Monday, November 7, 2016

Jachin and Boaz, two named Temple columns

I like columns. Did you know there were two particular columns that were part of Solomon's temple, and that they had names? Since the terms describing these pillars have gone into history, and no explanation is given in the Bible as to why they are so named, these pillars remain mysterious. The Bible records their existence and look and that's it.

Of course whenever there is a mystery there are a plethora of mystical and conspiracy theories regarding it. The Bible mysteries are no different. If you go off researching about the two pillars/columns, be wary of many of the search results.

Jachin and Boaz were the names of pillars which were set up in front of the Sanctuary in Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem (I Kings 7:15–22, 41–42; II Kings 25:13, 17; Jeremiah 52:17, 20ff.; II Chronicles 3:15–17; 4:12–13). According to Josephus in Antiquities of the Jews, Boaz ("In him/it [is] strength") was on the left when entering Solomon's Temple, while Jachin ("He/it will establish") was on the right. The were made by Hiram. It seems that though opinion is divided, most scholars seem to believe these were freestanding pillars and performed no structural function in the temple.

He set up the pillars in front of the temple, one on the south, the other on the north; that on the south he called Jachin, and that on the north Boaz. (2 Chronicles 3:17).
The pillars had a size nearly six feet thick and 27 feet tall. The eight-foot high brass capitals on top of the columns bore decorations of brass lilies. The original measurement as taken from The Torah was in cubits, which records that the pillars 18 cubits high and 12 cubits around, and hollow, four fingers thick. (Jeremiah 52:21–22). Nets of checkerwork covered the bowl of each capital, decorated with rows of 200 pomegranates, wreathed with seven chains for each capital, and topped with lilies (1 Kings 7:13–22, 41–42). (Wikipedia).
I do not know a lot about the Temple but I'm looking forward to learning. Ligonier Connect has an online class I'm going to take over Christmas break called Understanding the Tabernacle. The Temple is the place where God decided to make His presence known and inhabit for a time, so I believe learning about it will be profitable and interesting. He was specific in its aesthetic and dimension, and so by virtue of His interest in the temple, my interest is also ignited.

Aesthetically, I've always loved pillars and columns, I suppose the tendency in us is to admire things that reach for heaven. We see that this tendency can be corrupted, as the pagans built Ashereh poles, and monuments, pillars, and altar cairns on the high places. The problem with Ashereh poles is mentioned constantly in the Old Testament. Warnings and admonitions about them appear in Exodus, Deuteronomy, Judges, both Books of Kings, the 2nd Chronicles, and the prophetic books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Micah. One can build a beautiful monument to a god, and worship there, but it has to be a monument to the One True God and worship there has to be true. (Leviticus 10:3). Of course, one does not have to build a soaring monument to God, one can worship Him in any humble building. But we sometimes still have the urge to offer worship to Him in a building that matches His majesty. Columns add to that majesty.

I've traveled to Europe and have seen the great cathedrals and churches. It's a shame most of them are Catholic and therefore perform the same function as Ashereh poles. Any worship in those places only comes to dust and ashes. But I understand the desire to build something beautiful and soaring for the Lord. David felt it and inquired of the LORD in 1 Chronicles 17. David asked through the prophet Nathan, may he built a dwelling place for the LORD? The LORD praised David's urge, but reminded David he had not rebuked previous kings and leaders for not building a temple. He said that a temple will be built, but David may not do it. Solomon will. In 1 Chronicles 22:8 we learn God's reason- David had shed much blood because he was a man of war. David's urge is something  many of us feel, we want the best for our Lord because He IS the best. The temple in heaven must be absolutely glorious and indescribable.

Florence Cathedral with the famous dome. Prata photo
There is a good book called Brunelleschi's Dome, by Ross King, covering the incredible story of the largest masonry dome ever built. It adorns the top of the Santa Maria del Fiore (Saint Mary of the Flower) cathedral in Florence, Italy. The cathedral's construction began in 1296 without knowledge of how the dome would be built to the architectural design they were following. The people were sure that by the time they got to the top, they will have figured out how to do it, lol. The cathedral was finished in 1436 with the dome engineered by Filippo Brunelleschi, in an ingenious way.

I remember reading Ken Follett's monumental book Pillars of the Earth, a sweeping historical narrative covering the people designing and building a cathedral in 12th century England. It's historically accurate and a ripping good yarn. I read it long before I was saved so I do not remember whether it can be safely recommended as a clean book to Christians. I do remember the author balanced both the sweep of epic cathedral building with finely drawn realistic characters.

Columns are soaring and beautiful. They adorn many a church in America, from humble to cathedral. The Temple will be interesting to study, as will the two named columns, Boaz and Jachim. There is so much to study, isn't there? God surely has an incredible mind. We're blessed He has shared some of it with us in His word.

Columns of a Georgia Baptist Church. Prata photo

Columns under repair, New England secular building
Prata photo
A larger Georgia church with its columns. Prata photo






2 comments :

  1. I love pillars and columns, too. I prefer the columns themselves to be smooth, not fluted, and I'd rather see simple ornamentation on the capitals, like the doric (my favorite)... though I also like the ionic style to a lesser extent. I just love clean, uncluttered lines. So corinthian columns, forget it. LOL!

    I love beautiful church architecture, irrespective of whether or not it's a true Bible believing assembly's gathering place. Like you said, it's a shame, though, when the worship offered isn't as it ought to be.

    The description in Scripture of the temple is amazing, though admittedly I never noticed the two named columns. You're always good at picking up small details like that. I agree, it is a treasure to find these things, and study them.

    Of course nothing compares to the true Temple (Revelation 21:22). It is a blessing to belong to Him.

    -Carolyn

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  2. I love to study about the Tabernacle and the Temple. I have the feeling that Americans too lightly dismiss their importance, and what went on in them; they obviously have meaning in the meanings of the final arrangements in the Kingdom of God. (For example, I'm not certain we can so lightly dismiss the meaning, symbolism, and relevance of the Tabernacle and Temple sacrifices. In Ezekiel, Chapter 40 and later, the Millennial Temple (which I don't believe is the Temple that is being clamored for by some for in present day Israel) there are three of the sacrifices reinstated. These sacrifices cannot be for the purposes of sanctification and justification, as those are settled matters (John 19:30, Philippians 1:6.) Why are they re-instituted? We'll know eventually, but apparently not now. Yet, when I have tried to study the sacrifices, the Church writers flail as much as I do.

    It is interesting to me that Dr. McGee tells the account of his sitting down and writing a detailed exposition on the Tabernacle. It all fit. But, he says that when he tried to do the same with the Temple, he had to give up the project because of the lack of information.

    Thank you for the column today. It is a blessing.

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