And Hiram king of Tyre sent his servants unto Solomon; for he had heard that they had anointed him king in the room of his father: for Hiram was ever a lover of David. And Solomon sent to Hiram, saying, Thou knowest how that David my father could not build an house unto the name of the Lord his God for the wars which were about him on every side, until the Lord put them under the soles of his feet. But now the Lord my God hath given me rest on every side, so that there is neither adversary nor evil occurrent. And, behold, I purpose to build an house unto the name of the Lord my God, as the Lord spake unto David my father, saying, Thy son, whom I will set upon thy throne in thy room, he shall build an house unto my name. Now therefore command thou that they hew me cedar trees out of Lebanon; and my servants shall be with thy servants: and unto thee will I give hire for thy servants according to all that thou shalt appoint: for thou knowest that there is not among us any that can skill to hew timber like unto the Sidonians. And it came to pass, when Hiram heard the words of Solomon, that he rejoiced greatly, and said, Blessed be the Lord this day, which hath given unto David a wise son over this great people. ( I Kings 5:1-7)
Solomon commences the building of the Temple, by negotiating with Hiram, the Phoenician King of Tyre . Hiram had been an ally of King David also, and had already been contracted to prepare raw materials for the Temple of God in Jerusalem.
The Temple would not merely be an improvement upon the tabernacle of Moses, but an entirely different structure. Each portrayed different meanings for different circumstances for the people of God.
The Tabernacle was a temporary structure, built to be erected, and taken down and moved as the people of God were a pilgrim company passing through the wilderness that is this world.
The Temple spoke of permanence, for Israel had settled into the Land that the LORD promised Abraham,Isaac and Jacob, and there was now a city, Jerusalem which would be a place for the name of God . Deuteronomy foretold that such a place would be found;
But when ye go over Jordan, and dwell in the land which the Lord your God giveth you to inherit, and when he giveth you rest from all your enemies round about, so that ye dwell in safety; Then there shall be a place which the Lord your God shall choose to cause his name to dwell there; thither shall ye bring all that I command you; your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, your tithes, and the heave offering of your hand, and all your choice vows which ye vow unto the Lord:( Deuteronomy (12:10-11)
The task of building a house for the name of God would be a joint project, involving both Jew and Gentiles. The Gentiles (Hiram) would provide the Cedar wood, and much of the labor and even craftsmanship, and the Jews agreed to provide food, (Grain and Oil) For Hiram’s Kingdom.
This aspect of the Story has a typological significance, in that the Church, (The Temple of God) consists of both Jew and Gentile, “one new man, a Holy Temple unto the LORD”. The cause of God, the God of Israel was greatly expanded and excellerated by a massive infusion of Gentiles into the family of God after the resurrection of Jesus.
The Gentiles provide the manpower, and the sheer numbers, and energy to build and expand the house of God in the earth. The Jews provide the grain and the oil, that is the teaching. The Hebrew Prophets and apostles are the food of the Gentile converts to the Messiah.
We see the cooperation of Jew and Gentile in the preparation of the stones also. The Temple would consist of Timber and Stones, and much Gold, silver and bronze to overlay them.
And the king commanded, and they brought great stones, costly stones, and hewed stones, to lay the foundation of the house. 1And Solomon’s builders and Hiram’s builders did hew them, and the stonesquarers: so they prepared timber and stones to build the house.( I Kings 5:17-18)
The Stones were all prepared off site that the sound of human tools not be heard on the Temple grounds. The Stones would be perfected then brought into the Temple and assembled. We too as “living Stones” of the New Temple, the Body of Christ, are being shaped and hewn “off site” through the LORD’s providential ways and means, towards the end that we be “fit and joined ” together as the temple of the LORD.
What is a Temple?
* The Temple in 1 Kings 6 is called repetitively the “House”, a place for Jahweh to “Dwell in the midst” of the people of Israel. The largest room in the Temple is called literally, “the palace”.
The scripture specifies that “name of the LORD” shall dwell there, (Perhaps a reference to distinction within the Godhead,ie the trinity) . Jahweh told Moses He would not go with the children of Israel through Egypt but would as a concession send His name to be with them. The reference to the name is mysterious but could it possibly be a reference to a mode of Jahweh’s presence, perhaps like “the Angel of the LORD”, or the Son of God?
- God’s Temple was a building designed to represent the garden of Eden. The interior walls were paneled with Cedar Wood, and carved with the likeness of fruits, vegetables, and flowers set an Edenic theme to the building. So too did the curtains which marked off the Holy Place and the inner Sanctuary, for they were embroidered with Cherubim, the same creatures who were set to guard the way to the tree of life.
- The Holy Place was illuminated by a candelabra “tree”, and the floor plan of outer court, Holy place and Holy of Holies mimicked the pattern n Genesis two of the earth, Eden and in the center, the garden.
- The two massive pillars which were set at the entrance, “Joachin ” and “Boaz” reminds us also of guarding Cherubim, and their chapiters (covers) were decorated with carved Pomegranates and Lilies.
- Since Eden was a “well watered garden” the Temple was also designed to feature water pieces.
- The massive Bronze basin , which rested on the backs of twelve bronze cattle is one example of this. The twelve cattle represent the twelve tribes of Israel, upon whose Priestly back sit the Gentile nations. The cattle are divided into four groups of three and face the four cardinal directions, to signify the global, priestly ministry of Israel, called to pray for and minister to the nations of the world.
- As one entered into Temple from the East, you would have to pass through two lines of “chariots”, which were in fact open tanks of fresh water. These would depict passing through the Red Sea, to enter into the House of Worship, or they could also be giving the illusion to water flowing out of the Temple of the LORD.
- A Temple is a body… Peter Leithart points out that the Holy Spirit describes the Temple as having a face, ribs, and shoulders, (I Kings 6:3,6:5, 7:39). These ae the Hebrew Words used to describe the different functions but the English translation obscures them. God “built” a bride for Adam out of a “side”(rib), (same word as in I Kings 6. Cain “built” a city in rebellion,(same word, and Solomon “built” the House of the LORD for him to dwell there.
- In the New Testament, the Temple is the Church, which is the “well watered garden”, the “House of God, the pillar and support of the Truth”, and “the body of the Messiah”, the “dwelling place of God in the Spirit.