Pillars are more than just an architectural design for superstructure support. They have transcended to symbolic prominence. Pillars add status to stature. Architectural design glorifies the grandeur of pillars so that the eye cannot ignore the attention their purpose demands. Figuratively, however, pillars imply the principles by which an idea is supported. So that, if a pillar crumbles, the very idea is in jeopardy, the underlining support for the given conviction is compromised (i.e pillars of faith, pillars of education, etc.)
You know that old adage, “Don’t miss the forest for the trees!” Well, there was a King who implied “Don’t miss the worship for the temple.” He named the Pillars (One may miss a building for the pillars, but you cannot miss the pillars for the building!).
[For a full description Read 1 Kings 7.]
King Solomon’s temple was a structural mastermind of opulence, an acclaimed architectural feat. The vernacular used to describe the temple inspires awe. The description recorded in 1 Kings 7 makes sure one grasps the spare no expense luster. Even though archelogy lacks ruins to preserve its remembrance, its supremacy is not lost in how it has bewildered minds in every age. Truly, this was an exquisite structure, an extraordinary marvel. Conservative estimates of the temple’s total wealth in today’s dollars, pushes it to an upper 100 billion dollar valuation (Side note from an economics nerd: remember that with the creation of paper money, gold values have been suppressed. This means that in King Solomon’s day gold would have had a much higher value of worth!)
Totally mind boggling, isn’t it! Maybe now we can better empathize with those in Ezra and Nehemiah’s day who wept when they saw the second Temple in Ezra 3:12. How could anything else compare? A national treasure, a wonder of the world that could never again be restored, let alone reconstructed was gone forever. Would we not mourn?
In King Solomon’s wisdom (1 Kings 3:12), he discerned how mastery in architectural design could elevate the mundane to wonderment, inspire a sense of grandeur, and charm even the most disenchanted soul. But, even though his legacy in this temple would not be ignored, he recognized the human heart’s tendency to make bigger deals of vanity than eternity (Ecclesiastes).
1 Kings 7:21 (NASB)
He set up the pillars at the portico of the sanctuary: he set up the right pillar and named it Jachin; then he set up the left pillar and named it Boaz.
Jachin means He will Establish.
Boaz means By His Strength
There is a solemn, yet comical way, King Solomon’s prayer of dedication over the temple jolts our thoughts to mediate on what this building must look like from the perspective of the Almighty on Heaven’s throne, the Creator of the Universe. Such an attempt seems more like a “lego-like” miniature.
I Kings 8:27 (NASB)
“But will God indeed dwell on earth? Behold, heaven and the highest of heaven cannot contain You, how much less this house that I have built?
King Solomon gives reference to the meditative conundrum of his father’s poetical metric, “What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” He concludes that this temple’s consecration is solely made in respect for the obedient attention God gives toward the petitions and cries of the prayers of God’s people. He shatters the pagan notion of temple ideals.
The surrounding pagan cultures had a nihilistic attitude toward life. For King Solomon such philosophy proved insufficient at explaining human worship. While many elements of worship consisted of human efforts to earn favor with the “gods,” Solomon directs everyone to be captivated with “God’s transcendent” nature. In contrast to the magnificent architectural feat within their view, King Solomon rightly understood the temple was merely a physical representation of The Architect’s eternal covenant. For this reason, King Solomon wisely proclaims God could not be reduced to materialistic matters. A spiritual, prophetic mystery remained. No one building could contain the promise that somehow, someway, yet to unfold, God would choose to dwell with His people.
1 Kings 8:30-
“Then You hear in heaven and act (asah) and judge…”
Asah (6213) means to do or to make with the persistence for refinement.
According to the meaning of the names for the pillars, King Solomon proclaimed that God is no passive hearer, He acts:
- Forgives and judges (v 30)
- Condemns and justifies (v 32)
- Provides (v 34-35)
- Teaches the good way, Guides, and secures Inheritance (v 36)
- Protects (v 45)
- Gives rest and fulfills promises (v 56)
The names of the two pillars are vivid reminders: He establishes by His strength. This distinction is meant to be impressed onto the heart of any onlooker or visitor (Deuteronomy 28:9-14). The Truth behind life’s purpose, Jachin (on the right) and Boaz (on the left), are with an eternal perspective firmly fixed, we are to serve the Lord God only. Whether it be the pillars of the earth, the pillars of human life, the pillars of faith, or the pillars of a nation, everything is supported by God alone.
1 Kings 8:23 (NASB)
“O Lord, the God of Israel,
there is no god like You
in heaven above or on earth beneath,
keeping covenant, and showing lovingkindness
to your servants who walk before You
with all their heart,”
The Architect of the eternal covenant answered King Solomon’s question asked in I Kings 8:27. The answer would be prophetically fulfilled in Jesus Christ, the Messiah, Emmanuel, God with us to dwell. And, the gift of the Holy Spirit from Jesus Christ (John 14:25-27) would bring the solution to Solomon’s petition,
1 Kings 8: 57-61
“May the Lord our God be with us as he was with our ancestors. May he not abandon us or leave us 58 so that he causes us to be devoted to him, to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commands, statutes, and ordinances, which he commanded our ancestors. 59 May my words with which I have made my petition before the Lord be near the Lord our God day and night. May he uphold his servant’s cause and the cause of his people Israel, as each day requires. 60 May all the peoples of the earth know that the Lord is God. There is no other! 61 Be wholeheartedly devoted to the Lord our God to walk in his statutes and to keep his commands, as it is today.”
While King Solomon built a physical temple, an ancient wonder of the world, Jesus built a spiritual temple to embody the eternal wonder of the created world within the human soul.
Be encouraged that with boldness we can come and worship, and experience the pillars that stand to our left and right at the door to our heart, our strength, and our mind (Matthew 22:37).
6 Come, let us worship and bow down;
let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
7 For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture,
the sheep under his care.
For the soul, I do not think there is a more magnificent support than claiming the pillars of Jachin and Boaz in this life! May everything we say and do reflect the prestige that God will establish and strengthen us! “What is impossible with man is possible with God” (Luke 18:27). While it is still called today, choose to trust in the truths of these pillars.
In the ordeals of life, whether good or bad, prosperous or painful, the means of walking by faith never ceases.
Why be courageous? Because we are not the determinant.
Find rest here. Find courage here. There is liberty from fear when the Lord is the strength of your life (Psalm 27:1).
Your life is so priceless that the Creator, the King of Kings, the Almighty God would pay the price, and would die Himself, to rescue your soul. So that, as a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, YOUR BODY, in this life, IS A TEMPLE and A PILLAR in eternity! (1 Corinthians 3:10-17, 6:18-20; Ephesians 2:19-22)
“The one who conquers I will make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he will never go out again. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God—the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God—and my new name.