As in several other places, 1 Chronicles 29 gives us a description of the temple that Solomon was to build. Here is a portion of it:
“So I have provided for the house of my God, so far as I was able, the gold for the things of gold, the silver for the things of silver, and the bronze for the things of bronze, the iron for the things of iron, and wood for the things of wood, besides great quantities of onyx and stones for setting, antimony, colored stones, all sorts of precious stones and marble. Moreover, in addition to all that I have provided for the holy house, I have a treasure of my own of gold and silver, and because of my devotion to the house of my God I give it to the house of my God: 3,000 talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and 7,000 talents of refined silver, for overlaying the walls of the house, and for all the work to be done by craftsmen, gold for the things of gold and silver for the things of silver… They gave for the service of the house of God: 5,000 talents and 10,000 darics of gold, 10,000 talents of silver, 18,000 talents of bronze and 100,000 talents of iron. And whoever had precious stones gave them to the treasury of the house of the Lord…”
The temple of God was beautiful. It was crafted with only the finest of materials, and I would venture to say it was probably the most beautiful and expensive piece of architecture in its day. I imagine the most magnificent of church buildings today are but cottages in comparison to this temple.
However, one of the best things we can do when we read passages like this that describe the splendor of the house of God is to not look to the temple Solomon built. The temple was the place where the Israelites went to meet with God. In this way, we can say that Jesus is a better temple. In the new covenant, we meet with God in Christ. In Jesus is where we are united to God. As beautiful as the temple was, it was but a shadow of the magnificence of Christ. Jesus is beautiful to the eye of the believer. He sparkles brighter than every precious metal and jewel combined. Christ is more valuable than mountains of gold. Christ dazzles not just the eyes, but also the heart of the Christian. Jesus is more beautiful. The temple points us to Christ.
When the wood is mentioned as one of the materials used in the building of the temple, I cannot help but think of the wooden cross Jesus carried and was nailed to. That is not insignificant, because it is there that Christ becomes beautiful to the saint. In His agonizing on the wooden cross, drenched in blood, the scales on our eyes fall to the ground as beauty shines forth into our hearts. To His suffering we look and see magnificence. To His pain we look and see glory. To His cross we look and see Jesus as more beautiful than diamonds and more precious than gold. So read these texts about the temple and gaze toward the beauty of Christ – a better temple.