Altar of Burnt Offerings
Ark of the Covenant
Altar of Incense
Holy of Holies
You are the Light of the World
"The soul of a man is the lamp of the L-rd, searching all the inward parts of the heart" Prov. 20:27. The menorot of the Temple were arranged in such a way that the light fell on the Showbread. This was symbolic of the fact that G-d's children are supposed to always live in Her presence (the light was never extinguished). The symbolism doesn't end there. The Brit Hadashah (New Testament) is clear that we are to be a light to all nations (ohr l'goyim) Matt 5:14 (as well as Is. 29:6 in Tenakh), and in Revelation, the lampstands (or menorot) were the churches of Yeshua. Yeshua referred to himself as a light (Jn. 8:12). It is very clear that we as MJ's must act as a beacon to the lost; a mirror, reflecting Yeshua's brightness. Without light, we would all walk around, stumbling in the dark. "No one, when he has lit a menorah, puts it in a secret place or under a basket, but on a menorah, that those who come in may see the light. The menorah of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness. Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not dearkness. If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, the whole body will be full of light, as when the bright shining of a menorah gives you light." Luke 11:33-36 We are supposed to make our lives a light to the world, something to make it a good place, we are to be influencial. Some lights are brighter than others. Some people are just flickering candles, others blaze like the sun. Strive to be like the sun, but don't worry if you're not at that point yet. Becomine a blazing torch takes energy. What will you use to fuel your lamp to really make it shine? I'm reminded of the song, Kumi Ori. It means "come rise and shine", that is my prayer, that you'll heed those words in this room.
In Ezekiel's vision, there were no lampstands (this is a vision of the future Temple, remember), and in Revelation we are told there will be no sun in heaven because G-d is the light, brighter than any sun. The fact that the future Temple will have no menorah is significant, probably because there is no need for a lampstand when you have haShem with you, all aglow!
The menorot in the Temple were to burn continuously. This meant that they needed to have an endless supply of oil. The Jews designed lampstands with little conduits that went from the place they produced oil (they squeezed olives) to the menorot. There were also a good number of pipes and other such interesting "modern" conveniences in the Temple (okay, maybe it's just me that finds this interesting because I'm a pipefitter:)
There are many myths surrounding the holiday (just like with Christmas), so let's start by filtering out fact from fiction. In the days of the Maccabees, there was a revolt (led by Maccabees) to take over the land and eventually the Temple. The revolt succeeded and soon the Maccabees rededicated the Temple to YHWH. Legend has is that these guys had one problem, there wasn't enough oil for the seven days it would take to produce new oil, at most it would only last one day. Bear in mind that these people had also been fighting during Sukkot (seven day feast) and couldn't celebrate it at the proper time, so they decided to observe a 'second' Sukkot later in the year for seven days. They needed that oil for those seven days! Well, praise haShem, She provided a miracle and the one day's supply of oil lasted 8 days (seven days longer than it should've), just long enough to produce and purify enough oil, as well as celebrate this "second" Sukkot. Anyway, according to the legend, that is why we now celebrate Chanukah for 8 days. Too bad it's not true, 'cause I really like that story:)
Festival of Lights
The real reason Chanukah is eight days long is simply because this was a second Sukkot as mentioned before. Yes, Sukkot is only 7 days, but you are probably familiar with the idea of having 2 days celebration for a one-day holiday, or an 8 day festival for a feast that is only supposed to last for 7. That's because it took an official word from haEretz that the new moon (Rosh Chodesh) festival was to start (or whatever holiday). Sometimes this message would take a day to get to Jews living outside Israel, in the old days. So they began the custom of celebrating 2 days, since on of them was bound to be the right day. Do the Jews know how to party or what?!
Messianic Judaism--NOT affirming
Rededicating the Temple
G-d doesn't mandate His people to celebrate Chanukah like He does some other holidays, but I feel it is just as important to observe. I find it to be a nice quiet time of year compared to all the hulla-buloo over Christmas (I don't personally celebrate the holiday, but I don't condemn those who do). We always play calming music and sing songs of Moshiach's light to the world while lighting the candles. I enjoy this holiday very much, partly because Yeshuah celebrated it!
It was started because of a rededication to the Temple. I think this is symbolic to the Messianic Jew, because sometimes our 'Temples' fall into ruin and need some renovations and rededication. Some Christians call this 'rededicating your life to Christ' and I couldn't have said it any better myself. It's never to late to turn back to G-d (teshuvah), He's ever-loving and gracious to anyone who asks for His help.
More Messianic Info--NOT affirming
The Rainbow Lighthouse
I love this picture because I absolutely love lighthouses, and then the light it's giving is a symbol of Pride! Let's all be a godly light to the gay community.
This is the picture of a Chanukia (Chanukah menorah) which is in the form of a tree. The Torah is said to be a "tree of life (Aytz Khayim), so it is sort of a spinoff of that. Since Chanukah is the festival of lights, I think it is only appropriate to speak of the holiday here. The menorah has eight branches for the eight days, and one extra called the shamash (used to light the eight candles). On the first night the right candles is lit by the shamash, on the second night the two most right candles are lit, and so on until all the eight are lit.