Tim Moore: Our Christ in Prophecy series titled “Jesus in the Old Testament” seeks out the types, symbols, and actual Christophanies in each of the books of the Old Testament that point to Jesus Christ. In 1 Kings, we see the Messianic promises God gave to King David that would assure he would always have an heir on the throne of Israel, with the ultimate heir being Jesus Christ. Can other types be found in 1 Kings?
The Temple as a Type
Nathan Jones: Let’s go to chapter 1 Kings 5. This chapter begins to tell us about the big project that will consume Solomon’s life — the building of the Temple. Remember that Solomon’s father, David, had longed to build the Temple. That was David’s passion. He wanted to get the Ark of the Covenant moved out of a tent and given its proper honor in a temple. But, God said, “David, your hands are just covered in blood. You are a man of blood. It is not appropriate for you to build my temple.”
Downcast but not dispirited, David established peace by subjugating Israel’s enemies and fostered all of the political connections so that when it came Solomon’s time to build he wouldn’t have to spend his time and money worrying about war. Solomon made an agreement with the king of Tyre to secure the cedars of Lebanon. They floated them down to Joppa and then carted them up to Jerusalem to build the Temple.
It can be kind of hard reading through some of the chapters that explain the measurements and building processes. But, if you want to identify a typology of the kingdom of God, especially the throne room of God, then the Temple is just a little model of what the actual Temple of God will look like during the Millennial Kingdom, and even bigger, the New Jerusalem in the Eternal State. The Temple is, in truth, laid out in miniature to the exact layout and dimensions as God’s throneroom in Heaven!
Once Solomon is done building the Temple, that’s when the Shekinah Glory of God arrives. We read about this in 1 Kings 8:10-13.
“And it came to pass, when the priests came out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord.”
This cloud is in truth the Shekinah Glory of God! Remember when the Israelites wandered during the Exodus, how they were led by a pillar of fire at night, which provided light and warmth, and during the day a cloud, which provided direction and shade? That was the very Shekinah Glory of God which in Solomon’s time comes to rest in the Temple. Tragically, as we make our way through both Kings and Chronicles, we’ll see the Shekinah Glory eventually leave the Temple. But, during those years when the people would say, “Jerusalem cannot fall because God dwells there,” well, He literally did. The Holy Spirit dwelled inside the Holy of Holies.
The Still Small Voice
Tim Moore: Another example of finding the pre-incarnate Jesus in the Old Testament is almost counterintuitive. It’s the story of when Jesus appears and speaks to Elijah.
Christians tend to look at Elijah as a great prophet, and he was. But, he was human, and at one point Elijah had become very discouraged. He went from the mountain-top experience, both physically and spiritually, down into the valley. He fled from Jezebel after God’s great victory over the prophets of Baal and then threw himself a pity party. He was feeling sorry for himself moaning, “I’m the only one left.”
The Lord showed up! He called out to Elijah and several cataclysmic things happened. There was an earthquake, a fire, and a great whirlwind. But, the Lord was not in any of those. He could not be found in the cacophony and the chaos. Instead, as we read in 1 Kings 19:11-18, the Lord came and spoke to the prophet in a still small voice.
I think this appearance has great application for us today. Sometimes our lives are so filled with clamor and chaos and constant noise that we don’t have the ability to hear the still small voice of God. That’s why it is so important that we take the time to dig into God’s Word and let His Holy Spirit speak to us. Shut off the TV and all of the other noise and just listen to the Lord.
Nathan Jones: It’s interesting to look at the Israelites during the Exodus. When they camped around Mt. Sinai, Moses was like, “Hey, let’s go up to Mt. Sinai and we’re going to speak to God.” And, they were like: “No way! We don’t want to.” Why? Because they cried out that doing so was terrifying. The same Shekinah Glory of God had covered over Sinai with a great lightning storm. The Israelites heard this mighty rumbling and knew it had to be the very voice of God, and that terrified the people. That was just God’s normal speaking voice!
So powerful is God’s presence that when mankind must interact with Him directly that He speaks gently in a still small voice that the prophets and the kings would hear from time to time. Now, for us in the Church Age, we’ve got the Bible and the direction of the Holy Spirit inside of us. Some Christians claim they have heard God’s still small voice. I’ve had my heart moved when I’ve read Scripture, but I can honestly say I’ve never heard the voice of God talk to me. But, some people have experienced that.
Can you imagine if we heard God as He normally speaks? I think that is why we haven’t been subject to seeing the Father directly yet. Remember Moses when he wanted to see God, and God was like, “You’ll die if you see Me, so you can only see My back.” Well, Moses ended up dying anyway! So, I don’t think these earthly bodies are capable of standing before the Father. It’d be like standing before a nuclear furnace. Instead, He approaches us as the Son, and in the Old Testament the pre-incarnate Jesus, through that still small voice.
Tim Moore: To minimize the contact in that day and age, God would speak only through the prophets who revealed the Word of the Lord and who declared, “Thus saith the Lord.”
The Lonely Prophets
Tim Moore: Consider Ahab, one of the evilest kings up to that point in Israel’s history, how he actually decried Elijah. He didn’t want to hear from Elijah. And, again, in 1 Kings 22:8, Ahab is talking about another prophet named Micaiah. He says, “So the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, ‘There is still one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the Lord; but I hate him, because he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil.'” Ahab calls Elijah at another point a “troubler of Israel.”
These prophets were given God’s insights that were to be revealed to the kings and to the people, whether they wanted to hear God’s message or not. And yet, the prophets at times found themselves feeling very isolated and alone.
This reminds me of Michael Collins, a man who was arguably the loneliest man in the universe in July 1969. As Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin descended to land on the moon and walk on its surface, Collins orbited all by himself. Whenever his Apollo 11 Command Module would pass behind the moon, he was unable to communicate with his fellow astronauts or Mission Control back on earth, for 45 minutes each orbit.
That same year, Three Dog Night hit #5 on the Billboard chart singing, “One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever know.” Their theology is not far off, because God also said, “It is not good for man to be alone.” Throughout time, although some people prefer periods of solitude to crowded clamor, the thought of being truly alone can be overwhelming.
Immediately after his battle with the prophets of Baal, Elijah should have been on a spiritual high to match his location on Mount Carmel. Instead, he allowed fear to overwhelm him — fear of Jezebel’s retaliation and fury, fear of rejection by the same people who had just been awed into recognition of the living God, fear of being alone.
As he fled down the mountain, he descended into a pit of despair much deeper and more sinister even than the one from the movie The Princess Bride. Elijah held his own pity party and complained to God in 1 Kings 19: “I have been very zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenants, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.”
Aside from the pitiful suddenness of his discouragement on the heels of a great spiritual victory, Elijah’s candor should strike a chord in each of us. We’ve said it many times before — left to our own devices we are “prone to wander, prone to leave the God we love.” And, even as we encounter mountaintop moments, the reality is that we will eventually pass through other valleys.
The song I just cited appeals to God to take our hearts and seal them for His courts above. He has already done that if we’ve put our trust in Jesus Christ. But, He has also commanded us to unite with other believers instead of just going it alone. Just as fighter aircraft always fly in formations of two or more for what they call “mutual support,” we also need the mutual support and encouragement of brothers and sisters in Christ. And, if you assert that you are good right now, I can promise you that someone nearby is hurting and could use your support and encouragement.
God told Elijah that He had preserved 7,000 in Israel who had not bowed to Baal. As the world grows darker around us, He will preserve a remnant who remains faithful to Him. Do not forsake the gathering together with other followers of Christ for encouragement, accountability, and admonition. Christians need each other!