Recently, our Wednesday night studies led us to Solomon’s Prayer of Dedication for the Temple. As you recall, from the time of Moses until David, the worship of God was centered around a portable structure called The Tabernacle. Lest you think that inferior, God Himself ordered the production and the layout of the Tabernacle. Within it was the Ark of the Covenant, on top of which was the Mercy Seat, a place where God interacted with Israel.
However, David became dissatisfied with the fact that God had been worshiped “within curtains” and set out to build Him a house, the Temple. God, in 2 Samuel 7, tells David that this task was not to be done by him but rather by his son Solomon. David, satisfied with this, offers a prayer of thanksgiving to God.
During Solomon’s reign as king, he oversaw the production of the Temple. As the Temple was completed, Solomon gathered with the people at the Temple for a dedication of it as their place of worship. There, he reminded the people of God’s goodness and blessed them. In the course of events, he also offered a prayer known as his Prayer of Dedication of the Temple. As I read it, I could not help but notice striking similarities between the Temple and Christ our Saviour.
Destroy This Temple
Christ referred to His body as a temple. In John chapter 2, He told the Jews “Destroy this temple, and in three days will I raise it up.” Of course, the Jews misunderstood His teaching and interpreted it as the Temple in Jerusalem. No, He didn’t intend to rebuild the Temple in three days. He referred to His body. This was such an integral part of His doctrine that at His mock trial, one of the accusations hurled against Him was that he planned to destroy the Temple (Mth 26:61, Mk 14:58). But the point remains, Christ referred to His body as a Temple.
Hebrews 10 says the law was a shadow of good things to come. This means that in many parts of the law, in a sense, Christ was typified. Notice this as we read of the offering of firstlings of flocks, lambs without blemish, the Passover, etc. Christ also said that the Scriptures, in that day the Old Testament, testified of Him in John chapter 5.
Why then, should it be thought strange that Solomon’s prayer of Dedication should have Messianic overtones? It shouldn’t, in fact given the significance of such an event we should expect it!
Christ – Our Focal Point
From 1 Kings 8, notice with me all the similarities in the Temple and Christ. I encourage you to read the entire account.
V24 Who hast kept with thy servant David my father that thou promisedst…
- Both the building of the first Temple AND the coming of Christ were foreshadowed in God’s promise to David of a seed who would sit on David’s throne and build God a house.
V27 – But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?
- Compare this to Christ. God is too large and powerful for the Heaven of Heavens to contain, and yet he constrained Himself to a human body! In Christ dwelt ALL fullness of the Godhead bodily. Amazing, great is the mystery of Godliness.
V29 That thine eyes may be open toward this house night and day, even toward the place of which thou hast said, My name shall be there…
- God was with Christ both night and day. He was God’s beloved son, in whom He was well pleased. Also, Christ bore the name of God, for He is the Son of God. Christ and His Father are one (Jno 10).
V30 And hearken thou to the supplication of thy servant of thy people Israel, when they shall pray toward this place…and when thou hearest, forgive.
- First, Israel was to pray “toward this place.” Second, God would hear and forgive when Israel prayer towards their temple. Likewise, we confess our sins to God, through Christ, and receive forgiveness in a daily sense.
V33-34 When thy people Israel be smitten down before the enemy, because they have sinned against thee, and shall turn again to thee, and confess thy name, and pray, and make supplication unto thee in this house: Then hear thou in heaven, and forgive…
- We confess our sins in prayer, and our prayers are offered IN CHRIST.
In the remaining portion, several other parallels could be drawn but I believe the above will suffice. Hereafter, Solomon mentions healing from famine and plague, outsiders of Israel who come in seeking God, battles, and even repentance after captivity. In each example, our blessings in Christ are depicted by Israel’s interaction with the Temple.I hope you found this as interesting as I did!