Hanukkah: Festival of Lights
HANUKkAH 2018 – Feast of Dedication; Festival of Lights
What do the 8 days of Hanukkah represent?
The centrepiece of the Hanukkah celebration is the hanukkiah, a candelabra that holds 8 candles, plus a Shamash (representing The One who brings light into a darkened world).
In Biblical numerology, the number ‘Eight’ represents ‘New beginnings’.
In the Alef Beit, the letter ‘chet’ equals the number 8.
‘Chet’ is representative of ‘a fence’, meaning ‘to enclose’, or ‘private’.
Eight candles symbolize the number of days that the Temple lantern blazed; the ninth, the Shamash, is a helper candle used to light the others.
Hanukkah is eight days of meditation, concentration, contemplation and thinking of an incident that took place in our history that has affected our lives today.
We recall the struggle, the despair and the hopeless condition which gave courage to a people who stood up and fought for life. If you fight for life, salvation is won. It is in the victory of life that we find joy.
This was the realization of the Maccabees in their message to you and me at the season of Hanukkah.
In the eight days of rededication, evaluation and introspection of our being, we recall the past in a way that transforms who we are in the present, which in turn, affects what we may become (and do) in the future.
We don’t just count, we evolve each day!
According to legend, they only had enough oil to burn for one night and it would take eight days to prepare more, but in fact, the oil they had miraculously burned had lasted for the entire eight nights, the time it would take to prepare more oil.
As a result, you will find the 9 branch Hanakkiah, we see used today, designed specifically for this celebration – 8 branches plus the 9th candle.
Only one candle is lit on the first night of this celebration. On each consecutive night, one additional candle is lit using the central branch called the ‘Shamash’ (helper – representing The Spirit of YeHoVaH). By the eighth night, all 8 candles are aglow, which is why Hanukkah is called ‘the Festival of Lights’. The Book of the Maccabees also describes an eight day celebration with the rededication of the Temple, but making no reference to the miracle of the oil.
We have already discussed the story of the Maccabean revolution that resulted in the restoration of YeHoVaH’s Temple which had been defiled by a pagan king , who many see as a foreshadow of the anti-Messiah when he sacrificed a pig on the altar, and the biblical concept from the Apostolic teachings regarding the likening of the human body as a Temple, I want to move now to a Temple model that many may not have thought of.
Overview on my sharing today
I want to look at the Spiritual Aspects of Hanukkah:
- The Temple of YeHoVaH – in Creation
- Defiling the Temple
- A defiled and broken spirit
- The spirit itself is not defiled
- Create in me a clean heart
- And finish with Solomon’s Prayer
The Temple Of All Creation
I want to present Creation—the whole of this spinning globe we call Earth—as a Temple model.
To set the tone for this, I want to read the prologue from Dr. Dinah Dye’s book -
The Temple Revealed In The Garden: Priests And Kings:
Dinah states that in the beginning, Elohim built a Temple called the Heavens and the Earth.
Through Wisdom, Knowledge, and Understanding, the master craftsman formed His cosmic House from the dew of the seventh heaven, and He blew the breath of life into His creation.
The Ruach (Spirit) of YeHoVaH hovered over the face of the waters like a mother bird building her nest.
Elohim cut a covenant, and His word bound Heaven and Earth together in
Unity was sealed forever in the place where blazing tongues of fire radiate from the Throne of Glory— YeHoVaH’s Holy Oracle.
A sign in the heavens confirmed His eternal oath: water and fire fused to fashion a rainbow-colored arc that connected Heaven to Earth.
Elohim stretched out His chamber from one end of Heaven to the other. Inside the folds of His garment, vaults were filled with Heaven’s fresh waters. He carpeted His tent with thick darkness and hung a crystalline veil at its entrance.
Cherubim clasping flaming swords stood like sentries at the opening of the firmament: a dome-shaped lid that covered the earth. Elohim’s chariot throne rested on sapphire paving stones where a river of fire burst forth from underneath His earthly footstool.
The king was clothed in dazzling light; He was dressed in splendour and majesty.
He divided His lower chamber into seven Yamin (days or stages) to mirror the upper.
Elohim separated feminine elements from masculine: Earth from Heaven, light from darkness, waters below from waters above, land from sea, night from day.
Elohim fashioned His lower House into three courtyards and filled each with His possessions: Heaven, the inner sanctum, contained all the celestial bodies.
Earth, the inner courtyard, was filled with seed-producing plants, trees, and grasses.
The seas formed the outer courtyard for the fish and great sea monsters that populated the deep.
His lower house became the boundary that prevented the waters of chaos from crossing over.
On the seventh day, Elohim inaugurated His completed Temple for service.
His royal house was filled with the fire of His glory.
Accompanied by one hundred blasts of a ram’s horn, the hosts of Heaven paid homage to the Creator of the universe with shouts of joy and acclamation.
The heavenly chorus worshipped, singing, “All Praise and Honour, Glory and Majesty, Blessing and Triumph, Dominion and Power to the Sovereign King.”
Elohim’s throne was firmly established in the heavens; His Kingdom reigned over all.
At the climax of His creation, Elohim installed the human, Adam, as king and high priest to rule over the garden in Eden — located at the centre of the cosmos.
Adam sprouted up from the dust of the earth to become a mighty tree.
His shade would cover the earth’s mountains.
As king, he was to maintain order and stability — serving as the mediator between Heaven and Earth.
As Elohim’s divine image-bearer, Adam was called to spread G-d’s seed and to expand the garden to Earth’s four corners. He was to rule the world in righteousness, justice, and peace and to preserve the created order through acts of worship so chaos could not destroy the Shalem (peace).
Eden was Elohim’s perfection where He dwelled “in the midst” of His creation.
It was the Temple where His seed was sown to produce a harvest in His image and likeness.
His seed was His most treasured possession!
What many people miss in casual reading of the Genesis record when they browse the content in an English translation and try to understand it from a modern cultural mindset, is that the garden was not Eden. Let’s take a look at two verses from the second chapter of Genesis.
Is the Garden actually Eden?
Then Adonai Elohim planted a garden in Eden in the east, and there He put the man whom He had formed. Genesis 2:8
Then Adonai Elohim took the man and gave him rest in the Garden of Eden in order to cultivate and watch over it. Genesis 2:15
Notice the use of the words in and of in these passages.
Indeed, the garden was not Eden, but merely a sectioned out part of Eden.
In fact, I have heard it presented that Eden was actually YeHoVaH’s Temple within Creation.
It is further speculated that this Temple sat at the top of the mountain called Eden, thus demonstrating that all provision comes from God and His Temple.
Now, it is not my goal today to go too deep into the theology that presents Eden as a Temple model. I merely want to give you a vision of the whole of Creation, the totality of planet Earth—of which Eden may be Yehovah’s original name for this planet, all things considered—from the perspective of a Temple model.
2. Defiling The Temple
If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him.
For the temple of God is
holy. And you are His temple.
1 Corinthians 3:17
"Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?"
1 Corinthians 3:16
When most people read this verse, they automatically stop at the direct context and common interpretation of the passage:
The human body as God’s Temple, and the concept of taking care of our body serving as God’s Temple.
But what defiles a person?
What makes one’s Temple unclean, polluted, and desecrated?
This is one of the most important questions for anyone to understand.
About 2000 years ago, Yeshua addressed the crowds on this very topic because even then it was a problem between the Pharisees and other Jews. The Pharisees taught that eating with unwashed (or unbaptized) hands defiles a person, by making them “unclean, polluted, and desecrated.” Yeshua said their religion couldn’t purify the real problem.
Then Yeshua called to the crowd to come and hear. “Listen,” he said, “and try to understand. It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.” Matthew 15:10
And then he added in Mark, “It is what comes from inside that defiles you. For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and
All these wicked things come from within; they are what defile you.”
These are the things which defile a man,….
they bring a defilement on the whole man, both body and soul, fasten guilt upon him, and expose him to everlasting punishment: but to eat with unwashed hands defiled not a man: should a man neglect to wash his hands before eating a common meal, this is a trifling matter, but the things before mentioned are, in their nature, evil: they are contrary to the law of God; they are abominable in his sight; they render men loathsome and odious to the divine being; and expose them to shame and ruin; and it is only the blood of Messiah that can cleanse them from the pollution and guilt of them, and secure them from that punishment they deserve.
For more than 5000 years, God has said an evil heart defiles a man .
- [At the time of Noah] The LORD observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally
- Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.
Avoid all perverse talk; stay away from corrupt speech.
Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you.
Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path.
Don’t get side-tracked; keep your feet from following evil. (Proverbs 4:23-27)
- Listen, my son, and be wise, and set your heart on the right path. (Proverbs 23:19)
- A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
For 6000 years, the cure has always been a new clean heart!
- And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. (Ezekiel 36:26)
- Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10)
- But when the righteous turns away from his righteousness, and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live?
All his righteousness that he has done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he has trespassed, and in his sin that he has sinned, in them shall he die. (John 3:3)
This blows the theory ‘Once saved, always saved’!
3. The spirit itself is not defiled!
Though we have said that the spirit must be clean, I propose that the spirit itself is not actually filthy.
Indeed, 2 Corinthians 7:1 says to “cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile either body or spirit,” but I propose that this defilement is not of the spirit itself, but a defilement effected by the soul and body.
1. In Genesis 3 we see that, at the fall, man received the suggestion of Satan first in his soul; therefore man’s soul has been corrupted and made filthy.
2. In addition, with his body, man ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; therefore man’s body has been contaminated by the mingling of the element of Satan.
Yet at this time, man’s spirit was not involved.
During man’s first committing of sin, the spirit did not participate.
Therefore, after the human fall, although man’s spirit was deadened through the defiling influence of soul and body, yet there was no mingling of the element of Satan in the spirit. Hence, the spirit itself is not defiled.
THE PASSAGE OF THE SPIRIT IS FILTHY
If the spirit itself is not filthy, why does it sometimes manifest itself in an unclean and improper manner?
It is because the spirit must pass through many of our inward parts when it comes forth. Within the inward parts is filthiness, so that when the spirit passes through them it is defiled, and thus the filthiness is brought forth also. Therefore when the spirit is released and manifested, it exhibits certain defiled and improper conditions.
e.g., the water from a hot spring often bears the odour of sulphur. Actually the water itself is clean and odourless, but as it flows out, it passes through a sulphur deposit and brings with it the sulphur. Since there is the element of sulphur in the water, it becomes sulphur water, and when it flows out it carries with it the sulphuric odour.
Likewise, the spirit in our innermost part is pure and undefiled. However, surrounding the spirit are the soul and body, both of which have been mixed with the wicked elements of Satan and are thus filthy and corrupt.
Therefore, when the spirit comes forth and passes through the soul and body, it becomes contaminated by this filthiness and corruption.
A man’s spirit carries this filthiness of the soul and body is indeed a dreadful thing! It seems that when the spirit is inert, the filthiness of the soul and body are not so critical, but when the spirit is activated and released, then all the filthiness of the soul and body are brought forth. This is very serious.
We may liken this situation to dynamite, which, when kept in the storeroom, is not harmful, until a fire breaks out in the storeroom, causing an explosion. Fire itself is not explosive, but when it passes through the dynamite, the two will explode together.
Likewise, if a person hates others in the soul, it is not too serious; but if his spirit is being released while he is hating others, it carries with it the hatred of the soul, and thus it becomes a spirit of hatred.
Therefore, it is not enough for us to simply learn to release the spirit; we must completely deal with all the mixture affecting our spirit, so that when the spirit is released, it will neither be dangerous nor cause trouble to others.
WHY A PIG?
Pigs are known to eat and destroy everything around them, even to the point of wiping out other created species.
And, it was a pig that had been sacrificed on the altar in YeHoVaH’s Temple by a man who stood at the highest level of opposition to YeHoVaH.
The Babylonian system ultimately goes back to the creation of towers, which became a man-made and man-controlled source of supply for early cities.
What we have today with large metropolitan areas trying to eliminate as much of nature as can be eliminated from daily life and still survive is simply the evolution of ancient Mesopotamian and Babylonian culture that initiated the movement to eliminate Yahweh and His provision from the picture.
1 Ki 6:11-14 Then the word of the LORD came to Solomon,
“Concerning this temple which you are building, if you walk in My statutes, execute My judgments, keep all My commandments, and walk in them, then I will perform My word with you, which I spoke to your father David.
“And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake My people Israel.”
So Solomon built the temple and finished it.
“But if you don’t want to serve YeHoVaH, then choose today whom you will serve. Even if you choose the gods your ancestors served on the other side of the Euphrates or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you live, my family and I will still serve YeHoVaH.”
In 2 Chronicles 6:18, I find it interesting, that Solomon, who is labelled by the Scripture as the wisest man to ever live, recognized that a Temple built by men could not possibly contain the fullness of God.
Yet, despite that, God required the Temple to be built.
We could debate about the reasons behind the construction of this Temple, but that is not the purpose of my sharing today.
It would appear in this verse in 2 Chronicles, that the Temple must have been built more for God’s people than God Himself.
After all, if the heavens and the cosmos cannot contain the fullness of God, then whatever presence He offered in this Temple, was such a small part of His being.
Perhaps whatever little bit of God was present in this Temple, was all a human being could endure without being instantly obliterated by the holiness of His fullness, as is indicated from when He passed by Moses?
The Temple, as well as the wilderness Tabernacle before it, offers a very important picture of the Temple model as a whole.
It seems it is for this reason, that the Temple structure holds such an important place of prominence in the entire Bible—the story of God’s mission in His Creation.
As we read the several clauses of Solomon's prayer describing people in different kinds of trouble, I believe, at the same time, they are describing us in various troubles that we may be in, in which we need the Lord's help.
First, Solomon prays for
- one who is accused of doing wrong to a neighbour, that the Lord will judge and show who is guilty and who is not (1 Kings 8: 31, 32);
- then for those who are smitten down by an enemy because they have sinned (verses 33, 34);
- for those who ask the Lord's help in time of drought, when all the earth is dried up because there is no rain (35, 36);
- for those who pray in time of famine or sickness (37, 40);
- he asks also that the prayers of strangers should be heard (41-43);
- and his petition is especially tender for those who are taken captive,
- and in a distant country turn with longing toward their dear land and the holy city and the temple (44-53).
We read at the end of the chapter of the thousands of sacrifices offered, more than could be offered on the altar, and of the feast held by the king and the people. The Feast of Tabernacles usually lasted for 8 days. The feasting was extended to two weeks on this joyful occasion of dedicating the temple.
Regardless of why or how this played out in reality, it continued on and became known as the Feast of Dedication, or Hanukkah.
Hanukkah is a celebration of the rededication of God’s Temple after it was cleansed. The Temple seems to represent things much bigger than a mere structure built by the hands of men
4. A defiled and a broken spirit
Let’s now look at Trauma to the Human Spirit in Scripture and how that impacts one’s life –
A defiled spirit.
(2 Corinthians 7:1 NIV) Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.
A defiled spirit must affect our walk with a Holy, pure God, to the extent of excluding Him, and losing reverential fear.
This will produce difficulties in prayer and entering into worship and praise.
A common cause of a defiled spirit is sexual or occult sin, which may also be in the family line.
(2 Corinthians 6:16 NIV) What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people."
(2 Corinthian 6:17 NIV) "Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you."
A defiled spirit will eventually dull and sear the conscience element of a human spirit.
A defiled spirit may lead to a distorted perception of God and His truth.
A broken spirit.
(Proverbs 15:13 NIV) A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.
(Job 17:1 NIV) My spirit is broken, my days are cut short, the grave awaits me.
Lack of joy in daily living, having a sad and heavy attitude to life.
(Psalm 34:18 NIV) The LORD is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Grief, despair, hopelessness, being like "dried up bones".
(Proverbs 17:22 NIV) A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
Sleeplessness can be an outward expression of a broken spirit:
- A Broken Spirit can be caused by extreme sorrow, grief and loss, and may well have its roots in rejection (even from conception), betrayal of trust especially repeatedly, all types of childhood abuse especially sexual abuse, and repeated traumatic experiences.
- A Broken Spirit may be fractured repeatedly giving rise to what in secular society is known as multiple personality disorder, each with its own characteristics.
Only Yeshua Himself can restore each in order and bring wholeness of spirit again.
In lesser degrees the human spirit which is partially or fully broken will have difficulty, or even inability to empower body and soul with life.
- A broken spirit also can impair or prevent the ability to receive comfort into the inner distress within the person.
All other functions of the human spirit are affected to some extent in those suffering a broken spirit.
This serves to illustrate the importance of the care of the human spirit in the battle for the Total Protection of the Child against abuse.
Care of the human spirit is essential from conception to individuation, to confound spiritual forces and human evilness in the battle for childhood innocence, purity, joy, happiness and peace.
The Temple In The Human Body
In the opening text of 1 Corinthians 3:17, we find it stated that we, as individual Believers, are the Temple of God. To build on that, 1 Corinthians 6:19 says that Believers are the Temple of the Ruach HaKodesh (Spirit of Holiness) and in Galatians 2:20 Paul talks about Messiah Yeshua living in and through him—so we can conclude that the physical body of the Believer is the Temple of Yeshua as well.
Q If I died today, would I die undefiled?
Q Are we defiling God’s Temple today?
When you really stop and think about it, the design of the human body is very similar to the layout of the Tabernacle of Moses and the Temple in Israel.
When we look at the design of the body from this perspective, we can consider the human heart as being equal to the Most Holy Place where sat the Ark of the Covenant.
One of the main characteristics of the heart is a series of arteries that have been named the coronary arteries because they resemble a crown, as the Latin word for crown is corona and many medical terms come from Latin. This can be said, from a spiritual perspective, to liken the human heart to a position of royalty. It would be the place where God’s throne sits in your life.
5. Create in me a clean heart, O Lord
For more than 5000 years, God has said an evil heart defiles a man
[At the time of Noah] The LORD observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. (Genesis 6:5)
Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.
Avoid all perverse talk; stay away from corrupt speech.
Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you.
Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path.
Don’t get side-tracked; keep your feet from following evil.
Listen, my son, and be wise, and set your heart on the right path .
(Luke 6:45) A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart,
and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart.
For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
For 6000 years, the cure has always been a new clean heart!
And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. (Ezekiel 36:26)
Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10)
Your body is a Temple, that is a reality of Scripture. What you put in your body, on your body, or expose your body to, is a spiritual act more than a physical act.
What you listen to, watch, read, meditate on, is a spiritual act more than a soul act.
6. Solomon’s Prayer for all Believers – then and today (1 KINGS 8:22- 30)
Let us bow before our Creator – this prayer is for you!
Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in front of the whole assembly of Israel, spread out his hands toward heaven and said:
“Lord, the God of Israel, there is no God like You in heaven above or on earth below—You who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way.
You have kept your promise to your servant David my father;
with Your mouth You have promised and with Your Hand You have fulfilled it—as it is today.
“Now Lord, the God of Israel, keep for your servant David my father, the promises You made to him when You said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor to sit before Me on the throne of Israel, if only your descendants are careful in all they do to walk before Me faithfully as you have done.’ And now, God of Israel, let Your word that You promised your servant David my father come true.
“But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain You. How much less this temple I have built! Yet give attention to Your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy, Lord my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that Your servant is praying in Your presence this day. May Your eyes be open toward this temple night and day, this place of which You said, ‘My Name shall be there,’ so that You will hear the prayer Your servant prays toward this place. Hear the supplication of Your servant, and of Your people Israel, when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, Your dwelling place, and when You hear, forgive.
(1 KINGS 8:33- 43)
“When Your people Israel have been defeated by an enemy because they have sinned against You, and when they turn back to You and give praise to Your Name, praying and making supplication to You in this temple, then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of Your people Israel and bring them back to the land You gave to their ancestors.
“When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because Your people have sinned against You, and when they pray toward this place and give praise to Your Name and turn from their sin because You have afflicted them, then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of Your servants, Your people Israel. Teach them the right way to live, and send rain on the land You gave Your people for an inheritance.
“When famine or plague comes to the land, or blight or mildew, locusts or grasshoppers, or when an enemy besieges them in any of their cities, whatever disaster or disease may come, and when a prayer or plea is made by anyone among Your people Israel—being aware of the afflictions of their own hearts, and spreading out their hands toward this Temple—then hear from heaven, Your dwelling place. Forgive and act; deal with everyone according to all they do, since You know their hearts (for You alone know every human heart), so that they will fear You all the time they live in the land You gave our ancestors.
“As for the foreigner who does not belong to Your people Israel, but has come from a distant land because of Your Name—for they will hear of Your great Name and Your mighty Hand and Your outstretched Arm—when they come and pray toward this Temple, then hear from heaven, Your dwelling place. Do whatever the foreigner asks of You, so that all the peoples of the earth may know Your Name and fear You, as do Your own people, Israel, and may know that this house I have built bears Your Name.