I’ve been contemplating for a little while now the ways that God displayed the characteristics of Christ prior to his coming. While there are many types of Christ in the Old Testament the ones that have been catching my attention the most during my devotions are the kings and Solomon.
When the kings were corrupt God would punish all of Israel and thus the welfare of the people was determined by the faithfulness of the king. So God was teaching His people that there are representatives and the amount of faithfulness of our representative determines the amount of blessings the people receive. Throughout my readings of Samuel, Kings and Chronicles I have not yet seen a time when the people of Israel were faithful but the king of Israel was unfaithful. At every new era of kingship the people are faithless with a faithless king or they are faithless and a faithful king comes and conforms them to some form of faithfulness (at least in appearances and practice – not necessarily in heart). I see a very clear connection to Christ in all of this: we are faithless Israel who are made faithful by our king who not only conforms our appearance to faithfulness but also being the superior King he changes our hearts to be fully faithful (although perfection in faithfulness comes in the new age to come). I thank God for our King, the Lord Jesus!
Secondly, I’ve been considering Solomon and the parallels between him and Christ. According to the IVSB Encyclopedia the name Solomon has the root meaning “peace”, and we know from scripture that Solomon’s other name was Jedidiah (beloved of the Lord) because scripture says that the Lord loved him (2 Sam 12:14). So far we have a king of peace who is loved by God. When David wanted to build a house for God in 2 Sam. 7 the Lord forbid him and told him that his son would build a house for him. Solomon built a house for God made out of precious metals and it took him 7 years to do it with the help of fine craftsmen. So now we have a king of peace who is loved by God and builds a house for God. Then we see that Solomon was given great wisdom and was the wisest and most powerful man on the earth to whom everyone sought for truth. At this point we have a king of peace whose reign is uncontested in wisdom, glory and power, who is loved by God and builds a house for God. If someone were to describe such a person to me the first thing I would immediately think is, “of course you mean Jesus!”. Jesus is the beloved son of God, the son of David, his reign is uncontested in wisdom, glory and power, and he builds the true house of God – the church (2 Pet. 2:5). Of course there are more parallels between Christ and Solomon but the ones I just mentioned are the ones that are standing out most strikingly to me today.
What I find interesting is that God allowed Solomon to prefigure Christ in a plethora of ways but yet also to be an example of unrepentant rebellious foolishness. Here’s Solomon’s decline as I see it:
Solomon builds the house of God and his house, displaying that he loves himself more than God:
God’s House: Solomon’s House:
7 years 13 years 6 years more!!
30 cubits high 30 cubits high
60 cubits long 100 cubits long almost twice as long!!
20 cubits wide 50 cubits wide more than twice as wide!!
Solomon broke every command God had given through Moses to the kings about what not to do in Deut. 17:
1) Don’t accumulate many horses (he had thousands)
2) Don’t have many wives because they will lead you astray (700 wives, 300 concubines – many of which being the ones that God commanded Israelites not to marry)
3) Don’t accumulate much gold or silver (richest man ever – he should have been distributing those riches rather than hoarding them)
Solomon even goes so far as to treat God’s land and Israel’s inheritance as something to be bartered and traded when he gives 20 cities from Galilee to Hiram the king of Tyre.
Solomon then fully turns away from God (1 Kings 11:4) and when God decrees that another man shall be king he goes so far as to pull a Saul and tries to kill the man (1 Kings 11:40)!! How far Solomon, as a man who exemplified so many characteristics of Christ, had fallen. He had even become so blinded by his own sin that he tried to prevent the Lord from raising up another king by attempting to kill him (and failing of course).
All of this to say that it doesn’t really matter how much we accomplish for God or even if God uses us in amazing ways that He will never use anyone else again in the same way… Unless our hearts are wholly for God through Christ we are totally without hope in this world.