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So in chapter six he began to build the temple.
In the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, and in the fourth year of Solomon's reign, in the second month, they began the building of the temple. Now the temple was to be ninety feet long and thirty feet wide, and forty-five feet tall ( 1 Kings 6:1-11.6.2 ).
So if you can picture now in your mind, ninety feet is just about from the edge of the platform here to the back door. So that's how long Solomon's temple was. It's a little more than forty-five feet from arch to arch. So it wasn't quite as wide. And of course, it was quite a bit taller because actually it was only thirty feet wide. So that will be from this aisle about over to the middle of this one over. But forty-five feet high. So that is quite high for a building. So it was rather high and long and narrow. And of course, it had the one end that was partitioned off and had doors at that time into the holy of holies. The doors were of carved olive wood and overlaid with gold.
And as you get into chapter six, it begins to give you the description of the temple that they were constructing. Now in verse seven, it tells us:
When they were building it, it was built of stone made ready before it was brought to the site: so that there was neither hammer nor ax nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building ( 1 Kings 6:7 ).
So all of the cutting of the stone was done at the quarry, which was, of course, under the city. And they would cut the stones to size and all there, and then bring them out and just lay them in. So there was no noise of a hammer or any iron or tool at the actual construction site of the temple.
Now there's an interesting story that is told in the construction of the temple. And that is that the stones being quarried at a distance from the actual site of the building, they were, all of them, once quarried marked with a special mark. So that they would have the plan at the quarry for the building and the dimension of each stone, and then they also had another set of plans on the job. And again, each stone made especially for each slot and they would quarry the stone and send it, and they would mark where it went. And the foreman on the job would see the stone and he would direct them where to lay it.
Well, a stone came from the quarry that didn't seem to fit into the building. And so the people didn't see or understand where this particular stone went, so they toss it aside. Now this building was seven years in the construction. So in seven years the shrubbery and all can grow up and cover. And the story goes that this stone just became lost in this overgrow of shrubbery and all. So that when the temple was just about completed, the foreman sent a message to the quarry, "We're all set to lay the cornerstone, the chief stone of the building. Where is it?" And the quarry said, "That stone was made and already sent to the job." They said, "Well, it's not here." They said, "Well, it's been sent. Look for it." And someone said, "Well, remember that stone we threw over there in the bushes?" And they went over, and sure enough, the stone that was rejected by the builders was the chief cornerstone of the building.
Now Peter picks this up when he is talking to the Sanhedrin when he is called on the carpet because of the healing of the lame man in the temple. And here is Peter standing before the Sanhedrin, he said, "Hey, fellows, if you're going to arrest me today because of the good deed done to this lame man, then that's your problem. But you want to know by what power or authority I did it? Be it known unto you that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth does this man stand here before you whole. And He is the stone which was set of naught by you builders, but God has made Him the chief cornerstone." And he is showing them a parallel, a story that was familiar to all of them how that the chief stone was rejected, but the same has become the head of the corner; it's in a psalm. But Peter shows that actually it is only prefiguring Jesus Christ, the chief cornerstone who was rejected by the religious builders in Israel. But God has made Him the head cornerstone over all.
So this is why that psalm and why Peter picked it up is that the stones were all carved out away from the site and brought to the site ready to be set.
The word of the LORD came to Solomon [in verse twelve], declaring, Concerning this house which you are building ( 1 Kings 6:11-11.6.12 ),
if you will walk in my statutes, and execute my judgments, and keep all my commandments to walk in them; then will I perform my word with thee, which I spake unto David your father: and I will dwell among the children of Israel, I will not forsake my people Israel ( 1 Kings 6:12-11.6.13 ).
So God's promise, conditional promise to Solomon that God would dwell there in the midst of the people. Now they did not build temples to worship in. That is, to congregate to worship. The temple and the idea of the temple was a place for God to dwell in. David said, "It isn't right that I'm dwelling in this house that is all sealed and nice and God is still dwelling in a tent. I'm going to make a house for God."
Now when we build churches, we think of accommodating the people that we might all gather together in order that we might worship God together here and study His word and grow in our knowledge and understanding of God. But not so in those days. In their building of a temple, the idea was to build a house for God and the common ordinary person was never allowed inside. Only the priests were allowed to go inside of the temple to visit with God. But the common people weren't allowed inside the building at all. There were the porches where they could go into the porches. But into the actual building itself, only the priests could enter.
So it wasn't a center of worship like buildings that we build today in the church. And our idea is to accommodate the people, to gather together to worship God. Their idea was to build a house for God to dwell in. But then when Solomon finished the temple, he saw how foolish the whole thing was. He said, "God, I look up and I know that the heavens of heaven aren't big enough to contain You. How much less this little house that I've built here?" And we know that "God doesn't dwell in temples or in houses made with hands" ( Acts 7:48 ). But He dwells, of course, within our hearts and lives. But He who fills the universe fills my heart and my life tonight. For my body has become the temple of the Holy Spirit. The dwelling place of God and God's Spirit within me.
So we don't need to build temples for God to dwell in. We build places where we can assemble to acknowledge God and to worship God. So God said, "I will dwell among my people. As long as they walk in my statutes, keep my commandments, I will dwell among them. And I will not forsake my people Israel."
And so it goes on and tells of the building of the house for God and of the holy of holies which was a thirty-foot cube, and of the two cherubim that they built to go into the holy of holies, carved them out of olive wood and then overlaid them with gold, and how that the cherubims wing spans were ten feet from wing to wing. So they were pretty good size cherubim. And they were set in the holy of holies, and at this point, the only furnishing within the holy of holies was the ark of the covenant, and the golden cherubims were sort of over the ark of the covenant.
Now even as the tabernacle was a model of heaven, so the temple in a sense became a model of heaven, because the design was much as the tabernacle with the holy place on the outer part where the priest would come and daily bring the sacrifices and so forth to sprinkle before the mercy seat. But then, the holy of holies with the ark of the covenant were... was all overlaid with gold, with the golden cherubim and the ark of the covenant in the middle.
Now the ark of the covenant was lost or was placed in hiding at the time of Nebuchadnezzar's siege of Jerusalem. There are some rumors that Jeremiah hid the ark of the covenant. But the ark of the covenant was not in Herod's temple. And perhaps someplace in the earth today that ark of the covenant still exists. It would be a fascinating archaeological find because within the ark of the covenant are the two tables of stone upon which God inscribed the Ten Commandments. And so how fascinating it would be to find this little golden box, and inside two stones with strange writing on them.
They were the... it was the only furnishing within the holy of holies, and Solomon built this seven years, overlaid the whole thing with gold, the planks and all overlaid with gold. It must have been fabulously beautiful and of course, extremely expensive. They estimated, of course, that was at gold thirty-two dollars an ounce; they estimated the cost at into the hundreds of millions. Now at five hundred forty-seven dollars an ounce, I don't know. It would really be something.
So it gives you the sort of the dimensions of the building and the carvings and so forth. And I'll leave you to peruse those at your own leisure. So it was seven years, the end of chapter six, in building the house of God. "
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on 1 Kings 6". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany