Renaissance sculptor Lorenzo Ghiberti designed special bronze doors for a cathedral in Florence, Italy. Called the “Gates of Paradise,” they stand 17 feet high and weigh 4.5 tons. Artistically, they feature ten richly detailed panels depicting stories from the Old Testament, including Moses receiving the Law and the Israelites’ conquest of Jericho. It took Ghiberti and his workers 27 years to create these amazing doors!
No doubt the doors of Solomon’s temple were equally impressive. After all, Solomon was king during the golden age of Israel. God had promised his father David that his son would build a magnificent temple for the Lord. David had gathered the very best construction and artistic materials, including cedar and gold, for him to work with. The designs of the tabernacle and the temple were essentially the same, with the Most Holy Place at the center. Like the tabernacle, the temple was the national worship center and symbolized God’s presence. The building project, which took seven years in all (v. 38), was the perfect occasion for God to renew His covenant (vv. 11–13).
The doors of the temple are described in verses 31–35. The door to the inner sanctuary was made of olive wood and decorated with cherubim, flowers, and palm trees, overlaid with gold leaf. These may have been folding doors, similar to the ones Ezekiel saw in his vision (Ezek. 41:23–25). The door to the main hall was made of juniper and decorated with gold- covered carvings, intended to suggest paradise or the Garden of Eden. Why? As the NIV Study Bible explains: “In a symbolic sense, readmission to the paradise of God is now to be had only by means of atonement for sin at the sanctuary.”
>> Since a picture is worth a thousand words, why not look up a drawing of Solomon’s temple? Using biblical descriptions, illustrators have been able to accurately depict its grandeur.
Moody undergraduate students will travel across the country and world as their spring break begins today. Some are serving in ministry, while others rest at home, spending time with family. Our students will be grateful for your prayers.