2 Chronicles 5:6-11 NLTse (6) There, before the Ark, King Solomon and the entire community of Israel sacrificed so many sheep, goats, and cattle that no one could keep count! (7) Then the priests carried the Ark of the LORD’s Covenant into the inner sanctuary of the Temple–the Most Holy Place–and placed it beneath the wings of the cherubim. (8) The cherubim spread their wings over the Ark, forming a canopy over the Ark and its carrying poles. (9) These poles were so long that their ends could be seen from the Temple’s main room–the Holy Place–but not from the outside. They are still there to this day. (10) Nothing was in the Ark except the two stone tablets that Moses had placed in it at Mount Sinai, where the LORD made a covenant with the people of Israel when they left Egypt. (11) Then the priests left the Holy Place. All the priests who were present had purified themselves, whether or not they were on duty that day.
First we saw Solomon making an offering to God by placing treasures in rooms along the sides of the temple. Next we see Solomon offering animals without number to God. It seems Solomon was going out of his way to do everything better than expected. Or Solomon had a fear, something wasn’t right, and wanted to make it up to God. Based on the fact, everything in the temple was on a much larger scale, as well is greater in number than the Tabernacle, and took much longer to build, Solomon had a mind set to outdo everything Moses did. Everything had to be bigger and better. Is that what God wanted? Was that the impression God wanted to leave on this world?
“What makes you think I want all your sacrifices?” says the LORD. “I am sick of your burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fattened cattle. I get no pleasure from the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. When you come to worship me, who asked you to parade through my courts with all your ceremony? Stop bringing me your meaningless gifts; the incense of your offerings disgusts me! As for your celebrations of the new moon and the Sabbath and your special days for fasting– they are all sinful and false. I want no more of your pious meetings. I hate your new moon celebrations and your annual festivals. They are a burden to me. I cannot stand them! When you lift up your hands in prayer, I will not look. Though you offer many prayers, I will not listen, for your hands are covered with the blood of innocent victims. Wash yourselves and be clean! Get your sins out of my sight. Give up your evil ways. Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows. “Come now, let’s settle this,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool. If you will only obey me, you will have plenty to eat. But if you turn away and refuse to listen, you will be devoured by the sword of your enemies. I, the LORD, have spoken!” (Isaiah 1:11-20 NLTse).
After how many generations of endless, meaningless sacrifices, God had to finally speak up. The sacrificial system was not a right to go out, sin, then kill a few animals to get on God’s good side. The system didn’t work like that. Israel got it all wrong. They missed the meaning of those sacrifices.
Those sacrifices pointed to Christ. As Jesus walked by, John looked at him and declared, “Look! There is the Lamb of God!” (John 1:36 NLTse). The tradition Solomon started got so bad, hardly anyone saw what that particular symbol pointed to. Not even after God revealed the symbol of the sacrifice to His messenger for that time period. John did his job. He delivered the message. People heard the message. Jesus’ disciples heard the message, “Jesus was the lamb of God.” The problem was, tradition took people so far away from the truth, they couldn’t understand the proper interpretation for one plain and simple symbol. If they couldn’t understand the symbol of the sacrificial lamb, what chance did they stand to understand the meaning of the other symbols in the Tabernacle?
The Gospels tell us exactly how much the disciples missed, even after Jesus tried to explain the prophecies to them, and how He was about to fulfill them. The disciples and all the other people missed all of them. They couldn’t understand a single symbol in the Tabernacle, the structure God had built to explain the plan of salvation.
On the other hand, the priests, Pharisees, and other religious factions of that period who dedicated hours a day reading scripture did catch onto a few details. They knew God only accepted unblemished sacrifices. So they beat Jesus, tore out His beard, and had Him whipped half to death. The religious leaders also knew, a man hung on a tree was cursed. So they had Jesus hung on a cross. To them there was a slight chance Jesus had some kind of connection with God. To sever that connection, they went out of their way to study enough scripture so things would turn out they way they wanted them to turn out. They wanted a Messiah in the form of a warrior who came to this planet to wipe out the Romans, and other Gentiles in a single swipe of his sword. Out of a few choice bits and pieces of scripture, they made up the ultimate Messiah, and weren’t about to settle for anything less.
Since early Christianity, religious leaders have been trying to outdo Moses and the Tabernacle, and Solomon and his temple by building bigger and better structures, with even more symbols and artifacts than anyone could imagine. They created so many saints, symbols, ceremonies, and traditions, no one could keep up with all of them. Once the church began to split into different factions, creating traditions and symbols became a sort of competition between religious groups. Traditions and doctrines exploded. They became a means of attracting new members, and holding onto existing members. Traditions took on a new glow, becoming superstition. If you did this, there is a chance your gonna be saved. If you give up any portion of what your parents did and believed, they could be lost for eternity.
We see works in new form today. Modern Christianity to a large degree uses knowledge as a form or works. They usually center on the knowledge of prophecies. If people believe like us, they will be saved. Churches today hold elaborate seminars to attract new members, claiming to teach everything you need to know about prophecies in a few short hours. The quicker that information is pumped into people the better. The more popular the church will become, and the better chance they will have to grow. Knowledge has been confused with the ability to teach quickly. This generation of instant everything is the perfect generation for that type of deception. Quick teaching has become the new wave sacrifice and offering. The question is, has membership also become a new form of works, or does all that excitement center in more members equals more money? When we take an honest look at the religious leaders in Jesus’ time, we can’t help but see that same mentality.
I wonder why the author mentioned the poles. Did Solomon have a longer set of poles made to carry the Ark from the tent to the temple? And I’m not sure why the poles were allowed to stick out from the curtain. When you think about it, that doesn’t sound quite right. It sounds like a new type of opening to God’s throne Solomon created with those poles.
When we go back a few chapters in the story, we see the temple was thirty feet wide. The Most Holy room was thirty feet square. If someone made those poles longer than the rooms length and width, it appears someone made a mistake. Someone forgot to measure before cutting.
I can’t be sure of this, but I always imagined the Ark was set in the Tabernacle so the long side of the Ark was seen when the high priest walked in. Not the end of the Ark, but the side. Solomon had the Ark placed in the Most Holy room with the end facing the curtain. Then there was a problem. The poles stuck out past the curtain. The poles allowed for a small opening below the poles.
It’s not as easy to find the width and length of the Most Holy room in the Tabernacle. I’ve often wondered about that. Maybe God wants us to spend a little time doing a little research on the subject. What we find is, the size of the boards or planks used to construct the walls.
“For the framework of the Tabernacle, construct frames of acacia wood. Each frame must be 15 feet high and 27 inches wide, with two pegs under each frame. Make all the frames identical. Make twenty of these frames to support the curtains on the south side of the Tabernacle. Also make forty silver bases–two bases under each frame, with the pegs fitting securely into the bases. For the north side of the Tabernacle, make another twenty frames, with their forty silver bases, two bases under each frame. Make six frames for the rear–the west side of the Tabernacle– along with two additional frames to reinforce the rear corners of the Tabernacle. These corner frames will be matched at the bottom and firmly attached at the top with a single ring, forming a single corner unit. Make both of these corner units the same way. So there will be eight frames at the rear of the Tabernacle, set in sixteen silver bases–two bases under each frame. (Exodus 26:15-25 NLTse).
From there it is a simple case of multiplication. The frames were fifteen feet high and 27 inches long. The south and north walls each used twenty planks, adding up to forty five feet. Of course that forty five feet was the dimension of the entire tent consisting of the Holy and Most Holy rooms. To find the width, we multiply the six frames used by 27 inches The Tabernacle was thirteen and a half feet wide.
We know the Tabernacle wasn’t large enough to house thirty foot long poles, and there is no indication the poles Moses had made stuck out through the curtain between the Holy and Most Holy room, We do know the poles stayed attached to the Ark. Make poles from acacia wood, and overlay them with gold. Insert the poles into the rings at the sides of the Ark to carry it. These carrying poles must stay inside the rings; never remove them. (Exodus 25:13-15 NLTse).
Why did Solomon build extra long poles to carry the Ark from David’s tent to the temple? The only reason I can think of is, to allow extra people to carry the Ark. Was carrying the Ark a sort of status symbol? Did Solomon have to make longer poles to accommodate more people who felt they had to be seen with the Ark for one reason or another? Was the Ark used for some type of political favor, behind the scene deal? If I do you a favor, you do me a favor.
We do see one lesson in this story we should pay attention to. We do know, the original poles were supposed to stay with the Ark. We also know, Solomon used a set of new poles, that didn’t fit in the temple the way they were supposed to. In this case, we are faced with a short list of missing information. We don’t know how long the original poles were, or how many Levites carried the Ark in the wilderness. What lesson do we gather from that?
It’s not unusual for people to fill in blanks whenever they find, or think information is missing in scripture. In the most serious examples, people look at a verse or two, then fill in what they consider missing. In this example, it was information about the poles used to carry the Ark. What happened to those poles? Did David use those poles to move the Ark to the tent he put up in Jerusalem, or did he make a new set? Another piece of missing information.
Do people study scripture close enough to find those missing details, then add in what they think is right, or did Solomon begin another new tradition here? I can’t imagine Solomon intended to establish such a tradition. But we do have evidence of such a trend. If nothing else, this is a sort of message, lesson, and maybe we can call it a warning, or type of obscure prophecy. We do know for a fact, some popular Bible Studies are based on one or two sentences from scripture, and a lot of so called, “worldly common sense.” We also know, we had to go back to stories about the Ark and those poles, dig deeper, look at information about the tent Moses made, and actually calculate the dimensions. It took a little bit of work, effort, and common sense, based on information and facts scattered throughout a few stories in scripture. All those stories centered on the Tabernacle. So we learned and practiced a few simple rules of context, identifying and sticking to the same subject in a study. Then expanded on the information in scripture to reach a logical conclusion.
Now we have to apply what we’ve learned and figure out how that information forms a type of protection for us. I believe the Bible is designed with a set of checks and balances to protect God’s saints from all the misleading information plaguing this world, not only in our time, but since the first words were recorded by Moses and placed in the side of the Ark.
Since those first books were written to protect Israel, we have to consider a few basic facts. The people God took out of Egypt were slaves. They didn’t have a great education system They spent their entire lives depending on someone to arrange and plan out every minute of every day, And their masters were definitely influenced by a host of false gods and idols. A group of Hollywood writers could not have created a worse set of circumstances to take a group of people out of, then introduce them to the one and only true living God, and His Laws.
Based on physical evidence, we know any form of protection God placed in His Word has to be easy to find, identify, learn, and practice. It is not some obscure, hidden, or coded sequence only higher educated magicians are able to interpret. We also know, people who were not Israelites were in that group that left Egypt. Some of them were Egyptians, and former slave owners. A small minority wanted to regain control of the people. Israel faced a threat, and needed to overcome that threat. The books Moses wrote were a part of that protection.
People from other nations joined that group that left Egypt. Egypt was a world power and took slaves from every nation they conquered. The protection God placed in His Word was designed so people with little or no knowledge about Him could quickly catch on, and appreciate that protection. No matter what nation those people came from, leaving Egypt was a blessing, and God had to gain their trust. Moses also had to gain their trust. It wasn’t long before some of the Egyptians accused Moses of taking those slaves out of Egypt to use for his own benefit. After all, Moses was next in line to the throne in Egypt, had the training to be a leader, and it didn’t take much for those Egyptians to build a case against Moses. God looked at any attack against Moses as a personal attack aimed at Himself.
The Book of Genesis began with a simple rule of context some people refer to as a Jewish style of writing. It may have been copied by later Jews, but who originated the style? God, of course. Abraham didn’t write any books. Neither did Isaac or Jacob. No one before Moses wrote any scripture. God had Moses follow a specific pattern of writing. Some information was recorded in what we refer to as the first chapter of Genesis. More information was added to following chapters. To gather all the details, the reader had no choice but to look back. One of the simple rules of context was established.
Moses repeated certain key words to establish another pattern found in all of the books God had recorded. We refer to those repeated words as the rule of repetition. Words that are the same, similar, and related. Repeated words help identify the main thought, focus on the main theme and establish links between stories from different generations.
Moses also developed a style to introduce a new story, tell the story, and sum up some of the details, or main theme at the end of every little story. Stories were divided into a series of events. Moses established the law of introductions and summations. When books for the Bible were collected and divided into chapters, scholars used that law of introductions and summations to establish the chapters modern Bibles still use today. The series of events is known as timing. Key words were often added to modern Bible translations to show that timing, or sequence of events. Some of the most popular words added to scripture are, and, then, after, and other simple words identifying a new event. First this happened. And that happened. Then this event followed. Later the king did that.
Timing is one of the most important rules of Bible Study. To understand any story in the Bible, you have to understand the series of events that led up to the scene or subject being studied, and follow through to see the results. This is all basic common sense everyone should find easy to understand. If you take one event out any story in the Bible, is it like taking a car engine apart, spreading it out over the floor, putting it back together, but leaving out a few parts. Is that engine going to run like it should? The answer is obvious. What makes people think they can leave parts out of an engine based on the assumption, if they don’t understand how the part works, they don’t need it? That explains how some people study scripture when they haven’t found, or don’t understand a few basic safely features God placed in His Word. Or course, so many people chose not to use safety belts in cars, the government told car makers to develop a idiot proof system we call air bags. But God doesn’t force His safely features on anyone.
At times Moses used rather obscure Hebrew words. Some of them had two or more meanings. The Hebrew word Moses used for the material covering the ark Noah built in Genesis chapter 6 is one example. The word pitch is used to describe a type of tar coating in Genesis chapter 6. In most other places in the Old Testament, that same Hebrew word is translated as atonement. Moses relied on the law of repetition to draw attention to that word pitch. Moses constructed a series of sentences in a rather strange manner. If you carefully read that story, you should see, there seems to be no reason to repeat that detail about pitch. It appears Moses used poor grammar in that story. In fact, the only reason Moses repeated that detail about the covering Noah used on the ark he built was to draw attention to a deeper spiritual lesson found when we take a moment to look up that Hebrew word. A lesson a lot of people miss. That is a lesson showing exactly how much we miss when we ignore the nudge God’s Spirit gives us when we take our time to study, and accept God’s Spirit as our only Teacher.
Moses also used other Hebrew words that were derived from other Hebrew words, that at times, take us on a type of spiritual journey. When we take those journeys, we can feel God’s hand guiding us. The best example I’ve found is the words rib and ribs found in Genesis chapter 2. It is a rather lengthy study to follow those two words back to their origin, but a study well worth your time. And yes, the word rib, and ribs used different Hebrew words. Again we see how Moses drew attention to that spiritual lesson by using the law of repetition.
Some people may want to dive into a deep debate on the people in Exodus. Did those people know how to read? Didn’t Moses write only one copy of those books? People want to try and figure out if Moses used a pattern to make it easier for people to remember after hearing the scriptures read to them. God did tell Moses to gather the people every year and read the law out loud to them. Then people want to debate on what the law was, and if it included the entire series of books Moses wrote. Those types of debates never get anyone anywhere. All they do is waste time. Let’s get to the meat of the matter.
Most modern Christians claim we are more advanced, have more information, and somehow, our modern way of living gives us greater insight into God’s written Word. If that’s true, this modern, advanced society should have no problem learning and using a few simple safely features God placed in His Word. If they were designed for a group of slaves to hear once a year and understand, it appears we have no excuses not to see, learn, understand, and if we use God’s law of context, teach it.