I just love these two chapters! The intricacy of God’s Word, especially in the building of the temple… the perfection and precision… it’s all so captivating. I use to read through it, skimming most of the way. These days, I take in every detail, because it’s so interesting to me!
So today, let’s take a moment, before getting into these two chapters, to look over the most recent posts in our Blogging Through The Bible Series!
In my most recent post, I covered 1 Chronicles 25 & 26 over on the Telling Hearts blog… my other home. You can check that out HERE.
Next, Tammy covered chapters 27 through 29, also on the Telling Hearts platform. You can read that HERE.
Tatiana did a great job with the first two chapters of 2 Chronicles on her own website, the musings of mum, and you can find that HERE.
And that brings us up to date!
Chapter 3: Solomon Builds the Temple
Here we see the beginning of the building of the Lord’s house in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah. Mount Moriah was the same place that Abraham had offered up Isaac (Genesis 22:2). It marked the place where the Lord had appeared to Solomon’s father, King David… the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite.
The building began on the second day of the second month, in the fourth year that he was king. Scholars estimate that this building took place around the year 976 B.C. According to history, and according to 1 Kings 6:1, Israel hadn’t had a tangible temple for over 400 years. It was absolutely necessary, as David already determined himself, to have this House for God.
In citing Solomon’s fourth year of rule, it doesn’t mean that he was lax in honoring the commandment to build. By all accounts, his work likely started as soon as he “took office” but procuring timber for the building from Lebanon had taken some time. After all to “START” building the temple, the organization, plans, materials, workers, and everything else, must have already been in place. And for such a monumental task, it likely didn’t happen too quickly.
Instructions for Building the Temple
There were four specific structures described here, and the first was the foundation. This consisted of two rooms, the “holy place” and “the most holy place.”
The entrance hall was on the east side, in front of the sanctuary and was thirty feet wide and fifteen feet deep. Its height was the same height as the “temple proper” at 120 feet.
The next section consisted of side chambers that were three stories high, as described in 1 Kings 6:5. These chambers surround the North, South, and West sides of the temple proper.
Finally, there was a large courtyard that surrounded the whole thing, known as the inner court (1 Kings 6:36).
Decorating the Temple
We get to see some of the intricate beauty involved in building the temple as in the precious stones, which could have been mosaics or some other form of inlaid work. Cherubim which were carved into the temple walls so that anyone entering the temple would see them.
Special Attention to the Most Holy Place
The space known as the Holy of Holies, or The Most Holy Place was a cube, 30-feet square, and covered completely with gold. It contained two large sculpted cherubim that were fifteen feet tall each, and covered in gold. (Can you imagine it?!)
There was so much gold in the Most Holy Place, it was literally everywhere. 1 Kings 6:20-22 talks about how it covered the walls, 1 Kings 6:30 talks about the gold that covered the floors, and 1 Kings 6:32 describes how it was even hammered into the door carvings.
Next Came The Veil
The veil separated the Holy Place from the MOST Holy Place. It was an area that only one man could enter, only once a year. Hebrews 9:12 describes how Jesus’ blood bought us eternal redemption and entered that Most Holy Place for us. He became our once and for all sacrifice that put an end to the blood of bulls and goats.
Matthew 27:51 describes how this veil ripped, from the top all the way to the bottom, to take away the barrier between us and God! And with great joy, we can almost hear Paul as he tells us, “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; (Hebrews 10:19-20, KJV)
Two 35-foot pillars sat in the front of the temple. According to 1 Kings 7:15, they were bronze. They were so impressive, that each one had a name. The one of the right side was Jachin, which means “He shall establish”. The one on the left was Boaz, which means “in strength.” As people entered the temple, seeing these two names created a great worship mindset.
Chapter 4: The Altar and More
The bronze altar was the next creation. The Hebrew word for altar, or rather the idea behind the word, meant “killing place”. It was the first place a person encountered as they entered into the sanctuary court and solidified the fact that the only way to reach God, or to approach Him, was by a sacrifice.
We have an altar too. The cross of Jesus is literally our “killing place.” He died for US, and we die to SELF by living for Him, and He through us.
This temple altar was roughly twice as big as the one in the tabernacle, as found in Exodus 27:1-2, and was much higher. This was so that everyone could see when the offerings burned, which would then remind them about their sin.
The Washing Basins
The sea of bronze was over fifteen feet from side to side. The priests used it to wash their hands and feet for ceremonies, as those who did not do this died, according to Exodus 30:20.
The basin itself sat on a foundation of twelve sculpted oxen, said to foreshadow the twelve disciples that carried “the living water” to the entire world. Another ten basins stood for the washing of animal parts for sacrifice.
Lampstands, Tables, & Bowls
Both lampstands and tables came next, as the temple work necessitated light, and the showbread would be set out on the table. This represented an ongoing fellowship that God had with Israel.
Another hundred golden bowls were made and are said to have been collection bowls for the blood of the sacrifices. After it was collected, it was then sprinkled all around the altar.
The Temple Court
The priests court was the “inner” court, and only priests could enter here. The great court was the “outer” court where all of Israel would assemble.
A man by the name of Huran made the furnishings for the inside of the temple. He was half Israeli, but also half Gentile. He was the finest artisan craftsman in the land, and Solomon made sure he did all the temple work.
The shovels, pots, and bowls here were very important. It was a kind of solidifying of the fact that Israel, even after the exile, were a people of covenant and of worship. Read more about this in Ezra 1:7-11; 6:5; and 8:24-34).
No Account of the Weight
I think one of the most interesting verses in today’s reading is found in the 18th verse of chapter 4:
Thus Solomon made all these vessels in great abundance: for the weight of the brass could not be found out.2 Chronicles 4:18, KJV
Isn’t that just how it ought to be? We don’t need to try to take account of our service to God. Even Solomon didn’t let his left hand know what his right was doing.
And finally, we see the amazing flowers as a sort of representation of the sovereignty of God. Could it be that this was a look back at the perfect state of the Garden of Eden? Or could it be a looking forward to the perfect state of heaven in its finality?
Can you imagine the magnitude of the beauty of this temple? What comes to mind when you read over the chapters and the details and great care that God took in designing the temple?
Lord Jesus, help us to remember, that just as You took GREAT CARE with even the smallest details in the temple, so You take great care with every detail of our lives as well. May we always remember that You are a God that truly cares about these things. Amen.