“The leaders brought the offering for dedicating the altar on the day it was anointed. The leaders brought their offering before the altar, and Adonai said to Moshe, “They are to present their offerings to dedicate the altar, each leader on his own day.”-Numbers 7:10-11
In verse 10 of Numbers 7, there is something very interesting hidden that I think most people completely overlook.
We’re told that the tribal leaders “are to present their offerings to dedicate the altar”.
In other words, they are to bring their “dedication offerings”.
Now the Hebrew word for “dedicate” being used here is interesting and I believe you may have heard it before.
That word is HANUKKAH.
Yup, that’s the same word of the Jewish fall holiday celebrated to pay respect to the rededication of the Temple to God after it was desecrated and made into a Temple to Zeus for a 3-year period by Antiochus Epiphanies.
This connection is actually really fascinating.
Let’s just sit back and think about this connection for a minute.
Here in the Book of Numbers, the first use of “Hanukkah“ was to kickstart the full operation of God’s HOLY dwelling place, the Tabernacle and His Priesthood.
Then many centuries later, the second use of HANUKKAH was to re-kickstart the full operation of God’s HOLY Temple after it had been rendered inoperative by the evil Syrian governor Antiochus Epiphanies.
Finally, what better reason for believers to celebrate Hanukkah than to see this festival as a rededication of our bodies as temples which have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us?!
This is another great reason why it’s so important to study your Torah.
Here in Numbers 7, we are given a much deeper understanding of what HANUKKAH really means.
We can see from the contents that HANUKKAH is more of an offering to commemorate the BEGINNING of something rather than its “dedication“.
Consider it to be the ribbon cutting ritual of a newly established business that announces to the public “We’re now officially open!”.
In contrast, according to the Torah, a true dedication offering involves consecrating the object of dedication by anointing it with oil.
However, we don’t find that happening here in Numbers 7.
And it didn’t happen during the rededication ceremony after the Maccabee Rebellion.
Finally, when a believer begins a new life after being born again, this is to be commemorated through the ritual of baptism rather than being “dedicated” by being anointed with oil.
There are two other significant points we should not overlook when we read about the Hanukkah offerings in Numbers 7.
First, notice that the first tribe to come forward was the Tribe of Judah.
I find this significant because this was the Tribe from which Messiah would come.
Second, you will notice that every tribe’s HANUKKAH offering consisted of the very same things in the very same amount.
The takeaway I’m getting from this is that God doesn’t play favorites.
We are all on equal ground when it comes to approaching Him
We must all approach humbly Him exactly as we are with all our failings and weaknesses.