The Expository Files


God's Holy Temple of Living Stones

1 Kings 8:55-61


It was the third king of Israel, Solomon, son of David, that God appointed to build the temple in ancient Jerusalem. The project took seven years to complete. Nine centuries later, Paul would observe that the Creator of the Universe did not dwell in human made temples (Acts 17:24,25). But it ought to be recognized that Solomon also understood that God would not literally dwell in His temple as its resident. He observed, "Now therefore, O God of Israel, let Your word, I pray, be confirmed which You have spoken to Your servant, my father David. But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain You, how much less this house which I have built! Yet have regard to the prayer of Your servant and to his supplication, O LORD my God, to listen to the cry and to the prayer which Your servant prays before You today; that Your eyes may be open toward this house night and day, toward the place of which You have said, ‘My name shall be there,' to listen to the prayer which Your servant shall pray toward this place.’” (1 Kings 8:26-30).

The temple was “God’s house” in the sense that it would be the center of worship offered unto Jehovah. It would be there that God would meet His people and that, as long as they were faithful, they would have access unto Him.

Building Solomon's Temple
Later the prophet Habakkuk would speak of silent reverence in recognition that the Lord's presence is in His temple. "But the LORD is in His holy temple. Let all the earth be silent before Him." (Habakkuk 2:20).

Imagine a large construction project such as the building of this temple. Now take away all the noise. To show the reverence, the building of the temple was accomplished in silence! Now there were thousands of workers including builders and transporters (1 Kings 5:17-18; 6:7). You may think that "prefab" buildings are a modern invention, but that is not quite so. The stones used to build the temple were quarried from beds of beautiful white limestone. They each were carefully cut and dimensioned while at the quarry and then transported to the temple site where thy would fit perfectly together. The wood was hewn and cut in the cedar forests of Lebanon and then transported to the temple site. The site was considered too sacred to allow the noise typical at construction sites. It may have been silent, but it spoke loud and clear about the respect our God deserves.

God had fulfilled all that He had promised and this was acknowledged by Solomon in the benediction of the opening ceremonies at the newly built temple. God is trustworthy! In fact, as we read this portion of Solomon’s benediction, we are caused to reflect on how meaningful it is for us today. Consider 1 Kings 8:55-61 ...
1. Not one promise of God has failed (vs. 56).
2. May our hearts be inclined to obeying the Lord's will in our lives today vs. 58).
3. May our prayers rise to be near to the Lord, and may He maintain His cause each day as required (vs. 59).
4. May all the earth know there is one God and no other. (vs. 60).
5. May His people today be wholly devoted in heart and deed to the Lord (vs. 61).

These acknowledgements are just as profound and meaningful today as they were when Solomon first spoke them 900 years BC.

God's Temple in the Gospel Age
The temple Solomon built is gone. God eventually withdrew His presence from it when the people became faithless, and it was torn down by the Babylonians. But did you know that God still has a temple upon the earth today? It is still in the process of being built. Its glory by far outshines the glory of the old temple! Though the stones and wood Solomon used were quite expensive, the purchase price of the stones of the new temple is far greater! How much does it cost? Well, you can't afford it! But do not worry because someone else has already paid the cost!

But first, consider the stones used for the new temple. We are the building stones! Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20-22). The purchase price? His blood (Ephesians 1:7; 2:13).

The Temple of the Old Testament was simply a forshadowing, or copy, of this spiritual reality we have in Christ - today's temple is the real thing; Solomon's temple was simply a prophetic illustration (John 4:20-24; Hebrews 9:1; 24).

A temple is a house, or dwelling place of God. God dwells in us, His church; therefore, we, as His church, become, in effect, His temple on the earth (1 Timothy 3:15; 1 John 3:24; 4:16). As we live by faith and grow spiritually, we are being built together as a habitation of God. Those who through selfishness, or greed, or divisiveness would destroy the peace and stability of God's living temple stand condemned before God (1 Corinthians 3:16-17).

Living Stones
The rock quarried by Solomon's workers was not useable until it was worked with and cut and shaped. We were dead in our sins. He has made us alive! (Ephesians 2:4-6).

Likewise, to become living stones in God's spiritual house takes the work of a skilled craftsman (1 Peter 2:4,5). It is by His calling that we are permitted to become living stones and all that this entails (1 Peter 2:9-10).

We now live in hope to the glory and praise of God (1 Peter 4:11; 1:20-23). In eternity, having overcome the world, we look forward to being alive and rejoicing forever (Revelation 3:12).

Solomon, the son of David built a house for God. That was a great and successful work undertaken, but something better was coming (Matthew 12:42). There would be another Son of David, Jesus, who would one day build God's spiritual house. One temple would ultimately be destroyed. The other will be forever. By the grace of God, we can be living stones in that house, granted the opportunity to offer up praise unto God which is acceptable to Him. If you have never done so, it is certainly time to leave the quarry of dead rock behind, and become a living stone in God's house.

By Jon W. Quinn
From Expository Files 19.6; June 2012