1 Kings 6:1-38 Temple Project
Solomon has had people making preparations for building the Temple for some time. Now it is time to put all those pieces together. The Temple project moves to a new phase.
I am bogging myself down in detail. I would LOVE to see an accurate blueprint of the Temple Solomon built. I’m getting bogged down in the side chambers. The measurements are built like an upside down pyramid. The ‘missing’ cubit on the lower floors would be the width of the stairs to the next level, I’m assuming. But how many sets of stairs to each successive level were there? Did the rooms measure the same with the hallways outside the rooms making up the additional space or did each successive floor’s rooms get bigger? When it says in verse 10 that the structure against the whole house was 5 cubits high, is that 5 cubits per floor? I think it would have to be. And where do the measurements of the floor/ceiling thicknesses come in? Can you hear the accountant in me coming out? Or more probably the perfectionist.
All the images I’ve found show the portion of the actual house of God sticking above the surrounding rooms. This would make sense with the five cubits if it included floor and ceiling measurements but they would be nearly flush if the transitions took even as much as 2 cubits. I’m doing it again!
Let’s move onto the part of the house that belonged to God. The dimensions of the Temple are twice the size of the Tabernacle. The Tabernacle’s Holy of Holies was 10 x 10 x 10 (w x l x h). The Temple is 20 x 20 x 20. The inner sanctuary of the Tabernacle was 10 x 20 x 10. The inner court of the Temple is 20 x 40 x ?. Here we are not given a measurement for height. I could assume that it is the same as the Holy of Holies but I can’t be certain. We will have to wait and see if the furnishings are twice as large too. I do know that the original pieces are not used in the Temple, except for the Ark.
Rather than leave the Ark dwarfed in the new double size room, Solomon had it filled with two cherubim. They were half the height of the room and half the full width. Between the two of them they filled the room, wingtip to wingtip. The Ark would have rested between their outstretched inner wings.
I don’t know how to interpret the grandeur of it all. The carvings, the use of cedar and cypress woods, the overlaying with gold, even the FIVE sided doorposts for the “inner sanctuary” and the four sided doorpost for the “nave.” In this instance is the “inner sanctuary” where the lamp stands would be and the “nave” an pre chamber to it all? Or is the “inner sanctuary” the Holy of Holies and the “nave” where the lamp stands stood? If the second configuration, what about the veil? I have SO MANY questions! And they won’t be answered this side of Heaven, again.
Sitting here looking at all the details and dimensions I almost missed the most important part. And that is exactly what the Spirit said to me as I skipped over a couple verses trying to get the dimensions down pat. “Now the word of the Lord came to Solomon, ‘Concerning this house that you are building, if you walk in My statutes and obey My rules and keep all My commandments and walk in them, then I will establish my word with you, which I spoke to David your father, And I will dwell among the children of Israel and will not forsake My people Israel’” (verses 11-13). THIS was the purpose of the house Solomon built for the Lord. It was a place where God would live among His people.
God didn’t need a physical house to live in. He chose to have His Spirit dwell among them. When God first commissioned the Tabernacle He made it grand but also serviceable. The people would carry the pieces along with them in the wilderness. God didn’t have to make it special for Himself. He made it special for His people. He didn’t require grandeur so He would feel special. He required it so His people would recognize that HE was beyond special. That is the same reason He sat quietly while Solomon built the Temple. It was MAGNIFICENT but it was only a building. What made it special was the heart behind the endeavor. Solomon’s heart LONGED to give God the biggest and best. And he spared no expense in doing so. The people felt the same way. They gave their all in this construction project. For they knew their God deserved no less.
The Temple and Tabernacle no longer exist but this does NOT leave God ‘homeless.’ He lives in our hearts instead. We don’t have to try and be some ‘spectacular’ building for Him to grace us with His presence. The only thing He requires is that it is freely given to Him as His own. From the heart of the child who welcomes Him with a minimum of understand to the heart of the most learned scholar, God longs to make it His home. He takes us from where we are to the perfect place for us to be; right by His side. He helps us learn how to ‘keep His house clean’ and free of false gods. He will help us ‘decorate’ His house as we grow with Him. And He will welcome that special place into the whole He has created both on earth and in Heaven. On earth it is knit together as part of His body. In Heaven, we live in His home forever!
Father God, thank You for redirecting my attention. I would still like to see what the Temple Solomon built looks like. I would like to walk its length and breadth. To explore the side chambers. To climb the stairs. To run my fingers along the carvings in the doors and walls. To see what his heart poured out for You. I pray what I have built in my heart is even a 100th of what Solomon built. I NEVER want to let anyone or anything else onto Your throne. I know I fail in this at times but I pray they are evicted quickly and completely. I want to be YOUR temple.