He erected the pillars at the portico of the temple. The pillar to the south he named Jakin and the one to the north Boaz. The capitals on top were in the shape of lilies. And so the work on the pillars was completed.—1 Kings 7:21–22
Undoubtedly, one of the most fascinating topics to Christians and Jews is the Holy Temple — its significance to Jewish worship in biblical time and what Judaism teaches about the building of a Third Temple in the future. This is one of six devotions looking at different aspects of the Temple and the lessons inherent in it for us all.
In 1 Kings Chapter 7, beginning at verse 13, we see a glimmer of the beautiful House of God which once stood in Jerusalem. Like the Tabernacle, the Temple contained all the ritual objects such as the Ark of the Covenant, the lampstand, the altar, the table, and others items.
However, the Temple also contained some elements that were not part of the more temporary Tabernacle. In particular, we read about two giant pillars – each about twenty-seven feet high and eighteen feet wide– flanked the entry to the Temple. King Solomon gave each pillar a name: “The pillar to the south he named Jakinand the one to the north Boaz.”
The naming of ritual items is not uncommon. However, usually the names are simply descriptive and functional; they describe what the vessel is used for. However, in this case, the pillars didn’t serve a purpose and they could have easily been referred to as “the pillars.” It seems that the names of the pillars were intended to be symbolic. As people passed through them into the House of God, there was a message within those pillars that was meant to be imparted to the worshipers.
Jakinmeans “He will establish,” as in “I will establish his kingdom forever” (1 Chronicles 28:7), and Boaz means “In him is strength,” as in “The LORD gives strength to His people” (Psalm 29:11). Jakin symbolizes eternity; Boaz represents omnipotence. Both are fundamental characteristics of God.
Just as today we include praises to God when we come to Him in prayer so that we have an understanding of who it is that we are worshiping –so, too, the pillars were meant to place the worshiper in a proper state of mind. As the worshipers walked between the two pillars, dwarfed by their magnitude and size, it was a moment of awe and clarity in which they recognized the glory of God.
However, there is a third characteristic expressed on those mysterious pillars. They each were capped with a lily (or rose), a symbol of love, as in, “Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the young women”(Song of Songs 2:2). While we worship the Lord as the eternal and almighty God, we must also remember that God is loving, merciful, and kind.
The pillars that once stood at the Temple continue to serve as the pillars of our faith today, reminding us that God is eternal, all-powerful, and all-loving. He is the foundation upon which we build our unshakable faith.
For more on Rabbi Eckstein’s teachings about God’s presence on earth, visit ifcj.org/store for his five-part DVD Bible Study, The Biblical Temples — perfect for a small groups, Sunday school, or individual study.Through June 30, get 35 percent off your entire purchase with the code 35OFF.
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