1 Kings 6:1, 37 – “In the four hundred and eightieth year after the people of Israel came 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, he began to build the house of the Lord…In the fourth year the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid, in the month of Ziv.”
In the Bible, God tends to repeat times and stories, showing us different perspectives of the life of Jesus. It was 480 years after Israel was led out of Egypt by God that Solomon began building the temple. After Israel entered the land, the nation sinned and was sent into exile in Babylon by God. God brought Israel out of its Babylonian exile, just like he brought them out of Egypt, 70 years later.
So, when did the return to the promised land take place? One resource says it happened between 500 and 425 BC. More specifically, another source says that there were three separate times that Israel returned from the exile in Babylon. The last return was in 444 BC (or very close to it). If we add to this the length of Jesus’ life, then we get about 480 years after the last Israelites returned from exile in Babylon (if I had a better knowledge of history I’m sure we could get the 480 years exactly). Just like Solomon, this is when Jesus began to build the temple that is his body, the church. In John 2:19, “Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’”
This puts us at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion. Jesus’ death on the cross was the defeat of Satan. Colossians 2:15, speaking of Christ’s death on the cross, says, “He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to an open shame, by triumphing over them in him.” This victory on the cross is important, because we read in 1 Kings 5 that the temple could not be built in a time war. In 1 Kings 5:3-5, Solomon says, “You know that David my father could not build a house for the name of the Lord his God because of the warfare with which his enemies surrounded him, until the Lord put them under the soles of his feet. But now the Lord my God has given me rest on every side. There is neither adversary nor misfortune. And so I intend to build a house for the name of the Lord my God, as the Lord said to David my father, ‘Your son, whom I will set on your throne in your place, shall build the house for my name.’” On the cross, Jesus defeated the adversary, bringing in peace and rest. Having died and been resurrected, God placed Jesus on the throne and he began building the temple made up of all believers.
It was in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign that he began building the temple. We could think of Jesus’ reign beginning at his baptism. Indeed, after his baptism, in Matthew 3:2, Jesus says, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” This was the start of Jesus’ ministry. According to the gospels, his ministry covered a period that included four Passovers. It was on the fourth Passover, or in the fourth year, that Jesus died, which was when he began building his temple. Just like we read of Solomon in 1 Kings 6.
1 Kings 6 further tells us that Solomon began building in the month of Ziv, which is the second month. The Passover, and therefore Jesus’ crucifixion, occurred in the first month. Pentecost took place 50 days after the Passover. The second month is important because that was the time of Pentecost. It was at Pentecost that the Holy Spirit fell upon the 120 disciples in the upper room. It was at Pentecost that the disciples received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 3:16 says, “Do you not know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” 1 Corinthians 6:19 says, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God?” Therefore, Jesus did indeed begin building the temple in the second month for that is when the disciples where filled with his Spirit.
This brings us to the end of 1 Kings 6 where we read that Solomon laid the foundation of the temple in the fourth year. We saw above that it was in the fourth year of his ministry, or reign, that Jesus died and began building the temple. There was a period of 40 days between his resurrection and his ascension that Jesus taught the disciples. Acts 1:1-3 says, “In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during the forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.” What is the foundation of the temple, or the church? All that Jesus taught the disciples during this 40 day period. Ephesians 2:19-22 says, “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure being joined together, grows in a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.”
The events recorded in the Old Testament scriptures are not there by chance. They are recorded for a specific purpose – to bear witness of Jesus.