.. -exilic times. These assumptions are based upon the fact that there are two words that are rendered incense, one of which is frankincense. Some controversy still arises because of the passage from the Law of Holiness about the shewbread. It is said that frankincense is to be placed alongside the shewbread on the table of shewbread. This seems to imply that there was only one table.

Also, in a later age, there is a Brazen Serpent that stood in the Temple. There is no specific information that tells when it was brought into the Temple, but there is an account given of its making in the Wilderness period, where Moses is said to have been responsible for its creation. The hekal, the Holy Place, led directly into the debir, the Holy of Holies. This inner sanctuary was a perfect cube, which was 20 cubits in length, width, and height. The entrance of the Holy of Holies was closed with folding doors.

No light would have entered into this chamber except when the doors were open, which would have been only rarely because God declared that he would live in darkness. In the inner sanctuary, Solomon made two cherubim of olivewood, each ten cubits high. Five cubits was the length to the tip of each of the wings. Both cherubim had the same measure and the same form. The height of both cherubim was ten cubits.

The wings of the cherubim were spread out so that a wing of one touched the one wall, and a wing of the other cherub touched the other wall; their other wings touched each other in the middle of the house. One other indication of the position of the cherubim is preserved where it is clearly stated that the wings covered the ark and its poles. The cherubim were overlaid with gold. Also within the Holy of Holies was the Ark of the Covenant. The ark was essentially the backbone of the Temple.

The ark set Solomons Temple apart from every other temple or shrine because it was where the presence of God was deemed to be. I Chronicles 22 says that the Temple was built to house the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord and the holy vessels of God and to be the sanctuary of the Lord God. The ark remained in its place in the Temple of Jerusalem for more than three hundred years. There is not mention of the ark in connection with the sack of the Temple by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. Very probably, it had been removed beforehand, in hopes that it might be concealed in some safe place.

But, there is no known evidence to the whereabouts of the ark at this time. Solomon lined the walls of the house on the inside with boards of cedar, and he covered the floor of the house with boards of cypress. The floor was overlaid with gold in the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. For the entrance to the inner sanctuary, he made doors of olivewood; the lintel and the doorposts formed a pentagon. Solomon overlaid these doors with gold.

He made the doorposts to entrance into the Holy Place out of olivewood, in the form of a square, and two doors of cypress wood. Solomon overlaid these with gold. And in the eleventh year, the House of God was finished in all its parts, according to all its specifications. The Downfall of the Temple Even with all of Solomons wisdom, he failed to heed the counsel of God and of his father David. He, in the course of time, excelled his fathers love of women by accumulating 700 wives and 300 concubines. Solomons wives turned his heart away from God. Because of his foreign wives, Solomon built many shrines to other gods than Yahweh. The Lord became very angry with him and told him that because he had turned his heart away, He was going to take the kingdom from him and give it to his servant. But, for the sake of David, God would not do it in Solomons days, but in the days of his son.

God also told him that he would leave only one tribe to his sonjust for the sake of David and Jerusalem. After Solomons death, his son Rehoboam became the king of Israel. In the fifth year of his reign, God raised up an adversary against him who plundered the Temple. The Temple then continued to decline in wealth, splendor and importance over the next 367 years. Solomons Temple was completely destroyed by the Babylonians lead by King Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C.

The Temple only stood for 374 years. After the destruction of the Temple the rains dried up and the fruits of the trees lost their taste and no longer gave nourishment. Up until the time of its destruction, Solomons Temple had achieved a stature that greatly exceeded that of any of the previous temples. It was known to be the most glorious temple in all of Israel, and it became one of the cornerstones of biblical religion. But because of the people turning their backs on God, the Temple was destroyed and the Israelites were again taken captive.

Conclusion Solomons Temple was built to meet the limitations and needs of Gods people. It represented the believers assurance of the grace of God for their joy and blessing. The Temple was to be a memorial to Israel to turn her heart away from the idols of the surrounding nations. The Temple would provide for them an incentive not to practice evil things. But, as we see from the actions of His people, the story of Solomons Temple serves the purpose of, once again, showing us that if we turn our backs on Him we will be punished.

From the history of the Temple, to its lavish structure, to the Temples complete destruction, we can take home more than just the facts, but also a lesson. Which is simply, as the D author would say, Worship Only Yahweh! Bibliography REFERENCES Gutmann, Joseph. (1976) The Temple of Solomon: Archaeological Fact and Medieval Tradition in Christian, Islamic and Jewish Art. (Scholars Press, Missoula, MO). Haran, Menahem.

(1978) Temples and Temple-Service in Ancient Israel. (Oxford University Press, Oxford). Parrot, Andre. (1955) The Temple of Jerusalem. (Philosophical Library, INC., NY). Rowley, H.H. (1976) Worship in Ancient Israel: Its Forms and Meaning. (S.P.C.K., London).

Vilnay, Zev. (1973) Legends of Jerusalem. (The Jewish Publication Society of America, Philadelphia).