkah

The Feast of Dedication or Hanukkah is mentioned in the New Testament in John 10:10:

“And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.  And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch.”

Joseph Smith and Hanukkah

087-087-brother-joseph-fullThe Prophet Joseph Smith was born on December 23, 1805, the eight day of Hanukkah.  The Feast of Dedication is celebrated with a 9 candlestick menorah.  The center most candle is known as the shammus (or servant) candle.  Beginning in complete darkness, each day one candle is lit by the shammus candle.  On the eighth day, all candles are lit.  Is it a coincidence that Joseph Smith, likely the servant in Isaiah, was born on the Hebrew holy day when the light of the servant has brought full light to a once dark work?   Joseph Smith as a light bearer is easily seen through history and symbolism. He came at the darkest time of the year, symbolizing new light and hope coming to the world.

Joseph Smith was born at the darkest time of the year, symbolic of his coming at the low point of the Apostasy.   According to Dr. John P. Pratt, “. . . the evening of 23 Dec 1805 began the Hebrew day 1 Tebeth, the precise day of the winter solstice on that calendar.”2  The religions of the world were floundering in a sea of creeds, philosophies and corrupted scripture. Many who were searching for the truth were overcome with feelings of fear and anxiety regarding the state of their own souls.  At this dark time, the prophet and leader of this dispensation was sent to prepare the way before Christ.

Dr. John P. Pratt continues that “the first day of every month in the Hebrew calendar is considered a holy day. Joseph Smith was born on 1 Tebeth in the Hebrew calendar and was therefore not only born on the winter solstice but also a sacred holy day.”3

In Isaiah 49, the latter-day servant is promised:

“It is a light thing that thou shouldst be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel; I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.”

 

  1. Perseus.tufts.edu, Jewish Antiquities xii. 7, § 7, #323; http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=J.+AJ+12.287&redirect=true
  2.  Dr. John P. Pratt, From Martyrdom to Celebration!
  3.  Dr. John P. Pratt, From Martyrdom to Celebration!

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