I Kings 6,7. Solomon's Temple.

Key Notes: Some details of construction. The Tabernacle and the Temple tell the story of salvation.

This passage begs to be read aloud. A silent reading is tedious, like reading a blue-print. However, when read aloud, the text is beautiful, befitting the material. It requires our imagination, and is helped by some diagrams (attached).

6:1–10. The Temple was twice as big as the Tabernacle and had an outer supporting wall with rooms on three levels.

6:7. It was built from pieces exactly cut, away from the site and assembled without the sound of working tools. The house was built in silence.

6:11–13. During the construction, a prophetic word came to Solomon that God's presence with Israel depended on Solomon's political and spiritual leadership, following God's commands.

6:14–22 The house was built mainly of cedar, overlaid with gold, decorated with images of gourds and flowers.

6:23–28 Two cherubim 15ft. high, were made with wings 7.5ft. long and covered with gold. These are angels with four wings and four faces--human, eagle, lion and ox--according to Ezek.1:10, although the faces are not described here. They were placed in the Holy of Holies facing each other with their wings arching over the Ark of the Covenant, touching each other and also touching the outer walls.

6:29–36 The entrance to the Holy Place was closed by doors made of cyprus and carved with cherubim, palm trees and flowers.

6:37–38 The building was completed in 7 years.

7:1–12 Solomon's own house may have been built in the next thirteen years, while the bronze and gold furniture for the temple was being cast. We will read about his house later.

7:13–22 Solomon brought in a master-craftsman from Tyre, the son of a Jewish widow. He cast two huge pillars 27ft. high, with walls 4 inches thick, and with wreaths and pomegranates decorating the capitals. They were free-standing on either side of the door into the Holy Place and were not part of the structure. They were named Jachin ("He shall establish") and Boaz, ("in strength"). The meaning is not entirely clear, but could be read as a sentence: "He shall establish [Israel] in strength." The bronze castings were done in clay fields near Succoth where molds could be prepared. IK.7:46

7:23–26 Next Hiram made a huge basin for water 15ft. across, resting on twelve oxen, three facing in each of the compass points. It was called a "sea" or "laver" and would hold about 11,000 gallons. It was used by the priests for washing hands or feet.

7:27–39 Accessory basins on wheeled stands were also crafted to be placed, five on each side of the outer porch.

7:40–51. Pots for cooking, shovels for ashes, basins to carry blood and offal were made from bronze. Gold was used for the incense altar, tables for display of sacred bread, ten gold lampstands with 7 lamps each, incense dishes and for sockets of the doors.

7:50 The Holy of Holies was closed by a door. IIChron.3:14 also mentions a veil.

The Temple was covered with gold inside including the floor, lit with lamps. It would be dazzling to the eye. But most of the craftsmen and none of the Israelites ever saw it. It was not built to be admired by all, open for weekly tours. No congregation could gather there. Only the officiating priest enjoyed its splendor. The house was built in silence. It speaks for purity, glory, holiness, exactness and separateness. To our culture, it would appear impractical, totally irrelevant to human needs. Its function, however, was, and is, to orient humans to God.

There was only one Temple, a silent testimony that there is only one God. The Temple was "a place for His Name". (IK.8:16). It was a place of His "rest". (Isa.66:1). It was at the center, the "navel of the earth" (Ezek.5:5; 38:12), oriented to the compass points, the sides facing north and south, the door on the east. It is a copy of the true Temple in Heaven. Heb.9:24

The Holy of Holies was a perfect cube. The New Jerusalem coming from God out of the Heaven will also be a cube Rev.21:16

The blue-print of the Temple, and its simpler predecessor, the Tabernacle, tell the story of our salvation and our fellowship with God. Let us develop a talking diagram from figure I. A rough diagram of the Tabernacle.

The priest or worshipper, could not approach the Holy Place without an animal sacrifice. Each morning the priest offered two lambs on the altar [(9] (Num.28:1–10), which was kept burning day and night. Lev.6:8–13

Details of the atoning sacrifice for individuals or groups are in Lev. 4. A petitioner brought an flawless animal to the priest and laid his hand on the animal's head, transferring guilt to the animal. The animal was killed. Its blood was sprinkled before the veil [2] and on the horns of the altar of incense [3] . The animal carcass was taken outside the camp and burned on a wood fire, symbolically eradicating the sin. Atonement had been made and forgiveness extended.

Our salvation was purchased by the sacrifice of Christ.
..."while we were yet sinners Christ died for us." (Rom.5:7) "Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins." (Heb.9:22)
"...we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.' (Heb.10:10)
We become believers when we transfer our guilt onto His head, He who was slain for us 2000 years ago. We look back on His sacrifice just as Abraham and his children looked forward 2000 years to it.

During the day, the priest might become ceremonially or physically defiled. It was not necessary then to perform another sacrifice. Cleansing was done at the Laver [8].

"Jesus said to him (Peter),'He who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but he is clean all over, and you are clean....'" (Jn.13:10)
The daily cleansing of the believer does not involve another sacrifice of Christ, but
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (IJn.1:9)

After the morning sacrifice,the priests performed duties in the Holy Place [6]. (Heb.9:6). They had access to sacred bread [4] {there were twelve loaves} for their nourishment, representing the Bread of Life. Jn.6:35
They could see by the light of the candelabra [5] which burned olive oil, representing the Light of the World. (Jn.9:5). The oil is symbolic of the Holy Spirit.
They burned incense on the altar of burnt incense [9] , a symbol of the prayers of the saints. Rev.5:8

These three activities represent the fellowship of the believer with Christ. The believer is a priest before God. IPet.2:5
•We are nourished by Christ, the Bread of Life. In the literal breaking of bread, we participate in fellowship with Him and each other.
"The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. Consider the people of Israel; are not those who eat the sacrifices partners in the altar?" (ICor.10:17–18)

•We are enlightened by Christ's life, "the light of life". (Jn.8:12), and the presence of the Holy Spirit (Jn.14:26). Oil fuels the lamp. Oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit who anoints. Isa.61:1

•Our prayer ascends to God through Christ and with the Spirit's intercession. Rom.8:26

4. But how can one enter into the Holy of Holies [2], into the presence of God? It was forbidden.
"Only the High Priest goes, and and he but once a year, and not without taking blood which he offers for himself and for the errors of the people. By this the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the sanctuary is not yet opened as long as the outer tent is still standing". (Heb.9:7–8)

The High Priest entered the Holy of Holies, where the ark of the covenant [1] was kept, on Yom Kippur, the Day of the Covering. It is a double reference: the Ark had a lid, the cover; sin was covered there. The Ark contained the Law of Moses; the blood was sprinkled before it; the angels were in worship on it; the Shekinah light, the glory of God, shoe over it. The cross of Christ is behind it.

At the death of Christ, the veil of the temple was torn from top to bottom. (Matt.27:51). The veil is the symbol of the body of Christ.
"...since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way which He opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh...let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith...." (Heb.10:19–22).

The death of Christ enables us to enter into the presence of God without fear,
"...a hope that enters into the inner shrine behind the curtain where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf...." (Heb.6:19) "...let us therefore come boldly before the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Heb.4:16).

The following diagram shows a rough blue-print of Solomon's Temple. It should face to the right (east).


The diagram below includes the furniture of Solomon's Temple. It was much more elaborate than the Tabernacle, in part because it was a permanent structure serving a larger number of people. The chambers in the wall are shown in cross-section in the lower diagram.

The diagram below is a cross-section of the outer wall of Solomon's Temple, showing the storage rooms and apartments and the stair-cases leading from one level to another. These rooms were the location of much of the activity described in Scripture--storage of materials, places where a prince could be hid (IIK.11:3), and where lots of rubbish would accumulate when the temple was neglected.