1 Kings

1 Kings - Lesson 6

Chapter 6:1-38

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  • Tonight’s lesson will be a bit different in that we will be going over the details of the building and layout of the Temple.

    • The teaching will be very straightforward as we will be dealing with some archeological realities as well as some architectural details.

      • In other words, what you see is what you get.

    • To some this may be a bit boring but if you are a lover of history and architecture, then tonight is a night you will enjoy.

      • Especially given the fact that we have quite a few pictures and illustrations to aid in our reading tonight.

  • I want to begin tonight with helping us first understand the significance of the details of the Temple and the Temple itself.

    • In one sense we can marvel at the amazing construction methods and materials used to build the dwelling place of the Lord.

      • On the other hand, we can see how the Lord desired to dwell with His people and where the tabernacle began.

    • When we begin our reading tonight, you will see that the writer will not provide us with who designed the temple or where the schematics came from themselves.

      • But by doing some scriptural background we come to find that the designs themselves were given to Solomon by his father, David.

    • But then that begs a question as well, which is where David got the details of the dimensions of the Temple.

      • For as we will see, the dimensions of the Temple vary from that of the Tabernacle in Moses’ day.

    • We come to find that the detailed blueprints in which are used for Solomon’s temple were inspired by the Holy Spirit.

      • And we find those details in 1 Chronicles 28:11-19.

    • However, there should be another question that comes to mind, because with any good design, there requires a designer.

      • And every design begins with some type of prototype or in this case an antetype.

      • An antetype simply means an earlier form.

    • And we find that in 2 Chronicles 6:21,30,33,39, that Solomon was aware that this earthly dwelling place was related to the heavenly antetype.

      • In these several verses there is the mentioning of “Your heavenly dwelling place”.

    • So we will see that this dwelling place in which has been divinely designed and revealed is to be a place in which the Lord will dwell with His people.

      • So with that being said, if I were to outline our time tonight, we will see the following:

      • 1. External Frame and size of the Temple (vv.1-10)

      • 2. Word of the Lord to Solomon (vv.11-14)

      • 3. Internal Framing and structure of the Temple (vv.15-36)

      • 4. Timeframe of Construction (vv.37-38)

    • If I were to put a tag on our text it would simply be: The Building of the Temple

      • With that being said, I invite you to pick me up in 1 Kings 6:1-10.

1 Kings 6:1 Now it came about in the four hundred and eightieth year after the sons of Israel came out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the Lord.
1 Kings 6:2 As for the house which King Solomon built for the Lord, its length was sixty cubits and its width twenty cubits and its height thirty cubits.
1 Kings 6:3 The porch in front of the nave of the house was twenty cubits in length, corresponding to the width of the house, and its depth along the front of the house was ten cubits.
1 Kings 6:4 Also for the house he made windows with artistic frames.
1 Kings 6:5 Against the wall of the house he built stories encompassing the walls of the house around both the nave and the inner sanctuary; thus he made side chambers all around.
1 Kings 6:6 The lowest story was five cubits wide, and the middle was six cubits wide, and the third was seven cubits wide; for on the outside he made offsets in the wall of the house all around in order that the beams would not be inserted in the walls of the house.
1 Kings 6:7 The house, while it was being built, was built of stone prepared at the quarry, and there was neither hammer nor axe nor any iron tool heard in the house while it was being built.
1 Kings 6:8 The doorway for the lowest side chamber was on the right side of the house; and they would go up by winding stairs to the middle story, and from the middle to the third.
1 Kings 6:9 So he built the house and finished it; and he covered the house with beams and planks of cedar.
1 Kings 6:10 He also built the stories against the whole house, each five cubits high; and they were fastened to the house with timbers of cedar.
  • We’re given, at the onset of Chapter 6, a very detailed chronology of when the construction of the Temple began.

    • We’re told that it came about 480 years after the wilderness wonderings. (Exodus)

      • For someone who may not have a strong grasp on the chronology of dates regarding the Exodus, here is a text that helps in solidifying timelines.

    • In one sense, we are given specifics of the month and year of the building of the Temple.

      • Secondly, we know the timeframe in which Solomon ruled.

      • Ancient writings hold that Solomon reigned from 971-931 BC.

    • So, if we were to go back 480 years earlier from 966/967 BC in which the Temple construction began, we find that the Exodus took place around 1445 or 1446 BC.

      • So, these moments recorded by the writers of Jewish history help us to navigate a proper timeline for Israel’s history as a whole.

    • We now find the writer of Kings moves to explaining, with accurate precision, the dimensions of the building of the house of the Lord.

  • He mentions that the length was sixty cubits, its width twenty cubits, and its height thirty cubits.

    • These numbers mean nothing to us if we aren’t able to have a modern metric to measure these dimensions.

      • 1 Cubit is roughly 18 inches (45cm).

    • So, in total, the dimensions were 90 feet long (27m), 30 feet wide (9m), and 45 feet high (13.5m).

      • What we know dimensionally is that Solomon’s temple for the Lord was much larger than the tabernacle that was transported with Israel in their wanderings.

      • So, in one sense, the new Temple is a permanent dwelling place for Yahweh unlike the previous temporary structure.

      • Secondly, the grandeur of this ba’yit (house) is great in size and splendor and with added features. For instance, the addition of a porch in front (v.3)

    • The writer then mentions that a porch, 20 cubits in length with a depth of 10 cubits added more square footage.

      • And with the height of this three-story structure came the artistic framing of clearstory windows.

    • Verses 5-6 we see that the outer walls of the temple had extensions built around as a means of storage, halls, and stairwells.

      • And what we find structurally is that there seems to be two structures interconnected but not intermingled.

      • And this is done so that there is clear distinction and separation between the inner sanctuary and Most Holy Place versus these surrounding halls.

      • The height of this structure was about 25-30 feet tall and divided into three stories.

    • We find an interesting detail in verse 7 because the writer expresses that Solomon desired that the construction site not be disturbed by loud noise.

      • So instead of cutting the stone on site, Solomon demanded the stone be prepared from the stone sight.

      • This suggest that the measurements of the building site needed to be precise and communicated to the hewers accordingly.

      • What accuracy this must have been for these builders to build such a grand building.

    • Verse 8, we are given details of vertical circulation of the storage rooms and their respective entrances.

      • And what we see in its entirety is that the temple is structurally sound and composed of the trees of Lebanon and the planks of cedar.

      • On the slides, you can see how these beams were structurally laid.

    • The writer of Kings then pivots to a significant portion of the text that is worth noting.

      • Check out verses 11-14

1 Kings 6:11 Now the word of the Lord came to Solomon saying,
1 Kings 6:12 “Concerning this house which you are building, if you will walk in My statutes and execute My ordinances and keep all My commandments by walking in them, then I will carry out My word with you which I spoke to David your father.
1 Kings 6:13 “I will dwell among the sons of Israel, and will not forsake My people Israel.”
1 Kings 6:14 So Solomon built the house and finished it.
  • Solomon is given a word from the Lord Himself which pertained to both a reaffirming of His promise He made to David as well as an “if statement”.

    • The promise that the Lord made, as we have previously discussed, is in reference to the Davidic Covenant.

      • In particular, this promise coincides with the establishment of David’s throne forever according to 2 Samuel 7:13.

      • However, Solomon’s obedience or the lack thereof towards the Mosaic Covenant would render a particular result.

    • If Solomon obeyed the Mosaic Covenant, God would not forsake His people and keep the Kingdom intact.

      • However, if Solomon were to fail to keep the covenant, then the Kingdom would be divided, and the Lord would cease to dwell among the people for a time.

    • What we need to understand at this point is, Solomon’s disobedience toward the Covenant would not erase or cancel the Lord’s promise to David.

      • It would simply, as Victor Hamilton writes, mute the promise for a time.

    • When you consider this reality, it begins to sound a lot similar to how during Jesus’ ministry, the religious leaders rejected the very offer of the Kingdom in the first century.

      • In other words, because of their lack of trusting in Messiah, the very Logos of God, they had the offer of the Kingdom rescinded, not cancelled.

    • So, the flourishing of the Kingdom under Solomon’s leadership was contingent upon his obedience to the Law.

      • And what we find is yet another reason as to why Jesus is the greater Solomon.

      • That where Solomon failed in perfect obedience to the Law, Jesus succeeded. (We will see more pictures throughout the Kings).

    • Another theme that we see in the Old Testament that is well-developed in the New Testament is this understanding of being in right fellowship with God.

      • Right fellowship with the Lord is based upon obedience to His word.

      • And this obedience to His word is an outworking of our love for the Lord.

    • This doesn’t mean that we will be perfect at it or get it right every time, but it does mean that our priority is to submit to His word and where we fail to turn to Him.

      • Check out what John says in 1 John 5:1-5.

1 John 5:1 Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him.
1 John 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments.
1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.
1 John 5:4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
1 John 5:5 Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
  • We see John mention this sense of fellowship in a different way in John 15:10. Check out the text.

John 15:10 “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.
  • The word “abide” in Greek means to remain, to stay, to dwell or reside.

    • And John makes extricably clear that there is a direct correlation between one’s obedience in keeping Jesus’ commands and being in right fellowship with Him.

    • Notice, for those who are in Christ, when one falls short, there is no loss of salvation, there is simply a loss of fellowship.

      • And that fellowship is able to be restored when we return to the Lord by way of repentance and to obey Him.

    • So when you see the New Testament writers talking about salvation and our security in Christ, you can begin to see how theology is established.

      • And by way of the New Testament writers, doctrine is established by which we are to adhere to as believers in Christ.

      • All that to say, when one understands the Old Testament, it helps in clarifying the writings of the New Testament writers.

    • So as we see in 1 Kings 6:14, Solomon responds positively to the word of the Lord and continues in building the house that the Lord may dwell with Israel.

      • We now find the writer of Kings move towards the interior of the Temple and its furnishings and finishes.

      • Check out verses 15-38.

1 Kings 6:15 Then he built the walls of the house on the inside with boards of cedar; from the floor of the house to the ceiling he overlaid the walls on the inside with wood, and he overlaid the floor of the house with boards of cypress.
1 Kings 6:16 He built twenty cubits on the rear part of the house with boards of cedar from the floor to the ceiling; he built them for it on the inside as an inner sanctuary, even as the most holy place.
1 Kings 6:17 The house, that is, the nave in front of the inner sanctuary, was forty cubits long.
1 Kings 6:18 There was cedar on the house within, carved in the shape of gourds and open flowers; all was cedar, there was no stone seen.
1 Kings 6:19 Then he prepared an inner sanctuary within the house in order to place there the ark of the covenant of the Lord.
1 Kings 6:20 The inner sanctuary was twenty cubits in length, twenty cubits in width, and twenty cubits in height, and he overlaid it with pure gold. He also overlaid the altar with cedar.
1 Kings 6:21 So Solomon overlaid the inside of the house with pure gold. And he drew chains of gold across the front of the inner sanctuary, and he overlaid it with gold.
1 Kings 6:22 He overlaid the whole house with gold, until all the house was finished. Also the whole altar which was by the inner sanctuary he overlaid with gold.
1 Kings 6:23 Also in the inner sanctuary he made two cherubim of olive wood, each ten cubits high.
1 Kings 6:24 Five cubits was the one wing of the cherub and five cubits the other wing of the cherub; from the end of one wing to the end of the other wing were ten cubits.
1 Kings 6:25 The other cherub was ten cubits; both the cherubim were of the same measure and the same form.
1 Kings 6:26 The height of the one cherub was ten cubits, and so was the other cherub.
1 Kings 6:27 He placed the cherubim in the midst of the inner house, and the wings of the cherubim were spread out, so that the wing of the one was touching the one wall, and the wing of the other cherub was touching the other wall. So their wings were touching each other in the center of the house.
1 Kings 6:28 He also overlaid the cherubim with gold.
1 Kings 6:29 Then he carved all the walls of the house round about with carved engravings of cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers, inner and outer sanctuaries.
1 Kings 6:30 He overlaid the floor of the house with gold, inner and outer sanctuaries.
1 Kings 6:31 For the entrance of the inner sanctuary he made doors of olive wood, the lintel and five-sided doorposts.
1 Kings 6:32 So he made two doors of olive wood, and he carved on them carvings of cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers, and overlaid them with gold; and he spread the gold on the cherubim and on the palm trees.
1 Kings 6:33 So also he made for the entrance of the nave four-sided doorposts of olive wood
1 Kings 6:34 and two doors of cypress wood; the two leaves of the one door turned on pivots, and the two leaves of the other door turned on pivots.
1 Kings 6:35 He carved on it cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers; and he overlaid them with gold evenly applied on the engraved work.
1 Kings 6:36 He built the inner court with three rows of cut stone and a row of cedar beams.
1 Kings 6:37 In the fourth year the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid, in the month of Ziv.
1 Kings 6:38 In the eleventh year, in the month of Bul, which is the eighth month, the house was finished throughout all its parts and according to all its plans. So he was seven years in building it.
  • The writer moves now to describing the inside features of the Temple itself in which we find that the entirety of the Temple is filled with boards of cypress from floor to ceiling.

    • He begins in verse 16 by detailing the dimensions of what is described as an “inner sanctuary” which is synonymous for the Most Holy Place or Holy of Holies.

      • We are given the details of dimensions of the Most Holy Place later in 1 Kings 6:20 as well as 2 Chronicles 3:8.

      • The dimensions were approximately 30 feet by 30 feet with a height of 30 feet. So, picture a 30 foot cube (9㎥)

    • Verse 17 we see that the “nave” or space in front of the Most Holy Place was the main hall, also known as the Holy Place.

      • This space was double the size of the holy of holies in width – it was 60 feet long (18m).

    • Verses 19-22 we’re told that within the Most Holy Place that the ark of the covenant was to be placed there.

      • And plastered throughout all the walls of the ba’yit was pure gold and along with the walls, he poured gold on the altar.

  • Verse 23 the writer describes that within the Most Holy Place were placed two olive wood cherubim.

    • Cherubim are angels which are the highest ranking of celestial beings.

      • The Hebrew word translated “cherub” has the root meaning “to guard” or “to cover”.

      • The Cherubim guarded the entrance of the garden after Adam and Eve sinned so that they would not return to that “sacred space” again.

      • And we are told that cherubim have two wings.

    • This pattern of including the cherubim at the mercy-seat in the Holy of Holies was first documented in Exodus 26:1 where the cherubim were embroidered on the veil in the tabernacle.

      • These two cherubim were ten cubits high which is 15 feet high (4.5m).

      • The span of just one of the wings was 5 cubits which is 7.5 feet (2.2m).

      • Verses 23-28 document that these cherubim were of the same size and were spread out that the tips of their wingspan touched from one end to the next.

      • And they too were layered with gold.

    • It’s also important to note that with the inner laying of cypress wood came the engravings of cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers.

      • This further describes the masterful craftsmanship of these laborers and contractors.

  • In verses 31-36 we find that the layout of the temple shows clear datums designating separation between the most Holy Place and the entrance to the inner court (Holy Place).

    • These datums were separated by doors.

      • The entrance of the inner sanctuary were made of olive wood.

      • And on these doors were the carvings of cherubim, palm trees and open flowers

      • Whereas the doors leading from the porch to the holy place were made of pine.

    • Lastly, we see the description of the inner court which is the exterior layout of the building itself.

      • And scripture lets us know that there were elevation differences from the inner court (highlighted here) versus the outer court, not mentioned in 1 Kings 6.

  • The writer then rounds out the description of the temple by reiterating the beginning construction month of the Temple to its concluding date.

    • It began in the fourth year in the month of Ziv (March/April) and ended in the 11th year in the month of Bul (October/November).

      • That would put the Temple being complete by 959 BC which means that the Temple took approximately 7 years to be completed.

      • As we know, biblically, the number 7 means completion or 100%. Therefore to the Jewish people the Temple was viewed as a perfect structure.

  • Now let’s go back to to a term we discussed earlier in the series - sacred space.

    • This is where the Lord comes to dwell and be with His people.

    • The first sacred space we see recorded in scripture is in the Garden of Eden.

      • God walked with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day.

      • But after they sinned there was separation.

      • There needed to be because God is holy – He cannot dwell where there is sin.

  • But God still desires to be near His people so He provided a way that allows those that are far from Him to draw near

    • God instructs us on how to approach Him (Remember the example of Cain, sin was crouching at the door).

      • But jealousy stirred and Cain wanted to do things his way.

      • It’s all about right fellowship.

    • The story of Moses and the burning bush - Yahweh tells him, remove your sandals for the place where you are standing is Holy ground.

  • So this language of holiness and sacred spaces is beginning to edge its way into culture.

  • During the time of the Israelites in the wilderness, God gives Moses instructions (for a tent) in order for the Lord to dwell with His people.

    • As seen on the slide, when the tabernacle was established the 12 tribes would surround it, but not right up close.

    • There had to be space between the tabernacle and the people because that was holy ground.

    • But as the people leave their tents to go to worship or sacrifice, there is a mental activity happening as they cross this holy ground.

      • As they are walking across this space to go and be and dwell with the Lord, they are thinking of being in right fellowship.

      • The separation reminds them that they are at odds with God.

  • Fast forwarding to the New Testament –

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John 1:14a And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us
  • In Greek the word means “tabernacled”.

  • When we start to see in the gospels the lineage of Jesus, it’s letting us know God has come to us.

    • Emmanuel, God with us.

  • So when the veil is torn in the Holy of Holies there is no longer separation.

    • Jesus tells His disciples, don’t leave Jerusalem.

    • I am going to send you a helper, the paraclete, to indwell you.

    • God is telling us, we are now the tabernacle, the new place where the Holy Spirit of God is going to dwell.

      • We no longer have to go to the church house/synagogue to be in right fellowship with Him.

  • So when we look at these dimensions, they have come from the Creator himself, because He has literally patterned a prototype for us on earth, as it relates to what is already in heaven.

    • When it comes down to Jesus before He ascends, you’ll notice in particular areas that Jesus is never touched.

    • Why?

      • There has to be a cleansing.

      • The veil has been torn on earth, the atoning work of Christ has taken place on earth.

  • So when we think about our bodies as Paul says in Romans, as living sacrifices, this is where He dwells.

    • And when we gather together, Jesus is in the midst. His Spirit is in us.

    • It’s not about the building, it’s about being together, fellowshipping with one another (Ecclesia).

  • The promise Jesus made to His disciples, I will be with you always, even to the ends of the earth – He tabernacles with us.

  • Although this building we have studied in our text today was destroyed by Babylon, as Jesus said in Matthew 16 – the gates of hell will not prevail against His church.