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In John 10:22, John mentions that it was winter and the Feast of Dedication had come. Earlier in the Festival Cycle, John transparently uses the various feasts to give a better understanding of Jesus to his readers. Passover clearly gives background to the Exodus themes running through the Bread of Life discourse in John 6. Similarly, it's fairly easy to see how John uses the Feast of Booths as background for the speeches and drama in chapters 7, 8, and 9.

However, what is the relationship between the Good Shepherd discourse and the Feast of Dedication? This one is less clear to me.

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  • Can't say I think that particular parable has relevance to Chanukka. As an aside, Chanukka is also known as the "Feast of Lights," and Jesus is "the light of the world" (John 8:12).
    – user862
    Commented Dec 12, 2012 at 10:34

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While John 10:22-42 in some ways continues the discourse running before it, the reference to the Feast of Dedication shows that some time has lapsed since the previous discussion, which creates some discontinuity as well. So while there might be a connection to Ezekiel 34, in understanding John's use of the festival, it's better to look ahead to the next exchange between Jesus and the Jews rather than necessarily back to the Good Shepherd discourse. In doing so, the reference to the feast is seen to create a fitting setting for the discussion that follows as well as allow to John to continue emphasizing Jesus' fulfillment of the feasts, and in particular of the temple.

Setting

The Feast of Dedication commemorates the re-dedication of the Second Temple following the Maccabean Revolt. According to Wright in "The New Testament and the People of God", the revolt, while successful in some of its aims, left the nation anticipating a Messiah who would overthrow at last the (Seleucid or) Roman rule and establish Israel again as an independent kingdom.

The Feast is therefore an appropriate setting for the question of the people: "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly." The political overtones of the feast, however, also ensure that Jesus does not answer directly, lest his purpose be misunderstood.

Fulfillment

While the Feast of Dedication is not one of the festivals required in the Torah, John also shows that Jesus fulfills this feast as well. Kostenberger argues in "A Theology of John's Gospel and Letters" that John writes a little after the destruction of the temple in 70 AD as (at least in part) an appeal to Jews struggling in the new environment to make sense of their religious practice.

While many at the time turned from a Temple-based worship to a Torah-based one, others still anticipated Messiah's coming to overthrow the occupation and rebuild the temple. John's gospel is then (in part) an appeal to those looking for a new temple to look to Jesus as a new temple. Thus John highlights Jesus' prediction: "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days."

Continuing this theme, Jesus fulfills the role of the temple in the Feast of Dedication. Whereas in the festival it is the temple that is set apart (dedicated) for God's purposes, both Carson (PNTC) and Kruse (TNTC) observe that John highlights Jesus, in verse 36, as the one "set apart" by the Father.

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According to the Interpreter's One-Volume Commentary on the Bible, one of the traditional lessons assigned to the synagogues during the Feast of Dedication is Ezekiel 34.

It would seem Jesus' lesson is an exposition of Ezekiel 34 - He is the good shepherd, He will seek out His lost sheep - and so this is a lesson appropriate to the feast.

See Ezekiel 34:23 (ESV):

And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd.

This is fulfilled by Jesus according John 10:14 (ESV):

I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me,

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  • A quick Google search showed up levhashem.org/documents/hanukkah.html (see the third to last paragraph). I wonder if we only know of the tradition because of John 10, or if this is recorded elsewhere?
    – Peter
    Commented Jan 14, 2013 at 4:33
  • After a bit more digging, most people who say Ezekiel 34 was a lesson assigned on the Feast of Dedication (that is most people who reference their sources!) refer to Aileen Guilding's 1960 book "The Fourth Gospel and Jewish worship". Unfortunately, without a copy on hand (and no good libraries near by), I am unable to go any further and find out what she bases her claim on.
    – Peter
    Commented Jan 14, 2013 at 5:07
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When Jesus talks about being the Light of the World it seems to be on the heels of the Feast of Booths. During that time they would build tall 'menorah' type structures outside the temple and light them which gave off lots of light during the 'tabernacles' celebration. At least that's one possibility.

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He was already there, a blind man was there, and it was the plan of God to heal him on that day.

John 9:1 And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.

John 10:23 And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch.

Jesus was already there, also it was the Sabbath day, "Holy convocation". The Hebrews could go to the Synagogue or to the temple to keep that feast (day of rest)

Lev 23:1

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  • Hi Jose! How does that answer OP's question? Commented Jan 21, 2021 at 22:39
  • Showing that Jesus Always keeps the sabbath day, when he was not yet resurrected.
    – Jose
    Commented Jan 22, 2021 at 2:44
  • José the question is «what is the relationship between the Good Shepherd discourse and the Feast of Dedication?» Commented Jan 22, 2021 at 7:04
  • That one, God Blessed the seventh day (sabbath), to have Holy convocation, many people think that there is a lapse of time during John 10:21 and John 10:22 , but NO, it was in the same day, Jesus was already in the temple, keeping the sabbath, see John 9:14. The real concern about the Good shepherd, is that Jesus always kept the sabbath and so , we should also. We(brothers) have congregate us in Sabbath, it is the blessed day.
    – Jose
    Commented Jan 27, 2021 at 0:59
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"John" mentions that Jesus was in Jerusalem at the time of the celebration of the Jewish celebration of the 2nd Temple. The purpose of including this detail is explained here:

[Jhn 20:30-31 NASB95] [30] Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; [31] but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.

Unlike the synoptics, that deny that Jesus performed any signs other than his resurrection:

[Mat 12:39 NASB95] [39] But He answered and said to them, "An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and [yet] no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet;

In the logic of the NT authors, merely by mentioning that Jesus was there at that time is to have "fulfilled" Maccabees, demonstrate that he was the Messiah and inspire faith. My favorite example of this is this one:

[Mat 2:23 NASB95] [23] and came and lived in a city called Nazareth. [This was] to fulfill what was spoken through the prophets: "He shall be called a Nazarene."

Here's the "prophecy" Jesus is said to have fulfilled by being from a town with similar spelling to "Nazarite":

[Jdg 13:7 DBY] [7] And he said to me, Behold, thou shalt conceive and bear a son; and now drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not anything unclean; for the boy shall be a Nazarite of God from the womb to the day of his death.

There is no indication in the NT that Jesus was ever a Nazarite. And there is another obvious contradiction in Matthew, since in his telling, Jesus was clearly not a resident of Nazareth from birth!:

[Mat 2:19-23 NASB95] [19] But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, and said, [20] "Get up, take the Child and His mother, and go into the land of Israel; for those who sought the Child's life are dead." [21] So Joseph got up, took the Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel. [22] But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Then after being warned [by God] in a dream, he left for the regions of Galilee, [23] and came and lived in a city called Nazareth. [This was] to fulfill what was spoken through the prophets: "He shall be called a Nazarene."

His error is so that he can have Joseph take the baby Jesus into Egypt, in order to "fulfill" Jesus being "called out of Egypt."

In Luke's telling, he ignores the bit about Egypt, and corrects Matthew's account by having Joseph and Mary being from Nazareth all along:

[Luk 1:26-28 NASB95] [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."

That's how John uses the mention of Hanukkah... to "fulfill" (bring new meaning to) Judges 13:7.


So what new meaning does he bring? The central story of the gospels is the destruction of the 2nd Temple (c. 70 AD/CE), Jerusalem, the Sanhedrin, the Sinai Covenant, and the Jewish theocracy altogether, and the anointing of the new Holy Place, which is Christ and resurrected heathen Israel bound in a New Covenant, aka the Kingdom of God, the Congregation of God, the True Vine and Branches, the Israel of God, the New Jerusalem, The Good Shepherd and God's Sheep, The City On A Hill, The City On A Hill, etc. So Jesus would not have been celebrating the 2nd Temple:

[Dan 9:24 NASB95] [24] "Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy [place.]

[Dan 12:7 NASB95] [7] I heard the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, as he raised his right hand and his left toward heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half [a] [time;] and as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people, all these [events] will be completed.

[Jhn 4:19-24 NASB95] [19] The woman said to Him, "Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. [20] "Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you [people] say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship." [21] Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. [22] "You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. [23] "But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. [24] "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."

The 2nd Temple was to be destroyed (in 70 AD/CE), and be replaced with the Body of Christ:

[Jhn 1:51 NASB95] [51] And He said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man."

[Jhn 2:19-21 NASB95] [19] Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." [20] The Jews then said, "It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?" [21] But He was speaking of the temple of His body.

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John 10:22 My master was celebrating the feast of dedication of Ezra 6:15

Third day After the NEW MOON, in the 12th month of ADAR, key word...it was in the winter....Bible Calendation is a subject many do not understand...

and the Bible SABBATH is the 7th day after the NEW MOON...go outside AND LOOK..

My master and the disciples , and their forefathers (Moses) used a LUNAR-SOLAR calendar...not a PAGAN SOLAR ONLY , Man Made Calendar.....in order to celebrate the SABBATH, and ALL HIS FEASTS...you need to go outside and Look to the Heavens to determine Time.....

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  • Please use less ellipsis () and instead actually use the space here to fully explain the relevant issues. This is almost impossible to follow. You can use the edit link below your post to improve it.
    – Caleb
    Commented Jan 31, 2014 at 21:13
  • Ezra 6:15 temple dedication 12th month 3rd day (winter)
    – user3417
    Commented Jan 31, 2014 at 21:34
  • Isa. 66:23 from one NEW MOON to another, and from One Sabbath to another shall All flesh come and worship YAH. google the HEBREW CALENDAR, and may Yah bless you as you seek the Truth...
    – user3417
    Commented Jan 31, 2014 at 21:36
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