And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in the month Zif, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD.
1 Kings 6:7
The building of the Temple on Mount Moriah is a parable of the present world. St. Paul applies the simile of the text to the building of the Church of God when, in the Epistle to the Ephesians, he says that this Church is built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets, and that it groweth with a noiseless growth into a holy temple for the Lord. The text is a revelation of the twofold condition of the life of the Church of Christ as it is to-day.
I. There are three conditions of the Church's life: two present, one future. The Church is militant on earth; the Church is expectant in Paradise; the Church shall be glorified in Jesus Christ when He comes and she passes into Paradise. However chequered may be the Church's course on earth, within the veil Jesus is realising His thought of His Church, not in the transitory conditions of time, but under abiding conditions in eternity. Jesus is the Builder of His Church in Paradise, for He is the true Solomon.
II. When Solomon built his church, the first thing he did was to dig deep, that his foundations might rest upon a rock. Christ lays the foundations of His Church deep in His own wounded form. Upon the person of Jesus, as the crucified Redeemer, do the foundations of the Church rest.
III. Solomon laid the foundation stones of the Temple. The Bible tells us that the foundation stones of the Church are the twelve Apostles. Their influence is a living power with us today.
IV. We are not as yet in Jerusalem; we are in Lebanon. God's great work is going on age after age; the purpose of the Church is to be the school of heaven, the place where men and women are made ready for eternity.
G. Body, Contemporary Pulpit, vol. iv., p. 1.
What Lebanon was to Zion, this world is to heaven. This world is the quarry and the work-field, heaven the temple. Gradually in its calm magnificence, far out of sight, that temple in Zion is rising and stretching on, in its preordained proportions, to its vast circumference. Another and another stone is being added to it, but not one that has not been hewn and fitted here.
I. God sends His stone-squarers to His children; afflictions ply their hammers, and unkind men their sharp chisels, until the heart, measured as with a plumb-line, is set to the whole will of God, and we are conformed to the heavenly and made correspondent to the Divine.
II. Here on earth the stones lie disjointed and isolated; they are good stones, but they want union. There, in that great spiritual structure, all will be gathered into a perfect oneness, and each shall bear his own proper and necessary part in the temple.
J. Vaughan, Fifty Sermons, 8th series, p. 201.
Taking the Temple as an emblem of the Christian, we say that it was (1) the place of mercy; (2) the place of law; (3) the place of worship.
I. In the Temple was erected the throne of mercy; there mercy was, as it were, localised. The Christian only has a clear idea of mercy as a living principle. He knows his need of it, and knows mercy as an attribute of God. The sense of our need of mercy produces humility and peace.
II. The Law was deposited in the ark, and remained there till the time of Titus. The law of God should dwell in every Christian heart.
III. In the soul of the Christian, as in the Temple, there is communion with the Divine presence, there is the true worship of God. Fellowship with ourselves and the indwelling Spirit of God is the essence of true religion and the true idea of a spiritual temple.
C. Morris, Preacher's Lantern, vol. iii., p. 563.
References: 1 Kings 6:7.—G. Matheson, Moments on the Mount, p. 187; Bishop Woodford, Sermons on Subjects from the Old Testament, p. 80; Sermons for the Christian Seasons, 1st series, vol. ii., p. 613; Dawson, Sermons on Daily Life and Duty, p. 242; New Manual of Sunday-school Addresses, p. 262; E. Thring, Uppingham Sermons, vol. i., p. 71; J. W. Burgon, Ninety-one Short Sermons, No. 86.
1 Kings 6:29The question naturally arises, Why this peculiar carving exclusively? Wherever the worshippers looked they were met by this threefold ornamentation, everywhere cherubim, palm-trees, and open flowers.
I. The first thought that strikes us is the union of the earthly and heavenly, the natural and spiritual, in worship and religion. The highest spiritual objects and two of the most prominent natural objects were portrayed together in the house of God. The highest creature in the spiritual realm was here set alongside of natural objects known to all. Worship of God will never be healthy and many-sided if it excludes the view of the outer world. Look at the Book of Psalms. Deep, manifold, and awful is the tragedy of human life there, and glorious are the bursts of melody and hope that sweep across it; but through all struggle, and agony, and shouts of triumph there come the scent of flowers, and of pines, and of mown grass, the singing of birds, the lowing of cattle, the roar of the sea, and the murmur of the stream. So in the house of God and in worship heaven and earth are brought together.
II. We learn that life is the grand source, material, reality. There were three kinds of life portrayed on these walls. It is life that gives value to all things. Life is that which has fellowship with God; life is that which loves God and longs after Him; life is that which feeds upon God's truth. All life has the same grand general laws.
III. We see the union of three things in the spiritual life: worship, fruitfulness, and beauty. Worship is represented by the cherub, fruitfulness by the palm-tree, and beauty by the open flower. True spiritual life shows itself, not in one of these, but in all.
IV. We see the union of these three things in the worship of God—aspiration, growth, and receptivity. The open flower is the way to the cherub; by reception the plant and the flower live; and by reception the soul of man lives and grows.
J. Leckie, Sermons Preached at Ibrox, p. 133.
References: 1 Kings 6:35.—J. Reid Howatt, Churchette, p. 51. 1Ki 6-7—Parker, vol. vii., p. 295. 1 Kings 7:5.—Preacher's Monthly, vol. ii., p. 144. 1 Kings 7:5, 1 Kings 7:6.—S. Baring-Gould, One Hundred Sermon Sketches, p. 193.
And the house which king Solomon built for the LORD, the length thereof was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof twenty cubits, and the height thereof thirty cubits.
And the porch before the temple of the house, twenty cubits was the length thereof, according to the breadth of the house; and ten cubits was the breadth thereof before the house.
And for the house he made windows of narrow lights.
And against the wall of the house he built chambers round about, against the walls of the house round about, both of the temple and of the oracle: and he made chambers round about:
The nethermost chamber was five cubits broad, and the middle was six cubits broad, and the third was seven cubits broad: for without in the wall of the house he made narrowed rests round about, that the beams should not be fastened in the walls of the house.
And the house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither: so that there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building.
The door for the middle chamber was in the right side of the house: and they went up with winding stairs into the middle chamber, and out of the middle into the third.
So he built the house, and finished it; and covered the house with beams and boards of cedar.
And then he built chambers against all the house, five cubits high: and they rested on the house with timber of cedar.
And the word of the LORD came to Solomon, saying,
Concerning this house which thou art in building, if thou wilt 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 thy father:
And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake my people Israel.
So Solomon built the house, and finished it.
And he built the walls of the house within with boards of cedar, both the floor of the house, and the walls of the cieling: and he covered them on the inside with wood, and covered the floor of the house with planks of fir.
And he built twenty cubits on the sides of the house, both the floor and the walls with boards of cedar: he even built them for it within, even for the oracle, even for the most holy place.
And the house, that is, the temple before it, was forty cubits long.
And the cedar of the house within was carved with knops and open flowers: all was cedar; there was no stone seen.
And the oracle he prepared in the house within, to set there the ark of the covenant of the LORD.
And the oracle in the forepart was twenty cubits in length, and twenty cubits in breadth, and twenty cubits in the height thereof: and he overlaid it with pure gold; and so covered the altar which was of cedar.
So Solomon overlaid the house within with pure gold: and he made a partition by the chains of gold before the oracle; and he overlaid it with gold.
And the whole house he overlaid with gold, until he had finished all the house: also the whole altar that was by the oracle he overlaid with gold.
And within the oracle he made two cherubims of olive tree, each ten cubits high.
And five cubits was the one wing of the cherub, and five cubits the other wing of the cherub: from the uttermost part of the one wing unto the uttermost part of the other were ten cubits.
And the other cherub was ten cubits: both the cherubims were of one measure and one size.
The height of the one cherub was ten cubits, and so was it of the other cherub.
And he set the cherubims within the inner house: and they stretched forth the wings of the cherubims, so that the wing of the one touched the one wall, and the wing of the other cherub touched the other wall; and their wings touched one another in the midst of the house.
And he overlaid the cherubims with gold.
And he carved all the walls of the house round about with carved figures of cherubims and palm trees and open flowers, within and without.
And the floor of the house he overlaid with gold, within and without.
And for the entering of the oracle he made doors of olive tree: the lintel and side posts were a fifth part of the wall.
The two doors also were of olive tree; and he carved upon them carvings of cherubims and palm trees and open flowers, and overlaid them with gold, and spread gold upon the cherubims, and upon the palm trees.
So also made he for the door of the temple posts of olive tree, a fourth part of the wall.
And the two doors were of fir tree: the two leaves of the one door were folding, and the two leaves of the other door were folding.
And he carved thereon cherubims and palm trees and open flowers: and covered them with gold fitted upon the carved work.
And he built the inner court with three rows of hewed stone, and a row of cedar beams.
In the fourth year was the foundation of the house of the LORD laid, in the month Zif:
And in the eleventh year, in the month Bul, which is the eighth month, was the house finished throughout all the parts thereof, and according to all the fashion of it. So was he seven years in building it.