Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Prophets And Kings, Day 10. Building The Temple, Part 1

Prophets And Kings
Day 10
Building The Temple
Part 1

This mornin we reads about the construction of the temple and we gets an idea of what it looked like from the outside.

1 KINGS 6:1-13
"In the four hundred and eightieth year after the Israelites came out of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv, the second month, he began to build the temple of the Lord." (1 Kings 6:1) According to the estimated year Solomon began to reign, this would put the exodus at around 1447BC or close to it, making the pharaoh of the exodus either Thutmoses III or his successor, Amenhotep II. I myself am quite fond of the Thutmoses III theory which we discussed in our blog study of Genesis on Day 113, but there are also good reasons to suppose it could have been Amenhotep II. We will probably never know for certain until we get to heaven, but these mysteries are fun to think about.

"The temple that King Solomon built for the Lord was sixty cubits long, twenty wide and thirty high. The portico at the front of the main hall of the temple extended the width of the temple, that is twenty cubits, and projected ten cubits from the front of the temple. He made narrow windows high up in the temple walls. Against the walls of the main hall and inner sanctuary he built a structure around the building, in which there were side rooms. The lowest floor was five cubits wide, the middle floor six cubits and the third floor seven. He made offset ledges around the outside of the temple so that nothing would be inserted into the temple walls." (1 Kings 6:2-6) Remember when we got to the end of our study of 1st and 2nd Samuel and David purchased a threshing floor and some land surrounding it? That became the site for the temple on Mount Moriah, the same place Abraham was about to sacrifice Isaac in the book of Genesis. The cross where the Lord Jesus Christ paid for our sins was planted on a hillside in the large plot of land David purchased. 

The long portico mentioned above is thought by Bible archaeologists to be what is known as "Solomon's Porch" or "Solomon's Colonnade" from John 10:23 when we are told that Jesus was walking there on a winter day. Of course, Solomon's temple was long gone by then and the temple in Jesus' time was Herod's temple, but according to the ancient Jewish historian Josephus, the portico was never destroyed by the Babylonians and it remained up against the side of one of the walls built by Herod. I wonder if Solomon could possibly have had any idea that someday his Lord and King would walk there. Jesus stood on Solomon's colonnade and reasoned with the Pharisees about His claim to be the Messiah. 

"In building the temple, only blocks dressed at the quarry were used, and no hammer, chisel or any other iron tool was heard at the temple site while it was being built." (1 Kings 6:7) A holy silence prevailed at the temple site, at least so far as the sound of metal tools was concerned. In this Solomon shows a special kind of reverence for the Lord and His house. I am reminded of the verse, "Be still, and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10)

"The entrance to the lowest floor was on the south side of the temple; a stairway led up to the middle level and from there to the third. So he built the temple and completed it, roofing it with beams and cedar planks. And he built the side rooms all along the temple. The height of each was five cubits, and they were attached to the temple by beams of cedar." (1 Kings 6:8-10) Nothing but the best went into this temple.

At this point the temple is what would be called in modern times "under roof". The outer and inner walls are complete and the roof is on. Before Solomon contends with the inside,during what may have been a pause in the action, the Lord speaks to him. "The word of the Lord came to Solomon: 'As for this temple you are building, if you follow My decrees, observe My laws and keep all My commands and obey them, I will fulfill through you the promise I gave to David your father. And I will live among the Israelites and will not abandon My people Israel.'" (1 Kings 6:11-13) The Lord repeats His promise, the promise He formerly made to David in 1 Kings 9:5 and 2 Chronicles 7:18. This promise was based on David and his descendants keeping their end of the bargain and if they did so, there would always be a man of David's line sitting on the throne of Israel. As we know, the line of David failed to keep their end of the bargain, the Babylonians conquered the nation and destroyed the temple, and the glory of the Lord departed from Israel. He did not wholly abandon them, but He did allow them to suffer for their sins of idolatry.

When the King of kings returns to reign forever, He will be the Son of David, the Lord Jesus Christ, and He will sit on David's throne just as God promised. Man failed to keep his part of the bargain but God will remain faithful to His part, even though we don't deserve it. Since the fall of Israel to Babylon, there has been no throne and no king, but this doesn't negate the word of God. For a time He has left off keeping a man on David's throne until "the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled". (Romans 11:25) There are some destinies that even our miserable sins and failures cannot alter and we cannot alter God's intention to place His own Son on the throne of David and set up an eternal kingdom of peace. I long for that day! Sometimes it seems like our nation and the whole world is falling apart but the One who will wear every crown will make all things right. "The Lord will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one Lord, and His name the only name." (Zechariah 14:9) Amen. Come soon, Lord Jesus. 

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