A Place with a Past

The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), May 21

“And the temple which I build will be great, for our God is greater than all gods. But who is able to build Him a temple, since heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain Him?” (2 Chron. 2:5-6).

God commanded Abraham to take Isaac to Mount Moriah and sacrifice him there. It was on Mount Moriah that God provided a substitute (Gen. 22). It was on Mount Moriah that Abraham worshiped God in gratitude for His provision.

Hundreds of years later, David takes Satan’s bait and numbered Israel (military greatness is not measured by the number of your soldiers or followers, but by humble submission to the God of heaven and earth). David disregards Joab’s counsel and proceeds with his numbering. God is not pleased with David’s action and moves in judgement against Israel. In response to David’s repentance, God gives David three choices of consequences. The third option involves Mount Moriah, “Therefore, the angel of the LORD commanded Gad to say to David that David should go and erect an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite” (1 Chron. 21:18). There, at the altar on Ornan’s threshing floor, God meets with David, and God’s wrath against His people turns away.

It is on that same mount that Solomon builds Israel’s temple.

Israel’s temple is unlike the temples of all other religions. This temple contains no image of God. It is a place where He has placed His Name and His altar, where sacrifices are made. The temple is therefore a teaching place (the sacrificial system) that speaks of God’s holiness, sin’s seriousness, and sin’s substitute. Like Abraham and David’s experiences of old on the mountain, a Substitute will appear to lay down His life in the place of sinners.

Such is the vastness, greatness and eternality of God that no place on earth can contain Him. No image on earth can express His character. Solomon’s temple is therefore a temporary (about 400 years) residence for God’s name, until His substitute arrives to fulfill all of the Old Testament pictures of the holiness of God, the seriousness of sin, and the substitute for sin. Solomon’s temple is to be a place of worship as God’s people live in expectation of the arrival of the ultimate sacrifice for sin.

Neither Solomon’s temple nor its replacement, built during the Return Era, exists today. The pictures represented by the Temple have all been fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ. This is why, in response to the Samaritan woman’s statement regarding the place of worship in John 4, Jesus directs her attention away from a place to a Person, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father . . . . But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:21, 23-24).

Questions from today’s chronological Bible reading (1 Kings 3:16-28; 5:1-6:38; 2 Chronicles 2:1-3:14):
How does God exhibit the wisdom He has given to Solomon? What does the resolution between the two prostitutes reveal to Israel about their new king?
Solomon’s reign begins with a building program. How does the LORD reveal His blessing on this endeavor? What does this reveal about God?