Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 6 years ago

The Temple's Design (2 Chronicles 3:3-17)

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Rev. Christopher Chelpka

Let's turn our attention now, and if you can remain standing, please do to second chronicles chapter three. In second chronicles chapter three and in the following chapter, Chapter Four, we have this description of God's Temple, This temple that Solomon is going to build. He's accumulated all of this material, his father has in pasted it down to him, there are workers, everyone is ready, and now he builds it and we have this great description of it in these two chapters. What I'm going to do for the sake of clarity, is read verse three. We went. I'll read one through three and then I'm going to skip to chapter four and read eleven to the end. The rest of the material all read in the sermon itself. So you'll you'll understand why in a moment. So second chronicles three, verse one here to get US started. Let's hear God's word. Then Solomon began to build the House of Jehovah in Jerusalem, on Mount Moriah, where Jehovah had a peer at to David, his father, at the place that David had appointed on the threshing floor of or an end, the Jebu site. He began to build in the second month of the fourth year of his reign. These are Solomon's measurements for the building, for building the House of God. The length in cubits of the old standard was sixty cubits and the breadth twenty cubits. From this point on in the text it goes on to describe more in detail of the temple and then skipping to chapter four, verse eleven, we have a summary and a few other details on which I'll read now. For Chapter Eleven to the end of that chapter, Hiram also made the pots, the shovels and the basins. So Hiram finish the work that he did for King Solomon on the House of God, the two pillars, the bowls and the two capitals on the top of the pillars and the two lattice works to cover the two bowls of the capitals that were on the top of the pillars and the four hundred pomegranates from the too lattice works, two rows of pomegranates for each lattice work to cover the two bowls of the capitals that were on the pillars. He made the stands also, and the basins on the sands and the one sea and the twelve oxen underneath it, the pots, the shovels, the forks and all the equipment for these who, am Abbi, made the burnished bronze for, I'm sorry, made of burnished bronze for King Solomon, for the House of Jehovah in the plane of the Jordan. The king asked them, in the clay ground between souk off and Zerada. Solom and...

...all the Solomon made all these things in great quantities, for the weight of the bronze was not sought. So Solomon made all the vessels that were in the House of God, the Golden Altar, the tables for the bread of the presence, the lamb stands and their lamps of pure gold to burn before the Inter Sanctuary, as prescribed, the flowers, the lamps and the tongues of purest gold, the snuffers, basins, dishes for incense and fire pans of pure gold, and the sockets of the temple, for the inner doors to the most holy place and for the doors of the nave of the temple, where gold. Thus all the work that Solomon did for the House of Jehovah was finished, and Solomon brought in these things that David, his father, had dedicated and stored the silver and the gold and all the vessels and the treasuries of the House of God. You may be seated. I once had the opportunity, playing the cello, to play a wedding at one of a home that Frank Lloyd Wright designed. This is a beautiful home on top of Camelback Mountain and the Phoenix Mountain preserves. There's this long driveway going up the sort of circular structure you you were you walk in the front and once you've got inside, the thing that impressed me the most was was, first the view. You're looking out over Phoenix from on top of this mountain. Not exactly three hundred and sixty degrees, but pretty close. These huge windows looking out this is gorgeous. The other thing that impressed me is the details. Again, Frankloyd right, very famous architect, American architect, very famous style. What impressed me about the details is how consistent at all was. Every corner, every window, every pillar and even the furniture seemed to be a custom designed to match the architecture of the House. It all fit together in this really impressive way. People's homes and on the people that build them. Either way you look at it. They tend to communicate something and all kinds of different things. When you hear this, you might feel either proud or ashamed of your own home. You there are books, toys, some people have gardens, some people put up family pictures, others works of art. Some there are big spaces for meeting together, others nooks and crannies to hide in or do work. Their homes are a very personal thing and they tell us something about the people that designed them, about the people that live in them. Well, the House of the Lord with the Temple of God,...

...we have both these things together. He is the designer and the dweller he and in that he communicates very purposefully things about himself. It would be very easy to do a very long, long, months long survey of the temple, going through each particular element there and talking about its meaning, it's significance, the communicative power that each of these things has. But what I'd like to do this evening, and I admit this is a little bit of a challenge, but I'd like us all to put on our imagination hats, whether you're five years old or eighty five years old, and we're all going to see if we can picture this house. It's a little bit hard to picture, I think, when you just read straight through, and especially in one reading. It helps to read it multiple times and think through it all really carefully, and that's why I'm going to be breaking it up some and reading as we go along. And I want us all to really be able to picture this house, to have in our mind's eye what this place looked like, and we have a description of it to help us do that here in second chronicles three and and more fully in Sec in First Kings Chapter Seven. I'm going to stick primarily here to the description and second chronicles, but I do think I will probably slip in a few details here and there from kings. So let's start. The goal here is to be able to imagine this house so that we might understand what God is revealing to us, what he's showing to us, what he's communicating about himself. Well, the first thing you need to do is set in your mind's eye your cardinal directions, because we're going to be using these. So sort of face yourself north, okay, on your right is east, on your left is west and south is behind you. As you're facing north, you are going to turn, and you're going to turn so that now you're kind of heading west, and what you're going to do is you're going to come in through the eastern doors of this house. The House, like a lot of well designed houses, runs along and east west access. So that means the law longest walls of the temple are the northern wall and the southern wall. This all is has theological importance, but it's also good for just other design reasons. Anyway,...

...there you're standing the entrance to this house. Now, if you've ever been in realty or looking for a house, you've probably heard this phrase. It's going to sound really silly in this context, but curb appeal. Right, it's this phrase that indicates when you walk up to a house or when a somebody drives by, what is that first impression they have? And realtors will tell you if you're selling your house, you need a good first impression. Right. So a front door that's really nice, really fancy, that's a bonus, they'll tell you. That's a bonus for curb appeal. Well, here you are, standing at the House of God and you have a description of it in verse. For the vestibule, the kind of entrance which is in front of the nave. All describe that in a moment of the house. The vestibule was twenty cubits long, equal to the width of the House, and his height was a hundred and twenty cubits. He overlaid it on the inside with pure gold. So you're standing in this entrance way. There is about thirty feet going across this. I did a rough measurement before we started here. This chancel here is called is about twenty three feet. So, madge, about seven more feet than that. You're standing in the entrance of this thing and it's about that big, very tall, hundred fifty feet, something like that tall, thirty feet wide. And they're in front of you. Are Doors. All around you is gold, gold overlaid everywhere. You see gold. Gold on the top, gold on the sides, gold doors. You can't buy a gold door at home depot. You can get fiberglass, you can get wood, but you cannot buy a gold door. And this is what God has done. These wooden doors overlaid with golden. These doors don't just have six panels and maybe a few windows. They have designs all over them, some of which were described earlier, and so you're standing there at this amazing entry way. Until your right and left are two giant pillars, which will think about in a moment. But go ahead and walk through that door. And now you're standing in the nave. The Nave is like this room, a sort of long, narrow room. It was very tall to like this room, but instead of windows along the bottom like we have here, of the windows were up on top these kind of Celesterry, I believe I'm pronouncing that right, windows in which you know, light would would come in. You're standing in this nave and it's described here in verse five. The Nave he lined with Cypress and covered it with fine gold.

You remember earlier that that Cypress was imported through a contract with a king. He covered it with fine gold and made palms and chains on it. He adorned the House with settings of precious stones. The gold was gold of Para Em. So he lined the house with gold, it's beams, it's thresholds, its walls and its doors, and he carved chair a beam on the walls. These various terms you may not be familiar with. If you're if you're a little threshold beams, doors the thing you want or remember is just everything's covered with gold. Everything's covered with gold. Just everywhere you look is this rich, rich metal. Our homes are not covered with gold. Just to keep the contrast clear in your mind, we use dry wall mostly. Maybe you'll put some paneling up, wood paneling or fake wood paneling. Maybe you'll cover it with some kind of material or wall paper. Right, you'll, you'll cover it with paper, but does anyone of us have any place in our home that's overlaid with gold? Now imagine a room like this covered, the walls covered, and not just gold paneling but intricate designs. Chair a beam are angels, angels carved into the walls, pomegranates, palm trees. Essentially you're standing in something that is as close to heaven itself here on Earth. The fine metals, the precious jewels surrounded by angels everywhere that you look. These windows would let in a certain amount of light. I guess it would depend on what time of year how much light was let in. If it was summertime, you'd have a fair amount of light coming in, especially through the south. It would be lit up fairly brightly, but still, I think, perhaps a little bit dark. Always the lights coming up and up from up above, but down below where you're walking through this building. On your left you have five golden lamp stands. Those are described in verse seven of Chapter Four. He made ten golden lamp stands, as prescribed, and set them in the temple, five on the south side and five on the north. Next to these lamp stands were tables. Chapter Four, Verse Eight. He made ten tables and placed them in the temple, five on the south side, five on the north. It also describes a hundred basins of gold being made that would be used for the various tables and and things that were going on there. So you walk in and there are these tables in which the bread of presents would be set each day, the...

...lamps lining the walls, five on one side, five on the other, each with seven lights on it, seventy lights total, little candles lighting up the bottom of this great hall, this this Nave, is a beautiful place and as you moved further down and into the temple, you would come to a very beautiful thing, a curtain, a veil that came down. The holy place is described in versus eight through fourteen, or sorry, the most holy place. So let's go ahead and keep reading. This is now chapter three, verse eight. So you've moved through the nave and now you arrive at the most holy place. He made the most holy place. Its length, corresponding to the breadth of the House, was twenty cubits, which is to say it's the same size. The breath was twenty cubits. That makes this room a square. He covered it with six hundred talents of fine gold. The weight of gold for the nails was fifty shekels, and he overlaid the upper chambers with gold. In the most holy place in this room, he made two Cherubeam of wood and overlaid them with gold. Now these two Cherubeam angels are big. You walk into the room and you see them looking at you in the face. The wings of the Cherub beam together extended twenty cubits. One wing of the one of five cubits, touched the wall of the house and the other wing, of five cubits touched the wing of the other Cherub. And of this Cherub, one wing of five cubits touched the wall of the house and of the other wing, also five cubits, was joined to the wing of the first Cherub the wings. This is the summary here, explaining verse thirteen, the wings of this Cherubeam. Of these Cherubeam extended twenty cubits, the chairbeam stood, the on their feet facing the nave. So you imagine here these two giant statues covered in gold, these two angels looking out on you as you walk in. They're on their feet, they're poised, they're ready, they're protective and they're huge. This thirty foot long room has these two things, these two angels, one on one side with its wings spread out, one on the other side with its wings spread out, and together these wings, you know, one, two, three, four, encompass the whole thing. What we'll find out later is that the arc of the Covenant is placed right under there, this place that we've the ARC which we've described again and again in second chronicles, the footstool of God, the Great Throne. There he is, just like in the visions that we have of the prophets or God is surrounded on his throne by these terrifying creatures. That's what's pictured here in the most holy place. But you...

...don't just walk into this room. In fact no one walks into this room unless you happen to be a high priest, and even that just once a year. It was blocked by something, two things actually, a veil and a set of doors. The veil is described in verse fourteen, and he made the veil of blue and purple and Crimson Fabrics and fine linen and he worked, you guessed, at Chery beam on it. So you imagine yourself. You open the doors. Let's say you're the high priest. It's time to go. It's that one time of the year to go into the most holy place. You Walk in, you open these doors and as you're walking along, these golden lampstands flickering in the light and their lights shining off this darkened curtain. It would look a little bit perhaps like a night sky, and you would go through that curtain. You would go through another set of doors, which were also intricately detailed, until you arrived in this room that nobody goes in except you just once, and you better do it right, because they are standing in the face are these two giant angels and the presence of the Lord. That takes us through the temple. There in versus on three through fourteen. Then he describes also we thought about it a little bit in chapter four, but some of the other elements surrounding. So I want you to walk back out of the Temple, walk back through the Nave, back through the vestibule, and they'll look at the two pillars on either side of you. They're described in verse fifteen and seventeen, sixteen seventeen and the front. He made two pillars thirty five cubits high. These is over fifty feet, with a capital of five cubits on the top of each. He made chains like a necklace and put them on the tops of the pillars and he made a hundred promegrantants and put them on the chains. He set up the pillars in the front of the temple, one on the south and the other on the north. That on the south he called Jay Chen, which means he establishes, and on the north, the northern pillar, which would be on your left, he called it Bowas, which means in him his strength. So when you walk in and out of this temple, he establishes and in his strength are the on either side of you, these two pillars which remind you everything's reminding you of the Covenant God has made with you and your people. It's a strong symbol, a powerful symbol. Everything here speaks to the glory of the Heavenly God. But this place is not something that you just walk in and out of casually. In fact, very few people...

...walk in and out. The builders were probably some of the last people that saw it before the except for the priests who had access to it. But nevertheless, on the outside you would see as a sort of every day Israelite things which told you how it is that you, as a people, had access to the presence of God. As you walk out of that temple, as you walk past those two pillars and into the courtyard, on your left would be a giant altar, thirty feet by thirty feet up on a big raised platform. Imagine the biggest fire pits you've ever seen, huge and glorious made out of bronze, the smells of the animals being burned. there. A requirement for holiness always was sacrifice. There was no way of accessing this temple, no way of enjoying the presence of God, of knowing him, of dwelling him him, without this sacrifice. And there on your left is the altar. It's described in verse one of Chapter Four. He made an altar of bronze, twenty cubits long and twenty cubits wide and ten cubits high. On your right is something else. So on the north, on your left, is this great altar. On on your right is something I love to imagine, this great pool of water that's so big it's described as a sea. Verse Two. Then he made the see of cast metal. It was round, ten cubits from Brim to Brim, five cubits high, and a line of thirty cubits measured its circumference. Under it were figures of Gourds for ten cubits compassing the sea all around. The gourds were in two rows cast with it when it was cast. And then this whole sea, this giant basin, was placed on the back of these animals. It's described in verse four. It stood on twelve oxen, three facing north, three facing west, three facing south and three facing east. The Sea was on them and all their rear parts were inward. It's thickness was a handbreadth and it's brim was made like the brim of a cup, like the flower of a lily. So, though huge, on the back of these giant oxen, and it has this kind of delicate and beautiful aspect to it. It held three thousand baths and he also made ten basins in wish to walk in, which to wash and set, five on the south side and five on the north side. So what this means is, as you walk out and you turn right and you look at this giant basin, sort of going back with...

...it, heading back behind you are these various basins, and those, likewise, are elaborate. There are these squares that held this big amount of water, I think it was something like a hundred and twenty, two hundred and forty gallons, where you would wash your various parts of the sacrifice in, five on the north, five on the south. You can imagine various priests swirling around all the various implements being used described there at the end of second chronicles, for the sniffers and the bowls and the tongues. There's a lot of work involved here. And you know what all those are made of? You guessed it gold. This place is amazing, it's it's impressive. It's magnificent every point, every aspect, every way you look at it, whether you look at it from the big picture or you get down on your hands and knees, and look at the fine craftsmanship that Hiram did on a very particular or pomegranate. Everything would speak of the glory and beauty of God. All of it, however, requiring a great sacrifice, many sacrifices, thousands and thousands and thousands over the years, of sacrifices that people might dwell with God. Well, as amazing is this temple is, we've pointed out various times in second chronicles, the Bible tells us it's just a shadow, just a shadow, of the reality of the temple that God places in heaven. We read this last time I was with you, and revelation twenty one, these big gates made out of Pearls, fine jewels and embedded in creating the walls. Everywhere you look, gold, purest gold. Even the streets of this city of God, the new Jerusalem, were paved in gold. The temple here on Earth, another words, speaks of the heavenly dwelling place of God. It tells us what it is we have to anticipate. But there are important differences between these things. For one, the temple that's described in revelation twenty one isn't really described as a temple or it's not called that. It has all of the aspects of a temple. It sounds very much like what we have here in second chronicles, except it's called a city and Verse Twenty Two of Revelation Twenty one even says that there is no temple. John Notices this. He looks around, when he sees all these temple elements and yet no temple, it explains that the temple is God himself. In fact, he sees that God is not dwelling in this particular place around which the city lives and around which the people live. The whole thing kind of merges...

...together in John's vision, this vision that God gives him to him of the new Jerusalem. You could think of it as the temple kind of expanding out, becoming not just this place, this symbolic place where God dwells with his people, but everywhere present. It might help you to think of what happened when Jesus died. You remember there was something that happened in the Temple of God at the Crucifixion. Do you remember what it was? Had to do with the veil, right, it ripped into it, tore into this separation between the nave, that holy place and the most holy place separated. All of a sudden there was access in Jesus's death that wasn't there before. Revelation twenty one says that it's even bigger than that, that the whole temple becomes the dwelling place of God. And you know what else the New Testament says? It says we are that temple, that the spirit of God dwells in us, just as he dwelled in that temple. In this kind of mind boggling way, revelation twenty one says that not only is this the city, but this is the people, the bride of Christ. What this means is that when we consider Solomon's Temple, when we consider how amazing it was, how beautiful it was, what we're really getting a picture of is the new heavens in the new earth and our place in it. We're getting a picture of ourselves and God who dwells with us. This is what Jesus does when he comes as the new David, as David's great son, as the better Solomon, and everyone's expecting him to go into the temple and clear it out, which he does, but when he starts saying things like I'm going, this temple will be destroyed and in three days it will all raise it again, and one saying, what are you talking about? This thing is massive, it's huge, it's beautiful. How can you destroy it in three days when it's taken all these years to build? How will you raise it up again in three days? Of course, as the Bible says, he was talking about his body, he was talking about something greater. God came to dwell among us, and not in a physical building, but in his son and in him. We also dwell to understand some of the implications of that. I like you to turn in your hymnals to three hundred and forty five him, three hundred forty five, which will sing as we conclude here.

This is somewhat of a complicated him, a very wonderful hymn, but a complicated one, which I want to do a quick, if you'll forgive me more, exposition of, because I want you to see the connection between these two things and what it means when we sing these kinds of things. Versus one through three in this hymn, speak to the temple. Now that might sound kind of weird. Why would we talk to an object. Well, you do this. Let's say you get a new chair, new desk chair. Your old one's been hurt in your back and it's torn and it's ripped up. You're tired of it. You get a new chair, you go you buy a new one, you put in your desk, you sit down it and you go, I love you, chair. You know. Yeah, it's a way. You're not talking to the chair, but you're expressing, perhaps even to God himself, your thankfulness for the things that he's given you. It's in a similar way here that we when we sing this, we speak to the city of God, the city that's described in revelation twenty one. It's not directly to the city, but it's indirectly speaking to God. So what it? What is it? We say? Glorious things of thee are spoken. Zion, city of our God. He whose word cannot be broken, formed thee for his own abode. This is exactly what we've been talking about right. Abode, kids, is a place of dwelling, a home. God has formed this place, Zion, the new Jerusalem, for him to live in. Then it describes how it's founded on the rock of ages. It's a name for Jesus founded. What can shake thy sure repose? With Salvation's wall surroundest, Thou mayst smilest at all THY foes. It's saying that this city is established not on weak and shifting sand, but on a rock, on something strong. Who is this rock? His name is Jesus. He's called the cornerstone of the temple. He's the one on whom the city of God has founded, the one in whom we dwell and live. WHO CAN SHAKE THY sure repose? A repose kids is resting. You repose yourself on a couch, you put your head, or you repose on a on a cushion or a pillow. This city is at peace, it's resting. It's like waking up and lying down on a couch. It's comfortable. You're not worried about things, you're not fraid for your life, and that comes up in the last sentence. Here, with salvation's walls surrounded, thou may smilest at all, thy foes, you kind of look how you go. You guys aren't bothering me. I'm safe, I'm secure. I'm going to bed see verse, to see the streams of living water springing...

...from eternal love, when you think about the temple as we described it in second chronicles three, there's a lot of water involved there, with the size of that basin and all those baths. Again, the people of the city needed to be fed water. We live in a desert. We know what this is about water. It's important. Well, here it's described in this way. See the streams of living waters springing from eternal love. That's the source of our strength, that's the thing that keeps us alive, the thing that we need every day. Drink eight glasses of water and drink from the springs of God's love. Well, supply thy sons and daughters and all the fear of want. Remove. Who can faint while such a river ever flows? Their thirst a swage. A swage means quench. You're not thirsty anymore. Grace which, like the Lord the Giver, Never Fails From Age to age. There's no drafts in heaven, no waiting, no wondering, God's love always, ever, supplying our every need. Now remember we're not just talking about a temple anymore. We're talking about a city. So you have to imagine these various dwelling places. I can't say exactly what will be white. But Jesus says something, and John About going to I'm leaving you to prepare a place for you. Verse Three, round each habitation, hovering, see the clouder cloud and fire appear, that glory cloud which descends on the temple, the glory cloud which leads the people of Israel through the Wilderness here pictured in heaven. See The cloud and fire appear for a glory and a covering showing that the Lord is near, thus deriving from their banner light by night and Shade by day. Safe they feed upon the Manna which he gives them when they pray here. John Newton. Now the rider conjures up all this wilderness imagery that we have in the Old Testament, but he says we're not in the wilderness anymore. In the new heavens and the new earth and the new Jerusalem, were totally supplied everything we could ever want and need. And now, in verse four, instead of speaking indirectly to God, we speak directly to him. Savior, if of Zion City I, through grace, a member am let the world deride or pity, I will glory in Thy name. It's that smiling at all the foes. It's saying, you know what, world, knowing who I am and knowing the city, the place in which God has placed me, the one in whom I dwell,...

...you can laugh at me, you can mock me, you can deride me, or you can pity me and say, Oh, what a poor person he is living in the new Jerusalem. Whatever right, let the world deride our pity. I Will Glory in Thy name, because fading is the worldlings pleasure, all his boasted pomp and show, solid choice and lasting treasure. None but Zion's children know there is a Great Division that happens in Zion, a great division that happens with those who dwell with God. There are those who are safe and secure, those who participate and enjoy his glory, who are glorified by him and redound that glory back to him, and there are those who don't. They mock, they deride, they laugh, but there are on a fool's errand and in the day all the boasted pomp and show fades away, the houses that they built, with all their gardens and toys and books, it all goes away. But they are those who belong to Zion, and we do even now. If we belong to Jesus Christ. We don't need to worry, because we belong to him. We're founded on the rock of ages, we belong to the city of our God. So when we think of Solomon's Temple and we picture ourselves walking through it, pass the pillars, through the doors, into the nave, even to that most holy place, let your eyes lift up to something even greater, the heavenly dwelling place of God, where you, if you believe in the one on whom this place is founded, the one who gave his life as a sacrifice for your sin, where you will live forever and ever and ever, living off of God's love and His grace. Let's pray.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (648)