1 Kings 7:13-51 (Part 1) – More Than Just A Piece of Furniture, More Than Just Columns on a Building

Posted: November 16, 2018 in 11-1 Kings
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1 Kings 7:13-51 (Part 1 of 7)
Furnishings for the Temple

Today, we begin looking at the furnishings of the Temple in a 7-part series. Why would you spend so much time on this one passage that only tells you details of the furnishing of the Temple? At first blush, I would have to agree with you. But, in comes the difference between just reading a passage and studying a passage. When you really study a passage, mull it over, do research from respected biblical analysis sources, so much more begins to emerge. Everything written in this passage is to get you to think about what the furnishings mean, what they symbolize. That got me to thinking about my own life with my wife, Elena. So, indulge me a bit as we go down memory lane over the next 7 blogs, including today, about the symbolism of certain things in my relationship with Elena.

When you have been together as a couple for any length of time, like Elena and me (between dating and marriage) have been together now for 11 years (dating for 3 years, married for 8), you begin to gather artifacts of your life together. Most everything in our house has a memory and/or a meaning attached to it. There are numerous examples to which I can point.

For example, our coffee table was purchased by me before our marriage when were dating and living in separate apartments in Rock Hill, SC. It is wrought iron with little individual granite squares that are removable that make up the top of the table. I bought it at a discount furniture store in Charlotte, NC (just across the border from Rock Hill). It is a unique piece of furniture with those individual, removable granite square that are about a half-inch thick that make up the table top. I have never seen before or since, a coffee table like that. The individual squares to us represents the fact that God has cobbled our lives together from our previous individual lives and put them together into a pattern that makes sense. The individual squares are unique each and by themselves have a beauty of their own, but it is only when placed together in the right order in the table top that it becomes this beautiful piece of furniture, that has this timelessness to it. It’s beauty is understated and will stand the test of time. Likewise, our relationship is one where we have confidence that yeah, sure we could make it on our own individually in the absence of the other, but it is only through God’s providence and guidance that He has cobbled us together into this beautiful pattern of a relationship that gives Him glory as we seek the Lord together.

A funny thing about that coffee table is that, because it was so unique (and because of the layout of my apartment, I did not need any end tables), there was just no way that I would every find anything remotely similar to it on that off chance some that I would need end tables. However, for about two years, Elena and I had a cross-country relationship. My job had transferred me out to division headquarters in Santa Clara, CA to clean up the accounting department there. I lived in the San Francisco Bay area on the left coast of the country and Elena was living on the right coast of the country in the Charlotte, NC area. Finally, when the position turned permanent out there in California, Elena decided to move to California to be with me. When got married soon after she came to California. While we were living clear across the country from our families and hometowns, we were trying to furnish our apartment. By the way we arranged the living area of our apartment, we needed and end table to fit between how we had arranged the couch and love seat which were at 90 degree angles from one another. We needed something in between the two to fill that space. We needed an end table. We said to ourselves that we will never find anything like that coffee table. It’s too unique and one of a kind almost. We were just hoping for something remotely similar. But, lo and behold, while we were on about our third discount furniture store, we found an end table that looked exactly like our coffee table. Although the inlaid granite squares had a slightly different coloration, the coloration was in the same family of color. We were amazed. Here we are, completely on the other side of the country from where we bought the coffee table that we find its almost sister match end table. What are the odds that there was a match and that we, out of all the furniture stores we could have gone to, find this furniture with this piece of furniture in it.

That end table tells the same cobbling together story as our coffee table does but it has an added dimension to it as well. It represents to us that God is directing all of our lives. Because the odds of Elena and me ever meeting each other was simply God ordained. I had lived in the Greenville, SC area for all of my teenage and adult life – from age 14 to age 42. It was only because of a job change and the fact that I was single again and single for an extended period of time that saw me grow into a more independent person in life that I moved to the Charlotte area. And, because my daughter was at Clemson University at the time pursuing her college degree, I had to live on the South Carolina side of the Charlotte area so that (1) I could continue paying in-state tuition rates and (2) allow her to maintain the LIFE scholarship offered only to South Carolina resident students. Then, almost a year later, I meet Elena who moved to Rock Hill from Clover, SC after her marriage ended so that she could be closer to her job and be away from the small town culture of Clover. And then she moves into the same apartment complex as me and even wilder is that she moved into the same apartment building as me in this huge apartment complex called Pace’s River there in Rock Hill just off Interstate 77. What are the odds? We met. Became friends. Fell in love. And the rest is history. When we look back at that, we say that it has to be God. He guided us through what might seem like coincidental factors to others to meet one another. Because He had plans for us together as a couple. How we have grown as a couple as Christ followers, both individually and together, since we met! It has to be a God thing that we met. When we look at that end table, where the odds of us finding it clear across the country remind us of God’s guiding hand in us meeting one another – the odds against that are astronomical when you look at our lives individually beforehand.

There is meaning in everything that God does. There is meaning in everything that He says. There is meaning in everything that He orchestrates. There is no random coincidences in God’s economy. Sometimes, we need reminders of that on this side of heaven. For Elena and me, there are reminders of God’s hand in our lives in the little artifacts of our life together of what we mean to each other and what God has done in our lives. These are not idols but rather visual reminders that symbolically represent what God has done for us. That was the thing that I thought of this morning as I started analyzing the furnishings of the Temple. There is meaning and symbolism in everything that is described here. Let’s start today by looking at what the pillars mean and symbolize:

13 King Solomon then asked for a man named Huram[a] to come from Tyre. 14 He was half Israelite, since his mother was a widow from the tribe of Naphtali, and his father had been a craftsman in bronze from Tyre. Huram was extremely skillful and talented in any work in bronze, and he came to do all the metal work for King Solomon.

15 Huram cast two bronze pillars, each 27 feet tall and 18 feet in circumference.[b] 16 For the tops of the pillars he cast bronze capitals, each 7 1⁄2 feet[c] tall. 17 Each capital was decorated with seven sets of latticework and interwoven chains. 18 He also encircled the latticework with two rows of pomegranates to decorate the capitals over the pillars. 19 The capitals on the columns inside the entry room were shaped like water lilies, and they were six feet[d] tall. 20 The capitals on the two pillars had 200 pomegranates in two rows around them, beside the rounded surface next to the latticework. 21 Huram set the pillars at the entrance of the Temple, one toward the south and one toward the north. He named the one on the south Jakin, and the one on the north Boaz.[e] 22 The capitals on the pillars were shaped like water lilies. And so the work on the pillars was finished.

23 Then Huram cast a great round basin, 15 feet across from rim to rim, called the Sea. It was 7 1⁄2 feet deep and about 45 feet in circumference.[f] 24 It was encircled just below its rim by two rows of decorative gourds. There were about six gourds per foot[g] all the way around, and they were cast as part of the basin.

25 The Sea was placed on a base of twelve bronze oxen,[h] all facing outward. Three faced north, three faced west, three faced south, and three faced east, and the Sea rested on them. 26 The walls of the Sea were about three inches[i] thick, and its rim flared out like a cup and resembled a water lily blossom. It could hold about 11,000 gallons[j] of water.

27 Huram also made ten bronze water carts, each 6 feet long, 6 feet wide, and 4 1⁄2 feet tall.[k] 28 They were constructed with side panels braced with crossbars. 29 Both the panels and the crossbars were decorated with carved lions, oxen, and cherubim. Above and below the lions and oxen were wreath decorations. 30 Each of these carts had four bronze wheels and bronze axles. There were supporting posts for the bronze basins at the corners of the carts; these supports were decorated on each side with carvings of wreaths. 31 The top of each cart had a rounded frame for the basin. It projected 1 1⁄2 feet[l] above the cart’s top like a round pedestal, and its opening was 2 1⁄4 feet[m] across; it was decorated on the outside with carvings of wreaths. The panels of the carts were square, not round. 32 Under the panels were four wheels that were connected to axles that had been cast as one unit with the cart. The wheels were 2 1⁄4 feet in diameter 33 and were similar to chariot wheels. The axles, spokes, rims, and hubs were all cast from molten bronze.

34 There were handles at each of the four corners of the carts, and these, too, were cast as one unit with the cart. 35 Around the top of each cart was a rim nine inches wide.[n] The corner supports and side panels were cast as one unit with the cart. 36 Carvings of cherubim, lions, and palm trees decorated the panels and corner supports wherever there was room, and there were wreaths all around. 37 All ten water carts were the same size and were made alike, for each was cast from the same mold.

38 Huram also made ten smaller bronze basins, one for each cart. Each basin was six feet across and could hold 220 gallons[o] of water. 39 He set five water carts on the south side of the Temple and five on the north side. The great bronze basin called the Sea was placed near the southeast corner of the Temple. 40 He also made the necessary washbasins, shovels, and bowls.

So at last Huram completed everything King Solomon had assigned him to make for the Temple of the Lord:

the two pillars;
the two bowl-shaped capitals on top of the pillars;
the two networks of interwoven chains that decorated the capitals;
the 400 pomegranates that hung from the chains on the capitals (two rows of pomegranates for each of the chain networks that decorated the capitals on top of the pillars);
the ten water carts holding the ten basins;
the Sea and the twelve oxen under it;
the ash buckets, the shovels, and the bowls.

Huram made all these things of burnished bronze for the Temple of the Lord, just as King Solomon had directed. 46 The king had them cast in clay molds in the Jordan Valley between Succoth and Zarethan. 47 Solomon did not weigh all these things because there were so many; the weight of the bronze could not be measured.

48 Solomon also made all the furnishings of the Temple of the Lord:

the gold altar;
the gold table for the Bread of the Presence;
the lampstands of solid gold, five on the south and five on the north, in front of the Most Holy Place;
the flower decorations, lamps, and tongs—all of gold;
the small bowls, lamp snuffers, bowls, ladles, and incense burners—all of solid gold;
the doors for the entrances to the Most Holy Place and the main room of the Temple, with their fronts overlaid with gold.

51 So King Solomon finished all his work on the Temple of the Lord. Then he brought all the gifts his father, David, had dedicated—the silver, the gold, and the various articles—and he stored them in the treasuries of the Lord’s Temple.

In this passage, we see the details of the furnishings of the Temple. This is God’s house so everything in it has a symbolic meaning. For today, as we visually approach the Temple, let us look at the pillars at the entry way to the temple.

Verses 15-22 give us the detail about the two bronze pillars. They are about 8.1 metres tall, 5.4m in circumference, and hollow being about 3 inches thick. They both had large and ornate capitals topping the pillars. These pillars would have resembled trees and reminded of Eden. They were covered in pomegranates and lily work. Pomegranates are a picture of bounty and fruitfulness with the interior full of seeds. Lilies in the Scripture are associated with love. They were most likely symbolic and decorative as opposed to load bearing, since they were hollow. We see that they were named. Since the temple faced East the southern pillar was called Jachin and the northern, Boaz.

Jachin and Boaz stood at the entrance to the temple’s vestibule or portico. Their dimensions indicate the extent of the work involved in creating them. Including the decorative tops of the pillars, Jachin and Boaz stood approximately forty-five feet tall, with a circumference of eighteen feet (1 Kings 7:15–20). The brass used to make the twin pillars had been taken by King David from the king of Zobah as part of the spoils of war (1 Chronicles 18:8–9).

The pillar on the south of the entrance which was called Jachin, and one on the north named Boaz. Both 2 Chronicles and 1 Kings say that “he” set up the pillars and “he” named them Jachin and Boaz. Commentators are divided as to whether “he” refers to Hiram or Solomon. Whoever named them, their names are significant. Jachin (pronounced yaw-keen) means “he will establish,” and Boaz signifies “in him is strength.” Taken together, the names were a reminder that God would establish the Temple and the worship of His name in strength.

That Jachin is mentioned in the Bible as a descendant of Aaron means that this name is associated with the priestly class of Israel. The priests were establish to mediate between the Israelite people and the Most Holy God. It is a reminder to us as Christians that Jesus is our high priest and He mediates our cleanliness before God on our behalf. Because of our sins, we can not exist on our own the presence of God. We need to have Jesus the mediator, the priest, the clean one, to impute His holiness unto us. Thus, we are established as clean and holy before a pure and holy God. It is through Jesus that we can stand before God in right standing. Thus, the Jachin column to us as Christians represents the way that Jesus makes us holy enough to enter into God’s presence.

That the name Boaz is used represents to us the mercy of God such that He redeems us through Jesus Christ. Just as Boaz redeemed Ruth and made her part of the family of God through his sacrificial act, so too does Jesus act in that way toward us. Jesus redeems us through his sacrifice for our sins on the cross. It is through this sacrificial act that we are adopted into the family of God. We are made rightful heirs to His Kingdom through Jesus. Just as Ruth was made a rightful heir in the family of Israel by Boaz. Boaz teaches us that we have strength in our adoption. We can act with full confidence as citizens of the Kingdom through Jesus. It does not matter what our past includes, we are redeemed and made worthy citizens of the Kingdom through Jesus Christ will all the rights and privileges that we are given even though in and of ourselves we do not deserve them. The Boaz pillar then represents the fact that we must humbly remember what God has done for us through the sacrifice of Jesus as we enter into God’s presence. The Boaz pillar also represents that we can rightfully enter into God’s presence because we are married to Jesus Christ through His sacrifice for us on our behalf. We can stand up as a part of the people of God – past wiped away and present and future made secure that we are a part of God’s people through Jesus Christ.

That then shows us that these are not just mere words on a page describing furnishing but rather and opportunity to see God’s design for us in the details of the Temple. Just as the coffee table and end table in Elena’s and my home represent more than just mere furniture. There is meaning pointing us to what God has done in us, through us, and for us since we have been together. These visual reminders, again, I remind you are not idols to be worshiped in and of themselves. We do not pray to or venerate this furniture in our home, but just seeing them and reflecting on the story that goes with them, it reminds us of what God has done. That it points to God and not themselves makes them visual cues and not idols. Here in this passage, we see the amazing symbolism of the pillars. We see them as teaching tools as to what God has done for us through Jesus Christ. That warms the heart and humbles the heart to remember just what God did for us so that we can come into His presence unafraid and assured.

Amen and Amen.

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