Introduction: This chapter tells about the building of the Temple. Today, your body is the new temple of the Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16). From the building of the Temple, God reveals seven lessons regarding what He wants from you in your walk with Him. These include: (1) faithfulness, (2) fellowship, (3) reverence, (4) obedience, (5) purity, (6) sanctification, and (7) gratitude.
First, after hundreds of years, God fulfilled His promise to allow His people to dwell securely in His Promised Land. To show that His promise could be permanent, He allowed Solomon to build the Temple. From this, God reveals that He is faithful to keep His promises to His people. In response, He wants you to be faithful to Him. Second, God told Solomon to build a “house” for Him. This was a place where the people could fellowship with Him. God also desires your fellowship. That fellowship is now possible through Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Third, Solomon built the Temple with the stones cut in other locations so that there would be no noise during the construction. Solomon wanted to keep a reverent attitude at this place of future worship. From this example, God reveals that He desires your worship to be reverent as well. Fourth, God told Solomon that His promise to dwell with the Jews was dependent upon their obedience. From this account, God reveals that He desires obedience more than sacrifice. Fifth, the inner part of the Temple, the Holy of Holies, had gold-plated walls, ceilings, floors, and fixtures. This symbolized His divinity, beauty, and purity that few would ever see. God also desires inner purity in your walk with Him. This is true even if few ever see it. Sixth, giant cherubim guarded the Ark where the Ten Commandments were kept. In a similar way, God wants you to guard His Word in your heart so that you will be sanctified or set apart from sin. Finally, Solomon completed the Temple in seven years, a number that symbolizes completion. The Temple provided the means to sacrifice animals so that people could atone for their sins. Jesus is the Temple. He came to complete the sacrificial system. His death ended the need for further sacrifices. In response, God wants you to be grateful for Jesus’ completed work of salvation.
God directs Solomon to build the Temple. Exactly 480 years after God fulfilled His promise to bring the Jews out of Egypt and after firmly placing the Jews in control of the Promised Land, God directed Solomon to begin building the Temple: “1 Now it came about in the four hundred and eightieth year after the sons of Israel came out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the Lord.” (1 Kgs. 6:1). These events are real, and scholars are reasonably certain about when Solomon built the Temple. Outside of the Bible, records establish that the division of Israel occurred around 931 B.C. Based upon that time period, scholars believe that King Solomon’s 40-year reign (1 Kgs. 11:42) began at or near 971 B.C. Thus, if he began building the Temple during the fourth year of his reign (1 Kgs. 6:1), he began building at or near 937 B.C. The Bible describes 480 years as an exact number here (1 Kgs. 6:1). Yet in the book of Acts, the number is listed as an approximation as 450 years (Act 13:19). If the 480 year number is correct, this would suggest that the exodus took place sometime between 1447 and 1450 B.C. Yet, based upon different historical records, other scholars attempt to place the exodus at sometime between 1290 and 1250 B.C. (Paul R. House, The New American Commentary, 1, 2 Kings Vol. 8 (B&H Publishing Group 1995) p. 126-127).
God guided Solomon and the workers in building His Temple1
God’s promises are real and you can trust in them. God repeatedly promised the patriarchs that He would turn the Jews into a great nation and give them the Promised Land (Gen 15:5, 17; 22:17; 26:4; 28:3, 13-15; 35:11; Dt. 10:22; Heb. 11:12). He also promised that He would never forget His covenant with His people: “ . . . ‘I will never break My covenant with you,”’’ (Jdgs. 2:1). “then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and I will remember also My covenant with Isaac, and My covenant with Abraham as well, and I will remember the land.” (Lev. 26:42; Gen 35:11-12). “And He remembered His covenant for their sake, and relented according to the greatness of His lovingkindness.” (Ps. 106:45). The Jews had to wait for God’s promises to come true. Yet, the Temple was meant to show that His promises were real and they could be permanent. If the Jews obeyed, they could dwell indefinitely in the Promised Land.
God put the needs of Israel ahead of His desire for a Temple for worship. God later explained that He delayed the building of the Temple until the Jews and the line of David were firmly established in the Promised Land: ‘“Since the day that I brought My people Israel from Egypt, I did not choose a city out of all the tribes of Israel in which to build a house that My name might be there, but I chose David to be over My people Israel.’” (1 Kgs. 8:16). Jesus also came and submitted Himself for all of mankind: “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.” (Phil. 2:5-7). In turn, Jesus wants you to submit to Him and to others in need (Eph. 5:21).
Solomon was faithful to obey the Word that God gave to David. God revealed the exact plans for the Temple to David. David then passed them down to Solomon to build: “Then David gave to his son Solomon the plan of the porch of the temple, its buildings, its storehouses, its upper rooms, its inner rooms and the room for the mercy seat; and the plan of all that he had in mind, for the courts of the house of the LORD, and for all the surrounding rooms, for the storehouses of the house of God and for the storehouses of the dedicated things;” (1 Chr. 28:11-12). God not only told David how the Temple should be built, He also stated that Solomon would be the one to build it: “He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.” (2 Sam. 7:13). “Behold, I intend to build a house for the name of the LORD my God, as the LORD spoke to David my father, saying, ‘Your son, whom I will set on your throne in your place, he will build the house for My name.”’ (1 Kgs. 5:5). Solomon was then faithful to build the Temple in the exact manner that God revealed to David. God also wants you to faithfully live by His Word, even if you do not understand it.
In response to God's faithfulness, be faithful to Him. It would be easy for Jews to give up on God’s promises if they took hundreds of years to fulfill. Most people expect immediate results in response to their prayers. Few have the faith to believe in a promise if it takes hundreds of years to fulfill. Yet, God wants you to be faithful in response to His faithfulness, even if you don’t live to see all of His promise come true. “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.”’ (Matt. 25:21). Have you given God many reasons to celebrate your faith in heaven?
Solomon builds the Temple. Using the plans that God revealed to David (1 Chr. 28:11-12), Solomon was obedient to build the Temple in the exact dimensions that God commended: “2 As for the house which King Solomon built for the Lord, its length was sixty cubits and its width twenty cubits and its height thirty cubits. 3 The porch in front of the nave of the house was twenty cubits in length, corresponding to the width of the house, and its depth along the front of the house was ten cubits. 4 Also for the house he made windows with artistic frames. 5Against the wall of the house he built stories encompassing the walls of the house around both the nave and the inner sanctuary; thus he made side chambers all around. 6 The lowest story was five cubits wide, and the middle was six cubits wide, and the third was seven cubits wide; for on the outside he made offsets in the wall of the house all around in order that the beams would not be inserted in the walls of the house.” (1 Kgs. 6:2-6). These exact dimensions are repeated in the Book of Chronicles: “Now these are the foundations which Solomon laid for building the house of God. The length in cubits, according to the old standard was sixty cubits, and the width twenty cubits.” (2 Chr. 3:3). There is no modern exact equation for translating a ‘cubit’ to a foot or a yard. The word cubit comes from the Hebrew word “ammah” or “mother of arm.” The cubit was a unit of measure used by the Jews, the Babylonians, the Egyptians and likely others. Uncertainty exists as to whether it went from the elbow to the root of the hand at the wrist or whether it included the entire length from the elbow to the tip of the longest finger. Also, different people have different arm lengths. Despite these uncertainties, a cubit is usually considered to be about eighteen inches in length. Others assume that a royal cubit was approximately 21 inches long (2 Chr. 3:3). Assuming the 18-inch number is correct, the Temple was approximately 30 feet wide, 45 feet high and 90 feet long. The Temple was approximately double the dimensions of the tabernacle (Ex. 26:15-30; 36:20-34). It was three times as long as it was wide and half as tall as it was long. This was only the main building. It did not include the porch, the courtyards, or an adjacent structure described below.
Solomon was obedient in building God’s Temple2
The Temple was God’s “house” where His glory could dwell with His people. The Temple was called the “house” of the Lord: “2 As for the house which King Solomon built for the Lord,” (1 Kgs. 6:2). God dwells in heaven (Is. 66:1; Acts 7:48-49). Yet, He allowed His glory to dwell in Israel with the Jews. First, His glory dwelt in the Tabernacle “Let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them.” (Ex. 25:8). “I will dwell among the sons of Israel and will be their God.” (Ex. 29:45). ‘“I will also walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people.”’ (Lev. 26:12). His presence later filled the Temple: “so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD.” (1 Kgs. 8:11). Yet, the sin of the Jews later forced God to remove His holy presence.
The Temple foreshadowed Jesus. Jesus is our Temple (Rev. 21:22). The Temple that Solomon built therefore was in honor of Him. In the book of Chronicles, the Bible reveals that “Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the LORD had appeared to his father David, at the place that David had prepared on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. He began to build on the second day in the second month of the fourth year of his reign.” (2 Chr. 3:1-2; 2 Sam. 24:24). The Temple was the place where people came to find atonement. On Mount Moriah, Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice (Gen. 22:1-19). Here, Jesus also made the ultimate sacrifice so that all could live who believe (Jo. 3:16).
God’s glory later dwelt in Jesus. God later sent Jesus so that His glory could again dwell with His people: “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (Jo. 1:14). When Jesus left, He promised that a part of God’s glory could again dwell within us through the Holy Spirit: “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one;” (Jo. 17:22). “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” (2 Cor. 3:18). Because His glory now lives in you, there should be evidence of that in your walk.
The special future role for the Temple Mount. Although the Bible is clear that God’s Shekinah glory has moved at different times to different places, there is one place where it will return to. That is the Temple Mount in Israel. God also made a promise that His eyes would forever be placed on the Temple Mount: “The LORD said to him, ‘I have heard your prayer and your supplication, which you have made before Me; I have consecrated this house which you have built by putting My name there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.’” (1 Kgs. 9:3; 2 Chr. 33:7). On the ninth day of the fifth month in 70 A.D, a day which later became known as the “fast of Av” (“Tisha B’Av”) (Zech. 7:3), the Romans burned the Temple. Centuries later, the Muslims built the Dome El Rock on the grounds of the Temple Mount. In the future, the devil plans to occupy a temple that will one day be rebuilt and declare himself god (2 Thess. 2:1-3; Matt. 24:15). That will mark the beginning of the Great Tribulation on Earth. After Jesus returns, God’s Shekinah glory will again be present on a rebuilt Temple (Micah 4:1-8; Zech. 14:3-9). In heaven, you will also see the Shekinah glory of God the Father and Jesus Christ without a veil (1 Jo. 3:2). You “will see His face. . . [and] the Light of God (“Shekinah glory”) will illumine them forever and ever.” (Rev. 22:5). In 1947, after almost 2,000 years in exile, Israel became a country. It now controls the land surrounding the Temple Mount, and there are groups actively seeking to rebuild the Temple. It is safe to assume that we are living in the end times. Are you living your life as if the Lord could return at any moment?
The Temple that Solomon built also foreshadowed God’s “house” in heaven. The first covenant given to Moses involved earthly sacrifices and worship. “Now even the first covenant had regulations of divine worship and the earthly sanctuary.” (Heb. 9:1). Yet, studying the early Temple is important because it provides a window into God’s eternal sanctuary in heaven that believers will one day experience: “And He built His sanctuary like the heights, like the earth which He has founded forever.” (Ps. 78:69). Ezekiel later saw a Temple in heaven with the exact same dimensions: “The width of the entrance was ten cubits and the sides of the entrance were five cubits on each side. And he measured the length of the nave, forty cubits, and the width, twenty cubits.” (Ezek. 41:2). Thus, you can study the Temple to know more about where you will spend most of your eternity worshiping Jesus. “My dwelling place also will be with them; and I will be their God, and they will be My people.” (Ezek. 37:27). “And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them,”’ (Rev. 21:3).
The porch welcomed both Jews and gentiles. According to the plans that David gave him, Solomon had the porch (1 Kgs. 6:3) built facing to the east side of the Temple. To welcome God’s people, the porch extended 20 cubits or approximately 30 feet long (1 Kgs. 6:3). The entrance to the porch had two large pillars (1 Kgs. 7:21). On the north side of the porch, the pillar was named Boaz (2 Chr. 3:15-17). His name meant strength or boldness. On the south side, the pillar was named Jachin (2 Chr. 3:15-17). His name means that Yah or Yahweh establishes. Boaz redeemed and married the gentile Moabite woman named Ruth (Ruth 4:16-22). Their son became the grandfather of the future King David (1 Sam. 16:1-13; 17:12). His pillar symbolized the promise of redemption in the Temple. Together, they show that God established a means to redeem both Jews and gentiles. Because the Temple foreshadowed Jesus (Rev. 21:22), Jesus is the means of redemption for both Jews and Gentiles. He also welcomes all who believe in Him.
The windows filled with God’s beautiful light. The Temple also had “windows with artistic frames.” (1 Kgs. 6:4). On a practical level, the windows allowed the Temple to be filled with light during the day. The windows also allowed smoke from burning incense to leave and travel to heaven. More importantly, the artistic frames emphasized the beauty of the light from the gold menorah (Ex. 27:20-21) and the sanctuary lamp or “ner tamid” that burned inside. The latter was the “eternal flame” or “eternal light”. God’s light dwelling with the Jews was meant to burn as a beacon to others: “I will also make You a light of the nations so that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”’ (Is. 49:6). “For so the Lord has commanded us, ‘I have placed you as a light for the gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the end of the Earth.’” (Acts 13:47). Jesus is the “true light” (Jo. 1:9) and the Light of the World (Jo. 8:12). Thus, the light came from Him. The smoke that escaped through the windows symbolized the prayers that ascended to heaven as a sweet aroma to God: “And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand.” (Rev. 8:4). If you are now the Temple of the Holy Spirit, are your prayers a sweet aroma to God: “May my prayer be counted as incense before You; the lifting up of my hands as the evening offering” (Ps. 141:2)? Or, are they filled with putrid complaints?
The six rooms for mankind’s service and fellowship. The Temple also had “side chambers all around.” (1 Kgs. 6:5). In the Bible, six is the number of mankind. These chambers were there for the priests to serve other people and to help them find fellowship with God. This symbolized that God’s house was not cold and remote. It was a place where people could come and receive His comfort through His priests and servants. This symbolized that God created believers to live in service to Him by performing good works for others: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Eph. 2:10). Is God’s guiding light in your life evident through your service to others?
The Temple is built in reverence without construction noises. The Temple was made with stones that were cut in quarries and then moved to the Temple on rollers where they were then quietly placed together in reverence: “7 The house, while it was being built, was built of stone prepared at the quarry, and there was neither hammer nor axe nor any iron tool heard in the house while it was being built. 8 The doorway for the lowest side chamber was on the right side of the house; and they would go up by winding stairs to the middle story, and from the middle to the third. 9 So he built the house and finished it; and he covered the house with beams and planks of cedar. 10 He also built the stories against the whole house, each five cubits high; and they were fastened to the house with timbers of cedar.” (1 Kgs. 6:7-10). One commentator observes the quiet building: “speaks to the way God wants His work done. The temple had to be built with human labor. God did not and would not send a team of angels to build the temple. Yet Solomon did not want the sound of man’s work to dominate the site of the temple. He wanted to communicate, as much as possible, that the temple was of God and not of man. This speaks to the way God works in His people. Often the greatest work in the Kingdom of God happens quietly. Yet, the building site of the temple was only quiet because there was a lot of noise and diligent work at the quarry.” (David Guzik on 1 Kgs. 6).3
The altar of the Temple was built from uncut stones. God commanded that the Jews build the altar from uncut stones. “If you make an altar of stone for Me, you shall not build it of cut stones, for if you wield your tool on it, you will profane it.” (Ex. 20:25). “Moreover, you shall build there an altar to the LORD your God, an altar of stones; you shall not wield an iron tool on them. You shall build the altar of the LORD your God of uncut stones, and you shall offer on it burnt offerings to the LORD your God;” (Dt. 27:5-6). “just as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded the sons of Israel, as it is written in the book of the law of Moses, an altar of uncut stones on which no man had wielded an iron tool; and they offered burnt offerings on it to the LORD, and sacrificed peace offerings.” (Josh. 8:31). He prohibited the use of tools because He knew that people would use those tools to create prohibited idols in the places of worship. He also did not want people to marvel at the works of a person’s hand when their focus needed to be on His Word. The uncut stones also had symbolic meaning. Every believer is a “living stone” that He writes His Word on: “you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Pet. 2:5). Like the altar that the Jews built, He also promised to write His Law on His believer’s hearts (Jer. 31:33). The uncut stone symbolizes the fact that no one can add or take away from the Word that God has written on your heart. Is your life a blank slate for God to write on? Or, are you trying to mold your own life?
The reverence of the Temple was important to make it a place of worship. One of the most important reasons for having God’s glory dwell amongst the Jews was to allow the Jews to worship Him. Proper worship requires reverence. The building process was meant to stress this fact. “Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe;” (Heb. 12:28). Is your walk filled with reverent worship?
Jesus was the door and the narrow stairway leading to heaven. For an adjacent structure, a door led to a stairway and chambers on the first, second, and third floors (2 Chron. 3:4, 9). “The doorway for the lowest side chamber was on the right side of the house; and they would go up by winding stairs to the middle story, and from the middle to the third.” (1 Kgs. 6:8). Jesus is the “door” leading to salvation for those who believe in Him (Jo. 10:7). The stairway would have been narrow leading up. Jesus is both the “truth” (Jo. 14:6) and the “way” (Jo. 14:6). “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Jo. 7:14). There are no shortcuts or alternative paths to heaven. Some believe that the disciples met in one of these chambers after Jesus’ ascension: “When they had entered the city, they went up to the upper room where they were staying; . . .” (Acts 1:13). Are you following the narrow path to Jesus?
Jesus was the strong foundation to the Temple. Solomon built the Temple with “beams and planks of cedar.” (1 Kgs 6:9). This was the strongest available materials that came from King Huram in Lebanon (1 Kgs. 5:5-6; 2 Chr. 2:3). The wood symbolized Jesus’ incorruptible body (Ps. 16:10(b); Acts 13:35). It also symbolized His majesty and might (Ps. 92:12; Ezek. 31:3). Like the mighty support system for the Temple, you can call Jesus “my salvation” (Ps. 18:2); “my strength” (Ps. 28:7; Jer. 16:19); “my shield” (Ps. 28:7; Gen. 15:1); “my deliverer . . . my merciful one, my fortress, my stronghold” (Ps. 144:2; Na. 1:7); the “strong tower” (Prov. 18:10); “fortress” (Jer. 16:19); “refuge” (Jer. 16:19); “our shade” (Ps. 121:5); “hiding place” (Ps. 32:7); “my savior,” (2 Sam. 22:3). Is Jesus the source of your strength in times of crisis? Or, do you depend upon yourself?
God’s conditional promise to allow His holy presence to dwell in Israel. God was pleased with Solomon’s efforts. He then promised to allow His glory to dwell in the Temple. Yet, it was conditional on the obedience of Solomon and his descendants: “11 Now the word of the Lord came to Solomon saying, 12 “Concerning this house which you are building, if you will walk in My statutes and execute My ordinances and keep all My commandments by walking in them, then I will carry out My word with you which I spoke to David your father. 13 I will dwell among the sons of Israel, and will not forsake My people Israel.” (1 Kgs. 6:11-13). Sin would later cause God to first limit His blessings and then destroy the Temple. Yet, this happened only after repeated warnings.
God’s promise of an eternal kingship through David’s line was not conditional. This conditional promise was unrelated to God’s unconditional promise for David’s line of kings to last forever through Jesus: “He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.” (2 Sam. 7:13). Yet, the promise to have a human king sit on the throne was conditional: “so that the LORD may carry out His promise which He spoke concerning me, saying, ‘If your sons are careful of their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.”’ (1 Kgs. 2:4). As a result of continued rebellion, the human line of kings through David would come to an end. Yet, the eternal line through Jesus, the King of Kings, will last forever: ‘“Behold, the days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; and He will reign as king and act wisely and do justice and righteousness in the land.” (Jer. 23:5). “and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” (Lk. 1:33). ‘“I will establish your seed forever and build up your throne to all generations.’ Selah.” (Ps. 89:4, 36). If Jesus is your redeemer, is He also Lord over you?
God would discipline the descendants of David out of love. God warned David that the eternal kingship would not exempt the kings from discipline, just as a loving father disciplines a wayward son: “14 I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men,” (2 Sam. 7:14). In a similar way, God disciplines His people out of love: “Thus you are to know in your heart that the LORD your God was disciplining you just as a man disciplines his son.” (Dt. 8:5). “It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?” (Heb. 12:7). “But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world.” (1 Cor. 11:32). If God has disciplined you, rejoice because He loves you. If He has corrected you, have you changed your ways for Him?
God will not forsake you when He disciplines you. Even though God would discipline Solomon’s descents, He promised never to forsake them: “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” (Dt. 31:6; Heb. 13:5). ‘“Moreover, I will make My dwelling among you, and My soul will not reject you.”’ (Lev. 26:11). “No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you.” (Josh. 1:5). “For the LORD will not abandon His people on account of His great name, because the LORD has been pleased to make you a people for Himself.” (1 Sam. 12:22). “ but My lovingkindness shall not depart from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you.” (2 Sam. 7:15). Sin would, however, limit the extent of their blessing to the land of Judah: ‘“However, I will not tear away all the kingdom, but I will give one tribe to your son for the sake of My servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen.”’ (1 Kgs. 11:13). “So the LORD was very angry with Israel and removed them from His sight; none was left except the tribe of Judah.” (2 Kgs. 17:18). “But I will not break off My lovingkindness from him, nor deal falsely in My faithfulness.” (Ps. 89:33). Sin may prevent you from experiencing the fullness of God’s blessings. Yet, He will never leave you or abandon you because of sin unless you reject Jesus as your source of atonement.
God desires obedience more than sacrifice. God wanted Solomon’s obedience more than his sacrifice. “Samuel said, ‘Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.” (1 Sam. 15:22). David previously learned that “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” (Ps. 51:17). Are you obedient in your walk with Jesus?
Jesus is not your Lord if you refuse to do what He says. A believer may proclaim Jesus as Lord. Yet, Jesus is not your Lord if you disobey Him: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.” (Matt. 7:21). “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Lk. 6:46). “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.” (Jam. 1:22). “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.” (Matt. 7:24). “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.” (Matt. 7:26). If you call Jesus your Lord, is there any area of your life where you are refusing to obey Him?
Solomon builds the gold inner sanctuary for the Holy of Holies. After building the exterior structure, Solomon had his builders create the inner sanctuary where true fellowship with God was made possible through the blood of atonement: “14 So Solomon built the house and finished it. 15 Then he built the walls of the house on the inside with boards of cedar; from the floor of the house to the ceiling he overlaid the walls on the inside with wood, and he overlaid the floor of the house with boards of cypress. 16 He built twenty cubits on the rear part of the house with boards of cedar from the floor to the ceiling; he built them for it on the inside as an inner sanctuary, even as the most holy place. 17 The house, that is, the nave in front of the inner sanctuary, was forty cubits long. 18 There was cedar on the house within, carved in the shape of gourds and open flowers; all was cedar, there was no stone seen. 19 Then he prepared an inner sanctuary within the house in order to place there the ark of the covenant of the Lord. 20 The inner sanctuary was twenty cubits in length, twenty cubits in width, and twenty cubits in height, and he overlaid it with pure gold. He also overlaid the altar with cedar. 21 So Solomon overlaid the inside of the house with pure gold. And he drew chains of gold across the front of the inner sanctuary, and he overlaid it with gold. 22 He overlaid the whole house with gold, until all the house was finished. Also the whole altar which was by the inner sanctuary he overlaid with gold.” (1 Kgs. 6:14-22). Assuming a cubit is 18 inches, the inner sanctuary was in a cube shape, 30 feet in each direction. It became known as the Holy of Holies: “Behind the second veil there was a tabernacle which is called the Holy of Holies,” (Heb. 9:3). It was in this room where the Ark of the covenant was kept (1 Kgs. 6:19). It was similar to the Holy of Holies inside the Tabernacle (Ex. 26:33-34).
The gold Holy of Holies inside the Temple4
The strong cedar support beams. The Holy of Holies was supported by cedar walls and floors from King Hiram (1 Kgs. 6:15-21; 5:8; 2 Chron. 3:5). The wood again symbolized Jesus’ incorruptible body (Ps. 16:10(b); Acts 13:35) and His majesty and might (Ps. 92:12; Ezek. 31:3). He should also be your strength and support (Ps. 28:7; Jer. 16:19).
The purity of God. The Holy of Holies was overlaid with pure 24 karat gold (1 Kgs. 6:21-22). The Ark and other items inside were also overlaid with pure gold (1 Kgs. 7:48-49). The gold symbolized God’s riches, His beauty, His purity, and His divinity. The gold in the Temple also foreshadows the gold throughout heaven: “The material of the wall was jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass.” (Rev. 21:18). “And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.” (Rev. 21:21). If your body is now the Temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16), God wants you to be pure as well: “Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”’ (2 Cor. 6:16). Are you tolerating evil anywhere in your life?
The veil protecting sinful mankind from God’s glory. Solomon built the Holy of Holies with “chains of gold across the front of the inner sanctuary, and he overlaid it with gold.” (1 Kgs. 6:21). The veil was needed because sin separated mankind from God: “But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God . . .” (Is. 59:2(a)). God has looked down from heaven and observed that not one person is holy and without sin: “[I]t is written, ‘There is none righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.”’ (Rom. 3:10-11). “[T]here is no one who does good.” (Ps. 14:1; 53:1). “Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you.” (Ps. 143:2). “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” (1 Jo. 1:8). God’s holy presence is a consuming fire that cannot be in the presence of sin (Heb. 12:29). Christ, however, came to restore our access to God.
Christ’s tearing of the veil. Christ’s death later caused the curtain to rip from the top to the bottom: “And behold, the veil of the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split.” (Matt. 27:51; Mk. 15:38). His blood made us clean (Heb. 9:8-15). We can therefore now enter the Holy of Holies every day “with confidence” to petition in prayer for ourselves and others: “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb. 4:16). By contrast, the High Priest in Old Testament times could only enter the Holy of Holies once per year and only after making a blood sacrifice to pray for the nation. “but into the second, only the high priest enters once a year, not without taking blood, . . .” (Heb. 9:7; Lev. 16:17-18, 29). Any believer in Christ is also part of His nation of priests (1 Pet. 2:5, 9; Rev. 1:6). Are you using your access to pray with confidence for both your needs and the needs of others?
The house for the Ark of the covenant. The Holy of Holies housed the Ark of the covenant of the Lord (1 Kgs. 6:19). The Ark housed the Ten commandments (Ex. 25:16, 21; 40:20; Dt. 10:1-5). It also housed the budding rod of Aaron (Nu. 17:10). This represents the new life of the Holy Spirit, which is only made possible through Christ’s death (Jo. 1:4; 3:16; 11:25-26; 14:19). The New Testament reveals that the contents of the ark also included a golden jar with some of the manna that rained down from heaven for 40 years to sustain the Jews in the wilderness (Heb. 9:4; Ex. 16:32-34). Jesus was the bread of life that rained down on the Jews in the wilderness (Jo. 6:35; 6:48-51). He is also the Word who became flesh (Jo. 1:1, 14). At the Ark of the covenant, God’s presence met with Israel to fellowship with them (Ex. 25:22).
Be pure because God cares more about what is on the inside than the outside. The Holy of Holies and the gold fixtures were all either solid gold or gold-plated. This gold would only have been seen by the high priest and not by the masses. From this, God reveals that He cares more about your purity on the inside than your outward appearances. Jesus had a heart of gold. He sacrificed His own life so that all could live, even those who persecuted Him (Jo. 3:16). He also forgave those who crucified Him (Lk. 23:34). He lived to heal the lame, to free those who were oppressed, and to give sight to the blind (Lk. 4:18). He also did nothing to develop an outward appearance that others might consider to be handsome or attractive. “He has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.” (Is. 53:2). He also did not seek to enrich Himself on earth. He did not even have a bed to lay His head on (Matt. 8:20; 9:58). Like the Temple, Jesus was a model to us. The gold should be in your heart hidden from others. You should not worry about your outward appearance.
God will know if you are a “whitewashed” tomb, lacking in integrity. We can maintain a pretty exterior for others to see while allowing self-indulgence and sin to run rampant when no one is looking. This is the exact opposite of what the Temple represented. God also knows if you are leading a double life that is filled with hypocrisy. Christ called the Pharisees who lived this way “whitewashed tombs”: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. 26 You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also. 27 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” (Matt. 25:25-28). Is there any hypocrisy in your walk with God?
The cherubim guarding the Holy of Holies. Solomon also built cherubim to protect the Ark: “23 Also in the inner sanctuary he made two cherubim of olive wood, each ten cubits high. 24 Five cubits was the one wing of the cherub and five cubits the other wing of the cherub; from the end of one wing to the end of the other wing were ten cubits. 25 The other cherub was ten cubits; both the cherubim were of the same measure and the same form. 26 The height of the one cherub was ten cubits, and so was the other cherub. 27 He placed the cherubim in the midst of the inner house, and the wings of the cherubim were spread out, so that the wing of the one was touching the one wall, and the wing of the other cherub was touching the other wall. So their wings were touching each other in the center of the house. 28 He also overlaid the cherubim with gold. 29 Then he carved all the walls of the house round about with carved engravings of cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers, inner and outer sanctuaries. 30 He overlaid the floor of the house with gold, inner and outer sanctuaries. 31 For the entrance of the inner sanctuary he made doors of olive wood, the lintel and five-sided doorposts. 32 So he made two doors of olive wood, and he carved on them carvings of cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers, and overlaid them with gold; and he spread the gold on the cherubim and on the palm trees. 33 So also he made for the entrance of the nave four-sided doorposts of olive wood 34 and two doors of cypress wood; the two leaves of the one door turned on pivots, and the two leaves of the other door turned on pivots. 35 He carved on it cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers; and he overlaid them with gold evenly applied on the engraved work.” (1 Kgs. 6:23-35). In 2 Chronicles, the Bible repeats that two large cherubim stood guard above the Ark (2 Chr. 3:7, 10). In 2 Chronicles, the Bible also reveals that they faced the door (2 Chr. 3:13). These were in addition to the two cherubim that stood guard above the mercy seat: “You shall make two cherubim of gold, make them of hammered work at the two ends of the mercy seat. Make one cherub at one end and one cherub at the other end; you shall make the cherubim of one piece with the mercy seat at its two ends. The cherubim shall have their wings spread upward, covering the mercy seat with their wings and facing one another; the faces of the cherubim are to be turned toward the mercy seat.” (Ex. 25:18-20; Nu. 7:89). “and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat; but of these things we cannot now speak in detail.” (Heb. 9:5). In addition, the gold-plated Holy of Holies had pictures of peaceful palm trees and other cherubim. This all symbolized that the contents inside were worth protecting.
The cherubim guarding the Holy of Holies5
The cherubim guarded the contents of the throne room. God did not need protecting. Yet, the cherubim guarded the contents of the Ark from Satan who seeks to snatch God’s Word from mankind (Ex. 25:22; Nu. 7:89; 1 Kgs. 8:6-8). Believers are to also guard God’s Word in their heart to protect themselves from Satan’s temptations to sin: “Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You.” (Ps. 119:11). “The law of his God is in his heart; His steps do not slip.” (Ps. 37:31). If you don’t memorize God’s Word, Satan will try to remove it from your life: “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road.” (Matt. 13:19). If you want to honor God and show Him reverence, memorize and follow His Ten Commandments. Have you memorized His Commandments?
The contents of the Ark brought the peace of the Holy Spirit. The cherubim protected the Word because it symbolized God’s peace, made available to believers through the Holy Spirit. This is represented by the fact that the cherubim first appeared in Scripture protecting the peaceful Garden of Eden after God expelled mankind (Gen. 3:24). This point is emphasized by the palm trees and flowers on the walls and doors (1 Kgs. 6:29, 32). This point is also emphasized by the fact that the cherubim were made of olive wood (1 Kgs. 6:23). In the Bible, olive oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit (1 Sam. 16:13). If you treasure God’s Ten Commandments in your heart and follow them, the Holy Spirit will give you His peace.
The cherubim’s wings symbolized the protections offered through God’s mercy. The wings of the massive cherubim extended 15 feet from one wing tip to another. They were so massive that they touched both walls of the Holy of Holies (1 Kgs. 6:24-27). Their extensive covering symbolized the complete mercy and grace that God offers. This protection is available to anyone who accepts Jesus in faith as their Lord and Savior.
The door leading to the throne symbolized Jesus. The entrance to the throne room had a large door (1 Kgs. 6:32-35). Jesus is the “door” leading to salvation for those who believe in Him (Jo. 10:7). As stated above, He is also the “truth” (Jo. 14:6) and the “way” (Jo. 14:6). Many will assume that all paths lead to the same place. Yet, the way is narrow and runs exclusively through Jesus (Matt. 7:13-14; Is. 35:8).
The cherubim also guard the throne room in heaven. The image of cherubim in the Holy of Holies also provides a glimpse into the throne room that believers will experience for eternity: “Let the people tremble! He dwells between the cherubim; let the earth be moved!” (Ps. 99:1; 80:1; 1 Sam 4:4). “Then I looked, and behold, in the expanse that was over the heads of the cherubim something like a sapphire stone, in appearance resembling a throne, appeared above them.” (Ezek. 10:1). “It was carved with cherubim and palm trees; and a palm tree was between cherub and cherub, and every cherub had two faces, . . . Also there were carved on them, on the doors of the nave, cherubim and palm trees like those carved on the walls; and there was a threshold of wood on the front of the porch outside.” (Ezek. 41:18, 25). Thus, the throne room will be a place of God’s beauty, splendor, and glory. There, you will also receive His protection, His mercy, His grace, and His peace that will guard you: “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:7).
Solomon completes building of the Temple after seven years. After seven years, Solomon completed the Temple: “36 He built the inner court with three rows of cut stone and a row of cedar beams. 37 In the fourth year the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid, in the month of Ziv. 38 In the eleventh year, in the month of Bul, which is the eighth month, the house was finished throughout all its parts and according to all its plans. So he was seven years in building it.” (1 Kgs. 7:36-38). The inner court that surrounded the Temple was called the “court of the priests” (2 Chr. 4:9) or the “upper court” (Jer. 36:10). The outer court or greater courtyard is described in the next chapter (1 Kgs. 7:12). If the building of the Temple took 7 years and 6 months to build and finished in the eighth calendar month (1 Kgs. 6:38; 2 Chr. 5:1), the construction finished in November of the seventh year. This would have been in time for either Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, or Sukkot. These were times to celebrate the new beginnings that came from the forgiveness of sin.
The completed work of salvation. In the Bible, the number seven symbolizes completion. The completed Temple allowed for the Jews to conduct proper atonement sacrifices. The Temple, however, foreshadowed the completed work of salvation made possible through Jesus: “but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God,” (Heb. 10:12). Thus, you can give thanks that you no longer need to sacrifice animals for your salvation. Jesus’ death forever made that unnecessary.
Give thanks for Jesus’ one-time sacrifice for you. If you understand that Jesus represented the fulfillment of the Temple sacrifices, you should respond with gratitude and praise: “in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess. 5:18). “always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;” (Eph. 5:20; Ps. 116:1, 17-18; 56:12-13; 116:8; 107:1, 2, 22). How have you given thanks for God’s mercy and grace, made possible through Jesus?
Out of gratitude, make your life a living sacrifice for Christ. Instead of making physical sacrifices, you are called upon to make “spiritual sacrifices” to Him (1 Pet. 2:5). This includes praising God in all that you do: “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.” (Heb. 13:15). This also includes presenting your body as a living sacrifice for God: “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” (Ro. 12:1). Out of gratitude for His mercy and grace, are you offering Christ the best of your life?
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