Solomon’s temple and the ecclesia today
The construction of the temple in Solomon’s day was, very probably, the most unusual building project of all time. Apart from the fact that Jews and Gentiles worked together in harmony, using materials which had been gathered together and financed by David, we know that the stones were shaped away from the temple site:
“And the house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither: so that there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building.” (1 Kings 6:7)
In the same way, we are being prepared now for that great time when we shall be with our Lord and Master, and the house will be made up. But how could such a building project have been completed? It would be illogical, not to say almost impossible, for a stone which had been shaped at the quarry to be transported all the way to Jerusalem, only to find that it was still an inch too long or wide. The temple took seven years to complete (1 Kings 7:38). If all stones were shaped in this way it would have taken far, far longer! So how was this project completed on time?
Firstly, there was almost certainly a ‘pattern’ to which other stones had to comply. They had to be the same shape and size. They had to be the right colour. Jesus Christ is our pattern today. He is the one whose example we seek to follow. And, though we are not meant to be ‘clones’ agreeing with each other on every minuscule aspect of life in the Truth – in terms of doctrine and its practical outworking in our lives, we do have to follow the example of our Lord. We must conform.
Secondly, it would surely have been essential for the temple to be assembled at the quarry. Once the builders were certain that every part was right, it would then be dismantled, with each part marked up in some way, and the stones would be transported to the temple site. There the building would have been re-erected. Even today this pattern is followed in some building projects.
The figures for ecclesial life are surely unmistakeable. As members of the ecclesia today, we are the temple in waiting. We are built on the firm foundation that has been laid down in God’s word. Jesus is our chief corner stone. We grow in faith, looking unto him. We are united together with others, and we all have our parts to play. The ecclesia today, comprising many living stones, waits for that great time when the Master will come and the temple will be completed, when we shall be with him, and like him, by grace.
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