7 Days of Temple Building/Dedication

I am continuing my presentation of the Analogical Day View. We have seen the many temple texts reflect creation. We have seen that many creation texts reflect the temple. We have even seen many connections in Genesis 1-2 specifically to the later tabernacle/temple. Someone could recognize all of these elements but wonder why the days should be wrapped into that imagry rather than taken in their normative sense. My answer, in part, is that with God being pictured as a temple builder who constructs his own house to take up his rest on the seventh day, it is reasonable to see the days of creation as part of that imagery. But we need not rest on only that. Indeed, when we examine the text of scripture and other ANE literature, there is a 7 day scheme that connects with temples.

The temple/creation connection, as we noted previously, was common in the ANE. Even the heptadic structure was not unique to Genesis. For example, in the Gudea Cylinder we read of the building of the temple, and after the large stones had been procured and formed:

Then it needed a day’s work to set up each one but by the seventh day he had set them all up around the house. (Gudea Cylinder B xvii 18-19)

While the ANE environment is interesting, and confirmatory, it is scripture that we are interested in. God constructed creation in seven days and we see that on the seventh day, Moses went up onto the mountain and God gave him the instructions to construct the tabernacle. There were seven creation commands in Genesis 1 each beginning with the words, “and God said…” There are also seven speeches for the building of the tabernacle each beginning with “The Lord spoke to Moses…” The Genesis text ends with the Sabbath, and the seventh speech of Exodus contains instructions for the Sabbath.

After receiving the instructions, it remains of course to actually build the tabernacle. If we compare the completion of creation with the completion of the tabernacle (the “Sabbaths” if you will) there are some striking similarities:

And God saw everything that he had made
Genesis 1:31

And Moses saw all the work…
Exodus 39:43

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them…
Genesis 2:1

Thus all the work of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting was finished…
Exodus 39:32

2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done…
Genesis 2:2

…So Moses finished the work.
Exodus 40:33

3 So God blessed the seventh day…
Genesis 2:3

…Then Moses blessed them.
Exodus 39:43

So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy.
Genesis 2:3

“Then you shall … consecrate it … so that it may become holy.
Exodus 40:9

The priests serving in the tabernacle had to undergo a 7 day purification or consecration.

Leviticus 8:33 And you shall not go outside the entrance of the tent of meeting for seven days, until the days of your ordination are completed, for it will take seven days to ordain you.

If we fast forward to Solomon’s temple we see that the temple took 7 years to build:

1 Kings 6:38 And in the eleventh year, in the month of Bul, which is the eighth month, the house was finished in all its parts, and according to all its specifications. He was seven years in building it.

The ark, representing the presence of God was brought in on the feast of Succoth which is a 7 day feast in the 7th month.

1 Kings 8:1-2 Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the leaders of the fathers’ houses of the people of Israel, before King Solomon in Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the city of David, which is Zion. 2 And all the men of Israel assembled to King Solomon at the feast in the month Ethanim, which is the seventh month.

Just as there were seven divine commands in creation, and seven speeches for the building of the tabernacle, there were 7 petitions to the Lord that Solomon made in his prayer (1 Kings 8:31-53).

  1. If a man…(31)
  2. When your people…(33)
  3. If the heaven…(35)
  4. If there is famine…(37)
  5. If a foreigner…(41)
  6. If your people…(44)
  7. If they sin…(46)

In 2 Chronicles we learn that Solomon actually had two 7 day celebrations:

2 Chronicles 7:8-9 At that time Solomon held the feast for seven days, and all Israel with him, a very great assembly, from Lebo-hamath to the Brook of Egypt. 9 And on the eighth day they held a solemn assembly, for they had kept the dedication of the altar seven days and the feast seven days.

Seven is pervasive in this account of Ezekiel’s temple, but again we notice the seven days:

Ezekiel 45:21-25 “In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, you shall celebrate the Feast of the Passover, and for seven days unleavened bread shall be eaten. . . .25 In the seventh month, on the fifteenth day of the month and for the seven days of the feast, he shall make the same provision for sin offerings, burnt offerings, and grain offerings, and for the oil.

While perhaps none of this is necessary to recognize that Genesis pictures God as a temple builder, and the days are part of that image, yet all the connections with seven days and the construction/dedication of temples does add strength.