I read about the construction of Solomon’s temple this morning (1Kings 6, 7). It took seven years. Seven years for Solomon to build a house for the Lord . . . a magnificent structure where the glory of God might dwell. The best cedars . . . the most carefully and accurately hewn stone . . . ornate designs . . . walls and furniture overlaid in gold . . . grand bronze structures. It was big . . . and it was beautiful. And what would it have been like to enter the Most Holy Place? . . . to lay eyes upon the golden cherubim that overshadowed the ark . . . to behold the massive, 15 foot high, hand crafted creatures depicting life from another place . . . to gaze up at their 15 foot wing spans touching wall to wall, overshadowing the place where glory dwells? Was the temple Impressive? I’m guessing. Costly to build? By any standard. Does it pale in significance to the temple being built today? Pretty much. I read about that one too, this morning . . .
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In Him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:19-22 ESV)
Solomon’s structure was built in seven years . . . today’s dwelling place has been a work-in-progress for over 2,000 years. Solomon used only the finest materials . . . the house being built now is being constructed out of “recycled” materials . . . people once dead in their sins now newly created as living stones (1Peter 2:5).
The facilities to enable sacrifice in Solomon’s structure were plenty . . . blood would flow . . . animal parts cleaned . . . sacrifices offered by fire . . . the sweet smelling aroma ascending toward heaven. Sacrifice is a little different in today’s temple. No more blood . . . the blood of God’s provided Lamb having atoned for sins once for all. Today the sacrifices are not those of lambs and goats but of praise and worship, the fruit of lips adoring their Savior . . . and of lives laid down as living offerings upon the altar of grace (Romans 12:1).
But the two temples are similar in this aspect . . . both built to be a dwelling place for God . . . both intended as a holy temple. Both constructed that God might dwell upon the earth. Both designed that they might be filled with the presence of Him who inhabits the throne of heaven. In the one, that glory evidenced by a descending cloud . . . the other, the glory known by His abiding Spirit.
One other difference . . . Solomon’s temple is gone . . . destroyed . . . razed . . . dust where once was glory. Though it was built with the best materials earth had to offer . . . though it was erected upon the strongest of foundations man could form . . . though it was overlaid with precious metals . . . it’s gone.
But the other temple . . . the temple still being built today . . . that temple is Jesus’ work. The Father is the designer . . . the Spirit is the active agency of construction . . . and the Son is the contractor and sub-contractor . . . having determined that He would build His church . . . and that the gates of hell would not prevail against it (Matt. 16:18). And its longevity is not because of the materials used . . . not because of their inherent properties of strength or that they’ve been covered in gold . . . but because they are being built upon Christ Jesus Himself, the cornerstone.
He is the beginning and end of the structure . . . He is the source of the tensile strength of the born again materials used in this dwelling place of God . . . He is the covering, His enveloping blood and His imputed righteousness, being better than gold . . . He is the image into which the building is being conformed.
To have seen the temple of Solomon’s day would have been amazing. But to be the Temple of God’s making today . . . well, that’s just awesome! Amen?
To Him be all glory . . .