The Temple of Solomon was built in 960 BC by King Solomon, (1 Kings 5:1-18; 6:1-37; 7:13-51; 8:1-66). Also known as the first temple it was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar II and his invading armies in 587 BC. This Temple and every task carried out within it actually were types of Christ and his mission. In today’s article we are going to take a detailed look at its purpose and its relevance to the modern Christian.
1. Brazen Alter
Then – God commanded his people to regularly sacrifice a blameless animal (lambs, goats, doves and bulls) for their sins. The blood of the animal justified the people before God and restored their relationship with him.
Now – Jesus is our blameless sacrifice, (John 1:29). He lived a sinless life (Hebrews 4:15) and willingly died for our sins to reconcile us to God for the eternity (Philippians 2:8). God doesn’t require anymore animal sacrifices.
Then – The person offering the animal placed his hand on its head while it was killed. This was a symbol of placing his sin on the animal. The animal died in his place. (Because, death is the wage of sin (Romans 6:23)
Now – Jesus is the blameless Lamb of God who was killed on our place as well as on whom God placed the weight of the global and personal sin. He reconciled man to God forever. Whoever believes in him even if he dies shall live (John 11:25).
3. Bronze Basin
Then – It was also called “The Sea” and the priests used it to wash themselves, purifying themselves before entering the Temple. It was about 15ft. (4.6m) across and held more than 10,000 gallons (38,000 liters) of water. It stood on 12 bronze oxen. (See the picture)
Now – Jesus told Peter, “The one who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean. And you disciples are clean, but not every one of you.” (John 13:10). It means we are already clean because of the words Jesus spoke to us. But we are subject to our fallen nature and occasional sin. Therefore we must repent at God’s presence every day.
4. Bronze Pillars
Then – These Pillars were called “Jachin” on the right and “Boaz” on the left. They supported the roof of the portico. They were 27 feet (9 m) high.
Now – Christians who remain faithful to God through trials will be called the pillars in the Temple of God. (Revelation 3:12)
5. Holy Place
Then – Only the priests were permitted to enter the Holy Place to carry out their daily duties.
Now – We have been made holy through Jesus’ sacrifice and can approach God without a middleman.
6. Golden Lamp stands/show bread
Then – Ten Golden Lamp stands were used to illuminate inside the temple while bread was for the consumption of the priests.
Now – Christ is the light of the world (John 9:5) and the bread of life. (John 6:48-51)
7. Golden incense altar
Then – Prayers were offered at the Golden Altar of incense where special sweet incense required by God was burned.
Now – Our prayers are sweet incense at the presence of God, (Psalm 141:2; Revelation 8:4)
8. The Veil
Then – The veil separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place where the Ark of the Covenant was placed. It served as a symbol of separation between God and his sinful people. Once a year the High Priest alone went passed the veil.
Now – We are made acceptable to God by the blood of Jesus, the greatest High Priest. (Hebrews 4:14-16) The Gospels record that the temple veil tore in two from top to bottom, the very moment Jesus gave up his soul symbolizing that Christ’s mass on the cross reconciled man to God. (Mark 15:38)
9. Most Holy Place
Then – It was God’s throne room where He would meet and give his instructions, seated between the two Cherubim, on the mercy seat over the Ark of the Covenant. Only the High Priest was allowed to enter the Holy Place, once a year. He sprinkled blood on the Mercy Seat on the Day of Atonement to atone for the sins of the people for that year. Anyone who dared to violate this rule was met with the wrath of God. The High Priest earned the same fate if he was unclean at the time he entered into the holy of holies.
Now – We can approach God’s throne of grace, without the fear of being condemned to death. (Hebrews 11:9-14)
Then – Cherubim are angelic beings. They guard God’s divine presence as it is in (Genesis 3:24). Two massive sculptures of these, carved out of olive-wood rested on top of the Covenant of the Ark.
Now – We can have eternal life in God’s presence through faith in Jesus. (John 17:1-26)
11. Ark of the Covenant
Then – The Ark was a carved wooden box overlaid with gold. Inside were the tablets of stone with the 10 commandments inscribed on them. Its lid, called the “Mercy Seat”, represented the meeting place between God and man. (Exodus 25:10-22)
Now – God wants to commune with us today. He made it possible to know him through Jesus. (John 14:6)
Then – Three-story rooms contained the treasures of God’s temple and the dedicated gifts. The invading armies looted these treasures several times.
Now – Jesus commanded us to not lay up treasures for ourselves on earth but to lay up treasures in heaven. (Matthew 6:19-21)