1 Kings 8:11 ‘For the glory of Jehovah filled the house of Jehovah.’
This Week’s Focus Passage: 1 Kings 8:11
‘For the glory of Jehovah filled the house of Jehovah.’
In the process of erecting the Tabernacle of the Tent of meeting, according to Exodus, chapter 40, we are there informed that Moses was carefully following all the instructions given to him by Jehovah. In fact, one of the notable expressions in the Older Testament, and one that is a recurring theme and statement, is that found over and again, in the Pentateuch; the ‘Books of Moses, the man of God.’ That statement referred to, and found often as the beginning of a new pericope, not to say, chapter, is, And Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying. This statement is, in point of fact, that which begins the 40th chapter of Exodus. Directions are given to Moses, and in verses 17-19, to ‘rear up’ the Tabernacle. The conclusion, found at the end of verse 19, is, not surprisingly, the words, as Jehovah commanded Moses. We go on:
And he took and put the testimony into the ark, and set the staves on the ark, and put the mercy-seat above upon the ark: and he brought the ark into the tabernacle, and set up the veil of the screen, and screened the ark of the testimony; as Jehovah commanded Moses. And he put the table in the tent of meeting, upon the side of the tabernacle northward, without the veil. And he set the bread in order upon it before Jehovah; as Jehovah commanded Moses. And he put the candlestick in the tent of meeting, over against the table, on the side of the tabernacle southward. And he lighted the lamps before Jehovah; as Jehovah commanded Moses.
We may continue reading these verses 26-32, where all things are being done as Jehovah commanded Moses, until we arrive at verse 33, where we are informed, that Moses then, reared up the court round about the tabernacle and the altar, and set up the screen of the gate of the court. So Moses finished the work—vs. 33.
All things had been done as the Lord had instructed Moses. It was finished. Then what was it that followed? What took place after the work was finished?
Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of Jehovah filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of meeting, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of Jehovah filled the tabernacle. And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward, throughout all their journeys: but if the cloud was not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of Jehovah was upon the tabernacle by day, and there was fire therein by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys—Exodus 40:34-38. This concludes the book of Exodus.
In his comments upon this Exodus pericope, George Bush (not the president born in New Haven, CT, 1946, but the biblical scholar born in Norwich, VT, 1796), has written of vs. 34, “Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, Rather, according to the Hebrew literally translated, ‘the cloud’ that is, the cloudy pillar, or cloud of the Shekinah, which had previously abode for many weeks on the summit of the mountain, and which subsequently descended on Moses’ tent and stood before the door of it, as mentioned, chap. 33.9. This sublime cloud now removed from its former station and stood at first not only over, but around the tabernacle, completely covering or enwrapping it in its somber folds while inner unseen Glory, after first filling the outer room, entered and took its station in the Most Holy Place between the cherubim. The Glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.” This cloud, or Shekinah is defined by JewishEncyclopedia.com as being, “The majestic presence or manifestation of God which has descended to dwell ‘among men.’
This is all according to the promise given to Moses, by Jehovah, Exodus 25:21-22, when He spoke, saying to His faithful servant:
And thou shalt put the mercy-seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee. And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy-seat, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.
So we witness that this cloud; this Shekinah, is a glorious representation, or symbol, of the presence of Jehovah with His people. Indeed, is it not precisely, “The majestic presence or manifestation of God which has descended to dwell ‘among men?’
This event was duplicated at the dedication of the temple, by Solomon, in our focus passage. 1 Kings 8:6, says, the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of Jehovah unto its place, into the oracle of the house, to the most holy place. The result is provided in vss. 10-11, And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of Jehovah, so that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud; for the glory of Jehovah filled the house of Jehovah. Again, as in Ex. 40, the Shekinah glory of Jehovah is presented. And, is this not, once again, “The majestic presence or manifestation of God which has descended to dwell ‘among men?’
Was this not the discovery also, that we read of, in Matthew 17:5? While he [Peter] was yet speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold, a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. Has not Peter’s fellow apostle, John, made it known to us, in the book under his name, and, famously, in 1:14, where he wrote, And the word became flesh, and dwelt [tabernacled] among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth? Was John, almost certainly, here referring to the Transfiguration? He became flesh and tabernacled ‘among us.’ This is almost the same language as, ‘among men,’ employed by Jewish Encyclopedia. And theirs is a beautiful description of the Christ spoken of by John. And is not Jesus Christ, “The majestic presence or manifestation of God which has descended to dwell ‘among men?’ Is Jesus not the very poignant answer to the prayer of Solomon?
But will God in very deed dwell on the earth? behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded! Yet have thou respect unto the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplication, O Jehovah my God, to hearken unto the cry and to the prayer which thy servant prayeth toward thee this day; that thine eyes may be open toward this house night and day, even toward the place whereof thou hast said, My name shall be there; to hearken unto the prayer which thy servant shall pray toward this place—1 Kings 8:27-29
Solomon teaches us that transcendence does not destroy intimacy. Does this not speak of ‘transcendence and immanence?’ and did not transcendence and immanence come together in Jesus Christ? ‘The end began when the Beginning came.’ The One who is everywhere, omnipresent, is immanent, as Immanuel, God with us. In this, ‘Yahweh is transcendent, yet available.’—Dale Ralph Davis.
David Farmer, elder
Fellowship Bible Church
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