2 Chronicles
Introduction 1 The Work Finished 2-10 The Ark Brought up Into the Temple 11-14 The Glory of the LORD
Introduction

This chapter describes the dedication of the temple. From this we can learn important lessons regarding the church. The origin of the church has taken place through the outpouring of or baptism with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-41When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.2And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.3And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them.4And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.; 1Cor 12:1313For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.). Since then, the Lord Jesus has been building the church, seen as the house of God, with living stones. That house is still being built, it is not finished yet. It is only finished when the last stone is added and Christ comes to take His church to Himself.

However, the church is already the dwelling place of God in the Spirit on earth. Seen in this light, it is a building that is built on the day of Pentecost and on that day also fully completed to serve as the house of God.


The Work Finished

1Thus all the work that Solomon performed for the house of the LORD was finished. And Solomon brought in the things that David his father had dedicated, even the silver and the gold and all the utensils, [and] put [them] in the treasuries of the house of God.

The first thing Solomon does is to put all the dedicated objects of his father David in the treasuries of the temple. These are objects that David took away as war booty (1Chr 18:1111King David also dedicated these to the LORD with the silver and the gold which he had carried away from all the nations: from Edom, Moab, the sons of Ammon, the Philistines, and from Amalek.) and objects from his private property (1Chr 29:33Moreover, in my delight in the house of my God, the treasure I have of gold and silver, I give to the house of my God, over and above all that I have already provided for the holy temple,). Herewith Solomon shows his respect for what his father did for the temple.

We can also apply this to us. Do we appreciate what believers have ‘prepared’ for the church before us, what they have discovered and passed on in writings or addresses? We would do well to make use of this when we study Scripture. If as a result we understand more of God’s house, will we also bring it into the present temple to worship God with it?


The Ark Brought up Into the Temple

2Then Solomon assembled to Jerusalem the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the leaders of the fathers’ [households] of the sons of Israel, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of the city of David, which is Zion. 3All the men of Israel assembled themselves to the king at the feast, that is [in] the seventh month. 4Then all the elders of Israel came, and the Levites took up the ark. 5They brought up the ark and the tent of meeting and all the holy utensils which [were] in the tent; the Levitical priests brought them up. 6And King Solomon and all the congregation of Israel who were assembled with him before the ark, were sacrificing so many sheep and oxen that they could not be counted or numbered. 7Then the priests brought the ark of the covenant of the LORD to its place, into the inner sanctuary of the house, to the holy of holies, under the wings of the cherubim. 8For the cherubim spread their wings over the place of the ark, so that the cherubim made a covering over the ark and its poles. 9The poles were so long that the ends of the poles of the ark could be seen in front of the inner sanctuary, but they could not be seen outside; and they are there to this day. 10There was nothing in the ark except the two tablets which Moses put [there] at Horeb, where the LORD made a covenant with the sons of Israel, when they came out of Egypt.

Then Solomon brings the ark to the temple (verse 22Then Solomon assembled to Jerusalem the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the leaders of the fathers’ [households] of the sons of Israel, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of the city of David, which is Zion.). That reminds of what David did when he brought the ark to Zion in the tent he had made for it. Everything in the temple is larger than in the tabernacle, except the ark. This reminds us that the Lord Jesus is always the same, in the glorious days of the church and also in the days of decay in which we now live. Whether two or three come together as a church or two hundred or three hundred, He is as Personally present as the one Center. In connection with this, in bringing the ark to the temple we can see a picture of forming a local church where the Lord Jesus is in the midst.

The dedication of the temple takes place at the same time with a feast. The feast, “that is [in] the seventh month” (verse 33All the men of Israel assembled themselves to the king at the feast, that is [in] the seventh month.), is the Feast of Booth. The tabernacle was erected at the time of the Passover (Exo 40:22“On the first day of the first month you shall set up the tabernacle of the tent of meeting.); the church was formed at Pentecost (Acts 2:11When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.). The Feast of Booth is celebrated when all the harvests have been collected, that is to say the harvests of corn, wine and olives. It is a feast of peace. The blessing of the land is enjoyed by a people who live in the land with the dwelling place of God in their midst. This is a beautiful picture of what the church is and what is experienced when the Lord Jesus gets His place in the church.

The ark is ‘taken up’ (verse 44Then all the elders of Israel came, and the Levites took up the ark.), which means that the Levites will transport the ark correctly, namely on their shoulders (Num 7:99But he did not give [any] to the sons of Kohath because theirs [was] the service of the holy [objects, which] they carried on the shoulder.; Deu 10:88At that time the LORD set apart the tribe of Levi to carry the ark of the covenant of the LORD, to stand before the LORD to serve Him and to bless in His name until this day.). The ark now gets its final place in the “house of rest” (1Chr 28:22Then King David rose to his feet and said, “Listen to me, my brethren and my people; I [had] intended to build a permanent home for the ark of the covenant of the LORD and for the footstool of our God. So I had made preparations to build [it].). The ark is lost forever later, at the destruction of the temple by Nebuchadnezzar (Jer 3:1616It shall be in those days when you are multiplied and increased in the land,” declares the LORD, “they will no longer say, ‘The ark of the covenant of the LORD.’ And it will not come to mind, nor will they remember it, nor will they miss [it], nor will it be made again.). It is replaced by the Lord Jesus, of Whom the ark is a picture, when He comes on earth. The ark is a place of rest, it is “the footstool of our God” (1Chr 28:22Then King David rose to his feet and said, “Listen to me, my brethren and my people; I [had] intended to build a permanent home for the ark of the covenant of the LORD and for the footstool of our God. So I had made preparations to build [it].). That is the Lord Jesus for God and also for us. Christ Himself finds peace in the midst of the church.

Not only the ark, but also “the tent of meeting and all the holy utensils which [were] in the tent” are brought up. Solomon has not received an order for this. The tent has been replaced by the temple. With that the tent has finished. Also the objects in the tent are not necessary for the temple, because everything is in it.

Everything is accompanied by many sacrifices (verse 66And King Solomon and all the congregation of Israel who were assembled with him before the ark, were sacrificing so many sheep and oxen that they could not be counted or numbered.) that are made at the altar that Solomon made. Ark and altar are closely connected. They have been separated for a while, but are being reunited here again. It points out that the place of worship (altar) is the place where the Lord Jesus is (ark).

The ark goes “into the inner sanctuary of the house, to the holy of holies, under the wings of the cherubim” (verses 7-87Then the priests brought the ark of the covenant of the LORD to its place, into the inner sanctuary of the house, to the holy of holies, under the wings of the cherubim.8For the cherubim spread their wings over the place of the ark, so that the cherubim made a covering over the ark and its poles.). This indicates the complete protection of the ark. The ark cannot be affected by any outside evil influence. Then the poles (verse 99The poles were so long that the ends of the poles of the ark could be seen in front of the inner sanctuary, but they could not be seen outside; and they are there to this day.) are mentioned. They are not needed any longer, because the ark has found its resting place. This is the place David coveted, sought and found for it (Psa 132:3-53“Surely I will not enter my house,
Nor lie on my bed;
4I will not give sleep to my eyes
Or slumber to my eyelids,
5Until I find a place for the LORD,
A dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.”
). The poles remain attached to it and are therefore a constant reminder of the journey through the wilderness. So it is with the Lord Jesus. Although He is in heaven now, there will always be the memory of His walk on earth.

In the ark are the two stone tablets, a golden jar holding the manna, and Aaron’s rod which budded (Heb 9:44having a golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden jar holding the manna, and Aaron’s rod which budded, and the tables of the covenant;). Yet it says here that only the two stone tablets are in it (verse 1010There was nothing in the ark except the two tablets which Moses put [there] at Horeb, where the LORD made a covenant with the sons of Israel, when they came out of Egypt.). All three together give a picture of the life and death of the Lord Jesus. The manna is Christ as He lived on earth and died. Manna is the food of Israel in the wilderness. Christ is the manna for us. However, we are no longer in the wilderness. Therefore, there is no longer a jar with manna here (cf. Jos 5:1212The manna ceased on the day after they had eaten some of the produce of the land, so that the sons of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate some of the yield of the land of Canaan during that year.). We also don’t find a budding staff here. Christ not only died, He also rose up. He lives for us. We see that in the service of Aaron. A nation in the land, however, does not need a priest like Aaron.

What remains are the stone tablets: that is the covenant of the LORD. They represent the relationship that exists between God and His people. This relationship will continue forever. The stone tablets are the expression of God’s will, which always remains: “But the word of the Lord endures forever” (1Pet 1:25a25But the word of the Lord endures forever.” And this is the word which was preached to you.).


The Glory of the LORD

11When the priests came forth from the holy place (for all the priests who were present had sanctified themselves, without regard to divisions), 12and all the Levitical singers, Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun, and their sons and kinsmen, clothed in fine linen, with cymbals, harps and lyres, standing east of the altar, and with them one hundred and twenty priests blowing trumpets 13in unison when the trumpeters and the singers were to make themselves heard with one voice to praise and to glorify the LORD, and when they lifted up their voice accompanied by trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and when they praised the LORD [saying], “[He] indeed is good for His lovingkindness is everlasting,” then the house, the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud, 14so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God.

The priests come forth so that the rightful Inhabitant can take up residence there (verse 1111When the priests came forth from the holy place (for all the priests who were present had sanctified themselves, without regard to divisions),). The importance of the case justifies not yet taking into account David’s institutions with regard to divisions (1Chr 24:3-193David, with Zadok of the sons of Eleazar and Ahimelech of the sons of Ithamar, divided them according to their offices for their ministry.4Since more chief men were found from the descendants of Eleazar than the descendants of Ithamar, they divided them thus: [there were] sixteen heads of fathers’ households of the descendants of Eleazar and eight of the descendants of Ithamar, according to their fathers’ households.5Thus they were divided by lot, the one as the other; for they were officers of the sanctuary and officers of God, both from the descendants of Eleazar and the descendants of Ithamar.6Shemaiah, the son of Nethanel the scribe, from the Levites, recorded them in the presence of the king, the princes, Zadok the priest, Ahimelech the son of Abiathar, and the heads of the fathers’ [households] of the priests and of the Levites; one father’s household taken for Eleazar and one taken for Ithamar.7Now the first lot came out for Jehoiarib, the second for Jedaiah,8the third for Harim, the fourth for Seorim,9the fifth for Malchijah, the sixth for Mijamin,10the seventh for Hakkoz, the eighth for Abijah,11the ninth for Jeshua, the tenth for Shecaniah,12the eleventh for Eliashib, the twelfth for Jakim,13the thirteenth for Huppah, the fourteenth for Jeshebeab,14the fifteenth for Bilgah, the sixteenth for Immer,15the seventeenth for Hezir, the eighteenth for Happizzez,16the nineteenth for Pethahiah, the twentieth for Jehezkel,17the twenty-first for Jachin, the twenty-second for Gamul,18the twenty-third for Delaiah, the twenty-fourth for Maaziah.19These were their offices for their ministry when [they] came in to the house of the LORD according to the ordinance [given] to them through Aaron their father, just as the LORD God of Israel had commanded him.). At this event, all priests from all divisions must be present. They all have to be eyewitnesses to the fact that the LORD takes His residence in the temple. They are able to do so because they have all sanctified themselves. We can only see the glory of the Lord when we are committed to Him.

The Levites and the priests stand on the east side of the altar (verse 1212and all the Levitical singers, Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun, and their sons and kinsmen, clothed in fine linen, with cymbals, harps and lyres, standing east of the altar, and with them one hundred and twenty priests blowing trumpets). The east side is the side where the sun rises. It is the side where the door of the tabernacle is, the closest to the people. When the carriers of the Levites have done their service, now the singers come forward. When the Lord Jesus has been given the central place in our lives, we become singers. This also applies to the local church. If the Lord Jesus is central there, this will be reflected in the hymn of praise.

The singers are standing at the altar. The names “Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun” mean successively “one who gathers”, “faithful” and “choir of praise”. This is reminiscent of the church gathering around the altar (a picture of the Lord’s Table) to faithfully praise the Lord as a choir of praise. The church does this as “sons” of God and “kinsmen” of each other and of the Lord Jesus. The “fine linen” indicates that they are made pleasant in the Beloved (Eph 1:66to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.).

Besides the Levites there are also priests. The number of priests is one hundred and twenty. This number reminds of the one hundred and twenty disciples who are in the upper room after the ascension of the Lord Jesus (Acts 1:1515At this time Peter stood up in the midst of the brethren (a gathering of about one hundred and twenty persons was there together), and said,), to wait there for the “promise of the Father” (Acts 1:44Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” [He said], “you heard of from Me;), which is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The priests blow “in unison” on the trumpets and “in unison” make their voices heard (verse 1313in unison when the trumpeters and the singers were to make themselves heard with one voice to praise and to glorify the LORD, and when they lifted up their voice accompanied by trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and when they praised the LORD [saying], “[He] indeed is good for His lovingkindness is everlasting,” then the house, the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud,). We also see this unanimity in Acts 2. After the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the church there is also unanimous (cf. Rom 15:5-65Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus,6so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.). They do everything together (Acts 2:44,4644And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common;46Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart,).

In their praise we hear the reference to the kingdom of peace. It is a song of praise that will never cease: “His lovingkindness is everlasting.” Then the house of the LORD is filled with the glory of the LORD. Not during sacrifice, but during singing about His lovingkindness, the answer comes from heaven in the form of the cloud. God’s lovingkindness is seen in His glory, of which the cloud is the expression. God is enthroned upon the praises of His people (Psa 22:3b3Yet You are holy,
O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel.
).

The cloud filling the house here led the people out of Egypt (Exo 13:21-2221The LORD was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.22He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.) and through the wilderness (Exo 40:36-3836Throughout all their journeys whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the sons of Israel would set out;37but if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out until the day when it was taken up.38For throughout all their journeys, the cloud of the LORD was on the tabernacle by day, and there was fire in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel.). We also see this cloud of God’s glory with the Lord Jesus on the mountain of glorification (Mt 17:55While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!”), at the erection of the tabernacle (Exo 40:34-3534Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.35Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.), after the ordination of the priests (Lev 9:2323Moses and Aaron went into the tent of meeting. When they came out and blessed the people, the glory of the LORD appeared to all the people.), at the origination of the church (Acts 1:99And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.; 2:22And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.) and at the temple of Ezekiel (Eze 43:44And the glory of the LORD came into the house by the way of the gate facing toward the east.). At the rebuilding of the temple by Zerubbabel after the return from exile we do not see this cloud of glory.

The priests cannot stand in the presence of God to serve (verse 1414so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God.). They are overwhelmed by the presence of God’s glory in the temple. That is the situation in the Old Testament. For us it is a great privilege to behold the glory of the Lord with an uncovered face (2Cor 3:1818But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.). Under grace we are not driven out of the presence of God, but may we enter it and see the glory of the Lord Jesus there (Jn 17:2424Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.). In a way, we too cannot remain standing when we see the Lamb That has been slain standing “as if slain” (Rev 5:6,126And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth.12saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.”): “And the elders fell down and worshiped” (Rev 5:1414And the four living creatures kept saying, “Amen.” And the elders fell down and worshiped.). Where He is, man and his service disappear.


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