Photos by Barbara Dingle in Jerusalem
As far as Bible prophecy and the Temple Mount are concerned, a very prophetic event took place this evening in Jerusalem that has gone unnoticed by much of the world. The Temple Institute has come one step closer to realising the dream of restoring Temple worship in the future in Jerusalem–and it’s a miracle story involving Hanukkah and holy oil.
The eight-day festival of Hanukkah marks the victory of the Maccabees – a group of Jewish warriors – over the Syrian-Greek occupiers of Israel in 164 BCE, and in particular the liberation of the Temple Mount and re-sanctification of the Temple, which included the lighting of the Menorah.
But one menorah-lighting tonight in Jerusalem was absolutely historic: for the first time in nearly 2,000 years, Temple Institute experts have reproduced the pure olive oil precisely as it was used in the Temple to light the holy Menorah.
This “real-life Hanukkah miracle” was enacted courtesy of the Temple Institute, an organization dedicated to educating and raising awareness about the importance of the Temple Mount and the holy Temple itself, and preparing for its eventual rebuilding. The historic lighting took place at the end of a procession through the Old City of Jerusalem on the seventh night of Hanukkah, December 22nd.
The oil’s “purity” is not just physical; among the many complex laws surrounding the Menorah’s olive oil is a critical requirement that it remain ritually pure – not an easy task in an age when the Jewish laws (halakhot) surrounding ritual purity have been widely neglected and forgotten due to the fact that most apply only to the Temple service.
But it is precisely that challenge, explains Temple Institute International Director Rabbi Chaim Richman, which makes the project so poignant for this time of year. The Maccabees, too, were ritually impure at the time they liberated the Temple from Hellenistic control (having been fighting a bloody war against the Hellenists). In fact, the “Hanukkah miracle” commemorated via the lighting of the hanukkiah is the very fact that the Jewish freedom-fighters were able to locate a pure jug of olive oil despite the defilement of the Temple – a jug which miraculously burned for eight full days despite only containing enough oil for a single day.
“This is unprecedented… really in the entire recorded history since the Temple’s destruction it hasn’t happened. We are resurrecting the ancient laws of ritual purity,” Rabbi Richman stated in the Israeli press.
“There is a misconception held by many that the oil can’t be made now because we are all technically ritually impure. It’s true that there are many very complicated halakhot involved, but it is doable,” he explained, pointing to how the Maccabees still lit the Menorah and set about immediately producing more despite their own ritual impurity at the time.
Tonight’s procession started off at Zion Gate with musical accompaniment (oboe, drums) to the Jewish Quarter ending in the Cardo for the ceremony.
It was a Yom Historia B’Yisrael – a day of history in Israel–with a careful ritual of pouring oil into a Menorah, and the lighting, as in the days when the Temple Menorah was re-dedicated.
Then a further procession in pouring rain (often a sign of blessing in Israel) to the area at the top of the steps above the golden menorah that is currently on display in the Jewish Quarter.
So interesting also that this ceremony takes place just prior to Christmas when believers around the world commemorate the conception and birth of Yeshua, the light of the world, and the manifestation of Messiah to the Gentiles with the visit of the Magi.