Yochanan/John 10:22

 

Setting the stage: Please read this passage first:

Yochanan/John 10:22

Setting the stage: Please read this passage first:

"Then came Chanukkah in Yerushalayim. It was winter, and Yeshua/Jesus was walking around inside the Temple area, in Shlomo's Colonade. So the Judeans surrounded him and said to him, 'How much longer are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are Messiah, tell us publicly!'

Yeshua answered them, "I have already told you, and you don't trust me. The works I do in my Father's name testify on my behalf; but the reason you don't trust is that you are not included among my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice, I recognize them, they follow me, and I give them eternal life. They will absolutely never be destroyed, and no one will snatch them from my hands. My Father, who gave them to me, is greater than all; and no one can snatch them from the Father's hand. I and the Father are one." Yochanan/John 10:22 Jewish New Testament by David Stern

Now....Many times we have read over this passage in our studies of the Bible, but have failed to add the proper Hebraic background to it. We, as Christians, for the most part, ignore the fact that this WAS Chanukkah! We aren't even sure about the other festivals of Leviticus, and so we have no idea about what they are when the festivals come up in our reading. We have included much materials on our website ( ) and written a book called Hanukkah: The Light is Messiah to explain this festival to believers, and now would like to add a little bit of Hebraic flavor back into this passage to help you understand our Messiah Yeshua's statements here.

So What Could This Mean?
An Interpretation of this Passage

Chanukah is a festival that was created by the rabbis and not by God, much as Christmas was created by men many years after the time of the Apostles. It does affect our studies as we see that Yeshua was in the Temple at that time of year. This was preserved for a reason, right? Putting this scripture within the right historical setting is very important. So let’s examine it:

Historical background: Between the Old Testament and the New Testament about 400 years in length happened. During that time an evil king took over Israel. A few people, The Maccabbees, went into rebellion against the evil king. The Maccabbeans have been in the battle for a long time...three years! When they return to Jerusalem they immediately go to the Temple to see great destruction. This was recorded in the Book of Maccabbees (historical documents):

The following from "A History of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ" first division, volume 1 by Schurer:

"Everything impure was carried out from the temple. The altar of burnt-offering, which had been polluted by heathen sacrifices, was wholly taken down and a new one built in its place.(56) The sacred garments and furniture were replaced by new ones; and when everything was ready, the temple was consecrated anew by the celebration of a great feast. This took place, according to 1 Macc. iv. 52, on 25th Chisleu, in the Seleucid year 148, or December B.C. 165, or precisely the same day on which three years before, for the first time, the altar had been desecrated by offering up of heathen sacrifices. The festivities lasted for eight days, and it was resolved that every year the memory of those events should be revived by the repetition of the festival observance.(56)

The stones of the heathen altar of sacrifice, or rather of several such altars, were carried out [by the Maccabees] to "an unclean place," therefore completely outside of the temple precincts (1 Macc. iv. 43). The stones of the earlier Jewish altar of burnt-offerings, on the other hand, were laid on the temple mount, on a suitable place, "until there should come a prophet to show what should be done with them" (1 Macc. iv.46). According to Mishna (Oral Tellings Middoth I.6), the stones of the Jewish altar were laid down in a chamber within the bounds of the inner court, but no longer on "holy" ground. With 1 Macc. iv. 43 and 46, Derenbourg, pp. 60,61, combined two obscure passages in Megillath Taanith (Jewish historical books 17 and 20), according to which the stones of the Jewish altar were removed on 23rd Marcheschwan (Jewish calendar is different than Roman Gregorian calendar), that is, November, those of the heathen altar somewhat later, on 3rd Chisleu, or December. The exposition of the two passages, however, is still very uncertain."

The following is from, "Antiquities of the Jews" by Josephus (First century Jewish historian), book xii, chapter v: ". . . he slew swine upon it . . . from chapter vii: "He also took down the altar [of burnt offering], and built a new one of stones that he gathered together, and not of such as were hewn with iron tools."

So, time passes and Yeshua is born many years later. Many are saying that HE is "a prophet" and that maybe HE is even "a messiah"! So Chanukkah rolls around and, HE is in the Temple compound in the porch (where much teaching and discussion was carried on), and the people want to know if HE is "the prophet." In other words, they came to "test HIM" as "the prophet." What is HIS answer?

"Then came Chanukkah in Yerushalayim. It was winter, and Yeshua/Jesus was walking around inside the Temple area, in Shlomo's Colonade. So the Judeans surrounded him and said to him, 'How much longer are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are Messiah, tell us publicly!' Yeshua answered them, "I have already told you, and you don't trust me. The works I do in my Father's name testify on my behalf; but the reason you don't trust is that you are not included among my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice, I recognize them, they follow me, and I give them eternal life. They will absolutely never be destroyed, and no one will snatch them from my hands. My Father, who gave them to me, is greater than all; and no one can snatch them from the Father's hand. I and the Father are one." Yochanan/John 10:22 Jewish New Testament by David Stern

So, if we add back in some history we can see that it will add new light to this passage, can't we? HE knew what they wanted, and HE told them that they would not recognize HIM as Messiah, so why should HE waste his breath! Only HIS sheep would recognize HIM! Are you one of HIS sheep? Do YOU recognize HIS voice?

At this festive time of year, we wish you and yours "Happy Holidays"

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