‘And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel had come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD. Now the house which King Solomon built for the LORD, its length was sixty cubits and its width twenty, and its height thirty cubits (1 Kings 6:1, 2).’
On Sunday morning the preacher stood behind the lectern and greeted worshippers with these words, “Good morning. It is good to gather together in the house of the LORD.”
The chapel where the meeting was being held was about the same size as the original Solomonic *temple built on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem. Apart from the chapel being about the same **size, the contrast between the two buildings was vast, as was the contrast between their uses.
The house of the LORD in Jerusalem was overlaid with gold. In it there were two rooms: the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place. Ornate wooden doors overlaid with gold separated them, and within the Most Holy Place there was the ark of the covenant. Either side of the ark there stood fifteen foot high golden cherubim, each with outstretched wings.
In contrast to the rich extravagance of the temple, the chapel was a plain building composed of two meeting rooms that were linked together by an entrance lobby adjoining a kitchen.
Uses of the Respective Buildings
The main temple building was for the exclusive use of the priests and the high priest, whereas the chapel was for the use of the whole ***church and whoever may turn up at meetings. Strangers were always welcome (Exodus 23:9; Hebrews 13:2).
So to those present that Sunday morning it was patently obvious they were not gathered together in the Solomonic house of the LORD. However, they fully understood that they were gathered together in the Spirit (Ephesians 2:22), and they were in God’s presence (Matthew 18:20). They were spiritually in the Most Holy Place – the abode of the living God (Hebrews 10:19, 20).
King David and the Promise of an Everlasting Kingdom
Things were so different in the time of King David. As God’s representative he ruled over the Israelites. He loved the LORD, and he had it in his heart to build a house for ‘the ark of God (Exodus 25:10-22)’; for up until that time the ark had dwelt ‘inside tent curtains (2 Samuel 7:1, 2)’.
The word of the LORD came to Nathan the prophet, and he spoke the LORD’s word to David. The LORD said He had ‘moved about in a tent and in a tabernacle’ (v 6) since He brought the children of Israel out of Egypt. The LORD reminded David that He had made him king over His people (v 8), and He would appoint a place for them where they would dwell and move no more (v 10). He also said He would make David a house (v 11)!
God promised David ‘He’ would establish an everlasting kingdom (v 16 ) through his seed (v 12), i.e., his son Solomon. Ultimately from David’s seed there would come a King (Psalm 132:11) who would reign forever – namely the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:1-16; Luke 3:23-31).
Christ the King
This is the King whose body was the veil that was torn in two (Hebrews 10:20; cf. Matthew 27:51) to make a way into the Holy Place. This is the King who sets His people free from sin and from death (Romans 8:2). He clothes them with His own righteousness (cf. Psalm 132:9) and makes them to dwell In the house of the LORD (Psalm 23:6). Indeed, this King is the Seed of David (John 7:42; Romans 1:3) who reigns for evermore and sits at the right hand of His Father (Colossians 3:1).
The King’s Citizens Dwell in the House of the LORD
Back at the chapel when the meeting came to a close, the preacher praised the Lord and spoke these words of comfort to His citizens:
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our lives; and we will dwell in the in the house of the LORD. Forever (cf. Psalm 23:6).”
*The Temples of God
**Dimensions of Buildings
Excluding the external buildings attached to the temple, it was about 90 feet long and 45 feet wide.
***Who are the Church?