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Solomon’s Life as a Type of Christ in 1 Kings

17 Nov

Read 1 Kings 1-11

In the glory days of Israel, King Solomon stood out. Although his father, David was revered as the best king, unlike David’s reign, Solomon’s reign knew mostly peace. He was also the wealthiest king, and the wisest man who ever lived, apart from Christ. We will look at the ways that the whole life of Solomon pre-figured Christ, both by similarities and contrasts.

Solomon was the King of Israel. Then Solomon sat on the throne of his father David; and his kingdom was firmly established.” 1 Kings 2:12

Jesus Christ is the King of Kings. “And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” Rev. 19:16

Solomon’s kingdom knew a time of unprecedented peace. This peaceful reign foreshadowed the time of peace that will never end.1 Kings 4:24,25

This time of peace eventually ended. See 1 Kings 11:14,23,26 but Christ’s reign will know no end. Christ is the Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6,7

Solomon was rich, with yearly tax revenue equalling 39,960 pounds of gold. 1 Kings 10:14 (See all of 1 Kings 10 ) He had an opulent palace and many building projects, the pinnacle of which was Solomon’s temple. Read 1 Kings 6:14-22

But Jesus Christ is rich, without taxing His people. “For every beast of the forest is Mine, And the cattle on a thousand hills.” Psalm 50:9-11 Psalm 50:11-13

He is the maker and owner of all things. Thus says the LORD: Isa. 66:1-3 And He owns the gold and silver in every mine.Hagg.2:8

Yet, Jesus laid aside His glory and riches for our sake. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.” 2 Cor. 8:8-10 In what sense did He become poor? On earth, He was homeless, had only one piece of clothing worth anything, and had no possessions. He owned no property and carried no cash. He even paid His taxes in an unusual way.  “Nevertheless, lest we offend them, go to the sea, cast in a hook, and take the fish that comes up first. And when you have opened its mouth, you will find a piece of money; take that and give it to them for Me and you.”Matthew 17:27

When the Queen of Sheba came to investigate the rumours about Solomon’s wisdom and wealth, she exclaimed,   “It was a true report which I heard in my own land about your words and your wisdom. However I did not believe the words until I came and saw with my own eyes; and indeed the half was not told me. Your wisdom and prosperity exceed the fame of which I heard! 1 Kings 10:6,7” We cannot begin to imagine how amazing Heaven will be.

She said his servants were blessed to see his face and hear his righteous judgments. “Happy are your men and happy are these your servants, who stand continually before you and hear your wisdom! Blessed be the Lord your God, who delighted in you, setting you on the throne of Israel! Because the Lord has loved Israel forever, therefore He made you king, to do justice and righteousness.” 1 Kings 10:8,9

Even more so, the servants of Christ are blessed to read His words and serve Him. God is praised because He delighted in His Son and was pleased to set Him on the throne of the universe, to do justice and righteousness. One day, we will see Him face to face, hear His voice, and serve Him without weariness or sin.  And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads.” Rev.22:3.4

Solomon received wisdom from God so that he could lead Israel. One case in particular stands out. Read 1 Kings 3:16-28 Two women and one live baby that they both claimed was theirs. Solomon’s decision revealed the true mother.  And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had rendered; and they feared the king, for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him to administer justice.” 1 Kings 3:28

Jesus teaching was unlike any other. He spoke with authorityAnd so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.”Matt.7:28,29 He forgave sin. He passed judgment. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her,’Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?’She said, ‘No one, Lord.’And Jesus said to her, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.’” Matt. 8:10,11

When questioned about paying taxes, And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’ And they marveled at Him.” Mark 12:17

When Solomon ascended to the throne, he destroyed his enemies; Adonijah, Abiathar, Joab and Shimei.

Adonijah, his brother, for his attempted coup. 1 Kings 1:5 The King would not tolerate rivals.

Abiathar, the priest, was exiled, because he supported Adonijah’s grab for the throne. 1 Kings 1:7  1 Kings 2:26,27

Joab was executed for his support of Adonijah  (1 Kings 1:7) and for his peacetime murder of two generals.1 Kings 2:5,6 1 Kings 2:31-33

Shimei was exiled, and later executed for breaking the terms of his exile. His crime is found in 2 Samuel 16:5-131 Kings 2:44-46

In relation to Shimei, Solomon showed mercy by not destroying him right away and by warning him. Christ, in relation to sinners does not always punish right away, and shows mercy by warning them of coming punishment.

Thus Solomon’s kingdom was established when he put away his mortal enemies. Likewise, when we acknowledge the Kingship of Jesus Christ, we put him first. There is nothing we want more. We seek His kingdom first.But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

Christ also ascended to Heaven, and is seated at the right hand of Majesty on high, having destroyed the power of the grave and hell forever.

 “ ‘O Death, where is your sting?]O Hades, where is your victory?’[The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Cor. 15:55-57

For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.” 1 Cor. 15:25,26

“He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” 1 John 3:8

“I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.” Rev. 1:18

Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,  and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” Heb. 2:14,15

By destroying his enemies, Solomon did not tolerate threats to his reign or false claims to his throne. Likewise, Our God is a jealous God and He will not give His glory to another. He is the Only One worthy to sit on the throne and judge the nations.

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: ’Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!’” Rev.5:12,13

Solomon built a magnificent temple, seven years in the making, with many objects made of marble and overlaid with gold. It was one of the wonders of the ancient world.

Jesus Christ has been preparing a place for us in Heaven for 2,000 years! How awesome will that be? We will walk through gates of pearl, stroll on streets of gold, and live in a city whose foundations are made of precious stones.  Rev.21 and 22

In My Father’s house are many mansions if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” John 14:2,3

After Solomon finished building the temple, during the dedication, God Himself came to dwell in it. “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.” 1 Kings 8:10,11

Likewise, God ‘tabernacled’, or pitched His tent among us, when Christ took on flesh and lived among us. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

But even more glorious, will be the day when we will be in the presence of God in Heaven, seeing His face, enjoying unbroken fellowship with Him.“”And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.  And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.’” Rev. 21:3, 4

In the book of Song of Solomon, the king is a lover. Christ is the lover of our souls. The king is the fairest of ten thousand. Jesus is the name above every name.

“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,  and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11

The lover sees his bride as perfect and beautiful. “You are all fair, my love, And there is no spot in you.” Song of Solomon 4:7 Christ sees His bride that way as well. “…that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” Ephesians 5:27

Solomon had a legitimate claim to the throne as the son of David. Also, it is significant that he was a child conceived after David married Bathsheba, so no one could say Solomon was illegitimate. Adonijah was the eldest, so he assumed  he was next in line for the throne. However, God had promised that David’s son, Solomon would sit on the throne. “Behold, a son shall be born to you, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies all around. His name shall be Solomon,for I will give peace and quietness to Israel in his days.  He shall build a house for My name, and he shall be My son, and I will be his Father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.’” 1 Chronicles 22:9,10

Jesus Christ also has a legitimate claim to the throne of David and the throne of the universe. If you look at the genealogies you’ll see He is in the family line of David. But as the Son of God He has the right to sit on the throne of Heaven.“For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself:‘The Lord said to my Lord,‘Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.’” Acts 2:34,35

Solomon did not remain true to the end. For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and did not fully follow the Lord, as did his father David.Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, on the hill that is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the abomination of the people of Ammon.And he did likewise for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.”1 Kings 11:4-8 A true tragedy. It started early with his political marriages to unbelievers. Spiritual change always happens little by little. Mark Dever says, “A small difference in trajectory can make a big difference in destination.”

Yet Christ is called “Faithful and True” Rev.19:11 He is also, “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” John 14:6 He finished the work the Father gave him to do and did not shrink back from it.

Solomon’s house and temple were magnificent, but they were eventually ransacked, rebuilt and eventually destroyed. His glory was temporary. He reigned only 40 years, then went the way of all the earth. 1 Kings 11:42,43

But Christ’s glory is eternal and His reign will know no end. “And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: ‘Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne,
And to the Lamb, forever and ever!’”
Rev.5:13

Epitaph

So what happened to Solomon? Can we expect to see him in Heaven one day?

I believe there is reason to be hopeful for several reasons.

First, God showed mercy in the midst of judgment. Divine judgement was deferred.“Therefore the Lord said to Solomon, “Because you have done this, and have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant.Nevertheless I will not do it in your days, for the sake of your father David; I will tear it out of the hand of your son.However I will not tear away the whole kingdom; I will give one tribe to your son for the sake of My servant David, and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen.” 1 Kings 11:11-13 However I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand, because I have made him ruler all the days of his life for the sake of My servant David, whom I chose because he kept My commandments and My statutes.” 1 Kings 11:34

God promised that He would discipline David’s son but not cast him off forever, as he did Saul.

 “’When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men.But My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.’”2 Sam 7:12-16

If the book of Ecclesiastes is any indication of his mindset, he seemed to “get it” in the end.

“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil.”
Ecc. 12:13,14

In the book, King Solomon: The Temptations of Money, Sex and Power, Phillip Graham Ryken concludes, “Solomon was one of the greatest men who ever lived. He came from noble birth, heir to the world’s most famous dynasty. He was the king of Israel. He had a powerful army and cavalry, but never needed to use it as he ruled during a golden age of peace. During Solomon’s reign the kingdom grew to its widest expanse.  He had riches beyond compare. He was a famous builder. His temple in Jerusalem was one of the wonders of the ancient world. He was an accomplished naturalist and a learned scholar, a brilliant poet and philosopher. He was a man of prayer. (See his prayer at the dedication of the temple in 1 Kings 8:22-53). Above all he was a man of wisdom. His kingdom reveals a pattern for the kingdom of Jesus Christ.”

The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here. Luke 11:31

Prayer: “Thank  you, Lord, for the life of King Solomon. You blessed him beyond measure and gave us a glimpse of the future glory of your kingdom. You are wiser, more glorious, richer, more merciful than he was. We are blessed as your servants to hear Your words and learn from You. One day we will see you face to face in the home You’ve been preparing for two thousand years. We will serve and worship You forever.”

Questions: Solomon took seven years to build the temple of God and thirteen years to build his own house? What does that reveal about his heart? What is the ratio of time/money spent on kingdom work vs. our own homes? What does that reveal about the state of our hearts? What were some of the small choices that Solomon made that ended in tragedy? Do you feel more hopeful that we will see Solomon in Heaven, after this study?

Response: The Queen of Sheba gave full honour to Solomon, and he wasn’t half the king Jesus is. Do we honour Him as we ought?

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