Thursday, May 10, 2012

intricately exquisite worship

He made chains like a necklace and put them on the tops of the pillars, and he made a hundred pomegranates and put them on the chains.
2 Chronicles 3:16

In this chapter a detailed description of the temple is explained. It deals mostly with how the interior rooms appeared and it goes to great lengths to explain the craftsmanship that went into the interior layout and finish of the temple.

People have taken the biblical descriptions of Solomon's temple (one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, by the way) and created computer generated walkthroughs of the finished product. The text is almost as detailed as a photograph. We can see it that well. It is pretty amazing that we can do so.

The pomegranates on the chains on the pillars were part of what greeted all visitors to the temple. And the commandment against "graven images" was generally understood to mean that plant life could be represented. That is where the pomegranates and the palm trees factor in to the decorations. Also, since God explicitly commanded that the ark of the covenant be covered with carved representations of cherubim, Solomon used that as a visual clue to set off the holiest places of the temple. Enormous standing cherubim were carved across the room by the doorway to the most Holy Place. And angelic representations were woven into the curtains hung in that doorway.

Many archeologists believe that an ivory pomegranate that came on the antiquities scene a number of years ago MIGHT have come from this temple. It appears to date from the correct period of time. Such a piece would fit with this description and ivory would have been reserved for a royal project. If so, it is all we have of Solomon's temple today.

The intricate and exquisite detail in this description shows how seriously the worship of the LORD was taken as the first temple was built, and it motivates me to consider what sacrifices I need to make to show God's name and fame as beautiful in my own life.

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