Pillars of the Land


Peter Leithart writes:

“Why so much attention to the pillars of Solomon’s temple in 2 Kings 25? It is likely that these were the last major items left. Ahaz had already dismantled the bronze sea and the water chariots. King after king plundered the temple for bribe money. When Nebuchadnezzar came, not much was left. Perhaps even the ark was among the ‘gold’ items removed earlier.” [1]

Like most things in the Temple, the bronze pillars had multiple significances. Jachin and Boaz were priest and king, church and state. Anointings took place before them. They were silent witnesses.

Being stately representations in the court (World), they represented dualities in the two levels above them. Jachin and Boaz were the public representations of the Gold Table and the Gold Lampstand hidden inside, (Table and Jachin on the north side, the side of sacrifice, etc.). As the bronze weathered to green, they also represented the two trees in the Garden of Eden, bread and wine, priest and king, obedience and rule, youth and eldership, submission and exaltation, Alpha and Omega. In this, they represented the two great cherubim in the Most Holy Place, flanking the flaming sword of the two tablets (Tablet I: church; Tablet II: state) within the fiery chariot-throne of God, the Ark.

They were also the two bronze-armoured legs of a mighty metal man, the true Goliath, the Colossal Totus Christus stretching from heaven to earth Who would one day stand on the Land and Sea, Jew and Gentile, and unite them with a word, and also call down the Covenant curses upon the Herodian “kingdom of Saul.” The Tabernacle was a mobile, flying tent. The Temple was stationary and thus had landing gear.

The Restoration Temple was bereft of these pillars. Priest and king were no longer exterior, and no longer separate. In Zechariah, the High Priest is given a kingly crown to wear. The old Table and Lampstand were united in a nation of kingly-priests, an Altar of Incense, flesh and Spirit united in resurrection. The church-state that was intended was a stately Daniel advising a Nebuchadnezzar, a Mordecai advising a Darius.

Dr. Leithart recently noticed a Creation pattern (well, de-Creation) in the description of the dismantling of the pillars. [2] It was, after all, the end of the old Eden, the two trees on the old mountain of God finally swept away in the flood; the original sanctuary made desolate because of the abominations committed by the sons of God.

He focusses on the items listed, and there is most certainly a chiastic arrangement. I’ll give it a go with the structure of the passage itself, and then step out a level to see what we find.

Firstly, we seem to find the 5 books of Moses. This is, after all, a recording of the execution of the curses of the Covenant.

The bronze pillars that were in the house of the LORD,

and the carts and the bronze Sea that were in the house of the LORD,

Leviticus – NEAR-BRINGING:
Bronze Altar-Land:
the Chaldeans broke in pieces, and carried their bronze to Babylon.
Table of Facebread: They also took away the pots, the shovels, the trimmers, the spoons, and all the bronze utensils with which the priests ministered. (ie. the stuff that sits on the surface)

Numbers – REFINING/RULERS: (Gold and Silver – Sun and Moon – Lamptand)
The firepans [fire] and the basins [blood], the things of solid gold and solid silver, the captain of the guard took away. [Lampstand: the Temple had ten lampstands made of solid gold (rulers – fire), 1 Kings 7:49, as well as lampstands of silver (armies – smoke), 1 Chron 28:15

The two pillars,
…..one Sea,
……….and the carts,
……………which Solomon had made
……….for the house of the LORD,
…..the bronze of all these articles
was beyond measure. [vapour of smoke]

The height of one pillar was eighteen cubits, and the capital on it [was] of bronze. The height of the capital was three cubits, and the network and pomegranates all around the capital were all of bronze. The second pillar was the same, with a network. (The pillars were also pictures of men. [3])

There is no stanza seven, no glory, no more Promised Land. Solomon’s kingdom was the Sabbath of a process begun in Ruth (domination of Garden and Land), yet, as a new Adam, he failed to enter into a greater Sabbath. Domination of the World was given to a kingdom that would bring forth the humble fruit God desired: a kingdom ruled by Nebuchadnezzar.

The theme of this 6-verse structure is plunder, mostly bronze. Bronze was the “outer” metal of the Tabernacle, the brown Land. Iron was the outer Gentile courts (cf. Daniel 2 for the Gentile Tabernacle within which the Restoration Jews were to be wise men/prophets). This would suggest that this section is the Step 5 of a greater structure. What do we find if we take a step out, fractally, and look at the entire chapter?

encampment (tent/veil)
……siege wall / Zedekiah (de-Ascension of head)
……….famine (un-Pentecost)
……wall broken through (see BMX p. 181-183)
king escapes between two walls
by way of the plain (no mountain of God)

Pursuit by Chaldeans (delegated authority)
Zedekiah taken to Riblah
……brought up before the king
………sons killed before eyes, eyes taken out
……bronze fetters
to Babylon

Ascension: (Holy Place constructed but not filled)
Nebuzaradan the servant
comes to Jerusalem
……Burns the houses:
……Lord’s house
………King’s house
……Great’s houses
City houses
Burned with fire (Shekinah)

Testing: (death in wilderness, new ruler mentioned repeatedly)
Chaldean army
captain of the guard (delegate)
……Jerusalem walls broken down (ascension)
………Nebuzaradan (ruler opening Law)
……multitude taken captive (plunder)
defectors separated (Atonement)
poor as vinedressers (Booths)

Which brings us to our chiasm at Maturity: Temple Plunder
Trumpets is fairly consistently plural, so the two pillars feature: priest and king dismantled instead of resurrected

Conquest: Atonement: Murder of Gedaliah

Glorification: Booths: Future of Covenant – food and shelter – of Jehoiachin in Babylon

[1] Peter J. Leithart, Pillars.
[2] Peter J. Leithart, Temple Plunder in Kings.
[3] See Pillar and Man.

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