Pillar of the church
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 (NIVUK)
Are you a pillar of the church? Be careful before you answer because as the old joke goes ‘A pillar is something that obstructs the view of others and holds everything up.’
In Solomon’s Temple there were two large bronze pillars that stood on either side of the entrance. They were about 27 feet high, and about 18 feet round. Interestingly both pillars were given names: Jakin and Boaz. According to the margin of the NIV, Jakin ‘probably means he establishes’ and Boaz ‘probably means in him is strength’.
Taken together the names of these pillars contain a very important message which makes a powerful declaration: ‘By his strength…God will establish’. As the people passed through these pillars, they would be reminded that God is the one who establishes and strengthens anything we do. It’s so important for the Christian church today to remember that we do not establish our own work or ministries, nor do we serve the Lord in our strength: God is our foundation and support and ‘Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labour in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.’ (Ps.127:1).
There is something else of significance for the church about these pillars: the capitals on top were in the shape of lilies (v.22). A lily is frequently used in the Song of Solomon emphasising its role in the romance between the bridegroom and the bride, for example: ‘Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the young women.’ (Song of Solomon 2:2).
And the apostle Paul remarked, ‘Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her’ (Ephesians 5:25), of which the love between a man and his wife is a type (v.32).
All of this tells us that God in Christ is the Pillar of the spiritual Temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16). The pillars that once stood at Solomon’s Temple continue to show us that God not only establishes and strengthens the church and its work, but he loves the church with a passion, and is kind, merciful and gracious to us.
Father, thank you for Jesus, the pillar of the household of God. We don’t want to obstruct or hold up what Jesus is doing, so help us to participate with him so that the church can move forward. In Jesus’s name we pray, Amen.
Study by Barry Robinson
About the writer:
Barry Robinson is a minister in Grace Communion International and Regional Pastor for Southern England.
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