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The Glory Of The House

Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion in the far north, the city of the great King. God, in her palaces, has made Himself known as a stronghold (Ps. 48:2,3).

The gem, the crown jewel, in the midst of a setting enhanced by all the riches of David and Solomon, was the house of gold, the house of God. The scene could only properly be viewed from the top of the Mount of Olives, and it must have shimmered in breath-taking splendour in the morning sun. Not only was it a joy to any who beheld it, as the sons of Korah intimated in this 48th Psalm, the third in a trilogy of God's refuge and Kingship, but it was a joy to the God who made Himself known in it (1 Kin. 9:3). Seven years was Solomon in building it with the dedicated labours of hundreds of thousands skilled in their trades (1 Kin. 5:6, 13-16) and, more importantly with the divine stamp of the written directions of God handed to him by David, his father. It was erected at Moriah, the area where Abraham had raised an altar of burnt offering to sacrifice his son, and where David, hundreds of years later had purchased the threshing floor of Araunah. These associations seem appropriate to the location of the Temple. In the seven years of building it became the perfection of beauty.

Like the spiritual house of which it was a shadow, the stones of the structure were formed at the quarry and then built quietly into a dwelling place for God. Those living stones which are built together in God's spiritual dwelling today are formed and shaped at Calvary. It seems clear from 1 Chronicles 29:4 that silver had a part in covering the walls. Beams and planks of cedar covered the stone, so that an excellent unity was observed within and without rather than the prominence of each individual piece (1 Kin. 6:18). Like the city of which it was a part, it was compacted together in a unity.

A divine revelation

Unlike the former shadow, the Tabernacle in the wilderness, the structure in the land portrayed the willingness of God to reveal Himself. Whereas the Tabernacle whose structure and inner parts were largely unseen, whose beauty was largely hidden, and whose service depicted the approach to God of a people through a holy priesthood, the Temple radiated outside much of the glory that was within. Emphasis was placed on cherubim that looked out, as well as those which looked down. Twelve oxen, bearing the brazen sea faced outwards in all four directions also. Outer as well as inner carvings of cherubim, open flowers and palm trees adorned the cedar, and outside as well as inside was burnished with the gold of Parvaim. Though the common man was not allowed within that which was so holy, he could appreciate much of the inside beauty revealed in that which could be seen.

The very finest of materials went to build the temple, for it was a type of something most precious in the sight of God. Even nails, hinges and fastenings were of pure gold. From the Temple, in a very special way, was fulfilled the Psalm of Asaph:

The Mighty One, God, the LORD has spoken...Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God has shone forth (Ps. 50: 1,2).

The Temple was the centre of the beauty of Zion.

Everything was overlaid with gold, and in the gold were set precious stones (2 Chr. 3:6). In the same way in a later spiritual dwelling, those who become partakers of the divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4), have a collective opportunity of displaying that nature to all around, and the special God-given gifts which enhance His habitation display some of the essence of Him who conceived its structure and died for its purchase.

The queen of Sheba was awe-struck at the edifice and its entrance, the service and the evident expression of the wisdom of Solomon seen in all that pertained to the house of God. But she saw only the outside, and perhaps little appreciated that there was much more than human acuity at work here. The infinite majesty of the God of heaven disclosed something of itself within these walls and the service of a priesthood far excelled anything seen by earthly eyes. Only the ark of the covenant remained as it had been in the Tabernacle. The magnificence of the fifteen foot tall, finely carved, gold-burnished, olive wood cherubim, the many golden lavers and lampstands of gold (and of silver), the ten tables, and all the basins, shovels, tongs were new, and made all of pure gold, gleamed in their magnificence, but their beauty was secondary to their holiness. 'Holiness befits Thy house, O LORD, forever' (Ps. 93:5).

Pillars in God's house

In the porch of the house stood two great pillars of bronze, adorned with chains bearing bronze pomegranates, and topped by two magnificent capitals. These guarded the door to the house, and in their names, Jachin and Boaz, they bore silent testimony to the establishing strength of God who sat above the mercy seat. Pillars in God's house in any age exhibit the same strength, glory, fruitfulness (Rev. 3:12). 'And in His temple everything says, "Glory!"' (Ps. 29:9). Its cost was immeasurable, yet beggared by the cost of the house of which it spoke (Acts 20:28).

During the Feast of Booths in the seventh month of the seventh year of its building, the ark was brought in and 'the glory of the LORD filled the house' (1 Kin. 8:11). According to God's gracious answer to Solomon's prayer of dedication, the Temple would be the centre of God's affection and attention. 'For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that My name may be there forever' (2 Chr. 7:16), was the divine word that wrought more value to the Temple than all the earthly riches that were poured into it. God highly esteemed that house, so much that man also, giving it a high estimation, would know blessings abundant, even a fulfilment of the broad supplication of Solomon 'as he stood before the altar of the LORD' (1 Kin. 8:22-53). The instruction of Moses concerning that feast of the seventh month was that the people should be altogether joyful. Never had the people more reason to experience this:

On the eighth day he sent the people away and they blessed the king. Then they went to their tents joyful and glad of heart for all the goodness that the LORD had shown to David His servant and to Israel His people (1 Kin. 8:66).

God's high value of the vessels of the house is perhaps seen best as they are enumerated in Jeremiah 52:17-23 and in the post-exilic record in Ezra 8:25-30. Their holiness had been attested to by God at the feast of Belshazzar (Dan. 5). Isaiah assures us that those who had to do with such holy things were also to be purified (Is. 52:11).

The house central to God's purposes

This house in all its grandeur, although it was a nation's showplace, was so much more than that. Solomon readily acknowledged that even the heaven and the heaven of heavens could not contain the One who deigned to dwell there (1 Kin. 8:27), yet his God-appointed wisdom also revealed that this house was central to all God's purposes with the separated nation that God had called out from all the people of the earth as His inheritance (1 Kin. 8:53). God's desire for His chosen people then, is reflected in Paul's prayer for His peculiar people of the moment:

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know ...what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints... (Eph. 1:18).

The Temple in Jerusalem was to be a revelation of some of the power and majesty of the God of the house; so His people today are to proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvellous light (1 Pet. 2:9). David died before the building of the temple that he had saved and sacrificed for, but his expression of appreciation for the place of the Name must have found place in the hearts of many in Israel as they contemplated the centre of divine activity, just as it reflects our own thought of God's spiritual house today:

O LORD, I love the habitation of Thy house, and the place where Thy glory dwells (Ps. 26:8).


One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to meditate in His temple (Ps. 27:4).

Biblical quotations are from the New American Standard Bible.