The Chronicler looked back over the history of God’s people and magnified the Lord’s faithfulness. He wanted to encourage his fellow Hebrews in their quest to remain distinct and holy, even though they were presently subject to the Persian empire. The Chronicler’s account provides a unique opportunity to synthesize one of the most dominant themes from Genesis to the Revelation: God’s jealous desire for His people to have fellowship with Him.
Solomon’s prayer in 2 Chronicles 6 mirrored 1 Kings 8. Solomon recounted God’s promise that a descendant of David would reside on the throne of Israel forever (2 Chron 6:14-17; 1 Chron 17:10-14; 2 Sam 7:13-16). Solomon was so dependent upon the Lord’s promise to David that it formed the closing petition of his prayer, “LORD God, do not reject Your anointed one; remember the loyalty of Your servant David” (2 Chron 6:42).
Solomon asked the Lord to hear prayers offered toward the temple (2 Chron 6:18-39; Psalm 48). After the king asked, “Will God indeed live on earth with man? Even heaven, the highest heaven, cannot contain You, much less this temple I have built” (2 Chron 6:18), he went on to request that the eyes of the Lord, “watch over this temple day and night, toward the place where You said You would put Your name” (2 Chron 6:20). Thus, in Solomon’s inaugural supplication for the Lord’s attention to the temple, the king catalogued a variety of situations that might prompt Israel to pray. He asked the Lord to hear their prayers for forgiveness of sin, retribution and restoration in personal matters (2 Chron 6:21-23), deliverance when defeated in battle (2 Chron 6:24-25, 34-39), and relief during seasons of famine or pestilence (2 Chron 6:26-31). Solomon even asked the Lord to hear the prayers foreigners offered when they looked toward the temple (2 Chron 6:32-33).
In the Chronicler’s account of the temple dedication, the Lord replied to Solomon in a dream (1 Chronicles 7). Here the Chronicler went beyond what is recorded in 1 Kings 9. Both accounts of the temple dedication state that the Lord acknowledged Solomon’s temple as the place where the Lord would congregate with His people in a special way (2 Chron 7:12-18; 1 Kgs 9:3) and warned the king that failure to fulfill the covenant standards would bring consequences (2 Chron 7:19-22; 1 Kgs 9:6-9). But the Chronicler stated the consequences of disobedience more explicitly, including the declaration of the Lord: “I will uproot Israel from the soil that I gave them” (2 Chron 7:20). Nonetheless, the Chronicler’s account of the Lord’s response to Solomon included the word of divine grace and forgiveness for the penitent who would seek His face (2 Chron 7:13-15; Deut 11:13-15).
The Chronicler continued that because of the idolatry of Solomon and his descendants, the Lord raised up the Babylonians to destroy the temple and remove Israel from the Promised Land. From Genesis 3 onward, the storyline of Scripture can be understood as God’s pursuit of His people to have fellowship with Him. Solomon’s temple, in all its prescribed glory, was only a temporary place of communion in the history of redemption. God’s jealous desire for His people to have fellowship with Him and His Son, Jesus Christ, is foundational to understanding the book of Revelation. In Solomon’s temple, the most holy place, the inner sanctuary of the temple, was cube-shaped, measuring thirty feet in length, width, and height, housing the ark of the Lord’s covenant—the very object of His presence among Israel (2 Chron 3:8-9). John’s vision of the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21 was also cube-shaped, resembling the most holy place of Solomon’s temple. According to John, the New Jerusalem is where God’s people will enjoy fellowship with God and Jesus forever. Concerning the city, he wrote, “I did not see a sanctuary in it, because the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its sanctuary. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, because God’s glory illuminates it, and its’ lamp is the Lamb” (Rev 21:22-23).