The Completion and Dedication of the Temple of Solomon at Jerusalem
Biblical Record ~ I Kings 8: 12-30
The Temple of Solomon was a small building, its dimensions being only one hundred and five feet broad, and one hundred and fifty feet long. It was built of white marble, so excellently put together, that the joints could not be distinguished and the whole building looked as though it had been cut out of one entire stone.
It was begun on the second day of the month called “Zif”, corresponding with the 21st day of April, in the Year of the World 2992 (or 1012 years before the Christian Era) and was completed on the 8th day of the month called “Bul”, corresponding with the 23rd day of October, in the Year of the World 2999. Now completed, it beams with rays of success.
Success is the triumph of achievement, yet it brings a tinge of regret. The climax of any great work, the last finishing touch, the laying of the last stone, marks the hour of triumph, but also ends the inspiring labor and intimate association connected thereto.
Seven years, six months, and two days, the ancient craftsmen labored side by side upon the marvelous Temple of Solomon; hence, when the last stone was placed in position, the joy of achievement must have been mingled with regret at the termination of the intimate association of those seven years. The Temple was completed, serenely resting upon the summit of Mount Moriah. Its glistering walls and gleaming roof, resplendent in the morning sun, presented indeed, a glorious spectacle to the devout Israelites, whose pious leaders hoped and expected the Almighty Jehovah to glorify it with his presence and abide therein forever.
In the seventh month of the year 977 B.C. (3001), the glorious day of dedication arrived. The time was The Feast of the Tabernacle. Israel sent forth her thousands, the Ark was brought from its resting place, and the great procession began its march to the Temple with Solomon leading the procession. First were the twelve Princes of the Tribes, then came the Elders, (seventy in number); then the Priests sounding their silver trumpets, followed by the Levites bearing the sacred Ark of the Covenant, and all the Holy Vessels that had been in the tent at Mount Opel.
The distance traveled was about one-half a mile. The procession moved with great deliberation and at every six paces an ox and Fatling (a calf, lamb, kid or small pig) was sacrificed. The course was strewn with sacrificial blood, and the Scriptures say that the sheep and oxen scarified could not be numbered.
With these elaborate and solemn ceremonies the Ark was brought to the Temple and conveyed by the Priests to its resting place in the Holy of Holies at the western side and between the Wings of the Cherubim. The vast concourse of people assembled in the great courts. The Priests came forth from the Holy Place, and the Levites which were singers arrayed in white robes, with cymbals and harps, stood on the east side of the Alter, and with them, one hundred and twenty Priests sounding trumpets; praising the Lord.
Solomon then addressed the congregation and when he had finished, he ascended the brazen scaffold, and kneeling he stretched forth his hands in prayer. And when he had made an end of praying, behold, the fire came down from Heaven and consumed the burnt offerings and sacrifices.
The Temple of Solomon retained it original splendor for only thirty-three years, for in the Year of the World 3033 the King of Egypt, having made war upon Rehoboan (King of Judah), took Jerusalem and carried away the choicest of treasures. From that time forward to the period of its final destruction, its history is but a story of alternate spoliation and repairs, of profanations to idolatry, which was subsequent restoration to the purity of worship.
But the glory of this magnificent Temple, like all other earthly glory, has passed into oblivion, and remains in history as an echo of those halcyon days of Israel when God conversed with Man. Erected in all the beauty and magnificence that wealth and labor could bestow; it retained its pristine glory for less than half a century. Yet it filled God’s noble purpose; for from within those marble walls, undimmed by time and unrestrained by prejudice, we see reflected still in all its glory, that hieroglyphic light that none but craftsmen ever saw. And from the sanctuary, in joyful sounds, we hear in sweet tintinnabulations the music of the Gospel of the one true and living God.