That the temple is an important place is undeniable in 2 Chronicles 6. We see in Solomon’s dedication prayer that the temple is a place of fellowship and forgiveness. It is a place of fellowship, because God’s presence is there. We see this most powerfully in chapter 7 when the Shekinah glory of God descends. The temple is the incarnation of God, we can even say. It is a meeting of heaven and earth.
The temple is also a place of forgiveness, because the sacrifices are performed there. The prayer of Solomon emphasizes this point time and time again. The conditional-like statements, which are scattered in this prayer (“if…then”), say it all. The protasis (the “if” clause) speaks of mortal failings in view of sin, and the apodosis (the “then” clause) speaks of divine forgiveness in response to repentance and sacrifice. (2 Chronicles 6:22, 24, 26, 28, 32, 34, 36) Here is an example:
2 Chronicles: 6:36-39
“When they sin against you—for there is no one who does not sin—and you become angry with them and give them over to the enemy, who takes them captive to a land far away or near; 37 and if they have a change of heart in the land where they are held captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their captivity and say, ‘We have sinned, we have done wrong and acted wickedly’; 38 and if they turn back to you with all their heart and soul in the land of their captivity where they were taken, and pray toward the land you gave their ancestors, toward the city you have chosen and toward the temple I have built for your Name; 39 then from heaven, your dwelling place, hear their prayer and their pleas, and uphold their cause. And forgive your people, who have sinned against you.
The important point to keep in mind is that forgiveness and restoration take place in the temple, at least provisionally. In other words, sacrifice is necessary for forgiveness and restoration. Based on this point, it does not take profound theological insight to see that Jesus is the final temple of God, the true incarnation of God, as well as the ultimate sacrifice that ensures blessings, forgiveness and restoration.
Now for one step of application – when we worship in community, we create a temple community. When this happens, we manifest Christ’s presence. This fact alone makes a difference in the spiritual quality of the region.Tags: 2 Chronicles 6, Dedication of Temple, Solomon's Prayer