King David wanted desperately to build a permanent home for the Ark of the Covenant (Ark of God), but God told him that it was not his job. That task would fall on his son Solomon. See, David was a warrior king. Solomon was a king of peace and wisdom. Therefore, it was Solomon who got to build the magnificent structure that was to be a semi-permanent home. This temple, luxurious and marvelous that it was, would be destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC. Wait, we’re way not there yet!
It was in the Spring c. 967 BC, 480 years after the start of the Exodus. In the middle of the desert, God gave Moses the instructions on how to build the tabernacle. It was carefully specified and it was mobile.
Here, Solomon spares no expense. Check out the video at the bottom with a 3D tour of what Solomon’s temple may have looked like.
Let’s dig in….
1 Kings 6 – The Temple
It was in midspring, in the month of Ziv, during the fourth year of Solomon’s reign, that he began to construct the Temple of the Lord. This was 480 years after the people of Israel were rescued from their slavery in the land of Egypt.
2 The Temple that King Solomon built for the Lord was 90 feet long, 30 feet wide, and 45 feet high. 3 The entry room at the front of the Temple was 30 feet wide, running across the entire width of the Temple. It projected outward 15 feet from the front of the Temple. 4 Solomon also made narrow recessed windows throughout the Temple.
5 He built a complex of rooms against the outer walls of the Temple, all the way around the sides and rear of the building. 6 The complex was three stories high, the bottom floor being 7 1⁄2 feet wide, the second floor 9 feet wide, and the top floor 10 1⁄2 feet wide. The rooms were connected to the walls of the Temple by beams resting on ledges built out from the wall. So the beams were not inserted into the walls themselves.
7 The stones used in the construction of the Temple were finished at the quarry, so there was no sound of hammer, ax, or any other iron tool at the building site.
8 The entrance to the bottom floor was on the south side of the Temple. There were winding stairs going up to the second floor, and another flight of stairs between the second and third floors. 9 After completing the Temple structure, Solomon put in a ceiling made of cedar beams and planks. 10 As already stated, he built a complex of rooms along the sides of the building, attached to the Temple walls by cedar timbers. Each story of the complex was 7 1⁄2 feet high.
11 Then the Lord gave this message to Solomon: 12 “Concerning this Temple you are building, if you keep all my decrees and regulations and obey all my commands, I will fulfill through you the promise I made to your father, David. 13 I will live among the Israelites and will never abandon my people Israel.”
I highlighted that last passage because it’s important. All God asks of the Israelites is to obey. That’s it! Simple instructions. Just like the ones given to Adam and Eve in the Garden. They had it made and they blew it. That’s all God asks of us today. Likewise, it seems like humans have really blown it! By ourselves, we could NEVER be good enough to stand before God.
We are told in Proverbs…
Obey my commands and live!Proverbs 7:2 NLT
Guard my instructions as you guard your own eyes.[
The Temple’s Interior
14 So Solomon finished building the Temple. 15 The entire inside, from floor to ceiling, was paneled with wood. He paneled the walls and ceilings with cedar, and he used planks of cypress for the floors. 16 He partitioned off an inner sanctuary—the Most Holy Place—at the far end of the Temple. It was 30 feet deep and was paneled with cedar from floor to ceiling. 17 The main room of the Temple, outside the Most Holy Place, was 60 feet long. 18 Cedar paneling completely covered the stone walls throughout the Temple, and the paneling was decorated with carvings of gourds and open flowers.
19 He prepared the inner sanctuary at the far end of the Temple, where the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant would be placed. 20 This inner sanctuary was 30 feet long, 30 feet wide, and 30 feet high. He overlaid the inside with solid gold. He also overlaid the altar made of cedar. 21 Then Solomon overlaid the rest of the Temple’s interior with solid gold, and he made gold chains to protect the entrance to the Most Holy Place. 22 So he finished overlaying the entire Temple with gold, including the altar that belonged to the Most Holy Place.
23 He made two cherubim of wild olive wood, each 15 feet tall, and placed them in the inner sanctuary. 24 The wingspan of each of the cherubim was 15 feet, each wing being 7 1⁄2 feet long. 25 The two cherubim were identical in shape and size; 26 each was 15 feet tall. 27 He placed them side by side in the inner sanctuary of the Temple. Their outspread wings reached from wall to wall, while their inner wings touched at the center of the room. 28 He overlaid the two cherubim with gold.
29 He decorated all the walls of the inner sanctuary and the main room with carvings of cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers. 30 He overlaid the floor in both rooms with gold.
31 For the entrance to the inner sanctuary, he made double doors of wild olive wood with five-sided doorposts. 32 These double doors were decorated with carvings of cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers. The doors, including the decorations of cherubim and palm trees, were overlaid with gold.
33 Then he made four-sided doorposts of wild olive wood for the entrance to the Temple. 34 There were two folding doors of cypress wood, and each door was hinged to fold back upon itself. 35 These doors were decorated with carvings of cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers—all overlaid evenly with gold.
36 The walls of the inner courtyard were built so that there was one layer of cedar beams between every three layers of finished stone.
37 The foundation of the Lord’s Temple was laid in midspring, in the month of Ziv, during the fourth year of Solomon’s reign. 38 The entire building was completed in every detail by midautumn, in the month of Bul, during the eleventh year of his reign. So it took seven years to build the Temple.1 Kings 6 NLT
The Tabernacle and the Temple are Just Copies
Though the tabernacle was mobile and temporary, the temple — both of them ended up being temporary, too! Even the 3rd one, that will be built after the Rapture and during the Great Tribulation is temporary, also. The permanent one is in Heaven.
Check out this comparison in Hebrews…
18 That is why even the first covenant was put into effect with the blood of an animal. 19 For after Moses had read each of God’s commandments to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, along with water, and sprinkled both the book of God’s law and all the people, using hyssop branches and scarlet wool. 20 Then he said, “This blood confirms the covenant God has made with you.” 21 And in the same way, he sprinkled blood on the Tabernacle and on everything used for worship. 22 In fact, according to the law of Moses, nearly everything was purified with blood. For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.
23 That is why the Tabernacle and everything in it, which were copies of things in heaven, had to be purified by the blood of animals. But the real things in heaven had to be purified with far better sacrifices than the blood of animals.
24 For Christ did not enter into a holy place made with human hands, which was only a copy of the true one in heaven. He entered into heaven itself to appear now before God on our behalf. 25 And he did not enter heaven to offer himself again and again, like the high priest here on earth who enters the Most Holy Place year after year with the blood of an animal. 26 If that had been necessary, Christ would have had to die again and again, ever since the world began. But now, once for all time, he has appeared at the end of the age to remove sin by his own death as a sacrifice.
27 And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment, 28 so also Christ was offered once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him.Hebrews 9:18-28 NLT
Jesus’ Came, Died, Ascended and Will Be Back
We can compare the tabernacle and the temple to Jesus’ first and second appearances.
“There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him.”Isaiah 53:2 NLT
Now, this is not to be confused with the Rapture. Right now, WE BORN-AGAIN BELIEVERS are the temple of God here on earth, housing the Holy Spirit in our hearts. We are here until God, the Father, decides it’s time for Jesus to come and get us. He won’t come all the way down to earth. We will be caught up to meet Him in the clouds.
We can worship God anywhere we are because we are God’s temporary temple. Because of the death of Jesus, the special sacrificial lamb, we have the Holy of Holies in our hearts. It’s an extraordinary privilege to be the temple of God while we wait for Him to come and get us.
How do YOU Worship God?
Do you offer your best to God in worship? Do you make it a top priority? Or does it just feel like an obligation? Do you just go to church when it’s convenient? Do you give Him left-overs and scraps of your gifts and money?