TODAY’S READING: 1 KINGS 6-7
The Bible has lots of little, seemingly insignificant, details – particularly dates, times, and measurements. These details are extremely important.
For example, 1 Kings 6:37-38 says, “In the fourth year the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid, in the month of Ziv. And in the eleventh year, in the month of Bul, which is the eighth month, the house was finished in all its parts, and according to all its specifications. He was even years in building it.”
Why are we given these details about the temple that Solomon built?
The details are important not because the Bible is to be taken word for word as exact, perfect, literal truth. Rather, the details are important because they reveal a beautiful prophetic witness to Jesus that he perfectly fulfilled.
Taking the details literally makes them mere historical facts. But, by the inspiration of the Spirit, the details become a revelation of Jesus.
Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint.”
THE FOURTH YEAR
The number four symbolizes several things in the Bible. First, the number four reveals a universal, or collective, picture of something. Therefore, we have four gospels, which correlate to the faces of the four living creatures, that provide the universal revelation of Christ.
Also, the number four symbolizes the world. There are the four corners of the earth, the four seasons, the four directions, and the four winds.
The square is considered a perfect shape because it has four sides of equal length.
Jesus’ ministry lasted three-and-a-half years, which means he was crucified in the fourth year year of his ministry.
When Jesus entered Jerusalem for the passover when he would be crucified, the Pharisees said to one another, “Look, the world has gone after him.” (John 12:19)
The following verses tell us that there were some Greeks that came to worship at the passover. These Greek came to some of the disciples and asked to see Jesus. In John 12:23-24, Jesus responded to the disciples, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains along, but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”
When the world, represented by the Greeks, came to see Jesus, Jesus said the hour of his crucifixion had come. In John 3:16-17, Jesus said, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
The cross had four points or four corners. The altar of the tabernacle and the temple were pictures of the cross.
Exodus 27:1 says, “”You shall make the altar of acacia wood, five cubits long and five cubits broad. The altar shall be square.”
The altar was square, the perfect shape. Its measurements were five cubits by five cubits. Five is the number of grace. John 1:16 says, “From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” We received Christ’s fullness, grace upon grace, through the cross.
The square, with its four equal or perfect sides, is the perfect foundation. Speaking of the New Jerusalem, Revelation 21:16 says, “The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width.”
The foundation of the city that we are all searching for, the New Jerusalem, is a square. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3:11, “For no can lay a foundation other that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
Paul says in Ephesians 2:19-22, “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 into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” The apostles taught the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus (the gospel according to Paul in 1 Corinthians 15), which is the foundation of the dwelling place of God the Spirit is building with our bodies.
The foundation was laid in the fourth year. Christ’ death and crucifixion occurred in the fourth year of his ministry. He was crucified on a cross, on an altar, with four sides like a perfect square. The foundation was laid when Christ laid down his life. Jesus said in John 10:17-18, “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
There are so many wonderful details hidden in the foundation that was laid in the fourth year.
THE MONTH OF ZIV
Ziv is a Canaanite name for the second month of the year. It means sprouting of blossom month, most likely because of the abundance of blossoms on the olive trees.
In Hebrew, the second month is Iyar, which means radiance or light.
Of the 40 days Jesus spent teaching the disciples after the resurrection, the bulk of them would have been in the month of Ziv. It would have been in the second month, Ziv, that Jesus did most of his translating the law and the prophets for the disciples (see Luke 24), shining his light on the Old Testament scriptures to reveal its true witness about him.
Speaking of Jesus’ entrance into the world, John 1:9 says, “The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.”
In John 9:5, Jesus said, “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
But, it was in the month of Ziv, that Jesus ascended to be with the Father. He was no longer in the world. Therefore, he was no longer the light of the world.
In Matthew 5:14-15, Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under the basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.”
We are lights in that we act as lamps, light bearers, that shine with the light of Jesus. In my reading, this is actually reflected in the names of the second month – Iyar and Ziv. Iyar is thought of as the source of the light while Ziv pictures the brilliance or radiating of the light.
Therefore, Paul says in Ephesians 5:18, “Now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of the light.” The Greek word for in also can be translated by. Therefore, perhaps Paul is saying “Now you are light by the Lord.”
THE ELEVENTH YEAR
Solomon began construction of the temple in the fourth year and complete it in the eleventh year. Therefore, it took seven years to build the temple. Seven is the number of completion, perfection, or rest. That Solomon’s temple was built in seven years relates it back to creation, which God completed in seven days.
The number 11 often symbolizes in judgment in the Bible. The tabernacle had 11 curtains of goat’s hair that were a tent over it. Of course, the goat symbolizes judgment as well.
1 Peter 4:17 says, “For it is time for judgment to being at the household of God.”
When the spiritual temple that we are being built into is complete, then judgment, whatever that is, will begin.
THE MONTH OF BUL
Bul is the Canaanite name for the eighth month of the Hebrew year. It means produce or outgrowth. The eighth month was near the end of the harvest.
In Hebrew, the eighth month is Cheshvan or Marcheshvan. From what I can find, Cheshvan simply means eighth and Marcheshvan means bitter eighth. According to a number of sources, this is the only month in the Hebrew calendar that does not have a feast or festival.
Bul, or Cheshvan, is the month after the feasts of trumpets, atonement, and tabernacles. All of these feasts occur in the month Tishri. Tishri is the month of the Jewish new year, Rosh Hashanah. Originally, Tishri was the first month and Cheshvan was the second month. But, this all changed during the Exodus. Exodus 12:1-2 says, “The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, ‘This month shall be for you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year for you.'” Instead of Tishri being the first month, now Abib, or Nissan was the first month.
Why is this important?
Well, before the change in the calendar, Bul, or Cheshvan, was the second month of the year. Bul was the month the flood started! Genesis 7:11 says, “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst firth, and the windows of the heavens were opened.” And, according to Genesis 8:14, it was in the second month, one year later, that the earth finally dried out from the flood.
The flood was a judgment. But, in the eighth month of the eleventh year of Solomon’s reign, who is being judged?
In the Septuagint, 3 Kingdoms 6:5 (the corresponding verse to 1 Kings 6:38) says, “In the eleventh year in the month of Baal (this is the eighth month)…” So, is this month bitter and without a feast because it’s the month of Baal, a pagan deity? Could it be that Baal, Satan, or the man of lawlessness that is the one being judged when the temple is completed?
Paul says in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4, “Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together him, we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God?”
Could it be that the spiritual temple of our bodies is truly complete once this judgment happens?
In addition to produce or outgrowth, some believe that Bul means flood. That’s interesting since we saw that this was the month of the flood. But, when the flood was complete, in what is now the eighth month, eight people walked out of the ark to start creation again.
Eight is the number of new creation. It was on the eighth day from his selection as the lamb of God that Jesus was resurrected. So, it’s interesting that in the year of judgment and in the eighth month that was when the flood occurred we could see the judgment of the man of lawlessness, the son of destruction so that the spiritual temple of our bodies could be completed in the new creation.
FINISHED IN ITS WORDS AND JUDGMENTS
According to 1 Kings 6:38, “the house was finished in all its parts, and according to all its specifications.”
But, when we look at the Hebrew words here, the verse could just as easily say, “the house was completed according to his words, and according to his judgments.”
In Revelation 19 and 20, Satan, the beast, and the false prophet were judged, thrown into the lake of fire.
Then, in Revelation 21, the New Jerusalem came down out of heaven from God. In verse 3, a loud voice said, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man.” But, according to verse 22, John “saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.”
When the city had come down from God, Revelation 21:5-6 says, “And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ And he said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.'”
The dwelling place of God, the temple, was complete. Jesus’ judgments were done. His words were complete.
Knowing the details of Solomon’s temple by the Spirit and not the letter gives a deeper revelation of Jesus that stirs the heart.