Introduction: Here, the Bible records the details of the Temple. The details of the Temple foreshadowed Jesus, and they reveal seven things that He offers all, including: (1) sacrifice, (2) faithfulness, (3) fellowship, (4) strength, (5) purity, (6) sanctification, and (7) redemption.
First, the location of the Temple was where Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice and near the place of Jesus’ sacrifice. The New Testament reveals that Jesus is our Temple. Both the Temple’s location and its blood sacrifices were symbolic of Jesus’ atoning sacrifice. Second, God directed Solomon to build the Temple on the 480th anniversary of the Jews’ deliverance from bondage in Egypt. God was faithful to keep His promises. He was also patient in waiting for His promises regarding the Promised Land to be fully realized before He had His Temple built. Jesus is also faithful to keep His promises to you. In response, He desires both your faithfulness and your patience. Third, the Temple was the place where God’s presence could dwell with His people. It mirrored the exact dimensions of His Temple in heaven. Jesus, your Temple, also desires to dwell in fellowship with you. Fourth, God directed Solomon to build the Temple using the strongest woods, cedar and cypress, to provide both a strong foundation and protection. Jesus, your Temple, also desires to be your strength and your protection. Fifth, the interior of the Temple was covered with gold and precious stones. This symbolized Jesus’ purity. Jesus also desires inner purity in your walk with Him. Sixth, Solomon built cherubim to protect the Word inside the ark. Jesus wants you to guard His Word in your heart. Finally, two large pillars welcomed all who sought to approach God. They were named after a Jew and a gentile, symbolizing the offer of universal redemption. Jesus offers redemption to both Jews and Gentiles. But His redemption is a narrow path that runs through your faith in His sacrifice.
The location of the Temple. As one of his most important acts as king, Solomon ordered the building of the Temple that would allow God’s presence to return to His people: “1 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.” (2 Chr. 3:1). Every detail in the Bible has meaning. This includes the location of the Temple. These details foreshadowed Jesus.
The Temple foreshadowed Jesus’s sacrifice. Jesus is our Temple “I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.” (Rev. 21:22). “But He was speaking of the temple of His body.” (Jo. 2:21). The Temple that Solomon built therefore was in honor of Jesus. Here, God reveals that Solomon built the Temple on Mount Moriah (2 Chr. 3:1). The Temple was the place where people came to find atonement through blood sacrifices at the bronze altar. At Mount Moriah, Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice to God (Gen. 22:2). Also at Mount Moriah, the prophet Gad also told David to build an altar for sacrifices to God (2 Sam. 24:18-24). Mount Moriah was also near where Jesus was sacrificed on the cross to atone for our sins (Gen. 22:14).
Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice to allow for your deliverance. David turned down a land owner’s offer to give him the Temple location for free. David knew that deliverance could not come without sacrifice (2 Sam. 24:18-24). Like David’s purchase of the place of the future Temple, your deliverance came with a price. This included Jesus’ suffering and death at the cross: “But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.” (Is. 53:5). “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” (1 Pet. 2:24). Jesus was crucified so that all could live who believe (Jo. 3:16). Do you give thanks for Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice for you at the cross for your sins?
Out of gratitude, make your life a living sacrifice for Christ. Jesus perfected the need for any further physical sacrifices with His death on the cross (Heb. 10:14). But this hopefully did not eliminate your gratitude for your undeserved salvation. Today, your body is the location of the Temple where the Holy Spirit resides: “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?” (1 Cor. 6:19). Instead of making physical sacrifices, you are called upon to keep the Temple holy for Jesus: “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). This includes making “spiritual sacrifices” with your life to Him: “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). This also includes sacrifices of praise: “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). Are you offering Him the best of your life?
Solomon built the Temple on the anniversary of the Jews’ deliverance. God’s meticulous details also included the exact day, month and year that Solomon began to build the Temple: “2 He began to build on the second day in the second month of the fourth year of his reign.” (2 Chr. 3:2). While this at first might seem to be an extraneous detail, this date shows God’s faithfulness. It was the anniversary of the Jews’ deliverance.
God directs Solomon to build the Temple. It was 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 that 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 (2 Chr. 3:2), he began building at or near 967 B.C. The Bible describes 480 years as an exact number (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. But, based upon different historical records, other scholars 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). While the exact date is disputed on the Western calendar, God is fully in control of history, and the date is precise on His calendar. He is patient to faithfully fulfill His promises. You can show your gratitude by trusting Him and being faithful to Him.
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. But 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 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 patient and faithful. 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 promises 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). Being faithful includes being patient. Will you be patient and faithful to God?
The dimensions of the Temple. Solomon’s obedience included building the Temple in the exact dimensions that God had specified: “3 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. 4 The porch which was in front of the house was as long as the width of the house, twenty cubits, and the height 120; and inside he overlaid it with pure gold.” (2 Chr. 3:3-4). God revealed the exact dimensions of the Temple to David (1 Chr. 28:11-12). Solomon was then obedient to build the Temple in the exact dimensions that God commended. These exact dimensions are repeated in the book of Kings: “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. 5 Against 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). 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. 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.
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). But the many sins of the Jews later forced God to remove His holy presence.
Solomon was obedient in building God’s Temple1
God’s glory later dwelt in Jesus. Jesus later came 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 solid foundations for the Temple. Solomon also used the finest materials to build strong foundations for the Temple: “5 He overlaid the main room with cypress wood and overlaid it with fine gold, and ornamented it with palm trees and chains. (2 Chr. 3:5). The cypress and cedar walls and floors came from King Hiram in Lebanon (1 Kgs. 6:15-21; 5:8; 2 Chron. 3:5). These strong woods also foreshadowed Jesus.
The strong cedar support beams. 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). It further symbolized His strength and support for His people (Ps. 28:7; Jer. 16:19).
Let Jesus be your strength. As your strong Temple, you can call Jesus “my rock” (Ps. 18:2); “my strength” (Ps. 28:7; Jer. 16:19); “my shield” (Ps. 28:7; Gen. 15:1); “my fortress, my stronghold” (Ps. 144:2; Na. 1:7); my “strong tower” (Prov. 18:10); my “fortress” (Jer. 16:19); my “refuge” (Jer. 16:19); my “hiding place” (Ps. 32:7); my “cornerstone” and my “foundation” (Is. 28:16; 1 Cor. 3:11). Because Solomon was faithful to build the Temple, the people lived “safely” “under his vine and his fig tree” (1 Kgs. 4:25). This symbolized the blessing of peace during Solomon’s 40-year reign (Joel 2:22; Micah 4:4). Jesus also wants you to let Him be your strength and source of peace.
Submit in humility to Jesus to receive His strength. God wants you to “Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His face continually.” (1 Chr. 16:11). To let Jesus be your rock (the rejected “chief cornerstone”) and your strength, you must seek Him and then submit Him (Ps. 118:22; Matt. 21:42; Mk. 12:10; Lk. 20:17; Acts 4:11; Ro. 9:33). “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13). “that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man,” (Eph. 3:16). “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service,” (1 Tim. 1:12). Are you actively seeking Jesus and submitting to Him to allow Him to strengthen you?
The gold inside the Temple. At God’s direction, Solomon overlaid the interior of the Temple with solid gold and precious stones: “6 Further, he adorned the house with precious stones; and the gold was gold from Parvaim. 7 He also overlaid the house with gold—the beams, the thresholds and its walls and its doors; and he carved cherubim on the walls.” 8 Now he made the room of the holy of holies: its length across the width of the house was twenty cubits, and its width was twenty cubits; and he overlaid it with fine gold, amounting to 600 talents. 9 The weight of the nails was fifty shekels of gold. He also overlaid the upper rooms with gold.” (2 Chr. 3:6-9; 1 Kgs. 6:14-22). Assuming a cubit is 18 inches, the inner sanctuary or Holy of Holies was in a cube shape, 30 feet in each direction: “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 Temple2
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). Jesus, however, came to restore our access to God.
Jesus’ tearing of the veil. Jesus’ 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 Jesus 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 Jesus’ 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. Jesus 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: “10 Then he made two sculptured cherubim in the room of the holy of holies and overlaid them with gold. 11 The wingspan of the cherubim was twenty cubits; the wing of one, of five cubits, touched the wall of the house, and its other wing, of five cubits, touched the wing of the other cherub. 12 The wing of the other cherub, of five cubits, touched the wall of the house; and its other wing of five cubits was attached to the wing of the first cherub. 13 The wings of these cherubim extended twenty cubits, and they stood on their feet facing the main room. 14 He made the veil of violet, purple, crimson and fine linen, and he worked cherubim on it.” (2 Chr. 3:10-14; 1 Kgs. 6:23-35). Two large cherubim stood guard above the ark (2 Chr. 3:7, 10). They also 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 extremely valuable and worth protecting.
The cherubim guarded the contents of the throne room. God did not need protecting. But 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 cherubim guarding the Holy of Holies3
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 Word in your heart, 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 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).
The external pillars. Finally, Solomon built the Temple with two large pillars to welcome all who sought to be reconciled with God: “15 He also made two pillars for the front of the house, thirty-five cubits high, and the capital on the top of each was five cubits. 16 He made chains in the inner sanctuary and placed them on the tops of the pillars; and he made one hundred pomegranates and placed them on the chains. 17 He erected the pillars in front of the temple, one on the right and the other on the left, and named the one on the right Jachin and the one on the left Boaz.” (2 Chr. 3:15-17). This passage describes two bronze pillars in front of the porch leading to the Temple. Assuming a cubit was 18 inches in length, each pillar was 27 feet high and 18 feet in circumference (1 Kgs. 7:15). On top of each pillar were identical bronze finials called “chapiters” (1 Kgs. 7:16). Each chapiter had structures and chains emanating from it like tree branches with chains, lilies, and pomegranates. Pomegranates were one of the fruits that God promised in the Promised Land (Nu. 13:23; Dt. 8:8). Any person entering the Temple passed between these two pillars. In a similar way, there is only one path that leads to God. It also symbolized the universal salvation offered to both Jews and gentiles.
The pillars of judgment. The pillars of the Temple were made of bronze, which symbolized God’s judgment. Jesus is described as having “bronze” feet (Rev. 1:15). His bronze feet will bring judgment to Satan by crushing him (Rom. 16:20). Weapons were also made of bronze. Thus, the two pillars symbolized God’s judgment. When the kings of Israel and Judah became corrupt and could no longer administer God’s law, God removed them: “Now the bronze pillars which were in the house of the LORD, and the stands and the bronze sea which were in the house of the LORD, the Chaldeans broke in pieces and carried the bronze to Babylon.” (2 Kgs. 25:13; Jer. 52:17). God has to judge your sins if you want His fellowship. But Jesus is willing to take your penalty.
The bronze pillars of Boaz and Jachin. 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. These pillars will also appear in heaven (Ez. 40:49). Together, the two pillars show that God established a means to judge and redeem both Jews and gentiles. Because the Temple foreshadowed Jesus (Rev. 21:22), Jesus is the means of redemption for both Jews and Gentiles. It symbolized God’s mercy and grace that is available to all. Yet, no matter whether you are a Jew or a gentile, there is only one path to salvation.
The bronze pillars of Boaz and Jachin4
The Temple also revealed God’s light. The Temple also had windows (1 Kgs. 6:4). The windows allowed smoke from burning incense to leave and travel to heaven. The windows also revealed the beautiful 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 (Is. 49:6; Acts 13:47). Jesus is the “true light” (Jo. 1:9) and the light of the world (Jo. 8:12). Thus, it was His light of redemption offered to the entire world.