Today: [2 Chronicles Four] Becoming an Inner Court Christian. In this chapter we see the record of the creation of the artifacts that furnished Solomon’s temple. The furnishings of the outer court were brass speaking of judgment. The furnishings of the inner court were of gold representing the transforming power of the nature of God in our lives. The common people could enter the outer court but only priests on active duty could access the inner court. The inner courts of God’s purposes require us to abandon passivity and become actively involved in seeking the kingdom.
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[2Ch 4:1-22 KJV] 1 Moreover he made an altar of brass, twenty cubits the length thereof, and twenty cubits the breadth thereof, and ten cubits the height thereof. 2 Also he made a molten sea of ten cubits from brim to brim, round in compass, and five cubits the height thereof; and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about. 3 And under it [was] the similitude of oxen, which did compass it round about: ten in a cubit, compassing the sea round about. Two rows of oxen [were] cast, when it was cast. 4 It stood upon twelve oxen, three looking toward the north, and three looking toward the west, and three looking toward the south, and three looking toward the east: and the sea [was set] above upon them, and all their hinder parts [were] inward. 5 And the thickness of it [was] an handbreadth, and the brim of it like the work of the brim of a cup, with flowers of lilies; [and] it received and held three thousand baths. 6 He made also ten lavers, and put five on the right hand, and five on the left, to wash in them: such things as they offered for the burnt offering they washed in them; but the sea [was] for the priests to wash in. 7 And he made ten candlesticks of gold according to their form, and set [them] in the temple, five on the right hand, and five on the left.
In this passage we see a description of the brazen altar. The “he” spoken of as making the altar ostensibly is Solomon but we know that he in reality just commissioned it’s construction. One of the few workers actually mentioned by name is Huram the servant of Hiram who is on loan to Solomon for his cunning in craftwork, metallurgy and Phoenician architectural styles.
The altar spoken of is the place where animals were sacrificed for sin offerings, trespass offerings and consecration offerings. It is made of brass which represents judgment. The offerings made here represent Jesus’ sacrifice of Himself for the sins of the world. The consecration offerings also represent the believer offering himself up as a living sacrifice according to Rom. 12:1-2. The molten sea was a huge brass vat to hold water for ritual washing and purification. It was constructed to perch or rest upon 12 brazen oxen which speak to us of the government of God. The water represents the washing of the water of the word. The sacrifice must be washed and cleansed before it is offered. Our offering of ourselves to God cannot be on terms that we dictate. We must do so according to the dictates of the scripture with our whole life, spirit, soul and body wholly dedicated to Christ.
8 He made also ten tables, and placed [them] in the temple, five on the right side, and five on the left. And he made an hundred basons of gold. 9 Furthermore he made the court of the priests, and the great court, and doors for the court, and overlaid the doors of them with brass. 10 And he set the sea on the right side of the east end, over against the south. 11 And Huram made the pots, and the shovels, and the basons. And Huram finished the work that he was to make for king Solomon for the house of God; 12 [To wit], the two pillars, and the pommels, and the chapiters [which were] on the top of the two pillars, and the two wreaths to cover the two pommels of the chapiters which [were] on the top of the pillars; 13 And four hundred pomegranates on the two wreaths; two rows of pomegranates on each wreath, to cover the two pommels of the chapiters which [were] upon the pillars.
There were lamps for light and tables for the table of showbread. The lamps speak to us of the light of God’s word. Ten is the number of judgment. Hebrews 4:12 tells us the word is quick and powerful and sharper than any two edged sword. The word is our discerner and our judge. By the light of the word of God we reckon ourselves dead to sin and alive to Christ. The tables of showbread represent the bread of Christ available to us as we approach the holy of holies. You cannot move toward the Shekinah presence of God without walking around the tables of showbread. Christ as our healer is an unavoidable component of the gospel. It cannot be left out or our concept of the temple is incomplete.
There were 100 sprinkling bowls used to gather the blood of the sacrifice which would then be sprinkled upon the recipients bringing the offering as a sign of cleansing. Both the water and the blood were types of ritual cleansing. The blood speaks of the acceptance of God which we receive the sprinkling of from Jesus our high priest. The washing of the word speaks of God’s acceptance which we must comply with and yield to in order to secure our destiny before God. We cannot only choose the sprinkling of God’s acceptance and expect to fulfill God’s purposes in our lives. We must seek the blood of sprinkling that makes us acceptable in God’s sight and then further our commitment to Christ by applying the cleansing of the word of God thus bringing our lives into accountability to the light it shines upon us. We must have both. Many schools of thought and theology in Christian culture lean one way or the other. They emphasis cleansing and acceptance but leave out obedience and yieldedness. Others say very little about the mercy of God and speak only of complying with rigid religious dictates. These are opposite ends of the same imbalance. If we are going to mature we must embrace the unconditional favor of God and yield to the unswerving dictates of God’s word in our life in practical and practicable ways.
14 He made also bases, and lavers made he upon the bases; 15 One sea, and twelve oxen under it. 16 The pots also, and the shovels, and the fleshhooks, and all their instruments, did Huram his father make to king Solomon for the house of the LORD of bright brass. 17 In the plain of Jordan did the king cast them, in the clay ground between Succoth and Zeredathah. 18 Thus Solomon made all these vessels in great abundance: for the weight of the brass could not be found out. 19 And Solomon made all the vessels that [were for] the house of God, the golden altar also, and the tables whereon the shewbread [was set]; 20 Moreover the candlesticks with their lamps, that they should burn after the manner before the oracle, of pure gold; 21 And the flowers, and the lamps, and the tongs, [made he of] gold, [and] that perfect gold; 22 And the snuffers, and the basons, and the spoons, and the censers, [of] pure gold: and the entry of the house, the inner doors thereof for the most holy [place], and the doors of the house of the temple, [were of] gold.
Solomon made a court for the priests, which is the inner court and a “great court” which corresponds to the outer court. The people could be with the priests in the outer court but only active functioning priests could enter the inner court or “holy place”. Jesus said in Luke 17:20,21 that the kingdom of God does not come with observation. Every believer has a place of service at this altar. A believer who cannot identify his or her ministry portion is languishing in passive religion and falling far short of all that God has for them. You are a called priest of God to serve at his altars in behalf of yourself and behalf of others. It is up to you to find out what that means not only as a religious sentiment but a practical imposition upon your daily activities. Are you an outer court Christian or an inner court Christian? How you answer these questions determines the answer. It is not enough to walk in passive sincerity. You must engage by your actions the inner court realities of God in your life.
Huram the servant of the king of Tyre was part Jewish and part Gentile. He was very skilled in multiple disciplines. He is mentioned as making the snuffers, pots and shovels. These articles are of particular interest to Ezra in writing Chronicles because they are some of the only surviving artifacts from the original temple at the time of his writing. These implements and vessels were of a type used in Moses tabernacle, Solomon’s temple and in the restoration or second temple as well. Their use and their very existence establishes a continuity of worship across generational of Jewish devotional life.
The amount gold and brass and silver used in the construction of the temple was copious indeed. There was no scrimping. The brass used was so much it couldn’t be weighed out. True devotion in giving does not keep a strict account because there is no estimating the value of what God Himself has done for us. The lamps, tongs, snuffers and other instruments were not plain in their adornment. They were decorated with flowers and almond buds and pomegranates. Though the temple was a place where sacrificial animals were given up it was also a place of life and fruitfulness and blessing.
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