The Temple of Solomon and its relevance to the modern Christian

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 Altar

In the Old Testament

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.

In the New Testament

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 eternity (Philippians 2:8). God doesn’t require any more animal sacrifices.

2. Sacrifice

In the Old Testament

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)

In the New Testament

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

In the Old Testament

It was also called “The Sea” and the priests used it to wash, 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)

In the New Testament

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

In the Old Testament

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.

In the New Testament

Christians who remain faithful to God through trials will be called the pillars in the Temple of God. (Revelation 3:12)

5. Holy Place

In the Old Testament

Only the priests were permitted to enter the Holy Place to carry out their daily duties.

In the New Testament

We have been made holy through Jesus’ sacrifice and can approach God without a middleman.

6. Golden Lampstands/Showbread

In the Old Testament

Ten Golden Lampstands were used to illuminate inside the temple while bread was for the consumption of the priests.

In the New Testament

Christ is the light of the world (John 9:5) and the bread of life. (John 6:48-51)

7. Golden incense Altar

In the Old Testament

Prayers were offered at the Golden Altar of incense where special sweet incense required by God was burned.

In the New Testament

Our prayers are sweet incense at the presence of God, (Psalm 141:2; Revelation 8:4)

8. The Veil

In the Old Testament

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.

In the New Testament

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

In the Old Testament

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.

In the New Testament

We can approach God’s throne of grace, without the fear of being condemned to death. (Hebrews 11:9-14)

10. Cherubim

In the Old Testament

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.

In the New Testament

We can have eternal life in God’s presence through faith in Jesus. (John 17:1-26)

11. Ark of the Covenant

In the Old Testament

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)

In the New Testament

God wants to commune with us today. He made it possible to know him through Jesus. (John 14:6)

12. Storerooms

In the Old Testament

Three-story rooms contained the treasures of God’s temple and the dedicated gifts. The invading armies looted these treasures several times.

In the New Testament

Jesus commanded us to not lay up treasures for ourselves on earth but to lay up treasures in heaven. (Matthew 6:19-21)

Image: Laura Dahl
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