A few days ago, a Catholic FB friend came off the 30-day Facebook snooze list. Immediately, the "fun" began again, and as I read and received attacks from his friends, all "good" Catholics, I understood what God was telling me about this week's verse. This verse was way beyond me pulling anything out of it, until I saw the reactions of these Catholics to my defense of God's Word.
Our verse is 2 Chronicles 3:16.
He made chains like a necklace and put them on the tops of the pillars, and he made a hundred pomegranates and put them on the chains.
The "he" is Solomon, and he is in the midst of building the First Temple. The ten verses previous start with the gold he used to overlay everything in it; the ten after end with overlaying other articles in bronze. A perfectly bland verse, until you start digging in. First, what about that gold?
2Ch 3:6 He adorned the house with settings of precious stones. The gold was gold of Parvaim.
And what is gold of Parvaim? Well, some say it is from Sepharvaim, a town which is also mentioned as one of the cities whose gods didn't save them from the wrath of Assyria. It was a "double named" town; on one side of the river was the city of Sipara, the other side was ancient Akkad. Some rabbis apparently claim this was a special red-hued gold. And the sanhedrin claims this was the gold Jehoiakim was talking about, which we discussed just last week:
He even boasted of his godlessness, saying, "My predecessors, Manasseh and Amon, did not know how they could make God most angry. But I speak openly; all that God gives us is light, and this we no longer need, since we have a kind of gold that shines just like the light; furthermore, God has given this gold to mankind [Ps. cxv. 16] and is not able to take it back again" (Sanh. l.c.).
In other words, the gold that the King thought was JUST AS GOOD AS GOD, so who needs Him?
Yes, I have a reason coming up to mention that.
So I got looking into the significance of the pomegranates, which were decoration on a lot of Holy things in those days. If you look on the internet, and in many historical studies, you find out that many experts conclude that this was a fertility symbol. A symbol for sex. And they even sited Solomon himself:
Eccl 3:12 A garden locked is my sister, my bride,
a spring locked, a fountain sealed.
13 Your shoots are an orchard of pomegranates
with all choicest fruits,
henna with nard,
14 nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon,
with all trees of frankincense,
myrrh and aloes,
with all choice spices—
15 a garden fountain, a well of living water,
and flowing streams from Lebanon.
And they point out the doubled pomegranates on Nebuchadnezzar's palace are symbols of this. One thing I didn't know was that we weren't talking about the fruit that we all know- we are definitely talking about the flower thereof. Remember how the Beast of Revelation's number is 666- the number of God doubled, or "man making himself God"? Well ol' Neb had a fourteen petalled flower because the actual number of petals was seven- another of God's sacred numbers. Even then, I read one "expert" that said the pomegranate was chosen ONLY because it was easier to embroider of metalwork than a rose. God's House would be full of His symbols, and the seven petal pomegranate symbolized one of His sacred numbers- the seven days of creation, the seven pairs of clean animals on the ark, and so on.
|And I thank The Temple Of Solomon: Its History And Its Structure, William Shaw Caldecott, for these|
You have to understand that, while secular experts seek to bring everything in the Bible back to "pagan roots", God originated all of it- even the pomegranates were first used as a design on the Tabernacle 1,000 years before Nebuchadnezzar, and the colors of the veil for the Holy of Holies (which the writer of Chronicles mentions two verses before ours, are the same as that which separated the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle;
Purple for the Kingship of God
Blue for the Divinity of God
Scarlet for the Blood.
(And you can think about the similarity to the verses of We Three Kings; after all, the OT IS the story of the coming of Christ.)
So finally, I looked at the pillars themselves. Again, experts point out the "Fertility pillars" were well known "phallic symbols" that all the pagan nations have; the certain implication that Solomon built the Temple from pagan influences, not some "invisible god." But regard- these pillars had NAMES:
2Ch 3:17 He set up the pillars in front of the temple, one on the south, the other on the north; that on the south he called Jachin, and that on the north Boaz.
"Ah, ha!" you say, "At least I know who Boaz is, we've done him before! But what does he have to do with it, and who's the other guy?"
Answer: Nothing and no one. The names have a very special meaning; Jachin is "He will establish", and Boaz means "By His strength". And when you see how this all fell together, you'll get the meaning.
Don't worry about the "mystery of the pillars" stuff. Just note that to get to God, you enter between the pillars "which He has established by His strength". And as you go inside, you see cherubim guarding the way to the Holy of Holies. And they are all facing towards the Holy Place. Why? Read this from Matthew Henry's commentary:
Each wing extended five cubits, so that the whole was twenty cubits (2Ch_3:12, 2Ch_3:13), which was just the breadth of the most holy place, 2Ch_3:8. They stood on their feet, as servants, their faces inward toward the ark (2Ch_3:13), that it might appear they were not set there to be adored (for then they would have been made sitting, as on a throne, and their faces towards their worshippers), but rather as themselves attendants on the invisible God. We must not worship angels, but we must worship with angels; for we have come into communion with them (Heb_12:22), and must do the will of God as the angels do it. The thought that we are worshipping him before whom the angels cover their faces will help to inspire us with reverence in all our approaches to God.
In other words again, they were arranged so as to give the MOST GLORY TO GOD.
In all our worship, we need to be God focused. One thing I have noticed, sadly, in debating Catholics is that they will go to the wall to defend their Church; but I never ever hear them say one thing about the Christ that established the church. I ask them to think for themselves, they tell me "I DO think for myself", and follow that up with, " Enough to know that we would not have been left at the mercy of self interpretation of a book." Which is basically saying, "Because I think for myself, I rely on other people to do my interpretation for me rather than ask the Holy Spirit to teach me as I ought." And so, they put the saints in front of God. They put Mary in front of God. They put the "church fathers" in front of God. Let me show you something.
Eph 2:11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called "the uncircumcision" by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands--
Eph 2:12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
Eph 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
Eph 2:14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility
Eph 2:15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace,
Eph 2:16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.
Back in Old Testament days, you the worshipper were separated from the Holy Place by a 60-foot high, thick woven veil- the one Solomon commissions in 3:14. When Jesus died on the Cross, that heavy veil was torn, TOP TO BOTTOM, not by human hands but by God, to symbolize that there is now nothing between us and God save for Christ. We don't need to ask a priest, or a saint, or Mary, to go to Jesus for us. Jesus established that way by His strength, and won our admittance by His blood.
Father, I ask of You that we try to seek You- to not be afraid of You, or seek someone to hide behind. You promised us a Messiah- and You Delivered. You promised us the Comforter, who would come and teach us all things- and You Delivered. Open our eyes, that we not be held back by old wives tales and idols that Satan erects to pull us aside. Open the eyes of those who hate your word, have lost sight of the Creator and worship the creation. I WILL NOT FEAR MEN. The battle is yours. In Jesus' name, Amen.