Let me share a very beautiful shadow (or biblical type) and show you how they can bring added intensity to the teachings of the church. Shadows are like time capsules, buried in the Old Testament for future discovery. The people that formed them, or lived through them, had no idea what they meant or even that they had any future meaning at all. It is only since the formation of the church that we can decode their true meaning. Their very existence is a wonderful proof that the Bible was written by God.
Consider the old temple. David was the one that first thought to build a permanent house for the ark of God, but because his hands had shed too much blood, God wouldn’t let him do it. The daunting task fell to his son, Solomon. David prepared him for the work by subduing all Israel’s enemies so that the temple could be built in peace. He amassed immense amounts of gold, silver, bronze and iron, as well as timbers of cedar and much stone. All these he gave to Solomon, along with the plans God gave him for every detail of the temple.
So where should the temple be built? God had spoken repeatedly to the Israelites, before they ever entered the Promised Land, about a place where He would choose to place His name. Now, about 300 years later, that place would be revealed to David. God was punishing Israel because David had numbered their fighting men. After destroying many in the land, the angel of God came and stood over the threshing floor of Araunah (Ornan), the Jebusite. In a dramatic scene, God stopped the angel who already had his sword drawn, from shedding blood at that location. David would build an altar to God there and that is where he would declare “This is the house of the LORD God…”
We recall another scene in that very same spot, but more than a thousand years earlier. Back then it was called Mount Moriah, later to be known as Mount Zion. Here, just as with the angel, another one had his knife raised over his head ready to shed blood. Abraham was about to take the life of his young son Isaac, but there also God stopped him and told him to put his knife away. It seemed that this location was very special and that it was to be a place of peace, not bloodshed. Abraham named the location, “The Lord Will Provide” (YHWH-jireh).
One other story confirms that God intended this location to be a place of peace. The somewhat mysterious king Melchizedek lived there in the days of Abraham. It was then called Salem, which means peace. If we join the two old names for the place where the temple would be built, “YHWH-jireh” and “Salem”, it begins to sound like Jerusalem. Jerusalem means God-Will-Provide-Peace.
When the temple was built, it immediately became a hub of activity for Israel. There were sacrifices every day – sometimes many. The fire on the altar never went out. The lampstand kept light in the temple continuously. Incense was burned perpetually, morning and night. All the sacrifices and offerings were presented to God there and it was there, three times each year that every male had to come to appear before God and celebrate their feasts.
God promised peace forever if Israel would obey only Him. But Solomon’s heart turned to other gods, and the peace that should have perpetually characterized Jerusalem was abruptly ended. Jesus would lament over the holy city, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.” Jerusalem had become anything but a place of peace.
That first house would disappear, but Jesus has built another House, which has an enduring peace– and this peace really has no end. We are now part of that house, as Heb. 3:6 says, “Christ was faithful as a Son over His house—whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.” This house is no longer a physical one like the old temple, but rather a spiritual one, as 1Peter 2:5 says, “…you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
Now, like digging up an ancient time capsule, we can understand all the history of the old temple. It was foreshadowing the real temple that we are now part of – the House of God. Remember the extravagant wealth that went into the temple. God was telling us that we are very precious. Remember the two drawn swords that God stopped over Jerusalem on separate occasions. He was telling us that when we come to Him we will find peace. Recall Abraham’s drawn sword to offer up his son Isaac. God was telling us that He would one day offer up His only Son to save us from our sins. The lampstand tells us that Jesus is our light; the incense tells us we need to pray continually. As we recall all the myriad offerings that were presented there, we see that we also need to have continual communication with God about all those same things as were in the temple: sometimes taking care of sin in our lives, sometimes thanking and praising God for His goodness to us, and sometimes just acknowledging Him as Lord of our lives. He has provided peace.
Ah, God’s house. How awesome it is to be part of it! “…For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace…” (Eph. 2:13-17)
Ed Gaglardi — March 6 — 2013