THE PILLARS OF THE TEMPLE
In giving Solomon instructions for building the temple, God gave a somewhat unusual command concerning two pillars at the entrance. “And he set up the pillars at the porch of the temple: and he set up the right pillar, and called the name thereof Jachin; and he set up the left pillar, and called the name thereof Boaz” (I Kings 7:21).
There were no names given to any other of the numerous pillars that were a part of the temple. So what was the significance of these two that set them apart from all the other pillars? Why were they given names?
Although we have no explanation for this, we can glean something from the Hebrew meanings of their names. From the detailed instructions given for the temple, it does not appear that these pillars supported the roof. In other words, they were apparently freestanding at the entrance.
The Pulpit Commentary suggests that “the balance of evidence appears to favour the view that Jachin and Boaz were monuments erected in the porch, to dignify the sanctuary, and to symbolize the power and eternity of the Being to whom it was dedicated” (I Book of Kings, p, 181).
Jachin means “He shall establish” and Boaz means “In it is strength.” Would not the names of these pillars, which one had to pass in order to enter into the temple, serve as a visible reminder to all those who entered, that this magnificent edifice was ordained and built by their God, whose strong arm would shield and protect them?
Also noteworthy is David’s charge to Solomon. David wanted to build the temple, but God did not permit it. David did make preparation by gathering the material. Then before his death, David gave Solomon the plans. “Then David gave to his son Solomon the plan of the porch of the temple, its buildings, its storehouses, its upper rooms, its inner rooms and the room for the mercy seat; and the plan of all that he had in mind…” (I Chron. 28:11-12)
What do you think would have happened if Solomon had not built according to “the plan,” the blueprint? Certainly, God would not have been pleased.
Is there an application for us? Isn’t the church God’s temple today? Paul declared that we are God’s temple, not a physical building, but a spiritual building. “For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (I Cor. 3:9-11).
Then Paul continues to admonish: “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are” (vv. 16-17).
No one ever builds without a plan or blueprint. When Christ said he would build his church (Matt. 16:18), let us not foolishly suppose that he didn’t have a pattern or blueprint in mind for that spiritual building.
Some today have the idea that we are free to conduct ourselves with respect to the church in whatever ways seem good to us. They don’t like rules or restraints. They want freedom. The idea that we have to follow a “pattern” is not to their liking.
Is God less concerned about such than when he instructed Moses about building the tabernacle? “Moses was warned by God when he was about to erect the tabernacle; for, "See," He says, “that you make all things according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain” (Heb. 8:5).
Consider Hebrews 9:1: “Now even the first covenant had regulations of divine worship and the earthly sanctuary.” Now, consider the implications of that statement. I tell my 16-year-old daughter, “Look, even your 10-year-old sister knows how to make up her bed and keep her room clean.” The very strong implication is that the older daughter should know how to do it even better than her younger sister.
So, what is the author of Hebrews telling us? If “even the first covenant had regulations of divine worship…,” then the inescapable implication is that the second covenant also has rules of divine worship. Some don’t like “necessary implications,” but that verse has one, even if they don’t like it.
Brethren, let us take heed how we build. “But each man must be careful how he builds on it” (I Cor. 3:10). As those pillars symbolized the power and eternity of the Being to whom the temple was dedicated, let us respect those principles with regard to the church which was built by Christ. We have no right to change the blueprints. Let the temple’s pillars remind us of the divine builder of the spiritual temple.