1 Kings 6 (New International Version)
Solomon Builds the Temple
1 In the four hundred and eightieth year after the Israelites came out of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel,
Israelite time line, in round figures: 40 years wandering in the wilderness, 400 years under the judges, 40 years of ruling for each of the kings of the United Kingdom (Saul, David, and Solomon). Dates are general: I think of Abraham at about 2000 BCE, Moses/the Exodus at about 1500 BCE, and David at 1000 BCE.
in the month of Ziv, the second month, he began to build the temple of the LORD.
1 Chronicles 28:11-12 (NLT)
Then David gave Solomon the plans for the Temple and its surroundings, including the entry room, the storerooms, the upstairs rooms, the inner rooms, and the inner sanctuary—which was the place of atonement. David also gave Solomon all the plans he had in mind for the courtyards of the Lord’s Temple, the outside rooms, the treasuries, and the rooms for the gifts dedicated to the Lord.
2 The temple that King Solomon built for the LORD was sixty cubits long, twenty wide and thirty high (a cubit is considered to be about 18- 20 inches, so the temple was about 90 feet long, 30 feet wide, and 45 feet high).
Not that large! 90 x 30 = 2,700 square feet with tall ceilings! For purposes of comparison: Many of my readers may have been in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome (above). That “temple” is 694 feet long, 451 feet wide (at transepts), and 151 feet high. Or perhaps you have visited Jerusalem: The Second Temple, as expanded by Herod, was more than twice the size of Solomon’s Temple.
3 The portico at the front of the main hall of the temple extended the width of the temple, that is twenty cubits (that is, about 30 feet), and projected ten cubits (that is about 15 feet) from the front of the temple. 4 He made narrow windows high up in the temple walls. 5 Against the walls of the main hall and inner sanctuary he built a structure around the building, in which there were side rooms. 6 The lowest floor was five cubits (that is, seven and a half feet) wide, the middle floor six cubits (that is, nine feet) and the third floor seven (that is, 11 feet). He made offset ledges around the outside of the temple so that nothing would be inserted into the temple walls.
The Temple is very similar in layout and design to the Tabernacle, but twice as large.
7 In building the temple, only blocks dressed at the quarry were used, and no hammer, chisel or any other iron tool was heard at the temple site while it was being built.
A quiet building site!
8 The entrance to the lowest floor was on the south side of the temple; a stairway led up to the middle level and from there to the third. 9 So he built the temple and completed it, roofing it with beams and cedar planks. 10 And he built the side rooms all along the temple. The height of each was five cubits, and they were attached to the temple by beams of cedar.
11 The word of the LORD came to Solomon: 12 “As for this temple you are building, if you follow my decrees, observe my laws and keep all my commands and obey them, I will fulfill through you the promise I gave to David your father. 13 And I will live among the Israelites and will not abandon my people Israel.”
14 So Solomon built the temple and completed it. 15 He lined its interior walls with cedar boards, paneling them from the floor of the temple to the ceiling, and covered the floor of the temple with planks of juniper. 16 He partitioned off twenty cubits at the rear of the temple with cedar boards from floor to ceiling to form within the temple an inner sanctuary, the Most Holy Place. 17 The main hall in front of this room was forty cubits (that is, about 60 feet) long. 18 The inside of the temple was cedar, carved with gourds and open flowers. Everything was cedar; no stone was to be seen.
19 He prepared the inner sanctuary within the temple to set the ark of the covenant of the LORD there. 20 The inner sanctuary was twenty cubits long, twenty wide and twenty high. He overlaid the inside with pure gold, and he also overlaid the altar of cedar. 21 Solomon covered the inside of the temple with pure gold, and he extended gold chains across the front of the inner sanctuary, which was overlaid with gold. 22 So he overlaid the whole interior with gold. He also overlaid with gold the altar that belonged to the inner sanctuary.
Gold everywhere! It covered the walls, the floor, the carvings . . .
23 For the inner sanctuary he made a pair of cherubim out of olive wood, each ten cubits high. 24 One wing of the first cherub was five cubits long, and the other wing five cubits—ten cubits from wing tip to wing tip. 25 The second cherub also measured ten cubits, for the two cherubim were identical in size and shape. 26 The height of each cherub was ten cubits. 27 He placed the cherubim inside the innermost room of the temple, with their wings spread out. The wing of one cherub touched one wall, while the wing of the other touched the other wall, and their wings touched each other in the middle of the room. 28 He overlaid the cherubim with gold.
These cherubim in the Most Holy Place were about 15 feet high with wings that stretched 15 feet from tip to tip! They were magnificent, other-worldly creatures, representing the greatness of God! Hardly the innocuous, pudgy little “cherubs” so commonly seen today.
29 On the walls all around the temple, in both the inner and outer rooms, he carved cherubim, palm trees and open flowers. 30 He also covered the floors of both the inner and outer rooms of the temple with gold.
One idea for the interior of the temple, looking towards the Most Holy Place behind the curtain.
Here is another model, showing the profusion of gold and also the interior of the Holy of Holies.
31 For the entrance to the inner sanctuary he made doors out of olive wood that were one fifth of the width of the sanctuary. 32 And on the two olive-wood doors he carved cherubim, palm trees and open flowers, and overlaid the cherubim and palm trees with hammered gold. 33 In the same way, for the entrance to the main hall he made doorframes out of olive wood that were one fourth of the width of the hall. 34 He also made two doors out of juniper wood, each having two leaves that turned in sockets. 35 He carved cherubim, palm trees and open flowers on them and overlaid them with gold hammered evenly over the carvings.
36 And he built the inner courtyard of three courses of dressed stone and one course of trimmed cedar beams.
37 The foundation of the temple of the LORD was laid in the fourth year, in the month of Ziv. 38 In the eleventh year in the month of Bul, the eighth month, the temple was finished in all its details according to its specifications. He had spent seven years building it.
The temple that Solomon built and the Church are two very different things. The temple was a physical structure, but the Church is the Body of Christ, many believers united in our Head, Jesus. The presentation HERE of “The Church’s One Foundation” does a lot to show what we mean when we say that WE are the Church. Brian Moss sings.