Christ a Greater than Solomon - Part 2
John Griffiths, Port Talbot, Wales [SEE PROFILE BELOW]
Twice, our Lord comments about Solomon. Firstly, He speaks of Solomon’s glory, of his outward magnificence and opulence, ‘the gleam of his much wrought gold, the smooth whiteness of his ivory palaces, the rich apparel of his servants, his towers that shimmered in the sun, the gifts from afar brought by those who did him honour, his chambers scented with the spices of India, his multitude of chariots and horses and all the pomp and splendour of his court’, J. B. Watson, Our Matchless Lord, p. 40. Yet, all his glory could not compare with the glory of a wild, wayside Palestinian lily, for, ‘I say unto you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these’! Eclipsed by a lily, God’s creation!
Secondly, He speaks of Solomon’s greatness, and, in particular, of his wisdom, for, ‘all the earth sought to Solomon, to hear his wisdom which God put in his heart’. The Queen of Sheba concluded, ‘The half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard’. Yet, our Lord could say of Himself, ‘a greater than Solomon is here’! Eclipsed by our Lord, God’s Christ!
The Lord is greater than Solomon in so many different aspects of his life.
(1) As to His Style
Both Solomon and the Lord were named by God before their birth. David was told, ‘Behold, a son shall be born to thee, who shall be a man of rest . . . for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quietness unto Israel in his days’, 1 Chr. 22. 9.
Of Christ, we read, ‘And shall call His name Immanuel’, Isa. 7. 14; Matt. 1. 23. ‘And His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace’, Isa. 9. 6. ‘And thou shalt call his name Jesus’, Matt. 1. 21.
Solomon’s name means ‘peaceable’. He was a man whom God declared to be ‘a man of rest’, bringing peace, and quietness to Israel.
Of our blessed Lord we read, ‘The Prince of Peace’. Peace was promised at His birth, practised during His life, procured by His death, and preached subsequent to His resurrection, while we have peace personified in the Prince of Peace Himself.1
When Solomon was born, Nathan the prophet was sent to David with a second name for the child, Jedidiah, 2 Sam. 12. 24, 25. This means ‘beloved’, or ‘darling of Jehovah’, hence, the link with his father David, the ‘beloved one’. Nehemiah records of Solomon, ‘who was beloved of his God, and God made him king over all Israel’, Neh. 13. 26.
Our Lord Jesus Christ is the beloved Son, ‘This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased’. Paul, in writing to the Colossians, speaks of Christ as God’s ‘dear Son’ or ‘the Son of his love’. We stand accepted ‘in the beloved’, Eph. 1. 6. Prophetically, David writes of crucifixion and cries, ‘Deliver . . . my darling from the power of the dog’, Ps. 22. 20.
Surely, it is plain that the names fit Messiah infinitely better than they did Solomon, who executed his father’s enemies, chastised his people with whips, and even went to war at Hamath–zobah! His army and navy make it clear that Solomon did not believe in disarmament.
(2) As to His Sonship
Nathan reports to David the Lord’s revelation, ‘And when thy days be fulfilled . . . I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom . . . I will be his father and he shall be my son’, 2 Sam. 7. 12-14. These words apply to Solomon as David’s son.
However, Matthew refers to Christ, in his genealogy, as ‘the son of David’. Of Messiah, the writer to the Hebrews says, ‘Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee’, and, again, ‘I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son’, 1. 5. This is great David’s greater Son – not Solomon but Messiah. The Sonship of Christ is unique and when Christ addresses His Father, He addresses Him as an equal. He is the Father’s ‘only begotten Son’ giving Him a relationship that is both unique and exclusive. He is the eternal Son of the eternal Father.
(3) As to His Service
To Solomon, not David, was granted the privilege of overseeing the building of the Temple. This was because David’s hands were stained with the blood of warfare but Solomon was characterized by peace. As an aside, however, let us give credit to David that, from an early age, he wanted to see the ark restored to Israel, and it was in his heart to build a permanent dwelling place for God amidst His people. After all, the blueprint for the temple was given in writing to David by God. Without David’s preparatory efforts the project might well have been delayed, 1 Chr. 29. 2, 3. It has been estimated that 35 tons of gold and silver were used in the construction of the temple besides the precious stones, marble, wood, etc. The cost of the temple in today’s market would be at least £112 billion, one internet source has calculated! Solomon took seven years to build the one temple that bears his name. Herod’s temple was 46 years under construction.
Our Lord has the responsibility for building at least two temples, one spiritual and the other millennial.
(i) The Spiritual Temple – the Church
(a) Material v Spiritual
The church of this dispensation is described as a temple in Ephesians chapter 2 verse 21. Of this same aspect of the church, Christ declares, ‘I will build my church; and the gates (councils) of hell shall not prevail against it’, Matt. 16. 18. In contrast to the stones prepared off-site for Solomon’s temple, and all the materials accumulated, the temple Christ is building consists of ‘living stones’. Men and women hewn out of the quarry of this world, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and ‘builded together for an habitation of God’. A spiritual organism not a material edifice!
(b) Ephemeral v Eternal
Jeremiah predicted the fall of the temple, and Isaiah records it, ‘Our holy and our beautiful house where our fathers praised thee, is burned up with fire’, Isa. 64. 11. This as a result of the Babylonian invasion. After David’s many years of preparation, and Solomon’s seven years of construction, the temple was but a temporal model of the reality in heaven, and lasted only an estimated 414 years.
Contrariwise, the temple of Christ’s building is still growing, and, on completion, will never be destroyed. It is proofed against the very councils of the Devil himself!
Solomon may have basked in the glory of the temple for 36 years at most but Christ’s glory in the church is eternal, ‘Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen’, Eph. 3. 21. An eternal object of glory not an ephemeral, earthly edifice!
(c) Temporal v Celestial
The cost of Solomon’s temple can be measured by means of human valuation. The materials, their weight, and preciousness can be calculated, in human terms, in tons and pounds sterling at today’s prices.
But what of the church of the dispensation, this spiritual temple, the mystical body of Christ? Truly, it is beyond human calculation, it has been purchased with the blood of Christ. This is the celestial ‘gold standard’. The heavenly and divine commentary is ‘precious blood’. At what an amazing price the church has been bought!
(ii) The Millennial Temple
Scholars have suggested that the tabernacle usually foreshadows the church, and the temple the millennium. Solomon oversaw the building of the temple in his day.
Christ will oversee the building of the temple to be used during the millennium. ‘Behold the man whose name is The Branch . . . and he shall build the temple of the Lord’, Zech. 6. 12.
Solomon used Gentiles in the building of the temple. He sent to Hiram, the king of Tyre, for cedars, and help in preparing the timber. He also numbered all the ‘strangers’ in Israel, and set them to labour. It has been estimated that in excess of 150,000 men were employed in its construction.
The millennial temple described in Ezekiel chapters 40-44 will be built with Gentile help. ‘And they that are afar off shall come and build in the temple of the Lord’, Zech. 6. 15. The glory of Solomon and his forty-year reign over Israel is unsurpassed until the 1000-year reign of Christ. ‘And he (Christ) shall bear the glory and shall sit and rule upon his throne’, Zech. 6. 13. What glory! What a reign! What a duration! Additionally, ‘He shall be a priest upon his throne’, Zech. 6. 13. Solomon might be king, but it is Christ alone for whom God has reserved the joint offices of king and priest. ‘And the counsel of peace shall be between them both’, Zech. 6. 13. Christ is the King-Priest, after the order of Melchisedek.
The temple of Solomon was filled with the glory of God, as Deity dwelt in a ‘permanent’ residence on earth for the first time.
The millennial temple, described by Ezekiel, will know the literal, physical presence of the Son of God, Himself. He will return by way of the east, i.e., Mount Olivet, and will enter through the east gate of the temple which is reserved for His exclusive use, apart from the prince. Not then the Shekinah but the glorious Son of God, the King-Priest, will grace its courts personally.
- 1 Luke 2. 14; John 14. 27; Rom. 12. 18; Col. 1. 20; Eph. 2. 17; Isa. 9. 6.